Thursday Afternoon News, February 19
Bike Central To Host "Do Not Freeze" Bicycle Ride
(Le Mars) -- This coming Saturday, Bike Central of Le Mars is hosting its annual DNF bicycle ride. DNF stands for Do Not Freeze. Mark Strub says participants have two choices, they can ride on the gravel, or take a destination ride on paved roads. Either way he suggests participants dress accordingly.
Strub reminds people both bicycle runs are designed to be destination runs, and not races. Bicyclists also have the option to ride on paved roads for a 25 mile course.
Strub says besides the cold and windy weather conditions, there are other challenges to riding a bicycle during the winter months.
Last year, the Do Not Freeze Bicycle ride attracted nearly 40 people and Strub believes this year's ride will have the same, or perhaps more participants. Strub says the vast majority of the participants are local residents, however, he says there are some coming from Omaha to ride in this year's DNF. Strub encourages people to pre-register. The rides will begin at 9:00 a.m. from the Bike Central shop but he says Bike Central will provide some refreshments to the participants beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Layoffs At Mental Health Institutes To Start Next Month
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A union official says layoffs will begin in March at mental hospitals in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda despite efforts by some legislators to keep the centers open.
Danny Homan, the president of Iowa's largest state employees union, says an administrator informed employees at the Mount Pleasant hospital that the first round of layoff notices will be distributed Monday and that those layoffs would take effect March 30. Homan says an administrator says layoffs would begin April 20 in Clarinda.
The news surprised some legislators, who have argued it's up to the Legislature, not the governor, whether to close the centers.
Gov. Terry Branstad earlier announced plans to close the hospitals but pledged last week to work with legislators on the matter.
Jail Cell Auctioned
SHELLSBURG, Iowa (AP) - A man has bid $6,100 to buy Shellsburg's rusting, old one-cell jail.
The bid by Mike Cooper, of Solon, topped the bid of $1,510 from local residents. They rounded up money for the silent auction in an effort to keep the cell in the eastern Iowa town of around 980 people.
Officials decided to get rid of the cell because it took up too much space in the Municipal Building, where it had been sitting for years.
What Cooper intends to do with the jail cell is unclear.
Fortune 100 Health Company To Begin Operations In Clear Lake
CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - McKesson Corp. is the company that will occupy a new, 340,000-square-foot distribution plant in Clear Lake.
The announcement was made Thursday by local and company officials. For months the company has been described only as a Fortune 100 company. McKesson is No. 15 on the Fortune list and is a health care services and information technology company. It is based in San Francisco.
Officials have said the warehouse will employ 164 full-time workers with an average annual wage of $39,000.
The plant is being built in the Larry Luker Memorial Industrial Park on the southeast side of Clear Lake.
House Speaker Changes Committee To Insure Fuel Tax Bill To Reach Floor
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen has made some key changes to a House committee to help ensure there are enough votes to pass a bill raising the state fuel tax.
Paulsen said Thursday he had replaced one member of the ways and means committee, bringing in a lawmaker who supports the bill instead of a member who opposed it. And Paulsen also planned to temporarily replace another committee member so that he himself could cast a yes vote.
Paulsen said he needed to make sure that "bills the body wants to debate can get to the floor."
The Senate ways and means committee approved the bill Thursday afternoon. A similar bill was up before the House ways and means committee later in the day.
One Million Dollars Devoted To Help Restoration Efforts Of Fort Dodge Creek
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - City officials say a $1 million grant is slated to pay for the restoration of Soldier Creek in a Fort Dodge park in an effort to reduce erosion and improve water quality.
Fort Dodge parks director Lori Branderhorst presented the restoration project Wednesday to the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission.
Branderhorst says the final engineering plans have not yet been completed. She says the project is likely to involve adding bends to straighter portions of the creek for decreased erosion, removing invasive tree species nearby and relocating a portion of the stream.
City officials say areas of Snell-Crawford Park will be closed throughout the process.
Branderhorst says a public meeting will be held in March to further explain the project to Fort Dodge residents.