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Tuesday Afternoon News, May 21

Le Mars Receives SIMPCO "Best Community Award"

(Le Mars) -- The city of Le Mars was recently presented the "Best Community Award" by the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council, an organization consisting of local and county governments.  Mayor Dick Kirchoff shared the award, which is an engraved mantle clock, with the city during the Tuesday city council meeting.  Kirchoff says Le Mars was the only community within the SIMPCO trade area to be given the honor during the annual meeting held May 9th.  Kirchoff says the organization acknowledges the teamwork as displayed between the city, county, and private businesses.

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Kirchoff says a major reason for the award is the recycling efforts conducted by the city.  The mayor says Le Mars is now a model for other communities to follow in terms of successful recycling.

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Kirchoff informed the council that Le Mars was also singled out for the honor due to its number of volunteers that step forward to offer assistance regardless whatever is the project.  The mayor publicly thanked the community for its efforts.


City Council Gives Floyd Valley Hospital The Green Light For Moving Its Loading Dock

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave Floyd Valley Hospital the go ahead to start its construction project involving moving the loading dock from the north side of the hospital to the southern side.  Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin appeared before the city council on Tuesday afternoon.  Donlin says the expected cost of the construction project is estimated at $741,000.  The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on May 29th at 7:15 a.m. at the hospital to gather public  comments about the loading dock construction project.  Hospital officials anticipate contracts will be awarded in June with construction to begin in July.   In other action, the Le Mars City Council gave approval to Van's Sanitation of Le Mars for an expansion project that will include an additional recycling center to be located in Le Mars.  Scott Van informed the city council of his company's plans for the expansion.

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Van offered reassurances to the city council the proposed expansion project would not interfere with the rail services.

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Penn Gaming Says Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Violated Laws

(Sioux City) -- The parent company of the Argosy riverboat casino has filed a court action asking a judge to overturn the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's decision to grant a land based gaming facility to Sioux City Entertainment for a Hard Rock Casino.

Penn Gaming, listed as the Belle of Sioux City, states in their petition for judicial review that the IRGC over the past year has engaged in a series of actions that has destroyed the economic value of the Belle’s license and the company's investment in the riverboat casino and in the Sioux City community

The petition was e-filed last Friday within the 30 day deadline to protest the commission's April 18th vote for the Hard Rock project.

The petition is similar to a letter Penn sent to the IRGC on May 9th, asking them to overturn that decision.

The commission is next scheduled to meet on June 7th, and did not set a meeting in May.


Sex Offender Found Dead - Believed To Have Abducted Missing Teen

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a convicted sex offender who was suspected of abducting two girls from an Iowa bus stop has been found dead.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says 42-year-old Michael Klunder was found dead Monday night at a rural property northeast of Dayton, which is about 60 miles north of Des Moines.
His cause of death hasn't been released.
Klunder is accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old girl on Monday. The 12-year-old was able to escape and told authorities she and the other girl were taken to an agricultural facility after accepting a ride from a stranger.
The 15-year-old is still missing. Dozens of law enforcement agents are searching for Kathlynn Shepard. Authorities say they're releasing her name and photo in an effort to find her alive.

House Adjourns For The Day - Plan To Continue Debate Later In The Week

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Debate in the state House on one-time spending proposals has been postponed until later this week.
Republican Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha gaveled-in to a sparsely populated House on Tuesday but then quickly adjourned until Wednesday morning. A House staffer says all 99 members won't
be called back to vote until compromises have been reached on education reform, property tax and other outstanding budgets.
The bill that was set for debate Tuesday in the House includes about $91 million in state money to increase funding for the police officer retirement fund.
The Iowa Senate also adjourned until Wednesday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says he hopes to start voting on key issues on Wednesday.



Tuesday News, May 21

City Council To Hear Floyd Valley Hospital Request

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet today at noon at the City Council Chambers.  The council will hear a request from Floyd Valley Hospital officials as they will seek the permission of the city council to hold a public hearing scheduled for May 29th regarding the construction and different placement of the loading dock.  The loading dock area can be considered the first phase of the proposed north addition expansion project.  The city council will also have a second reading of the Local Options Sales Tax vote which is scheduled for August 6th.  The council will also review the sewer revenue loan agreement.


