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Monday News, February 25

Disabled Train Blocks City Streets

(Le Mars) -- An Union Pacific Train became disabled blocking many of the intersections in Le Mars on Sunday.  It was several hours before u-P officials was able to get the train operative.  The train stretched across town blocking every street intersection from 1st Street NE to nearly 12th Street SW near Business Hwy 75 and Hy Vee.


School Board To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening.  The board will gather at 5:00 p.m. at the Education Service Center which is an earlier time than normal. The local school board will hear a report from Middle School Principal Steve Shanks, as well as middle school teaching staff discuss the Character Education Program.  Building principals will share the mid-year progress reports with the board.  Following the regular meeting the board will meet in closed session to conduct a negotiation strategy session.


Soderberg Doubts An Educational Bill Can Be Passed Before March 1st

(Le Mars) -- This past week the Iowa Legislature worked on educational bills, with the Iowa House passing a two percent allowable growth rate for school financing and the State Senate earlier passed a four percent allowable growth rate.   State representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars says its hard to determine where the two chambers will compromise on education funding.
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The legislature is supposed to release the numbers to the school districts before March 1st.
Soderberg doubts if the bill in the final form can be passed within this week.
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Legislature Looks At Raising Fuel Tax

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Education spending and property tax cuts have been the focus so far in Iowa's legislative session, but some people think another change that could emerge this year is an
increase in the fuel tax.
Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon including all fees.  It hasn't been raised since 1989.
Lawmakers have for years proposed raising the tax, and a commission appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011 recommended an increase of 8 to 10 cents to boost funding for the state's
network of bridges and roads.
An effort to raise the tax by 10 cents failed in the Legislature last year. But House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Joshua Byrnes says he thinks similar legislation would have a stronger
chance this session because it isn't an election year.


Des Moines Boy Accidentally Shoots Friend

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say an Iowa boy accidentally shot his friend in the shoulder while they were playing with a handgun.
Des Moines police say both the boys are 13-years-old. The boy who was hurt, Alec Osborn, was conscious when officers arrived and was initially listed in fair condition.
The boys were at the home of another boy's family friend in south Des Moines on Saturday. Police say the boy who shot Osborn didn't think the .22-caliber revolver was loaded when he pulled the
Police seized eight guns from the home where the incident happened. Prosecutors are considering filing child endangerment charges against the gun owner, who gave the boys access to several
The gun owner, 65-year-old Dennis Yohe, declined to comment on the incident.


Missing Girl Now Found

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say a 12-year-old Des Moines girl who went missing after her mother drove her to school earlier this month has been found safe.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) that 18-year-old Sergio Lopez faces two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and is jailed without bond in Polk County. He's also charged
with violating a no-contact order involving the girl.
Lopez was wanted for failing to appear in court on one of the sexual abuse charges.
The girl went missing after her mother drove her to school Feb. 8. She was found Sunday and Lopez was arrested Sunday night.
Police had said in announcing the girl's disappearance that they believed she was with Lopez.


Attorney Disbarred Due To Gambling Addiction

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A Cedar Rapids attorney with a gambling problem has been disbarred.
Documents filed last week with the Iowa Supreme Court say Susan Hense had taken $800,000 from client accounts for her "gambling addiction."
Hense had been in practice since September 1996. She admitted to the misconduct and didn't fight disbarment. Hense says in an affidavit that she regretted "beyond my ability to describe, my
theft of funds belonging to my clients."
Hense admitted to her gambling problem and said she hadn't gambled since entering treatment in October.
No criminal charges have been filed against Hense so far.


International Custody Battle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A hearing is planned for Monday in federal court in Des Moines in a child custody case involving a Swedish man who claims his ex-wife illegally moved with their
daughter to Iowa.
A judge has ordered Raina Anderung to appear with her 3-year-old daughter Monday morning. Anderung must hand over the girl's passport and she cannot remove the child from the Southern District of Iowa or she'll be arrested.
A complaint filed February 14th alleges Anderung, who lives in Pleasantville, traveled to Iowa last May for a 90-day visit and refuses to return to Sweden.
The girl's father, Magnus Anderung, claims she is violating a 1980 international agreement known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
She claims they agreed on the move.


11 Year Old Raises Money For Charity Through Bake Sale

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - An 11-year-old northern Iowa boy organized a bake sale and raffle so a sick friend gets a chance to live a long life, too.
Tyler Arndt raised nearly $2,300 from the bake sale Saturday at a Mason City grocery store. The money will go to a foundation started by the family of Hayden Despenas. The foundation supports
research into a cure for Friedreich's ataxia. Hayden has been diagnosed with the degenerative neuromuscular ailment, which can be fatal.
Tyler made posters advertising the bake sale and also hit his goal of selling $1,000 in raffle tickets for a donated painting.
Tyler told the Mason City Globe Gazette that he thinks Hayden might not live as long as other people, "so I want to raise money so we can help him."




Saturday News, February 23

American Bank Promotes Personnel

(Le Mars) -- American Bank, N.A., of Le Mars and Remsen, Iowa is pleased to announce several changes in personnel at the Le Mars location.

