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Monday Afternoon News, February 18

City Council To Decide Upon Hotel-Motel Sales Tax Grant Requests

(Le Mars) -- When the Le Mars City Council convenes on Tuesday for their regular meeting they will decide upon which organizations will receive grant funding from the local Hotel-Motel Sales Tax.  The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board received twenty different funding requests amounting to nearly $57,500. The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board is recommending to the city council to approve just over $40,000 worth of grant requests.  The requests are to help with expenses for an event that will attract visitors to Le Mars.  Some of the requests would help with Ice Cream Days, the Plymouth County Fair, bike rides, art and music festivals, and upgrades with the Le Mars Convention Center.


Boswell Supports Braley For Senate Bid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Iowa congressman Leonard Boswell is endorsing Democrat Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate.
Boswell used his Facebook page to endorse Braley on Monday, saying the four-term congressman has fought "passionately for Iowa's small towns, big cities, and working families."
Braley announced earlier this month that he'd seek the Senate seat held for decades by Democrat Tom Harkin, who won't seek re-election. Braley also has been endorsed by Iowa Democratic
Congressman Dave Loebsack.
Boswell served eight terms in Congress before being beat last November by Republican Rep. Tom Latham in the 3rd Congressional District race.

Branstad To Meet With HHS Secretary Sebelius

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he will travel to Washington to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss extending a state health insurance
program set to expire later this year.
Branstad told reporters Monday he would meet with Sebelius on Friday and discuss extending a federal waiver to continue the IowaCare program, which provides limited health care coverage for
about 70,000 Iowans.
The governor opposes expansion of Medicaid but wants to continue IowaCare, which offers more limited services and reaches fewer people than Medicaid.


Branstad Wants To Recruit California Businesses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad wants California businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa.
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Branstad says he'll travel to the West Coast this week to try to convince companies to relocate. Branstad, a Republican, declined to name the businesses he'll be courting.
Branstad is set to travel to California on Tuesday and return Wednesday. He will meet with businesses that already have an Iowa presence, as well as those he'd like to attract.
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A spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority said Branstad will be accompanied by two staffers and travel for all three will cost an estimated $2,500.
Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown was critical of a recent effort by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lure California companies. When asked what he would think if California Governor Jerry Brown was to visit Iowa with the purpose of recruiting businesses, Branstad replied this way:
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Property Tax Reform Bill Introduced In State Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal to cut commercial property taxes and limit increases to residential and agricultural property taxes has been introduced in the Legislature.
Under the proposal, introduced Monday in the state House, the state would gradually reduce the taxable portion of a commercial property's value, so owners would eventually pay taxes on just 80
percent of the assessed value. The state would provide funding to local governments to make up lost tax revenue.
The proposal would limit the amount that residential, agricultural and commercial values could rise in a year to 2 percent, down from the current 4 percent cap for residential and agricultural properties.
Lawmakers have expressed support for property tax relief, though Senate Democrats have offered an alternate plan to reduce commercial property taxes.


9000 People Sign On-Line Petition For Olympic Wrestling

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -9,000 people have signed an online petition aimed at keeping wrestling in the Olympics. The governor gave the newest count of online petitioners from
the Let's Keep Wrestling campaign website at a news conference Monday.
Branstad launched the petition drive last week at the state high school wrestling tournament after the International Olympic Committee decided to remove the sport from the Olympic Games in 2020.

The move to end wrestling at the Olympics surprised many because the sport had been part of the Olympics for more than a century.
There have been several notable wrestlers with an Iowa connection that have competed in the Olympics including Dan Gable, Chris Taylor, Nate Carr, Tom Brands, and Cal Sanderson.

Decorah Eagles Move To New Nest

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - The Decorah eagles have moved to a new nest and will be offline for much of this year.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reports ( ) the eagles built a new nest about 400 feet from their old one. They have been watched throughout the world thanks to a camera that
provided streaming video over the Internet.
Pat Schlarbaum, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources' wildlife diversity program, calls eagles "compulsive nest builders" and says their move isn't related to cameras that
have documented their lives since 2007.
Bob Anderson, who directs the Raptor Resource Project, says if nearby landowners give their support, his group will install news cameras this fall.


Man Dies From Vehicle Crushing Him

BARTLETT, Iowa (AP) - A Nebraska man has been crushed under a vehicle that he was working on near a maintenance shop.
Fremont County deputies and rescue workers were sent to the shop in Bartlett around 2:15 p.m. Saturday. They found that 57-year-old Earl Schmitt, of Omaha, Neb., and another man had been working on the vehicle when it slipped off jack stands and pinned Schmitt.
The rescue workers freed Schmitt from beneath the vehicle but were unable to save his life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Monday News, February 18

Squirrel To Blame For Loss of Power

(Le Mars) -- If you were listening to the KLEM radio auction on Saturday, you may have wondered why at about 12:15 p.m. the auction abruptly halted without notice, and you perhaps were also wondering why we were no longer transmitting a signal for just over an hour.  The explanation is a squirrel was on a utility pole behind KLEM's offices and apparently had touched the wrong wires blowing up a transformer and resulting in KLEM, along with twenty other businesses and residents to be without power for a little more than an hour.


