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Thursday News, February 14

Le Mars Airport Conducts Survey

(Le Mars) -- The city of Le Mars wants your opinions and comments regarding the Le Mars Airport.  Residents and businesses alike are asked to complete a survey about the airport's services.  Earl Draayer is the manager of the Le Mars airport.  He describes the questions found on the survey.

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Draayer says the airport serves an important part of the entire transportation system that supports Le Mars, and for those who may wonder if the airport is being utilized he references the airport to that of a county gravel road.

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Draayer says the majority of the air traffic at Le Mars is business related as opposed to recreational flying. Draayer says he would like to see the airport expand its runway to five thousand feet in order to remain competitive with other regional airports.  However, Draayer admits before that can happen there would need to be some changes done to the Floyd River.
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Those surveys are to be returned by February 27th.


Sioux City Man Arrested After Shooting Dogs

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of shooting and killing his two dogs faces weapons charges.
Jon Holloway was charged Wednesday with reckless use of a firearm and discharging a gun within city limits. Two animal abuse charges were dismissed due to a filing error, but authorities may
refile them.
The 51-year-old Holloway is accused of shooting the Labradors Tuesday with a rifle in his backyard. An affidavit says Holloway shot them after ordering them separately into their kennel.
Police say Holloway had been arguing with his sister about the dogs being aggressive.
The city's animal control officers took the dogs. Their bodies will be examined.

House Approves Additional Funding For Mental Health Services

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House lawmakers have approved a bill giving some counties a share of $11.6 million so they continue treatment of mental health patients as the state transitions to a
regional system.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
The measure approved Wednesday would give money to 26 of 32 counties seeking extra help to last through this fiscal year.
The Department of Human Services selected 26 counties whose budgets were hurting the most. Polk County, the state's largest, and others wouldn't get funding because officials say they can
manage without help.
An amendment by Democratic Rep. Lisa Heddens, of Ames, seeking $20 million to cover all counties seeking funding was rejected.
With the lower figure, Polk County mental health administrator Lynn Ferrell says 950 people in the county could lose treatment.

State Senate To Discuss Education Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators are planning to debate a proposal to increase state funding to schools for the 2014-2015 academic year.
On Thursday the Senate was scheduled to vote on the plan. The Legislature is supposed to set school funding more than a year in advance. That didn't happen last year, so the Democratic-controlled
Senate has already passed a bill that would increase funding for the coming school year by 4 percent.
Democrats have been at odds with Gov. Terry Branstad over education. Branstad is encouraging legislators in the Republican-majority state House to approve his education reform plan before discussing general school funding levels for the next two school years.
Branstad's plan would boost minimum teacher pay and offer incentives to teachers who take on more tasks.

Lawyer Claims Age Discrimination For Reason Not Hired

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A court has refused to grant a new trial to a Michigan lawyer who claims the University of Iowa law school passed him over for a teaching job because of his age.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Donald Dobkin won't get a second trial in his age discrimination claims, which a jury rejected last year.
Dobkin applied for a teaching position in 2008, citing experience leading a large immigration law firm and other qualifications. A 32-year-old was offered the position. Dobkin claimed he was passed over because he was 55.
Dobkin's appeal argued that a judge erred by not allowing jurors to see an article by former North Dakota Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth about age discrimination in law schools.
The court says the article was inadmissible hearsay.


Waterloo Teachers Asked To Take Early Retirement

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - More than 100 teachers in Waterloo have been asked to consider early retirement.
Television station KWWL reports the Waterloo Community School District has mailed letters to 115 teachers about an incentive to retire early.
Spokeswoman Sharon Miller says the district needs to cut between $3 million and $5 million of its budget. She says eligible teachers should have received the letters by Wednesday.
Miller says the Waterloo School Board could approve the retirement incentives as early as February 25th.


Accounting Students To Help With Tax Forms

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Accounting students at the University of Northern Iowa are helping people prepare their taxes.
The students are providing free income tax assistance through a volunteer program that began Wednesday and generally runs through April 10. International students can get assistance beginning March 11.
Sessions are Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. No appointment is necessary, but organizers encourage taxpayers to arrive early.
Students will be available to electronically prepare and e-file federal and Iowa tax returns.





