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Wednesday Afternoon News, Feb. 6

City Council Discuss Change Of Start Time For Meetings

(Le Mars) -- The start time for Le Mars city council meetings was briefly discussed during the Tuesday city council meeting.  In the past, discussion focused on whether or not the council meetings should start later in the day in order to accommodate constituents wanting to visit and give the opportunity to speak at council meetings.  The council received only one written comment regarding the matter and Mayor Dick Kirchoff shared with the council his opinion regarding the topic.
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Councilman John Rexwinkle informed the council that he has received two additional comments, both advocating a preference of a 12:00 noon start time, so he offered a motion on the topic.
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The city council voted unanimously on the motion keeping the start times for council meetings to remain at 12:00 noon, unless a civic issue justifies otherwise.

 

City Retains Sitzmann Real Estate For City-Owned Property Transactions

(Le Mars) -- In other action taken by the city council, the council approved using the Lance Sitzmann Real Estate Services as the official realitor for city-owned property.  The current contract didn't conclude until March 31st.  Speaking on behalf of the Lance Sitzmann Real Estate was Shane Sitzmann. 
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The Lance Sitzmann Real Estate Services assisted the city in selling many of the former Westmar College facilities including the Mock Memorial Library and Centennial Hall.  In addition, the Lance Sitzmann Real Estate Company was able to sell the former Iowa Department of Transportation Machine Shed located on the north end of Business Highway 75.

 

Voters Approve WITCC Tax Levy

(Sioux City) -- Voters approved the continuation of a tax levy for Western Iowa Technical Community College.  The levy is for a ten-year duration. In Plymouth County, the tally was 171 in favor and 61 voting opposed to the levy.  Woodbury County voters approved the measure with 2144 favoring the levy and 892 voting against the levy.

 

Remsen-Union To Change School Board Elections

(Remsen) -- Residents living in the Remsen-Union school district overwhelmingly passed a measure during a special school election held Tuesday.  At issue, was a proposal to change the method of electing school board directors from specific district representation, to all directors elected from an at-large position.  Voters approved the measure with 72 votes in favor and 30 votes opposed.


Sioux City Woman Charged With Vehicular Homicide

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) - An Iowa woman has been charged with vehicular homicide for the Nebraska crash deaths of a 57-year-old woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter.
Twenty-seven-year-old Heather Reisdorph, of Sioux City, Iowa, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts.
Authorities say her vehicle ran into the back of one that was waiting to turn left off U.S. Highway 75/77 south of Dakota City on Jan. 6. The impact pushed the vehicle into oncoming traffic, where
it was struck by another vehicle.
Patricia Oldenburg, of Homer, Neb., and her granddaughter, Regan Coenen, of Sioux City, Iowa, died. Eight-year-old Braden Coenen was injured.
A public phone listing for Reisdorph could not be found. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.


Debate Continues Over State's Revenue Surplus

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State lawmakers continue to debate what Iowa should do with surplus budget dollars. Should they put the money into services and programs or give it directly to taxpayers?
A House subcommittee on Wednesday discussed Republican-sponsored legislation that would use the state's surplus funds to provide credits to taxpayers. Rep. Peter Cownie of West Des Moines says
individual taxpayers would get $369 income tax credits. He says the plan would cost over $500 million and calls it the fairest way to deal with the money.
But Democrats and advocates questioned whether this was the best use of state funds, saying it would be better to spend the money on services and infrastructure.
The subcommittee approved the bill. It now goes to the full committee for deliberation.

 

Audit Says U of I Officials Followed Correct Procedures

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An audit says University of Iowa officials properly followed internal policies in handling high-profile sexual harassment allegations against an athletics department official.
The report by the university's internal auditor released Wednesday says the university provost's office was made aware of allegations against associate athletic director Peter Gray on Sept. 25.
The school's sexual misconduct response coordinator was immediately notified as required, and an investigation was launched. Gray was placed on leave Oct. 8.
An investigative report was issued Oct. 24 concluding Gray violated the university's sexual harassment policy by improperly touching students and athletes. The report came 20 days after a
formal complaint was filed, far ahead of a 45-day guideline in UI policy.
The report also found that athletics department officials had received mandatory training on sexual harassment.

