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Thursday Afternoon News, April 14

Preparations Being Made For Annual Gehlen Ball

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic will hold its annual formal ball this coming Saturday at the Le Mars Convention Center.  The annual event serves as the major fund raiser for the Catholic school.  Dan Lehmann is a co-chair for this year's event.  He says the chosen theme is "A Class Act", and will begin with a catered meal, along with the silent auction.

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Lehmann explains the rest of the evening's activities following the banquet and the silent auction.

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As mentioned earlier, the Gehlen Ball serves as the fund raiser for the Catholic school.  Lehmann says each year's committee always has the hope to outperform and raise more money than the previous year's Friends of Gehlen Ball.

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Lehmann offers a sense as to what the convention center will look like for the big event, which is often referred to as the "adult prom".

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Lehmann says reservations are still being made, and tickets are available.

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Regents May Increase Tuition Rates For Three State Universities

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The board that oversees Iowa's three public universities has indicated it may need to increase tuition for students because the Legislature has proposed limited new dollars for the next budget year.
Bruce Rastetter, president of the Iowa Board of Regents, released a statement Thursday saying the board is disappointed in the proposed funding announced by a legislative budget group. Rastetter says the board will immediately start discussions regarding tuition increases for the upcoming school year.
The legislative group advanced a roughly $1 billion education budget that would give the regents nearly $600 million, including about $6 million in new dollars. Roughly $200 million for community colleges would include over $3 million in new money.
Lawmakers overseeing the bill emphasized they had limited dollars but had prioritized higher education funding.

 

 

 

 

MidAmerican Energy Looks To Invest In Additional Wind Turbines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Company says it plans to spend $3.6 billion on a wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
Bill Fehrman, the utility's CEO and president, announced the project Thursday at an event in Des Moines attended by Gov. Terry Branstad and other state officials. Officials say the wind farm will be the largest economic development project in the state's history.
Fehrman says when the project is completed, the utility will generate wind energy that equals 85 percent of its annual customer sales in Iowa. MidAmerican is the state's largest utility.
MidAmerican didn't release where the new turbines would be erected but says the utility will finalize locations while the Iowa Utilities Board considers the project.





 





   

Thursday News, April 14

Le Mars Community School Board Approves 2016-2017 Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education approved its proposed 2016-2017 budget last evening during their board meeting.  School superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt reviewed the budget for the school board, line-by-line. Total projected revenues for the upcoming school year are set at $22,703,868 with a beginning fund balance at $3,330,836 bringing the total projected resources at $26,034,704. The school hopes to keep expenditures in check.  The projected expenditures for the fiscal year 2017 budget is projected at $28,036,858.  Dr. Wendt informed the school board that the school may be able to reduce some of its expenditures by offering a lower salary to new teachers compared to the salary level of those teachers and staff members that have retired or have chosen to leave the school district. Dr. Wendt informed the school board that the salaries and benefits of the faculty and staff make up $18,993,573, or nearly 85 percent of the total operating fund.  Dr. Wendt calculated the cost to instruct each student at $6,446, which when using the 2.25 percent increase of education funding as approved by the Iowa legislature is an increase of $145 per student.  Wendt says the estimated spending authority for the next school year is predicted to be at $26,540,090.  Dr. Wendt also informed the school board the budget was calculated using a tax levy rate of $11.96 per $1000 of taxable property values.  He mentioned that the tax levy for Le Mars Community Schools is lower than many of the other schools located in Plymouth County.  In other action from last evening's school board, approved the resignations of Linda Hamer, Pam Hirschman and Alexia Lanka.  The school board approved the contract and hiring of Jenna Bowmaster to be a Spanish teacher.  The school board also approved the bid specifications and procedures for the roofing project at the Education Service Center.

