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Tuesday Afternoon News, November 19

FAA Approves Location For New Water Tower

(Le Mars) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has delivered good news to the city of Le Mars.  In a letter written to city officials, the FAA confirms the fact the city can proceed on the construction of a new 140 foot tall water tower at the proposed site located on the southwest corner of town.  The FAA previously had concerns about the new water tower as it could pose a risk and interfere with air traffic patterns for the Le Mars airport.  Because of the FAA ruling, pilots will need to approach Le Mars from the west.  Ankeny is another Iowa community have similar provisions due to obstacles.  The Le Mars City Council approved the contracts for both a water tower and a water booster station.  Construction for both projects could start in the spring.


Supervisors Set December 3rd For Public Hearing On 212th Street

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth county board of supervisors have established December 3rd at 10:00 a.m. as the time to hold a public hearing on whether to vacate 212th Street.  The road lies on the southern edge of Smith Company Manufacturing and NIPCO electrical cooperative.  The county is proposing to vacate the road.  County engineer Tom Rohe says the road was constructed in 1999 with the hopes of additional development to the west of the existing businesses.  However, he says the road, in its present location stands in the way for Smith Company to expand its facilities.  The road serves only as an access road, and does not connect with other county roads.  Rohe believes if there is to be additional economic development within the area, it would likely be to the south of the businesses.


Sioux City Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Of Man Found In South Dakota Ditch

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of a man whose body was found in South Dakota.
     Martin Castellanos entered a written plea Monday in Woodbury County District Court. No trial date has been set.
      The 20-year-old Castellanos is accused of fatally shooting 20-year-old Adrian Rojas-Hernandez in October in Sioux City. 
     Hernandez's partially burned body was found later in a ditch alongside a gravel road across the state border in South Dakota. A manhunt followed and Castellanos was arrested a few days later.
      Another man, 22-year-old Ricardo Vital, of Sioux City, has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of accessory after the fact. Investigators say he drove a car used to move Hernandez's body, and helped clean up evidence.


Voters Head To Polls To Decide State Senate Seat 

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Voters are heading to the polls for a special election to decide who should represent Iowa Senate District 13. 
      Polls opened Tuesday in the contest for the district, which is located south of Des Moines. The race pits Republican Rep. Julian Garret against former Democratic lawmaker Mark Davitt.
     The Senate seat was vacated when former Sen. Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, resigned after an independent investigator concluded he likely broke ethics rules in receiving money from presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's political action committee and presidential campaign. Sorenson has said his resignation wasn't an admission of wrongdoing.
      The outcome of the election will not impact the control of the Senate, where Democrats hold 26 of the 50 seats. The winner will have to run again in 2014.


Former Jail Guard Wants Lower Bond After Second Mistrial

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa jail guard accused of killing his pregnant wife wants his bond reduced after a judge declared a second mistrial in his case.
      Seth Techel's attorney filed a motion Monday to lower his bond from $750,000 to $75,000. Techel also wants to remove restrictions on his travel and who he can contact.
     A hearing set for Nov. 25 will involve discussion on the bond and other issues.
     Techel is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2012 shooting death of his wife, Lisa Techel. A Henry County jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict Friday in the case, and a judge declared a mistrial for a second time. 
     Prosecutors say they will bring Seth Techel to trial a third time.


New U Of I Music Building To Have Same Name

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa's new school of music building may have the same name as the one destroyed in the 2008 flood.
     University officials on Tuesday proposed naming the replacement facility the Voxman Music Building to honor the late Himie Voxman, who directed the school for decades.
     The university named the flood-damaged building after him in 1995. Its replacement will be located in downtown Iowa City and is expected to be finished in 2016.
     The Iowa Board of Regents will consider the naming request at its meeting Dec. 4. It's supported by the school's faculty and the dean of the college.
     Voxman was known worldwide as an expert on wind instruments and is credited with making Iowa's music school into a prominent program. He died in 2011 at age 99.





Tuesday News, November 19

Supervisors Expected to Vacate Road

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth county board of supervisors is expected to vote in favor of vacating 212th street during their weekly meeting scheduled for today at the county courthouse board room.  The road in question runs on the south side of the NIPCO electrical utility cooperative and Smith Company Dump Truck Manufacturing.  The supervisors will also hear from Plymouth County Conservation Executive Director Nick Beeck (Beck) as he presents the supervisors with the County Conservation Board's annual report.  Beeck will also update the supervisors on the progress of the County lake near Akron.  County engineer Tom Rohe is also scheduled to appear before the county supervisors.


