Thursday Afternoon News, February 27
Plymouth County Pheasants Forever Plan Banquet
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its annual banquet Saturday evening, and Pheasants Forever president Chris Anderson says it should again prove to be a fun evening.
The Pheasants Forever banquet will be held at the Le Mars Convention Center. The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever chapter has had an active year.
The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever was also recognized and honored by Governor Branstad and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for its work helping Remsen maintain a clean water supply.
The Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever has also been recognized on a national level for its large number of members, activities, and sponsors. Anderson says he believes people take an interest in the organization and because they care about the local environment.
Anderson says tickets for Saturday's banquet are selling for $50 which also go towards a membership to the Plymouth County Pheasants Forever Chapter.
Northey Comments On Watershed Clean Up Projects
(Le Mars) -- Water quality and the reduction of nitrates have been established as priority issues with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land stewarship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Both state government entities have been working together to educate farmers, landowners and the general public about the need to clean up Iowa's water sheds. Last year, the state legislature allocated $2.4 million in funds for the specific use of helping to clean watersheds. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says applications from across the state were received and the program had a successful kick-off.
One of those grants was awarded to a local watershed project based in Sioux county.
The Iowa Agriculture Secretary says the program has had a good start, and he is hopeful the state legislature will continue to allocate additional money for future watershed clean up projects.
Study Shows New Land-based Sioux City Casino Will Make More Revenue
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A study paid for by Iowa regulators says a land-based casino in Sioux City should expect revenue to rise up to 40 percent over the current water-based casino's revenue.
The study by Minneapolis-based Marquette Advisors projects that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will generate $78.5 million in gross revenue in fiscal 2017. That's more than $22 million higher than the $56 million in revenue posted by the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino in the budget year that ended June 30.
The $128.5 million Hard Rock venue is under construction in downtown Sioux City.
UNI Investigating Tax Issues With Employees
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The University of Northern Iowa is seeking the assistance of police, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate after several employees have reported problems with filing tax returns.
More than 50 employees have reported irregularities. Some report their tax returns were filed by someone else and others have received a refund without filing a return.
The university was first notified on Feb. 6 and created a task force to investigate.
University spokesman Scott Ketelsen says no data breach has been identified in university systems but UNI is offering employees free credit monitoring. He says no students have reported problems.
Oakland University in Michigan and the University of Maryland report similar circumstances and Arkansas State University had the same problem last February.
Charles City Schools To Help Blind And Deaf Students
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials say Charles City will be the first regional site for an effort to improve services to blind and deaf children.
Charles City schools plan to start services in the fall and have a fully developed program by fall 2015.
The Iowa Board of Regents has determined that blind and deaf students in rural areas often can't access the services offered in urban areas. To address this, the board is establishing several regional programs that will include specialized teachers.
Charles City School Superintendent Dan Cox says the district's programs will be offered at elementary, middle school and high school buildings.
Funding for the effort depends on action by the Legislature. If lawmakers don't approve funding this spring, the program's start will be delayed until 2015.
Snow At Mason City Creating Problems At Intersections
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Large snow piles at intersections have prompted authorities in Mason City to ask motorists for help if they notice locations with dangerously limited visibility.
Repeated snowstorms have left Mason City with a thick cover of snow that gets even deeper along streets where plows have pushed the snow to the side.
Mason City police Sgt. Tiffany Creekmur says that if people see piles that obstruct motorists' views, they should call the police. The department will relay the information to the city maintenance department, which can use plows to cut down the piles.
Those piles could get even higher in the next few days as the forecast for northern Iowa calls for frigid temperatures with a chance of snow.