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Thursday News, April 25

"Cash Mob" Scheduled For Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will be holding its first "cash mob" of the season today.  Each of the downtown retail businesses, that are members of the chamber, will be eligible.  People are asked to gather outside the the chamber offices at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon, at which Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff will draw the name of the winning business.  At that time the gathering will then "mob" the selected business with everyone attending agreeing to spend at least $20 each.  The idea for the "cash mob" according to Chamber Mainstreet coordinator, Mary Reynolds, is to recognize that shopping local is preferred, and to help stimulate the local economy.


School Foundation Banquet Acknowledges Honorees

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District Foundation Banquet was held last evening.  During the event, the school foundation recognized those teachers with 25 years of experience, the district employees of the month, the academic top five percent of the graduating seniors, as well as the Decades of Excellence-Crystal Bell Teacher of the Year, and new this year was the first honor for the Le Mars Community Schools Distinguished Alumnus.  Norman Barker, a member of the 1939 class was presented a bulldog statue recognizing his many contributions to the Le Mars Community Schools.  Barker served on the Plymouth County Board of Education when the school districts were first being created.  In accepting the honor, Barker pointed out how difficult it was for many rural children to pursue a high school education.
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Barker, a retired farmer, recalled during his era of education, how faculty members were responsible for several curriculum.

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Following the ceremony, Barker admits to having a great sense of pride anytime he hears about the Le Mars Community School District.

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Kluckholn Kindergarten teacher, Jayne Willer was honored with the Decades of Excellence-Crystal Bell Teacher of the Year Award.  Along with the crystal bell, Willer was presented two checks, both in the amount of $500.  One to be used for her classroom, and the other she can use for personal purposes.  Back in March when it was first announced that Willer was selected as the "Teacher of the Year" she explained her teaching philosophy with Kindergarteners.

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King and Northey Both Still Contemplating A Run For Senate Seat

(Washington) -- Iowa 4th District Republican Congressman Steve King says each passing day brings him closer to deciding if he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2014...but that day hasn't quite arrived yet.
That decision may happen sooner now that Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds says she will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2014.  Reynolds says she plans to focus on the economic and education agenda of Governor Terry Branstad, who is expected to seek re-election next year.  Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring at the end of his current term.  Fellow Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley is actively campaigning to succeed Harkin in Washington.  Another Republican that is considering of running is Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey.


Branstad Signs 34 Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has signed 34 bills into law, including a measure to aid rebuilding Lake Delhi and another making a new criminal offense for stealing a police
officer's radio.
Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bills into law Wednesday.
The Lake Delhi measure exempts the area along the Maquoketa River from a requirement that owners of a soon-to-be-rebuilt dam buy easements for any property that could flood if water overtops
the dam. Some lawmakers argued the bill could leave taxpayers vulnerable if future flooding damages homes surrounding the eastern Iowa lake, which drained when a dam collapsed in 2010.
The radio measure makes it a simple misdemeanor to steal an officer's radio or cellphone. Penalties can be enhanced to a felony if the officer is injured during the theft.


Conservative Lawmakers Want To Cut Justice's Salary

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group of conservative lawmakers proposes cutting the salaries of Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined in a unanimous ruling that legalized gay marriage in Iowa.
Republican Rep. Larry Sheets of Moulton, who is joining four other lawmakers in backing the effort, acknowledges it's a longshot, but he says it's important to draw attention to the
ruling. Sheets says the justices "overstepped their constitutional boundaries."
The amendment would reduce the salaries of the remaining four justices who joined in the 2009 ruling from about $163,000 annually to $25,000.
The pay cut wouldn't be implemented unless voters approved a constitutional amendment stating that marriage was between a man and a woman. It would take approval of two legislative assemblies
elected in consecutive elections before a measure could be referred to voters.






Wednesday Afternoon News, April 24

Dog Shooter Gets Jail Time

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man who was accused of fatally shooting his two dogs has been given two days in jail.
Fifty-one-year-old Jon Holloway had pleaded guilty to reckless use of a firearm and discharging a firearm inside city limits. Prosecutors dropped two counts of animal cruelty in exchange for Holloway's pleas. He was sentenced on Tuesday.
Police say Holloway used a rifle to shoot his two dogs on Feb. 12 in his backyard. Police say Holloway had been arguing with his sister about the dogs being aggressive.


