Monday, April 27, 2015
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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.






Wednesday News, April 15

Fire Department Responds To 2 Grass Fires And 2 Accidents

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has had a busy day on Tuesday responding to four calls... two separate grass fires, and two separate auto accidents.  The first grass fire occurred at about 11:05 a.m. near 130th Street and Highway 60.  The second fire happened at about 12:35 p.m. along the railroad tracks between county road C-16 and 130th street, parallel to Lake Avenue.   Fire Chief Dave Schipper says a discarded cigarette was to blame for the first grass ditch fire.


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Schipper says the second fire was caused by a passing train, and it was located in an isolated area.


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The Le Mars Fire Department was on the scene of the second fire for nearly an hour and a half.  While the Le Mars Fire Department was busy with their second grass fire, both Hinton and Merrill Fire Departments responded to a grass fire located near 260th Street and Iris Avenue.  Around 4:30 p.m. the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Highway 60 and 160th Street where a car was traveling on Madison Avenue and started to fishtail on the gravel road and losing control.  The car left the roadway and ended in a steep ditch.  Three people were in the vehicle and suffered minor injuries, although one person was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital.  The second auto accident happened at about 8:20 p.m. near 9th Avenue Southwest and 3rd Street Southwest.  A single vehicle lost control and slammed into a tree causing extensive damage to the vehicle.  The driver, suffered head injuries and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital with what was thought to be non-life threatening injuries.


Car Hits Tree

(Le Mars) -- A one vehicle accident happened Tuesday evening, involving a car hitting a tree near the city's Little League Ball parks on 9th Avenue southwest and 3rd Street southwest.  The one vehicle accident caused the driver to sustain injuries and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital.  The accident occurred at about 8:20 p.m.  Apparently, the driver had left the parking lot area near the West Floyd Park and turned onto 9th Avenue southwest when he lost control. The car then struck a tree causing extensive damage to the vehicle. Officials at the scene indicated the vehicle may have been speeding which lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle.  Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, the Le Mars Ambulance, and the Le Mars Police Department.




County Engineer Shares Plan For Road Construction Projects

(Le Mars) -- The warm weather is a sure sign of road construction is about to begin.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe reviewed for the county supervisors today the road and bridge repair projects scheduled for this spring and summer. Rohe says there are no paving projects scheduled for this year, the county is planning to do some re-surfacing projects.


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Rohe says most of the work this summer will focus on either bridge replacement with culverts or with bridge repairs.


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The county engineer says Plymouth county secondary road department employees will replace eleven of the bridge projects, with the remainder to be bid out to contractors.



Anderson Honored As Chamber's "Boss Of The Quarter"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its "Boss of the Quarter" during its Chamber coffee event Tuesday morning.  Todd Anderson, co-owner of the Le Mars Beauty College and Mantrap hair salon was presented the honor.  In the nomination of Todd Anderson, it says Todd leads by example.  When you are in his presence, you can’t help but enjoy the moment. His positive disposition is contagious. He brings a level of excellence to his work that seems so effortless. He raises everyone’s standards. His kind and generous nature, coupled with a sense of humor, adds depth to his skills as a leader.

Todd has the fortunate opportunity to impact not only his employees, but also hundreds of students, as well as all of their well-groomed customers. For over twenty-five years as the owner of the Mantrap Salon, he has created an environment for his employees to thrive, entrusting them to run their own business within the business and allowing flexibility to set their own schedule, balancing work and family life. He places People first.

Our congratulations go to Todd Anderson for being honored as the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce "Boss of the Quarter".




"Teacher Of The Year" To Be Named Today

(Le Mars) -- Later today, we will learn who has been selected as the Le Mars Community School District's "Teacher of the Year".  The honored candidate will be awarded the Crystal Bell of Excellence during the School Foundation and Distinguished Alumni Banquet scheduled for April 29th.  School officials will make the announcement this afternoon at a ceremony at the Kluckhohn Elementary School.



Historic Preservation Commission Announces "Tour Of Homes"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce that the Tour of Homes will be held on Saturday, May 9.   Each year the commission features four homes showcasing a diverse mix of architectural styles during National Historic Preservation month.   You’ll be able to tour these private homes and view the preserved character. The four Le Mars homes that will be on the tour are:   Paul and Denise Gengler - 701 Central Ave SW, Ryan and Tiffany Wright - 500 Central Ave SE, Dave and Patty Hill - 427 Central Ave SW and Bob and Marge Dull - 531 1st Ave SE.

Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission President Linda Mayrose says the Historical Commission is delighted to have these four historic homes on the tour,” She says,  “The architectural styles provide an excellent overview of Le Mars’ architectural history.


The Tour of Homes will be held on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00am to 4:00pm.   The tour will begin in the Museum’s Old Central gym lobby.  Tickets for the tour are $10.00 each.   Tickets may be purchased prior to the event by calling  Linda Mayrose 712-548-6889 or purchased the day of the event at the museum.  Tours will proceed rain or shine.


Every year the Le Mars Historic Preservation Tour of Homes alternates donating the profits between the Plymouth County Museum and the Le Mars Arts Center.   In 2015, the Museum will receive the proceeds.



State Senate Submits Budget Proposal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders in the Democratic majority Senate are offering their overall budget outline, which includes a proposed state employee early retirement program.

Senate Democrats released their budget targets Tuesday. Their overall spending goal is similar a proposal by Gov. Terry Branstad, at roughly $7.3 billion.

But some of the details are different. Democrats want more K-12 education spending than Branstad has proposed. And they have suggested an early retirement incentive program, which they say could generate savings.

Republican House Appropriations Chairman Chuck Soderberg, of Le Mars, says in a statement that the proposal spends more than the state can afford. Leaders in the Republican-majority House have not released their spending numbers. A spokeswoman for House Republicans declined to comment on the early retirement proposal, saying they needed to review the idea.




Senate Approves Palmer As DHS Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has confirmed the governor's pick to lead the state Department of Human Services.

The Senate endorsed Chuck Palmer in a 39-11 vote Tuesday. During a brief debate, some lawmaker raised concerns about Palmer's leadership. Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg, of Cedar Rapids, criticized Palmer and Gov. Terry Branstad over closing a juvenile home last year and for seeking to shutter two mental health institutions this year.

But Republican Sen. David Johnson, of Ocheyden, said Palmer has been a stable leader for the department.

Palmer took over DHS in 2011 after Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.




Bird Flu Hits Iowa Turkey Farm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bird-flu strain that has already hit numerous turkey farms in the Midwest has been found in a turkey flock in northwest Iowa.

An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says Tuesday the H5N2 strain of bird flu virus has been confirmed in a barn on a farm housing 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County. The disease was suspected when turkeys began dying in the barn.

An Iowa Poultry Association spokesman says the farm is under quarantine and the turkeys will be euthanized.

Animal health officials have long said the virus is dangerous to all commercial poultry. Iowa has 130 turkey farms raising 11 million turkeys a year. The state also is the nation's leading egg producer with 59.6 million egg layers. No chicken flocks in Iowa have been infected.




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