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Tuesday News, January 26

Kirchoff To Address County Supervisors Regarding Le Mars Public Library

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will convene for their weekly meeting this morning at the County Courthouse Board Room.  The supervisors will discuss the proposed fiscal budget, and possibly will schedule a date for a public hearing on the budget. The supervisors will review and possibly approve the July to December 2015 settlement of county funds.  They are also expected to appoint Matt Ahlers to the county finance committee for the County Compensation Commission.  Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff is scheduled to address the county governing board.  Kirchoff will discuss with the supervisors the current situation involving the Le Mars Public Library, and the library coalition.  Attorney Gene Collins will also address the supervisors, as he will seek approval for T-Mac Farms Addition.  




Pork Producers Prepare For Iowa Pork Congress

(Des Moines) -- The state's pork producers will gather in Des Moines this week for the 44th annual Iowa Pork Congress.  County delegates will convene for their annual meeting on Tuesday to discuss proposed resolutions and other issues important to the pork industry.  Iowa Pork Producers Association spokesman Ron Birkenholz says it will be an interesting session as he offers a preview of the issues that will be discussed by the 130 delegates.

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The large indoor trade show along with educational seminars will start on Wednesday and continue through Thursday.

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Birkenholz says the seminars will focus on many swine health issues, including the deadly disease PRRS (pronounced as purrs).

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The state pork official says this year's key-note address speaker will be Dr. Patrick Moore.

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Jill Kessenich of Le Mars is competing for the title of State Pork Queen, but Birkenholz says the pork producers are doing something a bit different beginning this year.

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Jeb Bush To Campaign At Dordt College

(Sioux Center) -- Yet another Republican presidential candidate has scheduled a campaign visit to Dordt College in Sioux Center.  This time around it will be former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother to former president George W. Bush and son to former president George Herbert Bush.  Jeb Bush is scheduled to speak at 6:45 p.m. Friday evening at the Campus Center.  Bush will have been the fourth Republican candidate to speak at Dordt College in recent weeks.  Last Saturday, Donald Trump made an appearance, and previous weeks featured Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator, Ted Cruz.  Dordt College officials say they have also been visiting with Dr. Ben Carson about a possible Saturday appearance, although nothing has been finalized at this point.





Gehlen Students Receive High Marks At Large Group Speech Contest

(Le Mars) -- Eight of twelve Gehlen Catholic Large Group Speech, which were comprised of 34 students, entries earned a “I” (Superior) rating at Districts on Saturday, January 23rd in East High School in Sioux City.  The students will advance to State on Saturday, February 6th, which will be held hosted at LeMars Community High School.  The other four entries earned a “II” rating.

Those large groups earnings “I’s” include:
• Ensemble Acting – “Almost Maine” – Sarah Henrich and Katelyn Langel (LeMars); and Atze Atsma (Hospers).
• Ensemble Acting – “My Gypsy Robe” – Malayna Hanks, Kaitlyn Norfolk, Elliotte Herbst, and Jillian Hyer (LeMars); and Katelyn Willett (Hospers).
• Ensemble Acting – “Tribute” – TJ Kruse (Le Mars) and Shiann Hansen (Alton).
• Reader’s Theatre – “The Internet is a Distract., Oh Look! A Kitten!” – Joe Schuch, Hemi Hann, Chloe Son, Sebastian Buman, and Jordan Larson (LeMars); Shiann Hansen and Megan Kellen (Alton); Andrew Kordick (Hospers).
• Choral Reading – “Troubleshooting” – Carlyn Bretey, Sarah Henrich, Krista Lipp, Sebastian Buman, Carter Sitzmann, Alexa Scheitler, Kathryn Ripley, Katelyn Langel, Colin Wise, Christopher Fuentes (LeMars); Atze Atsma (Hospers); Madison Schroeder (Granville);  Grace Kreber, James and Meredith Kellen (Alton).
• One Act – “Never Trust A Man” – Kayla Mayer and Jordan Larson (LeMars); Claire Zubrod (Merrill); Madison Schroeder (Granville); Megan Kellen (Alton).
• Group Improv – Group 1 – Joe Schuch and Liam Murphy (LeMars).
• Group Improv – Group 2 – Colin Wise (LeMars); Andrew Kordick (Hospers).

