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Monday Afternoon News, Februaray 11

Le Mars To Host "Red...White...and Blue Mud Run"

(Le Mars) -- This coming summer, Le Mars will host an unique obstacle course for participants called the Red..White...and Blue Mud Run.  The event is being sponsored by the Le Mars Police Association, Le Mars Fire and Rescue, Plymouth County Peace Officers Association, the Le Mars Ambulance Service and by the Plymouth County Dive and Rescue Team.  Le Mars Police Officer Jay King describes the event.
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King says the event may be new to Le Mars, but it is certainly not new to those who regularly participate in such obstacle runs.
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Funds raised during the mud run will be split between the partnering sponsors.  King says from the Police Association standpoint, the money will help send young people to camps. King says he fully expects participants to come from several miles and various large cities to participate in the mud run obstacle course.

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The Le Mars Red...White...and Blue Mud Run is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st and will begin at 9:00 a.m.  Interested participants can register online at All Sports Central and the registration fee is progressive starting at $50.  For additional information about the mud run, you can contact the Le Mars Police Department.


Branstad Wants Iowa Education To Rank In Top 10 By 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad wants Iowa to be in the top 10 states for student standardized reading and math scores by 2019.
Branstad laid out the goal during a news conference Monday, as he continued to push lawmakers to approve his $187 million education reform plan.
Arguing that the state needs "world class schools," Branstad noted Iowa now ranks 25th in the nation for eighth grade math and 29th for fourth grade reading. He said he wants to get those scores
into the top 10 by boosting minimum teacher salaries and pay incentives to senior teachers who take on tasks like mentoring.
Lawmakers are reviewing Branstad's proposal, but there has been some conflict with Democratic legislators who want to first set a general level of school funding.

Iowa State To Update Weather Stations

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University is updating its statewide network of automatic weather reporting stations.
ISU Extension agronomist Elwynn Taylor says the updated stations will provide information on soil moisture and crop water consumption, letting farmers know the limits being placed on crop
yield "by water stress as the season progresses."
The new stations are replacing units that have been in place for more than 30 years. The networked readings will be monitored on the Mesonet ( ).
The new stations also will measure rain, air and soil temperature, humidity, sunlight, wind speed and direction. The units will be solar powered.
The goal is to have at least one station in every county.


Feedlot Operators Can Get Advice Regarding Drought

GERING, Neb. (AP) - Feedlot operators in Nebraska and Iowa can get advice this month from experts about dealing with high feed costs and drought.
The annual beef feedlot roundtables will be held February 19th through 21st in Gering, Holdrege and West Point. The events will be broadcast to locations in Iowa.
The sessions will focus on the latest in feedlot health, nutrition and economics. The event is sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Iowa State University Extension and the
Nebraska Beef Council.
The presenters include a mix of university and industry experts who will offer tips on dealing with the current high feed prices and what alternatives exist.
Registration costs $30 ahead of time or $40 at the door. More details are available online at H T T P colon slash slash Panhandle DOT UNL DOT edu.


Monday News, February 11

School Board To Again Discuss School Security

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening (Monday).  The local school board will review their legislative forum, as well as review the Iowa Association of School Boards' Legislative Conference.  The school board will also hear a report from School superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt with regard to school security.  The District Learning and Instructional Impact Team compiled the school security report.  The school board will also consider three resignations.

Chamber Schedules Agri-Business Luncheon - Putze To Speak

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its 19th annual Agr-Business Luncheon on Thursday, March 21st at the Le Mars Convention Center upper level.  Beginning at 9:30 a.m., with the chamber coffee as hosted by the Plymouth County Farm Bureau.  The morning program will commence at 10:30 with Vaugh Blum and Dwight Packard, who are executives with the meat industry.  The featured keynote speaker will be Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association.  Putze serves as the Director of Communications and External Relations for the 11,000 member Iowa Soybean Association.  Tickets are ten dollars and can be obtained from a Chamber agri-business committee member or from the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office.


