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Tuesday Afternoon News, February 10

Le Mars School Board Discuss Educational Funding

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education discussed at length last evening the issue involving supplemental school aid funding.  The state House of Representatives have already passed a bill that would add an additional $50 million dollars, or a 1.25 percent increase over last year's school funding.  However, school board officials say the amount is not enough in order to continue with many of the programs and keep a full staff.  School superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt informed the school board members that he is using the 1.25 percent figure for the school's budget. School board president Scott Kommes informed the board members that the issue is getting media attention, but he doubts if legislators are listening.

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Superintendent Wendt recently attended an Area Education Agency meeting held in Des Moines where education officials met with state legislators for a breakfast meeting.  He says the advice offered to local school officials at the meeting is to get parents involved with the issue.

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Longtime school board member Dr. Mark Stelzer says the state legislature has been underfunding schools for several years.

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School board president Kommes equated the issue with personal income, saying anything below a three percent growth means a loss of money, when you factor in the cost of inflation.

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Dr. Stelzer advocated the legislature fails to use percent change for their calculations, and just talk general dollars, which he says doesn't meet the needs of schools.

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Dr. Stelzer questions whether education is a priority issue with the state lawmakers. 

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School board member Fred Zenk suggested the school administration and school board invite parents, teachers, and people from the greater community to attend the upcoming legislative forum, scheduled for February 28th, to show area legislators that several people are concerned about the funding level for education.  Zenk added, "this place (Education Center meeting room) should be full".  

 

Senator Ernst Defends Her Role As "Combat Veteran" 

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says those who question her status as a "combat veteran" are questioning thousands of other men and women who honorably served their country. Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, was asked about the issue Monday and says the criticism is likely generated by liberals after she gained attention on the national stage by winning her Senate race and then giving the Republican response to the president's State of the Union address.

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An article in the Huffington Post questioned Ernst calling herself a combat veteran because she never came under fire. Ernst, is lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard and did a tour of duty in Iraq leading a transportation company.

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She says its unfortunate the critics target her military service.

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Ernst says the men and women she served with are no less valuable soldiers than anyone else.

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Ernst says all soldiers who served in a combat zone in Iraq "encountered difficulties" and it's unfortunate they are being disparaged.

 

Smoke Inhalation Likely Killed Sioux City Man Found Dead In Burning Car

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say smoke inhalation likely killed a Sioux City man who was found dead inside a burning car near a Des Moines church.
     Firefighters had been sent to the parking of the Abundant Life Church on East Sheridan Avenue around 10 p.m. Sunday. They discovered the body of 51-year-old Patrick Murphy II after opening the driver's side door. 
     Medical examiner Gregory Schmunk says Murphy was barely burned. The autopsy didn't reveal any evidence of trauma or signs of any crime involved in Murphy's death. A toxicology report is expected within six weeks.

 

Man Jumps Off Bike To Avoid Head-on Collision With Past Girl Friend

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines man says he had to jump off his bike to avoid a head-on crash with his ex-girlfriend.
     The 20-year-old man says he was riding his bike down the street when he saw his ex-girlfriend driving a Jeep Cherokee straight toward him. He says he jumped off his bike when he realized they were about to hit head-on.
     The man says his bike was run over, dragged down the street and destroyed. According to a police report, the bike was worth about $400.
     Police took photos of skid marks left on the street and the bike after the collision, which occurred Saturday afternoon. The man tells police that he and the woman broke up about five months ago.
     Police say the incident is being investigated. 
     ---

 

City Council Denies Landmark Status For Cottages

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City officials have denied a proposal to give landmark status to cottages that date to the 1850s, making them some of the oldest buildings in the area.
     The Iowa City Council voted 3-4 Monday against a request to designate the cottages as historic landmarks. At least six out of seven votes were needed for it to pass.
     The vote comes after an Iowa City-based construction firm applied in November to rezone the area where the cottages are located to create space for a block-long mixed-use development. Preservationists then sought their landmark designation, which was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
     Property owner Ted Pacha submitted a formal protest in December of the preservationists' proposal to establish the cottages as historic landmarks.
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Tuesday News, February 10

Supervisors To Tour Life Skills Training Center

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will gather at the County Courthouse this morning for its weekly meeting.  The supervisors have a light agenda before them today.  The county supervisors are expected to approve county employees gross wages report for publication.  The supervisors will hear from County Engineer Tom Rohe as he will present a railroad signal agreement to be located on Otter Avenue.  Rohe will also discuss with the supervisors a gravel contract with Stratford Gravel.  The county supervisors have scheduled a portion of their morning to visit and tour the Life Skills Training Center.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening for its monthly meeting.  The hospital trustees will listen to updates provided by the hospital auxiliary, the city of Le Mars, and an Avera McKennan update.  The trustees will hear a report on the Quality Improvement Quarterly report, along with evaluation discussion.  Daryl Friedenbach will offer the trustees a hospital financial report, and hospital administrator Mike Donlin will present a general hospital update.  The hospital trustees will review and possibly approve the corporate compliance annual report.  They will review the latest Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Donlin will also share with the trustees the latest developments regarding the North Addition Expansion project.

