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Wednesday Afternoon News, Jan 9

Water Line Breaks...Floods Gehlen Catholic

(Le Mars) -- Officials with Gehlen Catholic School arrived at work this morning, only to be greeted with several gallons of water seeping into the elementary classrooms.  A water line had broken sometime during the evening hours spilling water into the old convent.  Gehlen principal, Jeff Alesch describes the situation.
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The flooding forced school officials to dismiss classes early.  Staff, faculty, and some students then grabbed shop vacs and squeegees and started the clean up process.  Cabinets and computers and other educational materials were moved to areas not affected by the flooding.  Alesch doesn't know how much damage has been sustained, but he did say that some carpeting would need to be replaced.  Gayle Sitzmann, Superintendent for the Le Mars Water Department says it was not a city water line that broke.
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Sitzmann says only Gehlen Catholic School was affected by the flooding, and none of the homes near Gehlen sustained any water problems.  Sitzmann says several city departments helped with the clean up.
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Gehlen school officials did say that classes would resume on Thursday.

 

City Council Discuss Meeting Start Times

(Le Mars) -- City Council members are wanting the public's input as to the time they should hold their council meetings. Councilman John Leonard brought the idea to the attention of the council during their meeting held Tuesday.  Leonard prefers a later start time. 
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Leonard says the people that have to punch a timeclock are not allowed the opportunity to attend city council meetings.  Rex Knapp, a 20-year veteran of the city council, says he remembers when council meetings began in the late afternoon, as well as early evening.  Knapp says people wouldn't necessarily attend at those times, and often were upset because the meetings may run long.  He says it doesn't matter when the council has its meetings, if an issue deeply affects the city's residents, they will show up.
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The council did not take any action on the issue.  Currently, the city council meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 12:00 noon at the city council chambers.


More Buildings Constructed Adding To County's Tax Revenues

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Residents built more buildings and homes in 2012 than the previous year, and as a result, the county was able to have more tax revenues.  Plymouth County Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken divides the structures into two categories: non-farm and farm.
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Lucken says a year ago, Plymouth County awarded 54 building permits, with 11 homes at a total tax valuation of over $3 million.  As for farm buildings, the Zoning Administrator says this year also saw an increase in building permits.
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Lucken says there were several farm machinery storage facilities that were constructed in Plymouth County during the past year.

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A change in depreciation schedules may have influenced new construction.A year ago, tax revenues from newly constructed buildings was at 14 million dollars.  In 2012, tax revenues from new buildings exceeded $20 million.


Court To Decide If Allergy Is A Disability

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa appeals court says a child's tree nut allergy is a disability, a ruling that sets up a legal challenge over whether a daycare discriminated when it refused to accept her.
The ruling Wednesday says the allergy is a protected disability under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. It overturns an earlier decision by a Polk County district court.
Shannon Knudson sued the Tiger Tots Community Care Center in Madrid after officials told her staffing and liability issues prevented them from watching her daughter.
The appeals court says the child's allergy is an impairment defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court now seeks further proceedings on whether the allergy would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

 

Appeals Court Tells U of I To Turn Over Records

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals says the University of Iowa must release a settlement with a former medical school employee who left after a personnel dispute.
The court Wednesday rejected the former employee's lawsuit, which argued the document shouldn't be released in response to a records request by The Associated Press filed two years ago.
Rather than divulge the record, the university gave the employee time to challenge its release. The employee did so under the pseudonym, John Doe. The AP intervened in the case.
A judge last year ordered the record's release. Doe appealed.
The court says the agreement changed Doe's duties but maintained his salary for a year before his 2011 resignation. It says the public has a right to know how money's spent to settle university
disputes.


Immigrant Driver's Licenses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee is hearing arguments on an Iowa Department of Transportation policy that prohibits driver's licenses for certain young immigrants allowed by
a new federal rule to live here.
The Administrative Rules Review Committee is considering Wednesday the DOT rule which doesn't allow driver's licenses or identification cards to be issued to immigrants brought into the
U.S. as children by parents who were not legal residents.
President Barack Obama has enacted a policy that lets these immigrants seek a renewable, two-year reprieve from deportation if they meet specific age, residency and education requirements.
The Iowa DOT says the policy doesn't make the immigrants legal citizens so it can't issue licenses.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups are fighting the DOT saying licenses should be granted.

 

 

 

   

Wednesday News, January 9

Le Mars Businesses,&  Mainstreet Organization Appeal To City Council

(Le Mars) -- Several business owners, chamber officials, and local preservationists appealed to the Le Mars city council asking them to approve an application for up to $250,000 for building facade improvements for a number of downtown buildings.  The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization is seeking a Community Development Block Grant that would help finance the project.  Mary Reynolds, Le Mars Mainstreet Coordinator, says the efforts are appealing to local building owners.
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If the city qualifies for the federal grant, 50 percent of the revitalization costs would be funded by the Community Development Block Grant, 25 percent would be funded through the city, and the remaining 25 percent would be financed by the property owner.  John Koley owns seven downtown buildings that would be included with the project.  He urged the city council to approve the application.
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Koley told the city council that the program would ultimately benefit the city of Le Mars. He cited Sioux city and Omaha as examples of successful historical preservation projects that has stimulated those economies.  The city council approved the application process.

