Monday Afternoon News, September 22
School Board To Discuss Preliminary Enrollment Numbers
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community Board of Education will meet this evening and during tonight's meeting they will learn the preliminary enrollment count for the Le Mars Community School District. Assistant Superintendent Steve Webner will discuss with the school board the 2014-2015 District Curriculum and Professional Development Plan, as well as the Annual Progress Report.
Post Office Alley To Open
(Le Mars) -- A popular alley in Le Mars is expected to re-open this afternoon allowing residents to drop off mail items. Steve Hanson, superintendent for the city's public works and street department says The alley way between 2nd Avenue Northwest and 3rd Avenue northwest, sometimes referred to as the Post Office alley, should be finished with its construction work and will be again open for the public's use sometime Monday afternoon. The alley had been closed for several weeks as work crews took out the old paving, and laid new concrete. The alley had several deep pot holes that were thought to have been doing damage to vehicles.
Pierson To Vote For City Officials In December
PIERSON, Iowa (AP) - Voters won't be able to fill the empty City Council seats until December in northwest Iowa's Pierson.
The Woodbury County town of 366 people lost its mayor and three council members when they resigned last week, leaving only two council members. Former Mayor Max Dunnington said he'd grown tired of the amount of work his office required.
"Did it for 19 years. I just decided to throw it in. Didn't know everybody would bail behind me," Dunnington told the newspaper.
Iowa League of Cities director of membership services Mark Tomb said city clerks have emergency powers to pay bills whenever city councils don't have a quorum to approve the payments.
Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill said ballots for the Nov. 4 election have already been printed for early voting, so the special election must wait until Dec. 2.
More People Choosing To Vote Early
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The number of absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters is nearly double the number sought 43 days before the 2010 election, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Monday.
Voters have increasingly opted for early voting by absentee ballot in recent elections for the convenience and in response to increasing pressure from political parties striving to get as many votes as possible cast by election day.
Democrats have in recent election cycles excelled at the strategy but the numbers released Monday show Republican absentee ballot requests are up nearly 145 percent from 2010 to just over 31,000. Democratic requests have climbed nearly 67 percent to nearly 58,000.
That shows Republican Party efforts that include spending about $1 million this election cycle on voter turnout are paying off, party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said.
Democrats, however, point out that they still have a nearly 27,000-vote lead among early voters. Given that Democrats have pushed early voting in the last few election cycles to still see a 67 percent increase is a positive trend, Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said.
No Party requests are up 138 percent to 23,000.
When all early voters are tallied, absentee ballot requests are up nearly 98 percent to just over 112,000 so far.
Officials Still Anaylizing Capsules Found In Prison
ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) - The initial field testing on hundreds of pills found inside a northern Iowa prison indicated they contained cocaine and the pain killer Demerol, but later testing came back negative for controlled substances, a Department of Public Safety spokesman said Monday.
The capsules discovered earlier this month at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City are now being examined at the state crime laboratory in Ankeny, which is expected to deliver the most accurate conclusion on what they contain, Sgt. Scott Bright said. He said the testing is being expedited, and results could be available within the next week or two.
State officials announced last week that 300 to 400 pills containing an "unknown" substance were discovered during routine searches at the minimum-security prison. A union representing correctional officers said the discovery was a "major security breach" that the Iowa Department of Corrections was trying to keep under wraps.
Bright confirmed Monday that prison staffers conducted a field test Sept. 8 that found white capsules tested positive for the presence of cocaine, and orange capsules tested positive for Demerol. But he said additional field testing last week by agents from the Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Division of Criminal Investigation came back negative for any controlled substance.
Field tests are commonly used by police officers to try to identify illicit substances but considered far less accurate than testing done by trained scientists in the laboratory.
Department officials have not said how the pills got inside the prison.