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Tuesday Afternoon News, March 12

Supervisors Place Weight Limit On Marble Avenue

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that restricts the weight limit on portions of Marble Avenue.  County Engineer Tom Rohe explains why the weight limit restriction is needed.
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The county engineer says the weight limit is set at six tons per axle.  Rohe says by the end of May is when the road is usually in better condition to handle some larger trucks.  He says depending upon how fast frost leaves during the spring melting, other roads may need weight restrictions.

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And which of the county maintained country roads concern him the most?
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Gehlen Students Select Their Pope

(Le Mars) -- Much like the Catholic Cardinals of the world who have gathered at the Vatican to select a new pope, students at Gehlen Catholic High School are performing a similar ritual.  Cecilia Henrichs serves as the religion teacher for Gehlen.  She says she is having her students place a ballot to "pick their pope."
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Henrich says the students will select their pope from a list of Cardinals.
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Henrich says she will use the experience to discuss the history of the conclave process.
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Henrich says unlike the Vatican, Gehlen students will not be sending a smoke signal when their pope is selected.

 

 

Senate Passes Tax Break Bill For Low Income Families

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Low income Iowa residents would get a bigger break on their taxes under a bill that is moving through the state Senate.
Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom says Tuesday that the measure would apply to households with incomes of less than $45,000. He says about 210,000 households would get a roughly $250 tax break. The proposal would raise the state credit from 7 percent to 20 percent of a taxpayer's federal earned income tax credit.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the bill Tuesday and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. But while Democrats who control the Senate support the effort, it may have little
chance of becoming law. Gov. Terry Branstad has vetoed similar legislation in past years.

 

Spring Rains and Melting Has Communities Concerned

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Recent rains coupled with an expected warm-up have some Iowa communities warily watching rising streams.
The National Weather Service says snowmelt is producing both minor and major flooding for cities along rivers mostly in eastern Iowa. Several flood warnings are in effect.
Several cities along the Iowa River are experiencing flooding. Kalona near the English River has major flooding, with water at 18 feet as of Tuesday. That's above its flood stage of 14 feet.
Residences along the Wapsipinicon River near DeWitt also are experiencing major flooding. The water is at 13.1 feet as of Tuesday, above its flood stage of 11 feet.
Weather officials say recent heavy rain is unusual for this time of year.

 

Efforts To Help Endangered Fish Species Are Stalled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Federal efforts to create thousands of acres of shallow-water Missouri River habitat to help an endangered fish species have been stalled for nearly six years in the
waterway's namesake state.
The issue recently came to a head when a Missouri agency refused to act on a permit request for a long-stalled project. That raises new questions about what will happen next in the effort to provide
a refuge for young pallid sturgeon.
The conflict centers on where to dump dirt that's excavated as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeks to recreate about 20,000 acres of shallow-water habitat. So far, only 3,500 acres have been
created.
Farm groups don't want the soil dumped into the river, saying they'll get the blame when it causes environmental problems. Proponents say rubbish.

 

Police Officer Saves Driver From Burning Car

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa police officer has rescued an unconscious driver by pulling him from his burning car.
Urbandale police spokesman Randy Peterson said Tuesday that Officer Zac McDowell wasn't injured Sunday night when he saved 18-year-old Ian Waseskuk (wa-SEHS'-kuh). The officer's dashboard
camera shows McDowell opening the car's passenger door, reaching in and grabbing Waseskuk to pull him away from the flames.
Police say Waseskuk was driving in circles, doing "doughnuts," in a church parking lot across from his home in suburban Des Moines when his car hit an air conditioning unit.
Peterson says Waseskuk will be charged with misdemeanor reckless driving when he leaves Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Hospital spokesman Gregg Lagan (LAY'-guhn) says Waseskuk is in fair but
stable condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, March 12

School Board Approves Resolution Calling For Four Percent Funding

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, the board approved a resolution directed towards the state legislature, calling for a four percent increase in the allowable growth rate for funding the Le Mars Community School District.  School officials across the state are frustrated with the delay illustrated by the state legislature to approve an educational funding bill.  School districts are required by law to submit their certified budgets no later than April 15th.  However, many feel as though the state legislature will fail to approve an educational funding bill by that date. 
Superintendent of schools, Dr. Todd Wendt informed the school board that many school districts across the state were taking up similar action by passing resolutions asking the state legislature to approve a four percent increase.  He says it is critical, not only for the Le Mars Community School District, but others as well, to have a four percent allowable growth.
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Dr. Wendt also explained to the local school board what the difference would be between a two percent allowable growth rate, a three percent allowable growth, and the four percent rate. 

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In other action taken by the school board last evening, the board approved several modifications to the school policy.

