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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.


Friday Afternoon News, April 12

City Crews To Pick Up Tree Branches On Friday

(Le Mars) -- Starting today, city work crews will go cover the entire town picking up branches from storm damaged trees. Crews will start on the west side of town and head east till they are done. Tree branches are to be placed between the side walk and the curb. The city crews will only be picking up the big branches. This pickup will be done in one pass so crews will not be returning to your area once they have been by. In  addition to this the tree dump site will be open Saturday’s from 10:00am -2:00pm. For branch drop-off.


School Foundation Banquet Rescheduled

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Foundation Banquet has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 24th beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Le Mars Convention Center, lower level. Tickets may still be purchased by calling the Superintendent's office at 546-4155 by Friday, April 19th.  If you already have purchased tickets, you are urged to contact the Superintendent's office to confirm your plans to attend.


Wartburg College Choir To Perform In Le Mars

WAVERLY, Iowa — The critically acclaimed Wartburg Choir will perform in Le Mars on Sunday, April 21, during its five-state national tour. The 77-member choir will sing at St. Joseph Catholic Church, located at 605 Plymouth St. N.E., at its 11 a.m. service. The choir also will perform at St. John’s Lutheran Church, at 201 1st Ave. N.W., at 4 p.m.   Le Mars natives Michael Sauer and Katelyn Ewing, are both second year members of the Wartburg Choir.  The Wartburg Choir has performed at the White House and the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The choir tour will include performances in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado.  Nearly one-third of its 1700 students are involved with its three touring ensembles and other musical groups.

Latest Moisture Helps Reduce Severity of Drought

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A cool, rainy spring is easing dry conditions in parts of the nation's farm belt that saw the worst of last year's drought.
But optimism is being tempered, as that weather pattern has kept anxious farmers in most of Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin from planting.
The latest drought monitor released Thursday shows snowmelt and rain replenished ground moisture in parts of eastern Iowa, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Central Iowa counties are improved but still short of moisture.
Rain has helped drought-parched areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, but many counties remain woefully dry.
There is enough topsoil moisture in much of the farm belt to allow plants to emerge, but no deep moisture to rely on if the rain stops again.

Truckers Held To A Higher Standard For DWI

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Unlike ordinary drivers, the Iowa Supreme Court says licensed truckers will not be given a break if they're caught driving with a blood-alcohol concentration barely over the
legal limit.
The court ruled Friday that the Department of Transportation can suspend commercial drivers' licenses without considering the margin of error of breath tests.
Justices ruled against Brandon Watson, who lost his license for one year after police said he had a .041 blood-alcohol concentration during a traffic stop. The limit for truckers is .04.
Watson argued the DOT should have subtracted the test's margin of error of .004, which means he would have been below the limit.  That's what DOT does for non-commercial drivers.
The high court ruled that state lawmakers have chosen to hold commercial drivers to a higher standard.


Real Estate Developer Charged With Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines area developer has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for defrauding banks out of $2.9 million.
John Kline received the 30-month prison sentence Friday as part of a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty in January to two counts of bank fraud.
Kline and Randy Walters were indicted in 2011 on nine counts of bank and wire fraud. Prosecutors say the real estate partners misused loans intended for two development projects.
The indictment says the scheme cost 13 banks a total of $2.9 million from November 2004 through January 2007.
Walters pleaded guilty in September to a single charge. He was sentenced in February to serve a year and a day in federal prison.


Car and Train Collide Near Ogden

OGDEN, Iowa (AP) - A man and his son have been injured in a collision with a train at a central Iowa crossing.
Chief Deputy Rick Lampe (LAMP-ee) of the Boone County Sheriff's Office says the accident occurred at 8:08 a.m. Friday on the west edge of Ogden.
Lampe says the car approached the crossing as the father was driving his son to school. Lampe says the father apparently saw the westbound train too late to stop.
The deputy says the boy already has been released from a hospital. His father was flown to a Des Moines hospital. The deputy says he can't release their names yet.
Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis says there are markers at the crossing but no crossing arms. The train had two locomotives and 91 railcars.


Chemical Spill At Medical Clinic

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say several people at a medical clinic in West Des Moines have been affected by fumes from a chemical spill.
Workers in protective suits were called Friday morning to help with the cleanup at Lakeview Medical Park. Officials say the people were not seriously injured but were being checked as a precaution.
David Edgar of West Des Moines Emergency Medical Services says about 10 people were taken to hospitals.
West Des Moines Fire Chief Mike Whitsell says about 8 ounces of phenol was spilled. The chemical's vapors caused some people to suffer from minor respiratory issues and vomiting. Phenol, also known as a carbolic acid, can cause internal damage if ingested.
The building was evacuated, but doctors and patients in nearby clinics were later let back in.







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