Monday News, February 23
Mike Donlin To Speak At "Lunch and Learn" Session
(Le Mars) -- The next Lunch and Learn session is scheduled for today and it will feature Floyd Valley Hospital administrator, Mike Donlin. The monthly "Lunch and Learn" sessions are co-sponsored by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Plymouth County and by the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce. The sessions are designed to offer area business and community leaders, as well as the general public, an insight to the progressive economic development that is happening in Le Mars. The Blue Bunny ice cream parlor, second floor, serves as the location for informative forums. The Lunch and Learn program will begin at 12:00 noon. The cost for the meal is $15. Reservations can be made either through the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office at 546-8821, or the Plymouth County Extension Services at 546-7835.
School Board To Hear From Architect To Discuss Remodeling Projects
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet on this evening. The school board has pushed up the start time for the meeting to begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Education Service Center. The school board will hear a report from Middle School Principal Steve Shanks along with members of the 6th grade team as they inform the school board about program changes that have been implemented during the 2014-2015 school year. The agenda also includes a report from architect Rick Dean of the Cannon, Moss, and Brygger firm. Dean is expected to visit with the school board about the proposed concession stand and the middle school restroom remodeling projects. The school board will also act on three teacher resignations. The school board is expected to discuss the upcoming Legislative forum scheduled for next Saturday, February 28th beginning at 9:30 a.m. During that forum, the school board and other area school officials will confer with State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson.
Branstad Wants To Work With Illinois On Medical Marijuana Issue
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has suggested Iowa residents could one day buy cannabis oil in neighboring Illinois, a move that industry experts say has major legislative roadblocks if it's ever seriously considered.
Branstad recently said he was open to working with officials in Illinois, which has a pilot program to produce and distribute medical marijuana. Iowa has a law that allows residents with some forms of epilepsy to use oil with an ingredient derived from marijuana for treatment.
Illinois law would need to be changed to let Iowa residents purchase the oil there. Federal law would prohibit them from bringing it back to Iowa.
Chris Lindsey, with the Marijuana Policy Project, says the situation highlights the dilemma for states that allow some medical marijuana without a clear path to access it.
Fort Dodge House Fire Kills Woman And Two Young Children
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A house fire killed a woman and two young children Sunday afternoon in Fort Dodge.
Fort Dodge Fire Chief Kent Hulett told the Fort Dodge Messenger about the deaths Sunday.
Hulett says the victims were an adult woman, an infant and a toddler. Their names were not immediately released.
The house was burning when firefighters arrived and strong winds made the blaze difficult to fight.
"Field Of Dreams" Sports Complex Trial Begins
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The trial over plans to develop a sports complex at the "Field of Dreams" movie site in eastern Iowa is underway.
Neighboring landowners filed the lawsuit to challenge the way city officials decided to rezone the area around the site for commercial use. The trial began last Monday and was expected to last seven days.
Opponents of the All-Star Ballpark Heaven project worry about the increased traffic and noise that would accompany the planned complex of youth sports fields.
The opponents say the city of Dyersville failed to consider the project's negative impact on neighbors and didn't follow proper procedure for the 2012 zoning decision.
But Dyersville attorney Doug Henry says the city council didn't do anything wrong.
Iowa Legislature To Take Up Proposed 10 Cent Per Gallon Fuel Tax Bill
(Des Moines) -- It appears a bill that would raise the state gas tax by a dime a gallon is on the fast track at the statehouse.
That's House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha. The bill is eligible for debate in the Iowa House on Tuesday. Last Thursday Paulsen used his authority to replace two members on a key House Committee who opposed the bill. His moves ensured the bill passed on a 13-to-12 vote, but they also heightened the ire of the bill's opponents. Drew Klein, the Iowa director of Americans for Prosperity, accuses Paulsen of favoring road builders over Iowans in general.
A Des Moines Register "Iowa Poll" released this weekend found that while 61 percent of Iowans consider the deteriorating condition of Iowa's roads and bridges to be an issue lawmakers should address, Iowans are evenly divided over idea of raising the state gas tax. The poll found 48 percent support the move and 50 percent oppose it. Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock has been among those who opposed the idea of raising the state gas tax in the past, but he suggests a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the legislature now agree it's the best means to plug a shortfall in the state fund that finances transportation projects.
For the past four years the Iowa Farm Bureau have been lobbying for a gas tax increase, citing the closure of roads and bridges that create long detours for farmers and rural residents. Over 200 Farm Bureau members were at the statehouse last week to lobby legislators on the issue. And earlier this month, Governor Branstad said the "timing is right" to pass a gas tax increase this year.