Thursday News, February 5
City Council And Developer At Impasse Over New Proposed Development Area
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council and Developer Bruce Kellen came to an impasse during Tuesday's city council meeting. Kellen has been asking the city to approve a new development area to be located on the southeast corner of Le Mars. The proposed development area would have larger than normal lot sizes to accomodate for both a house and a storage facility building to be located on the lot. Kellen is asking the city to help by paying for the cost of a street into the development area. City council members shared their concern over the project, asking for more committment from Kellen. Kellen has stated he knows of an interested party wanting to build a home in the proposed development area, but city council members were saying they want more assurance that others will also want to build in the area. City councilman Clark Goodchild was questioning if Kellen is even allowed to sub-divide his property.
Kellen countered Goodchild's assumption saying he has visited with his attorney, and was under the impression the new development area did meet with the necessary criteria.
Councilwoman Delana Irhke spoke out against the project saying more investors need to show an interest in the project. She also wanted Kellen to have a complete platted project before the city council acts upon the request.
One concern Kellen has is once a development area has been platted, then the tax levy changes from being an agricultural area to a residential area, making the taxes higher.
The city council advised Kellen to again check with his attorney to make certain he is legally able to sub-divide his ground, and to sit down with city officials with a complete plan. Mayor pro-tem Rex Knapp suggested the two sides discuss specifically the entire costs, and to decide which side would finance each portion of the project, including a street, sewer, water, and other costs associated with a new development area.
Schettler Named School District's "Employee Of The Month"
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District honored its Director of Maintenance with the "Employee of the Month". Duane Schettler has been with the school district for 37 years. During this time, Duane has always been there to address maintenance issues that come up. He has performed his job on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week bsasis as the guy who get called when things are not working correctly. He has rarely utilized his vacation time, and even when he is on vacation, he is available to answer questions about what to do in order to get things working again. Schettler has the maintenance history of the district during the past four decades in his head and is good at sharing a story or two when recalling facts that are important to solving the current problems. He is the district expert on a wide variety of things related to keeping things running like kitchen equipment, maintenance equipment, HVAC systems, boilers, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, snow removal, turf management, roofs, etc. When problems are too big for his and his crew, Duane always knows who to call to get the required service. The expertise he has gained in these areas can only come from experience and it will be really missed. Duane has performed an impossible job very well for the past 37 years. We wish him the best in his retirement. Our congratulations go to Duane Schettler for being named the Le Mars Community School District's "Employee of the Month."
Atlantic Fire Claims A Life
ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man was found dead and a woman was hospitalized after fire at a house in the western Iowa city of Atlantic.
Fire Chief Mark McNeese says the fire started just after 10 p.m. Wednesday. McNeese says firefighters rescued the woman after entering the back of the home. She was flown to an Omaha hospital.
Firefighters later found the man's body inside. The two victims' names haven't been released.
McNeese says there's evidence that an explosion may have started the fire. The cause is being investigated.
Evansdale Police Recieving Numerous Tips On Cousins Death
EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Evansdale police say they have been flooded with phone calls since investigators asked the public this week for help in the case of two girls' deaths.
Police Chief Kent Smock says as of Wednesday, more than 100 people called in, requiring the department to reign in city staff, retired officers and others to help answer the phones.
Investigators asked on Tuesday for tips from anyone who's familiar with a remote wildlife area where the bodies of 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins were found in December 2012.
Police think the killer is likely very familiar with the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area.
Collins' mother says the large volume of calls has given her hope in finding the person responsible in the girls' deaths.
Seven GOP Leaders Commit To Agricultural Summitt
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Seven potential GOP presidential candidates plan to attend a summit in Iowa that will focus on agricultural issues.
Agriculture entrepreneur Bruce Rastetter announced the attendees Wednesday. He has received confirmation from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and businessman Donald Trump.
The event is scheduled for March 7th at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Attendees will appear individually with Rastetter on stage for 20 minutes to discuss a variety of topics, such as renewable fuels and land conservation.
Rastetter, who organized the gathering, is an agribusiness entrepreneur who previously founded and ran large hog production and ethanol companies. He's also a major GOP donor in Iowa.
Senate Panel Approves Breast Density Data Bill For Mammograms
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would require breast density data in mammogram reports be given to patients and physicians, a move that supporters say could help women detect cancer earlier.
The bill approved Wednesday by a human resources subcommittee would require that patients be told if they have a certain density of breast tissue. Advocates of the proposal say such breast density can obscure early detection of breast cancer in mammograms. They say this legislation will help patients be better informed.
Several medical groups say they're against mandating standards of care under Iowa law. Some say the information could lead anxious patients to undergo unnecessary and costly additional testing.
Similar legislation has failed to advance in previous sessions. The bill now goes to a full committee.
Des Moines Names New Police Chief
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders has named Major Dana Wingert as the city's next police chief.
Sanders announced his appointment Wednesday and will now ask Des Moines City Council to confirm it. Wangert was among four people interviewed for the position over a three-day period last week.
A 23-year veteran of the Des Moines Police Department, Wangert has served in several capacities, most recently overseeing the operations division where he has been responsible for police patrol, airport security and the traffic and parking unit.
Sanders says Wangert is well-prepared to lead the department and has proven to be a personable and competent police officer.
The council is set to meet Monday to confirm the appointment. If approved, the selection will become effective Tuesday.