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Tuesday Afternoon News, August 14

Sheriff Employee Association Meets With Supervisors

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Employee Association, represented by Communications Center Supervisor Kirk Hatting and Sergarent Rick Singer met before the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning to discuss terms for a new three-year contract.  

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The Sheriff's Employee Association is asking for a 6 percent raise in pay for the duration of the contract.  Hatting says the supervisors appeared to be understanding of the issue.

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One issue that was discussed was the payment of overtime and incentive pay given during the time of severe weather warnings.

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The supervisors and sheriff's employee association will meet again within the next few weeks to reach an agreement.

Sioux City Council Changes Zoning For Land-Based Casino

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City is moving ahead with plans for a land-based casino.
     The  City Council on Monday approved changing city code to allow a casino to be built in the downtown area to replace a riverboat casino.
     Iowa legalized riverboat gambling in 1989 and land-based casinos in 2007, but Sioux City zoning codes were never updated
     The city has created a 462-acre district, and a new casino would have to be built within the zone.
     The nonprofit partner that holds Woodbury County's gambling license is accepting proposals for a land-based casino. State gambling regulators recently put the license up for grabs after months of talks failed between the nonprofit group and the owner of the riverboat. The deadline for casino applications is Nov. 1.


USD Masters Programs Deemed "Affordable"

 VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - A website says the University of South Dakota's online master's degrees in education are affordable and good.
     The site rates online university course offerings. Its founder, Vicky Phillips, says several University of South Dakota online master's courses in education get a "Best Buy" rating from the site.
     The website says the overall cost of the university's master's degrees in education was about $16,700.
     Phillips says that puts the online degrees in the top 20 percent in the country for affordability.


Iowa Cold Cases Material Removed From Website

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A nonprofit group credited with raising awareness about Iowa's unsolved homicides says it is removing material about several cases from its website written by one of its
former volunteers.
     Iowa Cold Cases Founder and President Jody Ewing says she agreed to remove case summaries, articles and blog posts written by former vice president Nancy Bowers to avoid an expensive copyright
     Ewing says Bowers was removed from her position on the group's board in June for what she called unprofessional behavior.
     Bowers then formed a similar website about Iowa's unsolved murders, and her attorney demanded that Iowa Cold Cases remove more than 330 items of her work.
     Ewing says she plans to seek to have Bowers' new website taken down, calling it a copycat site.
     Bowers declined an interview request.




Tuesday News, August 14

Plymouth Oil Company Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

(Merrill) -- High grain prices and high transportation costs have forced Plymouth Oil Company of Merrill to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Dave Hoffman of the Plymouth Oil Company says the board felt this was the best move to pay off their debts. 
 (sot) Hoffman bankruptcy1
The papers were filed in Plymouth County on July 23rd.  Hoffman says Plymouth Oil had hoped to obtain corn germ from their neighbors next door, Plymouth Energy, but those plans fell through.
 (sot) Hoffman bankruptcy2
Hoffman says the plan is to keep operating, and to keep paying bills.  The plant started operations in February of 2010.  It specializes in producing food grade products from corn, such as corn oil for cooking purposes.  Hoffman says the decision was in the best interest for the investors and for the creditors.

School Board Discusses Hiring Policy

(Le Mars) -- In last evening's school board meeting, the Le Mars Board of Education reviewed and discussed the hiring procedures conducted by the Le Mars community School District.  Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools, presented the board with a manual detailing how the district advertises an open position, how team members are given training and assist with the interview process, how candidates must meet a certain criteria in order to be considered.  No action was taken on the proposed hiring manual during last evenings meeting, as board members expressed an interest of including additional information. The school board discussed the federal law of "No Child Left Behind" and how it would affect the Le Mars school district since Iowa was not given a waiver on the law.  Dr. Wendt told the board, he believes the school district will be in a good position, and it is his belief that more attention may be directed to the new Iowa Common Core.  The board also discussed the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremonies being planned for next Monday, August 20th for the completion of construction for the Phase II project.  The ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 5:00 p.m. followed by a tailgate party at 5:30 p.m. Self-guided tours will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the introduction of autumn activities and participants will occur at 6:30 p.m. and self guided tours will continue at 7:30 p.m.


Supervisors To Discuss Bargaining Contracts

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a report during today's meeting regarding bargaining unit contract discussions.  The report will be presented by Kirk Hatting of the Sheriff's Department Employee Association.  Also on today's agenda is County Engineer Tom Rohe, who is expected to discuss with the board a gravel contract with Knife River, as well as an application for traffic safety funds for the intersection of County Road C-38 and K-42.


Floyd Valley Trustees To Meet

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening, and on their agenda will be discussion on the proposed north side addition.  The hospital trustees will review the latest quarterly Press Ganey Satisfaction survey, approve some capital acquisitions and hear updates from Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin.  The trustees are expected to review and approve the June financial statement, and look at the July statistics.


Food "Cash Mob" Scheduled

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce has announced that Thursday, August 23rd will be the date for the next "Cash Mob".  This time around, a downtown food establishment will be selected as the "cash mob" scene.  Those downtown businesses eligible include the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, and Pizza Ranch.


Crop Conditions Show Slight Improvement

(Des Moines) -- For the first time in weeks, the weekly crop condition report actually showed some improvement.  The improvement was noted in the soybeans, as rains fell on the state during the past week.  Soybean condition is rated as 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 24 percent good, and only one percent of the state's soybean crop is rated as excellent condition.  More than half the state's corn crop is rated as being poor to very poor condition. 


Obesity Rates Growing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal report says 29 percent ofIowa's adults are severely overweight.
     The report issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Colorado had the lowest figure, at just below 21 percent, while Mississippi had the highest at nearly 36 percent.
     Iowa's neighbor to the west, Nebraska, had a rate of 28.4 percent.
     Catherine Lillehoj of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the 2011 statistics aren't directly comparable to previous numbers because of changes in collection methods.
     Lillehoj says there have been dramatic increases in obesity across the nation, mainly because of poor diets and lack of exercise. Obesity is often accompanies by health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.





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