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Friday Afternoon News, March 28

City Water Department To Flush Water Lines

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Water Department has announced it intends to flush hydrants in the southeast portion of town beginning Monday at 10:00 a.m.  The city water department will start south of 12th Street and east of 2nd Avenue Southeast.  Gayle Sitzmann, superintendent for the city water department, says this is the pressure area of town.  Work should be completed on Tuesday morning then city water crews will progress to the north to Plymouth Street through the rest of the week starting at 8:00 a.m. and finishing by 3:30 p.m.  Sitzmann says there may be discolored water and to check the hard cold water for clarity.

 

Sioux City Manager To Reorganize City Departments

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The city manager of Sioux City says his reorganization and consolidation plan will save the city nearly $191,000 in fiscal 2015.   City Manager Bob Padmore is distributing his former duties as assistant city manager to current department heads. Two positions will be eliminated as well.  The council has already approved his plan.  Padmore described the plan as "a streamlining of city organizations and realigning of some of the departments to match the skills and expertise that our employees have."

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Regents And Consulting Firm Answer Questions

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa regents and outside consultants leading a major review of the state's three public universities are facing pointed questions from anxious University of Iowa employees.  A town hall-style meeting in Iowa City on Friday marked the public launch of the review by the regents and Deloitte Consulting LLP, who are looking at how the universities can cut costs.  Consultants from Deloitte told a crowd of about 200 in a campus lecture hall that the review could identify cuts to administration, academic programs and support functions such as information technology. They said it could also lead to some services being located on one campus and shared by all three.  Consultants and regents faced questions about possible job cuts, the elimination of duplicative programs, and how the savings would be used.

 

Six People Hospitalized After Council Bluffs Explosion And Fire

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say six people have been hospitalized after an explosion and fire at a home on the east side of Council Bluffs.  Fire investigator Dan Roberts says  the accident occurred about 8:10 p.m. Thursday.

Four children and two adults suffered mostly second-degree burns, and two of the injured were taken to a burn center in Lincoln, Neb.  Authorities say a group of Boys Scotts had been working on a ceremony display at the home when the explosion occurred.  The fire marshal's office is investigating.

 

Iowa Bar Association Wants More Court Security

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Bar Association is asking officials to examine security at the state's county courthouses following an incident in Madison County.  The incident Monday involved a man who allegedly pulled out a weapon and brandished it around the courtroom. Twenty-nine-year-old Cory Lee Daugherty was in there to be sentenced on drug charges. He escaped but was arrested a short time later.

Madison County doesn't prohibit visitors from having firearms in the courthouse.  ISBA President Guy Cook said in a statement Friday that although courthouse security varies from county to county, "certain basic security measures" should be considered.  Daugherty faces multiple charges in connection to the incident, including being a felon in possession of a firearm. Court records do not list an attorney.

 

Democratic Lawmakers Want Answers From Branstad Regarding Settlements

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers, determined to question state administrators about confidential settlements reached with fired state workers, are accusing top administrators at the Department of Administrative Services of stalling.  The Senate Government Oversight Committee asked the agency's director, Mike Carroll to appear Thursday but he declined. Two other administrators also said no.

Democratic Senator Matt McCoy, a member of the committee says it's the Legislature's role to provide oversight and he won't give up.  The DAS spokesman did not immediately return messages.

More than 320 state workers have been fired since Republican Governor Terry Branstad took office in 2011. Several were paid more than $427,000 to keep quiet about their dismissals.  Republican leaders say Democrats are pushing so hard because it helps Senator Jack Hatch, who's running against Branstad for governor.

 

Environmental Groups Upset About Water Quality Practices

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups are sounding alarms that a Republican-led House subcommittee has inserted language into the budget bill for the Department of Agriculture that critics say would prevent the public from accessing information about water quality improvement practices funded partially with taxpayer dollars.

The budget bill deals in part with farm practices the state will help pay for as part of the state's strategy to reduce manure and fertilizer that runs into rivers and streams.

Department of Agriculture officials say they must ensure details of land

practices aren't made public for farmers participating in the program.Environmental groups say the data is critical to understanding pollution risks.

Democrats vow to amend the bill if the language isn't changed when it's debated in the House next week.

 

 


 

 

   

Friday News, March 28

Le Mars House Fire

(Le Mars) -- Fire officials from Le Mars and Orange City responded to a house fire at 44 5th Avenue Southeast in Le Mars at about 11:55 a.m. Thursday morning.  Nobody was home at the time when the fire was reported by neighbors.  Upon arrival, fire fighters could see black and grey smoke billowing from the structure.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire started in the basement and had been burning for quite some time before it was reported.

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Schipper says basement fires are perhaps the worst type of structure fires.

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There were no injuries with the fire, but Schipper says a family dog did perish in the blaze.
Fire fighters used two aerial and ladder trucks from Le Mars and Orange City to attack the fire in the attic and roof areas.

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Fire officials were on the scene for nearly three and a half hours.  The Le Mars Fire Chief says the structure is totally destroyed.

 

School Officials Discuss Budget

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community School officials are deciding upon a budget for the next school year.  School superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt earlier this week, offered a proposed budget for the school board's  consideration. In that budget, Wendt projects the general expenditures to total more than $20,764,387.  He says this represents an increase of more than $1.3 million dollars from the 2014 budget. 

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Wendt says there is a good reason for the substanial increase.

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The Le Mars Community School Superintendent says school board officials have made a pledge with the public to reduce the property tax levy.

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Wendt says Fiscal year 2015 finances should be fine, but he does have some concerns with 2016, depending upon what the state legislature does for educational funding.

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The school superintendent says the worst case scenerio would be to drop programs, and layoff faculty and staff members.

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A public hearing for the school district's budget is set for April 14, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at the Education Service Center.

 

Judge Rules BPI Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against ABC News

(Elk Point) -- A South Dakota judge has ruled Beef Products, Incorporated can proceed with a defamation lawsuit against ABC News network.  BPI is seeking $1.2 billion in damages from the news network for its coverage of of a meat product called finely textured beef, which critics have dubbed "pink slime".  BPI says ABC news coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs by misleading consumers into believing the product is unsafe.  Attorneys for ABC say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat.  In her ruling, Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed six of the 26 counts.

 

Branstad Turns Down Commutations For Inmates

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad has denied the applications of 18 inmates seeking commutation.  The governor made the announcement on Thursday in a news release.  The individuals seeking commutation are serving different sentences, including life in prison.  Some have been convicted of crimes like first-degree murder.  Other convictions involve kidnapping and robbery.  The inmates range in age from 24 to 66.  Branstad did not provide any other details about his decision.

 

Dallas County Has Largest Population Increase In Iowa

(Des Moines) -- New data shows Dallas County in central Iowa grew by 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the largest such gain in the state. U.S. Census Bureau says in estimates being released Thursday that the suburban Des Moines county grew to more than 74,600 residents by July 1 of last year.  That's an increase of 3.5 percent over the preceding 12 months.  The county population has jumped nearly 13 percent since the 2010 Census. Eight of Iowa's nine metropolitan areas had population increases in the latest estimates while rural counties had population declines.

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

   

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