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Monday Afternoon News, September 8

Real Estate And Mobile Home Taxes Now Due

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the first-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. The delinquent date is Wednesday, October 1, 2014.   Mail must be postmarked on or before September 30, 2014 to avoid delinquent interest.   Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on September 30 does not guarantee a September 30 postmark.   Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on October 1, 2014, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter.  There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. 


City Officials To Test Outdoor Warning Sirens

(Le Mars) -- Coming up today at 1:00 p.m. city officials will be testing the outdoor warning sirens.  Normally the tests are conducted on the first Monday of the month, but since last Monday was Labor Day, city officials decided to wait until today.  Although there is a cloud cover and some strong winds today, Officials want to assure Le Mars residents that the sirens are only being tested and there are no current storm warnings.


Authorities Investigate Weekend Motorcycle Accident

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities are investigating a motorcycle accident that occured on Saturday evening.  64 year old Kevin Buffington of Sioux Falls was riding his motorcycle on Highway 12 near Akron when he lost control of his motorcycle while going around a curve.  Buffington was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered injuries.  He was transported to Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City by the Akron ambulance. 


Midwest Governors Meet In Des Moines 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governors from five Midwest states joined Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday in meetings with Japanese governors, officials, and company executives for the annual gathering of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. 
     The group, founded in 1967, meets yearly to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations of the American Midwest and Japan.
     Governors from Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin planned to give speeches. The Japanese ambassador and the consulate general from Chicago attended the meeting.
     The speakers also included Kikkoman Corp. Honorary CEO Yuzaburo Mogi, who is credited with introducing soy sauce to the United States in 1959. He is the Japanese conference chairman.
     "The theme this year is building a robust and sustainable future," he said. "We hope this meeting will help identify and develop business opportunities for all of us."
     Mogi joined executives from Nippon Airways, Toshiba and Toyota at the conference to discuss continued trade, government and business relationships between the two countries.
     It is the 46th year the organization has met. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, the U.S. conference chairman, said this year's goal is to find new synergies between the states highlighting growth in environmental industries and in the health and wellness sectors as the population of Japan and the U.S. states age.


Regents To Ask For $13 Million

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Regents said Monday it will ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to help the state's three public universities transition to a new funding model based on in-state enrollment.
     A board budget plan shows the money would be split between the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University. Regents will consider the plan Wednesday during a meeting in Ames.
     Board spokeswoman Sheila Koppin said the new money would prevent $13 million from being shifted away from the University of Iowa next year. 
     The school has a lower percentage of students from Iowa than the other two universities, and it was expected to lose up to $39 million over the next three years under the plan. 
     University of Iowa spokesman Joe Brennan said Monday's funding request was good news and should reassure faculty who are anxious about possible cuts. But he cautioned that it was only the beginning of the process.
     Under the funding model adopted in June, 60 percent of money for the schools will be allocated based on in-state enrollment. The other 40 percent would be based on measures such as the number of graduates and diversity of the student body.
     Regents said the new model aligns state tax dollars with Iowa students, and holds the universities accountable for their performance.


New Prision Still Not Completed

 FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Repairs are still not done at the new Fort Madison prison built to house 800 inmates in maximum security, and there is no timetable for when they'll occupy their new cells.
     The new, $132 million Iowa State Penitentiary was expected to be occupied in March, but officials said the geothermal heating and cooling system was improperly designed and didn't work as planned.
     "We haven't been given a completion date by our contractors," says Rebecca Bowker, executive officer at the Iowa State Penitentiary, "They are doing what they need to do" to finish the work, she said.
     Assistant Iowa Corrections Director Fred Scaletta said contractors are changing pumps and piping to bring the geothermal system into compliance with the building specifications and design.
     Caleb Hunter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, said potential legal claims are being evaluated by the Iowa attorney general's office.
     Meanwhile, the penitentiary has completed a week of training to operate the new prison, Bowker said, and some refresher training is planned when the move occurs.


Hepatitus Pill Dispensed At Prisions

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state Corrections Department has started the limited use of a hepatitis drug that costs $1,000 per pill. 
     Supporters of the Solvadi's use argue that it cures more than 90 percent of people who take it, depending on which virus strain they have, The Des Moines Register reported ( ). They say it also has fewer side effects than older drugs used to treat hepatitis C, a virus most commonly spread by sharing infected needles. 
     According to the corrections department's medical director Harbans Deol, more than 10 percent of the prison system's inmates have the virus. 
     In order to qualify for the drug, inmates must show signs of illness. They have to be in prison for 18 months and must be willing to participate in alcohol- or drug-addiction treatment. The drugs aren't given to the inmate if he or she is allergic, pregnant, have heart problems, have bleeding disorders or have liver problems. 
     Deol says prison medical staff screen all incoming inmates for the virus, but they don't aggressively treat every inmate who has it. Usually, they will prescribe medications for prisoners who show signs of becoming seriously ill. 
     Two inmates have recently taken opted to take Sovaldi. Deol says the total cost to treat them is expected to reach about $147,000. 
     He says the prison system has budgeted about $1.5 million for the new medication for the current fiscal year.


