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Tuesday Afternoon News, April 15

Prairie Sun Foods Bids On Plymouth County Oil During Sheriff's Sale

(Le Mars) -- A sheriff's sale was held Tuesday for the property and holdings of what used to be Plymouth County Oil of Merrill.  Only one bidder was interested in placing a bid on the Merrill-based Plymouth County Oil, a processor of food grade corn oil, when Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo held a sheriff's sale today on the bankrupt company.  Sheriff Van Otterloo says a plaintiff to the bankrupcty case placed the winning bid.

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Van Otterloo says about a dozen people attended the sale, mostly, as on-lookers with interest in knowing who would ultimately purchase the property.  Van Otterloo says Praire Sun Foods, a South Dakota company, now holds the title for the property and equipment.

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Officials were hoping for a projected bid of eleven and a half million dollars.

 

Music Instructor Selected As "Teacher Of The Year"

(Le Mars) -- A Le Mars Community Middle School Band Instructor has been awarded the honor of "Teacher of the Year".  Mary Benton had her class interrupted when nearly 15 well-wishers from the school administration and school district foundation board dropped by to present the award on Tuesday afternoon.  Benton has been teaching instrumental music at Le Mars Community for 23 years.  Denise Anthony of the Le Mars Community School District Foundation presented the honor to Benton.  She says of Benton, "she is being honored for being a teacher who instills the love of music in her students, encourages them to be the best tha they can be, and always has her door open, not only for band issues, but anything a middle school student might want to talk about.  Anthony informed the gathering "it was very humbling to read the letters of support for Mary's nomination, and the powerful common theme in all of them was her accessibility and helpfulness towards her students, parents and co-workers.  Our congratulations to Mary Benton for being honored as this year's Le Mars Community School District's Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell-Teacher of the Year Award.  Tomorrow, we will hear comments from Mary Benton as she discusses the honor bestowed upon her, and her teaching philosophy.

Zoning Adjustment Board Votes Down Speech Clinic In Le Mars Neighborhood

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Zoning Adjustment Board turned thumbs down Tuesday afternoon on a proposed speech therapy clinic that was to be located in a northwest Le Mars residential neighborhood.  The city hall chambers had people on both sides of the issue discuss the matter.  Some neighbors said the area is zoned for residential, and should not allow a business to be located there.  Many, shared their opinion that such a business would drive down property values, and still others worried about the additional anticipated increase of traffic in the quiet community.  Cindy Nagel, the owner of the lot, tried to convince the adjustment board and the gathering, the proposed speech therapy clinic would resemble a house, and could be converted to be a residence.

 

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

(Le Mars) -- April is national distracted driving awareness month and law enforcement officials are stepping up their efforts to discourage drivers from being distracted.  Iowa State Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz says it is easy to become distracted while driving.  He says the use of a cell phone or texting while driving is thought to be the most common form of distraction while driving, and while that is extremely dangerous, Kurtz says, small children riding in the car can sometimes be a distraction.

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The Highway Patrol safety education officer says drivers must remain focused on their driving and resist the many distractions that occur. He says the latest statistics may not tell the whole story.

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Kurtz says he doesn't have the statistics to back his opinion, but it is his belief that younger drivers are more susceptible to distracted driving, although he says all ages can be distracted.

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Kurtz says distractions are not limited to just inside the vehicle, but many occur outside the vehicle as well.

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Supreme Court Says Candidate Can Seek Office Despite Drunken Convictions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a Des Moines man can run for state Senate despite efforts by his primary opponent to have him disqualified.

Tony Bisignano was convicted of second-offense drunken driving, and his Democratic primary opponent Ned Chiodo claimed that disqualified him from voting or seeking office because it fit the definition of an infamous crime in the Iowa Constitution. Such a ruling would not only have disqualified Bisignano but thousands of other Iowans convicted of aggravated misdemeanors.

The court concluded second-offense operating while intoxicated isn't an infamous crime but says its ruling is limited to OWI second offense only. Future cases will have to decide which felonies might fall within the meaning of infamous crime.

Bisignano and Chiodo are seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Jack Hatch.

 


 

 

   

Tuesday News, April 15

Western Iowa Technical Community College Opens Le Mars Job Center

(Le Mars) -- Western Iowa Technical Community College officially opened its new job training center in Le Mars this afternoon with a ribbon cutting and reception ceremony.  Dr. Terry Muller, president of Western Iowa Tech says the new facility will not serve like the typical classroom environment.

