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Wednesday News, May 8

Supervisors Question Northwest Iowa Development Dues And Organizational Structure

(Le Mars) -- The PLymouth County Board of Supervisors heard from Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Neil Adler during yesterday's meeting at the Courthouse Boardroom.  Adler appeared before the county governing board to ask for their consideration of participating in the Northwest Iowa Development.  Plymouth County's dues for the economic development organization is set at seventy-five cents per person.  The Northwest Iowa Development consists of Sioux, Lyon, Osceola, O'Brien, Cherokee and Plymouth counties. However, Supervisor Don Kass voiced his concern over the fact  the Northwest Iowa Development does not allow an elected official to serve on the executive committee.  Kass said because of the money that Plymouth County is investing, he wants to see a Plymouth County government official serve on the executive committee of the Northwest Iowa Development.  Kass says it should be a requirement in order to be accountable to the people of Plymouth County.  Currently, Supervisor Jack Guenthner serves as a member of the Northwest Iowa Development Board of Directors, but is not on the executive committee.  Neal Adler is the Plymouth County representative to the NWID executive committee.  Kass did not want to pay the full dues amount without an elected official from Plymouth County to serve on the executive committee for the economic development organization.  Supervisor Guenthner made the motion that Plymouth County pay its full share of dues to the development organization.  A long pause occurred before Supervisor Mark Loutsch seconded Guenthner's motion.  When the vote was taken, the supervisors were split with Kass and Craig Anderson voting against the measure and Guenthner and Loutsch voting in favor of paying the full dues to the organization.  Chairman Jim Henrich cast the deciding vote and sided with Guenthner and Loutsch.

Supervisors Approve Sub-division Development Proposal

(Le Mars) -- In other action at the Supervisor meeting, the board heard from Plymouth County Planning and Zoning administrator, Alan Lucken.  Lucken had shared a new development plan that was introduced to the County's Planning and Zoning Commission.  It is to be located in the southern most part of the county, near county road C-80, and would be a part of Sioux City.  The supervisors approved the new sub-division development plan, but not before hearing from Jack Martin of Sioux City voice his concern over the drainage issue for the new development area.  Martin, who mentioned he himself has invested in other development programs, was not against the development proposal, but rather could see some issues for when it would rain causing a load of water to drain in a small area which could cause some erosion concerns.


City Council Approves K-N-S Addition

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council held a public hearing during its meeting on Tuesday regarding the proposed K-N-S Addition which is to be located in the southern portion of town near 6th Avenue Southwest.  The city's planning and zoning board met on Monday to discuss the issue, and they approved the measure.  City administrator Scott Langel explained some of the ordinances for the new proposed development. 

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Councilwoman Irhke asked if the ordinance stipulated as to the type of species that would be allowed, and Langel confirmed her question.  Councilman John Leonard then suggested the council consider changing the ordinance for future proposed developments, of which Langel agreed with the suggestion, and offered his comment to the council they should consider the change for all new developments, and not one by one as they appear before the council.  Langel mentioned how trees planted within the area between the street and sidewalk can often times create problems for utility companies.

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The council did approve the final plat and proposal for the K-N-S addition, but for only on 13th Street.

Warren County Rejects Casino

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Voters have rejected a proposal that would have allowed casino gambling in south-central Iowa's Warren County.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/ZFMqzA) reports that unofficial results show more than 60 percent of voters rejected the measure.
Warren County Citizens for Good Jobs and Wild Rose Entertainment had proposed building a casino, hotel, events center and bowling alley in northwest Norwalk, near Iowa Highways 5 and 28.
The Register says state law now prohibits Warren County voters from considering another gambling bill before 2021.
Nearly a third of eligible voters in the county cast ballots on the question.

Jury To Deliberate Teen Killer's Trial

CLARION, Iowa (AP) - A jury is scheduled to begin deliberations in the murder trial of an Osage teenager accused of shooting his mother to death.
The panel of seven women and five men will meet Wednesday morning in the Wright County Courthouse in Clarion to deliberate the trial of 14-year-old Noah Crooks. He is charged with
first-degree murder and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in the March 24, 2012, killing of his 37-year-old mother, Gretchen.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/10nic91 ) the jury received the case Tuesday after closing arguments concluded. They selected a foreperson and went home.
A prosecutor says Noah was not insane during the shooting. Defense attorneys say Noah suffers from a disorder characterized by periods of extreme rage and violence.


