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Water Meeting Draws Concern From Residents

(LeMars) -- Nearly thirty people attended last night's meeting hosted by the city water committee to discuss the city's proposal to upgrade and change water meters.  City administrator Scott Langel and Water Superintendent Gayle Sitzmann briefed the gathering of the city's plan to do away with private water meters.  The city offered a proposal for residents that use an irrigation system that if they would want a second water meter that the resident would make a monthly payment of $11.20 per meter.  The city residents showed concern for the proposed plan and many indicated they would rather pay for the cost of the water meter up front instead of being charged a fee on a monthly basis.  Roberta Kass seemed to speak the opinion of many residents who thought the proposal was unfair to those with an irrigation system.
 

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Others, like Bob Schroeder wondered if this was the right time to exchange all the meters in the city, noting the down economy.  Schroeder also believes the meeting was simply a formality.  His impression is the city council has already made up its mind and the public meeting won't accomplish anyting.
 

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City Councilman Ken Nelson attended the meeting.  He also sits on the city water committee.  Nelson says the water committee has spent perhaps more than 30 hours studying the various scenerios and proposals.  As for the question about is this the appropriate time to make such an investment, Nelson says the topic was discussed ten years ago, but it was tabled. 

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December 6th is the day the city council will hear the second reading for the proposal, and December 20 will be the third and final reading.

 

(LeMars) -- The LeMars Fire Department responded to an alarm at the EconoLodge Motel last night at about 8:30 p.m.   Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke in the lower level hallway.  The fire alarm for the building was sounding and each of the rooms had been evacuated.  Firefighters located the smoke coming from a dryer in the guest laundry room.  The dryer vent was plugged causing the dryer to overheat and the smoke spread from the room into the corridor setting off the building's fire alarm system.  Firefighters were able to vent the smoke from the hallway, reset the fire alarm and allowed the guest back into the motel.  The dryer was unplugged and rendered safe by firefighters.  The LeMars Fire Rescue Department was assisted at the scene by the LeMars Police Department and the LeMars Ambulance crew.  There were no injuries and damage was minimal only affecting the dryer.  Firefighters were on the scene for only a half an hour.

 

(LeMars) -- LeMars Mayor Dick Kirchoff was the guest speaker at the LeMars Optimist club meeting.  Kirchoff attended the meeting to accept the last payment the Optimist Club had committed for the Community Betterment project.  The Optimist had made a financial pledge of $25,000 to be paid over the course of ten years.  Kirchoff told the civic organization how the community was able to raise more than three million dollars, then the city was able to qualify for matching grants which led to a community investment of nearly eight million dollars.  The community betterment project helped finance several facilities.  Kirchoff says through the funding, LeMars is able to offer a better quality of life.

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Kirchoff displayed a plaque recognizing LeMars' efforts as an all-star community.  He says he is extremely proud of LeMars for taking the vision of tomorrow and making it happen today. He says of all the pledges, the city has been able to collect on nearly 98 percent.
 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The threat of a costly national railroad strike during the busy holiday season has been averted after the freight rail industry settled labor disputes with two of its unions and agreed to extend talks with a third.  Without the agreements, the railway unions could have begun striking as early as Tuesday, when a federal "cooling off" period was set to expire. Retailers warned that a rail strike would cost businesses and consumers $2 billion a day and prove especially damaging during the most important shipping season of the year.  Railroad representatives said its negotiators would try to reach an agreement with the final union before Feb. 8.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department is proposing new rules for child farm workers that would keep many from driving tractors, using big equipment and working with livestock.  Labor officials say the rules are needed because farming is one of the nation's most dangerous occupations. The National Safety Council says nearly 29 out of every 100,000 farm workers die on the job.

But farmers say the proposed rules could keep kids from learning about the hard work and responsibility necessary to work on a farm.  And, they say, if young people can't get jobs on farms, fewer will develop an interest in agriculture careers.  Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling says he knows there are dangers in agriculture, but there are also many important lessons young people can learn.

 

   

Harkin Wants Unemployment Benefits Extended

(Washington) -- While some in Congress say cutting the deficit should be the top priority, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says there's no task more "urgent" now than extending unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless.

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Harkin says the nation's unemployment rate is holding around nine-percent with around 14-million people jobless, though he says that figure may be closer to 28-million. He says this is our country's worst bout of unemployment since the Great Depression with four job seekers for every available job.

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Harkin, a Democrat, says Republicans are "out of touch" when they say unemployment benefits destroy the incentive to look for work. He says extending the jobless benefits would be an act of "human compassion."

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(Des Moines) -- Expected levels of sales, capital spending, and employment for Iowa's largest employers all edged higher as business leaders' optimism improved for the coming six months.  The Iowa Business Council's Fourth Quarter Economic Outlook Survey Index rose to 62 - nearly five points higher than the survey conducted in the third quarter.  The fourth quarter survey was two points higher than last quarter, but two points lower than one year ago.  Nearly ninety percent of the CEOs expect steady or increased sales over the next six months.  Eleven percent of survey respondents expect sales sales levels to be lower or substanially lower.

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An analysis of new census data shows Iowa is fifth in the nation for residents 65 or older.
    Nearly 15 percent of Iowa's 3 million residents are 65 or older. The oldest state is Florida, with 17.3 percent of its residents 65 or older, followed by West Virginia, Maine and Pennsylvania.
     The analysis of the data released Wednesday says Iowa is among the top three states in percentage of residents 85 and older.
     Families, employers, health care and other institutions have been faced with adjustments as the baby boomers born after the end of World War II age.
     The Census Bureau says the 65-and-older segment grew more than 15 percent over the past decade and now makes up 13 percent of the nation's population.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics says a new cancer clinic that opens next week will provide more space for patients and researchers.
     The $12 million clinic will occupy two floors at the Pomerantz Family Pavilion and house cancer care teams that focus on several types such as breast and prostate.
     Hospital officials say the new clinic will provide for more exam rooms and patient suites. They say the clinic will have patient-friendly features such as loveseats in the waiting areas, open walls that allow chemotherapy patients to talk to each other and headsets to let patients watch television.
     The clinic will also bring together cancer center researchers who work on clinical trials, allowing them to better coordinate their activities.




   

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