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Wednesday Afternoon News, Dec. 5

Area Legislators Meet With Community Leaders

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson visited with community leaders representing the city, school, hospital, chamber, and area businesses during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.  The state lawmakers told the gathering of the priorities for the upcoming General Session of the state legislature.  Both lawmakers say the state budget is a major concern.  Anderson, a Republican from Pierson, says whatever takes place in Washington with regards to the budget will trickle down to the state level.  Soderberg, who will assume the role of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says Iowa's budget is doing o.k. but heavily dependent upon the federal government's subsidies. 

Soderberg says Iowa's budget is approximately $12 billion dollars of which half is generated from Iowa tax revenues, and the other $6 billion is funded from the federal government.  Anderson says he expects the Democratic controlled Senate to seek additional tax credits with property taxes, as opposed to any tax reform.
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Soderberg told the group that there is a good news - bad news scenerio with the state's finances.
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The area lawmakers addressed questions from the crowd that dealt with allowable growth funding for school districts, mental health levy, the state's infrastructure including the proposed hike in gasoline tax, tax incremental financing or TIF, and deregulation.

 

Le Mars Mainstreet Seeks Resolution For Blight Grant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization and the Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission appeared before the city council on Tuesday to request permission to seek a resolution for a grant of $500,000 for the use of blight funding.  Mary Reynolds appeared before the city council and explains the program.
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Reynolds says blight usually conjures up negative images of old, run-down buildings.  But she says it doesn't necessarially mean a poor image.
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Reynolds explains the downtown district is being considered.

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Building owners will want to attend an informational meeting scheduled for December 11th at the city council chambers to learn more about the project.

 

Noted Animal Scientist Speaks At IFBF Convention

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Animal scientist Temple Grandin has criticized legislation that restricts or bans underground videos in feedlots and confinements.
The animal rights authority told the Iowa Farm Bureau Wednesday that
laws with such rules are "the dumbest thing."
Gradin praised beef trimmings, or so-called "pink slime" as a good product. She says its production
should never have been suspended.
Grandin also spoke against sow gestation crates, a method of enclosure used in pig farming. It's a controversial issue between hog producers and animal rights activists.
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Harkin Says He Wants His Name Removed If Iowa State Doesn't Change Policies

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is threatening to end his association with a namesake policy institute at Iowa State University if the school president does not remove restrictions on
its ability to research agriculture.
Harkin suggests in a statement obtained Tuesday by the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/Vk45JQ) that he may not donate his papers to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy because he -- quote -- "simply cannot be part of any arrangement that restricts full
and unfettered academic freedom at this institute."
Harkin and the institute's advisory board are objecting to a memo issued by ISU President Steven Leath that says the institute generally cannot research agricultural subjects without approval from ISU's Center for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Leath says he wants to avoid duplication and maintain the center's prominence.
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Wednesday News, December 5

Chamber To Host Legislative Luncheon

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Legislative Luncheon on Wednesday at noon at the American Bank.  State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson, both Republicans, are expected to attend the luncheon.  Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Neil Adler says the annual event serves to have the community ask questions of their state lawmakers, and find out what issues may be discussed at the upcoming General Session.
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The event is open to the public and tickets are $10. You will need to contact the Chamber office at 546-8821 to make reservations.

 

Council Approves Second Reading of Sewer Ordinance Rate

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council approved the second reading of the Sewer Rate Ordinance during Tuesday's meeting and set December 18 as the public hearing for the financing of the new waste water treatment facily. Sewer rates will be increased to help finance the waste water treatment facility.  Le Mars residents will be asked to pay a minimum of $7.72 per month, and in addition, they will be asked to pay nearly $2.13 per 1,000 gallons of waste water.  Wells and Deans Foods have signed waste water agreements and will pick up the major portion of the cost to the new treatment facility.  The new waste water treatment facility will be located two miles west of the present facility and is expected to cost more
than $18 million.

 

Plymouth County Libraries Visit With Supervisors

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Librarian Association met with the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning to begin the process of budget proposals.  The county librarians presented a short video featuring each of the libraries.  Le Mars librarian, Sue Kroesche reported to the supervisors that despite the digital age, people still need and use their local library.  She says usage is on the increase.

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Kroesche says the rural libraries are needing funding that will help retain resources that any more are only available on-line.
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Plymouth County invests approximately $75,000 annually to the local libraries.

 

E-911 Board To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The E-911 Board is scheduled to meet this evening at the Plymouth County Courthouse. The board members will discuss the southwest tower and the tower located at the courthouse.  The board will also address the feasibility of replacing radios.


Man Falls From Pierson Water Tower

PIERSON, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office says a man was flown to a Sioux City hospital after falling from a water tower in northwest Iowa.
Sgt. Gene Hacker says the man fell and his safety cable broke on Tuesday while he was working on a water town in Pierson, about 25 miles east of Sioux City. The accident was reported about 4:30 p.m.
The man's name wasn't released.
Hacker says the man was conscious after the fall. It wasn't clear how far he fell.
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Johnson Chairs IFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Advisory Committee

(Des Moines) -- The state's largest farm organization is meeting this week for its annual convention.  Delegates to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation are deciding upon rural issues such as the condition of roads, taxation, education, and much more. Ben Johnson of Le Mars serves as the chairman of the state's Young Farmers and Ranchers advisory committee.  He farms on a century farm, but says it has its challenges.
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Despite farming's challenges, Johnson remains optimistic about agriculture's future.
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FEMA Turns Down Cedar Rapids Request

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Regional officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have again rejected helping Cedar Rapids build a $3 million recreation center in in a 100-year flood
plain.
The City Council heard the bad news during a teleconference call Tuesday with FEMA officials in Kansas City, Mo. FEMA earlier had rejected the council's plans for replacing the Time Check
Recreation Center, which was destroyed in the 2008 flooding.
The council members say building the replacement center in the same spot outweighed the concerns about rebuilding in the flood plain.
But FEMA officials say federal rules bar such construction if a sensible option exists outside the 100-year flood plain.
After the teleconference, council members discussed an appeal to Washington.
The Time Check Neighborhood is in northwest Cedar Rapids.

 

Social Security Employees Upset Over Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Social Security employees in Des Moines are trying to find ways to protest funding levels at the agency.
An employees union representing Social Security workers plans to hold an informal picket line Wednesday morning outside one of the agency's offices.
The American Federation Of Government Employees Local 836 plans to protest an agency-wide hiring freeze and shortened hours at community field offices.
The local group, which represents about 400 Social Security employees in Iowa and Nebraska, says recent proposals from Congress will cut the agency's operational budget.

 

 

   

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