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Wednesday News, February 13

Le Mars Mainstreet Reviews 2012 and Sets Goals For 2013

(Le Mars) -- The division chairs of the Le Mars Mainstreet organization met last evening to review 2012 and to set their goals for 2013.  Jenni Smit, Vice President of the Mainsteet says overall the activities from last year were successful, and she says the Holiday Dollars program was enormously successful.
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Le Mars Mainstreet coordinated a tour of downtown buildings last year, and Smit says there are many downtown buildings that have great potential.

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Smit says Le Mars did well when put to the test of recruiting new businesses to the community.
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Smit says the Design Committee will oversee one of the major projects for the upcoming year.

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As for Smit, herself, she will no longer be volunteering for Chamber and Mainstreet activities as she soon will be leaving the ice cream capital of the world for Bentonville, Arkansas.

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Plymouth County Supervisors Approve Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have finished their work for the upcoming fiscal year's budget.  The budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 is an increase of two million dollars more than last year's budget.  Plymouth County Auditor Stacey Feldman says the budget for expenditures is set at $24,032,962.  A year ago, the budget expenditures was set at $22,553,852.  Feldman says a major reason for the increase is the bridge and road construction projects that were approved for the Plymouth County Ethanol Urban Renewal project near Merrill.  A public hearing has been scheduled for March 5 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Lawmaker Wants Names of Gun Permit Holders To Be Private

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The names of Iowans with permits to acquire or carry guns would become private information under legislation proposed by a Republican lawmaker.
Rep. Matt Windschitl, of Missouri Valley, sponsored the bill, which was debated by a House subcommittee Tuesday. Currently the names of permit holders are a public record.
Windschitl says he was concerned that public permit information could put Iowans in danger by leading criminals to guns or giving them information to target homes without guns.
The state Department of Public Safety says about 144,000 Iowans have permits to carry a firearm. Statewide data was not available on the number of permits issued annually to allow people to buy
handguns.
A lobbyist for the Iowa Newspaper Association argued against the measure, saying that government actions should be publicized.


Des Moines Lawyer Wants To Evict Homeless

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines' lawyer says he'll recommend that the City Council appeal a ruling that lets three homeless people stay in their camp.
City Attorney Jeffrey Lester said Tuesday that he will urge the council to take the hearing officer's ruling to a district court.
Eviction notices were posted Jan. 17 at five makeshift camps, warning the homeless residents that city officials would forcibly remove or arrest individuals who remained by the end of the month.
But late Monday, hearing officer Cassandra Webster decided it was safer for the individuals to stay in their camps.
The ruling affects only the three people named in the appeal.
Other appeals have been filed, but it was unclear Tuesday how many camps and people were involved.

 

Bremer County Recorder Arrested For Theft

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) - A county recorder in northeast Iowa has been accused of stealing office funds.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested Bremer County Recorder Donna Ellison on Tuesday. She has been charged with a felony count of misconduct in office and third-degree theft.
Authorities say Ellison took more than $500 from office funds between May and February. Investigators also say she altered records to disguise her activity.
The 59-year-old Ellison has been Bremer County's recorder since 1995. The office retains files on deeds, mortgages, contracts and other miscellaneous documents.
Court records to not list an attorney for Ellison.

 

Conservative Law Professor Arrested For OWI

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A conservative scholar embroiled in a lawsuit with the University of Iowa has been arrested for drunken driving.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/Z8OmVr ) reports Teresa Wagner was arrested Monday night after authorities found her inside a parked vehicle. She told police she had driven a short
distance.
Police say Wagner failed field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showed her blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit. She faces a drunken driving charge.
Wagner filed a lawsuit against the University of Iowa in 2009, claiming she was passed up for jobs because of her conservative views.
Wagner is seeking another trial after a federal jury found the university did not discriminate against her. The jury declared a mistrial on the second count after failing to reach a verdict.
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Tuesday Afternoon News, Feb 12

School Board Disappointed With Legislator's Lack Of Action On Education Funding

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars School Board also discussed their frustration over the lack of action displayed by the legislature dealing with educational issues.  Members of the school board hosted a legislative forum on Saturday, February 2, then last Monday attended a legislative seminar held in Des Moines.  Board member Scott Kommes says education was hit hard when the allowable growth rate was greatly reduced in recent years.  He believes since the state has a surplus of funds, that money should be directed to education.
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Kommes further clarified his position.

