Highway 75 Between Le Mars and Merrill Under Construction
(Le Mars) — Highway 75 between Le Mars and Merrill is now down to two lanes of travel as the Iowa Department of Transportation conducts some road repairs to the stretch of nearly four miles of roadway. Iowa Department of Transportation
Area Superintendent, Dakin Schultz says the entire construction project is slated for two years, but with the two-lane travel expected to last four months.
Schultz explains the work that is being done to the highway.
Schultz says the intent will be to increase the elevation grade between the northbound lanes and the southbound lanes.
The Iowa D-O-T official says when the junction of Highway 75 and county road C- 38 is closed, the detour will follow Key Avenue near Wells Corporate offices to 200th Street, or known as the Business Highway 75 exit.
Business Highway 75 Construction Nearing Completion
(Le Mars) — Meanwhile the paving overlay project on Business Highway 75 is making progress. Construction crews are nearing completion of the paving of the phase 1 portion from the Highway 3 junction and heading south to the Family
Table Restaurant. City administrator Scott Langel says the city offered the contractor an incentive bonus pay if the project would be completed before the deadline. Langel says it appears the contractor will acquire the bonus pay for Phase 1.
Langel says as of Monday afternoon, the paving overlay portion of Phase 1 is complete, but the city official says people will need to wait a few days before the street opens for traffic.
Langel says the timetable for the remaining construction phases should be completed within the next few weeks.
Volunteers And City Crews Move Library Books To Eagles Club
(Le Mars) — City work crews and volunteers were busy moving books and other resource materials today from the Le Mars Public Library to across the street to the Eagles club. The Eagles Club will serve as the temporary public library during the duration of the library’s renovation project. City Administrator
Scott Langel says it was a nice accomplishment.
Langel says now the shelving will be moved across the street to the temporary location.
Bee Hive Extracted From Dead Tree
(Le Mars) — A group of six local bee keepers were called upon this past Saturday to extract a honey bee hive located inside a dead Ash tree. The tree is located across the street from the Cleveland Park and was tagged by the city to be cut down when city officials discovered bees had been buzzing in and around the tree. Dave Korver of rural Le Mars, and a member of the Siouxland Bee Association, says city officials asked if he would be interested in removing the bee hive.
Korver says the city had topped the tree, and removed the branches, allowing the bee keepers better access to the hive. Korver says the tree was rotten and made for an easier access to the hive. Korver says he used a chainsaw to cut an opening to get to the hive. He says the bees were fairly gentle in nature
during the entire extraction process, and he says the hive was about an average size bee hive.
The bee keeper says when extracting a bee hive, the honey comb is first removed. He says this particular hive had six layers of honey comb, each about an inch and a half thick and 12 inches wide by 18 inches tall. Korver says the honey comb had contained an estimated five to ten pounds of honey.
The group of bee keepers used smoke and a vacuum to help remove the bees. When the bee keepers were extracting the hive from the old tree they did not
immediately locate the queen bee. However, Korver is convinced they were able to get the queen and remove her from the hive.
Korver says its best to identify the queen when moving a hive.
Korver says the entire process to remove the hive took several hours to complete. The new hive has been set up in the rural area near Struble.
Branstad Signs Into Law Texting While Driving Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law enhanced penalties involving the use of cellphones while driving.
Branstad signed the bills Monday surrounded by law enforcement. Both pieces of legislation take effect July 1.
One law determines that a driver who uses a cellphone and causes the death of another person has shown evidence of reckless driving and could face a felony conviction that includes up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The law also establishes a 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program for drivers.
The other law will allow officers to pull over drivers specifically for texting. It was previously a secondary offense, which meant an officer needed another reason to make a traffic stop.
Texting drivers would face a $30 fine.
Lawmakers Asked To Reconsider Budget Cuts
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowans are asking GOP lawmakers to reconsider proposed budget cuts they say would be devastating for the state’s farmers, students and most vulnerable citizens.
Members of the public and lobbying groups spoke Monday at a Capitol hearing, criticizing proposed reductions they say will hurt vital services. GOP lawmakers hope to approve a roughly $7.2 billion budget this week as they hurry to adjourn the session.
Small agriculture groups asked the Republican-led Legislature to reconsider cutting the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
Advocates for the center say it is vital for innovation within the state’s farming businesses.
Others criticized cuts to higher education, victims’ services and
conservation as well as the loss of federal family planning money.
GOP lawmakers say the cuts are needed amid budget constraints.
Ft. Madison Penitentiary Found To Have Contraband
FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) – The prison that houses Iowa’s most dangerous offenders is tightening security after an infiltration of synthetic drugs that a union is calling the worst in its history.
The Iowa Department of Corrections said Monday that the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison has changed procedures related to inmate mail and visiting to prevent contraband from getting inside.
A union representing correctional officers said 12 inmates have been linked to drugs such as K2 in recent days. AFSCME Council 61 warned that the drug was creating a dangerous situation for staff and inmates, some of whom were combative and suffered serious health effects after nearly overdosing.
The department said prison staff “identified the presence of contraband drugs” and are taking appropriate steps to address the situation. Inmates who have been found to use or possess drugs are facing disciplinary action.
Private Colleges Upset With University of Northern Iowa
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) – A group representing private colleges is slamming the University of Northern Iowa’s attempt to get a piece of its schools’ state financial aid program as “despicable and greedy.”
UNI’s Panther Caucus said in an email Friday that “it’s not fair” UNI students are shut out of the $50 million Iowa Tuition Grant program, which awards up to $6,000 to students at eligible private schools. It urged supporters to contact lawmakers seeking change in the upcoming state budget.
The Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities called UNI’s push a “despicable and greedy attack” on the 48-year-old grant program.
Association president Gary Steinke said UNI students would “gobble up” money that goes to students at places such as Grand View University in Des Moines, Buena Vista University in Storm Lake and St. Ambrose University in Davenport. UNI already gets about $95 million annually from the state.