Museum To Showcase "Downtown Le Mars"

(Le Mars) -- If you worked at a Le Mars business years ago, the Plymouth County Historical Museum invites you to share your memories at a special open house scheduled for Sunday, February 24th beginning at 2:00 p.m.  In the spotlight will be the Le Mars Main Street exhibit recently constructed by Dale Donlin and Brian Nitzschke, museum volunteers.  Included in the exhibit are Mount Drug, Vander Meer Your Baker, The Le Mars Daily Sentinel, KLEM radio, and Blakeway's Department Store along with numerous other artifactrs from the history of Le Mars businesses.  Dennis Hill from the Le Mars Area Preservation Commission will show scenes of old Le Mars.  Joan Kroepel, whose father ran Mount Drug, will speak about the drug store, and Glada Koerselman, former longtime editor of the Sentinel will also  be on hand to speak about the Daily Sentinel.  The Museum is still looking for representatives of other businesses who would like to share memories.  Wrapping up the day will be a hotdog feed, compliments of the Museum.


Republican Lawmakers Fail To Introduce "Gay Marriage" Legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Since Iowa's legislative session started a month ago, Republican lawmakers have filed bills on school funding, taxes and abortion, but so far haven't taken up gay
marriage legislation.
Republicans have failed in recent years to begin the process of overturning the 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Their efforts have been stopped by Senate
Democrats, and with Democrats retaining control of that chamber, some question the value of introducing another gay marriage bill.
Republican Senator Dennis Guth says he planned to introduce legislation seeking an end to gay marriage, but he acknowledged it likely wouldn't advance.
Asked if Republicans would file a bill seeking a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer noted, "It may or may not be."

Ethanol Producers Feel The Pinch of the Lingering Drought

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The persistent drought is taking a toll on producers of ethanol, with corn becoming so scarce that nearly two dozen ethanol plants have been forced to halt production.
The Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol industry trade group, provided data to The Associated Press showing that 20 of the nation's 211 ethanol plants have ceased production over the past year, including five in January. While most expect to resume, they won't likely do so until after 2013 corn is harvested in late August or September.
Industry experts don't expect an ethanol shortage because millions of barrels are stockpiled and the remaining 191 plants are still producing.
But there is growing concern about the high price of corn and what happens if the drought lingers through another corn-growing season.

Principle Finance To Renovate Headquarters

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Principal Financial Group plans to invest $238.5 million in renovations to its downtown Des Moines headquarters.
Principal's 10-year project could begin as soon as this summer. But the company wants to secure financial incentives from the city and possibly the state.
Principal senior vice president Ralph Eucher says the renovations remain only a proposal at this stage. The project hasn't been approved by Principal's board.
If the city approves, Principal could receive as much as $250,000 in incentives over 10 years.
The Des Moines City Council will discuss the project on Monday.
Principal employs more than 6,000 workers in the Des Moines area.


MidAmerican Wants A Nuclear Plant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy is still considering building a new nuclear power plant as part of its long-term plans in Iowa.
MidAmerican President William Fehrman told state regulators the utility may try to build a nuclear plant at some point.
MidAmerican, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska based Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated, is converting coal plants at Council Bluffs and Sioux City to natural gas. And it has invested heavily in 2,200 megawatts of wind power capacity.
But Fehrman says he wants to make sure MidAmerican has a diverse mix of fuels, and he's not convinced that natural gas will remain as cheap as it is now.
The utility will provide more details of its plans this summer in a report to regulators.


Cedar Rapids Couples Renew Vows At Hy-Vee

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Several dozen Iowa couples have celebrated Valentine's Day early by renewing their wedding vows in ceremonies at three Hy-Vee grocery stores in the Cedar Rapids area.
Hy-Vee store director Jeff Deahr says the vow renewals were a first for his store and said "it's the month of love."
Attended by strangers, friends and families on Saturday, the couples received miniature wedding cakes, sparkling grape juice, bouquets of flowers, picture frames and a chance for a weekend
Cedar Rapids residents Joyce and Chuck Bruggeman have been married for 38 years, but Chuck Bruggeman had a special reason for having their vows renewed. He said, "I'm here for the wedding




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