Saturday News, April 11
Supreme Court Rules Against Ethanol Industry Over Natural Gas Tax
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Rejecting a challenge from the ethanol industry, the Iowa Supreme Court says the state's tax on the use of natural gas is constitutional.
Several ethanol plants argue the law is unfair because it requires them to pay higher taxes than many competitors for natural gas, which is heavily used in the manufacturing process.
The affected plants are those that obtain natural gas directly from interstate pipelines rather than local utilities. They are assessed the tax based on the amount they use and their geographic location.
Little Sioux Corn Processors, which operates an ethanol plant in Marcus, and Plymouth Energy, an ethanol plant in Merrill are both affected by the higher taxes. They, and other ethanol plants, argued the tax was unconstitutional because it treats similar plants differently and punishes consumers who buy gas from out-of-state suppliers.
The court says the tax may not create uniform results, but it is constitutional.
Remsen St. Mary's Receives Grant
(Remsen) -- Remsen St. Mary's schools have been chosen to receive a grant through the "Fund for Siouxland". Remsen St. Mary's was informed through a letter from the board of directors of the Siouxland Community Foundation, that they will receive a $2000 grant through the foundation's "Fund for Siouxland" program which provides grants to non-profit entities serving the Siouxland Tri-state area. The grant monies are to be used explicity for a classroom enhancement project. Grant monies will purchase electronic monitors for the physical education department to help challenge, motivate, and teach students to exercise at a rate to achieve their personal health potential and to realize the benefits of exercise in stress relief and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A portion of the grant money will be used to purchase graphic calculators for use by algebra and geometry students. The use of the same model of calculator for all students helps students to advance their skills in both logical thinking and prepares students for higher level math courses.
Gehlen High School Has Hawaiian Luau As Prom Theme
(Le Mars) -- With a volcano as its centerpiece, along with a dock leading out to the beach, and palm trees swaying in the breeze, the Gehlen Catholic High School is ready for its prom. This year, the prom is taking on a Hawaiian Luau theme. The walkway stretches from a ship parked in the port down a dock to the beach front. The prom decorations are complete with Tiki posts and surf boards to round out the feeling of being in the tropical paradise. The Gehlen High School prom will take place on Saturday, April 11th with the photo session beginning at 6:10 p.m.
Burn Ban Continues Through Weekend
(Le Mars) -- Despite the recent rains, the Plymouth County Fire Chiefs Association has decided to keep the burn ban in tact through the weekend. Weekend forecasts are calling for strong winds of up to 35 mph, and fire officials believe if a fire was to get out of control, it would be difficult to fight the blaze due to the winds and because of the muddy conditions. The county burn ban is scheduled to be lifted at 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 13th.
Two Local Boy Scouts Earn Hornady Badge
(Le Mars) -- Two area Boy Scouts will be honored this evening during the War Eagle District Boy Scout Volunteer Dinner. Tom Toel of Le Mars and Tristen Heimgartner of Hinton will both be presented the Hornaday Badge for their work with conservation. Jeff Neary serves as a Boy Scout Leader and says since 1917 only about 1,100 boys have been awarded the Hornady badge or medal.
Both boys are members of the Troop 184 based in Le Mars. Neary says Heimgartner's project involved constructing a rain garden near the Outdoor Learning Center at the Hillview Recreation Park near Hinton. Neary says the project also served as Tristin Heimgartner's Eagle Scout project.
Neary says Tom Toel's project also involved conservation, but in the form of building bird boxes. Toel constructed wood duck houses for a private individual as well as for the Hillview Recreation Center. Neary says Toel's other project involved constructing blue bird homes.
Neary says that Tom Toel's project was extensive and required numerous hours, which also served as his Eagle Scout project.
Boy Scouts And Food Pantry Partner For Food Drive
(Le Mars) -- Speaking about Boy Scouts, the Food Bank of Siouxland, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts across Siouxland are partnering again this year for the annual Scouting for Food food drive. This event brings significant quantities of food to the Food Bank to help feed the community's hungry citizens, and is a wonderful community service opportunity for the scouts. The food drive has two elements: collection at the homes of residents, as well as food collection at area grocery stores. Door hanger reminders will be distributed to homes by the scouts today, Saturday, April 11th. Then next Saturday, April 18th, scouts will return to collect food left for them. The scouts will also be at local grocery stores on April 18th for shoppers to donate at those sites. In Le Mars, the scouts will collect items to be donated to the Christian Needs Center in Le Mars. Most commonly needed items include canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, cereal, pasta and boxed meals. The Christian Needs Center would like to have pasta sauce, cake mixes, juice, baked beans, Macaroni and cheese, Ketchup, and low sodium soups.
Mother Of Amber Alert Victim Charged With Child Endangerment
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The mother of a 10-year-old eastern Iowa girl whose abduction triggered an Amber Alert last month has been arrested on child endangerment charges.
44-year-old Shelly Johns was arrested Friday and charged with felony and misdemeanor child endangerment charges. Her husband, 48-year-old Kenneth Johns, is accused of abducting the girl from a Solon home in early March.
Criminal complaints from the Coralville Police Department allege Shelly Johns burned her daughter in the face with a cigarette, smacked and kicked her and pulled her hair. Police also claim she kept inside the house where she lived with the girl and used them in her presence.
An attorney from the public defender's office hasn't yet been appointed to Shelly Johns' case to provide comment on her behalf.
Dead Woman's Body Found In West Des Moines Ditch
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have responded to a report of a woman's body found in a West Des Moines drainage ditch.
The West Des Moines Police Department says a neighbor reported the body around 8:50 a.m. Friday near the intersection of EP True Parkway and 84th Street in West Des Moines. She has been identified as 48-year-old Lisa Marie Hulsing.
Sergeant Brent Kock tells the Register that the woman was found face-down in one to two inches of water. She was fully clothed.
Kock says preliminary autopsy results do not indicate foul play.
The death remains under investigation.