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Muller offers an explaination as to the specifics of the new job training center, and what students will learn while attending the WITCC Le Mars Center.

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Representatives from several of Le Mars industries were on hand for the ceremonies.  Muller says the new job training center will help many area businesses, but especially those located in Le Mars.

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The Community College president says already the facility has attracted the interest of nearly 50 students, and he expects the new job training center will attract several more would-be students within the near future.

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School Board Passes Proposed Budget

(Le Mars) -- Last evening, the Le Mars Community Board of Education approved the budget of $23,981,588 for the 2014-2015 school year.  The school principals reported to the board that assessment tests were completed last week, and at last evening's meeting, Superintendent of schools, Dr. Todd Wendt unveiled an archetech's drawing of the new proposed concession stand and restroom slated for completion by fall of 2015.  The new concession stand will be located at the football stadium.  School officials don't have an exact estimate of the cost for that new concession stand.  It was also reported there is an anticipated 139 seniors that will graduate, and incoming Kindergarten students for next year will be 155.

 

"Teacher Of The Year" To Be Announced Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District will announce later this afternoon who is this year's "Teacher of the Year".  School officials plan to surprise the honored recipient at 2:30 p.m. 

 

Fire Department Respond To Gasoline Odor At Apartment

(Le Mars) -- The smell of gasoline prompted people in a Le Mars apartment complex to call the Le Mars Fire Department.  Fire officials arrived at 420 12th Street Southeast at about 8:10 p.m. Monday evening.  The residents of the apartment complex were evaculated for a short time while fire officials investigated as to the origin of the gasoline smell.  It was determined a Chevy blazer in the garage beneath the apartments had been leaking gasoline which caused the odor and the concern.  Fire officals were able to use an absorbant to clean up the spilled gasoline, and they used fans to help ventilate the odor from the apartment complex building.  Residents of the apartment complex were able to return to their dwellings within a few minutes.

 

City Council To Have Second Reading On Code Changes

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to convene today at the city hall council chambers.  The council will hold a second reading for the proposed code changes.  In addition, the council will hear the decision by the city public library board not to participate in the county wide library association.  The council is also expected to take action on the new proposed public works building project.  The city council will hear an annual report from the Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

 

Supervisors To Discuss Termination of Development Agreement For Plymouth Oil

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a light agenda for today's meeting.  There are no scheduled reports to be delivered before the county supervisors.  It is expected, the supervisors will review the termination of the development agreement with Plymouth Oil.  Plymouth Oil has filed for bankruptcy.

 

Hard Rock Casino Starting To Receive Slot Machines

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - More than 100 slot machines have been delivered for the new Hard Rock casino in Sioux City.
     General manager Todd Moyer says officials spent more than nine months researching machines and games and visiting other Iowa casinos to check the competition. Moyer says Hard Rock's selections included "the best of the best" slot machines.
     The slots will accept bets ranging from a penny to $25 per play.
     Up to 850 machines should be installed for the opening of the $128.5 million project. The opening is expected to occur by late July or early August.
     ---

 

Branstad Asks Legislature To Revise Law Concerning Coaches And Sexual Abuse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has called on the Legislature to take action following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found school coaches cannot be convicted of sexual exploitation by a school employee under current law. 
     The Iowa Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Friday to overturn the conviction of a former Bloomfield basketball coach who had sex with a 16-year-old girl on his team, saying coaches without teaching licenses are not considered school employees and therefore cannot be convicted. In a statement Monday, Branstad urged lawmakers to pass legislation to include school coaches in the law to protect Iowa students from sexual exploitation.
     Branstad says action should be taken now, while the Legislature remains in session.
     The session has no specific end date, but lawmakers will stop receiving expense payments after April 22.

 

Senate Passes Plan To Increase Pre-Schools Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A plan to enroll more 4-year-olds in preschool and incentivize the creation or expansion of programs has won the Iowa Senate's approval.
     The Senate voted 28-22 Monday in favor of the measure, which now goes to the House for further consideration. All those opposed were Republicans.
     The Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, established in 2007, already funds preschool for 4-year-olds. The legislation would offer additional funds to school districts with existing programs or those that initiate new programs, in an effort to expand preschool enrollment. These incentives would be offered for three years beginning in 2015, and would be based on increased enrollment.
     Sen. Herman Quirmbach, an Ames Democrat, says the legislation is meant to increase participation in the preschool program and improve outreach efforts to Iowa children.

 


 

 

 


 

 



   

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