Le Mars Fire and Rescue and Le Mars Ambulance Respond To Sunday Accident

(Le Mars) -- At about 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon the Le Mars Fire and Rescue and the Le Mars Ambulance responded to an injury related accident that happened near 1240 Lincoln Street Northeast. Additional details concerning the accident are not known at this time.


State House To Take Up Education Bills

(Sioux City) -- This week the Iowa House will begin debate on an education reform plan that's a priority of Governor Branstad.
Representative Ron Jogensen heads the House Education Committee.  The Sioux City Republican says lawmakers are hoping to pass a plan to help regain Iowa's former standing as the leading state in public education.
The House Education Committee has advanced a modified version of the plan which includes a four thousand dollar increase in teacher starting pay and options for bonuses for veteran teachers mentoring new educators.

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Jorgensen says parts of the plan were made optional because of concerns from rural districts.

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The Education Committee voted 13-10 on a straight party vote to send the plan to the full house.  The Senate has already approved a different plan, focusing on funding instead of reform.  Jorgensen says he's hopeful both chambers will reach a compromise by the end of this month.

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Council Bluffs Man Shoots Girl Friend and Himself

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Police say an Iowa man fatally shot
his girlfriend before taking his own life this weekend.
Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said 38-year-old Stephony Metzger died Saturday morning in the bedroom of her mobile home.
Police say that after 42-year-old Terry Francis shot his girlfriend, he shot himself.
Francis and Metzger had dated for several years, but neighbor Jennifer Iwersen says Metzger had recently been trying to end the relationship.
Metzger had three children between the ages of 12 and 18.
The shooting was discovered after Metzger's 18-year-old daughter called police Saturday morning around 10:15.


Waterloo Man Found Guilty of Murder

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A 34-year-old Iowa man faces life in prison after his convictions for shooting his former fiancee and killing her mother in May.
A Black Hawk County jury on Friday found Kevin Ambrose guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Authorities say he shot former fiancee Marlene Buss, tried to shoot one of his own friends, Undray Reed, and fatally shot Buss' mother, Kay Straw.
Buss had filed for a protection order against him on May 2.
Ambrose's sentencing has not been scheduled. The first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.


Branstad Wants To Forgive Doctors' School Debts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad's proposal to attract more physicians to Iowa's less populated areas by forgiving medical school debt is welcome news to longtime Keokuk surgeon
Doctor Phil Caropreso.
Caropreso says loan forgiveness might help students who want to practice in smaller communities like Keokuk, in southeast Iowa, but graduate with crushing debt.
Branstad's plan, announced in January, would also increase the number of medical residencies in Iowa and try to reduce frivolous medical suits.
A medical association report ranked Iowa 40th in the ratio of physicians to state residents, behind neighboring states Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Lawmakers would need to approve the plan.


Anti-abortion Rally Scheduled For State Capitol Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will join for a Statehouse rally in opposition to abortion rights.
Nine groups opposed to abortion rights will gather Monday afternoon in the Capitol Rotunda to pray. They later will meet with lawmakers to discuss abortion-related legislation.
Branstad opposes abortion rights but has declined to say whether he supported any abortion bills introduced this session.
Jennifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, says this is the 10th anniversary of the annual rally.
She says her organization supports a bill introduced by Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley that would ban abortions in which a doctor meets with a woman by webcam and can
then prescribe medication.


Companies Owe Iowa Money For Start-up Loans

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Companies that received incentives from Iowa in the past decade, but failed to deliver the jobs and investment they promised owe the state $7.5 million.
The amount owed is about 11 percent of the total incentives paid. But some of the companies that owe Iowa money folded, so there's little recourse for the state.
Iowa handed out $67.6 million between 2003 and June 30 mostly in the form of low-interest or forgivable loans.
State economic development spokeswoman Tina Hoffman says incentives help Iowa attract businesses.
Starting a business is risky, and half of all small businesses fail in their first five years.
Curt Nelson with the Entrepreneurial Development Center in Cedar Rapids says he expects to lose three out every 10 start-ups that get incentives.


Car Chase Results in Fatal Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Family members say the 33-year-old man who died in an Iowa police chase while his son rode along was a veteran who abducted his son last fall out of concern for his
Family members of Jeremiah Johnson told The Des Moines Register he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jeremiah Johnson's 5-year-old son, Johnnathen, suffered serious injuries when his dad's vehicle slammed into a parked police cruiser at roughly 130 miles per hour on Friday. The boy's grandfather, Duayne Johnson, says Johnnathen is expected to recover from his physical injuries.
The boy was reported missing in November several months after his mother was awarded custody.
Jeremiah Johnson's family members say he took his son because he believed the boy's mother was dating an ex-convict.





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