Monday Afternoon News, April 14
Western Iowa Technical Community College Opens New Job Center
(Le Mars) -- Western Iowa Technical Community College officially opened its new job training center in Le Mars this afternoon with a ribbon cutting and reception ceremony. Dr. Terry Muller, president of Western Iowa Tech says the new facility will not serve like the typical classroom environment.
Muller offers an explaination as to the specifics of the new job training center, and what students will learn while attending the WITCC Le Mars Center.
Representatives from several of Le Mars industries were on hand for the ceremonies. Muller says the new job training center will help many area businesses, but especially those located in Le Mars.
The Community College president says already the facility has attracted the interest of nearly 50 students, and he expects the new job training center will attract several more would-be students within the near future.
Auto Accident On C-38 Causes Injuries
(Remsen) -- Both the Remsen and Oyens fire departments responded to a car accident that occured Sunday afternoon. The accident was reported at about 4:30 p.m. and was located on County Road C-38 between Pioneer and Polk Avenues. The driver, 67 year old Thomas Selk of Larrabee, was eastbound on County Road C-38 and lost control due to the slush and snow covered roads. The vehicle went onto the south shoulder and lost control. Selk corrected the vehicle back onto the roadway and then entered the north ditch. The vehicle rolled one time and came to a rest on its wheels. Selk sustained injuries to his head, neck and back and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital. He was later transferred to Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City. Selk's condition is listed as critical. The other occupants of the vehicle were uninjured but were transported to Floyd Valley Hospital as a precaution. All the occupants were wearing seat belts.
Alta House Destroyed By Fire
(Storm Lake) -- According to Buena Vista County Sheriff Doug Simons at approximately 4:47 p.m. Saturday evening the Buena Vista County Communications Center received a report of a structure fire located at 5510 50th Avenue near Alta. The Alta Fire Department and the Buena Vista Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the fire. Upon arrival, deputies and firefighters encountered a residence fully engulfed in flames. The Alta Fire Department requested assistance from the Aurelia Fire Department, Storm Lake Fire Department, and Peterson Fire Department. It was determined the property owner had been burning yard debris which had spread to the house. The property owner who was present at the residence at the time of the fire was uninjured. It was determined that the residence is considered a total loss. An estimate of loss will be in excess of $70,000. The Buena Vista Regional Medical Center ambulance also assisted at the scene.
Branstad Says Investigations Are Politically Motivated
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says Democrats pursuing investigations into confidential settlement agreements, do-not-hire lists, and other issues are practicing partisan politics at its worst.
At his Monday news conference, Branstad argued lawmakers ought to focus on the budget and policy issues instead of making accusations using politically charged words.
Two hours later House Democrats called for an expanded investigation into allegations some employees have been blacklisted from future state employment and other issues.
They proposed a resolution authorizing the House Oversight Committee to hire an independent legal counsel that could make recommendations for legislative action or prosecution if crimes are suspected.
The Senate Government Oversight Committee also is holding another hearing to ask questions about government payments to former workers for secrecy and problems they believe exist in the executive branch.
Postal Marks Make Some Absentee Ballots Invalid
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers have been unable to change a state law on postmarked absentee ballots that may accidentally void some valid ballots.
Election officials say some valid ballots over the years could have been invalidated because the Postal Service doesn't always postmark business reply mail envelopes.
The state law has been in effect for years. But an accompanying administrative rule that allowed election officials to check the date on the enclosed voter affidavit was repealed in 2011.
The newspaper reports data collected in local elections from 2011 and 2013 show the issue is widespread throughout the state.
Legislators this session have failed to find a solution to the problem. Officials say the practice could continue during high-profile statewide contests this year, including the race for governor.
Branstad Awards Two Fuel Stations With Grants
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has awarded grants to two fueling sites in an effort to expand access higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.
The Oak Street Station in Inwood and Farmers Cooperative in Mount Ayr will each receive $125,000 as part of the Fueling Our Future initiative.
Inwood is about 35 miles north of Le Mars. Mount Ayr is about 70 miles southwest of Des Moines.
Farmers Cooperative will construct a new fueling site to provide different ethanol and biodiesel blends. It also will receive $100,000 through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program.
The Oak Street Station will build a new site offering five renewable fuel dispensers.
Branstad says in a statement that supporting these projects will help grow the local economy as well.