Wednesday News, December 17
Fair Board To Build New Exhibit Hall
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Fair is planning to tear down the "Hall of '76" and replace it with a new structure. That announcement was made Tuesday morning by Plymouth County Fair Board President Tony Schroeder. Schroeder appeared before the county board of supervisors. Schroeder says the existing exhibit hall was built in 1973. The fair board president offered reasons to the supervisors as to why the "Hall of 76" will be demolished.
Schroeder says bids were submitted and the fair board held a special meeting Monday evening to vote on the proposed new building.
Schroeder says campers and boats that are being stored in the building will need to be out before April 1st. He says demolition and construction will begin on April 15th with the new structure having a completion deadline of July 1st. Schroeder made the request of the county supervisors for $28,000, which is the same as the previous year.
The new structure will have an estimated cost of $400,000. Schroeder says the new exhibit hall will measure 155 feet in length, 66 feet in width, and will be 14 feet tall. He says the concrete floor will be thicker, and the proposed building will be wider than the current structure.
The fair board president was asked if admission prices would be changed, and he assurred the county supervisors that admission to the "five best days of the summer" event would remain the same as last year.
Plymouth County Historical Museum Requests Funding
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors also heard a budget request from representatives of the Plymouth County Historical Museum. Museum administrator Judy Bowman and museum president Ruth Steunenberger appeared before the county governing board and submitted two budget request option proposals for the Supervisors consideration. Last year the County board of Supervisors allocated $12,000 to the museum. In the first option, museum officials are asking the amount to go from the present $12,000 to $20,000. The second option is a bit more modest with a request from $12,000 to $15,000. Bowman indicated to the supervisors the additional amount is needed for one of the state's largest county museums.
City Unveils Recycling Brochure
(Le Mars) -- At the Le Mars City Council meeting held on Tuesday, city officials unveiled a colorful brochure that is intended to assist residents as to what can be recycled and what items need to be thrown away. The brochure is titled simply: "Recycling and Solid Waste Services Brochure." Inside, the brochure features illustrated and detailed examples as to the types of yard waste, recycling, garbage, and even hazzardous material items that can be disposed. The brochure also offers a listing of fees associated with the disposal of certain items, as well as contact information including the city hall, Van's Sanitation, and the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency. The new brochure, along with the 2015 Recycling/Garbage magnet schedule can be obtained at city hall.
Kellen Wants To Create New Housing Development Area
(Le Mars) -- During Tuesday's city council meeting, Bruce Kellen addressed the council and discussed his intentions of wanting to create a new housing development area to be located on the southeast corner of town between 12th Street Southeast and 14th Avenue Southeast. Kellen says he wants to create a housing area that will feature larger than normal lot sizes.
Kellen informed the city council the type of housing development he envisions currently is not available in Le Mars.
Kellen told the council that he has spoken to one individual interested in locating a house on the proposed development area, but admitted it may create some short-term concerns.
The developer requested the city to consider extending 14th Avenue at the city's cost, which he says would help with his development plans. The city council did not take any action on the proposed plan, but instead offered to Kellen to meet on a private basis to further discuss options available.
Spencer Woman Found Dead In Apartment
SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in northwest Iowa are investigating after a 23-year-old woman was found dead in an apartment.
The woman, who has not been identified by police, was found Monday evening. Police say she was unresponsive and declared dead at the scene.
Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton said in a statement Tuesday that police received "numerous calls in reference to a male yelling for help" at the apartment.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is also investigating the death.
Prosecutor Says It Will Be Difficult To Find Impartial Jury For Legislator's Trial
GARNER, Iowa (AP) - A prosecutor says it will be impossible to find an impartial jury in Hancock County for the trial of a former state lawmaker accused of sexual abuse.
Assistant Attorney General Tyler Buller said Tuesday that former state Rep. Henry Rayhons, his lawyer and his family have provided commentary that's led to slanted and misleading coverage of the case.
Rayhons, of Garner, has pleaded not guilty to third-degree sexual abuse. He's accused of having sexual contact in May with his wife, Donna Rayhons, while she was a resident of a care center and not able to give consent. Donna Rayhons died in early August.
A judge will rule on the issue in about a week. The trial is tentatively set to start on Jan. 28.
Ethics Board Dismisses Complaint Against State Treasurer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state ethics board has dismissed a complaint filed against state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald over an advertising campaign for a popular college savings program that aired as he was running for re-election.
Executive Director Megan Tooker said Tuesday that state law prohibits using public resources for political purposes but that the advertising campaign did not meet the criteria.
Fitzgerald, a Democrat, was elected to his ninth term in November. His office started airing College Savings Iowa ads featuring Fitzgerald in August. After complaints from some broadcasters, a new ad was made that did not include Fitzgerald.
The complaint was filed by a staffer for Republican treasurer candidate Sam Clovis. Clovis said he hoped lawmakers would take up the issue.
Deputy Treasurer Karen Austin said these were "unfounded accusations."
Vermont Senator To Make Iowa Visit
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is in Iowa weighing a 2016 presidential campaign, telling a mostly Democratic audience he will resist cuts to Social Security in the new Republican-controlled Senate.
After an hour-long talk with 200 Democratic activists, Sanders told reporters his priority as the No. 2 on the budget committee is to draft a document that "works for the middle class and working class of this country."
Sanders says he will not simply resist cuts to the entitlement program for older and disabled Americans, but work to expand benefits.
Sanders is an independent and has not decided whether he'll run as a Democrat or independent. He is in Iowa meeting with labor and women's groups and planned to address the holiday dinner for a liberal policy group near Des Moines.
University Of Iowa Wants To Help Relieve Stress For Students
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa wants its students stressed about final exams to relax. To that end, the school is offering them free breakfast, yoga classes, massages and other tension-relieving perks.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the stress-buster activities at the Iowa Memorial Union began over the weekend and continued Monday morning with a pancake breakfast. Throughout the week, students will find quiet study spots, free snacks and coffee in addition to yoga and massages.
Angie Reams is the University of Iowa's assistant to the dean for student care initiatives. She says there is also help for those students feeling more than just stressed. For students feeling overwhelmed, there is University Counseling Services and other programs.