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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.











Monday Afternoon News, January 7

State Legislature To Go Back To Work Next Monday

(Le Mars) -- In one week, Iowa legislators will return to Des Moines to start the General Session.  State Representative, Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars says he believes the legislature will look at three priorities, including a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.   Soderberg says Governor Branstad will submit his budget on day two of the legislative session, and he believes the legislature will immediately go to work on the budget.   The state legislature will have to decide what to do with a large revenue surplus.
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Calling it a recipe for disaster, Soderberg, who will assume the duties as House Appropriations Committee chairman, says he wants to make certain the budget is balanced using on-going revenue sources, and not to be tempted to balance the budget using one-time money for on-going programs.   Another priority for the legislature will be to reform education.
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Soderberg, along with State Senator Bill Anderson will hold legislative forums on Saturday, prior to the start of the general session.  Soderberg and Anderson will be at Plymouth County Energy at Merrill at 8:30 a.m., the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie in Le Mars at 10:00 a.m., and at the Akron Public Library at 12:00 noon.


Siouxland Officials Tour Kansas City Area Casinos

(Kansas City) --  A delegation of Siouxland officials got a first hand look at what a Penn National Hollywood gambling casino looks like on Saturday during a bus trip to Kansas and Missouri.  Nearly 40 people made the trip in which they met with city officials from Kansas City, Kansas and Riverside, Missouri, which are home to the Penn Gaming facilities.  The group included business leaders, members of the new non-profit organization partnering with Penn Gaming on their local casino proposal, elected officials from Woodbury County, and area media representatives.


Iowa Home Buyers May Be Eligible For Lower Taxes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa home buyers may be eligible for a program that will reduce their federal tax burden.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday the state is offering a mortgage credit certificate program that will reduce federal income taxes for qualifying home buyers. The relief could be as much as
$2,000 a year for the duration of the mortgage.
The program is available to first time homebuyers, those buying in certain targeted areas and some military veterans. It is funded through federal bonds and the state expects to provide relief to about 1,000 home buyers.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Finance Authority, which is administering the program, says this tax program has not been offered to Iowans since the mid-1990s.


Branstad Shoots Deer Buck

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new decoration is coming to the Iowa Capitol, courtesy of Gov. Terry Branstad's latest hunting expedition.
Branstad announced Monday that he shot a buck over the weekend during his annual deer hunt.
A picture of Branstad with the slain buck is displayed on his Facebook page. The governor shot him on Saturday in Decatur County.  He says this is the third time he has shot a buck.
The governor plans to mount the deer head and hang it in a conference room in his office. His spokesman says staff believes this is the first time any game has been hung in the governor's office.


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