Health Officials Monitor Respiratory Virus

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Public health officials on Monday said they're monitoring a high number of reports of a respiratory virus in several Midwest states including Iowa.
     Enterovirus EV-D68 begins like a cold with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, according to the state Department of Public Health. It appears to spread though close contact with infected people.
     "This is a really common virus," said Dr. Ann Garvey, a deputy state epidemiologist. "We see this virus circulate every year about this time. What's a little different this year and is causing more attention is that we're seeing it circulate in higher levels than we usually see."
     Additional information about the virus in Iowa is not available. Federal and state officials do not track the number of cases of the virus. It's also been reported in Illinois, Ohio and Kansas, according to Iowa health officials.
     The disease is a type of enterovirus, which is a common virus with more than 100 types. About 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the U.S. each year, according to state officials. Most people recover at home without complications.
     Officials warned Enterovirus EV-D68 may cause some people with severe respiratory illness to be hospitalized for further treatment. Infants, children and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to become sick.
      Infected people should drink fluids, rest and stay home to prevent spreading the disease. Individuals experiencing difficulty with breathing should contact their health care provider.





Monday News, September 8

School Board To Elect Officers

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening, and on the agenda will be the election of officers.  The school board will also hear from Angela Hurd of the Le Mars Parent-Teacher Organization as it is expected she will present a contribution toward the recently completed Project Playground.  The school board will hear the Superintendent's annual report from Dr. Todd Wendt, as well as receive the proposed district learning goals for 2014-2015.


Hickory Avenue Closed For Culvert Repair

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced the closing of Hickory Avenue from county road C-12 to 100 street.  That road will be closed for the next two and a half weeks beginning today, for a bridge replacement with a culvert. 


Library Board To Discuss Hours Of Operation

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Public Library will hold its monthy meeting late this afternoon at the library.  Items on the agenda include discussion concerning the computer/internet usage policy, along with the website contracting fee.  The library board will also discuss the hours of operation to the public.


Wayne Marty Competes In Le Mars Sprint Triathalon

(Le Mars) -- On Saturday, the Le Mars YMCA hosted its annual Sprint Triathalon. Among the 97 participants from Iowa and neighboring midwestern states was Le Mars resident Wayne Marty.  Marty, a former Biology professor at Westmar College, is 82 years young and was the event's oldest participant.  Saturday marked Marty's eighth Sprint Triathalon, having competed in each year the event has been held.  The Sprint Triathalon consists of a 300 yard swim, followed by a 15 mile bicycle ride, and then a three mile run.  Marty recalls how he got started eight years ago.

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Mary was asked if he had a particular favorite segment of the sprint triathalon.

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The 82 year old Le Mars resident says his body felt good after completing the three segment endurance athletic competition.

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The former Westmar Biology professor says he doesn't follow a strict regiment when it comes to running, only that he enjoys doing it.

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Marty says he originally would run three miles per day, but now he has cut back a bit, and he doesn't refer to it as running.

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Marty competed with his brother in last year's inaugural Mud Run, and says he hasn't yet decided if he will compete in this year's event.  As for next year's Sprint Triathalon, Marty says he'll have to see when the time comes.  


Hard Rock Casino Earns $7 Million In First Month

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The new Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City reported $7.2 million in revenue during its first month of operation.
     State regulators said Friday the new Hard Rock easily surpassed its predecessor's typical August results.
     In the past 10 Augusts, the former Argosy Sioux City casino reported revenue between $3.9 million and $5.3 million.
     Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brain Ohorilko says the increase is similar to what other communities experienced after older riverboat casinos were replaced with land-based casinos. The newer facilities offer larger gaming floors and more amenities.
     The early success is good news for the Missouri River Historical Development nonprofit, which distributes 4.25 percent of the Hard Rock's revenue to local charities. That translates to $304,000 for August.


Ernst And Braley Both Promote Ethanol Production

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Ethanol production has become a key issue in Iowa's closely matched U.S. Senate race, with both candidates pledging support for an industry that is important to the state's corn-powered agricultural economy.
     Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst have both sought to assure voters they oppose a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that would reduce the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into gasoline.
     Braley is touting his efforts to halt the changes. Ernst argues she supports maintaining the existing standard - known as the Renewable Fuel Standard - though she has taken questions over statements that she is she is opposed to subsidies from a "philosophical standpoint."
     The Iowa Farm Bureau's political committee endorsed Ernst, while the Iowa Corn Growers Association PAC backed Braley.


Oil Pipeline Proposed For Iowa

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa landowners want to see the details of a proposed oil pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota across the state to Illinois.
     Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners has said the 1,100-mile pipeline would likely cross 17 counties as it crosses from northwest to southeast Iowa. 
     Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado says public meetings will take place across Iowa in December.
     Landowner Don Kreber agreed to let the company survey some of his farmland in O'Brien County, but he still hasn't heard many details yet.


Crop Dusting Helicopter Crashes In Southwestern Iowa

 MACEDONIA, Iowa (AP) - The pilot of a crop-dusting helicopter is being treated for injuries after crashing in western Iowa this weekend.
     The helicopter crashed in a field near Macedonia after hitting a power line on Saturday afternoon.
     Treynor Fire Chief Russ Maguire says the male pilot was out of the wreckage and conscious when paramedics arrived.
     The pilot was taken to CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska for treatment. Authorities say his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
     Federal authorities are likely to investigate the cause of the crash.





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