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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
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."






Tuesday News, May 14, 2013


(Le Mars) -- Fire and rescue personnel was dispatched to the Krull Chiropractic offices located at 44 5th Avenue Southwest on Monday afternoon when a car had accidently hit the outside wall, causing the vehicle to penetrate the offices. The accident happened at about 2:35 p.m. Apparently, the female driver stated that her foot slipped off the brake pedal and instead hit the accelerator pedal causing her Lexus RX300 to collide with the wall.  The driver was not injured during the mishap, and no one inside the building was injured.  Le Mars Fire and rescue officials evaluated the structure and determined the wall to be stable.  The accident is under investigation by the Le Mars Police Department.


Photos contributed

(Le Mars) -- Life Skills Training Center held its annual meeting last evening.  Milton Crawford was honored with the LSTC Client Achievement Award.  Life Skills Executive Director Don Nore informed the gathering of the changes that are occuring within the funding of mental health services.  He says he has some concerns about future funding and if some services may have to be reduced or eliminated due to budget cuts.

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Nore says the services that are provided by the Life Skills Training Center certainly help with the local economy.

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Nore says since 2003, LSTC has tracked its performance level with its clients and with its customers.

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(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are to meet this morning at the County Courthouse Boardroom.  The supervisors have a light agenda with only holding a public hearing on the debt issuance, and to review and amend the Fiscal year budget of 2012-2013. County engineer, Tom Rohe is scheduled to meet the supervisors to offer an update on construction projects within the county.

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Historical Museum has inducted two of its long time volunteers to be part of the Museum's Hall of Fame.  Norm Barker and Dr. Wayne Marty were given the honor during the museum's annual meeting held on Thursday.  Together, both gentlemen have devoted countless hours to the rennovation of the museum's facilities.

The two have worked together on everything at the Museum from the renovation of the Gym in 1999 to the renovation of the Study Hall, which opened in 2010. They have done everything from fixing the Museum's plumbing when needed to helping build standards for the new "Dollie" display.

Currently, they are preparing to renovate three more display rooms as the result of a grant from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) monies.

Barker became very involved at the Museum when it was time to tear down the racquetball walls in the Gym back in 1999. He continues to log thousands of hours each year, usually with Marty at his side.

As for Dr. Wayne Marty,his involvement with the Museum began in 1996. As president of the board, one of his first jobs was to get a new roof put on the building. Since that time, he has worked to preserve the entire Museum, from the Gym to the Study Hall.  When Westmar closed in 1997, he led the effort to recycle Westmar materials into the Museum building. Wayne has been called the renovation project manager at the Museum.

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education met last evening.  During their meeting, the board approved the student fees for the next school year. School lunches and student activity tickets are the only items to have an increase from the present school year.  The school board also approved the purchase of a new utility tractor with snow blower and lawn mower attachments.

(Undated) -- Small, nonfarm businesses in seven northwest Iowa Counties and neighboring counties are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U-S Small Business Administration.  Gary Colton is a public information officer with the SBA.  He says the loans are for businesses that rely on agriculture.

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Eligible Iowa counties include: Plymouth, Sioux, Cherokee, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, and Woodbury.  Lincoln and Union counties in South Dakota are also eligible.  Colton says the interest rate for the loans is set at four percent for businesses and 2.875 for private, nonprofit organizations.  The loans carry a term of 30 years.  The deadline to apply for the Small Business Loans is January 8, 2014.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers hope to catch up on field work and get more corn and soybeans planted this week after several weeks of rain delay.Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says in a report released Monday that only 15 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, which is well behind the five-year Iowa average of 79 percent. This is the first spring in 20 years that less than 20 percent of the corn acres were planted by May 12. Just 1 percent of soybeans acres are planted well behind the five-year average of 30 percent. The good news is soil moisture has been replenished with 95 percent of topsoil rated adequate or with a surplus. About 76 percent of Iowa's subsoil has adequate moisture or a surplus.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The governor says he won't put the commander of the Iowa Veterans Home on administrative leave. Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, said in a letter to Branstad last week that the accusations against David Worley are so serious that he should be put on leave while an investigation is conducted. Several speakers at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said the home's management team relies on bullying and intimidation. The Des Moines Register reports ( that Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that Worley will remain on duty. Branstad also said his appointment of Jodi Tymeson to a newly created post of chief operating officer at the veterans home doesn't show a lack of confidence in Worley.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad wants to say happy anniversary to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Branstad is scheduled to attend an event commemorating the department's 100th anniversary Tuesday afternoon. He will speak at the gathering in Ames and sign an honorary proclamation. The department dates back to 1913 when it was known as the Iowa Highway Commission. A special website marking the anniversary notes milestones for the agency, like completing Interstate 35 or when the state started requiring driver's licenses. Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht calls this a "significant" anniversary for the department.


AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are offering two interactive websites showing the state's byways and bicycle trails. The state Department of Transportation says the sites will help visitors explore Iowa's two national scenic byways and nine state scenic and heritage byways. Many bicycle trails crisscross and complement the byways. The byways site includes route descriptions, history, contact information and a listing of local attractions and events. The site lets visitors plan, map, save notes and send an electronic postcard. The bicycle site gives visitors a suggested route with a starting address and destination address. There's information on bike lanes, paved and unpaved trails and other roads. It includes information on trailheads, parking, rest rooms, bicycle shops and other features.






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