Wednesday News, November 19
Conservation Board Presents Annual Report To Supervisors
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Conservation Board Executive Director, Nick Beeck delivered the Conservation Board's annual report to the county supervisors on Tuesday. Beeck's take on the year....
Beeck says one area of annual revenue which will not take place this year is the sale of elk.
The Conservation Executive says the new Dennis Sohl Center for Outdoor Learning located at Hillview Park has been extensively utilized.
Beeck updated the supervisors regarding the new River's Bend lake project located near Akron, which the County Conservation Board took possession of two years ago. He says work on the boat ramp and the new restroom facilities should be completed by early spring. Beeck says due to the flooding of the Big Sioux River, several invasive fish species has entered the 21 acre lake, and they will need to be euthinized, before additional game fish can be stocked. He says he will seek a state grant to help with the financing of the project.
Beeck says the new lake needs to remain idle for only three weeks before new fish can be introduced and the lake stocked. Beeck says the new estimate is slightly lower than $14,000 to treat the new lake.
Supervisors Take No Action On Request For Tax Rebate
(Le Mars) -- In other action during the county supervisor meeting, the supervisors heard from Ron Kneip of Kneip Investments. Kneip had asked the supervisors to grant him a tax rebate on a parcel of land that Kneip had plotted into a subdivisional lots. Kneip reported that nearly two-thirds of the lots in the addition have been sold. However, due to state laws, Kneip is faced with paying the entire property tax on the remaining unsold development lots, which he says amounts to $16,000. Supervisor Mark Loutsch questioned if the county supervisors were to grant Kneip his request, if it would lead to other development addition owners with unsold lots, to also ask for tax rebates? The supervisors seemed to sympathize with Kneip with his situation, but they chose not to act on the request.
County Supervisors Approve Asphalt Overlay Projects
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors also approved the plan to have two stretches of farm to market county highways to have an overlay of asphalt. County engineer Tom Rohe submitted the plan for the supervisors' approval. The plan calls for nine miles of County road C-16 and four miles of County road K-13 to have a new layer of asphalt. The supervisors will accept bids for the projects with an expected bid letting date of February 17, 2015, and the project to be completed during the spring. Rohe estimates the cost to be $2.6 million, of which the county will seek a loan from the Iowa Department of Transportation. The money is an advance allocation of Plymouth County's share of revenue collected from federal and state gasoline taxes.
Supervisors Certify Debt On Joint Urban Renewal Development
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors also certified the city of Le Mars portion of the debt as part of the Joint Urban Renewal Development project. The total amounts to $15,850,467. Earlier in the month, the county de-certified its debt in the amount of $23,744. The debt relates to the Le Mars Industrial Business Area located on the southern edge of town.
City Closes Grass, Leaf, And Twig Disposal Site
(Le Mars) -- There will be no more disposal of grass, leaves, and twigs at the city disposal site, at least not for this year. City officials announced during the city council meeting on Tuesday that the site located on the west side of town is closing, effective immediately.
Sioux City Woman "Bumped" By Train
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a woman who was "bumped" by a train in Sioux City has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Sioux City police Lt. Rex Mueller says the woman stepped onto tracks Monday as a train was approaching. The engineer was able to slow down the train, and Mueller says it "bumped her."
The woman was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Additional information about her condition is not available.
Mueller says the woman appeared to be emotionally distressed prior as she walked on the tracks. No other information was released about the circumstances of the incident.
Authorities Investigate School Fire
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs authorities are investigating a fire that led to the evacuation of an area high school.
No injuries were reported after the fire at Abraham Lincoln High School on Tuesday. Council Bluffs Fire Marshal Larry Wohlers says someone intentionally set fire to a football tackling dummy in the school field house.
Smoke and flames activated a sprinkler system that extinguished the flames.
The school was evacuated for about 10 minutes while the firefighters worked to vent the smoke.
School officials say there is water damage on the balcony and in the music wing at the school.
No arrests have been reported.
King To Host Presidential Summit In January
(Washington) -- Congressman Steve King will host several potential 2016 presidential candidates at an Iowa political summit in January.
King and the conservative group Citizens United will co-host will hold the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24th in Des Moines.
Confirmed participants include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Utah Senator Mike Lee.
All are considered possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates.
Other participants include Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, Ambassador John Bolton and Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlitt-Packard.
King says this is the right time to bring leaders to Iowa in advance of the state's leadoff caucuses in early 2016.
King says the event will "energize conservatives".
Iowa Pharmacy Board To Review Changing Status For Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Pharmacy will consider again recommending changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it could be used to treat medical conditions.
The board is set to meet Wednesday. Members heard testimony on the issue Monday.
Currently, marijuana is classified under state law as both a Schedule I drug, meaning it is has no medical use, and as a Schedule II drug, which has medicinal value. Advocates want the drug to be moved only to the Schedule II category.
The board recommended that the Legislature make such a change to state law in 2010, but no action was taken.
Lawmakers this year approved legislation that allows the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy.
Regents Consider Freezing College Tuition Costs
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A memo from the Iowa Board of Regents says freezing tuition rates for all students next year would cost $14.5 million in lost revenue for the state's three public universities.
The Iowa Board of Regents is scheduled to set tuition rates Dec. 3.
Key members have indicated they would like to freeze tuition for a third straight year for resident undergraduate students, and are considering whether to extend the freeze to nonresident and graduate students.
A memo released Tuesday says the resident undergraduate freeze would reduce revenues by $4.5 million. Extending the freeze to all students would cost another $10 million.
University of Iowa President Sally Mason and Iowa State University President Steven Leath said Tuesday they can handle a resident undergraduate freeze, but broadening it would be difficult.
University Of Iowa To Consider Offering Early Retirements To Save Money
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Facing pressure to cut costs, University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she will soon recommend an early retirement program to trim payroll expenses.
Mason said Tuesday that the school would be asking the Board of Regents to approve a program modeled after those that helped avert layoffs in 2009 and 2010.
The details of the new proposal are still under review. But in 2009, employees who were 57 were allowed to retire in exchange for five years of insurance coverage and payments for accrued vacation and sick leave. The following year, the school offered the program to those who were 55.
Regent Larry McKibben said Tuesday the program could help smooth the impact of an ongoing administrative restructuring. He expects the state's other two universities to consider similar ideas.
Activists Want Iowa City Business Investigated For Denied Wages
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Activists are asking the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate allegations that workers at an Iowa City factory have been illegally denied wages.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa filed the complaint Tuesday against RockTenn, a Georgia-based corporation that operates a packaging facility in Iowa City. Two staffing companies are also named.
Executive Director Misty Rebik says she believes there are 300 temporary workers at the factory, and most are instructed to show up 30 to 45 minutes early without being paid. She says she believes that is a violation of federal law.
In addition, she says workers have complained that they are not issued paystubs and not compensated for all the hours they work.
RockTenn denied the allegations, saying it complies with state and federal law.