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Wednesday Afternoon News, September 25

Le Mars Community School Board Establishes District Goals

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education established its annual goals for the school district for the 2013-2014 school year.  The first goal is to decrease the percent of students in the non-proficient category, as measured by the Iowa Assessments National Percentile Rank in reading, math and science by ten percent in each of the grade spans of 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11 by June 1, 2014.  The second goal is to monitor the implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum in the Le Mars Community School District, and the third goal established by the Le Mars Community School Board, is to evaluate the current level of integration of technology in the district and develop a plan to identify future needs that will lead to improved student achievement.

 

Hawarden Man Arrested For Auto Theft

(Orange City) -- A Hawarden man has been arrested for burglary and theft.  Sioux County authorities arrested 19 year old Matthew Zinnel for two counts of third degree burglary, second degree theft, third degree theft, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  On Tuesday, Sioux County sheriff's office received a report from Sioux Center that a Dodge Durango had been stolen from a residence sometime during the overnight hours.  Upon investigation, sheriff's deputies discovered the Durango parked at the intersection of Coolidge Avenue and 370th Street, 12 miles northwest of Sioux
Center.  The sheriff’s office K9 unit was able to track the suspect to his residence at 3721 Coolidge Avenue, 11 miles northeast of Hawarden. While investigating the stolen vehicle deputies were able to link Zinnel to other thefts in the area.  He was found in possession of a 2012 Honda Recon ATV that had been reported stolen earlier this month from a Sioux County resident and cash, also believed to be stolen.

 

Harvest About To Begin

(Le Mars) -- Most farmers in Plymouth County and surrounding areas are only days away from starting this year's fall harvest.  Joel DeJong, Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist for northwest Iowa says, in general, the crops are in good shape.  DeJong says farmers may not see any record yields due to the delayed planting and lack of sufficient rainfall, but still, expectations call for a good harvest.

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DeJong breaks it down even more by saying the soybean harvest may start by the end of this week, and from what he has seen in area fields, soybean production has a good stand with several filled pods.

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As for corn, the agronomist says additional drying days are needed, but never-the-less area corn crops are looking good.

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DeJong suggests farmers to study their corn hybrid varieties to determine which should be harvested with priority. 

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DeJong also cautions motorists, as the fall harvest begins, to be aware of the large slower moving farm equipment on the roadways, and for farmers to check their equipment, including all lights, before starting with harvest.

 

Clear Lake Students Study Lake

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Students in Clear Lake got wet as part of an effort to learn about fish and water quality.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/14Ht7vl ) the Clear Lake Middle School students waded into the lake Monday as part of an oceanography class.
Biologist Scott Grummer, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, helped students pull a net through the lake near the shoreline, collecting small fish living along the beach.
Teacher Valerie Southgate had divided her class into three groups to study the fish, lake ecology and water quality.
It didn't take 13-year-old Jacob Luedtke long to find two fish. Jacob has long been interested in marine life and when he heard about the elective class, he says, "I thought, yeah it's going to be awesome."
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Arbitrator Orders State To Reimburse State Employee Meals

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is in the process of reimbursing public employees for meals dating back to 2011 after an arbitrator ruled that Gov. Terry Branstad's administration improperly slashed the travel allowances.
The measure by the Department of Administrative Services cut out most reimbursements for employee meals in 2011, a change that saved $900,000 in expenses in one year.
But unions filed grievances, claiming the cut was illegal under their contracts since it took away a benefit without negotiation.
Arbitrator Ellen Alexander agreed in January, ordering the state to rescind the cut and pay back employees for meals that should have been covered since Aug. 15, 2011.
DAS spokesman Caleb Hunter says reimbursements costing $134,000 have gone to 549 employees so far, and more are likely on the way.

 

Iowa GOP Leadership Asked To Resign

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state's largest county Republican organization is calling on the top two officials at the Iowa GOP to resign.
The Des Moines Register reports Wednesday that the Polk County GOP voted Tuesday night in favor of a resolution asking Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker and Co-Chairman David Fischer to resign. The resolution was approved by a 33 to 29 vote.
The resolution states that the Polk GOP has no faith in the party leadership. It criticizes the party for conflicts over scheduling the 2014 state convention and caucuses.
The Appanoose County GOP approved a similar resolution last week.

