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Monday News, February 9

School Board To Hold Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education are scheduled to meet this evening.  The local school board has a short agenda, but they will hear from each of the principals.  The school board is expected to discuss both their recent district school board meeting held at Sheldon, as well as review the results from the evaluations of the retreat.  The school board has scheduled February 28th as the annual legislative forum with State Senator Bill Anderson, and State Representative Chuck Soderberg.

 

Legislature Works On Education Bills

(Le Mars) -- Education bills was the focus of attention for the Iowa General Assembly during this past week.  The House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would allocate $50 million to the Iowa school districts, which represents a 1.25 percent increase over last year's education spending.  Many school officials, however, are saying  the approved amount of educational funding is simply not enough. State Representative Chuck Soderberg says there is no more available money in the state's budget to increase education funding, unless more cuts are made.

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The State Senate wants to allocate up to $200 million, or a four percent increase for education funding.  Soderberg says, if the Senate bill passes, more cuts in other programs will be needed.

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The other issue involving education was what should be the start date for schools?  Soderberg says most of the state's schools have requested, and been granted a waiver for the start date. However, Governor Branstad wants the state to follow the law which says schools can't start school until the week of September 1st.

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Counties Forced To Borrow Money For Road Repairs

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The amount Iowa counties borrow to repair their roads and bridges may be a key factor in the debate over whether to increase the state fuel tax.
      Winnebago, Worth, Mitchell and Howard counties all carry large road construction debts.
     State lawmakers are weighing a couple different proposals to increase the amount of money devoted to road maintenance.
     The Iowa State Association of County Supervisors says counties don't want to borrow for road projects, but in some corners of the state officials didn't see another option.
     Worth County carries the highest debt at $25.4 million. That translates into $3,366 per resident of the county.
     By contrast, 17 Iowa counties carry no debt, and 27 other counties have less than $100 debt per resident.
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Johnson County To Send Inmates To Muscatine County Jail While Renovation Occurs

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials say a project at the Johnson County Jail will require most of its inmates to be moved and housed in the Muscatine County Jail for several months. 
     Work is set to begin April 27 on the $880,000 project intended to improve the Johnson County Jail's control center and repair several cellblock doors. The project is scheduled to finish by July 20. 
     Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek says he estimates between 70 and 90 percent of the inmates will be moved to Muscatine County.
     The Johnson County Jail has a capacity of 92 inmates. Pulkrabek says the jail will be able to hold some inmates during the project.
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Iowa State To Offer Seminar For Women Politicians

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With the election of Senator Joni Ernst last year, the state of Iowa finally shed its status for having never selected a female governor or member of Congress. But advocates say there is still plenty of work to do to get more women involved in politics.
     On Friday the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University will kick off its fifth "Ready to Run" campaign training for women. The program, which will be held over three days between February and April, includes seminars on how to organize a campaign, raise money and deal with the media.
     Dianne Bystrom, the center's director, said women in the state need encouragement to enter the political arena.

 

Ambulance Crashes In Northern Iowa

MANLY, Iowa (AP) - Officials say two crew members inside an ambulance were taken to the hospital after their vehicle crashed in northern Iowa.
     State trooper Travis Derr says the victims were treated for injuries from the single-vehicle wreck on Sunday. 
     He says the two workers from Mitchell County EMS of Osage had just finished dropping off a patient in Mason City. They were the only people inside the ambulance when it hit a slick spot on Highway 9 and went into a ditch. 
     Derr says the vehicle rolled through a barbed-wire fence and landed upright in a farm field. No citations were filed in the accident. The names of the crew members weren't released.
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No Powerball Jackpot Winner

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lottery officials say no jackpot winner was selected in the latest $380 million Powerball drawing.
     The next drawing will be Wednesday after no one matched Saturday's winning numbers.
     Sue Dooley is the senior drawing manager for the Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees Powerball. She says the estimated value of Wednesday's drawing will be $450 million.
     The huge jackpot is a return to form for Powerball, which has been known along with Mega Millions for its record-breaking jackpots in recent years. But the Powerball lottery has experienced a slump, with nearly a year passing since its jackpot total climbed above $300 million.
     Powerball's last major jackpot was in February 2014, when it climbed to $425 million.
     Powerball tickets cost $2 each.
 