The large group entries who also competed Saturday and earned a Division “II” rating:
• Group Improv – Group 3 – Christopher Fuentes and Kimberly Arreola (Le Mars); James Kellen (Alton).
• Group Mime – “The Great Rescue” – Megan Puhl (LeMars); Claire Zubrod (Merrill); Meredith Kellen (Alton).
• Group Mime – “Lunchtime” – Elliotte Herbst  and Jillian Hyer (LeMars); Claire Zubrod (Merrill);
• Solo Mime – “Choices” – Carter Sitzmann (LeMars).

Gehlen Catholic’s Large Group Speech moderator, Mr. Mark Morehead (Merrill),   Mr. Morehead humbly stated, “I am very happy with all of our performances.  We had a very successful day.   The students have put in numerous hours of rehearsal and a lot of hard work.”

Mr. Morehead acknowledged many of the speech students are jugging multiple co- and extra-curricular activities, dual college credit courses, and some even jobs.  Therefore, he is especially proud of the students’ commitment to the speech and drama programs.

“I look forward to State Speech Contest, which will be held at LeMars Community High School.  I encourage the community to come out and support our students and all of our local schools,” he concluded.

Pictured (left to right):
Front row:  Madison Schroeder, Hemi Hahn, Sarah Henrich, Shiann Hansen, Jillian Hyer, Kathryn Ripley, Malayna Hanks, Katelyn Willett, Grace Kreber, and Kimberly Arreola.
Second row:  Kayla Mayer, Carlyn Bretey, Katelyn Langel, Alexa Scheitler, Kaitlyn Norfolk, Elliotte Herbst, Claire Zubrod, Krista Lipp, Jordan Larson, Megan Kellen, Megan Puhl, Emily Oetken.
Final row:  TJ Kruse, James Kellen, Sebastian Buman, Carter Sitzmann, Christopher Fuentes, Chloe Son, Atze Atsma, Meredith Kellen, Joe Schuch, Liam Murphy, Andrew Kordick, Colin Wise, Mr. Morehead.






State House Begins State Education Funding Discussion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The debate over K-12 education spending in the Iowa Legislature has begun to take shape with a set of procedural votes.
The Republican-controlled House voted Monday for legislation that would set a new growth rate for basic aid to schools in the fiscal year that begins in July. The bill now heads to the Democratic-majority Senate, where lawmakers have indicated the proposed increase is not adequate to properly support school districts.  State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars offers the details of the House approved education spending.

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The chambers are expected to go back and forth with procedural votes before the issue is debated through special legislative meetings.
K-12 education takes up about $3 billion of the state's roughly $7 billion budget. Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a growth rate that is lower than what Democrats want, but also higher than what is supported by Republicans.




Lawmakers Want More Clarity On Early Grade Reading Initiatives

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group of Iowa lawmakers say they want more clarity from education officials on the implementation of early literacy initiatives in the state.
Members of the Senate Education Committee told officials from the Iowa Department of Education on Monday that they want more data on how some state dollars are being used to improve reading proficiency for students between kindergarten and third grade.
A 2012 state law aimed at improving literacy for young students includes monitoring, programming and testing. It also requires a summer reading program for third-graders, though education groups have expressed concern about how it will be funded and implemented.
Some lawmakers suggested state officials give school districts more guidance on programming for students. A department spokeswoman says the agency appreciated the meeting and will provide follow-up information.





Iowa Human Services Director "Confident" State Is Ready For Medicaid Privatization

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa's Medicaid program says she's "very confident" the $4.2 billion system will be ready for private management on March 1, though some lawmakers expressed lingering concerns.
Mikki Stier from the Iowa Department of Human Services told lawmakers Monday her confidence comes from more signups of Medicaid health providers and better communication to Medicaid recipients about the switch. 
The state's Medicaid program provides care to some low-income people, children and disabled individuals. Three private companies are scheduled to take over the program amid growing criticism from some lawmakers that the new setup needs better state oversight.
Stier told lawmakers about 45 percent of Medicaid service providers have signed up with all three private insurers. Some lawmakers on the Senate Human Resources Committee said the number should be higher.