DNA Bill Goes To Branstad

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that would require people convicted of certain aggravated misdemeanors to submit DNA samples now heads to the desk of Gov. Terry Branstad for review.
The Iowa House approved the Senate's changes to the bill Tuesday on an 84 to 15 vote. The measure would require adults convicted of crimes like aggravated misdemeanor assault and theft to submit DNA samples to the federal DNA database.
Currently, only convicted felons and sexual offenders must submit samples.
The Senate changed the initial bill last week to exempt deferred judgment cases and misdemeanors related to hazardous waste, agricultural production and gambling. Traffic offenses are also exempt unless a person has three operating while intoxicated
convictions in 12 years.
The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it died in the House

Public Schools Will Conduct Background Checks On All Employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Public school districts would be required to conduct background checks on all employees under a bill approved by the Iowa House.
The measure that unanimously passed Tuesday requires districts to pre-screen job applicants to see if they are listed on the state sex offender registry and registries for child abuse and dependent
adult abuse. That includes part-time and substitute employees.
Current law requires federal and state criminal checks for licensed teachers and state checks on bus drivers.
Under the measure, districts would recheck employees every five years after their hiring date.
Republican Rep. Megan Hess of Spencer amended the bill to require businesses to conduct criminal history and abuse registry checks on motorized food vendors, such as ice cream truck drivers.
The bill returns to the Senate for review.


Livestock Producers Have Easier Provisions To Downsize Operations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has backed a bill making it easier for livestock producers to downsize, and the measure now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad.
In an 85 to 14 vote Tuesday, the House approved the bill that would allow livestock producers to close barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they would no longer need to file plans
for manure disposal with the state.
Critics say the measure could allow farms to avoid environmental oversight. Supporters say the bill will help farmers who want to temporarily shutter some operations.
The proposal was amended in the Senate to require producers who want to store manure in idled barns to seek permission. The House voted on the measure for a second time to endorse the amendment and send it to Branstad.


Ames Teacher Wins EPA Award

AMES, Iowa (AP) - An Ames teacher is one of 11 educators nationally to win an EPA award for teaching environmental stewardship and civic responsibility in the classroom.
Ames High School science teacher Mike Todd gets $2,000 to further his professional development in environmental education. The school also gets $2,000 to help continue environmental
educational activities.
The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators is given by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Winners were announced Tuesday.
It recognizes teachers for integrating environmental education into their lessons and connecting students with their communities and the natural world.
Todd, a biology and environmental science teacher, has received $20,000 in grant funds over five years to buy equipment students use to monitor a local pond and manage a prairie.


Tuesday News, May 7

Le Mars City Council To Hold Public Hearing On K-N-S Addition

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet today and again discussion will focus on the KNS addition.  Last evening, the City's Planning and Zoning Board met to discuss the issue.  A public hearing regarding the KNS addition final plat and rezoning will occur at noon today at the City Council chambers.  The city council will also hold a hearing regarding the sewer revenue loan agreement.  The council is expected to take action on a new water tower and booster station improvements.  Other topics slated to be discussed include the Local Options Sales Tax and Motel/Hotel tax resolutions.


Supervisors To Meet With Planning & Zoning Administrator

(Le Mars) --  Plymouth County Supervisors will hear from Planning and Zoning Administrator, Alan Lucken during today's meeting at the Courthouse board room.  Luken will submit recommendations to the supervisors for their approval.  Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Neal Adler is also on the supervisor's agenda.  Adler will discuss payment of the Northwest Iowa Development dues.  Plymouth county Conservation Board Director, Dennis Sohl will appear before the county supervisors to discuss conservation board revenue, and Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe will inform the county governing board of permit requests by Premier Communications.

"Then Feed Just One" Exceeds Meal Count Goal

(Le Mars) -- More than 500 volunteers on Friday helped Gehlen Catholic exceed its goal of assembling meals for the starving people of Honduras.  Carolyn Bickford, with the "Then Just Feed One" organization at Le Mars explains.
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Bickford says she was most appreciative of the many people that devoted an hour and a half of their time to help assemble the meals.

