Thursday Afternoon News, Feb. 21
City To Enforce Odd/Even Parking Restrictions
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city officials are reminding residents that the odd/even parking restrictions are in place and will be enforced if Le Mars gets blanked by the pending snow. Vehicles need to be parked on the odd side of the street on odd numbered calendar days, and on the even side of the street on even calendar days.
City Looks At Upgrading Pedestrian Crosswalks Near Schools
(Le Mars) -- City officials are looking to upgrade three pedestrian crosswalks near schools. Le Mars City Street Department Superintendent, Steve Hansen informed the city council that state grant funding may available for the upgrades. Its part of a state initiative to make safer routes to schools.
The council approved the application, and will wait to see if Le Mars has been granted the funding.
Wendt Comments On Educational Bill In State Legislature
(Le Mars) -- Earlier this week, the Iowa House passed an education bill that includes both funding for the next two years, as well as some of the reforms that is being requested by Governor Terry Branstad. The state House of Representatives passed a two percent allowable growth rate for school districts. Meanwhile, the Iowa Senate adopted a provision that would fund four percent allowable growth, and Governor Branstad has advocated a zero percent increase in allowable growth. Le Mars Community School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt says it may be too early to determine whether cutbacks will be needed. He says enrollment actually increased this past year, which may offset some of the decline in school funding.
Wendt offers an explaination as to what a two percent increase and a four percent increase would mean for the local school district.
Governor Branstad's proposal would ask school districts to set the base salary pay at $35,000. However, the House passed a bill that would set the minimum base salary at $32,000 per year. Wendt says Le Mars school district base salary is above the state's minimum.
Another of Branstad's reform measures was to have teachers with seniority serve as mentors, but the House adopted a plan that allows school districts the opportunity to opt out of the mentoring proposal. Wendt wonders if state-wide education reform can be achieved if schools are allowed not to participate. Wendt believes the legislators were trying to be more flexible for school districts.
Motels Filling Up In Anticipation of Snow Storm
PERCIVAL, Iowa (AP) - Some motels are filling up ahead of a snowstorm that threatens to dump to a foot of snow in some parts of Iowa.
Krista Tillman is manager of the Super 8 motel near Percival, just off Interstate 29 in the southwest corner of Iowa. Tillman said the snow had been falling for about 90 minutes but she'd
rented out about 30 of her motel's 45 rooms in the last 60 minutes. She expects to be sold out by 2 p.m., if not sooner.
A desk clerk at the nearby Americas Best Value Inn echoed Tillman, saying he expected his 80 rooms would be gone within a couple of hours.
Pilot Arrested For Carrying Marijuana
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Agents say they arrested a pilot who was transporting high-grade marijuana from California to the east coast after his plane stopped in rural Iowa for maintenance.
A complaint says Angelo Efthimiatos piloted a plane that landed Tuesday at the airport in Washington, Iowa to refuel and fix a mechanical problem.
The Department of Homeland Security Air and Marine Operations Center asked police to inspect the pilot's license.
The complaint says Efthimiatos didn't have his license, and a drug-sniffing dog later indicated that controlled substances were on the plane.
The complaint says the pilot told agents he was transporting 55 pounds of high-grade marijuana from California to the eastern U.S.
Agents seized the drugs, which may have a street value of $220,000 or more.
His attorney didn't immediately return a message.