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Tuesday Afternoon News, January 8

Teachers Submit Their Requests To School Board

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Teacher Association has submitted its requests for the next school year to the Le Mars Community Board of Education.  The teachers are asking for an increase in base pay, as well as an increase for monthly insurance payments.  The teachers would like to see the base pay at $33,795 which would mean a salary increase of $1,850.  Insurance coverage would go up $100 per month to $1,045 per month per employee which will cover health, accident, and major medical insurance and dental insurance.  The teacher association would also like the school board to approve a ten-day bereavement leave.  Currently, teachers are allowed a five-day leave for family deaths.


City Council Hears Appeals For Community Development Block Grant

(Le Mars) -- Several business owners, chamber officials, and local preservationists appealed to the Le Mars city council asking them to approve an application for up to $250,000 for building facade improvements for a number of downtown buildings.  The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization is seeking a Community Development Block Grant that would help finance the project.  Mary Reynolds, Le Mars Mainstreet Coordinator, says the efforts are appealing to local building owners.
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If the city qualifies for the federal grant, 50 percent of the revitalization costs would be funded by the Community Development Block Grant, 25 percent would be funded through the city, and the remaining 25 percent would be financed by the property owner.  John Koley owns seven downtown buildings that would be included with the project.  He urged the city council to approve the application.
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Koley told the city council that the program would ultimately benefit the city of Le Mars. He cited Sioux city and Omaha as examples of successful historical preservation projects that has stimulated those economies.  The city council approved the application process.


City Council Listens To Water Tower Discussions

(Le Mars) -- In other action at the city council meeting, the council members heard a proposal from representatives from the McClure Engineering regarding the placement of another water tower and a pumping booster station as part of the city's expansion of the water services to better meet the industrial and residential future water needs.  The McClure representatives suggested to the council members to consider the location of 6th Avenue Southwest and 24th Street southwest.  City officials have held preliminary discussions with the property owner, but additional consultation must occur before any final decision is made.  The council did approve the report and made a motion to accept McClure Engineering's proposals. 


CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A small but smoky fire forced evacuation of a nursing home in the south-central Iowa city of Centerville.
The Daily Iowegian reports that firetrucks were sent to the Golden Age Care Center a little after 3:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Several dozen residents were evacuated as firefighters looked for the blaze. Authorities say a small fire was found above the ceiling in the administrative offices and was quickly extinguished.
No injuries have been reported.
Centerville Fire Chief Mike Bogle says an electrical problem is suspected as the fire cause.


SAN DIEGO (AP) - An Iowa man's sunset wedding ceremony aboard a hot air balloon got off to a bumpy start when a gust of wind forced the pilot to make a crash landing in the yard of a San Diego home.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque says one of the 14 people onboard suffered a minor back injury Monday.
Newlyweds Kerin and Jonathan Narcisse, a former candidate for Iowa governor, told KGTV the gust caught the balloon just after they exchanged their vows, causing it to sway over the Rancho
Penasquitos neighborhood.
The landing on a hillside fence behind the house was filmed by a member of the wedding party. Video showed the blue-and-yellow balloon draped over trees near the house afterward.
The couple continued to a reception.


WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A 64-year-old man has died after being injured when the small plane he was in crashed in eastern Iowa, killing the pilot.
The Overton Funeral Home in Traer (trehr) confirmed Tuesday that Max Morrison, of Traer, died Monday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Morrison suffered burns and other injuries when the plane crashed while approaching an unimproved airstrip in Clutier.
The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane clipped power lines as it headed for the airstrip. An NTSB report says the pilot and plane owner, 69-year-old William Konicek (KOH'-nih-chehk), also of Traer, may not have known the lines were there. He'd landed at the airstrip before, but the report says the power lines recently had been erected.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The world's largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex is coming to Iowa.
Television station KCCI reports Sue the T. rex will be on display beginning Feb. 2 at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines. The exhibit runs through May.
Officials at the center made the announcement Tuesday. They say the facility will be closed for several days in late January to prepare the exhibit, which explores how Sue was found in northwest
South Dakota in 1990.
Sue is owned by The Field Museum in Chicago, which purchased the 67 million-year-old fossil in 1997.


