Thursday, December 18, 2014
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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.

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Schroeder says bids were submitted and the fair board held a special meeting Monday evening to vote on the proposed new building. 

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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Kellen informed the city council the type of housing development he envisions currently is not available in Le Mars.

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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.

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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.







Tuesday News, December 16

Supervisors To Hear Budget Requests From Fair Board And Museum

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse Board Room.  The Supervisors are expected to discuss and take action on the Big Sioux River Gauges partnership.  They are also expected to approve the revised  Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Service Contract.  The county board of supervisors will hear from Tony Schroeder, Plymouth County Fair Board president.  Schroeder will present the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget requests for the Plymouth County fair.  Judy Bowman and Ruth Steunenberger representing the Plymouth County Historical Museum will also present their budget requests for the museum.  Plymouth County engineer, Tom Rohe will appear before the board to seek construction permits for Northern Iowa Telephone Company.  Rohe will also update the supervisors on the various road construction and culvert/bridge repair projects throughout Plymouth County.


City Council To Hear Proposal For New Subdivision

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will convene at the City Hall Council Chambers at noon today.  The city council has a light agenda for today.  The council will hear from Bruce Kellen as he is expected to request the city council to approve a proposed 30 acre subdivision to be located south of 12th Street and west of 14th Avenue.  The council is expected to hold the third and final reading of the proposed Capital Charge Change with regard to the new wastewater treatment facility.  Under the agreement, Wells Enterprises would pay $83,333 per month and Dean's Foods would pay $21,250 per month.  These rates would remain in effect for a period of 20 years.  The city council will also discuss renewing the waste hauling license contracts for Van's Sanitation,  Orange City Sanition, Waste Management, and Gil Hauling.


Semi Feed Truck and Trailer Involved In Accident

(Orange City) -- Sioux County Sheriff's office is investigating an accident involving a semi truck and trailer that occurred Monday morning, just before 7:00 a.m.  The accident happened on 390th Street, about three miles west of Sioux Center.  65 year old Roger Brunsting of Orange City was driving a semi-tractor pulling a feed trailer heading westbound when he lost control of the vehicle, entered the north ditch, and struck a utility pole and rolled onto its side.  No injuries were reported, but the Peterbuilt truck sustained approximately $60,000 in damages.  The trailer sustained and estimated $30,000 in damages.  The sheriff's office was assisted by the Sioux Center Fire Department, Sioux Center Ambulance and Sioux Center Police Department.


Branstad Would Like To See No Voting For Iowa Straw Poll

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is pushing to end the state's often-criticized Republican straw poll, but other GOP leaders say the event may still go on next year.
     The poll is traditionally held in Ames the summer before a contested presidential caucus. Branstad said Monday that it could diminish the state's kickoff caucuses.
     First held in 1979, the Iowa Straw poll has grown from a county GOP fundraiser stop to a large event. The poll draws a small percentage of caucus attendees. It's one early test of campaign organization.
     Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kauffman said he expects the board that governs the party to vote next month on whether to hold a straw poll in August.
     Kaufmann said he thinks there's interest in continuing the tradition.


Lottery Officials Remove Multi-State Game

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have suspended a multi-state lottery game aimed at giving out $1million prizes because of low ticket sales.
     Terry Rich, president of the North American Lottery Group, says officials on Monday decided to suspend future ticket sales of the Monopoly Millionaires' Club game, just two months after it launched in 23 states. Tickets will be suspended shortly before its last weekly drawing on Dec. 26.
     Rich says the game did not meet ticket sales expectations, but he did not elaborate.
     Monopoly Millionaires' Club was advertised as a move away from the large jackpots of Powerball and Mega Millions. The game's top prize was capped at $25 million, and it was designed for players to win more $1 million prizes.


Des Moines Police Investigating Murder-Suicide

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say they're investigating an apparent murder-suicide of a man and a woman.
     Police say they were called Monday morning to a home in northeast Des Moines after a woman stopped by to check on a friend, who hadn't shown up for work.
     The woman found a back door ajar and because she felt uncomfortable, called police.
     Officers went inside and found 48-year-old Melissa Jo Downing and 49-year-old Matthew John Hansen dead. Police say it was an apparent murder-suicide, and they identified Downing as the victim and Hansen as the suspect.
     Police say it appears both died of gunshot wounds.


Iowans Enroll In Federal Health Care Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Round two for enrollment under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul appears to be moving more smoothly in Iowa as a key deadline approaches.
     Monday night marked the deadline for new customers to enroll in insurance to start Jan. 1 and for those with current coverage to make any changes ahead of next year.
     Cliff Gold, chief executive officer of CoOportunity Health, says very few complaints have come in. CoOportunity is a federally funded nonprofit established to provide health care in Iowa and Nebraska.
     Last year, the enrollment period was stymied by a poorly functioning website and widespread public confusion.
     Open enrollment continues until Feb. 15.


More Counties Report Infestation Of Emerald Ash Borer

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials monitoring emerald ash borer in Iowa say the destructive tree pest has spread to five more counties, and additional infestations could pop up in other parts of the state in 2015.
     The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Monday that larvae of the beetle were found recently in Appanoose, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion and Monroe counties, where hundreds of acres of woodland trees are located. The infestation is several years old.
     Paul Tauke, a state forester with the state Department of Natural Resources, says the latest discovery in such a rural area shows infestations of the beetle could appear at a higher rate in the new year.
     Eighteen Iowa counties now have confirmed cases of emerald ash borer, which was first found in the state in 2010.








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