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Wednesday Afternoon News, April 3

Floyd Valley Honors Volunteers

(Le Mars) -- More than 200 volunteers were recognized during an award luncheon at the Floyd Valley Hospital this morning.  All told, the volunteers contributed over 10,800 hours of service to the local hospital during this past year.  Yvonne Law was given an award service pin for contributing 2500 hours during the past five and a half years.  She says she started volunteering for the hospital gift shop as a way to keep busy after her retirement. 
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Law says depending upon the week, but generally will average at least 10 hours each week.  Nancy Augustine serves as the chairperson for the Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary.  She says the hospital needs and appreciates the contributions of service time and financial donations made by the volunteers.
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Augustine says the hospital auxiliary generates revenue through special fund raisers such as bake sales and the gift shop items.
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The auxiliary chair says the volunteer organization also provides "E-R bags" to young people.

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Augustine says the E-R bags contain crayons and coloring books, puzzles, or toys.

 

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

(Le Mars) -- April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Cathy Van Maanen of the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence says there are some startling statistics when you look at the number of sexual assaults that take place. 
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Van Maanen says sexual assaults and domestic violence are often times a "silent crime" because too many times they go unreported, or if reported, sometimes is ignored.  Van Maanen says the CSADV is setting up a new program entitled "From Darkness to Light" which serves as an adult education program about sexual assault cases.

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The Council on Sexual Abuse Director says the Le Mars Community School will participate in the program, and she hopes within the near future to share the program with other school districts within Plymouth County.  Van Maanen says her agency, like so many others, have felt the financial belt tightening as budget cuts have reduced funding.  Although she remains hopeful and confident that no one will be turned away.

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Storm Lake Woman Accused Of Stealing Insurance Funds

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Storm Lake woman has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 in insurance proceeds from family friends.
45-year-old Tum Soulin was arrested Tuesday in Storm Lake and faces felony charges of ongoing criminal conduct and theft. Iowa online court records list her name as Soulin Tum, who also is known as
Khamphavongsa Tum.
Assistant Storm Lake Police Chief Todd Erskine says Tum Soulin took the money as she supposedly was investing it for family friends.
A Buena Vista County jailer said Tum Soulin remained in custody on Wednesday. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.
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Centerville Man Arrested For Threatening School

CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A Centerville man has been charged with threat of terrorism after complaining about the lack of security at local school buildings.
Centerville police say 51-year-old Brian Joseph Davis is being held in the Appanoose County Jail on $50,000 bond.
A statement released by police Wednesday says Davis made multiple threats allegedly saying he could walk into any school in Centerville and start shooting kids. Police say he made the
statements hoping security at the schools would change. School administrators were notified of his remarks and contacted police.  Officers arrested Davis on Tuesday.
The charge is a felony in Iowa punishable by up to five years in prison.
The case had not yet been entered in online court records and it was unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

 

Water District To Repay Money To USDA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A financially struggling central Iowa rural water supplier has reached a debt repayment agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and bondholders to keep it
operating while it restructures debt.
The Xenia Rural Water District, based in Bouton, distributes water to 9,400 customers in 11 counties west of Des Moines. It has $45 million of debt owed to the USDA and private bondholders.
The USDA says in a statement Tuesday that it continues oversight of the water district, its operations and its finances after working for 3  1/2 years to help Xenia improve operations.
A recent debt repayment agreement between Xenia and bondholders cleared the way for USDA Rural Development to move forward with a debt restructuring plan.
The district's board approved a 7 percent rate increase in December.


DNR To Improve Rice Lake Water Quality

LAKE MILLS, Iowa (AP) - The state Department of Natural Resources will begin reducing the level of Rice Lake in northern Iowa as part of an effort to restock fish and improve water quality.
The DNR says that starting Thursday, it will draw down the lake by 4 feet. The lower level will help re-establish aquatic plants that offer fish habitat and improve water quality.
Plans call for restocking the lake with sport fish.
State officials say they believe the lake, which is just south of the Minnesota border near Lake Mills, will have a higher recreational value after the work is complete and it's refilled.

 

 

 

 

   

Wednesday News, April 3

Fire Fighters Called To Residence With Bed On Fire

(Le Mars) -- Saying that smoke detectors work, Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says it was a smoke detector that saved a life and property at a house fire located at 135 8th Avenue Southeast.  The call was received Tuesday, shortly before 12:00 noon, and the initial report was for the fire department to respond to a fire alarm.  Schipper says Norma Thoma, the occupant of the home who called the fire department, did not indicate there was a fire at the residence.

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Aside from the bed and blankets, there wasn't any fire damage to the home, however, there was some smoke damage. 
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The Le Mars Fire Chief estimates the damage to be about $1000.  There were no injuries, and the fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour and ten minutes.