Tuesday News, January 8

Supervisors Begin Budget Talks

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will begin action on the next fiscal year's budget during today's regularly scheduled weekly meeting.  The supervisors is expected to hear from Tony Schroeder, president of the Plymouth County Fairboard, as he submits a report, as well as a request from the county funds for next year's fair.  County Recorder JoLynn Goodchild is also expected to appear before the county governing board to submit her quarterly report.  The supervisors will also hear from County Engineer, Tom Rohe.

City Council To Look At Selling City Property

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet today beginning at 12:00 noon at the city council chambers.  The city council will hold a public hearing regarding the sale of city owned property, the former Iowa Department of Transportation maintenance shed located on Business Highway 75 north.  The council is expected to discuss the Business 75 and Highway 3 revitalization grant program.  In addition, the council will discuss water improvements and an application for federal funding for the city's airport.


Absentee Ballots Now Available For Special Election

(Le Mars) -- Absentee ballots for the Special Elections on Tuesday, February 5th are now available at the Plymouth County Auditor’s office, Monday through Friday 8-5, or a ballot can be mailed out to a registered voter once the registered voter submits an absentee request form to the Auditor’s office.   All school districts in Plymouth County will vote for the Western Iowa Technical Community College public measure.  The Remsen-Union Community School District will also vote on a public measure to change their school board election method.


Flu Hits Iowa...Hard!

( Le Mars) -- More and more Iowa flu cases have been reported, and officials say the seasonal outbreak could get even worse now that children are back in school.

At least 151 people were hospitalized for flu complications in Iowa during the last week of December. The Iowa Department of Public Health says that during the last week of December 2011, public health officials didn't record any flu hospitalizations.

Kari Van Dam serves as Floyd Valley Hospital's Wellness Coordinator.  She says the flu outbreak got an early start in Plymouth County.

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How many flu cases have been reported in Le Mars?
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The Wellness Coordinator says it is not too late to get a flu vaccine and she reminds people to frequently wash your hands.

MRHD Donates Money To Local Charities

(Sioux City) -- The Missouri River Historical Development group got the New Year off to a great start for two local organizations Monday night.  MRHD awarded $50,000 to both the Pier Center for Autism and the Food Bank of Siouxland at their annual dinner meeting.  MRHD is the non-profit license holder for the Argosy Riverboat Casino, and the funds are generated from gaming revenue.  Since 1994, MRHD has distributed over $20 million to Woodbury County non-profit organizations.

Early Woman Found Murdered

(Sac City) --  Sac County Authorities say a woman found dead in a rural Iowa farmhouse near Early was stabbed and her death has been ruled a homicide.
Marilyn Schmitt was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of her home on Thursday.  Authorities say it appears she died earlier that morning.
Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure on Monday released the preliminary autopsy findings showing the cause of death.
Schmitt's son, 21-year-old Kirk Riley Levin, has been charged with first-degree murder.
He had been arrested Thursday after a woman claimed he kidnapped her. He's been held in jail since sheriff's deputies found him hiding in a barn Thursday not far from the home where his mother's
body was found.
He had been released from prison on a burglary charge just two days earlier.


NAACP Wants Des Moines Schools To Honor MLK Day

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines NAACP Youth Council says the Des Moines school district should not have made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a snow makeup day this year.
The district is using Jan. 21 to make up two days of school that were canceled because of a late December storm.
The youth council for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People met Monday. It intends to submit a letter of protest to the Des Moines school board on Tuesday
Interim superintendent Tom Ahart says students will spend time on the holiday at school learning about King and his civil rights work.
Ahart says the King holiday and Presidents Day were designated as weather makeup days so the school year could end May 31.


Army Corps of Engineers Report Lake Level is Dropping

POLK CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers says a leaking pipe is reducing the water level of a lake at an Iowa state park.
Workers tried Monday to stop a leaking valve that's contributing to the reduced level at Big Creek Lake in Polk County. The lake, which is primarily used for recreation, is losing about a foot of water
every month.
A Corps spokesman says the group is trying to prevent the lake from going dry. Dozens of sandbags have been placed more than 35 feet below the lake's surface to slow discharge from the diversion
A slide gate that controls the dam's outflow has been inoperable since 1998. A new gate has been designed but the group is uncertain about funding.











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