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Monday News, December 10

Street Closure Due To Crane Rail Installation

(Le Mars) -- Wells Enterprises will be installing a new crane rail which will mean the closure of 18th Street SW on Monday.  The street will be closed between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon to accommodate the installation of a new crane rail at the high rise freezer.  18th Street SW will be closed between 6th Avenue SW and 12th Avenue SW.


Le Mars School Board Concerned About Allowable Growth Funding

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening, and on its agenda, the board will review two recent legislative seminars hosted by the Northwest Area Education Agency and the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce.  A concern the Le Mars Community School Board has, along with many other school boards across the state, is the unknown amount of funding to be allocated to schools as part of the allowable growth as determined by the state legislature.  At last week's Chamber Legislative Luncheon, Le Mars Community School Board Director Mark Hemmingson summed up the feelings of many school board officials.
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State representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars says the percentage of allowable growth can be misleading.
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The School Board will hear reports from each of the principals, as well as a report from Ted Hallberg explain the Orchestra's trip next spring.  The school board will begin discussing their position for teacher salaries. The Le Mars Education Association is expected to present their initial bargaining proposal for the 2013-14 master contract to the Board of Education on January 7th.


First Snowfall Causes Several Accidents

(Orange City) -- The first snowfall of this winter lead Sioux County authorities to investigate ten separate auto accidents that occurred Friday evening, December 7th.  The accidents occurred between 4:30 p.m. and 12:00 midnight.  In each instance the drivers lost control of their vehicle, presumably due to the snow and ice on the roadways.  Fortunately, with each accident, there were no injuries reported.  The area had between a half an inch and an inch of snow reported from Friday's snowfall.

 

Hospitals Adapt New System To Share Patient Information

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa hospitals and clinics have begun using a state computer system to quickly share patient records.
Most hospitals and clinics have begun using electronic medical records, but many of their systems are so different they can't share information. The Iowa Health Information Network aims to
solve that problem.
The network also lets hospitals search for records of patients seen at other Iowa hospitals or clinics that also are on the network.
Kim Norby, of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says that the system is mostly financed by more than $8 million the federal government granted Iowa under the 2009 economic stimulus.
A standard patient confidentiality form will, with patient consent, give a hospital authority to share information via the new system.
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Branstad Indicates He Will Compromise With Democrats

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -Governor Terry Branstad is approaching the 2013 legislative session open to compromise and chastened by Iowans' reaffirmed preference for divided government.
Branstad says in an interview with The Associated Press that as an improved economy brings in more tax revenue, he would be willing to accept higher spending requests from Democrats, if that's what it takes to gain approval of his proposals, especially those
dealing with education and property taxes.
The Republican governor's conciliatory tone comes as he signals plans to seek re-election in 2014 and marks a change to his approach.
Now, with Democrats retaining a Senate majority and cutting into the GOP's margin in the House, Branstad says he's willing to bargain during the 2013 session before campaign politics again
descend on the Capitol.

 

Iowa Spends $25 Million On Overtime Pay

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa spent more than $25 million on overtime pay during the last fiscal year, but that is less than the state spent in recent years.
The state's overtime spending has been around $30 million for the four previous years.
A nursing assistant at the University of Iowa Hospitals collected nearly $226,000 in overtime last year - the most in the state - by working 8,507 extra hours.
Officials say the $25 million total remains a concern, but there's been improvement.
Iowa Management Department Director Dave Roederer says the state adopted new practices to limit overtime, and the state is trying to do a better job of predicting vacancies.
Roederer says the overtime should continue to decline because the state is becoming more efficient.

 

Hunter Finds Body Under Bridge

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are investigating a man's death after an Iowa hunter found his body under a bridge east of Cedar Rapids.
The Linn County Sheriff's office is leading the investigation. KCRG reports the death is considered suspicious.
Officials aren't sure how long the middle-aged man's body was there before the hunter found it under the Squaw Creek Bridge on Saturday.
Officials would not discuss the condition of the body or release the man's identity.
The man's body was taken to Ankeny for an autopsy.

 

Davenport Dead Man Identified

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified a man whose body was found in a field outside Davenport, but they are still investigating his death.
The Des Moines Register reports that 41-year-old Robby Kohn was found dead early Saturday morning. Davenport police released his identity on Sunday.
Kohn's body was discovered by a Scott County deputy around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Davenport Police haven't released many details about Kohn's death, but Assitant Chief Donald Shaefer says visible trauma to his body prompted a full investigation.
An autopsy will be performed on Kohn's body on Monday.

 

 

   

Saturday News, December 8

Harkin Staff To Appear In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Legislative staff from Senator Tom Harkin is scheduled to be in Le Mars on Monday, December 17th to listen to constituents' views on a wide variety of issues.  Residents can express their opinion about current legislative issues or seek assistance if they have concerns with a federal agency.  Harkin's staff member will be at the Le Mars Community Library at the meeting room between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 17th.


18th Street SW To Be Closed For Rail Crane Installation

(Le Mars) -- Wells Enterprises will be installing a new crane rail which will mean the closure of 18th Street SW on Monday.  The street will be closed between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon to accommodate the installation of a new crane rail at the high rise freezer.  18th Street SW will be closed between 6th Avenue SW and 12th Avenue SW.


