Tuesday Afternoon News, December 2
City Awards Downtown Historical Rennovation To Renaissance Restoration, Inc.
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council accepted the bid of $759,256 from Renaissance Restoration, Incorporated of Galena, Illinois, to conduct the downtown facade historical rennovation project as part of the Community Development Block Grant. The council awarded the bid during its regular council meeting held Tuesday. Three different contractors submitted bids for the project that ranged from the low bid of $759,256 to a high bid of $940,921. Construction is expected to begin on the 29 participating business buildings within the next few weeks. Peter Franks of Franks Design Group served as the archetech for the project. He is familiar with the contractor's work on a similar project at Manning, Iowa.
Franks says Renaissance Restoration comes highly recommended for working on historical restoration projects.
Franks says he was pleased with the bidding process, and believes Le Mars had a good showing of contractor bidders for the downtown historical restoration project.
Branstad Orders Flags To Fly Half Staff To Honor Representative Alons
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, to honor State Representative Dwayne Alons, a retired brigadier general with the Iowa Air National Guard. Representative Alons passed away on Saturday, November 29, 2014.
The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state.
Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 3 at First Reformed Church in Hull.
The U.S. flag flown over the state Capitol on the day of the funeral will be presented to Rep. Alons’ family.
Farm Bureau Delegates Discussing Fuel Tax And Water Quality
(Des Moines) -- Delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation are meeting in Des Moines this week for their annual meeting, and one Farm Bureau official believes discussion may focus on a proposed gasoline tax hike for repairs to Iowa's infrastructure system including roads, highways, and bridges. Matt Steinfeldt oversees government relations for the farm organization. He says the conservative organization has endorsed an increase in the fuel tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs.
Steinfeldt says the in ability to finance road repair projects is placing a huge burden on property owners.
The Farm Bureau official says Iowa has never been in debt before for financing road repairs, as the state has traditionally used a "pay as you go" method. However, he says within the last seven years, Iowa has found itself behind on road repair financing. He calls it a "trend that is accelerating and a disturbing trend". Steinfeldt worrys if Iowa doesn't start a serious plan to repair the roads, it will lead to additional economic problems for the state.
Another idea to generate revenue for road repairs is to assess higher registration fees on heavier equipment such as combine harvesters, tractors, grain carts, and trucks. Steinfeldt says the Iowa Farm Bureau is against such measures. It is believed when the Iowa legislature returns to work for a new session, revenues for road and bridge repairs may take center stage.
Plymouth County farmer Mike Jaminet of Le Mars is a voting delegate at the Iowa Farm Bureau Convention. He says nitrate levels and maintaining water quality are also topics being discussed at the farm organization's state meeting.
Half Of Iowa's Counties Have Signed Up For Statewide Emergency Alert System
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa's Homeland Security division says more than 50 Iowa counties have signed up for a statewide emergency notification system.
Mark Schouten, director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says Tuesday that 57 counties are now participating in Alert Iowa. The system was launched in October.
Residents in counties with the system can sign up for alerts about issues like severe weather. They have a wide range of options for how to receive the information, including phone calls, text messages or through social media. Counties have local control over how they use the system.
Schouten talked about the program during a budget hearing before Gov. Terry Branstad. Schouten is seeking $400,000 to continue to the program in the next budget year.
Four Plead Not Guilty To Robbing Charges That Led To School Lockdown
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Four men have pleaded not guilty to charges in connection to a robbery at Iowa Central Community College that caused a school lockdown.
Court records show 18-year-old Garhoth Dak, of Storm Lake, entered the written plea Monday on a charge of second-degree robbery.
Three other men pleaded not guilty to a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree robbery. They are 21-year-old Joseph Odir, of Des Moines; 21-year-old Juma Deng, of Urbandale; and 23-year-old Molong Deng, of Des Moines.
The men are accused of entering a campus dorm room on Nov. 10. Police say a student reported the men in her room.
Iowa Central Community College, in Fort Dodge, placed the school on lockdown for several hours in response to the incident.
Storm Lake Not To Close Rail Crossings
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - The Storm Lake City Council has decided not to discuss a plan to close eight railroad crossings.
The council voted to pull the item from the agenda for Monday's meeting.
Councilman Bruce Englemann says "there was a groundswell of the public that was opposed to it, and then the railroad started to back off some of their requests."
During previous discussions, several residents said they opposed the closures because of the potential for traffic congestion and delays for emergency vehicles. The crossings don't have electronic gates and lights to warn pedestrians and motorists of oncoming trains.
Grinnell Colllege To Receive $4 Million As A Gift
GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) - Grinnell College has received a $4 million bequest from a graduate who died last year after a successful career as a tax attorney.
The college announced Tuesday that 1950 Grinnell graduate Marilyn Walsh had made the gift to establish a scholarship for Iowa residents admitted to the school.
Walsh was a native of Woodbine who received a bachelor's degree in history, then earned law degrees at New York University. She worked as a tax attorney, first at a Wall Street firm and then at CBS. She died Sept. 2, 2013, in New York City.
The scholarship will be open to students who have lived in Iowa at least five years. Iowans who apply to Grinnell will be automatically considered for the scholarship, named in memory of Walsh's mother, Dorrit Walsh.