Saturday, May 28, 2016
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Monday News, May 23rd

Otter Avenue Closed For Bridge Repairs

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department will be closing Otter Avenue between county road C-30 to 180th Street.  The road will be closed beginning today and is expected to remain closed until July 19th due to the replacement of a wooden bridge with a steel I-beam.




Le Mars School Board To Convene -- Floyd Athey Resigns As Elementary Principal

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community Board of Education will convene this evening.  One item on the agenda will be to accept the resignation of a long-time Le Mars Community Elementary principal.  Floyd Athey has submitted his resignation to go into effect at the conclusion of the contract year.  Athey is the principal for both the Clark and Franklin elementary schools.  The school board will also be dealing with several other announced resignations.  The Board of Education will also hold a public hearing regarding the proposed amendment to the 2015-16 school budget and consider adoption of the budget amendment following the hearing.  The school board will be discussing insurance issues.  First, the Iowa Association of School Boards' Jester Insurance Services and EMC Insurance Companies will share the results of the safety group insurance meeting held earlier in the month.  Rob Bixenman will present renewal information for the 2016-2017 school year to the Le Mars Community Board of Education.  The school board will also consider lease agreements with Northwest AEA and with Buena Vista University.  The school board will also consider the bids that have been submitted by various financial institutions regarding the refinancing of the 2011 Sales tax revenue bond issued to fund the Phase 2 construction project and consider a resolution to accept the bid received from Primebank.




Gehlen Catholic And Le Mars Community Hold Senior Commencement

(Le Mars) -- Sunday was graduation day for both Gehlen Catholic and Le Mars Community.  Gehlen Catholic had 39 seniors receive their diplomas.  Le Mars Community presented diplomas to 147 students.  At Gehlen, longtime English teacher Mrs. Judy Stokesberry offered the commencement address.  She joked about her longevity years of teaching.

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The English teacher did have a serious message for the graduating seniors, saying they all came from different backgrounds with different memories, but will hold similar memories from their time spent at Gehlen Catholic school.  Mrs. Stokesberry says as the former students leave Gehlen, and possibly even leave Le Mars, they will encounter several surprises.

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Iowa Septuplets Graduate From High School

CARLISLE, Iowa (AP) - The world's first surviving septuplets have graduated from their Iowa high school.   Alexis, Brandon, Joel, Kelsey, Kenny, Natalie and Nathan McCaughey all crossed the stage Sunday as part of Carlisle High School's class of 2016.
The septuplets were born Nov. 19, 1997, ranging in weight from 2 pounds, 5 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Their mother had taken a fertility drug.
The septuplets are going on separate paths following high school, including the military and college. The station says two of the seven plan to attend Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, where their parents say they were promised a free education.




Landowners File Lawsuit Against Oil Pipeline Company

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Landowners have filed two lawsuits in northwest Iowa in an attempt to block construction of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline.
The landowners are trying to keep the pipeline company from being able to use eminent domain powers to secure access to their land for the project.
Houston-based Dakota Access LLC wants to build the pipeline from northwest North Dakota to a storage facility in south-central Illinois.
Construction has begun in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois, but the Iowa Utilities Board has not authorized work to begin. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hasn't yet issued permits for the project.
Dakota Access officials have said the company will work with regulators to move forward with construction of the pipeline in Iowa.





Northwood Mayor Pleas Guilty To Fraud

NORTHWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A former mayor of Northwood charged with fraud has changed his plea to guilty.
Online court records say 52-year-old Randy Severson entered the written plea on Thursday, a week after pleading not guilty to a charge of ongoing criminal conduct and six counts of fraudulent practice. The court records don't say when he'll be sentenced or provide any details about a possible deal with prosecutors. 
His trial was scheduled to begin July 6. His attorney had notified the court of Severson's intention to assert diminished mental responsibility.
Severson's accused of using the names of family members, customers and acquaintances without their knowledge to make phony invoices that were submitted to Northwood State Bank to create lines of credit between 2011 and 2014. That's when he was president of Northwood Lumber.




Des Moines Plans To Construct Bicycle Hub

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - City leaders want to convert an empty auto shop in a Des Moines suburb into a hub for bicyclists.  
A study conducted for Windsor Heights recommended the hub be fashioned out of a former Sears Auto Center that sits near the Walnut Creek and Clive Greenbelt bike trails. The study recommends the hub include a cafe; restrooms with lockers; a changing room; a bike repair station; and a lawn or event space with a covered pavilion or stage.
Costs could range from $200,000 to $1.7 million, depending on whether the city leases the space or buys it. Costs also would depend on the businesses that choose to open in the hub.
Mayor Diana Willits says she hopes construction can begin next year.




Woman Dies After Falling From Cliff

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 27-year-old woman has died in an apparent fall at Eagle Point Park in Clinton.
Clinton firefighters were dispatched after a call around 11:40 a.m. Sunday. The woman had fallen about 50 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities identified her as Meghan Peters, who lived in Clinton.




Baby Black Rhinoceros To Live At Des Moines' Blank Park Zoo

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is expecting a new and rare addition in the fall - an eastern black rhinoceros.
Ayana and Kiano, the south side park's eastern black rhinos, are expecting a baby in late October or early November.
Experts say Ayana's pregnancy is the first confirmed among the eastern black rhino zoo population in almost two years, marking a major turning point in the species' decades-long decline.
Listed as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund, Des Moines' rhinos are two of just 46 eastern black rhinos currently housed in North American zoos, according to leading zoological nonprofit organization Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Only six of those 46 rhinos are breeding females.







Saturday News, May 21st

Gehlen Catholic School Announces Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Gehlen Catholic School is pleased to announce their Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2016.

The 2016 Valedictorian is  Megan Kellen, the daughter of Tom and Laurie Kellen of

Alton, and the  Salutatorian was grnated to Josie Galles, the daughter of Brad

Galles and Kari Langel, both of LeMars.

You can join them this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the Ronald Fox Memorial Gym as they

celebrate Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2016


Gov. Branstad Releases Tax Returns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tax returns for Gov. Terry Branstad and his wife show they earned $185,249 in 2015 and made sizable charity donations. 

Branstad's 48-page tax return was made available to the media Friday at the Iowa Capitol. The documents show the governor made a little over $31,000 in donations to Iowa charities, which is well over the average of about $4,000 in donations for his income level.  

The donations, which include money for nine Catholic charities, helped lower Branstad's federal income tax rate to 10.18 percent, compared to the average rate of 13.89 percent.  

Branstad was paid $127,734 for serving as governor. He paid $18,859 in federal taxes and will be refunded $11,784.


Waterloo Man Sentenced to 50 Years In Prison For Murder

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A Waterloo man who pleaded guilty to killing his former girlfriend has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

38-year-old Shaun Hogan received his prison sentence Friday. He pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder for the July 2014 death of 29-year-old Crystal Gaffney.

He was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the reduced charge in a plea deal with prosecutors.  

Gaffney's body was found in the middle of a road near Walker in Linn County. An autopsy determined she died of head trauma.





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