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Bickford says between the Gehlen Catholic's efforts, along with the meals that were assembled earlier last week from Spalding Catholic school and Remsen St. Mary' Catholic school, the total was enough to fill an entire shipping container.

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The charity leader says it will be approximately three weeks before the people of Honduras will have the opportunity to eat the meals assembled at Le Mars.

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Bickford says it was great that the volunteers were able to exceed the goal of assembling over 147,000 meals, however, it does present itself with another concern.  With the larger load, comes a larger cost to ship the food.  Bickford says they need to raise an additional $5,000 to help pay for the extra meals.

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Jamal Dean Fighting Extradition

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man arrested in Texas in connection with the shooting of a Sioux City police officer is fighting extradition back to the state.
21-year-old Jamal Dean has indicated to authorities that he intends to fight extradition. He is in a maximum security section of the Kleberg County Jail in Kingsville, Texas.
Kleberg County Sheriff's Capt. Albert Castillo says Dean must enter a formal decision during a court hearing. Texas Gov. Rick Perry could be asked to authorize Dean's removal from the state.
Dean was arrested Saturday after a hunt involving local, state and federal authorities. He is accused of shooting a rifle at Sioux City Officer Kevin McCormick during a traffic stop on April 29.
McCormick is expected to make a full recovery.


Disaster Area Declared For Northwest Iowa Counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers in four northwest Iowa counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a major disaster declaration for
the area.
Farmers with losses in Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, and Osceola counties resulting from severe winter storms on April 9, 10, and 11 may apply for emergency loans carrying an interest rate of less
than 2.4 percent. The money will help replace lost livestock, fruit and nut trees, and perennial crops. They also may repair or replace damaged or destroyed essential farm buildings.
The Farm Service Agency announced the disaster declaration on Monday. The four Iowa counties are eligible because they are contiguous with five Minnesota counties designated as a primary
disaster area.
Farmers must apply for the loans by Jan. 3.


Cool, Wet Weather Delays Corn Planting

(Des Moines) -- A year ago Iowa farmers had already planted more than 62 percent of their corn crop.  This year, however, due to the extreme cold and wet conditions, only eight percent of the state's corn crop has been planted, according to the weekly crop conditions report as issued by the Department of Agriculture.  It is the latest planting progress since 1995.  The wet weather has helped out the topsoil moisture levels.  Just one percent of the state's topsoil moisture level was rated as very short, three percent was short, but 57 percent of the state reported adequate top soil moisture levels, and 37 percent of the state say they now have surplus levels of top soil moisture.


State Senate Likely To Reject Miscellaneous Spending Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate is set to debate and likely reject a miscellaneous spending bill that now includes a number of contentious policy measures.
The so-called standings bill passed the Republican-controlled House last week.
Sen. Robert Dvorsky of Coralville, who sponsored the bill, says Senate Democrats will likely reject the House version Tuesday.
Last, week, Republicans added policy items to the bill, including one that would change collective bargaining rules. Republicans also added their version of a plan to regionalize Iowa's mental health care system.
The standings legislation includes a series of budget items, such as basic school funding, as well as some new fiscal and policy items. It's traditionally viewed as the last opportunity to move
legislation before the session ends.

University of Iowa To Create New Program

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa is creating a new office to promote and enhance the school's efforts to have teachers, researchers and students partner with communities across
Provost Barry Butler said Monday that the new Office of Outreach and Engagement backs up the university's commitment to improving the lives of Iowans.
He said the office would be led by epidemiology professor Linda Snetselaar, a Faculty Senate leader, on an interim basis effective June 1. A search for a permanent associate provost to fill the role
will be conducted within a year.
Butler says the office will coordinate existing and new efforts to recognize and promote publicly-engaged scholarship and creative activity. The office will also create an online database listing the university's community partners and projects and the impact they have.


Cedar Falls Expects Minor Flooding

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Minor flooding is expected in Cedar Falls as the Cedar River tops flood stage by about 1 foot.
The National Weather Service expects the river to crest in Cedar Falls early Wednesday.
At that expected level, flooding should be minimal, with a road and part of a park left under water.
During April, Waterloo saw more than 7 inches of rain. That makes it one of the city's wettest Aprils on records.
May also is off to a wet start, with 2.3 inches of rain and 1.7 inches of snow.


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