Subcommittee Passes Bill Allowing Minors To Handle Handguns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel in the Iowa Legislature has given initial approval of a bill that would remove the age limit for children to use a handgun under the supervision of a parent.
A House Judiciary subcommittee agreed Monday to send the legislation forward to its full committee. A similar measure last session had little support in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The bill would allow a child of any age to possess a pistol or revolver under direct supervision of a parent or guardian. Current law requires the child to be at least 14 years old. State law has no age limit for a minor to possess a rifle or shotgun if there is consent from a parent or guardian.
Several bills in the House this session propose expanding gun rights.





U-S Supreme Court Rules Minors Convicted For Life Sentences Must Be Changed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision that makes retroactive a 2012 ruling striking down automatic life prison terms for people sentenced as teenagers is not expected to have much impact in Iowa since the state's Supreme Court already extended the federal court ruling.
The federal court justices on Monday voted 6-3 to extend the 2012 decision to previous cases involving teenage killers. Now, even those who were convicted long ago must be considered for parole or given a new sentence.
Iowa's high court in the 2013 appeal of Jeffrey Ragland had already concluded the federal court's 2012 ruling applies retroactively to teenagers previously sentenced to life.
The Iowa Attorney General's office says the ruling affected 39 Iowa juvenile life offenders and most of them have already been resentenced.





Des Moines Bus Crashes Into House


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bus crashed into a Des Moines home during an afternoon snowstorm that swept through the area.
A Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority bus crashed into a home Monday afternoon. 
The crash was reported around 5 p.m. north of Park Fair Mall.   A woman who was inside the home was able to escape. 
The bus driver and a passenger were taken to a local hospital and their injuries are not believed to be life threatening. 
The bus crashed into the corner of the home and stopped in the living room, about six feet inside.






Monday Afternoon News, January 25

Roll Over Accident (Update)

(Le Mars) -- Slick, icy roads are responsible for a one-vehicle roll over accident that happened this morning at about 7:20 a.m.  The accident happened on Key Avenue in front of ICON Ag and Turf farm equipment dealership.  The Jeep Patriot SUV was driven by 52 year old Cindy Gerrits of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was heading southbound when apparently the vehicle hit a patch of ice and lost control, and then headed into the west ditch and rolled over. Gerrits was transported to the Floyd Valley Healthcare by the Le Mars Ambulance, with what is believed to be minor injuries.  The vehicle is listed as a total loss.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Le Mars Police and the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office all responded to the accident scene.  The Le Mars Police is investigating the accident.





Monona County Snowmobile Accident Claims Life Of Louisiana Man

WHITING, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in western Iowa say a Louisiana man has been killed in a snowmobile accident.
The accident was reported a little before 10:30 p.m. Saturday in a field about five miles northwest of Whiting. Authorities say David Daigle, of Baton Rouge, struck an irrigation pivot as he tried to cut across a farm field. 
Daigle was pronounced dead later at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. 
The Monona County Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident.





Vermillion Fire Destroys Apartment Building

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - No one was hurt but four families were displaced in an apartment building fire in Vermillion.
The American Red Cross reports that one of the apartments in the four-unit building was destroyed and two others suffered major damage in the early morning fire on Sunday.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze.
The Red Cross is providing food, clothing and shelter to the families.





Gun Permits On The Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Law enforcement and gun dealers say that they are seeing a rise in gun sales and applications for carry permits in Iowa.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System says Iowa had 25,941 firearm background checks conducted in December 2015, more than in any other month last year.
The Polk County Sheriff's Department says it saw about 1,000 more gun carry permit applications than usual last month. Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says he believes that influx is the result of rising safety concerns following high-profile gun crimes.
Tom Hudson, manager of CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, says the number of new customers at his shop quadrupled last month, and he's surprised that gun sales have not dropped off since the usual holiday increase.





Iowa Poultry Farms Trying To Restock Birds After Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa egg farms are bouncing back from last year's bird flu outbreak but rebuilding flocks with millions of new egg layers is taking time as the industry predicted.
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Friday shows Iowa's population of egg-laying hens at 37.9 million in December, up 6 percent from November but still 37 percent below the year-ago figure.
Iowa farms produced 812 million eggs, up 11 percent from the previous month but down 44 percent from December 2014.
The bird flu last summer killed 48 million birds nationwide including 24 million Iowa laying hens.
Farmers have replenished flocks but expect it to take most of this year to reach full production again.
U.S. egg production in December was 8 billion, down 8 percent from a year ago.


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