 

 

 

 

Fire Fighters, Law Enforcement Officers, And EMT's Attend Traffic Safety Seminar

(Le Mars) -- Members of area fire departments, municipal and county law enforcement agencies, E-M-T's, and transportation officials attended a four-hour training session last evening.  The training program was held at the Le Mars Fire and Rescue station number 1.  The program was taught by the Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement, Iowa Department of Transportation and the Ames Fire Department.  Referred to as TIM - Traffic Incident Management, the course focused on how emergency responders can remain safe when dealing with accidents on roadways and highways from other passing vehicles.  A portion of the course also looked at how emergency vehicles should be parked and positioned in such a manner to keep people safe while working on an emergency situation.  The instructors informed the fire fighters, ambulance staff, law enforcement officials, and tow truck operators that secondary crashes, or those that happen within the initial incident scene, are an all too common of occurrence.  Another portion of the seminar focused on how quickly an accident scene can be cleared in order to allow traffic to successfully flow.  The instructors informed the emergency personnel that it is important to get at least one lane of traffic active as soon as possible.  According to the statistics, an average of 12 law enforcement officers are killed each year in struck-by incidents, about five fire fighters are killed each year from being struck by traffic when working at an emergency scene, and nearly 60 tow truck operators are struck and killed each year from being hit by passing traffic when attending an initial traffic accident.  The instructors identified as what they refer to as the "D" drivers - those who either drunk, drugged, drowsy, distracted, or just plain dumb.

 

 

 

Sioux City Police Investigate Phone Call To School Advocating Explosive Devices

 

(Sioux City) -- The Sioux City Police are investigating telephone calls that were made to the Sioux City Public Schools yesterday in reference to what was said were explosive devices at each school within the district.  The telephone call was believed to have been a recorded voice and was similar to recent robocalls received by school districts throughout the country.  For nearly 30 minutes, the Sioux City schools were in a lockdown.  The investigation into the incident continues.

 

 

 

 

 

Le Mars Public Library Offers Many Services

(Le Mars) -- This week marks National Library Week, and according to Deb Kehrberg who is the president of the Friends of the Le Mars Public Library organization, she says many people may not be fully aware of all the services provided by the local library.  Kehrberg says the public library serves more uses than to just check out books to read.  Kehrberg says the public library assists those people seeking employment.

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Another service provided by the Le Mars Public Library as well as libraries across the nation are audio books.  Kehrberg says audio books are popular especially with the elderly who may have vision problems.

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The president of the Friends of the Library says there is increasing interests with all generations and demographics with the e-books such as Nook or Kindle.

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Perhaps one of the greatest services provided by the Le Mars public library and others included are the many different classes that are held at the public library.

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Kehrberg says nearly 400 children have registered for the Summer Reading program, and she says another startling statistic is that nearly 79,500 people entered the Le Mars Public Library during this past fiscal year.

 

 

 

 

Legislature Passes Bill To Offer Oversight To Boarding Schools

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation that would add state oversight to boarding schools in Iowa, though the bill could face future opposition over exemption language.
The House voted 74-24 Wednesday for the bill, which would add state compliance rules for private residential facilities for children. The bill heads to the Democratic-majority Senate, where lawmakers passed similar legislation.
But the House bill would exempt religious facilities from a more rigid certification process regarding their educational curriculum. Some Democrats say that could create an oversight loophole, while Republicans expressed concern at state authority over the curriculum of some religious schools.
Key Senate Democrats say they need to review the House bill.
The issue gained attention amid an investigation into abuse allegations at a Keokuk boarding school that had little state oversight.

 

 

 

 

Former Iowa State University Basketball Player Suing University And Regents

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa State University basketball player who faced a rape charge that was later dropped is suing the school, claiming its response ruined his chances of playing professional basketball.
Bubu Palo's lawsuit accuses university officials of wrongly punishing him even after the criminal case against him was dropped. The suit also names the Iowa Board of Regents.
Palo was charged with felony sexual abuse in 2012 after a female student accused him of rape. The case was dropped due to lack of evidence, but ISU President Steven Leath barred Palo from playing, saying he violated student conduct rules.
Leath's decision was eventually overturned, but Palo says he faced scrutiny due to the punishment.
University officials haven't responded to the complaint. 




   

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