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Tuesday News, September 9

Parent-Teacher Organization Presents Check To School Board For Playground Equipment

(Le Mars) -- At Tuesday evening's Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting, members of the Le Mars Parent-Teacher Organization presented a check for the amount of $65,800 to go towards the payment of the new playground equipment featured at each of the three elementary schools.  Angela Hurd serves as the president of the Le Mars Parent-Teacher organization.

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Also, during the school board meeting, election of officers occured with Scott Kommes retaining the position of President, and Dr. Mark Stelzer being re-elected to the position of vice president.  Lisa Boehm will again serve as the board secretary, and the firm Trotzig and Bauerly was selected to serve as the official legal counsel for the school district.

 

School Board Accepts Bid For New School Buses

(Le Mars) -- In other action during the school board meeting, the school board accepted the bid of $151,100 from Hoglund Incorporated for the purchase of two new 2016 model 60-seat capacity school buses.  The school board had three bids to consider with the other two bids at $154,390 and $152,118. 

 

School Board Sets District's Academic Goals 

(Le Mars) -- The school board also accepted the goals for the district.  In short, the board hopes to see a ten percent decrease in the non-proficiency rate for reading, math, and science.  High School principal Mark Iverson presented to the school board the ACT college entrance exam scores from last year's senior class.  On the composite scores, Le Mars Community fell slightly from the five-year average.  Last year's seniors scored an average of 22.3 which is lower than the 22.7 five-year average.  However, Le Mars Community seniors did better than their colleagues from across the state and the nation.  The state average was at 22.0 and the national average was 21.0.  Iverson reported Le Mars results exceeded national and state results in all areas, with the exception of the state average for reading.

 

County Supervisors Scheduled To Meet

(Le Mars) --  The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning beginning at 9:30 at the County Courthouse Board Room.  The Supervisors have a full agenda before them.  It is expected the county governing board will appoint Joette Hiemstra to serve as Garfield township clerk to replace Byron Blackburn.  The supervisors will also review and approve a debt certification for the county in the Plymouth County Ethanol Urban Renewal Area and approve the state tax increment financing annual urban renewal report.  Plymouth County Treasurer Shelley Sitzmann will offer a report to the supervisors regarding mobile home tax abatement, and the supervisors will hear from John Strawn who is seeking approval of Loess Hills Run Addition in Perry Township.  The supervisors will also hear from County Engineer, Tom Rohe.

 

Real Estate Taxes Now Due

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the first-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. The delinquent date is Wednesday, October 1, 2014.   Mail must be postmarked on or before September 30, 2014 to avoid delinquent interest.   Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on September 30 does not guarantee a September 30 postmark.   Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on October 1, 2014, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter.  There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. 

 

Voter Registration Now Accepted At Auditor's Office

(Le Mars) -- The General Election is November 4, 2014. The Auditor’s Office is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday and on Saturday, October 25th from 8 am until 5pm for residents to
register to vote.
 Registration forms can be obtained in person from the Plymouth County Auditor’s office at 215 4th Ave. SE, Le Mars, from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, or the Voter registration form can be downloaded at www.co.plymouth.ia.us under Online Services and then County Forms and mailed to the Auditor’s office. 
 If you wish to have a voter registration form mailed to you, please contact the Auditor’s Office or if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Plymouth County Auditor’s Office at 712-546-6100.  Stacey Feldman is the Auditor and Commissioner of Election and Cheri Nitzschke is the Election Deputy.

 

Midwest Governors Meet With Japanese Trade Officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governors from five Midwest states joined Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday in meetings with Japanese governors, officials, and company executives for the annual gathering of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.
     The group, founded in 1967, meets yearly to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations of the American Midwest and Japan.
     Governors from Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin planned to give speeches. The Japanese ambassador and the consulate general from Chicago attended the meeting.
     The speakers also included Kikkoman Corp. Honorary CEO Yuzaburo Mogi, who is credited with introducing soy sauce to the United States in 1959. He is the Japanese conference chairman.
     "The theme this year is building a robust and sustainable future," he said. "We hope this meeting will help identify and develop business opportunities for all of us."
     Mogi joined executives from Nippon Airways, Toshiba and Toyota at the conference to discuss continued trade, government and business relationships between the two countries.
     It is the 46th year the organization has met. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, the U.S. conference chairman, said this year's goal is to find new synergies between the states highlighting growth in environmental industries and in the health and wellness sectors as the population of Japan and the U.S. states age.

