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Thursday News, January 3

Gehlen and Spalding Catholic High Schools Decide To Merge

(Le Mars) -- At a joint school board meeting held Wednesday evening, officials from the Gehlen Catholic and Spalding Catholic schools voted unanimously to merge the two Catholic High Schools beginning next school year of 2013-2014.  Gehlen Catholic school board president Brian Kolbeck and Spalding Catholic school board president Jeanne Jungers appeared together to make the formal announcement.

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Kolbeck told reporters that many, may have thought the unification of both schools was a done deal once the idea was proposed.  But he says officials from both schools organized different committees to analyze the proposed merger.
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Kolbeck continues to explain how everyone's concerns were carefully considered before reaching the final decision.
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According to Jungers, The merged Catholic schools will be called Gehlen Catholic High School and will be located in Le Mars.  Jungers showed her emotion as she discussed the history of Spalding Catholic High School.

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A Spalding Catholic school board member told KLEM news that there are 72 students between the 8th grade and 11th grade currently attending Spalding Catholic School.  He said that a survey was sent to each family with children attending Spalding Catholic School asking them if they are considering sending their children to Gehlen.  The school board member said the survey showed that at least 70 percent of the families would transport their children to Gehlen Catholic High School. Spalding Catholic will have three representatives, one from each parish, that will be members of the new Gehlen Catholic school board.


Pedestrian Killed While Crossing Street

(Sioux City) -- A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle while crossing Gordon Drive in Sioux City, leaving him dead at the hospital.  The accident occurred at 5:52 p.m. on Wednesday.  According to police reports, the victim, identified as 54 year old Daniel Leighninger of Bradenton, Florida was crossing Gordon Drive near the Hy-Vee supermarket when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Gail Meinen of Sioux City.  Police found Leighninger lying in the roadway, unconscious but breathing and had sustained blunt force to his head with severe bleeding.  Leighninger had crossed the busy street where there is no designated pedestrian crosswalk.  He was transported to Mercy Medical Center where later he had died. Police do not suspect alcholol or drugs to be a factor in this accident.

 

Sioux County Hog Confinement Fire

(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Communications Center received a report of a structure fire at 4142 Jay Avenue, two and one half miles northeast of Orange City, IA.  That fire occurred at about 5:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.  The Orange City Fire Department, Orange City Ambulance, and Alton Fire Department responded to the scene of a hog confinement building on fire.
Damage to the building is estimated at $50,000; no animals were in the confinement at the time of the fire.  The building was currently undergoing construction improvements.  The cause of the fire has been determined as accidental in a joint investigation by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the Orange City Fire Department, and the Iowa State Fire Marshal.

 

Four Individuals Arrested in Sioux County

(Granville) -- Sioux County authorities arrested four individuals for possession of drug paraphernalia after a report of illegal activity occurring at midnight Wednesday at the Granville Event Center.  The four have been identified as Michael Wolff, age 19, of Emmetsburg, IA, Zackery Fay, age 19, of Spencer, IA, Ryan Dodge, age 20, of Spencer and Corey Vergith, age 18, of Spencer.

 

Medical Helicopter Crashes Killing All On board

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified two of three people who were killed when a medical helicopter crashed into a northern Iowa field.
Witnesses told deputies that the helicopter burst into flames when it went down around 9 p.m. Wednesday just north of Ventura in Cerro Gordo County. The aircraft was affiliated with Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa and had been headed to Emmetsburg to pick up a patient.
The hospital identified two of the victims: nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl.
The pilot was not identified. The helicopter was operated by a Lewisville, Texas-based service company, Med-Trans Air Medical Transport. Company officials didn't immediately return messages
left Thursday by The Associated Press.
Sheriff Kevin Pals says the crash cause is being investigated.

 

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Awards Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials have awarded more than $90,000 in grant money to a dozen Iowa cities supporting historic preservation programs.
The state Department of Cultural Affairs says the grants are from the Certified Local Government program. It's a partnership between local, state and national governments.
The grant money for the cities is between about $2,000 and about $11,000.
Participation in the program that grants the money offers resources like expert advice from the National Park Service and participation in a preservation network.

 

Hearing Scheduled For Today On Voting Rules

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday on 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 plans to speak against the rule. The group, joined by other civil rights organizations, says the rule 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 public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Lucas State Office Building.


Iowa Supreme Court To Review Job Protection For Health Employees

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court will review whether to give greater job protections to health care employees who report potential misconduct internally.
The court announced Wednesday it will review an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling, which found an assisted-living center employee was wrongly terminated after she alleged that 2 colleagues falsified
training documents.
The decision concluded that companies that operate such facilities cannot fire employees who internally report potential violations of regulations meant to protect patients. Otherwise, the
court says employees would be hesitant to raise concerns.
The case involves Karen Dorshkind, who was fired in 2008 as marketing director at Oak Park Place in Dubuque. A jury awarded her $357,000 in damages. The court found the ruling for Dorshkind was
appropriate, but $178,500 in punitive damages shouldn't have been allowed.


