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Wednesday News, January 30

Climatologist Says Drought Likely To Continue

(Le Mars) -- "More of the same..." that's what State Climatologist Harry Hilaker told a group of farmers and other crop production officials during a seminar held in Le Mars on Tuesday.  Although Hilliker says it is likely the drought will continue through this upcoming crop year, there may be some noticeable changes.
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Hilaker says the real concern may not be so much with the dry conditions for the crops, but rather with the available water supplies.
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The state climatologist says don't look for any re-charge of moisture levels during the winter months.
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Sohl To Retire From Conservation Post

(Le Mars) -- After being on the job for 38 years, Plymouth County Conservation Executive Director, Dennis Sohl has announced he intends to retire.  The announcement was made official when Sohl mailed a letter to inform the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors. Sohl made the announcement to the County Conservation Board during their last meeting last Monday.  Sohl's official last day will be August 15, 2013.  The newly constructed Outdoor Learning Center located at the Hillview Recreation Center is named after the Conservation official.

 

Plymouth County's Finances Are In Good Shape

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County's financial condition was given a stamp of approval today when Jeff Peters of the Williams and Company offered to supervisors his independent review and audit of the county's finances.
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According to Peters' audit, the county has enough money in reserve to continue operations for at least 90 days.  Peters noted it is a vast improvement from years past when the county had only enough finances in reserve to sustain for about 45 days.  However, Peters suggested to the governing board to see if they may be able to increase the reserve general fund to continue county operations for at least 120 days.

 

15 Female Truck Drivers Not Allowed To Testify in Sexual Harassment Case

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge says 15 female drivers who claim they were sexually harassed by male trainers cannot testify at the upcoming trial against a Cedar Rapids trucking company.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade barred the testimony Monday from women who claim they were groped, assaulted and harassed while working for CRST Van Expedited.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wanted to introduce their testimony to bolster claims of the woman it's representing in the long-running case. Monika Starke claims she reported being
sexually harassed by a trainer in 2005 but a dispatcher initially instructed her to stay on the truck. CRST denies that.
Reade says the testimony isn't relevant to Starke's claim and could confuse and prejudice jurors since the 15 were allegedly harassed by other trainers. A scheduling hearing is Thursday.


Democratic Legislators Wants To Expand Medicaid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic legislators are pushing to expand Medicaid in Iowa.
Sen. Jack Hatch and Rep. Lisa Heddens, both Democrats, introduced legislation Tuesday that would broaden eligibility requirements for the state program, which covers low-income people, including children and the disabled. President Barack Obama's health care overhaul provides funding to states that do this expansion.
If expanded, as many as 150,000 people could be added to Iowa's Medicaid rolls, mostly low-income childless adults.
Gov. Terry Branstad has opposed an expansion, based on the cost to the state. The federal government would pay the full cost of the expansion for three years and then the state would gradually assume 10 percent of the costs for the new enrollees.


Economic Development Authority Wants More Money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Economic Development Authority is asking legislators to approve an extra $65 million in state tax credits for this fiscal year.
The state puts a $120 million limit on tax breaks the agency can offer business, but director Debi Durham told lawmakers Tuesday that the authority needs $185 million for the fiscal year ending
June 30.
Democrat Sen. William Dotzler of Waterloo express skepticism, saying Iowa got "suckered" into giving $150 million in loans and tax breaks to two fertilizer companies last year. Those were the
state's biggest capital investment in history.
Durham says the request is necessary to compete with other states to get big business deals in Iowa.
The authority also asked for a $35 million budget increase for international marketing and a new jobs program.

 

Alons Wants To Make It Easier For Veterans To Obtain Guns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Republican lawmaker wants to make it easier for veterans to purchase certain types of guns in Iowa.
Rep. Dwayne Alons has proposed legislation that would allow veterans to buy pistols and revolvers without getting a permit from a county sheriff. Currently, anyone purchasing those types of firearms must first get a permit.
Alons, of Hull, argued Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing that gun dealers already do background checks, so the additional permit process is unnecessary.

 

 

   

Tuesday News, January 29

Supervisors Continue To Work On Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning, and on their agenda, the board is expected to appoint Supervisor Don Kass to the EMA board as an alternate.  The supervisors will appoint Wayne Pick as the clerk for Fredonia Township.  Jeff Peters of Williams and Company will be on hand to discuss and review the 2011-2012 financial audit.  The supervisors will continue their work on the next fiscal year's budget.

 

Soderberg To Host Legislative Forums

(Des Moines) -- State representative, Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars has announced he will attend two legislative forums scheduled for Saturday, February 2.  Soderberg will be at the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie at Le Mars beginning at 10:00, and at 11:30 a.m. he will hold a legislative forum at the Remsen Public Library at Remsen.  The legislative panel will be discussing various issues concerning the Iowa Legislature.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meetings and address any issues that are of concern.