Band Director's Trial Set For July

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A July trial has been scheduled for a former Sioux City high school band director accused of stealing school instruments.
Online court records say 39-year-old Kevin Massey, of Sergeant Bluff, will go on trial July 23. He's pleaded not guilty to felony theft.
Massey has resigned from his job at North High School and has agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution to the school district.
School officials became aware of the matter after another teacher shopping for musical instruments online noticed some that looked familiar.
Sioux City police say Massey took the instruments to cover gambling debts. Police have recovered more than five dozen instruments from three pawn shops.


Ottumwa Seeks Quiet Zone For Trains

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Officials in Ottumwa are beginning to study whether they can quiet the train horns that sound in the southeast Iowa city's downtown more than 1,000 times a day.
The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has established a contract with SRF Consulting, of Minneapolis, to study the possibility of establishing a quiet zone in the city. The company has worked with Burlington and Fairfield to implement similar zones.
The Ottumwa Courier reports ( ) Wednesday that an average of 43 BNSF trains pass through Ottumwa daily, and they're required to sound their horns four times at each of
downtown's seven crossings.
To qualify for quiet zones, such crossings must be deemed safer than the average of crossings where horns sound. Options for achieving that include larger crossing gates and changing street


Senate Confirms Nomination of Kelly

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of public defender Jane Kelly of Cedar Rapids to join the federal appeals court that decides cases from Iowa and several
other states.
The Senate voted 96-0 on Wednesday to confirm Kelly to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in St. Louis.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Kelly has served since 1994 as a federal defender in the Northern District of Iowa. She recently represented notorious white-collar criminal Russ Wasendorf Sr.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin recommended Kelly to President Obama to fill a vacancy on the appeals court.
Harkin says Kelly has fought to protect the constitutional rights of hundreds of indigent clients who she's represented, and she will bring a "critically important perspective" to the court.

Online Encounter Turns To Stabbing

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa man has been accused of kidnapping and severely stabbing a woman he met online.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department says 21-year-old Bryan Roche, of Marion, was arrested Tuesday in connection with reports Sunday of a 20-year-old woman found stabbed in a stairwell.
Investigators say Roche choked the woman, tied her up, sexually assaulted her and stabbed her. Authorities say Roche then left, and neighbors found the woman in a stairwell.
The woman was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police say she is in more stable condition, and was able to provide authorities with details about Roche.
Roche has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual abuse and attempt to commit murder. He is at the Linn County Jail. Records do not list an attorney.

Bridge To Honor Women

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines City Council has named a downtown pedestrian bridge the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) the council approved the name Monday after hearing it was agreed to by the Des Moines Riverfront Development Authority and groups that
have funded the Principal Riverwalk project. The bridge, which spans the Des Moines River, is a key part of the Riverwalk project.
Scott Cahill, of the Riverfront Development Authority, says the group plans to add plaques to the bridge each year that will recognize deceased Iowa woman who have made "outstanding contributions, achieved prominence or advanced the well-being of fellow citizens."


Body Recovered

ELKADER, Iowa (AP) - Officials have released the name of an elderly man whose body was pulled from a river in northeast Iowa.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says ( the Clayton County Sheriff's Office identified him as 74-year-old James Halverson, of Elkader.
Deputies took a report early Sunday morning about Halverson being missing. Deputies later found tire marks going into a ditch and then into the Turkey River near Ten Mile Bridge on Chariot
Road. A vehicle and the body were found in the water about 250 yards from the tire marks.


Court Of Appeals Upholds Ruling

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a $32.8 million jury award against Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., affirming it is in line with the evidence.
The case involves a 2007 crash near Bondurant that left a Des Moines woman dead and a man paralyzed.
Jurors found Cooper's manufacturing design caused the van's left rear tire to lose tread. The company appealed claiming the jury should not have heard evidence relating to tires substantially
different from the one involved in the accident.
At trial Cooper attorney Terrance Miller questioned the tire's use and said the driver may have been speeding.
The appeals court, ruling Wednesday, says it won't overturn the jury's verdict "simply because it is larger than Cooper would like."
The company did not immediately return a call.

Attorney General Miller Warns Flood Victims To Be Aware Of Scams

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says residents of counties hit by recent flooding should beware of scams.
Miller says in a press release that contractors known as "storm chasers" may try to convince people to hire them for clean-up work. He says people should be wary of contractors who show up at
the door and should seek out established businesses instead.
Miller also advises people to get written estimates for any work, to seek references and to avoid paying up front.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms in eastern Iowa have caused limited flooding and property damage.



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