Supervisors Award Construction Bids

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved bids for two construction projects scheduled for this summer.  The bid of $154,900 submitted by Gus Construction of Casey, Iowa for the construction of a reinforced concrete box culvert.  That culvert replacement is located on 130th Street east of County Road K-22.  Graves Construction Company of Spencer, Iowa was awarded the bid of a second construction project involving the installation of precast concrete deck panel to a bridge located on 120th Street east of County Road K-18.  Graves submitted a low bid of $95,409 for that project.

 

City Council Hears Development Proposal

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard from three Le Mars businessmen who want to make a new housing development located on the southern edge of the city. Investors, Bruce Kellen, Mark Nuebel, and Jeremy Sitzmann comprise of the K-N-S First Addition, and they appeared before the city council on Tuesday to share their plan. The development property is located between 12th Street and 15th Street and east of 6th Avenue also known as Kenaley Ranch.  The three investors want to offer "affordable" housing the the Le Mars community, as well as to offer tax revenue for the city of Le Mars.  The housing development area would consist of about 50 lots to be sold all within a few culdesacs.  The three were asking the city for $4300 for each lot to cover expenses with infrastructure costs such as water and sewer lines.   The city council voted to approve the concept, but they did not give the go-ahead for the project itself.


Klein Awarded School District Employee of the Month

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District honored its high school secretary, Krista Klein, yesterday afternoon at the April Employee of the Month.  Gale Horan, Deb Richarz, and Linda Coulter submitted the nomination.  They say about Klein that she help organize the building with all that she does.  She is receptionist for the public and the students.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and a pleasant voice that makes everyone feel welcome and enjoy working at the high school.  She takes care of attendance and helps with meds for the students. She keeps us advised with what's going on with announcements. She helps with money and lunch accounts, and she is responsible for student's records.  Our congratulations to Krista Klein for being selected as the Le Mars Community School District Employee of the Month.

 

Floyd Valley To Honor Volunteers

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital will be honoring all of its volunteers today during an appreciation luncheon.  The event will begin this morning at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level Conference Center.  Volunteers will be honored with an hours of service award.  In addition to the presentation of hours of service recognitions, there will be entertainment for the volunteers.  Tonya Huenink, RD, LD of HyVee will serve as the keynote speaker.

 

North West REC To Hold Annual Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The utility cooperative that provides electricity and power to many of Plymouth County and surrounding counties rural residences will hold its annual meeting this evening.  North West Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative serves Plymouth, Sioux, O'Brien, and Ida Counties.  The annual meeting will be held at the Le Mars Community High School with a banquet starting at 5:30 p.m. followed with the meeting at 7:00 p.m.  Two long-time directors, Alan Lucken and Gerald Klemme will be stepping down from the board of directors.  Lucken says the local utility cooperative has been fortunate.  While many rural electric cooperatives are losing customers due to fewer farms, the Northwest REC has been able to pick up business through economic development projects, such as ethanol plants and large-scale livestock operations.
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Branstad's Attorney Fees On the Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The cost of defending Gov. Terry Branstad in a discrimination case is going up and there's no end in sight for the case.
A law firm hired to represent Branstad has been paid $370,559 in state dollars to date.
The state hired Des Moines attorney George A. LaMarca last year, after Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey filed a lawsuit accusing Branstad and top staffers of
discriminating against him because he's gay. Godfrey charges that the governor cut his salary by nearly $40,000 after he declined to resign.
A panel of state officials approved LaMarca's $325 hourly rate. LaMarca says the case merits taxpayer money because he's defending the rights of Branstad and future governors.
LaMarca says state law allows such salary reductions.
Godfrey declined to comment Tuesday on the attorney fees. He called the case a difficult situation.

 

Senate Passes Rules For Regents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Members of the state Senate want to shine more light on the activities of the Board of Regents.
The Senate passed a measure which would do just that. The vote Tuesday in favor of the bill was 49-1, and it now goes to the House.
The measure requires the board that oversees Iowa's state universities to operate like local government by providing opportunity for public comment.
Under current law, the governor appoints all nine board members. If the bill passes, the ninth member would be elected by faculty members.
It would also prohibit the board's executive director, members or staff from having a business relationship with any employee of a regent institution.
Democratic Sen. Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls says the bill stipulates "basic stuff" that any organization employing Iowans should follow.


Senate Committee Approves Tax Break For Small Businesses That Provide Health Insurance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel approved a bill that would give a new income tax break to small businesses if they cover part of their employees' health insurance.
The measure passed a Senate Ways and Means subcommittee Tuesday with bipartisan support and now moves to the full committee. It's an incentive for small businesses to provide health insurance
coverage for their employees.
Under the Affordable Care Act, a small business that employs 25 or fewer people and chooses to cover 50 percent of their employees' health insurance costs gets a federal income tax break.
If the bill passes, these businesses would get an additional state income tax break, worth a quarter of their federal savings.
Democratic Sen. Matt McCoy, of Des Moines, estimates more than 73,000 businesses could benefit.



   

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