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Tuesday Afternoon News, Jan 15

Le Mars City Council Awards Contracts For Waste Water Treatment Facilities

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council held a special meeting today to award the contracts for the construction of the new Waste Water Treatment facility and improvements to the existing facility.  The council awarded a contract of $15 million 226 thousand dollars to Rice lake Construction of Deerwood, Minnesota and the council awarded a second contract for $3,664,000 to Vander Pol Excavating of Orange City.   That meeting will be held at the city hall council chambers.


Plymouth County Transfers Property to City of Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a three percent increase in salary for non-elected county employees during their regularly scheduled meeting held this morning at the county courthouse.  The supervisors also signed an agreement between Plymouth County and the city of Le Mars transferring Plymouth County's interest in the Cresent Ridge real estate to the city of Le Mars.  The county, in an effort to promote economic development previously contributed $525,000 to the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation for the acquistion and development of Cresent Ridge real estate comprising of 59.5 acres.  The county is now transferring the land back to the city in the amount of $297,500.


Mid-Sioux Opportunity Inc. Raises $1000 for Low Income Families

(REMSEN), IA – Local businesses in five counties along with Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. have raised nearly $1,000.00 collectively to provide assistance to needy families this winter.  Funds were raised by patrons purchasing mittens for $1 at participating businesses.  Those funds were then provided to Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. to assist families in need.  “All of these funds will be used for direct assistance to families.  Mid-Sioux Executive Director, Dick Sievers says the agency is grateful to have the support from the business community and from those who donated.” Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is a Community Action Agency that fights poverty on the local level serving Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux counties in Northwest Iowa.  The mission of Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is to meet individual and community needs through educational, health, financial and outreach services.

Historic Preservation Commission To Throw A Community Party

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission wants to invite the public to a party, that will celebrate the listing of the Le Mars Downtown Commercial Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places. That event is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor - second floor. A power point of historic pictures will be shown.


Branstad Offers Legislature Three Goals In Condition of the State Address

(Des Moines) -- Calling his Condition of the State Address "Opportunity for Iowa", Governor Branstad laid out his goals before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature.  Kay Henderson gives us this report.
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Attorneys For Council Bluffs Ask For Judge To Allow Jury's Decision To Stand

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Attorneys for the city of Council Bluffs and two former police detectives are asking a judge to rule that a jury decided in their favor in a lawsuit filed by two men who claimed they were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for murder.
A mistrial was declared Dec. 14 in the lawsuit filed by Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee. The jury returned to the courtroom with a written verdict indicating they had ruled in favor of the
city and former police officers Daniel Larsen and Lyle Brown.
When jurors were asked if they agreed with the verdict, three women answered no. A unanimous verdict is required, so Judge Robert Pratt declared a mistrial.
Attorneys for the city and officers filed a motion Friday asking Pratt to reinstate the jury's written verdict.


Water To Be Released From Reservoir

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A public water utility in central Iowa is releasing water from a reservoir on the Des Moines River for the first time due to concerns about water supply.
Des Moines Water Works announced Tuesday it will release water from the Saylorville Reservoir due to concerns about available amounts and quality. The additional release of 30 cubic feet per second will take place Wednesday.
The utility says testing the release procedure in case it's needed was driven by last year's drought conditions.
Water Works invested $2.4 million 30 years ago for reservoir access. They also pay $100,000 annually for a pumping facility.


Tuesday News, January 15

Parents Show Concern For School Security

(Le Mars) -- School security was on the minds of more than 20 parents and teachers who attended the Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting held last evening.  Following the tragic events in Connecticut that lead to 26 deaths after a gunman opened fire at an elementary school, many concerned parents are wondering what Le Mars Community School District is doing to make certain the students are safe.  The parents showed their concern in a general manner, but many are specifically worried about  Kluckhohn elementary.  Kluckhohn elementary school was built in a circular shape with many classrooms not having walls or doors.  Parent and teacher Shannon Renken set the tone for the evening.
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Kicker returned to the podium to express his opinion.

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Superintendent of schools, Dr. Todd Wendt offered to the board nine different suggestions for consideration.  Wendt submitted the suggestions to the board after compiling comments from parents, staff, and community members.  The suggestions include:

1. Surveillance cameras inside and outside of all district building.

2. Controlled access systems at all district buildings that require visitors to be "buzzed in" during the school day.

3. Armed police officer in all district buildings.

4. Staff and/or volunteers with concealed weapons in all district buildings.

5. Doors and walls at Kluckhohn Elementary for lockdown procedures.

6. Mass notification system for the purpose of communicating with parents when an emergency exists.

7. Full time staffing at front entrances to district buildings.

8. Bullet proof glass in all district buildings.

9. Metal detectors at main entrances to buildings.

No action was taken by the school board during Monday evening's meeting, but a consensus was reached by the board to have staffing at the front entrances to district buildings.


Supervisors Have Light Agenda

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a light agenda for today's meeting.  The supervisors are expected to sign an agreement with the City of Le Mars regarding transferring interest in Crescent Ridge.  The supervisors are also expected to approve the county employee salary increases for the next fiscal year.


Branstad To Deliver Condition Of The State Address Today

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is expected to outline plans for education changes and tax cuts in the annual Condition of the State speech.
Branstad will give the speech Tuesday morning to a joint session of the Legislature, which began work Monday.
The Republican governor already has proposed increasing teacher salaries as part of an education reform plan, and he could offer more details in Tuesday's speech.
Branstad also will likely outline his plans to reduce commercial property taxes. That has been one of Branstad's priorities since being elected in 2010, but his previous efforts have stalled in the
Unlike in the past few years, lawmakers this session have the luxury of a budget surplus, estimated at nearly $1 billion.

DNR Officials To Examine Lakes and Rivers Water Quality

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are discussing water quality in the state.
The state Department of Natural Resources will present a report Tuesday to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission on a draft list of more than 480 impaired waters around the state. A new rule that clarifies enforcement options also will be discussed.
The DNR says the most typical impairments for lakes are algae and turbid or cloudy water. For rivers, it's a high level of bacteria that detects contaminated water.
A new rule that clarifies how the DNR responds to a potential violation also is on the agenda.
The biennial report will be available for public comment until the end of February. A revised draft will then be sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for final approval.


Vilsack To Keep Ag Secretary Post

WASHINGTON (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will keep his job in President Obama's second term.
USDA communications director Matt Paul said Monday that Obama asked Vilsack to stay in his post and Vilsack accepted. Vilsack is the former Democratic governor of Iowa.
The farm economy has thrived under Vilsack's tenure, but his job hasn't been as easy in Washington. He is expected to spend the next several months lobbying Congress to pass a farm bill that would extend agriculture subsidies and domestic food aid.  Farm-state lawmakers' efforts to pass that bill failed in the last Congress.
Vilsack spent much of his first term working to revitalize rural America. He said in a December speech that rural areas are becoming less relevant as the U.S. population shifts to cities.






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