 


Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty To Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Marshalltown insurance agent accused of selling customers fake insurance policies has pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.
In exchange for the guilty plea four other charges will be dropped against William Arthur Thiede.
An indictment filed in federal court in Des Moines in July says Thiede sold fake insurance policies to customers and pocketed more than $167,000 between 2004 and 2010.
Court documents say American Family Insurance either gave customers their money back or honored the insurance policies.
Thiede, who is 65 and the former president of the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, admitted to the charge in a plea agreement. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
On Tuesday a federal judge accepted the plea agreement.


Rockwell Collins Gets Government Radio Contract

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Cedar Rapids-based military contractor Rockwell Collins has been awarded a three-year government contract to develop a smaller, lighter, lower cost radio transmitter for military use.
The contract, valued at up to $3.1 million, is authorized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Current radios filter out unwanted radio signals but they are larger, more expensive and use more power. The new transmitter under development by Rockwell Collins prevents unwanted signals from interfering in the first place. The company says it has the technology to build a circuit that is very small, yet still provides high power and broadband operation.
Rockwell Collins specializes in communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications.
The company employs 19,000 workers in 27 countries.


 

 

   

Wednesday News, September 25

Mike Wells Honored At Siouxland Chamber Banquet

(Sioux City) -- Wells' Enterprises CEO, Mike Wells was honored last evening during the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce annual banquet, held at the Sioux City Convention Center. 
Wells was presented the W. Edwards Deming Entrepreneurial Award.  Mike Wells is the third generation of his family to head the Wells Enterprises Company, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream and other frozen novelties.  Chamber Executive Director Chris McGowan presented the award.  McGowan says "Mike Wells is both a successful executive and a respected leader who understands and epitomizes the importance of both personal and professional integrity.  Founded in 1913, Wells Enterprises is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

 

LEEP Prepares For MenuMasters Event

(Le Mars) -- Saturday evening will be the second annual MenuMasters event as hosted by the Le Mars Educational Enhancement Project.  The first time around proved to be successful and LEEP president Gail Vonk says the second year should be even bigger and  better.

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Last year nearly 600 people attended the culinary event, and Vonk believes more people will attend this year's program.  LEEP's mission is to help raise money for the Le Mars Community School District.  She says the organization started in 2009 with the idea to help programs that are not necessarily covered with the budget.

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Vonk says the organization was able to raise more than $26,000 last year and has contributed more than $24,000 back to the school.


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Vonk says MenuMasters evolved from observing a fund raiser held in Rock Valley.

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Limited number of tickets are still available at Le Mars banks.  MenuMasters will be held at the Century Hall located at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds. It will begin at 5:00 p.m. with food samples available through 8:00 p.m.  Afterwards, the band BLT will perform until 11:30 p.m.


Iowa Schools Fall Behind "No Child Left Behind" Proficiency Standards

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A progress report issued as part of the federal No Child Left Behind law shows that more than half of Iowa's schools did not meet educational targets during the latest school year.
But State Education Department Director Brad Buck says Tuesday the results show the federal program is a poor fit for states and needs to be revised.
Buck says the current system is a one-size-fits-all effort that doesn't acknowledge different needs in different schools. He also says schools making progress with disadvantaged students are not rewarded.
During the 2012-2013 school year, 64 percent of the state's 1,361 public schools did not meet standards for test participation and proficiency in reading and mathematics.
The federal law requires annual testing to show proficiency in reading and mathematics.

 

Sioux City Veteran Ordered To Prison

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A military veteran awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges has been ordered to turn himself into federal custody.
U.S. Senior Judge Donald O'Brien ordered Scott Krantz to surrender Wednesday morning in Sioux City. Krantz had pleaded guilty in July to transporting and possessing child pornography.
O'Brien ruled then that Krantz could be free on bond pending sentencing, which is set for Oct. 8. He said Krantz deserved consideration given that he had served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and was working as a nurse.
But prosecutors appealed the release order, and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Monday that he should be detained. The court says Krantz's service was laudable, but it "does not constitute an exceptional reason" why he shouldn't be in custody now.

