Monday, April 27, 2015
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Wednesday Afternoon News, April 8

Yockey Honored As Chamber Emploee Of The Month

(Le Mars) -- During this morning's Chamber coffee event held at the American Bank, Chamber officials presented Sharon Yockey the "Chamber Employee of the Month".  Yockey has been an employee with American Bank for 12 years and carries a wealth of knowledge that she shares on a daily basis with the entire bank.  In the nomination of Yockey as submitted by Cassie Madsen, Jenny Kayser, and the operations staff of American Bank, they write, Sharon Yockey serves as the teller supervisor at American Bank.  Sharon's amazing customer service has made her a major asset to the bank.  Many customers have come to recognize and appreciate her friendly personality and know that she will get their business taken care of without fault.  It is this same personality and attitude that her co-workers look to for support and answers on a daily basis.  Sharon has stepped up to be a great leader and role model for her department, demonstrating the importance of going above and beyond within the workplace.  It is this example that she leads by that raises the expectations for the entire bank. Congratulations go to Sharon Yockey for being named this month's Chamber "Employee of the Month".

photo contributed




Property Owners Notice Higher Assessment Values

(Le Mars) -- Property owners of Plymouth County perhaps have noticed recently that their assessed value for their homes have increased.  Plymouth County Assessor, Bob Heyderhoff says the rate has increased between five and ten percent across the county.


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Heyderhoff says each home in Le Mars, and the rural areas have increased by ten percent, but those homes in Remsen, Kingsley, and Akron increased in assessed value by only five percent. Does having a higher assessed value mean taxpayers can expect to pay higher taxes for their property?


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Heyderhoff says the county re-evaluates the value of each property every two years.  He says home owners could probably sell their home at a higher price because of the higher assessed value.  The Plymouth County Assessor says the county decided to conduct the assessment themselves, which probably saved the county some money, and prevented an entire across the board assessment.

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Governor's Brother Entitled To Recover Attorney Fees

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals says Gov. Terry Branstad's brother is entitled to attorneys' fees for successfully challenging the state's calculation of how many fish were killed by pollution from his cattle-farming operation.

Overturning a lower court, the court ruled 3-0 Wednesday that Monroe Branstad is the prevailing party in his battle with the Department of Natural Resources.

Branstad, of Forest City, has acknowledged that sweet-corn silage leached unintentionally discharged from a containment basin on his farm into the Winnebago River in 2008.

The DNR estimated 31,000 fish were killed, and ordered Branstad to pay $62,000 in damages. But a judge later ruled the DNR improperly calculated the fish kill estimate, and damages were reduced to $5,300.

Wednesday's decision means Branstad can be awarded up to $70,000 for attorneys' fees.





Des Moines Man Hit By Train

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man was taken to a hospital after he was hit by a train in Des Moines.

Medics and other rescue workers were sent to the scene around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

It's unclear why the man was near the tracks when he was struck by the southbound train. His name hasn't been disclosed.





People March For Medical Marijuana

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Advocates seeking expanded access to medical marijuana in Iowa held a march at the state Capitol.

More than 50 supporters of a proposal to expand the use of medical marijuana participated Tuesday. They support legislation that has won committee-level approval in the state Senate and could soon come up for a floor vote.

The legislation would make medical marijuana available to people with certain chronic diseases, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Those approved by a doctor could purchase marijuana products produced in Iowa and sold at state-licensed dispensaries.

Last year, the Legislature approved a law allowing some residents with epilepsy to use oil with an ingredient derived from marijuana for treatment. But the law did not establish an in-state program for the production and distribution of the oil.





More Trains To Carry Crude Oil

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The number of trains carrying at least a million gallons of volatile crude oil across Nebraska and Iowa has increased significantly this spring.

BNSF railroad has told emergency management officials in both states that it's now hauling 20 to 30 trains loaded with oil from North Dakota's Bakken region through the area each week on average.

That's up significantly from last summer when federal regulators began requiring railroads to notify state officials about trains carrying at least 1 million gallons of oil.

Railroad shipments of crude oil are facing additional scrutiny and tougher regulations because there have been several fiery derailments involving the commodity in recent years. The worst one happened in July 2013 and killed 47 people in a small Canadian city just across the U.S.-Canada border from Maine.




Shooting Occurs Near Drake University

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One man has been injured in a shooting near Drake University in Des Moines.

The Des Moines Police Department responded to a report of a shooting around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday near 30th and Clark streets, on the northwest corner of Drake University.

A 25-year-old man was taken to Methodist Medical Center with gunshot wounds to his leg and rear. His name and condition haven't been released.

Authorities say they're looking for a gold Honda car in connection with the case. No arrests have been made at this time.





House Approves Gun Legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The House has passed legislation that would make sweeping changes to Iowa's gun laws, a vote that drew criticism from some lawmakers.

The House voted 73-25 Wednesday for the bill, which would allow children younger than 14 to use a handgun under a parent's supervision.

The House voted for the changes through another bill earlier in the session, but the Senate failed to take it up for a vote.

