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Friday Afternoon News, January 25

City Council To Hold Special Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, January 29th beginning at 4;00 p.m.  The purpose for the special meeting is to review the budget proposals.  Each of the city's departments will meet with council members to present their budgets.  Final action on the budget won't occur until a later date.  The council is also expected to act upon an agreement by the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation wishing to purchase part of Lot 9 of Killeas Industrial Park. LBIC is requesting the city council to allow a partial release of the real estate contract for that purpose.


Still Time To Sign Up For Wellness Challenge

(Le Mars) -- During the month of January, we have been mentioning the Living Healthy Iowa ten-week wellness challenge.  The program officially begins on Monday, and locally, the Le Mars YMCA, Floyd Valley Hospital, and the Plymouth County Extension Services have been coordinating the efforts recruiting Plymouth County residents to register online and begin to change your lifestyle.  Todd Lancaster serves as the executive director with the YMCA and explains why people should consider participating.
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Lancaster says about 90 people have joined up in Plymouth County, which falls short of the 2300 participation goal.  But Lancaster says there are many people who registered, but may not have included the Plymouth County Code.
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As we mentioned, the program officially begins on Monday, but Lancaster says if people are interested, they can still register.
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Gehlen To Celebrate National Catholic School Week

(Le Mars) -- Next week, Catholic schools across the nation will celebrate Catholic School Week, and Gehlen Catholic will also observe the week-long celebration.  Lisa Niebuhr of Gehlen Catholic School explains why it is important to honor the religious connection to eduction.
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Le Mars Community School Board To Hold Educational Retreat

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District will hold a board and administrator retreat on Monday. The focus of the retreat is to have professional development from the teacher perspective as well as from the administration perspective.  The school board will also be served a school lunch as prepared by the Le Mars Community District's Food Services. The board will get an update on new food service requirements.  The school board will also review the value of extra curricular programs.  The board will conclude its retreat with discussion on the common core and 21st Century learning skills.

Prosecutors Looking For Disbarred Attorney

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Federal prosecutors are seeking the public's help in apprehending a disbarred Iowa lawyer who is wanted on mail and tax fraud charges.
Dennis Bjorklund has been a fugitive for 2 1/2 years and prosecutors are hoping that unsealing the indictment against him will help lead to his capture.
Bjorklund made a name for himself by falsely marketing himself as the nation's pre-eminent lawyer in drunken driving cases.
Prosecutors say Bjorklund underreported his income for years to avoid paying taxes on it and duped clients in various ways. Among other things, prosecutors say Bjorklund encouraged clients to donate to a fake charity he controlled by promising it would lead to a lighter sentence in drunken driving cases.
The state Supreme Court disbarred Bjorklund in 2006 after determining he "lies with reckless abandon."


Friday News, January 25

Wagner Selected To Chair Mainstreet Business Improvement Committee

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program is pleased to announce that Lisa Wagner of Property Pros LLC will serve as the Chair for the Main Street Business Improvement Committee. Wagner is broker/owner of Property Pros.
The Main Street Business Improvement committee works to retain, strengthen and recruit businesses, develop financial incentives for business development and building rehabilitation, stimulate the adaptive use of underutilized space and collect, interpret and use data from marketing studies.
Committee members are: Kevin Eekhoff, Matt Ahlers, Paul Jacobson, Jim Gergeni (Jerguney), John Koley, John Schneider, Jan Wagner, Alysa Van Rooyan, Misty Szczech (zeck), Shane Sitzmann, Scott Eastman and Mary Reynolds.


Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet is Saturday

(Le Mars) -- Speaking about the Le Mars Chamber, the Chamber will hold its annual banquet Saturday evening at the Le Mars Convention Center.  Social hour will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner to start at 7:00 p.m.  Both Le Mars Community High School and Gehlen Catholic will provide some musical entertainment for the evening.  During the evening's festivities, the Chamber will acknowledge both the employees of the month as well as the boss of the quarter for 2012.  Highlighting the night will be the announcement of the "Citizen of the Year" and the "Business of the Year".  Iris Hemmingson was previously honored as the "Volunteer of the Year".


Salvation Army Exceeds Goal

(Sioux City) -- The Salvation Army of Siouxland set a new record for its annual Red Kettle Campaign topping $200,000 for the first time ever.  The campaign's total donations were over $219-thousand dollars received by the end of the campaign on January 21st.  That topped the goal of $185,500 by 18%.  The Salvation Army has been serving Siouxland since 1888.

Marshalltown Man Pleads No Contest To Robbing So. Sioux City Bank

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) - A 28-year-old Iowa man is scheduled to be sentenced in March for a bank robbery in northeast Nebraska.
Robert Thomas of Marshalltown, Iowa, pleaded no contest on Tuesday to a charge of attempted robbery. Prosecutors lowered the original robbery charge in exchange for his plea.
Police say Thomas robbed a Bank of the West branch in South Sioux City on July 23rd, getting away that day with nearly $6,200.

Governor and Legislature Have Differences of Opinion On Surplus Funds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican lawmakers and Gov. Terry Branstad have very different ideas on how to use state budget surplus dollars.
Branstad has proposed spending much of Iowa's nearly $1 billion surplus on property tax cuts and education reforms over the next five years. But Republican leaders in the Legislature announced
Thursday they would back proposals to credit extra money back to taxpayers. The state first would ensure that reserve funds were filled.
Senate Republican leader Bill Dix proposed a credit of $750 per family
The proposal could pass the House, held by Republicans, but might face problems in the Senate, controlled by Democrats.
Asked about the Republicans' proposal, Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht noted that property tax cuts were the governor's priority. Albrecht says Branstad would review any tax proposal lawmakers


Republicans To Introduce Photo ID Voting Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State Senate Republicans will introduce legislation requiring that Iowans present photo identification in order to vote.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock says Thursday that the law would protect the integrity of the voting system.
Existing Iowa law doesn't require voters to show photo identification. Although Democrats say Iowa has little history of voter fraud, Republicans argue the risk remains and identification
should be required.
The bill is modeled after similar legislation introduced by Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
A Senate aide says filing the Senate bill demonstrates Republican support for the idea.
Democrats have opposed Schultz's proposal. They argue Republicans are motivated by a desire to discourage voting by groups who typically favor Democrats, such as immigrants,
low-income people and the elderly.


Flu Outbreak Affecting Blood Donations

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Officials say a bad flu season and other factors are to blame for a drop in blood donations that has left supplies at dangerously low levels.
Nicole Hanger, of LifeServe Blood Center, says donations started to drop about four weeks ago when a big winter storm hit. Then more people came down with the flu and donations remained low.
The blood center likes to have a three- to five-day supply, but that's now down to a one- or two-day supply.
LifeServe provides blood to hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The center is calling donors and sending out emails to spur donations.




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