 

Sioux City Man Found Dead In Burning Car

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say smoke inhalation likely killed a Sioux City man who was found dead inside a burning car near a Des Moines church.
     Firefighters had been sent to the parking of the Abundant Life Church on East Sheridan Avenue around 10 p.m. Sunday. They discovered the body of 51-year-old Patrick Murphy II after opening the driver's side door. 
     Medical examiner Gregory Schmunk says Murphy was barely burned. The autopsy didn't reveal any evidence of trauma or signs of any crime involved in Murphy's death. A toxicology report is expected within six weeks.

 

Additional Costs Added To New State Penitentiary

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials say repairs at the vacant Iowa State Penitentiary are expected to cost an additional $7 million.
     In a memo to state lawmakers last week, the Iowa Department of Corrections says the cost to fix a faulty heating and cooling system is at least $6.7 million. Prison officials say an additional $350,000 is needed for a defective smoke control system.
     State lawmakers in 2010 approved $131 million to build the prison. Documents prepared by aides for Gov. Terry Branstad last summer, however, show the cost had risen to $165.5 million.
     The prison in Fort Madison was scheduled to open last March to house inmates at the old Iowa State Penitentiary, located a mile away. But construction issues have delayed the prison's opening.

 

Chris Christie Gets Warm Welcome In Iowa

 WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is getting a warm welcome from Iowa Republicans in his first campaign appearance since returning from a rocky trade trip to the United Kingdom.
     Christie appeared at a Monday event sponsored by a county GOP organization held in suburban Des Moines. Seeking to introduce himself to voters in the kickoff caucus state, Christie touted his record as a conservative governor in a Democratic state, citing his efforts to cut taxes and reduce spending.
     Christie, who also met privately with Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, has not formally declared any 2016 plans, but moved recently moved closer with the formation of Leadership Matters for America, a political action committee.

Fiorina To Visit Iowa 

  DES MOINES,
Iowa (AP) - Former tech executive Carly Fiorina is heading to Iowa next month for a conference geared at empowering women.
     Will Rogers, chairman of the Republican Party of Polk County, said Monday that Fiorina will appear at the conference in West Des Moines on March 14. The event is sponsored by the Republican Party of Polk County and Polk County Republican Women.
     A former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, Fiorina is considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate. She appeared at a candidate summit in Iowa in January.
     Fiorina is trying to build a female-empowering organization, Unlocking Potential Project, for conservatives.
     Though she has presented herself as a political outsider, Fiorina lost an expensive Senate race in California in 2010. She now lives in Virginia.

 

Mason Discusses Merger With AIB

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason has discussed details of a merger with a Des Moines business college that will become part of the university in 2016.
     Mason answered questions from a legislative committee Monday about the future of AIB College of Business. Chris Costa, chairman of the board of trustees for AIB, also answered questions.
     Costa says AIB will be gifted to the university instead of technically merging because of accreditation issues. AIB will graduate its last students at the end of June 2016, and the University of Iowa will take over operations the following month.
     Mason says officials will help current AIB students with the transfer process to either the University of Iowa or elsewhere.
     AIB athletes at the meeting later expressed concern about the merger.

 

DNR Says Clean Up From Train De-railment Is Progressing

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's Department of Natural Resources says results from several monitoring stations along the Mississippi River show much of the ethanol that leaked into the water after several train cars derailed has dissolved.
     DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the highest levels of ethanol have been detected nearest the site where 14 cars containing the fuel went off the tracks Wednesday in a remote area north of Dubuque.
     Baskins says ethanol dissipated fairly quickly in the first mile downstream, with fuel levels undetectable 10 miles away.
     Officials say they're still unsure how much ethanol spilled into the Mississippi, but Baskins says the approximately 55,000 gallons that remain unaccounted for were involved in a three-car fire, pooled over an acre of ice, soaked into soil in the area and leaked into the river.

 



   

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