Tuesday News, April 2
Supervisors To Hear About Domestic Violence
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse. They will hear from Cathy Mannin of the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Mannin is expected to share some statistics from Plymouth County and the region as to how many domestic violence cases occur within Plymouth County. April serves as Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The supervisors will also be letting bids for two planned construction projects.
City Council To Hold Public Hearings Regarding Internal Committee Structure
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold public hearings today to decide whether to abandon the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Housing Review Board. It is part of the city's effort to streamline the city's internal structure and become more efficient. The council will also hold a hearing to vacate part of the utility and drainage easement between lots 3 and 5 of the Le Mars Industrial Park South Addition to allow the city to sell the land to Allen Pratt. The city council is expected to act upon a waste water treatment agreement with Dean Foods. The city already has a similar agreement with Wells Enterprises. The city council will also hear a proposal for the Kenaley Ranch First Addition which consists of four lots along 12th Street South and six lots along 15th St South.
Fire Department Responds To Early Morning Accident
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to an auto accident that occurred at about 5:00 a.m. this morning. The accident happened at Business Highway 75 and 18th St. Fire officials were asked to help with the clean up duties of fluid that had been leaking from the involved vehicles. Fire officials were on the scene for an hour.
Piece of Cake Opens In Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- A new specialty bakery has opened its doors in downtown Le Mars. Piece of Cake is located at 25 Central Avenue Southwest and is operated by Michelle Bomgaars, with the focus of decorating wedding cakes and other specialty cakes. Bomgaars explains the name
Bomgaars has been baking and designing specialty cakes for more than six years.
She says her business will feature many types of sweet tasting desserts, including a French silk pie that she claims everyone in her family loves, an assortment of cheesecakes, and of course cakes.
Anderson and Soderberg To Hold Legislative Forums On Friday and Saturday
(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson have announced they will hold a series of legislative forums scheduled for Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th. The Lawmakers will be in Kingsley at the Community Center on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Lawton City Hall between 11:30 and 12:30, and at Climbing Hill at the Climbing Hill Barn between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 6th the lawmakers will visit with the public at the Remsen Library at 8:30 a.m.; Le Mars at the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie at 10:00 a.m. and the Akron Public Library at 11:30 a.m. The legislative forums are open to the public and will focus on issues of interest to the general assembly.
University of Iowa To Lobby State Lawmakers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Representatives from the University of Iowa will be lobbying at the Capitol as part of an annual event.
More than 100 UI students, alumni and university leaders will convene Tuesday for Hawkeye Caucus Day. University President Sally Mason also will attend.
The event gives representatives from Iowa's largest public university a chance to talk with legislators about programs the UI representatives think are important.
The undergraduate student government will lobby lawmakers to approve a tuition freeze. The Iowa Board of Regents has promised to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduate students. But the freeze is contingent upon a 2.6 percent budget increase for the universities and an extra $4 million to aid the University of Northern Iowa's budget.
The Legislature has yet to approve the universities budget.
Iowa Using More Biofuels
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report shows the amount of biodiesel blended into diesel fuel in Iowa has more than tripled over the last two years.
The report released Monday by the Iowa Department of Revenue says biodiesel made from vegetable oil or animal fat is now blended in more than 42 percent of all diesel fuel sold in the state. The report shows 23.3 million gallons of biodiesel was mixed with diesel fuel last year, up from 7.4 million gallons in 2010.
Ethanol, which is made mostly from corn and mixed with gasoline, was in about 81.7 percent of all gasoline sold in Iowa, down slightly from 82.5 percent in 2010.
Iowa has 12 biodiesel plants and 41 ethanol refineries, more than any other state.
Two Children Die In Train Crossing Accident
BATAVIA, Iowa (AP) - Two children have died in a collision at a train crossing in southeast Iowa.
Authorities say the accident occurred at tracks in Batavia a little after 4 p.m. Monday. An Iowa State Patrol report says a minivan driven by 25-year-old Tara Lewman, of Batavia, had stopped
at the crossing. The report says that after some time, Lewman drove around the crossing arms. The train then struck the passenger side of her minivan.
Patrol Sgt. Russ Morey says another train stopped near the crossing that may have kept Lewman from seeing the oncoming train.
The patrol says 4-year-old Erika Clark and 5-year-old Kallie Clark were killed and that Lewman and 1-year-old Jordan Clark were flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Senate Ways and Means Committee Passes Several Tax Break Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate committee has approved tax breaks that reward green energy, charitable food donations and preserving historical sites.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed multiple tax break bills Wednesday. These now move before the full Senate.
One bill would provide $5 million in state dollars to fund income tax breaks for individuals, farmers and businesses who want to install a fueling station for electric or natural gas-powered
vehicles. The Senate approved a similar bill with bipartisan support two years ago but it failed in the House.
The panel approved a proposed income tax break for farmers who donate excess produce to local food banks.
Another bill would raise historic preservation credits for Iowa communities to $60 million. Credits cover 25 percent of rehabilitation costs for eligible historic buildings.
Iowa Education Policy Legislation Inches Forward
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad's proposal for new education spending is inching forward in the General Assembly.
Senators in an education subcommittee voted Monday in favor of amending a House version of the bill to match the Senate proposal. If approved by the Senate in the coming days, it will go back to
the House for review, but committee chairman Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames says the bill will likely land in a joint conference committee for negotiations.
The Democratic-majority Senate and the Republican-controlled House have developed different versions of Branstad's education plan. Branstad's proposal boosts minimum teacher salaries and
provides incentive pay to teachers who take on more responsibilities.
The House watered down the plan in February, making parts optional. But the Senate beefed it up, adding more leadership pay options.
Iowa House Supports New Rules On Downsizing Farms
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House lawmakers are backing legislation that would make it easier for livestock producers to downsize.
Legislation passed the House 83-16 Monday that would allow some livestock producers to close barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they no would longer need to file plans for manure
disposal with the state.
Environmental activists say this change to state law could make it easier for farmers to avoid oversight. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement argues that the measures will allow farmers
to store manure in those idled barns, which could lead to water-polluting spills.
Supporters say the bill helps farmers who want to temporarily shutter a barn, perhaps because of a child in college.
The legislation now moves to the Senate where a similar bill has already been proposed.
Altoona OKs Expanding $1.5B Data Center Project
ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) - Organizers behind a proposed $1.5 billion data center in central Iowa have been given approval to expand the project.
A planning and zoning commission for the Des Moines suburb of Altoona unanimously approved last week a revised site plan from a still-unnamed company that expands building plans by nearly 300,000
The Des Moines Register reports the data center would now be a total of 1.4 million square feet.
The new site plan includes three data center buildings that would be each more than 465,000 square feet. A city planner says the project will be larger than anything else nearby.