 

County Supervisors To Approve Applications For Property Tax Exemptions

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a light agenda before them for
today's meeting.  The county governing board is expected to review and approve applications for impoundment structure property tax exemption for tax fiscal year 2013-2014.  They will also hear from Steve Westhoff who is seeking approval of a minor subdivision in section 24 of Preston township, and finally Tom Rohe, the county engineer is scheduled to appear before the board to ask for a resolution for weight embargo for Marble Avenue.


Le Mars Home Show Scheduled To Begin Today

(Le Mars) -- This afternoon at 4:00 p.m. the Le Mars Home Show opens at the Le Mars Convention Center.  The home show features over 80 exhibitors and will fill both levels of the Convention Center.  The home show is sponsored by KLEM radio and our parent company Powell Broadcasting, and tonight we will pay tribute to Denny Callahan for his 40 years of sports broadcasting at KLEM radio.  Admission to the home show is just one dollar.


Senate Democrats Look For Courtney's Return

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats are hopeful a Burlington lawmaker will return soon to the Iowa Statehouse, just weeks after undergoing heart bypass surgery.
Democrat Sen. Tom Courtney has been recuperating since his operation on Feb. 28 and told The Des Moines Register he hoped to return to the Legislature on Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he doesn't know when Courtney will return but plans to fill the debate calendar with "non-controversial bills" until that time.
When Courtney gets back to work, he'll give Democrats the 26-24 edge over Republicans that's needed to approve bills on party-line votes.
Gronstal says there are plenty of votes that don't require all 26 Democratic votes. On Monday, for example, senators unanimously passed 14 of 15 bills.


Pre-school Children Bill Calls For Regular Attendance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved legislation that would require children enrolled in the state's voluntary preschool program to attend regularly.
Lawmakers approved the bill Monday, which would make 4-year-olds in the program subject to compulsory attendance rules.
The bill would not lower the mandatory attendance age, and parents could choose to withdraw their children from the classes.
Supporters say the bill ensures children enrolled in the preschool classes are taking advantage of the opportunity.
Iowa's preschool program was established in 2007 under former Gov. Chet Culver. More than 20,000 kids were enrolled in the program in the 2011-2012 school year, and 320 districts received
program funding.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for review.


Renewable Energy Company Lays Off 40 Workers

WEST BRANCH, Iowa (AP) - An international renewable energy company is laying off 40 workers at its wind turbine plant in eastern Iowa.
Acciona announced Monday that a reduction at its West Branch facility was necessary because of a sharp decline in U.S. wind development over the past year.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://bit.ly/13PIVfx ) says the company laid off nearly 60 employees at the same facility about four years ago. Officials at the time called it a short-term issue.
The newspaper reports Iowa has about 6,000 jobs in the wind energy industry. But some experts say a spar last year between federal lawmakers over whether to extend a wind energy tax credit
hurt the industry. The tax break was later extended.
Acciona is a subsidiary of the Acciona group, a company headquartered in Spain.
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Nobel Prize Winner To Address Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa (AP) - The 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry will speak at Iowa State University Wednesday about using technological entrepreneurship as a tool for world development.
Danny Shechtman, an Iowa State engineering professor and a research scientist will speak at the university's memorial union great hall at noon Wednesday.
His lecture will focus on ideas about building up developing countries by motivating new generations of students in technological entrepreneurship. He says one way to speed up the process is motivating today's engineers and scientists in developing countries to establish startups and eventually mentor
the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Shechtman won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of quasicrystals, crystalline materials whose atoms don't line up like other crystals. The discovery changed ideas about matter and its atomic arrangement.


Wastewater Treatment Facility Fails - - Dumps Waste Into Creek

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (AP) - Officials say several wastewater stations in southeast Iowa failed and discharged wastewater, including nearly 460,000 gallons into a creek.
The state Department of Natural Resources says Fairfield's new computerized wastewater system shut down and bypassed the water Sunday into Crow Creek. Two wastewater stations in Keokuk each
bypassed 150 gallons Sunday when a fallen tree hit a power line and cut electricity.
Officials advise people and their pets in Fairfield to stay away from the creek area for 24 hours. In Keokuk, one of the bypasses reached the Mississippi River but diluted.
A backup system is running the Fairfield facility. A computer expert is investigating the cause behind the new system shutdown.
Officials say rain and snowmelt are overwhelming collection systems and causing similar incidents in other southeast Iowa cities.


Glenwood Principal Leaves School After Questionable Actions

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A high school principal has made a deal with administrators and resigned her post in western Iowa.
Kerry Newman's resignation was accepted by the Glenwood school board on Monday night.
Newman had been on leave since Jan. 18 from her job at Glenwood Community High School. The board had cited four reasons for seeking her ouster: an inappropriate relationship with a district employee, poor judgment, inappropriate use of resources and being an ineffective role model. Newman had said the allegations are false.
As part of the deal, the district will pay Newman $40,000 and give her access to some of her work while she was principal. Newman and the district agree not to disparage each other.
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