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Wednesday Afternoon News, March 6

Mainstreet Organization Wants To Make Alleys Attractive

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization hopes to make Le Mars alleys attractive by having artists create paintings on the alley walls.  Mary Reynolds, director of Le Mars Mainstreet appeared before the city council on Tuesday to share the idea.
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Reynolds informed the council that Mainstreet hopes to qualify for a grant which would pay for the paint to be used for the paintings. Previously, the city council assisted the Mainstreet organization with the various ice cream cones on display throughout the community.  Reynolds says the city's contribution would be minimal.
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Reynolds told the council that the building behind Claussen's Mens Wear would be the first to under go the transformation.


Hirschman Selected As "School Employee of the Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District is honoring Pam Hirschman as their "School employee of the Month."  Hirschman is a special educator in the high school.  Dorene Schimek submitted the nomination for Hirschman and says she has had the pleasure of working with Pam Hirschman for the past 11 years.  During this time, she has observed her observed her thoughtfulness, leadership skills, collaborative abilities, mentoring, and genuine compassion for students and their development.  Pam has a wonderful rapport with individuals of all ages particularly students.  Pam's ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly superior.  She is extremely organized, reliable, and technology literate.  Pam works on numerous projects for the classroom and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done.  She spends countless hours preparing lessons for the students, even if it requires numerous hours before and after school.  Many times, you will find Pam working in her classroom  on the weekends just to ensure that her students get the best education possible.  She spends countless hours scanning curriculum material from various courses into a computerized program so her students have the option of listening to the curriculum textbooks.  She accomplishes these tasks with great initiative and with a very positive attitude.


Gehlen Catholic Forced To Change Mission Destinations

(Le Mars) -- For the past twelve years, students of Gehlen Catholic Hgh school have traveled to the Central American nation of Honduras as part of a mission trip.  However, due to an escalated amount of violence reported in the region, Gehlen officials made the decision to cancel this year's trip to Honduras.  Mission coordinator Dick Sievers explains about two  tragic incidents that occurred.

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Sievers says another tragic event took place about a week and a half ago involving a gang shooting which occurred in the same area that Gehlen students would have been working.  Sievers says he offered full disclosure about the events to the participating schools, administration officials, parents, and students.
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Gehlen officials were obviously disappointed they wouldn't be able to go to Honduras, but due to quick action by several people, including Carolyn Bickford, a Gehlen high school teacher, Gehlen was able to savage the mission trip only to a different location.
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Bickford says the region in Mississippi is a low-income region that still is recovering from Hurricane Katrina.  Bickford says the Gehlen students will have plenty of work ready for them in Mississippi.
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Both Sievers and Bickford say students learn about the world outside of Le Mars and they learn a lot about themselves on the mission tours.  At last count, 14 students from Gehlen Catholic High School will be participating on the Mississippi mission project.  The students are scheduled to leave on March 20th and return two days before Easter Sunday.

   

Wednesday News, March 6

Le Mars To Test Warning Siren Today

(Le Mars) -- Don't be alarmed when you hear a weather warning siren this morning.  A mobile unit equipped with a weather warning siren is in town to help city officials determine where precisely a new siren should be placed.  City officials will be sounding the alarm on the north side of town.  Le Mars Fire Chief, David Schipper explains.
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City Council Turns Down Chicken Request

(Le Mars) -- By an unanimous vote, the Le Mars City council decided to turn thumbs down on the request by Jeremy White to allow him to raise chickens within the city limits.  Le Mars mayor Dick Kirchoff explained to white that it was against city code ordinance to allow livestock to be raised within the city borders.  Kirchoff informed White that he had received numerous comments both in favor and against the request.
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Councilman John Rexwinkle said he also had many comments directed his way with regards to the chicken issue.

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Army Corps of Engineers To Be Sued Over Missouri River Flooding

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - Some landowners inundated by Missouri River flooding in 2011 are preparing to sue the federal government.
St. Joseph attorney Ed Murphy says he plans to file a case soon in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He says plaintiffs could come from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and possibly South Dakota.
Murphy noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in December that the federal government is not automatically exempt from paying for damage caused by temporary flooding from its dams.
In the summer of 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs that had been filled with melting snow and heavy rains. The onslaught lasted for
more than 100 days, causing extensive damage downstream.
The corps said it couldn't comment on pending litigation.


UNI To Make Major Announcement For Teachers

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - University of Northern Iowa officials are expected to make a major announcement about the future of the school's well-known teacher education program.
UNI President Ben Allen is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon at the student union. The university isn't releasing details, but says the news will -- quote -- "have a significant impact on students pursuing education careers and on faculty teaching and research."
Gov. Terry Branstad and other guests are expected to join Allen at the announcement.
UNI says it graduates more than 500 teachers every year, and claims more than 17,000 alumni educators around the world. But its program has been challenged in recent years by funding cuts. Allen
last year closed the Price Lab, a public school run by UNI's College of Education.

 

Police Help Family Escape From Fire

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - Police who broke into a central Iowa home helped a woman and her children escape a fire.
Aliesha Kirby says that she and her kids were sleeping early Monday morning and didn't hear officers break into their home in Newton.
A neighbor called 911 after seeing flames shoot through the roof of Kirby's house.
One of Kirby's children, Brock, says "the first thing I saw was the police pulling me out of bed."
The Kirbys stood outside for hours and watched their house burn.
Firefighters say the blaze fire started in the attic. The cause is being investigated.
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Reserve Deputy Accidentally Shoots Herself

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Polk County authorities say a reserve deputy's gun fired as she was preparing to turn it over to a firearms instructor for inspection.
Reserve Deputy Donna Britt's left hand was injured when the gun fired inside the department's headquarters on Monday night.  Department spokeswoman Jana Rooker says it's unclear whether the
bullet struck Britt's hand or the injury resulted from the gun recoil. Britt was treated at a hospital and released.
Reserve deputies carry county-issued firearms but don't make arrests. They must pass a firearms safety course as part of a reserve deputy academy.
Rooker says the accident is still being evaluated.
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