Good Samaritan Society To Host Spring Style & Fashion Show

(Le Mars) -- The Good Samaritan Society of Le Mars has announced it will host the host the 7th Annual “Spring Fling” Brunch & Style Show Fundraiser on Saturday, March 16th, in the upper level Le Mars Convention Center.  The morning will begin at 8:30 am with a silent auction, vendors for shopping, catered brunch, and raffle for a home décor item donated by Close to Home.  Local spring and summer fashions will be modeled from local clothiers during a style show with emcee special guest Christy Batien, of KTIV News Channel 4.

Guest event speaker this year is motivational humorist, Theresa Rose.  Theresa is going to provide her personal story of inspiration and motivation of how she transformed her life.  In her one-of-a-kind joyful, humorous heart warming presentation, she will present how to unleash your full potential and find your missing mojo.  Theresa is passionate about helping others find their mojo! Her natural habitat is the stage, her favorite teacher is the beloved hula hoop, and her mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire people to lead more fulfilling lives.

Begin reserving your tickets beginning February 6h by calling 712-546-2125, emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by stopping in Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars, Hwy 3 east.  All of the proceeds of the morning’s event, will support resident program and services in Cottage Center and for a new hand held communication system for the nursing department.

 

Flavors of Northwest Iowa

(Le Mars) -- Flavors of Northwest Iowa is a local food summit scheduled for Thursday, January 31 and will be held at Northwest Iowa Community College at Sheldon.  Plymouth County Extension Coordinator, Carol Schneider says the food summit has been popular in northeastern Iowa, and now it is moving to our part of the state.
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Schneider says the summit will assist those people growing local food and wanting to know how to market their foods.
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Schneider says the food summit will feature some prominent speakers
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For additional information regarding the Flavors of Northwest Iowa food summit, you can contact the Plymouth County Extension office.

 

Regents To Evaluate University Presidents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The board that governs Iowa's public universities will evaluate the performance of University of Iowa President Sally Mason and other leaders during a closed session.
The Board of Regents meets Tuesday in Urbandale to conduct evaluations of Mason, outgoing University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen and first-year Iowa State University President
Steven Leath.
The closed-door performance review for Mason is expected to get the most attention given that Allen is retiring and Leath was recently praised by Board President Craig Lang.
The review is the first of Mason since the board last year declined to renew her contract and ordered her to revise her goals to improve the university's public relations. Mason has downplayed
any tension and still enjoys the support of key faculty, staff and student leaders.

 

Democratic Lawmakers Show Results of School Superintendent Survey

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic lawmakers say a survey they sent to superintendents shows many expect teacher layoffs and class size increases if the Legislature doesn't increase state aid by a
March 1 deadline.
Sen. Herman Quirmbach and Rep. Sharon Steckman held a news conference Monday to announce results of a survey sent to 348 school districts. They are Democratic leaders in education
committees.
They say 206 superintendents responded. Of them, 57 percent say they expected teacher layoffs, 72 percent expected class size increases and 68 percent thought they would postpone ordering
school materials if lawmakers didn't increase state aid to schools by March.
Lawmakers have missed a March 1 deadline for setting allowable revenue growth in the past.
Quirmbach says state aid should be decided before taking up Gov. Terry Branstad's education reforms.

 

Boone High School Placed On Lockdown

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in central Iowa say they kept a high school evacuated and briefly placed several other schools on lockdown because they received a threat.
The threat Monday afternoon was an unconfirmed report of an intruder at Boone High School. Officials say the threat was received by email.
The station reports a fire drill was under way at the school and the evacuation was continued following the threat. The Boone Community School District says other schools were placed on
lockdown as a precaution.
Authorities searched the school room-by-room. No injuries were reported.
High school students were taken to a local YMCA, where parents were later able to pick them up. Buses later took other students home.


Levin Pleads Not Guilty To Murder and Kidknapping

EARLY, Iowa (AP) - A 21-year-old Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman.
Kirk Levin submitted a written plea Monday. He faces charges of first-degree murder and
third-degree kidnapping.
Prosecutors say Levin repeatedly stabbed his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, at her farmhouse in Early on Jan. 3. They say he then kidnapped a 21-year-old woman who he tied up and put in the trunk
of a car. The woman escaped after Levin drove into a ditch.
Levin had been released from prison days earlier after serving time for burglary charges. Gov. Terry Branstad's spokesman has defended the state's release of Levin.


Des Moines Officials Continue To Evict Homeless

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines officials have posted eviction notices at two more makeshift camps set up by homeless people.
The city had posted eviction notices at three other camps on Jan. 17.
Three people ordered to leave one of the camps have filed appeals, with help from a local nonprofit group.
Jim Loveland says that for him and two other people living under the Raccoon River bridge the camp is "like our home. We feel comfortable down here."
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/114x8Ki) that officials say complaints from the public about the homeless camps prompted the evictions. A city ordinance bars camping on public
property.
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