Supervisors End Revolving Loan Program
(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.
Le Mars Area Dialysis Donates To Community Betterment Project
(Le Mars) — During Tuesday’s Le Mars city council meeting, Mike Donlin offered another update relating to the status of the Le Mars Area Betterment Foundation and the progress being made for the Le Mars Community Betterment 2 project. Donlin, who is the president of the Le Mars Area Betterment Foundation, informed the city council that the latest donation helped push the total past the two and a half million dollars matching challenge as presented by Wells Enterprises. Donlin says the gift came from the Le Mars Area Dialysis Services.
Donlin talks about the donation made by the Le Mars Area Dialysis Services.
Donlin says the donation was a one-time gift, instead of a pledge over the course of several years. The Le Mars Area Dialysis Services employs eight people and has 104 patients.
Floyd Valley To Honor Its 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 this morning (Wednesday) 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.
Iowa House Expected To Resume Debate On Abortion Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa House is expected to resume debate on a bill that would ban most abortions in the state at 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The GOP-controlled chamber debated the bill Tuesday night but delayed a vote until Wednesday. Republicans are expected to pass the legislation, a version of which has already cleared the Senate.
Gov. Terry Branstad spoke recently at an anti-abortion rally at the Capitol and has indicated support for a 20-week ban. A spokesman says the governor reserves judgment on the legislation.
The ban on most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. Nearly 20 states have passed similar legislation in recent years.
Iowa Senate Passes “Stand Your Ground” Gun Rights Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The GOP-controlled Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would make sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws, including adding a stand-your-ground provision.
The chamber voted 33-17 Tuesday for the bill. The House, which passed it recently, must vote again because of some changes in the Senate.
The stand-your-ground provision would allow people to use deadly force anywhere if they believe such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety. Opponents warn it would increase gun violence and racial tensions. A similar provision in Florida gained national attention following the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.
Advocates call the provision a needed strengthening of Second Amendment rights.
The bill would also allow firearms at the Capitol and allow citizens to sue local governments for enacting gun-free zones.
Education Association Sues State Over Collective Bargaining Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s largest teachers union has filed a lawsuit challenging a new law that eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public workers.
The announcement Tuesday by the Iowa State Education Association marks the second lawsuit by a union against the law, which took effect in February.
The association, which represents 34,000 school employees in the state, claims the law creates two classes of public sector employees, unfairly targets unions for collecting dues through payroll deductions and creates an unfair election system for unions.
The Davenport Education Association is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The state of Iowa and members of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board are listed as defendants.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Iowa Council 61, also filed a lawsuit in February challenging the law.
Iowa State University Settles Discrimination Lawsuit
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.
Farley Police Chief Calls It Quits
FARLEY, Iowa (AP) – The police chief in the eastern Iowa city of Farley has quit, saying he can’t work “for a city like this.”
Chief Rick Wagner says he gave his two-week notice Monday night at the end of a City Council meeting during which he was criticized. A council member requested a performance review of him, expressing concern about a burglary investigation.
On Tuesday Wagner told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/2nXrWWK ): “I decided I cannot work for a city like this anymore.” He’d been chief for nearly 15 years.
Mayor Jay Hefel declined to discuss Wagner’s status but confirmed that Wagner was the only full-time department member.
Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy says his deputies will continue to handle calls in Farley.