Wednesday News, November 20
FAA Approves Water Tower
(Le Mars) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has delivered good news to the city of Le Mars.
In a letter written to city officials, the FAA confirms the fact the city can proceed on the construction of a new 140 foot tall water tower at the proposed site located on the southwest corner of town. The FAA previously had concerns about the new water tower as it could pose a risk and interfere with air traffic patterns for the Le Mars airport. The FAA ruling means pilots will need to approach Le Mars from the west. He says other Iowa communities have similar provisions due to obstacles. The Le Mars City Council approved the contracts for both a water tower and a water booster station. Washburn says construction for both projects could start in the spring.
Supervisors Hear Report From County Conservation Board
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Conservation Board Executive Director Nick Beeck (Beck) delivered the Conservation Board's annual report to the county supervisors on Tuesday. Beeck says a highlight for the year was the acquistion of a land parcel near Highway 12. Beeck says the Conservation Board is making preparations for the popular sledding hill located at Hillview Park near Hinton. He says the Conservation Board is probably the only county agency hoping for snow, and lots of it. Beeck also gave an update to the supervisors regarding the new Riversbend Wildlife Area, a parcel of land near Akron that had been a gravel pit and is now being converted to be a county owned lake and park, after a land swap deal. Beeck says the county is supposed to take ownership by the end of the year. He says progress has been made on the new lake, but he isn't certain if the project will be completed by the scheduled deadline.
Clovis Wins Straw Poll
(Ida Grove) -- In a straw poll among the six Republican candidates seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, Plymouth County resident and former radio talk show host Sam Clovis, came out on top. The straw poll was held in Ida Grove following a republican forum, in which each candidate was given the opportunity to speak and address issues. Republicans from Ida, Sac and Cherokee counties participated in the informal straw poll. A total of 97 votes were cast with Clovis winning with 57 votes compared to 15 for David Young, a former staff member of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Former state attorney Matt Whitaker gathered 13 votes, State Senator Joni Ernst received six votes, and former car dealer Scott Schaben earned three votes. Attorney Paul Lunde did not participate in the event.
District 13 Voters Elect New State Senator
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Voters in a district south of Des Moines have elected Republican Julian Garrett in a special election to fill a state Senate seat.
Garrett, who had been serving in the state House, received about 60 percent of the vote, beating former Democratic lawmaker Mark Davitt in the Tuesday election for Iowa Senate District 13.
The Senate seat was vacated when former Sen. Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, resigned after an independent investigator concluded he likely broke ethics rules in receiving money from presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's political action committee and presidential campaign.
Garrett's victory means the state Senate will remain nearly evenly split, with Democrats controlling 26 seats and Republicans holding 24.
The District 13 seat will go before voters again in 2014.
USDA Approves Grants For Local Food To Go To School Lunches
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved grants to 71 organizations in 42 states working on getting locally grown farm products into school cafeterias
In Iowa, Decorah-based Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative will get $95,600 to expand their program to more schools with a goal of increasing their local food purchase by 200 percent.
In Nebraska, the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons will get $99,600. The organization plans to help 10 pilot schools set up farm-to-school programs and hold farm summits in eastern Nebraska to help build connections between farmers and schools.
The projects across the U.S. will serve more than 13,000 schools and 2.8 million students.
McCaughey Septuplets Turn 16
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Do you remember The McCaughey septuplets? Well, they are 16 now and say they don't mind that they're taking a lower profile than years ago.
The children, of Carlisle, became internationally famous when they became the world's first surviving septuplets in 1997. They were on the cover of national magazines and featured on network television shows.
But as the seven children celebrate their 16th birthday Tuesday, the family says it's nice to live a more normal life.
Nathan McCaughey says the attention was fun, "but in other ways I never liked it, all these cameras following you around everywhere."
The parents, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey, say they enjoy being able to have conversations with their children now that they're older.
And Bobbi notes, "It's fun to see the work pay off."
Judge Rules U of I Did Not Violate Public Records Law
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge says the University of Iowa did not violate the public records law when it allowed a doctor to delay release of a settlement deal showing he was allowed to resign after a personnel dispute.
Judge Douglas Russell ruled Tuesday that the university acted in good faith in 2011 when it gave John Chaloupka time to seek an injunction to challenge the document's release, which had been requested by The Associated Press. The ruling means the university doesn't have to pay the AP's attorney's fees.
It took two years and two court orders for the AP to obtain the document, which showed Chaloupka received his $380,000 salary for a year after he was removed as director of the university hospital's neurointerventional radiology division and transferred to a non-clinical job.