Wednesday Afternoon News, September 25
Le Mars Community School Board Establishes District Goals
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education established its annual goals for the school district for the 2013-2014 school year. The first goal is to decrease the percent of students in the non-proficient category, as measured by the Iowa Assessments National Percentile Rank in reading, math and science by ten percent in each of the grade spans of 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11 by June 1, 2014. The second goal is to monitor the implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum in the Le Mars Community School District, and the third goal established by the Le Mars Community School Board, is to evaluate the current level of integration of technology in the district and develop a plan to identify future needs that will lead to improved student achievement.
Hawarden Man Arrested For Auto Theft
(Orange City) -- A Hawarden man has been arrested for burglary and theft. Sioux County authorities arrested 19 year old Matthew Zinnel for two counts of third degree burglary, second degree theft, third degree theft, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. On Tuesday, Sioux County sheriff's office received a report from Sioux Center that a Dodge Durango had been stolen from a residence sometime during the overnight hours. Upon investigation, sheriff's deputies discovered the Durango parked at the intersection of Coolidge Avenue and 370th Street, 12 miles northwest of Sioux
Center. The sheriff’s office K9 unit was able to track the suspect to his residence at 3721 Coolidge Avenue, 11 miles northeast of Hawarden. While investigating the stolen vehicle deputies were able to link Zinnel to other thefts in the area. He was found in possession of a 2012 Honda Recon ATV that had been reported stolen earlier this month from a Sioux County resident and cash, also believed to be stolen.
Harvest About To Begin
(Le Mars) -- Most farmers in Plymouth County and surrounding areas are only days away from starting this year's fall harvest. Joel DeJong, Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist for northwest Iowa says, in general, the crops are in good shape. DeJong says farmers may not see any record yields due to the delayed planting and lack of sufficient rainfall, but still, expectations call for a good harvest.
DeJong breaks it down even more by saying the soybean harvest may start by the end of this week, and from what he has seen in area fields, soybean production has a good stand with several filled pods.
As for corn, the agronomist says additional drying days are needed, but never-the-less area corn crops are looking good.
DeJong suggests farmers to study their corn hybrid varieties to determine which should be harvested with priority.
DeJong also cautions motorists, as the fall harvest begins, to be aware of the large slower moving farm equipment on the roadways, and for farmers to check their equipment, including all lights, before starting with harvest.
Clear Lake Students Study Lake
CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Students in Clear Lake got wet as part of an effort to learn about fish and water quality.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/14Ht7vl ) the Clear Lake Middle School students waded into the lake Monday as part of an oceanography class.
Biologist Scott Grummer, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, helped students pull a net through the lake near the shoreline, collecting small fish living along the beach.
Teacher Valerie Southgate had divided her class into three groups to study the fish, lake ecology and water quality.
It didn't take 13-year-old Jacob Luedtke long to find two fish. Jacob has long been interested in marine life and when he heard about the elective class, he says, "I thought, yeah it's going to be awesome."
Arbitrator Orders State To Reimburse State Employee Meals
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is in the process of reimbursing public employees for meals dating back to 2011 after an arbitrator ruled that Gov. Terry Branstad's administration improperly slashed the travel allowances.
The measure by the Department of Administrative Services cut out most reimbursements for employee meals in 2011, a change that saved $900,000 in expenses in one year.
But unions filed grievances, claiming the cut was illegal under their contracts since it took away a benefit without negotiation.
Arbitrator Ellen Alexander agreed in January, ordering the state to rescind the cut and pay back employees for meals that should have been covered since Aug. 15, 2011.
DAS spokesman Caleb Hunter says reimbursements costing $134,000 have gone to 549 employees so far, and more are likely on the way.
Iowa GOP Leadership Asked To Resign
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state's largest county Republican organization is calling on the top two officials at the Iowa GOP to resign.
The Des Moines Register reports Wednesday that the Polk County GOP voted Tuesday night in favor of a resolution asking Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker and Co-Chairman David Fischer to resign. The resolution was approved by a 33 to 29 vote.
The resolution states that the Polk GOP has no faith in the party leadership. It criticizes the party for conflicts over scheduling the 2014 state convention and caucuses.
The Appanoose County GOP approved a similar resolution last week.
Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty To Fraud
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Marshalltown insurance agent accused of selling customers fake insurance policies has pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.
In exchange for the guilty plea four other charges will be dropped against William Arthur Thiede.
An indictment filed in federal court in Des Moines in July says Thiede sold fake insurance policies to customers and pocketed more than $167,000 between 2004 and 2010.
Court documents say American Family Insurance either gave customers their money back or honored the insurance policies.
Thiede, who is 65 and the former president of the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, admitted to the charge in a plea agreement. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
On Tuesday a federal judge accepted the plea agreement.
Rockwell Collins Gets Government Radio Contract
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Cedar Rapids-based military contractor Rockwell Collins has been awarded a three-year government contract to develop a smaller, lighter, lower cost radio transmitter for military use.
The contract, valued at up to $3.1 million, is authorized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Current radios filter out unwanted radio signals but they are larger, more expensive and use more power. The new transmitter under development by Rockwell Collins prevents unwanted signals from interfering in the first place. The company says it has the technology to build a circuit that is very small, yet still provides high power and broadband operation.
Rockwell Collins specializes in communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications.
The company employs 19,000 workers in 27 countries.