 

 

   

Wednesday Afternoon News, January 2

Supervisors Elect Officers

(Le Mars) -- During their opening meeting for 2013, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors voted to keep Jim Henrich of District 5 as the chairman and Don Kass was elected to serve as vice chairman.

 

Wells Enterprises Concludes Tax Credit Program

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard from Dave Smetter of Wells' Enterprises during this morning's supervisor meeting. Smetter informed the supervisors of Wells decision to conclude a tax credit program that was created to help the local dairy industry establish jobs when the corporate offices was built.  Smetter informed the supervisors that the Iowa Department of Economic Development approved a program allowing Wells to secure up to $4.4 million dollars to help attract 126 potential jobs.  Wells used about $983 thousand of the tax credit money to create and retain 52 jobs.
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Smetter says at the time the tax credit agreement was created it was for a ten year duration.  The Wells official says with today's business climate sometimes requires fast action, and a ten-year agreement is not always viable.
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Smetter says the 52 jobs that were created under the program are good paying jobs.
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Supervisors Approve Bo Deans Request

(Le Mars) -- In other action by the county board of supervisors, they gave their approval and support in the form of a resolution to the Rock Island Clean Line Electric Transmission Project.  That project would involve the installation of wind power electrical generation farms within northwest Iowa, although none are to be placed within Plymouth County.  The supervisors unanimously approved a request from Bo Deans for their request for tax credits through the Iowa Department of Economic Development Authority.  Bo Deans hopes to utilize the tax credits to expand its facilities and create eleven full-time additional jobs. 

Le Mars Fire Department Issues December Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has issued its monthly report for December.  All told, the city fire department responded to 26 calls for December, 11 of which were fire calls, one rescue, nine investigations including vehicle accident clean us, odor investigations, and illegal burning, one mutual aid call with Hinton's Fire Department, and four requests for services.  Fire chief Dave Schipper noted on his monthly report that the fire department responded to two calls nearly simultaneously on Christmas morning, and 25 of the 30 member crew left their families on Christmas morning to assist with the fire calls.  Schipper is quoted as saying "he is very proud of the members of the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department."

 

Corn Milling Accident

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Officials say one worker has been fatally injured and one hurt in an accident at a corn wet mill in Cedar Rapids.
A statement from Archer Daniels Midland Co. says the two were found unconscious at the mill around 7 a.m. Wednesday. One of the workers died at Mercy Medical Center. The other worker was being treated at another hospital.
Their names and other details about the accident have not been released. ADM says the company has contacted the workers' families.
The accident cause is being investigated.

 

Tax Credits Extended For Wind and Ethanol

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The bill Congress approved Tuesday night providing tax relief for most taxpayers also helps wind energy and ethanol producers by extending tax credits designed to encourage continued development.
States like Texas, the nation's leading wind energy producer, and Iowa, the leading ethanol maker, should benefit from the incentives. Many of the credits had expired in 2012.
The bill extends to the end of the year a production tax credit for wind energy on any facility under construction before the end of 2013.
The bill also extends a $1.01-per-gallon tax credit for cellulosic ethanol made from corn plants, grasses, algae, and sources other than corn kernels. The bill allows ethanol makers to
depreciate equipment for new plants placed in service in 2013 and extends biodiesel production tax incentives for two years.

 

Biodiesel Production On The Rise

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - A group that monitors the biodiesel industry in Iowa says a record has been set for production.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says the state's biodiesel plants produced 184 million gallons in 2012. That's up from the previous 2011 record of 169 million gallons.
IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw says he expects more production in the new year after Congress reinstated the biodiesel tax incentive that had expired. He says that will be beneficial for
jobs, the environment and energy security.
The group, which represents the state's liquid renewable fuels industry, says soybean oil accounted for more than 70 percent of production. Animal fats came in second at 18 percent. Canola oil,
inedible corn oil, and used cooking oil made up the remaining 10 percent.


Public Hearing Set For New Voting Rules

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to allow the public to weigh in on a new rule that establishes procedures for removing voters from registration rolls if they
cannot prove citizenship.
The rule proposed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and other civil rights groups.
They say the rule intimidates voters and claim Schultz doesn't have the authority to pass such a rule without legislative approval.
The rule was first proposed on an emergency basis before the November election but was temporarily halted by a judge after the ACLU filed a lawsuit to block it.
The judge hasn't yet issued a final ruling but Schultz now is moving forward with a permanent rule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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