Supervisors Discontinue Revolving Economic Development Fund
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan to do away with a revolving loan program that was started more than a decade ago, but did not have many applicants. The intent of the program was to offer
loans to start-up businesses as part of a local economic development program.
Chairman Don Kass offers a background explanation of the program.
Kass says each year the supervisors would allocate $150,000 for the program, but it was seldom utilized, as few applicants took advantage of the revolving loan program. Craig Anderson shared with the supervisors that he felt the time was right to discontinue the program. Anderson says it is not the role of local government to serve as a financial institution for up-start businesses.
Anderson says much of the money collected was allocated to the Floyd Valley Healthcare facility.
Another reason for the supervisors to conclude the program is because its original board members were retired or leaving the community.
Kass says the supervisors believe financial institutions are better qualified to determine which start-up businesses should qualify for loans, as opposed to the county board of supervisors.
Fire Department Issues March Monthly Report
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department had a busy month of March, responding to a total of 38 calls. The fire department were called to 16 fires, five rescues, five investigations or accident clean-ups, ten times they had
requests for services, and the local fire and rescue department offered mutual aid twice, once to Merrill, and once for Oyens.
Floyd Valley Healthcare To Honor Volunteers
(Le Mars) — With the theme: “Our Volunteers Are Our Good Fortune”, Floyd Valley Healthcare will recognize its many volunteers with an awards luncheon scheduled for Wednesday morning at Floyd Valley Healthcare. Ann Cole-Nelson says the
program will begin at mid-morning.
The healthcare public relations official explains the lower level conference center will be featuring Chinese decor.
Cole-Nelson says Floyd Valley has more than 250 volunteers, and last year they contributed more than 21,000 hours of service to Floyd Valley. She says the health care facility will recognize those volunteers that have achieved a milestone of hours served.
Cole-Nelson says the luncheon is open to anyone that has volunteered during this past year.
Substitute Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sexual Relations With Students
IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) – A former substitute teacher and coach has pleaded guilty to having sexual relationships with students at two northwest Iowa high schools.
Online court records say 33-year-old John Tietsort, of Battle Creek, entered the pleas Monday in Ida County District Court to two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. His sentencing is scheduled for May 15.
Prosecutors say Tietsort had a sexual relationship October 2015 through June 2016 with an 18-year-old female student at Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School, where Tietsort was a substitute teacher and assistant football coach. Prosecutors also say Tietsort had a sexual relationship last year with a 17-year-old female student from Maple Valley-
Anthon Oto High School, where Tietsort also was a substitute teacher.
Iowa State University Changes Discrimination Policy
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State University has changed discrimination and harassment policies and is settling a lawsuit filed last year by a conservative student who challenged them.
Student Robert Dunn refused to sign policy statements that said public discussion of controversial subjects including abortion and sexuality could be deemed harassment by university officials. The university says it never threatened to withhold graduation or discipline him.
Dunn’s lawsuit, filed by the non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom said the policy violated free-speech rights.
Dunn’s attorney, Casey Mattox, said Tuesday University that President Steven Leath signed a settlement agreement indicating the policy changes.
University spokesman John McCarroll says the policies were revised in December and made the lawsuit moot so the university settled and paid Dunn’s $12,000 in attorney fees.
ISU denies the policies violated the Constitution.
Des Moines City Council Approves New Skyscraper Tower
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Des Moines City Council has reached an agreement with a developer who plans to build a 32-story tower as part of a $111 million downtown development that also includes apartments, a hotel, theater and parking.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2nZggop ) reports that Mandelbaum Properties on Monday won back the right to build the tower after an unexpected announcement that rival developer Blackbird Investments was withdrawing its
recently submitted proposal for the site.
The Des Moines City Council voted to sell the property to Mandelbaum hours later with new timelines that require all aspects of the project to break ground by October 2019. A previous agreement would’ve given Mandelbaum until 2028 to
finish the development.
Officials with Blackbird say they decided to scrap their proposal because Mandelbaum agreed to faster timelines and a larger hotel.
Muscatine To Feature New Chinese Center
MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – A southeast Iowa city is strengthening its ties to China with the opening of a Sini-U.S. Friendship Center, marking the latest development since the Chinese president’s 1985 visit to the community.
The Muscatine Journal (http://bit.ly/2oVQvCP ) reports that work to convert a former furniture store in downtown Muscatine into the center is expected to begin this month.
China Windows Group Inc. chairman Glad Cheng is developing the friendship center. He estimates it’ll cost $1 million to buy and renovate the building.
Cheng says he hopes the center will teach Americans more about Chinese culture, including its food, tea and acupuncture.
Daniel P. Stein, chairman of the Muscatine-China Initiatives Committee, says the center will build upon the “tremendous amount of momentum” in city development.
The center is scheduled to open in September.