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Tuesday News, November 27

Fire Destroys Le Mars Apartment Complex

(Le Mars) -- Twelve people are now without a home as a fire destroyed a victorian style home converted to apartments.  Fire broke out at about 12:40 p.m. Monday afternoon with smoke
that could be seen for several blocks.  The structure is located at 335 3rd Avenue S.E. and sits across the street from the Franklin Elementary School.  Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments responded to the blaze with additional support from Orange City aerial truck.  It was four hours before fire officials were able to control the blaze.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire forced fire officials to take a "defensive" move to contain the fire.
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The building was listed as a total loss with damages expected to exceed $100,000. Schipper says all the tenants were able to escape the blaze and there were no injuries.  Schipper says he had concerns about neighboring homes and he made the decision to battle the blaze from the top - down.
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Fire officials were able to rescue a cat from the burning structure. The cause of the fire is uncertain and is under investigation. Assisting with the fire was the Merrill and Orange City Fire Departments, Plymouth County Sheriff's office, Le Mars Police, Le Mars Water Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Iowa State Patrol, and the City of Le Mars Street Department.

County Supervisors Expected To Approve County Employee Bargaining Agreements

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are expected to approve the County's secondary road employee bargaining agreement, as well as the Sheriff's employee bargaining unit during today's weekly scheduled meeting.  Both agreements are for a three year term.

School Board Approves Student-Teacher Program With USD

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, the board approved an agreement with the University of South Dakota for a student teacher program.  The agreement will go from July 1, 2013 until June 30, 2017.  The school board also heard a report from the school district's activities directors as they reported to the board how effective the new administrative structure was performing.  The activities directors were assigned new responsibilities three years ago due to budget cuts.

Proposal Calls For Additional Schools For Blind and Deaf

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - A committee has decided to recommend Iowa provide education services for blind and deaf students at existing campuses in Vinton and Council Bluffs and three new sites in a
regional system.
The proposal will be forwarded to the Iowa Board of Regents. A board vote isn't expected
until February.
The proposal will cost $3.2 million more than current spending to serve the deaf and blind students. But School for the Deaf Superintendent Patrick Clancy says the extra cost would be shared
by various entities, including local school districts.
The regents charged the committee to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the services.
The state serves about 500 students who are blind or visually impaired. It serves about 1,500 students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Des Moines Set For Bullying Seminar

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education says nearly 1,200 students, educators and parents are expected to attend a daylong anti-bullying summit.
The Governor's Bullying Prevention Summit will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
Speakers include Paul Gausman, superintendent of Sioux City schools, and author Rosalind Wiseman.
The event is sold out but the summit will be streamed live over the Internet at


Iowa Tops The Nation With Graduation Rate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education says Iowa had the nation's top graduation rate in the 2010 school year, with about 88 percent of students graduating.
The Des Moines Register reports the figure narrowly beat Wisconsin's 87 percent rate.
Nevada had the lowest rate, with 62 percent graduation, just ahead of New Mexico's 63 percent rate.
The 2010-2011 academic year was the first time all states used uniform standards to measure the number of students who graduated.
Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass commended educators for the high graduation rate but noted in a statement Monday that low income students, non-native English speakers and
those with special needs performed at a lower level than other students.

Des Moines School Board Considering Hiring A Lobbyist

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines school board has scheduled a vote on whether to hire its own lobbyist and raise the district's influence in the state Capitol hallways and meeting rooms.
The Des Moines Register says ( ) the board is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The district would be the first in the state to have its own lobbyist, if the measure were to pass.
The Des Moines district is a founding member of the Urban Education Network and would continue to be active with its lobbying efforts.
District spokesman Phil Roeder says having a lobbyist of its own would let the board focus the lobbyist's efforts on issues the board considers to be the most important.
A lobbying firm likely will cost between $15,000 and $30,000 a year.



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