 

City Approves Business Highway 75 & Highway 3 Revitalization Plan

(Le Mars) -- Downtown businesses may not be the only ones to see some renovations.  The Le Mars City Council approved a proposal that would create a revitalization plan for businesses located along Business Highway 75 and Highway 3.  The council only gave their approval for the creation of a plan, but they did not approve any money to the proposed project.


Council Hears Proposals For New Water Tower

(Le Mars) -- In other action at the city council meeting, the council members heard a proposal from representatives from the McClure Engineering regarding the placement of another water tower and a pumping booster station as part of the city's expansion of the water services to better meet the industrial and residential future water needs.  The McClure representatives looked at nine different locations for a new water tower, five of the locations were along the Highway 75 by-pass,

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In the end the consulting firm suggested to the council members to consider a location outside of city limits at the southwest portion of town.

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City officials have held preliminary discussions with the property owner, but additional consultation must occur before any final decision is made.  The council did approve the report and made a motion to accept McClure Engineering's proposals.


Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary Offering Scholarships

(Le Mars) --  The Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary will be awarding two “tuition only” $1,000.00 scholarships to area students this spring.  To be eligible, the applicant must be a resident of the Floyd Valley Hospital service area, accepted at an accredited school and pursuing a health-related career.
Interested students may obtain the necessary application form with complete qualifying information from their high school guidance counselor, at the Floyd Valley Hospital Information Desk or on-line at www.FloydValleyHospital.org under the Foundation and Giving link.  Applications and support information must be returned to Nancy Augustine by April 1, 2013.  

"The Auxiliary Board has designated one scholarship to be awarded to a resident of Le Mars and a second to be awarded to a resident of the surrounding Floyd Valley Hospital service area.  Applicants may either be a high school graduate or an adult returning to school.

 

Woodbury County Supervisors Looking At Budget Shortfall

(Sioux City) --  Woodbury County Supervisors convened their 2013 budget hearings with a notice from budget analyst Dennis Butler that the county was looking at a projected $2.6 million shortfall.   The county had previously told departments that they hoped to allow a two percent increase in their budgets for the coming July 1st fiscal year.  Butler says the county is looking at a "worse case" projection and has some options for the budget, which totals about $54 million.

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Supervisors trimmed around $30,000 of that shortfall on Tuesday, including a two percent increase requested by non-county social service agencies like the Council on Sexual Assault.  Butler says city tax increment financing also puts a strain on the county by reducing property tax revenues.

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Butler says there's also a gap involving proposed replacement of aging rural bridges.  Public hearings are scheduled beginning January 16th in Anthon to determine if rural residents are willing to pay higher taxes to help replace those bridges.  Those meetings all take place at 6:00 p.m. starting January 16th at the Anthon Community Center, January 17th at the County Secondary Roads Building in Moville and January 23rd at the Salix Community Center.


Legislative Committee Looks At Voting Rules

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee is looking into a proposed new rule that establishes a process for removing voters from registration rolls if they can't prove citizenship.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is pushing the rule saying it's needed because he believes people who are not U.S. citizens are registering to vote in Iowa.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other civil rights groups oppose the rule saying it intimidates minority voters especially Latino immigrants.
The ACLU also says Schultz doesn't have the legal authority to pass the rule himself, instead it should be considered by the Legislature.
The Administrative Rules Review Committee is scheduled to hear input on the rule at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday.

 

Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit To Convene

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders of the ethanol and biodiesel industry will gather in suburban Des Moines this month to discuss the future of their fields.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show will be held Jan. 30 at a conference center in Altoona.
Speakers will include Robert Gough, director of renewable fuels for the Oil Price Information Service, who is expected to analyze price trends through the next decade.
An economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City is expected to discuss ethanol production and its use of corn in the future, while other speakers will highlight the impact of renewable
fuels on Iowa's economy.
Iowa is a national leader in renewable fuels production, with 41 ethanol refineries and 12 biodiesel facilities.


UNI Group Trying To Reduce Food Waste

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A group at the University of Northern Iowa is trying to reduce food waste at landfills around the state.
The Iowa Waste Reduction Center at UNI is developing a website that would allow visitors to find their nearest compost station. The website also would show visitors where they can donate food.
The group says composting is a beneficial way to turn waste into a reusable resource.
The project is being funded by the state Department of Natural Resources, which says 14 percent of Iowa landfills are covered by food waste. The group plans to launch the website in February.
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Iowa State Patrol Reducing The Number Of "Unmarked" Vehicles

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State Patrol is putting logos and emergency light bars on previously unmarked cars in an effort to increase its presence.
The  administrative change was ordered by new Department of Public Safety Commissioner K. Brian London. It means there will be new equipment atop half of the 70 previously unmarked cars.
A patrol spokesman says the move is aimed at increasing law enforcement visibility on state roads. And it's also aimed at encouraging people to obey the speed limit better.
Each district will retain an unmarked vehicle, and others will keep two.

 

State School Board Looking For Student Member

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are looking for the next high school student to apply for a special position on the State Board of Education.
The governor appoints a student each year to serve as a non-voting student member of the board. The next one-year term begins May 1 and runs through the end of April 2014.
The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet more than a dozen times during the term. Most meetings will be held in Des Moines.
The junior or senior student must be enrolled in a public high
school. Applications are due by Feb. 1.


 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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