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Saturday News, December 13

Gehlen Catholic Awarded $25,000 From "Celebrate My Drive"

(Le Mars) -- Santa Claus delivered a special gift to Gehlen Catholic School Friday evening between the girls and boys basketball games. With the help of his elf Michael Crank, a local State Farm Insurance agent, and several community leaders to witness the event, Gehlen school officials unwrapped a check for the amount of $25,000.  Lisa Niebuhr, Development Director for Gehlen Catholic school says Gehlan finished among the top 50 schools nationwide in the "Celebrate My Drive" campaign in order to qualify for the grant.

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This marks the second year Gehlen has qualified for the grant, and Niebuhr says the award was perhaps more special the second time.

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Niebhur says the school won't know until Monday as to how many votes Gehlen received, or the exact placing. Ten percent of the $25,000 grant is to be shared with Floyd Valley Hospital.  Father Kevin Richter, president of Gehlen Catholic School explains why the school selected Floyd Valley Hospital.

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Richter indicated he is not certain how the grant will be utilized. He says Gehlen has a list of possible projects, and a committee will help determine how the grant will best be used.

 

Schools Told No Waivers To Be Given For Early Start

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education says it will stop granting automatic waivers to school districts seeking to start classes earlier in the summer.
     Department director Brad Buck sent a letter Friday to state education leaders saying the change is effective immediately.
     The announcement came shortly after Gov. Terry Branstad sent a letter to Buck asking that officials only grant a waiver if a school district demonstrates a "significant negative educational impact" of beginning classes on time, as required by law.
     Districts must start school no earlier than the calendar week that includes Sept. 1. But nearly all of them obtain waivers allowing them to begin classes earlier.
     Branstad's letter says starting earlier "unnecessarily interferes" with families' summer plans, seasonal hiring and the Iowa State Fair.

     Le Mars Community School Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt says the issue has been discussed several times in the past.  He believes the letter from the Iowa Department of Education will start additional conversations, and the issue may be far from being resolved.

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Wendt says the Le Mars Community School District hasn't yet established the school calendar for next year.  He says that process will begin next week.

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Wendt says the Le Mars schools finishes the first semester after the Christmas break, but he says there are some schools that prefer to begin classes early in mid-August in order to complete the first semester before the Christmas vacation break.  Wendt says even if classes begin in September, some sports and other extra curriculum activities will still need to begin in August, which he says doesn't follow Governor Branstad's wishes.


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Iowa Revenue Slowing Down

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A panel of state budget experts says state revenue continues to grow but at a slower pace than recent years which means lawmakers may need to show spending restraint in next year's state budget.
     The Revenue Estimating Conference met Friday and estimated state revenue for fiscal year 2016 at $7.19 billion, a 4.9 percent increase over the current year. The fiscal year begins in July.
     State law requires Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers to use December estimates to draft the budget. 
     Department of Management director David Roederer, one of the three members of the panel, says the figure shows Iowa's economy is showing strength but there are signs of slowing down which means closely watching spending.
     For the current year revenue is estimated at $6.86 billion, a 5.7 percent increase.

 

Inmate Leaves Work Release

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are looking for an inmate accused of leaving his work release facility.
     The state Department of Corrections says 54-year-old Robert Lee Garrett was placed on escape status Friday after he failed to return to a Fort Des Moines work release facility from an authorized appointment. Additional information was not released.
     Garret is serving a 54-year sentence on various convictions, including first-degree robbery and domestic assault. He began his sentence in 1990 and was transferred to work release in November.


 

   

Friday Afternoon News, December 12

Additional Charges Filed Against Borchers

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have arrested 34 year old Justin Borchers of Le Mars on warrants for burglary in the third degree, a class D felony, and failure to appear on a charge of domestic assault, a simple misdemeanor.  Borchers is being held on a $5,500 bond.  In addition, Borchers was charged by Le Mars Police Department for possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to have a drug tax stamp. 32 year old Alissa Koopman, also of Le Mars, was arrested at the same residence with the same charges.  Both subjects are currently being held at the Plymouth County Jail on a $7,500 bond.

 

Normanday Restaurant Being Torn Down

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Crews are tearing down what remains of a Sioux City landmark that was destroyed by fire.
     The Normandy Building was home to popular restaurants but its owner says there are no plans to build on the site soon. 
     The cause of the April fire is still unknown. Parts of the structure date back to the 1930s, but city officials say much of the building is too damaged to restore. 
     Workers started demolition Dec. 1. They delayed finishing their work to see if the building's dining room and art studio could be salvaged, but found they couldn't.
     ---

 

Search For Missing Man Is Suspended

 SOLDIER, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have suspended the search for a missing western Iowa man who may have fallen through lake ice at Oldham Recreational Area.
     On Sunday hunters found a pickup owned by Walter Ordway near the recreation area. The Monona County Sheriff's Office says it's believed that Ordway took his dog for an outing to the recreation area on Nov. 17 and that the dog fell through the ice into the freezing water. The Sheriff's Office says Ordway may have fallen into the water while trying to rescue his dog. The dog's body was found nearby.
     The 66-year-old Ordway lives in Soldier. 
     The search was temporarily suspended because of concerns about the safety of lake ice. The recreation area will be closed through the weekend.

 

Billion Auto Fined By Federal Trade Commission

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A family-owned chain of automobile dealerships located in Iowa, Montana and South Dakota will pay a $360,000 civil penalty for running deceptive ads.
     The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that Billion Auto and its advertising company violated a 2012 order that prohibited them from deceptively advertising the cost of buying or leasing a car.
     The commission's complaint says Billion Auto's ads routinely focus on a few attractive terms but conceal other details that limit who can qualify or that add significant costs.
     One ad, for instance, promoted a vehicle for lease for $179 a month but hid in the fine print that one must be a military veteran and returning customer to qualify.
     An FTC official says its enforcement action shows "there is a financial cost for violating FTC orders."

 

Schools Told No More Waivers Will Be Granted For Early Starts

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education says it will stop granting automatic waivers to school districts seeking to start classes earlier in the summer.
     Department director Brad Buck sent a letter Friday to state education leaders saying the change is effective immediately.
     The announcement came shortly after Gov. Terry Branstad sent a letter to Buck asking that officials only grant a waiver if a school district demonstrates a "significant negative educational impact" of beginning classes on time, as required by law.
     Districts must start school no earlier than the calendar week that includes Sept. 1. But nearly all of them obtain waivers allowing them to begin classes earlier.
     Branstad's letter says starting earlier "unnecessarily interferes" with families' summer plans, seasonal hiring and the Iowa State Fair.

 

Court Fails To Offer Protection For Banks And Developers Against Construction Concerns

   IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is declining to give banks and real estate developers the same legal remedy that protects homebuyers from defective construction.
     The court refused Friday to expand Iowa's implied warranty of workmanlike construction, which allows buyers and renters to sue builders for major housing defects.
     Courts in Iowa and across the country created the doctrine to provide a remedy for consumers living in poorly built homes.
     In one case Friday, a developer who bought land in Sioux City to build townhouses wanted to sue the seller for allegedly substandard soil work that required repair. In the other, a bank that received mold-infested Postville apartment buildings through foreclosure wanted to sue the builder.
     The court says financial institutions and professional real estate investors "do not need the protection."

 

 

    

 

 

 

   

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