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Friday News, April 17

Kim Rohr Reflects On Her 27 Years Of Teaching

(Le Mars) -- On Wednesday, Le Mars Community School District had named Kim Rohrs as the recipient of the "Teacher of the Year" award.  Rohrs has been teaching in the Le Mars Community Schools for 27 years.  She says she entered the field of education because she loves working with children and knew it was what she wanted to do. When Rohr's talks about her students, a bright smile comes across her face.  Rohr's explains her philosophy for teaching.

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Rohrs says teaching at the Transitional Kindergarten level offers its own set of challenges and rewards.

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Rohrs explains what she expects her Transitional Kindergarten students should be able to learn while attending her class.

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As for her thoughts about the Le Mars Community School District, Rohrs again smiles broadly and  has many words of praise for her employer.

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Hard Rock Fined For Violation For Allowing Banned Gambler To Gamble

(Sioux City) -- The Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City agreed to a five-thousand dollar fine Thursday from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for its second gambling violation in as many months. Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko says the violation again involved a person who had agreed to a self ban from casinos.

 

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This fine was an increase over the one issued on the casino’s first violation.

 

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This violation comes just one month after the casino was fined $3000 at the commission’s March meeting for the Hard Rock’s first self-banned gambler violation.

The casino has been open since last August and Ohorilko says management has been retraining staff following the violations.

 

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The person in the first violation was able to gamble and wasn't discovered until he cashed in the jackpot and his name turned up on the self-banned list.

 

 

 

Sioux City Wants To Keep Traffic Cameras

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City wants to keep operating five traffic cameras while appealing a state order to remove them.

The city filed Thursday for a judge's order to protect the cameras' operation, and a hearing on the request is scheduled on Tuesday.

Assistant City Attorney Justin Vondrak said in the filing that city officials think the cameras improve safety on Interstate 29 and other locations.

The city intends to file an appeal by Friday that will ask the Iowa Transportation Department to reconsider its order to turn off the cameras. Vondrak says the cameras likely will be turned off Friday, but the city hopes to gain the injunction Tuesday and turn the cameras back on.

The city's six other traffic cameras are on city streets and not subject to the department guidelines.

 

 

 

 

Google To Expand Council Bluffs Facility

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month.

Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March's 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining.

The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March's 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50.

Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

 

 

Operators Of Elderly Group Home Charged With Neglect

MARION, Iowa (AP) - The former operators of a closed elder group home in Marion have been convicted on three charges, including neglect.

Online court records say that 67-year-old Peggy Berns and 71-year-old Donald Berns on Wednesday also were convicted of conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and of possession of a controlled substance. Their sentence hearing is scheduled for June 5 in Linn County District Court.

In August the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals revoked the license of the Bernses' facility, Park Setting Elder Group Home. Documents released by the agency indicate employees used a board to block a tenant's door after state officials told them not to lock the room at night. The agency says employees were not properly trained and failed to secure medication and hazardous chemicals.

 

 

 

Midwest Economy Still Sluggish

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month.

Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March's 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining.

The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March's 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50.

Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

 

 

 

New York Mayor To Visit Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling income disparity a "profound challenge facing our country."

De Blasio appeared Thursday at Drake University in Iowa the invitation of former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. He spoke before about 50 people. Among his proposals to address income inequality were raising the minimum wage and offering paid sick leave to all workers.

De Blasio is seeking to be a voice for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, alongside U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts. His efforts to raise his national profile include making a play for the 2016 Democratic National Convention and hosting a meeting of liberals at the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, this month.

The first-term mayor took heat this week for not immediately endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

 

 

 


 

 


   

Thursday News, April 16

Transitional Kindergarten Teacher Awarded "Teacher Of The Year"

(Le Mars) -- A transitional Kindergarten teacher has been honored with the Le Mars Community School District's "Teacher of the Year" award. Kim Rohrs has been teaching for the last 27 years, and she has taught school at each of the Le Mars Community Elementary schools. She began her teaching career with the LeMars Community School District in the 1987-88 school year teaching 1st grade at Kissinger Elementary in Merrill. Later, in 1995, she transferred to Clark Elementary to teach kindergarten and in 2002 started with the transitional kindergarten program at Kluckhohn Elementary.  She created the curriculum for the transitional Kindergarten program for Le Mars Schools.  Wayne and Julie Beitelspacher, along with their son, Luke, and his wife, Ashley, nominated Mrs. Rohrs for the award. Brooks Beitelspacher, a grandson of Wayne and Julie, and son of Luke and Ashley is in Mrs. Rohrs' class. Rohrs will be formally recognized at the Le Mars Community School Foundation Awards Banquet when she will be presented the Chrystal Bell of Education Excellence.  Denise Anthony of the Le Mars School Foundation presented Kim Rohrs a certificate along with two checks each amounting to $500. One check is to be used for her classroom, and the other is a personal award.  Many of Kim's family members were at Kluckhohn Elementary School to share in the moment of the presentation. Julie Bietelspacher explains why she and her family nominated Kim Rohrs for the award.

