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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.

 

 

    

    

 

 

 

   

Monday News, September 22

LEEP MenuMasters Raises $31,425

(Le Mars) --  More than 600 people attended the third annual MenuMaster's event Saturday evening,  as sponsored by Le Mars Community Educational Enhancement Project, or LEEP.  The attendees had an opportunity to sample various food items as prepared by nearly 30 different chefs and their assistants. Le Mars community School District's Assistant Superintendent, Steve Webner thanked the crowd for its attendance and generosity.

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Julie Bietelspacher, one of the co-chairs for the event, announced to the Saturday evening crowd that LEEP was able to raise $31,425 that will go towards helping purchase items for the Le Mars Community School District.  Bietelspacher says the money raised set a new record for the event.

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For the second year in a row, Primebank chefs were able to walk away with the top food item.  Chefs Mark Schmidt and Jordan Sitzmann prepared a dessert entry entitled "Pre-approved Pumpkin ParPays".  Last year it was Cole Sitzmann of Primebank with his "Cole's Cash Coleslaw", as the top food choice as voted by the attendees.  Other food winners from this year were Bob's Drive-In with chef Nate Kass and his assistant Myles Kass with "Bob's Corner" Corn Dish, Team Shockers, consisting of chefs Adam Baumgartner with assistants, Shane Dreckman and Darren Mahan with their "Sweet Weiners and Juicy Pie" recipe also was a food placing winner.  Mauer-Johnson Funeral Home with ther "Uncle Jedidah's Jumpin Jambalaya and Cousin Fester's Firebreather Shrimp, featuring chefs Joel Johnson and his assistant, Todd Pry was a place winner for a food category, but the dual from the delta also took top honors with the "Best Theme" trophy. 

 

Morningside Shooting Victim Dies - Charges May Be Refiled Against Suspect

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Although charges against a man accused of shooting his uncle in Sioux City have been dropped, police said, the charges could be refiled.
     Eric Riley, 40, had been charged on Sept. 9 with attempted murder and burglary in the shooting of Ben Steffe. The motion to dismiss the charges was filed Thursday.  Steffe died Sunday, police said.
     The shooter entered Steffe's home the morning of Sept. 9 and shot Steffe twice in the chest. Steffe's wife, who lay next to Steffe, wasn't injured. Steffe told officers the shooter wore a mask, so he couldn't positively identify him. Steffe also had trouble answering investigators' questions because of the gunshot wounds.
     Court documents say evidence has been submitted to the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation crime laboratory for DNA and ballistics analysis. An autopsy on Steffe's body has been ordered.
     Sioux City police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick said that although the charges against Riley were dropped, they can be refiled at any time. Riley's attorney didn't immediately return a call Monday from The Associated Press.
     ---

 

Argosy Casino May Miss Deadline

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials say the old Argosy riverboat casino might not be removed before the deadline.
     Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott says he's concerned the old casino won't be gone by the September 28th deadline.
     The old Argosy Sioux City casino closed July 30 after losing a lengthy court fight to remain open. It remains moored on Larsen Park Road.
     Penn National gaming spokeswoman Karen Bailey says the company is working on removing the old casino, but she declined to discuss specific plans.
     City Manager Bob Padmore says the area will likely be converted to a green space after the casino is gone. The area could be used for something else once ongoing construction on Interstate 29 nearby is complete.

 

Pierson To Fill City Officials Vacant Positions

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 said.
     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.
     ---

 

Osceola County Residents Upset Over Tax Plan

 HARRIS, Iowa (AP) - Residents are criticizing a northwest Iowa county's plan to use $6.9 million in tax breaks to improve roads around a major egg processor and rehabilitate an old school. 
     The plan Osceola County officials are considering could also force one area school district to raise taxes because tax revenue from 60 wind turbines would be diverted for the projects. 
     Farmer Al Brueggeman said he's upset that this plan has been developed with little public input. 
     He says, "The thing is, this has been kept so quiet,"Brueggeman, who farms 800 acres of corn and soybeans near Harris says "There's been no honesty, integrity or transparency."
     The county board plans to hold a meeting about the plan Tuesday morning, but officials declined to discuss the details beforehand.
     Osceola County's plan calls for using most of the $6.9 million to improve roads around Sunrise Foods facility and a trucking company the egg processor uses. About $600,000 would be used for to renovate an abandoned school building in Ocheyedan that is owned by the Sibley-Ocheyedan school district.
     Peter Fisher, an expert on public financing who leads the Iowa Policy Project, said this proposal is unfair because it benefits one school district while hurting another. And Fisher said it's not a proper use of tax-increment financing because it would benefit existing businesses.
     "The problem is, it's very difficult for some people to understand this," Fisher said. "The fact is, it's being used in Iowa as a mechanism for shifting taxes."
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