City Council To Award Bids For Water Tower And Water Booster Station

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to hold a meeting today and it is expected the city council will award a contractor bid for both the new water tower and water booster station.  The council will review an airport application for federal funding, and look at different proposals to stabilize the banks of the Floyd River from further erosion.


Floyd Valley Hospital To Award Bid For Expansion Project

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Tuesday morning.  The hospital trustees will formally review and are expected to approve a resolution awarding a contract for the bid package relating to the hospital's improvement project.  L and L Builders of Sioux City submitted the lowest of the three bids which is for $15,113,000.


State Farm Insurance Gives $25,000 To Gehlen Catholic School

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Gehlen Catholic Pride Night when the school was acknowledging the achievements of the students, and introducing the participants of the winter activities; school officials were given a surprise by State Farm Insurance agent, Michael Crank, when he presented Father Kevin Richter a check in the amount of $25,000.  It was all part of the State Farm Insurance promotion of "Celebrate Our Drive".

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Crank explains how it was that Gehlen Catholic school was awarded the $25,000 from State Farm Insurance.

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Gehlen school officials then donated ten percent, or $2500 of the monetary gift to Opportunities Unlimited, an organization that helps people with brain injuries. Gehlen Catholic school and Opportunities Unlimited have been working in partnership for a few years, as Gehlen's affinity.  Father Richter announced to the crowd the money from State Farm Insurance, along with other donations and memorial gifts, will go toward the rennovation of the floor of the back gymnasiusm.


Sioux City Council Says No To Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council has rejected a proposal to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official holiday in Sioux City.
     The council voted 5-0 against the proposal Monday night. The proposal would have added Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the list of holidays for three union and three employee groups that don't already have the holiday listed as a day off. 
     Mayor Bob Scott says he thought it would be unfair to provide the day off to those employee groups because other union groups already bargained for the holiday off by trading it for another day off.
     He says another holiday would have cost the city $165,000 a year for paid overtime on top of a lost day of work.


Galva-Holstein School Official Accused Of Falsifying Records

 HOLSTEIN, Iowa (AP) - A former school district official has been accused of falsifying safety inspection records on school buses for a northwest Iowa district.
      Court records say 51-year-old Douglas Wessling, of Holstein, faces three counts of tampering with records. He's scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 6.
      He was put on leave and then lost his job as transportation director for the Galva-Holstein Community School District after an investigation by the Iowa State Patrol.
      Superintendent Dave Kwikkel says three district buses were taken out of service because of damage. Kwikkel says Wessling put one of them back into use before it had been repaired. 
     Wessling has not returned calls seeking comment. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.


Iowa National Guard Units: One Deployed, Another Returns

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - More than three dozen Iowa Army National Guard soldiers are being mobilized for peacekeeping duty in southeastern Europe.
     The National Guard said Monday that a community send-off ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Friday at the Boone High School gym for members of Company B, 248th Aviation Support Battalion. The Boone-based unit has detachments in Waterloo and Davenport. 
     The soldiers will first go to Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training before their deployment to Kosovo.

      While one National Guard unit is leaving, another is returning home.  The public is invited to attend a homecoming ceremony for an Ottumwa-based Iowa Army National Guard unit that has been serving in Afghanistan.
     The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Evans Middle School gym in Ottumwa.
      They'll mark the return of soldiers mobilized from the 833rd Engineer Company with a mission of removing physical obstacles, identifying and reducing minefields and bombs, constructing protective positions and other duties.


Advocacy Group Calling For Tougher Rules On Livestock Operations

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - An environmental advocacy group says it is delivering a petition with 5,000 names to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission insisting the state crack down on water pollution that comes from large livestock farms.
     Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says it will demand at Tuesday's commission meeting that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issue a Clean Water Act operating permit to the Maschhoff Pork farm near Keosauqua in southeast Iowa.
      The farm, with nearly 7,500 pigs, spilled thousands of gallons of manure into a creek on Nov. 4, just weeks after a DNR inspection. It has had several spills in recent years.
      The state hasn't issued a water permit to a hog facility before but environmental groups are increasingly pressuring the state to create rules to do so.


Branstad Reviewing Options On Fuel Tax

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he is reviewing his options for raising revenues to help Iowa's bridges and roads.
     Branstad says he is trying to find out what approach might be politically possible. Earlier this year, Branstad expressed concern about raising the state fuel tax and asked Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino to review the state's options for funding infrastructure costs.
      That list of options includes raising new registration fees and raising fees for oversize vehicles. Branstad says he has not committed to any plan.
      Iowa's fuel tax -now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline including fees - hasn't been raised since 1989. A commission appointed by Branstad in 2011 recommended an increase of 8 to 10 cents a gallon to boost funding for bridges and roads.














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