 

Branstad Appoints McGovern To Worker's Compensation Commission

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday named an interim workers' compensation commissioner after the previous commissioner resigned amid a discrimination lawsuit against the governor.
     Michelle "Miki" McGovern is the acting workers' compensation commissioner effective immediately, Branstad said in a news release. She has served as a workers' compensation deputy commissioner for more than 25 years.
     The announcement comes just over a month after Christopher Godfrey resigned from the job. He sued Branstad and other state officials earlier in the year, claiming he was discriminated against for political reasons and because he's gay.
     Godfrey, who was appointed in 2006 by Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack and in 2009 by Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, was in the midst of a six-year term when he filed the lawsuit. In it, he claimed he was told to resign after Branstad was elected in 2010 or his salary would be cut. His pay went from $112,000 to $73,000, the lowest allowed.
     Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and aides defended the action by painting Godfrey as a poor commissioner who was hurting business. Godfrey said that wasn't true and called the state's workers' compensation climate stable under his watch.
     Godfrey is now chairman and chief judge of the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board in Washington.

 

Ames Parents Show Concern Over Poor School Bus Service

  AMES, Iowa (AP) - Some parents who have been complaining about late school buses or other bad service heard Ames district officials say they're not happy either.
     At Monday's school meeting, parents shared their concerns about buses that never arrive or bus drivers who seem lost and have to ask kids where their stops are. 
     Ames Superintendent Tim Taylor said that in his 23 years, it has been "one of the worst episodes relative to transportation, and it's totally unacceptable."
     School board members grilled executives from the bus service vendor, Durham School Services Co., of Warrenville, Illinois, for answers, said Des Moines television station KCCI (http://bit.ly/1Bpbwql ).
     "I want to apologize," said Durham's chief operating officer, Bob Ramsdell. 
     The company has done a poor job, he said, and it is bringing in more help and supervisors to fix the problems.
     ---

 

Des Moines Man Charged Witih Hate Crime After Dog Bites Man

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines resident was arrested and charged with a hate crime after his dog attacked another man, police say.
     Witnesses told police Sunday night that man later identified as Joshua Stoll and another man had stopped their car on East 41st Street and asked a bystander what he'd said to them as they drove by. The witnesses told police that Stoll then said to his dog, "Sic 'em, Rider," and the dog attacked the 24-year-old brother of the bystander, biting both of his arms.
     The witness said Stoll, who is white, called out racial slurs as his dog attacked the black man. 
     Stoll told police a man threw something at his car, so he and his friend stopped to ask what the man threw. The man called to his friends for help, and then they began assaulting Stoll and his friend, Stoll said. His dog jumped out of car and started biting one of the men who was assaulting Stoll, he told police. 
     Stoll was arrested and charged with assault in violation of individual rights and for violating violation, court records say. Under Iowa law, an assault in violation of individual rights is a hate crime. Polk County Jail records said Stoll remained in custody on Tuesday, pending $6,000 bail. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney. 
    His dog was taken into quarantine with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, a police report said.

    



 

 



   

Monday Afternoon News, September 8

Real Estate And Mobile Home Taxes Now Due

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the first-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. The delinquent date is Wednesday, October 1, 2014.   Mail must be postmarked on or before September 30, 2014 to avoid delinquent interest.   Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on September 30 does not guarantee a September 30 postmark.   Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on October 1, 2014, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter.  There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. 

 

City Officials To Test Outdoor Warning Sirens

(Le Mars) -- Coming up today at 1:00 p.m. city officials will be testing the outdoor warning sirens.  Normally the tests are conducted on the first Monday of the month, but since last Monday was Labor Day, city officials decided to wait until today.  Although there is a cloud cover and some strong winds today, Officials want to assure Le Mars residents that the sirens are only being tested and there are no current storm warnings.

 

Authorities Investigate Weekend Motorcycle Accident

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities are investigating a motorcycle accident that occured on Saturday evening.  64 year old Kevin Buffington of Sioux Falls was riding his motorcycle on Highway 12 near Akron when he lost control of his motorcycle while going around a curve.  Buffington was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered injuries.  He was transported to Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City by the Akron ambulance. 

 

Midwest Governors Meet In Des Moines 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governors from five Midwest states joined Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday in meetings with Japanese governors, officials, and company executives for the annual gathering of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. 
     The group, founded in 1967, meets yearly to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations of the American Midwest and Japan.
     Governors from Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin planned to give speeches. The Japanese ambassador and the consulate general from Chicago attended the meeting.
     The speakers also included Kikkoman Corp. Honorary CEO Yuzaburo Mogi, who is credited with introducing soy sauce to the United States in 1959. He is the Japanese conference chairman.
     "The theme this year is building a robust and sustainable future," he said. "We hope this meeting will help identify and develop business opportunities for all of us."
     Mogi joined executives from Nippon Airways, Toshiba and Toyota at the conference to discuss continued trade, government and business relationships between the two countries.
     It is the 46th year the organization has met. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, the U.S. conference chairman, said this year's goal is to find new synergies between the states highlighting growth in environmental industries and in the health and wellness sectors as the population of Japan and the U.S. states age.