Wednesday Afternoon News, Feb 13

Man Arrested For Council Bluffs Shooting

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting a 22-year-old woman and her toddler son.
Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers says 30-year-old Ronald Farr Jr. was arrested at his home in Harlan without incident on Tuesday. Farr is accused of shooting Heather Wilson and her son,
Tyson Underwood.
Authorities say Wilson was putting the boy and another child into a car just before 6 a.m. Tuesday when the gunfire erupted at the apartment complex on the east side of Council Bluffs. Wilson
was hit several times. Tyson was hit once in an arm.
They are being treated at hospitals in Omaha, Neb.
Online records say Farr remained in Pottawattamie County Jail on Wednesday. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.

Dubuque Legislator Says He'll Run for US House

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic state Rep. Pat Murphy says he's running for the Iowa congressional seat that will be vacated by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley.
Murphy, from Dubuque, announced Wednesday he would run in next year's election for Iowa's 1st Congressional District, which covers the northeastern part of the state. Murphy has served in the state
House since 1989 and was speaker from 2007 through 2011.
Murphy says he will focus on issues like jobs, education and health care. Other possible Democratic candidates include state Sen. Liz Mathis and state Rep. Tyler Olson.
The 1st District seat will be open because Braley, of Waterloo, has opted to run for Senate after four terms in the House. The Senate seat will be vacant because incumbent Tom Harkin has decided
against seeking re-election.

Northern Iowa City May Take Over Country Club

GARNER, Iowa (AP) - The City Council in the northern Iowa city of Garner has agreed to discuss taking over operation of an ailing country club.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that the Garner Golf and Country Club is $140,000 in debt. Membership has declined from 210 to about 140, and the club is looking for a partner.
The president of the club's board of directors, Doug Cox, told the council on Tuesday night that the course and club are assets to the community.
Mayor Ken Mick agreed and said the council should study the idea of taking over the operation.
Garner council members asked for an accounting of the club's finances and its assets.

Western Iowa Principal Plans to Fight for Job

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - The principal of Glenwood Community High School in western Iowa says she's been wrongly accused and intends to fight for her job.
The school board voted Tuesday to begin the process of firing Kerry Newman, who's been on paid administrative leave since Jan. 18.
The board cited four reasons: an inappropriate relationship with a district employee, poor judgment, inappropriate use of resources and being an ineffective role model.
District officials have not elaborated on the allegations. Newman says the allegations are false.
Newman has been principal at the school since 2007.

North Liberty council OKs chief's resignation deal

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) - The North Liberty City Council has approved a resignation package that includes nearly $37,700 in salary for former Police Chief Jim Warkentin.
The Gazette reports that the package approved unanimously Tuesday night extends Warkentin's benefits through March 31. It also includes a confidentiality clause and bars him from filing any
employment claims against the city in court.
Warkentin has said personal reasons led him to resign, but he hasn't elaborated.
North Liberty Mayor Tom Salm and City Administrator Ryan Heiar have declined to comment on Warkentin's resignation.
Warkentin worked for the department from Aug. 9, 1999, until Feb. 6.
Lt. Diane Venenga has been named acting police chief.

Iowa Town Ends Contract With Sex Offender

CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The city of Centerville has terminated the contract of a convicted Iowa sex offender it had hired as temporary city administrator.
Thirty-seven-year-old Kevin Stocker, of Elkhart, was hired by the City Council earlier this month. The city said in an email from Councilman Edwin Brand on Wednesday that Stocker's contract was
terminated as of Tuesday. The email said the council would have no further comment.
Mayor Jim Senior had said he'd known about Stocker's past but didn't share the information with the council before Stocker was hired.
The Iowa Sex Offender Registry says Stocker was convicted of enticing a minor in August 2006 in Black Hawk County. The girl was between the ages of 14 and 17. The judge gave him probation and a
suspended prison sentence of two years.


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