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Wednesday News, May 15

Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees Schedule Public Hearing For Loading Dock Relocation

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees voted last evening to hold a public hearing on what might be referred to as phase one of the projected expansion addition.  The Trustees will hold a public hearing regarding the loading dock relocation project scheduled for May 29th.  The hospital will first approach the Le Mars city council on May 21st during the city council's next regularly scheduled meeting to ask for the permission.  Hospital administrator, Mike Donlin says the loading dock needs to be relocated in order for the addition project to move forward.  Hospital officials informed the trustees last night that they are one step closer in securing a rural development loan from the U-S Department of Agriculture for the financing of the expansion addition.


Le Mars Community School Hires Associate High School Principal

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Board of Education approved the hiring of a new Associate High School Principal position.  Neal Utesch will assume the position starting with next school year.  Utesch is originally from the Akron area and attended the Akron-Westfield school district.  Upon completing his Bachelor's Degree, he has taught at the Sargent Bluff school district and most recently served as an elementary principal at the OA-BCIG school district at Ida Grove.  Utesch will have a yearly salary of $75,000.

 

Iowa Farmers Trying To Catch Up On Planting

(Le Mars) -- Today is May 15th, a day usually thought of as the cut-off date when corn planted after today will see some yield loss.  Iowa State University extension crops specialist Joel DeJong says although long term records usually show reduced yields, it is not always the case.
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DeJong says soil temps have risen this week making for ideal planting conditions.
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There were a handful of farmers who had the opportunity to plant some corn early, but DeJong says he has not seen any emergence of the early planted corn.
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The latest crop planting report shows Iowa farmers have planted about 12 percent of the state's corn crop.


Lawmakers Reach Compromise On Budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have reached a compromise on the first budget of the legislative session.
A joint committee of lawmakers from both parties and chambers settled Tuesday on spending $41 million for economic development.
It funds the Department of Cultural Affairs, Iowa Workforce Development, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Finance Authority and the Public Employment Relations Board.
The budget is $31 million under what Republican Gov. Terry Branstad proposed. That's because leadership has decided to move some budget items into a different fund paid by gaming revenue.
Those items include a jobs program which provides tax incentives for businesses, and economic development programs for the regent universities.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says leadership saw gaming revenue as a stable funding source for these programs.


Some Domestic Abuse Shelters May Close Due To Budget Cuts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Small domestic abuse shelters throughout Iowa are scrambling to remain open amid changes by state officials that will mean a loss of funding.
The state attorney general's office notified 12 shelters last week that they no longer will receive state money. It's part of an effort to more effectively spend the dwindling funding that's available.
The state will devote the money to eight larger shelters, which can deliver more extensive services to victims.
Janelle Melohn, of the attorney general's office, says the changes are needed to more effectively help victims at a time when federal funding passed through the state government has repeatedly
dropped.
At shelters like the Dubuque Community Y Domestic Violence Program, director Charla Bulko says the organization will try to raise the money needed to remain open.

 

New State Auditor Accused Of Ethics Violations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Democratic Party is accusing the newly appointed Republican state auditor of ethical violations.
Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price on Tuesday sent a letter to the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board. He says State Auditor Mary Mosiman - who was appointed Monday - misused campaign funds.
Price provides records showing Mosiman used campaign dollars to pay for training sessions and travel in 2012. That was after she resigned her elected position as Story County auditor in 2011 and
went to work for the secretary of state. Price says Mosiman was using those funds for personal reasons, in violation of state law.
In a statement, Mosiman says she believes the expenditures were legal. She pledges to work with the ethics board and to accept any decisions.


Three Year Old Drowns

GRAND JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) - A 3-year-old Iowa boy who'd been enjoying a warm spring day at a lake with his mom and siblings has drowned.
Greene County authorities say Ransom Cummings was pulled from 5-foot-deep water just six feet from a dock at Spring Lake on Tuesday afternoon. Ransom had wandered away from his mom and two
siblings on the beach at the Greene County lake.
Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert says 911 was called about 1:15 p.m., and deputies, firefighters and medics were dispatched to Spring Lake State Park to join the search for the boy.
Haupert says Ransom had been missing for at least 40 minutes when a firefighter spotted the reflection from the boy's sunglasses on the lake bed.
The boy was pronounced dead at Greene County Hospital in Jefferson.

