Monday, March 02, 2015
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.




Wednesday Afternoon News, February 4

Ryan Selected To Head Public Safety Commission

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has appointed Roxann Ryan to serve as commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. 
     Branstad announced Wednesday that Ryan will fill the job. She has been serving as acting commissioner for nearly a month. 
     Ryan joined the department in 2006 and previously served as the in-house legal counsel. Branstad called her an "ideal choice" for the job. 
     Former Commissioner Larry Noble retired last month, about 16 months after he returned to lead the agency amid turmoil. He served as commissioner under Branstad from January 2011 until retiring in July 2012. 
     Noble returned in September 2013 after a series of problems during the 11-month tenure of Commissioner K. Brian London.


Lost ACT Score Sheets Now Found

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have located nearly 200 missing ACT college entrance exams at an Iowa grocery store, just days after notifying students they wouldn't receive their results.
     Johnston County Community School District spokeswoman Laura Sprague says Johnston High School's principal picked up the test packets Wednesday morning at a Dahl's store in Johnston. The ACT organization sent an email Monday night to 195 students who tested at the high school Dec. 13 notifying them their answer sheets never arrived at headquarters in Iowa City and therefore could not be scored.
     Sprague says there was a mix-up with shipments after an ACT-hired testing coordinator dropped off the packets for mailing. She says the tests will be sent overnight.
     ACT spokeswoman Katie Walker says the exams are valid and scoring will be expedited.


House Panel Looks At Approving Licenses For African Hair Brading

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel has approved a bill aimed at helping people who do African-style hair braiding in Iowa receive a license.
     Members of a state government subcommittee agreed Wednesday to approve the bill with some changes, though it's unclear what they will be. It will move to a full committee for consideration.
     The bill as written would exempt African-style hair braiding from the definition of cosmetology. Kent Hartwig, a lobbyist for the Iowa Cosmetology Schools Association, says the language would prohibit licensed hair stylists from doing such braiding.
     Bill co-sponsor Rep. Dawn Pettengill, a Republican from Mount Auburn, says she will work on an amendment that removes that confusion and clears a way for African-style hair braiding stylists to become licensed without completing 2,100 training hours at a cosmetology school.


Patrol Troopers Discipline Did Not Affect Pay Scale

     DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Any disciplinary action taken against two Iowa State Patrol supervisors for highly publicized missteps while off-duty did not affect their pay.
     Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesman Alex Murphy said Wednesday the internal investigations into Lt. Kelly Hindman and Capt. Ken Clary have been concluded.
     Hindman -- who leads the Fort Dodge office -- faced scrutiny after joking on Facebook that he wished a sniper would shoot ESPN basketball announcer Dan Dakich in the head.
     Clary was investigated after being pulled over by a trooper for driving 92 miles per hour in a 70-mph zone and initially let go without a ticket.
     Murphy said both matters were addressed, but that he couldn't elaborate because they're confidential. He confirmed their pay wasn't cut.
     Clary earned $97,000 while Hindman earned $94,000 last year.


Apartment Peeping

   CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A 24-year-old Cedar Falls man has been accused of peeping on women and making videos of them taking showers.
     The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Zachary Carstensen was arrested on Jan. 22 and charged with three misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Wednesday from The Associated Press.
     Court records say a woman noticed a suspicious object poking through the ceiling of her Cedar Falls apartment in early January. Police determined that it was a camera and traced it to Carstensen's bedroom, which was above the woman's apartment. 
     Officers say they seized a camera, drill and computer equipment from his apartment and found several videos of women showering.


Powerball Jackpot Rising

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It's been a while, but there's a giant Powerball jackpot that's expected to have a prize of $317 million by Wednesday night's drawing.
     The total is a return to form for Powerball, which has been known along with Mega Millions for its record-breaking jackpots in recent years. But there's been something of a drought, with nearly a year passing since the Powerball total climbed above $300 million.
     Lottery officials say there's no particular reason for the lull.
     Terry Rich, president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and CEO of the Iowa Lottery, says lottery jackpots are inherently random. He says the game is expected to have slow periods based on projection models.







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