Tuesday Afternoon News, March 5
City Council Turns Down Chicken Request
(Le Mars) -- By an unanimous vote, the Le Mars City council decided to turn thumbs down on the request by Jeremy White to allow him to raise chickens within the city limits. Le Mars mayor Dick Kirchoffexplained to white that it was against city code ordinance to allow livestock to be raised within the city borders. Kirchoff informed White that he had received numerous comments both in favor and against the request.
Councilman John Rexwinkle said he also had many comments directed his way with regards to the chicken issue.
County Supervisors Award Cedar Valley With Construction Contract
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved their fiscal year 2013-2014 budget this morning. The county projects revenue to be slightly higher than $27,745,000 and expenses are projected to be more than $27,852,000. The Supervisors approved a bid submitted by Cedar Valley, Incorporated for the construction projects involving a paving overlay on County roads C-38 and K-42, near Merrill, as well as 5th Street in Merrill. Both roads service the Plymouth County Energy, the ethanol facility, and Plymouth County Oil Company, a corn oil processor. Cedar Valley's bid for all three projects was $3,186,932.45 County Engineer Tom Rohe explains the proposed construction projects.
Rohe says the total overlay is about four and three-quarters miles, along with nearly two thousand feet of reconstruction within the town of Merrill. The supervisors also announced a letting date of April 2nd for two other proposed construction projects that are situated in the northwest corner of the county.
House and Senate Differ On Education Reform Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Not long after Republicans in the state House scaled back Gov. Terry Branstad's education plan, Democrats in the Senate have beefed it up again.
The Senate education legislation was introduced Monday. It boosts minimum teacher pay back to the $35,000 proposed by Branstad and mandates participation in a leadership program that would
provide additional compensation to teachers who take on more responsibilities. Sponsor Sen. Herman Quirmbach says there will be several options for how districts set up those programs.
Last month, the House approved an education plan that set minimum salaries at $32,000 and gave districts the ability to opt-out of providing salary increases or setting up the teacher
A spokesman for Branstad says Tuesday the governor would review the Senate plan.
Egyptian Tax Evasion Should Not Alter Fertilizer Plant Deal
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - State officials say allegations of tax evasion against an Egyptian company and its CEO shouldn't affect plans to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in southeastern Iowa.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority said Tuesday it is aware that Egypt's prosecutor has ordered that Orascom Construction Industries CEO Nassef Sawiris and his father be barred from
Egypt's state news agency says the move came after the country's finance minister requested a criminal case be expedited against them for allegedly evading $2 billion in taxes on the 2007 sale of
a subsidiary. The company says it's confident it didn't violate any laws.
Nassef Sawiris appeared with Gov. Terry Branstad last fall to break ground on the fertilizer plant, which has been awarded more than $200 million in state and local incentives.
Alons Introduces Anti-Gay Marriage Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans are again proposing a change in the Iowa Constitution to ban gay marriage.
Rep. Dwayne Alons of Hull introduced a joint resolution Tuesday signed by 34 other House Republicans. Senate Republicans filed an identical bill last week.
The measure would begin the process of amending the state constitution to permit marriage only between a man and a woman.
The resolution would need to be passed by lawmakers, then approved by the Legislature elected in 2014 before going before voters.
Passage of the measure is unlikely because of Senate opposition.
Gay marriage has been legal in Iowa since a unanimous 2009 state Supreme Court ruling, which found a law limiting marriage to between men and women violated Iowa's constitution.
Republicans have sought such a measure every year since the ruling.
Army Corps of Engineers Being Sued For Missouri River Flooding
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - Some landowners inundated by Missouri River flooding in 2011 are preparing to sue the federal government.
St. Joseph attorney Ed Murphy says he plans to file a case soon in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He says plaintiffs could come from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and possibly South Dakota.
Murphy noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in December that the federal government is not automatically exempt from paying for damage caused by temporary flooding from its dams.
In the summer of 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs that had been filled with melting snow and heavy rains. The onslaught lasted for
more than 100 days, causing extensive damage downstream.
The corps said it couldn't comment on pending litigation.