 

DNR Issues Warning

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are warning spring paddlers to be wary of cold water and debris piled on by full streams.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the water may still be ice cold despite the warm temperatures. They encourage paddlers to have a wetsuit and a change of dry clothes until the
water truly warms up.
Recent rains have also caused streams near bank full. Water is flowing fast, and high water has collected debris like trees and limbs. They've been deposited at the base of bridge pilings and the
outside of tight bends in the river.
Officials say good boat control skills and navigation is important to remaining safe while paddling.

 



   

Tuesday Afternoon News, May 14

State Economic Development Director Says She Will Make Travel Expenses More Transparent

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's Economic Development Authority director says her substantial travel spending is necessary to promote Iowa.
Debi Durham said during a meeting with the Sioux City Journal editorial board on Monday that the spending will be going up as she and her staff sell the state across the world.
Durham came under fire last month after Des Moines television station WHO reported she spent more than $73,000 on travel in the 2012 fiscal year. Gov. Terry Branstad soon came to her defense,
saying Durham "works day and night for the taxpayers of Iowa."
Durham said Monday that her department has made changes so it can provide better explanations of travel expenditures.

 

Domestic Abuse Centers Try To Stay Open

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Small domestic abuse shelters throughout Iowa are scrambling to remain open amid changes by state officials that will mean a loss of funding.
The state attorney general's office notified 12 shelters last week that they no longer will receive state money. It's part of an effort to more effectively spend the dwindling funding that's available.
The state will devote the money to eight larger shelters, which can deliver more extensive services to victims.
Janelle Melohn, of the attorney general's office, says the changes are needed to more effectively help victims at a time when federal funding passed through the state government has repeatedly
dropped.
At shelters like the Dubuque Community Y Domestic Violence Program, director Charla Bulko says the organization will try to raise the money needed to remain open.


Four Public Hearings Scheduled For Health Care Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Human Services will hold four public hearings on the governor's proposed health care plan in cities across the state in June.
The department has scheduled hearings on Gov. Terry Branstad's Healthy Iowa plan in Des Moines, Sioux City and Davenport on June 3 and in Cedar Rapids on June 4. The public can also submit comments to the department about the plan until June 17.
Branstad's plan is a revamped version of IowaCare, a program for low-income residents that is set to end on Oct. 31. Healthy Iowa would provide coverage to an estimated 95,000 residents with
incomes up to the poverty line.
Branstad opposes the Senate Democrats' plan for expanding Medicaid, as allowed under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, saying the cost isn't sustainable.

 

Legislature Working On Final Details Of Budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers say they have an agreement on an overall budget figure, a signal that the end of the legislative session may not be far behind.
Legislative leaders say Tuesday that they have a deal to set the state general fund budget at just under $6.5 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Senate and House leaders say votes could
start on individual budget bills as early as Wednesday.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen both say they are moving forward on two key issues of the session - education policy and property tax
reductions. But they say there has been less progress on whether to expand Medicaid or approve an alternate low-income health plan.

 

Iowa Ties Record For Longest Time Between Tornadoes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is about to tie a state record for the longest stretch without a reported tornado.
The National Weather Service says at the end of Tuesday, it will be 355 days since a tornado touched down in the state. That's a state record set between May 5, 1955, and April 26, 1956. The
record would be broken at the end of Wednesday.
The last recorded tornado in Iowa was on May 24, 2012, in Fayette County.
Officials say severe weather in the state appears minimal through Wednesday. There could be thunderstorms in northern Iowa late Tuesday.
Officials say the streak is impressive because of the comprehensiveness of today's digital technology and spotter networks. There was a greater likelihood in the 1950s for a tornado to occur without being reported.

 

Iowa To Receive STEM Grant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has received a $1.2 million federal grant for a project related to science, technology, engineering and math education.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced the funding from the National Science Foundation Tuesday in a press release. The study of these four subjects collectively is known as STEM.
The money will be provided over three years and will help develop a statewide system for evaluating STEM education in Iowa.  The funding goes to an advisory council that works on advancing
STEM education. Branstad established the council in 2011.
In the release, Branstad calls Iowa a "pioneering state in advancing these important life and career skills."

 

 

 

 

   

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