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Monday News, April 15

District Drainage Meetings Scheduled

(Le Mars) -- Two district drainage meetings have been scheduled for the public to comment on a proposed tax levy increase for the construction cost of two bridges.  The first meeting will be held at the Hinton Community Center and is scheduled for Thursday, May 9th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The second meeting will be held at the Westfield community Center on Thursday May 16th, again with a start time of 5:30 p.m. and concluding at 7:00 p.m.  At issue is a proposed increase of $100 per parcel for five years to replace two bridges.  There are more than 430 parcels within the Hinton Drainage District.


"Train To Nowhere" Author To Visit Le Mars Public Library

(Le Mars) -- "A Train To Nowhere" is a book written by former Des Moines Register news reporter Colleen Krantz, and it depicts the stories of eleven immigrants wanting to seek a better life in America, but who tragically were all found dead inside a rail car at Denison, Iowa.  Krantz will be visiting the Le Mars Public Library on Thursday, April 18th at 5:30 p.m. to discuss her book.  You may recall the incident as it happened in October of 2002, but what you may not realize the Latino immigrants were sealed in the rail car for a period of four months before being discovered.
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Krantz performed extensive research after the discovery of the bodies and says the journey of the undocumented immigrants was supposed to have ended in Texas.

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The former journalist, now author, says family members back in the nations of origin were left in the dark about their relatives for the four month duration.

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Ida Grove Building Collapses

IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) - The collapse of a downtown building left quite a mess in the northwest Iowa town of Ida Grove.
Assistant Fire Chief Scott Van Dusen says the vacant building on 2nd Street started to collapse Saturday evening when a side wall caved in.
After that wall fell in around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the building's roof collapsed and the other walls were pulled down.
The building had been empty for about three years and wasn't insured. The current owners had been trying to sell it.
No one was injured in the collapse, and the neighboring business's building appears to be OK.
It wasn't immediately clear how old the building that collapsed was, but the building next door was constructed in 1902.


Lawmakers Still Undecided As To What To Do With State Financial Surplus

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - What should Iowa do with the extra money sitting in the state's bank accounts?
It's a key point of debate in ongoing budget negotiations as GOP Governor Terry Branstad, House Republicans and Senate Democrats push different ideas for dealing with a surplus estimated at more
than $800 million.
If lawmakers can't reach a deal, as has happened in the past, that money could just stay put.
Department of Management Director Dave Roederer calls the discussion over whether to use funds for tax cuts or spending an "age old argument."
State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says surplus general fund dollars are invested in a conservative fashion, along with the rest of the state's money. The current interest rate on those dollars is
less than half a percentage point.


$600 Million Devoted To Road Construction This Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Roughly $600 million worth of road construction work is planned across Iowa this year.
That will make 2013 one of the busiest years for road construction in the state.
There are about 800 crashes every year in construction work zones and an average of six deaths every year.
So the Iowa Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to stay alert when they encounter road construction and buckle up.
Traffic safety engineer Mark Bortle says some road projects are already underway.

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced To 50 Years For Killing Infant Son

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An Oklahoma woman convicted of killing her newborn son has received the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.
Hillary Tyler, of Mulhall, Okla., was sentenced on Friday.
Tyler was convicted earlier this year of drowning her son in the bathtub of a Fort Dodge motel room on Sept. 19, 2011. Tyler had been staying in Fort Dodge for temporary work.
The 32-year-old Tyler didn't testify at sentencing or at her trial.
The father of the boy Tyler killed, Rodney Cyphers, asked Tyler at sentencing why she never told him she was pregnant.
Prosecutors say Tyler was pregnant with another man's baby when she met Cyphers and had an abortion.
Tyler was ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the Cyphers family.


Four People Charged With Bank Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Four people have pleaded guilty to mortgage scheme in the Des Moines area.
Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Jamie Bowers-Danielson and her husband, 35-year-old Matthew Danielson, pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Bowers-Danielson also pleaded guilty to bank fraud
conspiracy. They're from Ankeny
Prosecutors say Bowers-Danielson used her position as a loan originator between 2003 and 2007 to falsify loan applications for herself and others.
Forty-three-year-old Bobbi Jo Wojewoda pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy, and her husband, Des Moines Police Lt. Wade Wojewoda, pleaded guilty to receiving proceeds obtained under false
pretenses. They're from Grimes.
Prosecutors say Bobbi Jo Wojewoda inflated home values, including that of her own house, when she appraised them.
The four are scheduled to be sentenced in July.


