Home News Thursday Afternoon News, November 16th

Thursday Afternoon News, November 16th


The Browns Receive State Grant For Proposed Bed and Breakfast

(Des Moines) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority on Wednesday awarded $933,300 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants to 14 different communities around the state.  One of those grants was given to a Le Mars Business.  The musical
family group, The Browns, were awarded $75,000 for plans to convert the upper level of the Century Events Center into a five room, and two suites “Bed and Breakfast.”  The total cost of the project is estimated to cost $314,530.
Michaela Brown says she is thankful for the city of Le Mars, and to the Le Mars Main Street organization with their assistance in writing and securing the state grant.

Mary Reynolds with the Le Mars Main Street Organization explains the formula for
the grant, and explains how the matching challenge grant involves a committment
from the city, state, and from the Browns themselves.

Reynolds says the city of Le Mars and many businesses have benefited from the Main Street of Iowa challenge grants. Three businesses have been a past recipient of the challenge grant.

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.  Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2016, approximately $6.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $45 million of private reinvestment. Over the life of the program, 138 projects in 49 Main
Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.  In the past, Le Mars has received the same challenge grants for the renovation of the American Legion Hall, Beauty College, and Claussen’s.  Michaela Brown says construction will begin once all the contracts are signed and completed.  She is
hopeful the Bed and Breakfast will be open for business sometime during the summer of 2018.



West Des Moines Having To Pay Man For False Arrest

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The city of West Des Moines has paid $450,000 to a man who spent more than 10 days in jail charged for a sex abuse crime he didn’t commit.
The Des Moines Register reports that the city reached the settlement with Matthew Rodrigues in August. As part of the agreement, the city says Rodrigues was arrested “due to a case of mistaken identity.”
Police were called to a motel on April 29 after a woman reported being sexually assaulted in her room. Rodrigues says he was arrested simply for being at the motel and having darker skin, like the assailant.
Rodrigues was held in jail until May 9, when another man, Salvador Junior Pineda, was arrested and charged.
Pineda is now serving a seven-year prison sentence for the assault.



Pig Used For Therapy For Special Education Students

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – An elementary school in eastern Iowa is using a therapy pig to help special education students manage emotions and focus on learning.
The Muscatine Journal reports that Frankie the pig serves as a calming mechanism. Students showing signs of emotional distress are asked to sit and read to the therapy pig for 15 minutes. The practice has proven to help students recover and return to learning more quickly.
Students are also in charge of feeding and caring for Frankie. It has created a sense of ownership and responsibility in the classroom.
Special education teacher Trina Hepker knows her students might not want to tell her everything. She says Frankie can be a confidant when her students are upset.
She says that thanks to Frankie, her young students are excited to come to school.



Gaming and Racing Commission Say No To Cedar Rapids Casino