 

Branstad Hosts Several Prominent Republicans At Fundraiser

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad hosted top Republican elected officials at a political fundraiser in Washington.
The Tuesday night event was held at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill.
Guests were to include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
Branstad hasn't announced his political plans, but he's widely expected to seek a sixth term as governor in 2014.
Many of the invited guests are considered possible 2016 Republican presidential contenders who are well aware of Iowa's prominence as an early voting state.


Wells Fargo To Lay Off Employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wells Fargo & Co. officials say they are laying off 263 workers at a credit card call center in West Des Moines.
The layoffs are part of a larger corporate move to consolidate the company's call centers.
Employees were notified of the cuts Tuesday and given a 60-day notice.
The company said in July it was eliminating 58 jobs in its home mortgage unit and last month an additional 85 workers were given layoff notices in the Des Moines area.
The company said then that the layoffs reflected the cyclical nature of the home loan business, which has seen interest rates creeping higher slowing the pace of mortgage refinancing.

 

Correction Officials Expect To Picket Calling For More Staffers

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The union that represents correctional officers at Iowa prisons is planning an informational picket to raise awareness about what it calls dangerously low staffing levels.
AFSCME Iowa Council 61 says the picket will be held Friday morning outside the Iowa
Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.
Union leaders are expected to argue that the prison and others across Iowa need
more employees to improve the safety of staff, the public and the inmates.
Gov. Terry Branstad's administration has repeatedly pushed back against claims of a staffing shortage, arguing that dropping prison populations mean less staff is necessary.

 

Iowa State University To Offer Teaching Position For Corn Genetics Research

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A new teaching job at Iowa State University will focus on corn genetics research.
The university says an endowed faculty position in genetics will be established at its agronomy department. Patrick Schnable, a current ISU professor, will hold the inaugural position.
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board, which is helping to fund the endowment, is also investing in a new public-private collaboration that develops genomic information.
Schnable is an agronomy professor and director of ISU's Center for Plant Genomics. He is credited with leading wide-ranging research into the corn genome.


Nine Iowa Organizations To Receive Agriculture Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nine Iowa organizations focused on growing specialty crops will receive government grants totaling more than $250,000.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides the funding to allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says in a statement Tuesday agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and producer groups could to apply for funding.
Iowa State University received money to develop and improve the production of organic apples.
Other recipients include Iowa City Parks and Recreation to fund a perennial specialty crops demonstration site and classes, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development to train Iowa Valley Food Co-op producers to become wholesale marketers, and Practical Farmers of Iowa to educate specialty crop producers about pesticide drift and prevention.


Wetlands Restoration Projects To Receive One Million Dollars

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two wetlands restoration projects in Iowa have been awarded $1 million each by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A project in 17 counties in northern and eastern Iowa will protect 3,000 acres of habitat within the floodplains of the Cedar and Wapsinicon rivers.
Farmers will get help shifting agricultural production to areas less likely to be flooded out. The goal is to demonstrate how wetland and grassland restoration can improve flood control and reduce disaster payments.
The second project in 17 counties in north central Iowa and northwest Iowa will include 1,200 acres along the Little Sioux River Valley. It will help restore Iowa's Prairie Pothole region, wetland complexes that were drained and will enhance critical waterfowl migration and breeding habitat on state lands in northwest Iowa.

 

Des Moines Man Arrested After Shaking Three Year Old Boy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 28-year-old Des Moines man has been arrested and is accused of shaking his 3-month-old son.
Police say Robert Taylor was taken into custody on Monday. He remained in Polk County Jail on Wednesday, pending $10,000 bail. He is charged with felony child endangerment. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.
The  baby was struggling to breathe when he was taken to a hospital on Sept. 11. Taylor later told police the child was born prematurely and had been hospitalized several times for breathing problems.
The boy soon developed complications and was flown to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Police say doctors there determined that he had head trauma consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
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