Vilsack Shares her Vision 20/20 Plan
(LeMars) -- Congressional Democratic candidate and former First Lady of Iowa, Christie Vilsack was in LeMars Wednesday getting a tour of some of the economic development projects within the area. Vilsack met with Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin and LeMars Business Industry Corporation Executive Director Neil Adler, and Mainstreet Coordinator, Mary Reynolds.
Vilsack toured the new dialysis center, and later was given a tour through the LeMars Industrial Park. Vilsack is promoting her idea for stimulating the economy of rural Iowa communities by promoting her Vision 20/20 plan. Vilsack says the idea is to help build a deteriorating infrastructure system.
Vilsack says it would consists of major projects that would use at least $20 million dollars, such as highways, short rail lines, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. She says this is needed to help keep Iowa and its small rural communities competitive.
She says the other part of Vision 20/20 would be to see at least 20 percent of the federal funding that is allocated to Iowa be spent on rural-based projects.
(LeMars) -- The area fire departments have still been busy battling field and grass fires. The Akron Fire department responded to a baler that was on fire yesterday afternoon. Kingsley along with the Pierson fire departments were called to fight a harvested corn field that was on fire at 120th Street and Kossuth Avenue, and the LeMars Fire Department responded to a field fire on county road K-49 between 260th and 270th streets.
(Dakota Dunes, SD) -- Siouxland Surgery Center of Dakota Dunes has been named as a 2011 Summit Award winner, by the Press Ganey Associates. The Summit Award recognizes top-performing facilities that sustain the highest level of performance for three or more consectutive years. The Press Ganey Summit Award is the health care performance improvement industry's most coveted symbol of achievement bestowed annually. Siouxland Surgery Center is one of 98 organizations to receive the prestigious honor in 2011, and one of 87 to receive it for achieving and sustaining excellence in patient satisfaction.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education says enrollment at the state's 15 community colleges is down less than 1 percent. Still, the small decline marks the first enrollment drop
since 1994. Nearly 106,000 people were enrolled in community colleges during the fall semester.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's education department director says he's temporarily dropping plans to adopt a new and costlier system for paying public school teachers.
Jason Glass tells The Des Moines Register on Wednesday that he believes a proposed four-tier salary structure makes sense. But he adds the time isn't right to take the idea to the Legislature.
Instead, Glass says a task force will study such issues and make recommendations that lawmakers can consider in the 2013 session.
Under the proposed system, the minimum pay for starting teachers would climb from $28,000 to $40,000. Teachers would be classified as apprentice, career, mentor or master teachers, and teachers
would need to demonstrate their effectiveness before moving to a
higher pay grade.
Cost of the new structure ranged from $100 million to $200 million.
PELLA, Iowa (AP) - Pella Corporation has announced the layoff of 198 workers at its plants in Iowa and Oregon because of the prolonged recession in the housing industry.
The Iowa -based window and door company says Wednesday that workers will be laid off at its plants in Carroll, Sioux Center, Shenandoah and Pella, as well as in Portland, Oregon.
In late October, Pella offered incentives to employees who took early retirement or voluntarily left the company. The company also said it was closing a plant in West Columbia, South Carolina, which
employs 145 people.
Pella spokeswoman Kathy Krafka Harkema says the layoffs are the result of low consumer confidence, tighter access to home loans and the volatile economy, which continue to hamper the housing market.