Lisa Puetz has been promoted to Cashier.  Lisa has been with American Bank for the last 15 years, most recently serving as Assistant Cashier.  Lisa will continue to serve as the Bank Security Officer while also assuming general ledger balancing and overall operations responsibilities.

Shelly Sitzmann has been promoted to Senior Operations Officer.  Shelly has been with American Bank for the last 13 years, most recently serving as Electronic Banking Administrator.  Shelly's added responsibilities will include managing the day to day deposit operations.

Val Pratt has accepted the position of Consumer Loan Assistant.  Val joined American Bank in 2008 as a Customer Loan Assistant.  Val joined American Bank in 2008 as a Customer Service Representative and also served in the New Accounts and Electronic/ACH departments.

Diane Wise has joined American Bank as a Customer Service Representative.  Diane and her husband recently moved to Le Mars from Red Oak, Iowa.  She has over 22 years in the banking and customer service fields.

Kelley Pick has accepted the part-time position as Marketing Coordinator for American Bank.  Kelley has been with American Bank for 18 years in full-time positions working in the area of bank operations, 12 years as First Vice President and Cashier.

Vendors Wanted For Antique Market Show

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 3rd annual Spring Fever Antique Show and Flea Market on Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th.  Vendor booths are now being accepted for the event which is located on both floors of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Currently over two-thirds of the booths are filled.  Booth size is 10 feet by 12 feet.  Cost per booth is $60.00.  Table rental is additional.  To request a contract, contact the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce at (712) 546-8821.

Economic Development Agency To Assist Northwest Iowa Businesses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state will help two Northwest Iowa manufacturers expand their operations and add jobs.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority board on Friday awarded tax benefits to Polaris
Industries, which plans a $3.6 million project in Milford that is expected to create 40 jobs.
Polaris has been building electric vehicles in Milford.
The Economic Development Authority board also awarded $100,000 in direct aid and tax benefits to American Natural Processors in Galva. The company, which processes oilseed and grain, plans a $2.4
million project expected to create 10 jobs.


Footprints in Snow Help Authorities Catch Suspects

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in northeast Iowa have used snow from a major storm to catch two men who initially eluded a car chase.
Waterloo police arrested Richard Sturdivant and Quon Lewis Cooper Thursday night after tracking the pair's footprints in the snow.
The men initially led police on a pursuit following an attempted traffic stop. Police stopped the car chase because of poor driving conditions from the storm.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports officers found the pair's car in a ditch a short time later. They followed footprints in the snow and arrested the men after searching the area.
Courts records show Sturdivant's charges include eluding police and possession of marijuana. He remains in jail. Cooper was charged with interference and has been released.
Records do not list attorneys for them.

Des Moines To Select New School Superintendent

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nearly 50 people have applied for a position to lead Iowa's largest public school district.
Des Moines School Board President Dick Murphy says a search firm helped the district cut the list of applicants for superintendent to 14 people.
The board then narrowed the list to six finalists during a meeting Thursday. Additional interviews
will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The board will announce two or three finalists to the public after the interviews. Additional interviews will then be televised in early March. The board plans to announce a new superintendent by
the middle of March.
The new leader will replace Nancy Sebring, who abruptly stepped down from the job in May.

State Accepting Bids For New Law Enforcement Radios

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials are starting from scratch with the bidding process for a new law enforcement radio system, after nearly two years of questions and complaints from
vendors and lawmakers over how the contracts have been handled.
In an email statement Friday, the Iowa Department of Administrative Services said the agency would issue a new request for proposals for the purchase of radio equipment. The agency said
it had consulted with the attorney general's office and were committed to a process that was fair to vendors.
Some vendors have complained the state is trying to set up the bidding process to favor Motorola products and make it impossible for other companies to be chosen. A group of state senators
recently called for an investigation into the situation.


State Supreme Court Reverses Decision

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a man charged in 2010 in Des Moines with driving under the influence of a drug saying there was not sufficient evidence for a jury to convict him.
The court says in a ruling Friday that since the man, Jeffrey Schories, had a prescription for methadone prosecutors had to prove that he was not using the drug in accordance with his doctor's
Since that didn't occur at his trial, a majority of justices dismissed the case against him.
However, three justices disagreed saying the court shouldn't override the jury's verdict.
In a dissenting opinion Justice Thomas Waterman says the court's ruling means expert testimony will be required in more cases involving charges of driving under the influence of drugs.


Rusty Wallace To Be Honored

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad will make famed NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace an "honorary Iowan" during a ceremony at the state Capitol.
Branstad is set to give a proclamation to Wallace on Wednesday afternoon. He will honor Wallace's contribution to racecar driving and his role in developing the Iowa Speedway.
Wallace has had 55 NASCAR Cup wins and won the 1989 championship. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this month. Since retiring in 2005 he has worked to promote NASCAR
and been an analyst on ESPN.
Wallace is a designer and part-owner of the Iowa Speedway, which opened in 2006 in Newton.






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