Maurice Reform Church To Feature Traveling Nativity

(Maurice) -- Folks in the small town of Maurice will host its annual Traveling Nativity this weekend. Coordinator of the event is Justin Schrock.  He tells how the idea started nearly twenty years ago.

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Schrock says each year the event attracts several hundred people to the small Northwest Iowa community.  He says people will gather at the Maurice Reform Church and select a number and while waiting for their turn on the traveling nativity, they enjoy refreshments.  Schrock says the tour involves about a 15 minute hay rack ride pulled by a team of horses, and visitors are taken to seven different sites where the story of the birth of Christ is shared with a narrator and live scenes involving people and animals.
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Schrock says it takes more than 200 volunteers to put on the Traveling Nativity, and he says the tour utilizes both a portion of the town, as well as the country.

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There is no admission to the traveling nativity, simply a free will donation with the proceeds to help the youth group help finance a mission trip to Guatemala.  The hours of the traveling nativity are Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

 

ISU President To Visit Sioux City

(Ames) -- Iowa State University President Steven Leath is scheduled to appear Monday at the Sioux City Downtown Rotary Club, held at the Convention Center.  Leath is expected to address the civic organization about getting acquainted with Iowans and his priorities for Iowa State University.

 

U of I President Sets Goals

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason's top goal is to improve the university's public relations, but she has many other lofty challenges she'll be measured on as well.
The university released a document Friday showing Mason's performance goals this year, which were agreed on with the Iowa Board of Regents. Mason says the regents want her to improve
communication with the public and legislators, and that is at the top.
The other goals show how wide ranging and challenging the job of university president can be.
They call on Mason to make progress in the university's $1.5 billion fundraising drive and keep the university competitive for federal funding. They ask her to draw up plans to implement President Barack Obama's health care law at university hospital and to increase in-state enrollment.

 

U of I Officials Directed Documents To Be Destroyed

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Faculty at the University of Iowa say two high-ranking officials ordered the destruction of records showing dissatisfaction with a school dean.
Two faculty members allege in a letter that Provost P. Barry Butler and university general counsel Carroll Reasoner ordered documents destroyed. The documents were part of a faculty survey. Some comments expressed dissatisfaction with Margaret Crocco, the dean of the College of Education.
The faculty says Butler and Reasoner asked them to turn over all hard copies of the survey's comments. The pair also says officials told them the university would withdraw legal protection.
Messages left for Butler, Reasoner, Crocco and a human resources official were not immediately returned Friday.
Crocco has been dean of the College of Education since March 2011.


Stacyville Woman Sentenced To Prison For Embezzlement

(Cedar Rapids) -- A woman who worked as a claims accountant for a family owned company in Northern Iowa was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for embezzling more than $175,000 from her employer.  34 year old Patricia Freebury from Stacyville, Iowa received the prison term after pleading guilty to bank fraud and possession of firearms as a felon.  Freebury was previously convicted in March of 2007 in the Iowa District Court of Cerro Gordo County of the felony crime of first degree theft for embezzling approximately $25,000 from a former employer.  In a plea agreement and at the sentencing hearing, Freebury admitted that over a two year period, she carried out a fraudulent scheme to steal money from her employer.  Using her position as a claims accountant, Freebury wrote more 200 company checks made payable to herself in amounts ranging from $250 to over $900 and forged the owner's signature on the checks.  To conceal the embezzlement, Freebury falsified company records to make it appear that the checks were made payable to various venders.  Freebury used the proceeds of her crime to buy vehicles and other personal property.

 

Burlington Men Charged With Boating Deaths

BURLINGTON (AP) - Two Burlington men have been charged with felonies after authorities allege they were driving boats while drunk which caused a collision on the Mississippi River in May that killed four people.
Twenty-one-year old Joseph Schier Junior and 22-year-old Douglas Metcalf were charged Friday with boating while intoxicated causing a death and four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Authorities say the men were shuttling partiers from an island sandbar to shore in the early morning hours of May 19th when their boats crashed in the dark.
Killed were Matthew House, Jacob Boyd, Caitlyn Atchley, and Blake Eakins. All were in their early 20s and from Burlington.
No trial date has been scheduled. The cases are not yet listed in online court records.

 

Two Attorneys Prohibited To Practice Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa attorneys are prohibited from practicing law for at least six months after their involvement in separate unlawful real estate deals.
Former Clarke County Attorney Ronald Wheeler falsified information on a home loan application to help a client. He pleaded guilty last year and was given probation and ordered to pay more
than $800,000 restitution.
Paul Bieber, a Davenport attorney, pleaded guilty last year to a felony for his role in overstating the value of a home in a transaction. He also was given probation and ordered restitution.
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday suspended their licenses for six months.
Justice David Wiggins, in a strongly worded dissent, says their licenses should be revoked because a person who uses a law license to steal is unfit to practice law.

 

Des Moines Police Investigate Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police in Des Moines say a man is in critical condition after being shot at least six times during an overnight shooting.
Rashad Adair has undergone surgery at a Des Moines hospital after being shot at least six times on his nose and both his upper and lower torsos. Police say Adair was sitting in a vehicle late Thursday night when a gunman approached him and fired several shots. The gunman then fled on foot.
Police say two witnesses have been interviewed and released.
Adair is expected to undergo an additional surgery for his injuries.

 

 

   

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