 

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Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten can be an awkward time for any young student going from the comforts of home to a new world of formal education. Bietelspacher says Mrs. Rohrs helps those students make that transition a bit easier.

 

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In a future news story, we will share some comments from the new "Teacher Of The Year".

 

 

 

School Superintendent Hands Out "Pink Slips" To Staff Due To Legislature Stalemate

LIBERTY CENTER, Iowa (AP) - The superintendent of a central Iowa school district has drawn up pink slips for all its employees as lawmakers continue to grapple with education funding for the upcoming school year.

Delane Galvin, superintendent of Southeast Warren School District, says he plans to notify 100 staff members that their contracts won't be renewed.

Districts were required to certify their budgets by Wednesday. Galvin says the move allows some flexibility as the district waits to hear how much supplemental state aid will be received.

The Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate remain at odds over how much new money to give to schools in the 2015-2016 academic year. Democrats have lowered a proposal for additional funding to about $150 million. Republicans argue the state can't afford spending more than $100 million.  Le Mars state representative Chuck Soderberg is on the conference committee to decide the educational funding.

 

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Soderberg says the stalemate continues between what the House is proposing and what the Senate is proposing for education funding, with both sides holding their positions.  He says he is uncertain as to what type of compromise will be achieved.

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Lawmakers Look At Changing Property Seizure Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in a government oversight committee say they may propose changes to an Iowa law that allows authorities to seize money and other items from people suspected of illegal activity.

People in support of reforming what is known as civil asset forfeiture testified Wednesday that revising state law could ensure people are treated more fairly.

The Iowa law allows authorities to seize assets like cash, cars or property from a person suspected of illegal activity. Law enforcement officials can keep the items, even if a case does not result in a conviction.

Critics say the law makes it difficult for a person to recover seized items. Law enforcement officials disagree, though noted they were open to working with lawmakers to tighten guidelines in the law to better track seized items.

 

 

Chiropractor Loses License

LAMONI, Iowa (AP) - A southern Iowa chiropractor accused of accepting sex as payment for his services and performing exorcisms on patients has surrendered his state license.

The Iowa Board of Chiropractic released a report Wednesday detailing charges against Charles Manuel, of Lamoni. Manuel signed an agreement last month in saying he wouldn't apply for reinstatement for at least 10 years.

The agreement requires that Manuel prove any circumstances surrounding the revocation of his license no longer exist before he can resume practicing chiropractic in the state. Manuel also recommended that patients stop taking medication he prescribed to them.

 

 

Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Dallas County

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have detected the emerald ash borer in a residential tree in rural Dallas County, making it the 21st county in Iowa where infestations have been confirmed.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the bug was identified after an arborist had contacted state officials about a suspicious ash tree. Further investigation revealed recent woodpecker activity and live larvae below the bark.

Federal experts then confirmed the borer's presence.

The larvae of the emerald ash borer cut off an ash tree's flow of nutrients when deposited below the bark. Once infected, trees typically die within five years.

Mike Kintner, who coordinates the state's efforts to combat the bug, says the recent finding is the closest to Polk County and Iowa's capital city of Des Moines to date.

 

 

Des Moines Airport Wants New Lease Agreement From Iowa National Air Guard

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Airport Authority is seeking a new lease agreement from the Iowa National Guard.

The Guard, which leases about 170 acres of land, received a third extension from the Airport Authority to delay an updated lease agreement Tuesday.

The Iowa Guard has paid $1 per year for rent since 1975 because of its "aeronautical mission" status due to the presence of fighter jets. The airport approved the rent because the jets provided firefighting services.

When the jets were removed in September, the airport picked up the cost of services.

Guard officials say they expect their "aeronautical mission" status to return pending approval from federal authorities, which could take at least two years and further delay negotiations of a new rental agreement.

Kevin Foley, executive director and general manager of the airport, says the airport cannot wait that long.

 

 

 

 


   

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