The bill Wednesday adds back many of the proposed changes through a separate, more limited gun bill. A provision that would have taken away a de factor three-day waiting period on a permit to acquire a handgun was removed.

Rep. Matt Windschitl says the legislation respects the Second Amendment rights of Iowa residents. Some lawmakers criticized the age limit removal.








Wednesday News, April 8

Supervisors Turn Down Funding Request For Log Cabin

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors decided not to offer any financial assistance to the efforts of saving the Joy Hollow log cabin, although they did agree to offer some in-kind services which would help save the museum some money if the cabin is moved from the fair grounds to the museum grounds. Judy Bowman, told the supervisors she was appearing before the county board as an interested individual, and not as a museum official.  Supervisor Craig Anderson says he did not believe it should be a tax payer funded project.

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Supervisor Mark Loutsch suggested the cabin instead of being moved to the museum, it should remain at the fairgrounds, but to utilize the collected and pledged funds to help restore the cabin. Anderson agreed with that idea.

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Bowman informed the county supervisors a fence would be needed to surround the cabin after the move, and until such time the cabin could be restored, in order to prevent people from doing damage to the cabin, or from getting injured.  In addition, Bowman indicated preliminary work at the museum grounds would be needed to secure the log cabin.  Supervisor chairman Jim Henrich thought the county may be able to donate a safety fence for the museum, as well as provide a truck to assist with the removal of asphalt.

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Kovarna Shares Concerns About New Hog Facility

(Le Mars) -- The County Board of Supervisors also heard from Tom Kovarna of rural Merrill share a concern regarding a hog confinement facility that is being built within 700 feet of his property. Kovarna says Cory Newberg is constructing the hog facility.  He told the supervisors his concerns about the new hog building.

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The supervisors said they shared his concern and related about how they had received other citizens' complaints regarding the same individual with other hog buildings.  Supervisor Craig Anderson says he had spoken to Newberg about a hog building being built next next to a park.  County Attorney Darrin Raymond informed Kovarna that the state code allows for animal feeding units without any special zoning provisions.  The county supervisors indicated that Newberg was constructing a smaller size building that does not require regulations.

City Council Turns Down Request For Residential Development Area

(Le Mars) -- By a vote of 3 to 2, the Le Mars City Council voted down a proposal
Tuesday that would have helped paved streets, install water and sewer lines, and helped with other associated costs for a proposed residential development area that was to be located in the southeast corner of town.  Developer Bruce Kellen has appeared before the council on three other occasions attempting to get the city council's approval for him to sub-divide a partial of property into larger than normal lot sizes.  Kellen says there is a desire from some people to have the larger sized lots, and it is something Le Mars does not currently offer.  He indicated to the city council he has people interested in purchasing the larger lot sizes. However, Kellen says he is reluctant to sub-plat his entire property
at this time, due to the higher tax fees.  The majority of the city council members indicated they would prefer to see other investors show an interest in the proposed development project, before they commit city tax dollars to the project.

Signs To Designate Historical Areas Will Appear

(Le Mars) -- In the near future, signs will be erected around three areas of Le Mars designating historical areas.  The city council approved the measure during its council meeting on Tuesday.  Richard Ziettlow of the Historical Commission appeared before the council and showed an example of the signs. The signs will be posted in the Memorial Park, Foster Park, and the downtown areas.

Jan Hansen Honored As School District's "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- A fourth grader teacher at Franklin Elementary school is the latest to receive the honor of Le Mars Community School District "Employee of the Month"  Jan Hansen has been with the school system for 23 years and she intends to retire at the conclusion of the school year. She was
nominated by Kay Powell and Daletta Bruggeman.  In their nominations, they say: Jan's teaching experience as a Title I Reading teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, first grade teacher, and fourth grade teacher have made her a great resource teacher to turn to.  Jan is approachable and is willing to share her ideas, knowledge, and skills with others.  She has demonstrated her leadership capabilities through various leadership assignments for our school district. Jan is an outstanding teacher! She brings a high degree of energy, enthusiasm, professionalism, and commitment to school with her every day.  She is the kind of teacher that makes Franklin Elementary and Le Mars Community Schools look great.  She has a high diligence towards student achievement and learning.  Jan is positive, upbeat, and kind.  Her positive attitude is contagious and uplifting.  She is always ready to lend a hand, a hug, a smile, and a kind word. Our congratulations to Jan Hansen for being named the Le Mars Community School District's "Employee of the month."

Charles City School District Produces Video Urging Legislators To Pass School Funding Bill

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - A northern Iowa school district has called on lawmakers to take legislative action on education funding.
The Charles City Community School District released a video on Monday in which students, staff and parents urge legislators to find a compromise on school funding. The Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate remain at odds over how much new money to give to schools in the upcoming academic year.
House Republicans have advanced a plan for about $100 million in additional funding, while Senate Democrats want to give schools over $200 million.
Superintendent Dr. Dan Cox says the district's video is a last-ditch effort to implore that legislators reach an agreement soon on supplemental state aid.
Districts are supposed to certify their 2015-2016 budgets by April 15.



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