 

Regents To Ask For $13 Million

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Regents said Monday it will ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to help the state's three public universities transition to a new funding model based on in-state enrollment.
     A board budget plan shows the money would be split between the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. Regents will consider the plan Wednesday during a meeting in Ames.
     Board spokeswoman Sheila Koppin said the new money would prevent $13 million from being shifted away from the University of Iowa next year. 
     The school has a lower percentage of students from Iowa than the other two universities, and it was expected to lose up to $39 million over the next three years under the plan. 
     University of Iowa spokesman Joe Brennan said Monday's funding request was good news and should reassure faculty who are anxious about possible cuts. But he cautioned that it was only the beginning of the process.
     Under the funding model adopted in June, 60 percent of money for the schools will be allocated based on in-state enrollment. The other 40 percent would be based on measures such as the number of graduates and diversity of the student body.
     Regents said the new model aligns state tax dollars with Iowa students, and holds the universities accountable for their performance.

 

New Prision Still Not Completed

 FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Repairs are still not done at the new Fort Madison prison built to house 800 inmates in maximum security, and there is no timetable for when they'll occupy their new cells.
     The new, $132 million Iowa State Penitentiary was expected to be occupied in March, but officials said the geothermal heating and cooling system was improperly designed and didn't work as planned.
     "We haven't been given a completion date by our contractors," says Rebecca Bowker, executive officer at the Iowa State Penitentiary, "They are doing what they need to do" to finish the work, she said.
     Assistant Iowa Corrections Director Fred Scaletta said contractors are changing pumps and piping to bring the geothermal system into compliance with the building specifications and design.
     Caleb Hunter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, said potential legal claims are being evaluated by the Iowa attorney general's office.
     Meanwhile, the penitentiary has completed a week of training to operate the new prison, Bowker said, and some refresher training is planned when the move occurs.
     ---

 

Hepatitus Pill Dispensed At Prisions

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state Corrections Department has started the limited use of a hepatitis drug that costs $1,000 per pill. 
     Supporters of the Solvadi's use argue that it cures more than 90 percent of people who take it, depending on which virus strain they have, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1uestSa ). They say it also has fewer side effects than older drugs used to treat hepatitis C, a virus most commonly spread by sharing infected needles. 
     According to the corrections department's medical director Harbans Deol, more than 10 percent of the prison system's inmates have the virus. 
     In order to qualify for the drug, inmates must show signs of illness. They have to be in prison for 18 months and must be willing to participate in alcohol- or drug-addiction treatment. The drugs aren't given to the inmate if he or she is allergic, pregnant, have heart problems, have bleeding disorders or have liver problems. 
     Deol says prison medical staff screen all incoming inmates for the virus, but they don't aggressively treat every inmate who has it. Usually, they will prescribe medications for prisoners who show signs of becoming seriously ill. 
     Two inmates have recently taken opted to take Sovaldi. Deol says the total cost to treat them is expected to reach about $147,000. 
     He says the prison system has budgeted about $1.5 million for the new medication for the current fiscal year.
     ---

 

Health Officials Monitor Respiratory Virus

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Public health officials on Monday said they're monitoring a high number of reports of a respiratory virus in several Midwest states including Iowa.
     Enterovirus EV-D68 begins like a cold with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, according to the state Department of Public Health. It appears to spread though close contact with infected people.
     "This is a really common virus," said Dr. Ann Garvey, a deputy state epidemiologist. "We see this virus circulate every year about this time. What's a little different this year and is causing more attention is that we're seeing it circulate in higher levels than we usually see."
     Additional information about the virus in Iowa is not available. Federal and state officials do not track the number of cases of the virus. It's also been reported in Illinois, Ohio and Kansas, according to Iowa health officials.
     The disease is a type of enterovirus, which is a common virus with more than 100 types. About 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the U.S. each year, according to state officials. Most people recover at home without complications.
     Officials warned Enterovirus EV-D68 may cause some people with severe respiratory illness to be hospitalized for further treatment. Infants, children and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to become sick.
      Infected people should drink fluids, rest and stay home to prevent spreading the disease. Individuals experiencing difficulty with breathing should contact their health care provider.

    


    


 

   

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