 

 



 


 

   

Saturday News, February 7

House Passes Spending Measure For Schools

(Le Mars) -- Education bills was the focus of attention for the Iowa General Assembly during this past week.  The House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would allocate $50 million to the Iowa school districts, which represents a 1.25 percent increase over last year's education spending.  Many school officials, however, are saying  the approved amount of educational funding is simply not enough. State Representative Chuck Soderberg says there is no more available money in the state's budget to increase education funding, unless more cuts are made.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The State Senate wants to allocate up to $200 million, or a four percent increase for education funding.  Soderberg says, if the Senate bill passes, more cuts in other programs will be needed.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The other issue involving education was what should be the start date for schools?  Soderberg says most of the state's schools have requested, and been granted a waiver for the start date. However, Governor Branstad wants the state to follow the law which says schools can't start school until the week of September 1st.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ag Secretary To Visit

(Des Moines)--Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that he will be visiting Sac, Cherokee and O’Brien Counties on Tuesday, February 10.
Northey will speak at a Crop Production Services meeting in Wall Lake and at the Cherokee County Ag Show and then visit the Paullina Locker Plant.

 

Pipeline Project Gets More Feberal Money

 
TEA, S.D. (AP) - A pipeline that will deliver Missouri River water to towns and rural water systems in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota has picked up more funding from Washington.
     The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will receive an extra $6.6 million from Bureau of Reclamation, in addition to the original $2.4 million budgeted for this year.
     Executive director Troy Larson says that $9 million will help the project award another contract.
     He says senators and representatives from the three states helped secure the extra funding.
     Larson says the water system is 65 percent done and is delivering water to 11 of its 20 members.

 

Vice President Biden To Visit Des Moines

 
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Des Moines next week.
     The White House announced Friday that Biden would visit Drake University in Des Moines on Thursday. Biden will give remarks about President Barack Obama's economic policies.
     Biden will also take part in a discussion at Des Moines Area Community College about attending college and preparing people for the workforce. 
     Biden is considered a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016. He has said he will make a decision about running later in the spring or summer but has done little to set up a campaign.

 

Clean-Up Efforts Underway After Train Derailment

 


DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials say they're trying to decide the best way to remove ethanol that leaked into the Mississippi River and pooled around the area where several train cars derailed. 
     The Telegraph Herald reports about a half-acre of fuel froze at the site as of Friday, with more covering about an acre of ice on the Mississippi. Fourteen of the cars that derailed Wednesday morning contained ethanol, and eight appeared to be leaking.
     DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says one ethanol removal option is to use a steam hose to collect and pump it into a storage tank. He says this won't be possible if the ice can't support the necessary equipment.
     Baskins says the ice also limits efforts to evaluate the effect on aquatic life.

Invwstigation Underway Into Affects Of Data Breach    

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state insurance official says officials continue to investigate the number of Iowans affected by a data breach at health insurer Anthem Inc. 
     Iowa Assistant Insurance Commissioner Tom O'Meara says Friday the company discovered a cyberattack into a database containing the personal information for 80 million people. The health insurance provider says hackers gained access to names, birthdates, email addresses, Social Security numbers and other information of people who are currently covered or previously had coverage. 
     O'Meara says the number of Iowans whose information has been compromised is unknown but that Anthem has two companies doing business in Iowa, one of which provides policies for more than 1 million people. 
     Anthem is notifying each person affected by the breach. O'Meara says instances of identity theft haven't yet been reported. 

 

Inmate Accussed In Death Of Other Inmate


 CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say an Iowa man imprisoned for killing two store clerks has been accused of trying to kill another inmate. 
     According to the Globe Gazette, a criminal complaint states that 21-year-old Michael Richard Swanson slashed a fellow inmate in the neck at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville on Nov. 13. The victim required stiches for 15 cuts. 
      Swanson is charged with felony attempted murder. 
      Swanson was convicted of killing 47-year-old Vicky Bowman-Hall while she worked at a convenience store in Algona in 2010. He was convicted of killing 61-year-old Sheila Myers on the same night while she worked at a convenience store in Humboldt. Swanson was 17 at the time.
      He was serving two life terms, but his sentence was commuted by Gov. Terry Branstad, which allows him to seek parole after 60 years.

   

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