Supervisors To Name Beitelspacher To Veteran Affairs Commission

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning at the Courthouse Board room.  The supervisors are expected to name Don Beitelspacher to replace retiring Don Neunaber on the county Veteran Affairs Commission.  The supervisors will also hear a proposal from Al Fagan as he seeks approval for a minor sub-division in Stanton township.  County engineer Tom Rohe will update the current construction projects within the county.


American Legion Prepares For Memorial Day

(Le Mars) -- Members of the American Legion Wasmer Post, #241 of Le Mars are making preparations for the Memorial Day Avenue of Flags program to be held at the Plymouth County Courthouse on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th.  The local American Legion is asking for volunteers to help with the placement of the more than 1100 American flags to be flown for the ceremonies.  On Saturday morning, volunteers will assist with the location of the anchors for the flags.  Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. the flags will be placed in the anchors on the grounds of the Courthouse.  The Memorial Day Parade will assemble on the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street NE at 9:00 a.m. for directions and placement.  The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m.


Two Toddlers Fall From Second Story Storm Lake Apartment

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Two toddlers have survived falling about 15 feet from an apartment building in Storm Lake.
Storm Lake Police announced Monday that the children, ages 2 and 4, pressed against a window screen in their apartment unit on the second floor and fell.
The children were treated and released from Buena Vista Regional Medical Center after the Friday afternoon incident.
No criminal charges have been filed.

Farmers Utilize Good Weather To Catch Up On Planting

(Des Moines) -- Farmers took full advantage of the good weather from last week and were able to plant more than 9 million acres of the 23 million acres of our state that will be devoted to corn and soybeans again this year.  The planting pace is still behind the five-year average.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says by the end of the week, 71 percent of Iowa’s corn acreage had been planted, an increase of 56 percentage points from last week. Even though farmers planted at a near record pace, progress still lags behind last year’s 97 percent and the five-year average of 92 percent. Thirteen percent of the corn crop has emerged, well behind last year’s 77 percent and the normal of 58 percent. Soybean planting was 16 percent complete, behind last year’s 78 percent and the five-year average of 59 percent. One percent of the soybean crop has emerged.


Iowa Red Cross Helps Oklahoma and Texas Tornado Victims

(Des Moines) -- American Red Cross officials from Iowa are on their way to Oklahoma and Texas to offer aid to the victims of the deadly tornadoes that struck the area these past few days.  Red Cross officials have established a shelter in Moore, Oklahoma and are hoping to set up others.  Three shelters have been set up in the Oklahoma City area.  The American Red Cross are assisting First Responders with food and other needed supplies.  The charity organization is sending kitchen support trailers to the damaged area in order to cook meals for the displaced victims.  More than 25 emergency response vehicles are positioned to move in at first light this morning, with more on the way.  This has been a major disaster, and the Red Cross will be there for the people in this state and this community. People who wish to make a donation to support the Red Cross response can visit, dial
1-800-REDCROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


Search Continues For Missing Girl

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) - Police are searching for a missing central Iowa teen they believe was one of two girls abducted by a man who offered them a ride.
Police are searching for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She and a 12-year-old girl were taken from a Dayton bus stop Monday.
Police say they believe the man lured the girls into his truck under false pretenses.
The 12-year-old was found later when she walked out of woods near a farmhouse in Boone County.
Police say they had located a suspect in the abduction late Monday, but Shepard was still missing early Tuesday.
Authorities are asking search volunteers to gather Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at the Dayton Community Center to look for the girl.


House To Debate Funding Public Safety Pension

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House lawmakers are scheduled to debate a number of one-time spending items including a substantial state contribution toward law enforcement pensions.
The bill set for debate Tuesday includes about $91 million in state money to increase funding for the police officer retirement system. The system now has about 61 percent of the dollars needed
to pay projected pension obligations, but the proposal would increase that to 80 percent.
Ross Loder, bureau chief of the Department of Public Safety, says the pension fund has been underfunded for the past five to seven years.
The measure would also designate $113 million of state surplus money for the next fiscal year toward paying off state bonds on certain projects like the new penitentiary in Fort Madison.




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