 

Mason City Hospital To Get Helicopter

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa has scheduled resumption of medical helicopter service following a fatal crash.
The service was suspended following the crash on Jan. 2. The helicopter had been headed to Emmetsburg, about 80 miles west of Mason City, to pick up a patient when it slammed into the ground
just north of Ventura.
The crash killed flight nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau, of Hanlontown; paramedic Russell Piehl, of Forest City; and pilot Gene Grell, a native of San Antonio.
Weather permitting, the service will return on Tuesday.

 

   

Wednesday News, February 6

Le Mars Insurance Safety Rating Improves

(Le Mars) -- According to a recent study by the Insurance Survey Organization, (ISO) Le Mars now ranks among the top four percent of Iowa communities for being safe as per the public protection classification.  The lower the rating, the better for the community in terms of lower insurance premiums.  Due to many improvements that were conducted through the years, Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper told the council that Le Mars now has an enviable rating.
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The Le Mars Fire Chief believes the improved insurance rating will lead to lower insurance costs for home-owners, business owners, and the city itself.
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Schipper sees the new improved insurance rating as an economic development tool for the city.

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City Council Grants Hy-Vee Street Improvements

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council approved a request by Hy-Vee officials to grant the supermarket chain the opportunity make improvements on Lincoln Street Southwest in anticipation of the location for the new store.  Construction would not begin until 2014 and is expected to be completed by 2015.  The council agreed to widen Lincoln Street to provide a left hand turning lane.  The city will provide better drainage along Lincoln Street, and the city will extend a sanity sewer line along Lincoln Street.  The expected cost of the improvements will be between $100,000 and $125,000 and will be funded through the Le Mars Urban Renewal T-I-F or the Joint T-I-F.


Plymouth County Receives Money From Insurance Company

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County was given a check for nearly $19 thousand dollars from its insurance company on Tuesday.  Rob Bixenman of Le Mars, who serves as the county's insurance agent, presented the check to the County Board of Supervisors.

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A total of 77 Iowa counties make up the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool.  Clarence Hoffman, the president of the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool also attended today's Supervisor meeting.  He says the association formed in 1986, mainly because of an insurance carrier that pulled out of the state.

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The supervisors heard from Brian Chamberlain of Warrior Entertainment who  shared information regarding the possible casino license in Sioux City.  Chamberlain is seeking a letter of support.

 

Iowa Focusing On Pipeline Safety

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A group focused on pipeline safety in Iowa is offering training.
The Iowa Pipeline Association is conducting training scenarios throughout February at various locations around the state. The training sessions began Monday in Spencer, and several more are
scheduled through Feb. 28. The final event will be held in Newton.
The training allows participants to use their emergency response knowledge, including prevention strategies.
Officials say they will discuss basic pipeline safety, leak recognition, hazard awareness and damage prevention.

 

Legislation To Better Assist Women With Breast Cancer Prevention

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation that would require facilities offering mammograms to also give patients information on breast density will be considered by state lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Helen Miller of Fort Dodge is the leading sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled for debate by a House subcommittee on Wednesday
Women who have dense breast tissue have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women with more fatty tissue, and it can be harder for a mammogram to catch a possible tumor.
The advocacy group Are You Dense says five states have established similar laws, including New York, Texas and California.  A recent study by the American Cancer Society showed that women
with denser breasts had the same chances of breast cancer survival as patients with less dense breasts.

 

Warren County Looking At Hosting Casino

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Economic development leaders are exploring the idea of developing a casino in Warren County, which sits just south of Des Moines.
Jason White is executive director of Warren County Economic Development Corp. He says the economic group is talking to industry leaders and surveying residents on whether they would support a
casino in northwest Warren County.
There are casinos in two adjacent counties: Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Polk County and Lakeside Hotel and Casino in Clarke County.
In 2004 Warren County voters rejected a joint casino boat project with Madison and Dallas counties.


Farmers Can Apply For Energy Grants

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Farmers with small to mid-sized operations may apply for grants to incorporate energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy measures into their
farms.
Grants of up to $2,000 are offered through the Farm Energy Working Group at the Center for Energy & Environmental Education which is located at the University of Northern Iowa. The money for
the grant comes from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, a research and education based at center at Iowa State University.
The grant funding can pay for the farmer's time for installation, administration, and report writing. Grants cannot cover equipment purchases.
Past projects have included a robotic milking machine in Monona, wind and solar projects, and biogas heaters and generators.
The deadline for application is Feb. 28.

   

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