Saturday News, April 13

Mainstreet Design Committee Approves Next Downtown Mural

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Mainstreet Design Committee has approved another mural to be painted within the downtown area.  This will be the third mural to be painted.  The mural will be painted during the month of May.  The mural will be featured on the Leo Langel building near the Fareway grocery store on Lincoln Street.  Funding is being provided by Jerry and Sharon Ruden through the facade grant program.  Mainstreet coordinator, Mary Reynolds says the design committee has a goal of having two murals painted each year.  The design committee is working with businesses located on Business highway 75 to identify a potential building that would serve as a future site for a mural.


Travel Tips To Be Offered On Tuesday

(Le Mars) -- Debra VanDen Berg, Primebank Good Neighbors Club Director, will present “Avoid Common Vacation Pitfalls” on Tuesday, April 16th at 6:30 p.m. in the Club Room at Primebank. This is a co-sponsored event between Good Neighbors Club & Prime Time.

This program will help individuals maintain your health by avoiding illness or injury while you travel.  You will learn how to save your back, settle your stomach, avoid weight gain, adjust to new time zones, fight off germs and become a "master packer." 

Pre-registration is required.  You can call Lisa at 546-3410 or Debra at 546-6241

Three Year Old Storm Lake Girl Causes Car To Hit Mailbox

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 3-year-old girl in northwest Iowa wrestled herself out of a vehicle seatbelt and caused the car to crash into a mailbox.
Police say Friday that the girl and her 13-month-old sister were buckled in their car seats April 5 in Storm Lake while their mother unloaded groceries. The older girl was able to free herself and put
the car into gear.
The Sioux City Journal reports the mother jumped into the car as it rolled backward. She stopped the car, but it still hit the mailbox. She also twisted her knee.
The children were not injured, and the mailbox received damage totaling $300. Police cited the woman for not having insurance.


More Motorists Using Seat Belts

(Sioux City) -- More motorists are using seat belts when we travel.  The Sioux City Police Department recently conducted a seat belt usage survey during the month of March.  92 percent of those in passenger cars were compliant in using a seat belt.  A slight decrease in those driving Sport Utility Vehicles as 90 percent were found to have on a seat belt.  However, those motorists in trucks were only 78 percent compliant for using a seat belt.  Iowa Seat Belt requirements are to have both the driver and front-seat passengers to be properly restrained any time the vehicle is in forward motion on a street or highway.


Pre-school Bill Requires Regular Attendance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill approved by the Legislature and headed to Gov. Terry Branstad would give school districts more authority in dealing with parents who enroll their children in the
state's voluntary preschool program but then fail to bring the youths to class.
The measure would allow school districts to require that children enrolled in preschool attend regularly. School boards could designate the number of days preschoolers must attend and
reprimand parents of chronically absent children.
Supporters say the measure is needed because many districts have waiting lists for preschool. If parents enroll their children but don't bring them to school, they're still taking spots that could
go to others.
The Department of Education has concerns about the bill, saying expanding compulsory attendance rules could make it harder to remove non-participating children.


Republican Adviser Says Top Three Candidate Will Not Seek Senate

(Des Moines) -- A key Republican Party insider expects three Iowa G-O-P office holders who've been mentioned as potential candidates for the U.S. Senate to decide against running. Doug Gross, a former chief of staff for Republican Governor Terry Branstad, talked politics during an appearance on this weekend's "Iowa Press" program on Iowa Public Television.

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Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey have confirmed they're considering a run for the U.S. Senate, too, but Gross doesn't think either will.

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Democratic Senator Tom Harkin announced in late January that he will not seek re-election in 2014. In early February, Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley (BRAY-lee) announced he would run for the seat.

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Gross ran for governor in 2002, losing to Democrat Tom Vilsack. His advice to whomever decides to run: be prepared to work hard.

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Gross formally announced his candidacy on March 4th of that year, just three months before the primary. Gross went on to narrowly win the primary with nearly 36 percent. Bob Vander Plaats -- in the first of his three runs for governor -- got just over 32 percent and former state Representative Steve Sukup (SOO-kup) got nearly 32 percent. Gross lost in November to Democrat Tom Vilsack ...................


Supreme Court Rules Taxes Can Be Collected On Phone Company Switches

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says the state can legally tax the switches, computers, and other property of traditional telephone companies but not force cellular telephone
providers to pay similar taxes on equipment.
In a ruling released Friday the court upholds the state's right to tax Qwest Corp., which filed a lawsuit in 2006 challenging its state property taxes.
Qwest claimed an Iowa law that taxes equipment of traditional telephone companies but virtually none of wireless providers' equipment violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.
The court says companies like Qwest maintain "monopoly power" and lawmakers could reasonably conclude that taxing personal property "is an appropriate way to capture some of their monopoly
A spokesman for CenturyLink, which bought Qwest, says the company is disappointed with the ruling.


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