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Friday Afternoon News, April 19

Two Wells' Enterprises Employees Honored By American Red Cross

(Sioux City) -- Two employees of Well's Enterprises were honored by the American Red Cross during a "Heroes of the Heartland" award ceremony held Thursday evening.  Fritz Gaul and Jodi Ohm, both of Le Mars, both were able to use quick action and lifesaving procedures to save the lives of fellow employees.  Kara Kelly, Regional Communications Coordinator with the American Red Cross explains the "Heroes of the Heartland" program.

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Both Gaul and Ohm were nominated by their employer Wells Enterprises.

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Gaul recognized the symptoms of a heart attack and used his CPR training.    Ohm used an AED device along with CPR to help save a co-worker's life.  Ohm has been an EMT for more than 20 years and has saved many lives, but this was the first time her talents were used at work.  Afterwards, Ohm spoke to other employees who witnessed the incident to make certain they were emotionally stable.

 

Gehlen Prepares For Annual Fund Raising Ball

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic will celebrate 26 years of the Gehlen Ball Saturday evening with this year having the theme of Safari Sensation.  Ann Bunkers serves as the co-chair of the event and says the Le Mars Convention Center is being transformed into a Safari.
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Bunkers says the Gehlen Ball serves as a major fund raising event for the local Catholic school, and it has generated nearly three million dollars during the last 25 years.  There are many items being featured this year to help raise revenue.

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The evening's event begins with the serving of the meal at 6:15 p.m. followed by the auction and afterwards music and dancing will be featured on both levels of the Convention Center.

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Hinton Fire Department Responds To Tractor Fire

(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department responded to a tractor that caught on fire Friday morning.  The call was at 33501 Hickory Avenue.  Fire officials were on the scene for approximately a half an hour.


State Settles Lawsuit With Hog Farm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state has settled a lawsuit filed by
a Texas hog farm that claimed a law prohibiting meat processors
from owning livestock is unconstitutional.
Texas Farm, based in Perryton, Texas, filed a lawsuit April 4 in
federal court in Des Moines naming Attorney General Tom Miller.
Miller's office says he signed an agreement Friday to settle the
lawsuit. The state promises not to enforce the law if Texas Farm
guarantees certain rights to Iowa farmers producing the livestock.
Farmers must be allowed to join a producer's association and can
file complaints to authorities about improper actions by the
company.
The agreement is similar to others Miller has signed with
meatpackers in recent years, including Smithfield Foods and
Cargill.
Texas Farm is owned by Osaka, Japan-based Nippon Meat Packers
Inc.


Iowa DNR Comments On Wastewater In Creeks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources says
workers have temporarily repaired a valve that failed, causing
hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater to flow
into an eastern Iowa creek near Eldridge.
The DNR says Friday in a news release that the release of
wastewater had stopped. Earlier, between 300,000 and 400,000
gallons of untreated wastewater was being released daily by the
Park View Water and Sanitary District.
The wastewater entered Glynns Creek, which flows about two miles
through Scott County Park before emptying into McDonald Creek. It
finally enters the Wapsipinicon River.
The DNR recommends people keep children and pets away from
Glynns and McDonald creeks until Saturday.


Iowa Rivers At Flood Stage

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Many rivers in Iowa remain at flood
stage but no catastrophes have been reported to state emergency
management officials.
In some communities residents are finding water in basements,
cities are dealing with overworked sewers, and roads are closed.
Several Mississippi River cities are seeing some flooding
including Dubuque, Burlington, Keokuk, and Muscatine. The river is
expected to fall below flood stage in Dubuque on Saturday and
recede below flood stage in others by Monday.
Many Iowa rivers will recede below flood stage over the weekend
but in some cases it won't occur until early next week.
Iowa Emergency Management officials say they have no reports of
catastrophic flooding. Some communities are expected to seek a
governor's proclamation that would allow them to seek aid for
residents with flooded basements.


Students Have Increased Debt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A report shows increased debt for
students graduating from the University of Iowa and Iowa State
University but less debt among graduates of the University of
Northern Iowa.
The Des Moines Register reports Friday (http://dmreg.co/12sLn9O
) the Iowa Board of Regents report indicates University of Iowa
graduating students saw the largest debt increase for the 2011-2012
school year. Average debt rose more than 3 percent, with Iowa
residents at $25,415 in debt and non-residents at $28,218.
Iowa State graduating students had the highest average debt
among the three universities, with $28,940 for residents and
$29,573 for non-residents. Debt for in-state students dropped
slightly but increased overall less than 1 percent.
At UNI, average debt among both resident and non-resident
students dropped to about $23,500, for a decline of about 8
percent.
---

Police Investigating Car In Lake

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A dive team is investigating a vehicle
found submerged in Gray's Lake, a popular park near downtown Des
Moines.
Someone reported the vehicle in the lake a little after 9 a.m.
Friday, and a dive team was suiting up about 90 minutes later.
Des Moines Fire Department Capt. Steve Brown told KCCI-TV
(http://bit.ly/11ooqCn ) the vehicle is believed to be a truck that
was stolen Thursday night at the site of a fire north of downtown.



Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Workforce Development says the
state's unemployment rate for March dropped slightly to 4.9
percent, but the number of people working in nonfarm jobs also
declined.
The state agency reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted
rate was down from 5 percent in February and had declined from 5.4
percent a year ago.
Although the number of unemployed people dropped from 82,300 in
February to 80,700, the nonfarm employment figure also dropped by
5,500 workers.
Iowa's numbers are substantially below the national rate, which
stood at 7.6 percent in March.



