Wednesday Afternoon News, March 13
American Legion To Hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(Le Mars) -- The American Legion Wasmer Post #241 of Le Mars will hold a special ribbon cutting ceremony this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The ceremony is to acknowledge the recent renovation of the building's facade'. Steve Jester serves as a trustee for the local American Legion post. He says the planning for the new building front started more than two years ago.
Jester says the total investment was over $60,000. The Legion official says the building has some unique features.
Jester says with the new building front, and the painting of the waving flag on the side of the building, many people have taken notice and commented on the improvements to the American Legion hall.
Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees Approve Moving Loading Dock Facilities
(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees approved plans to move and modify the loading dock area at the hospital. The approval was made last evening during the regular monthly meeting of the hospital trustees, and Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin says the loading dock project needed to be acted upon before the trustees can approve the major multi-million dollar expansion project.
Sioux City Police Involved With Standoff
(Sioux City) -- A standoff with a suspect that lasted most of the night in Sioux City's Greenville area is now over. Sioux City Police officer Chad Sheehan explains what happened.
Sheehan says the incident began after midnight this morning when police responded to a disturbance call. The man involved had left the scene of the disturbance and gone to a relative's house in Greenville. The suspect, a male in his 20's, was said to be armed, and allowed his relatives in the home to leave without incident. No shots were fired during the standoff and neither the suspect, or any officers were injured. The suspect's name has not yet been released.
Communities and Businesses Want New I-29 Exchange
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Five entities that want another Interstate 29 exit to be built south of Sioux City are preparing to underwrite a nearly $400,000 study.
The cities of Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff and Salix, along with Woodbury County and an arm of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, are backing the idea. The exit would serve Sioux City's Southbridge Industrial Park and the county-proposed Liberty Industrial Park.
Plans to ask the Iowa Department of Transportation for the exit failed last year when local officials couldn't agree on whether to ask the department to rebuild the Port Neal interchange or build
another to the north.
Sergeant Bluff Mayor Dale Petersen says a new interchange would make the area more accessible to businesses.
Des Moines School Board Split On New Superintendent's Contract
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A divided Des Moines school board has approved a contract for the district's new superintendent.
The board voted Tuesday 4-3 in favor of nearly $300,000 in total compensation for Thomas Ahart. The 45-year-old had been interim superintendent for the 32,000 student district.
Some board members who voted against the contract said they believed no other candidates were seriously considered for the job.
Board member Joe Jongewaard said at the meeting that no qualified candidate "had any chance of getting this job."
Ahart's contract went into effect immediately. It extends through June 30, 2015.
Other job finalists were James Browder, superintendent of the Anchorage School District in Alaska, and Carey Wright, chief academic officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Iowa Finance Authority Helping With Housing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state agency is giving over $70 million in federal tax credits to 12 affordable housing projects in Iowa.
Officials from the Iowa Finance Authority say the credits will help build and preserve 635 housing units in the state.
Gov. Terry Branstad says seniors, students and families in Iowa need more affordable housing options.
The Finance Authority is responsible for giving federal housing tax credits to developers. Developers sell the credits to investors to raise funding for their projects. The Finance Authority received
38 applications for the credits. The awards total about $7 million in credits per year for ten years.
Locations for the projects include Des Moines, Newton, Waukee and Storm Lake.
Southeast Iowa Lawmakers Want Branstad To Save Mental Health Prison
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Six southeast Iowa lawmakers are asking Gov. Terry Branstad to reverse his decision to close a mental health care unit at the state penitentiary in Fort Madison.
In a letter sent to the governor Wednesday, one Republican and five Democratic lawmakers say closing the 10-year-old unit will be detrimental to inmates with mental health needs.
Branstad's budget proposal announced in February calls for closure of the $26 million, 200-bed facility in 2014. Prisoners would be transferred to prison medical units in Clarinda and Coralville and the new state penitentiary in Fort Madison.
State budget director Dave Roederer says closing the unit saves the state $8 million in annual operations costs.
Signing the letter were Democrats Tom Courtney, Rich Taylor, Dennis Cohoon, Jerry Kearns and Todd Taylor and Republican Dave Heaton.