Home News Thursday News, March 30th

Thursday News, March 30th


City Zoning Board Approves Parking Variance For Abbey Apartments

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars City Zoning Board met on Tuesday morning to decide upon whether or not to grant a variance waiver to Adam Brown for parking to be located at the former Abbey nursing care facility. Brown has purchased the building and intends to convert it to a 30-unit apartment complex. According to Greg Smidt, city code ordinance enforcement officer, the zoning board heard testimony from several neighbors of the planned apartments. Smidt says there was nobody that spoke against the proposal to convert the building for apartments. But Smidt says there was some general concern about parking. The city zoning board gave its approval for the variance. What has been decided is that the city proposed to change the parking configuration allowing up to 45 cars. Smidt says it was proposed for the city to grade down the shoulder of the parking area, and extend the parking area to be right up next to the sidewalk. Smidt says the parking will consist of diagonal parking from the street.


Le Mars School Board Approves Hiring Of Curriculum Director

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community Board of Education approved the hiring of a Curriculum Director to begin work for the 2017-2018 school year. The school board approved Rachel Leavitt with an annual salary of $98,000. Leavitt is currently serving as the high school principal for the Lawton-Bronson school district. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Steve Webner says he was surprised at the number of applicants for the newly created educational position.

Webner informed the school board of her qualifications.


Leavitt attended Northwestern College in Orange City. Webner says there were two people from the Le Mars Community School District that submitted an application for the curriculum director position. Webner says one of the applicants was among the five people that were interviewed.


Republicans Not Able To Pass The “Heartbeat Abortion” Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Republican lawmakers have dropped plans for what would have been among the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions, retreating only a day after the proposal was announced.
House GOP lawmakers announced Wednesday they removed language from a bill that called for a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Other proposals also were removed, including a 72-hour-waiting period and possible criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions.
Legislators said there wasn’t enough Republican support to pass the more far-reaching bill.
Democrats and abortion rights opponents had criticized the proposals, calling them an assault on women.
The bill in its latest form will again focus on banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is based on the disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain at that point.


Iowa Senate Pulls Huser From Confirmation

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Senate is slowing down the confirmation of Geri Huser as the Iowa Utilities Board chairwoman after The Associated Press revealed her extensive private legal work.
Members of the Senate commerce committee had been scheduled Tuesday to consider Huser’s appointment for a second two-year term as board chairwoman.
Hours before the meeting, the AP reported that Huser had maintained a busy personal law practice on the side.
State law requires board members to devote their “whole time” to their state duties, and other members who are lawyers have resigned from their law firms.
Sen. Janet Petersen said Huser’s appointment was pulled from the calendar because members wanted “time to read the article and do some due diligence.” Petersen says she wants to know how Huser balances her two jobs.


Branstad Lowers Budget
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has lowered his projections for Iowa’s upcoming budget year by about $173 million amid declining state revenue.
The Republican governor released a revised budget Tuesday night that proposes spending roughly $7.2 billion in the budget year that begins in July. His staff discussed details Wednesday.
Branstad’s revised budget includes some new spending but does so in part by reducing funding to some departments, community colleges and the state’s three public universities. It also includes cutting money from a job skills training fund.
The figures also break down how the state plans to tap cash reserves to plug a $131 million shortfall in the current budget. Lawmakers addressed an earlier shortfall by cutting more than $117 million in spending.
Republicans with majorities in both chambers will soon release their budget proposal.