Wednesday News, June 12
Ice Cream Days Begin Today
(Le Mars) -- Today is the first day for the annual "Ice Cream Days". Brad Pick serves as the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce's president, and he says this year marks the 27th year for the hometown celebration. Pick says it is even a little more special since Well's Enterprises is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Pick highlight's some of today's activities associated with the sweet treat celebration.
Pick says there are a number of events that people can enjoy that are offered throughout the entire celebration.
Tonight's other activities include an ice cream social sponsored by the Le Mars Kiwanis along with the Aktion Club. That will occur simultaneously with the Municipal Band concert at Foster Park beginning at 7:30 p.m. In addition, the Le Mars Kiwanis will hold the "golf ball drop at 7:45 p.m. on 1st Avenue South East adjoining Foster Park. Kiwanis members will be selling tickets for a chance to have your selected golf ball race down the street and be the first to cross the finish line. Cash prizes will be awarded.
Floyd Valley Hospital Plan For Building Expansion
(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees have given their approval for the start of construction for a $25 million dollar expansion project. That decision was made on Tuesday morning during the hospital trustee meeting. Craig Bauerly serves as the hospital trustee chairman and he says the community is strongly behind the expansion project.
Bauerly says the trustees, hospital officials, and the architects have devised a plan that would allow for the construction to take place in stages, especially if an unforeseen financial hurdle or delay in building supplies becomes an issue as to interrupt the building process.
Bauerly offers a timeline for the new building expansion.
Woodbury County Sheriff's Office Expands Patrol Duties
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Woodbury County has given its deputies the green light to monitor seven towns.
Deputies with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office will respond to calls for help with dogs at large and other ordinance violations for a $35 per hour fee.
The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors approved a measure Tuesday that will add the towns of Cushing and Smithland to a list that already includes Bronson, Danbury, Hornick, Lawton and Pierson.
Sheriff Dave Drew says he will monitor if the workforce is sufficient, but he doesn't expect a need for more deputies.
The newspaper reports state law requires towns to provide police service, but most in the county have relied on periodic patrols by county deputies.
Downtown Des Moines Has Two Explosions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two buildings have been evacuated after two explosions rocked downtown Des Moines.
Several people who live near 4th Street and Court Avenue called 911 just before 2:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Officials say the first explosion was near The Elliot Apartment Building. The building and a nearby hotel were evacuated.
No injuries have been reported.
Police say the second blast occurred within 10 minutes, less than a quarter mile from the first explosion. Police Lt. Larry Davey says he and other officers saw flames coming from a manhole
cover about 4 or 5 feet into the air.
Utility officials are checking the situation.
Branstad To Sign Property Tax Reform Bill Today
HIAWATHA, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad plans to travel to Hiawatha to sign a bill into law that will cut property taxes for businesses and individuals.
Branstad will hold a bill-signing event Wednesday afternoon at Hawkeye Ready-Mix, a concrete supplier with plants in several eastern Iowa locations.
The measure Branstad will sign represents a compromise between Senate Democrats and House Republicans.
It will reduce taxable assessments for commercial properties and offer tax credits geared at small businesses.
The measure also limits the amount that residential and agricultural property values can grow. And it provides some income tax breaks to Iowa taxpayers.
Democratic Party Chair Stepping Down
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Tyler Olson is stepping down from his post.
The Cedar Rapids state representative has said he is considering a run for governor, but his letter Tuesday to the party's central committee does not mention that directly. He simply says it is time
for him to decide how he "can best serve Iowans" and that he cannot explore his options while holding this position.
Olson will retain his House position.
Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch, of Des Moines, says he is exploring a run for governor. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has not announced, but is widely expected to seek re-election.
Olson was re-elected last year to his fourth House term. He serves as ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. He has served as party chairman since January.
Judge Rules On Turkey Plant Discrimination Against Mentally Handicapped Employees
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has entered final judgment of $3.4 million against a Texas company found to have mistreated 32 mentally disabled workers at an Iowa labor camp.
U.S. Senior Judge Charles Wolle ruled Tuesday the men will be awarded $1.37 million in back pay, $1.6 million in damages, and $421,000 in interest. Each would receive average awards of $106,000
if Henry's Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Tex., can pay the judgment.
Wolle ordered Henry's to pay $10,400 in costs to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represents the men.
Jurors found May 1 that Henry's discriminated against the men, who were hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant, and awarded each $7.5 million in damages. The $240 million verdict was
slashed to $1.6 million because of federal damage caps.
License Plates To Carry "Anti-Abortion Message"
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa license plates soon will carry an anti-abortion message, "Choose Life."
Iowa Right to Life said Tuesday that the plates soon will be arriving at county treasurers' offices. The organization had to secure at least 500 plate applications to carry the message, as required by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Iowa Right to Life executive director Jenifer Bowen says the organization began working on the idea at least 10 years ago.
Iowa is the 29th state to approve a variation of the Choose Life plate. The national effort is driven by an Ocala, Fla.-based group, Choose Life America.
Bowen says Gov. Terry Branstad helped secure approval of the plates through administrative channels.
The Choose Life plates cost $25 more than regular plates.
50 Cats Rescued From Home
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An animal rescue group in central Iowa says it's preparing for extra adoptions after about 50 cats were found in one home.
The Animal Rescue League says it received the cats Monday and they will soon be available for adoption. Cats of all sizes and ages were found in almost every room of the southeast Iowa home.
The cats were in relatively good health but their owners had not spayed or neutered many of them.
The league says it had to set up extra cages for the new arrivals, since they were already at full capacity for its cat population.
The station says the homeowners will not be charged in the case because there was no animal neglect.
DNR Needing Volunteers To Help Clean Up River
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Volunteers can join an effort during a week in July to remove garbage from the Des Moines River in north-central Iowa.
The Department of Natural Resources is organizing its annual cleanup effort, called Project AWARE.
The effort will target 90 miles of the Des Moines River between Algona and Lehigh from July 6 to 13.
Besides removing trash from the river, the DNR says volunteers will learn about topics including watersheds, water quality and recycling.
Volunteers must register for the river cleanup, with forms postmarked by June 21.
More information is available online at www.iowaprojectaware.com.
DNR To Plant Trees
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a program designed to plant new trees in Iowa this spring distributed nearly 2,000 trees to homeowners.
Operation ReLeaf is a cooperative effort between the DNR's forestry bureau, Interstate Power and Light Co., an Alliant Energy subsidiary, and local organizations. They offered eight residential tree distribution sites throughout the state this spring, selling more than 1,950 trees. The program promotes long-term energy and natural resource conservation. Alliant Energy residential customers
may purchase landscaping trees for $25 each. They typically cost between $65 and $125.
Additional trees will be distributed in Clinton, Dallas, Des Moines, Fayette, Linn, Marshall, Washington and Worth counties this fall.
Order forms will be available online in July at Alliant Energy's Operation ReLeaf website.