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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.