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School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt reminded the school board that the legislature has placed priority on reducing property taxes and funding education.  However, Wendt says if the legislature fails to properly fund the schools, than more than two-thirds of the state's school districts will be forced to increase property tax levies in order to meet the necessary expenditures.

 

Akron City Council To Decide On Funding Requests

(Akron) -- Akron City Council will meet this evening and will discuss various funding requests.  Among those organizations seeking funding from the Local Options Sales Tax include the Akron Opera House, Akron Children's Center and even the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  Also on the agenda will be discussion of a summer detour.  The Akron City Council will begin its meeting at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

 

Grassley Has A "Wish List" For State of the Union Address

(Washington) -- President Barak Obama will deliver the state of the union address this evening, and Gun control and North Korea's nuclear testing are two items sure to be covered but Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he'd also like to hear President Obama talk about his plans for the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

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Grassley says some "presidential leadership" on these issues is very important.  "Sequestration" is the term for the upcoming series of budget cuts and Grassley says he'd like to hear President Obama provide more detail on alternatives to those cuts -- which could total one-point-two trillion dollars over a decade.

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The first round of budget cuts under sequestration would total about 85-billion dollars over seven months, hitting everything from farm payments to military spending. There are a few other items on Grassley's "wish list" for tonight's big speech.

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The president will address the joint session of Congress at 8 PM Central time. Grassley says he'll be there in person.

 

State Senators Consider Banning Smoking At Casinos

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators will discuss legislation that would ban smoking in Iowa casinos.
A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to discuss the proposal Tuesday. Casinos were exempted from Iowa's Smokefree Air Act when it passed in 2008.
Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch, who has supported efforts to expand the ban, says it would be a public health benefit. But he questioned whether the bill would have much support in the
Legislature.
Sen. Jeff Danielson heads the panel considering the proposal. The Democrat says he'd like to see updated information on how a smoking ban would affect revenues that come to the state.
Danielson hasn't taken a position on the bill. He says the information provided in 2008 was that a smoking ban would hurt casino income.

 

Grants Available For Smoke Detectors

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - The state fire marshal plans to join with firefighters from around Iowa to announce two grants totaling nearly $300,000 that will fund the purchase and installation of
smoke alarms.
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds will announce the $245,000 federal smoke alarm grant and a $50,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.
Reynolds says it's his goal that every Iowa child grow up in a home with a smoke alarm.
The announcement will be Tuesday morning at a Casey's General Stores warehouse in Ankeny. The business has helped the effort by letting officials make use of its statewide distribution network to
deliver smoke alarms to firefighters across the state.
The grants ultimately will pay for more than 11,600 smoke alarms in 2013.


Universities To Discuss Budgets and Tuitions With Legislators

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders of Iowa's public universities are expected to discuss budget and tuition plans with lawmakers.
Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang and President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter will testify Tuesday to the Legislature's education appropriations subcommittee. They'll be followed by University of Iowa President Sally Mason, Iowa State University President Steven Leath and outgoing University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen.
Higher education leaders are generally pleased with Gov. Terry Branstad's budget proposal, which would give them enough funding to freeze tuition next year for undergraduate students.
But Lang and Rastetter are expected to lobby for additional money for a new state-funded financial aid program. They hope the program will allow universities to stop using tuition revenue to
fund grants and scholarships, which would allow regents to reduce rates.

 

Father of Missing Cousin Sent To Jail

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The father of one of two slain Iowa cousins has been jailed for violating the terms of his release while awaiting trial on drug and domestic assault charges.
Police on Monday arrested 36-year-old Daniel Morrissey. He's the father of 10-year-old Lyric Cook, who disappeared with her younger cousin in July. Their bodies were found in December.
A Department of Correctional Services report alleges Morrissey "should be considered a danger to the community and himself" because he tested positive for meth and marijuana last week - while
already facing charges of manufacturing and delivering meth.
The report says Morrissey missed some treatment sessions and sometimes failed to check in with his probation officer.
Morrissey's in the Black Hawk County jail on a $365,000 bond.

 

   

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