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Tuesday afternoon news, August 28th

(Le Mars) -- Taking care of small children in Northwest Iowa, that's the job of Northwest

Early Childhood Iowa. 

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Takysia Larsen is the director in charge of Plymouth, Sioux, Cherokee

and Lyon counties.  She went before the County Board of Supervisors this week to update them

on what services they provide in this region for kids age birth to 5.

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Funding for the organization comes primarily from state funding, with a small amount from

federal as well. Northwest Early Childhood Iowa has a budget of about $722,000 for the year,

which is down from nearly $1.4 million four years ago. 
A local board, including representitives from all four counties, decides what to do with the

funds on a local level.  This means that each county can tailor their funds to meet their

specific needs.
$337 thousand of their annual budget is dictated by the state to go toward parent support,

which is used to fund the Healthy Families Program.  Larsen says this program, in our area,

is contracted out through County Public Health Agencies.

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In Plymouth County specifically, 40 families were served through over 800 visits last year. 

Families are chosen to participate in this program through referrals, often from doctors,

and outreach efforts. Participation is completely voluntary. Families of any income are

considered, and risk factors such as drug abuse, put a family higher on the list to receive

help.

Another major program that's part of NW Early Childhood Iowa is pre-school support.  Low

income and poverty level families are provided with no charge head start programming. Larsen

says that middle income families who can't afford pre-school care can get help from NW Early

Childhood Iowa.   

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30 pre-schools participate in the program throughout Plymouth, Sioux, Cherokee and Lyon

Counties. All of them must have a "3 star" rating or higher on Iowa's Quality Rating System,

"5 stars" being the highest. To find out ratings for preschools around the state log onto:

http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/iqrs/qrs_providers/index.html

   

Tuesday News, August 28, 2012

UPDATED (Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Employee Association's request for a six percent increase in salaries and benefits was met with a counter offer by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors this morning. Here's Supervisor Don Kass with the motion that consists of the counter.
 
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Kurt Hatting was present at the meeting to represent the Sheriff's office. There was nodiscussion regarding the counter from either side. The parties plan to begin negotiations on Tuesday, September 11th in closed session.

(Le Mars) -- Last year, the Le Mars Community School District had 2066 students enrolled, 
according to the annual report offered by Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools.  Dr.
Wendt shared the highlights of 2011-2012 school year with the school board during its
regular meeting.  Wendt says the school had many achievements, both with its academics and
activities.  He summarized the elementary grades by telling the board that the teachers have
placed a priority on reading comprehension.

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Wendt says the middle school teachers focused on reading strategies.

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The superintendent of schools also informed the board about how middle school teachers are
using a "team concept" for teaching, and the results have been positive.  As for the high
school, Wendt says the faculty worked on characteristics of effective instruction, and 21st
century learning skills.

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Wendt reported to the board the tutorial program was saved and as a result, 127 students
utilized the services with 57 percent of the students raising their grade level and 13
percent maintaining their grades.  46 students signed up for the program on a voluntary
basis.    


(Orange City) -- Northwestern College of Orange City has again been ranked among the
nation's top-10 baccalaureate colleges by Washington Monthly.  The magazine's rankings are
based on how well the schools contribute to the public good in the areas of social mobility,
research and service.  Northwestern ranked sixth this year, has been the highest-ranked
school among members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and among Iowa
colleges since Washington Monthly began ranking baccalaureate colleges in 2010.



DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - President Barack Obama has added a stop
in Sioux City to his Iowa travel plans this week.
Obama will hold an event Tuesday at Iowa State University in
Ames, then will return to the state Saturday.
The Democrat had previously announced a visit Saturday to Des
Moines, and on Monday a campaign official confirmed Obama has added
the stop in Sioux City.
The events follow Obama's three-day bus tour of the state
earlier in August.
Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also has
visited Iowa, including an event last week in Bettendorf.
Iowa is among seven states where neither candidate is believed
to have a significant advantage, making the states key to deciding
who will win the November election.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Three state officials will decide
Tuesday whether Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary
Johnson's name appears on the Iowa ballot in November.
Documents challenging Johnson's candidacy were filed Friday by
three individuals including Jay Kramer, who says he's the Iowa
election day operations director for Republican Mitt Romney's
campaign.
Libertarians say they held a state convention at the Iowa State
Fair to get Johnson, the former Republican governor from New
Mexico, onto Iowa's ballot.
The challenge says Libertarians didn't hold a real convention or
sign up actual delegates.
Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Democratic Attorney
General Tom Miller, and Chief Deputy Auditor Warren Jenkins heard
both sides present their arguments Monday. Miller says a decision
is likely Tuesday.
Candidates must be certified for Iowa's ballot by 5 p.m.
Wednesday.


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Rockwell Collins is cutting about 140
jobs mainly in Iowa and Texas as the aerospace and defense
electronics company continues to cuts costs because of the economy.
The layoffs were announced Monday and involve the company's Operations and Shared

Servicesoperations primarily in Cedar Rapids and Richardson, Texas.
The company says it's identifying ways to reduce costs to better
withstand economic and market forces affecting business.
Rockwell Collins has about 20,000 employees worldwide, including
8,800 in Cedar Rapids, where it's headquartered.
It has previously announced cutbacks due to reduced defense
contracts.




DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers are hopeful last week's
rain will help the soybean crop as the corn harvest gets under way
during the nation's worst dry spell in a generation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are still
chopping corn for silage and starting to harvest corn for grain and
seed. Fifty-three percent of the corn crop is in poor to very poor
condition.
The USDA says farmers are hoping soybean plants will produce
more pods because of the rain, which averaged 1.29 inches last
week. It was the wettest week in 10 weeks.
Nineteen percent of the soybean crop is turning color, and some
leaves are dropping. Soybeans are rated 36 percent poor or very
poor, 39 percent in fair condition and 25 percent in good or
excellent shape.



(Des Moines) -- Five Iowa Counties have been approved by the U-S Department of Agriculture
to implement and hold a sign up under the Emergency Conservation Program.  State Farm
Services Agency Executive Director John Whitaker says ECP provides qualified producers the
opportunity to request financial assistance during this critical time.  Whitaker says it is
unknown if funding will be immediately available, but producers who are interested can begin
making their cost-share requests, and they will be notified as funds become available.   
The program provides cost-share assistance if the damage is so severe that water available
for livestock, orchards, and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that they
cannot survive without additional water.  Approved practices and measures may include:
installing pipelines or other facilities for livestock water or existing irrigation systems.
Constructing and deepening wells for livestock water, and developing springs for livestock
water.  The five counties include: Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Davis and Wapello.




   

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