 

 

   

Friday News, April 19

Where Is Spring?

(Le Mars) -- You can't help but scratch your head as you see the date on the calendar says it is Friday,  April 19th, but to look outside and see snow on the grounds. Although the moisture is perhaps appreciated, obviously, Mother Nature is playing a cruel late April Fools joke by producing the late season snow.  The spring snow, along with ice, has prompted many area schools, including Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic, to have a two hour late start.  Iowa State University Extension Climatologist, Elwynn Taylor says it may be at least two more weeks, or more, before temperatures warm up to near normal levels.

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Normally at this time of year, farmers would be in their fields planting the new corn crop. Since it will be a while until farmers can get to their fields, will that hurt the corn production in the long run?

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The ISU extension climatologist says although records show earlier planting usually performs better, he says the soil temperatures need to be at or above 50 degrees for a sustained period of time to help with the development of the seed.  Taylor says records have proven as the spring progresses, it normally will become wetter, which may be another factor determining when farmers will be able to plant the corn crop.  Taylor says this past winter and colder than normal spring reminds him of the conditions similar to 1947.

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Taylor says Iowa farmers have had three straight years of below trend-line yields, and he believes the odds are in favor for a fourth year of below trend-line yields.

 

Then Feed Just One Reaches Milestone of 1 Million Meals

(Le Mars) -- Officials with the "Then Feed Just One" organization will acknowledge the volunteer efforts of both Spalding Catholic and Remsen St. Mary's schools for helping the non-profit organization create one million meals for starving children worldwide.  A plaque presentation ceremony is scheduled today for both schools.

 

Gehlen Places 3rd in State Jazz Band Competition

(Des Moines) -- The state High School Jazz Band championships were held in Des Moines on Thursday with a number of area schools performing. Much like many of the sporting events, the schools are divided into classes depending upon its size of student enrollment.  In order to have qualified for the state jazz championship a school would have had to place either first or second within their district jazz music competition.  This was the fourth time in five years Gehlen Catholic had qualified for the state jazz championships.  Lisa Niebuhr of Gehlen Catholic attended the jazz music competition and says Gehlen was given their highest honor.

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Hard Rock Casino Selected For Downtown Sioux City

(Council Bluffs) -- It's Hard Rock Casino.  That is the casino selected by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to be the featured casino for downtown Sioux City.  Hard Rock with its parent company, Sioux City Entertainment, and the non-profit license holder,Missouri River Historical Development, hope to get started right away with converting the old Battery Building found on Water Street into the latest tourist attraction, complete with a 30 foot electric guitar neon sign. Three members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted for the Hard Rock casino, chairman Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny, Carl Heinrich of Council Bluffs, and Kris Kramer of New Hampton.  Vice chair Greg Seyfer of Cedar Rapids voted for the Hollywood Casino for downtown Sioux City, and Dolores Mertz of Algona voted for the Warrior Hotel casino.

 

Senate Passes Health and Human Services Budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a $1.9 billion budget for Iowa's Health and Human Services agency.
The Senate passed the bill Thursday on a 26 to 22 party line vote. It spends $73 million more than the budget proposed by Gov. Terry Branstad.
The Senate bill gives more money to programs for autistic children, elderly and people on Medicaid waiting lists.
The proposal will likely go to a joint committee where members from both parties and chambers work out compromises.
Republican Sen. Amy Sinclair of Allerton tried to amend the bill to outlaw abortions funded through Medicaid. Such abortions now are allowed in rare cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity and to
protect a mother's life.
Sinclair's proposal, which would have allowed abortions to protect a woman's life, was rejected.

 

Lawmakers Try To Find Compromise On Education Funding Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats and House Republicans are rapidly trading education proposals, suggesting that a compromise deal might not be far off.
Democrats on Thursday said they will accept an offer from Republicans to increase general school funding, but they still want to implement a Democratic proposal to boost teacher pay and offer
leadership incentives.
In response, Republicans said they wanted to keep their plan that makes salary increases and teacher incentives optional, but they said they would increase the minimum teacher salary for
schools that participate to $33,500.
Lawmakers from the Democrat-majority Senate and Republican-controlled House have been debating how to implement Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed education overhaul.
The joint committee deliberating on education does not yet have another meeting scheduled.

 

Federal Grant To Help Prevent Foreclosures

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa program geared at helping people avoid foreclosure has received a federal grant for more than $600,000.
The Iowa Mortgage Help foreclosure prevention initiative received the grant from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. State officials announced the award Thursday.
According to a press release, the award will go to preventative counseling efforts.
The state mortgage program was started in 2008. It receives an average of 20 calls each day and offers counseling services and legal support. The program is a partnership effort between the Iowa
Finance Authority, the Office of the Attorney General, Iowa Mediation Service, the Iowa Home Ownership Education Project and Iowa Legal Aid.


Tobacco Settlement Helps Iowa's Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's state treasury has received an annual payment from tobacco companies totaling more than $65 million.
The payment is the result of a 1998 settlement agreement between tobacco companies and states over tobacco-related health care costs.
According to a news release from the state attorney general, since 1999 Iowa has received nearly $889 million in payments from the settlement. Attorney General Tom Miller says it provides
"significant ongoing payments to Iowa."




 

 

   

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