Friday News, August 29
Community Foundation of Plymouth County Seeking Grant Applications
(Le Mars) -- The Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County, which was organized to promote and enhance community based philanthropy in Plymouth County has established its 2014 grant making policies and timetable. The foundation is currently accepting applications with a deadline of October 17th. The Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County recently received a $90,750 state award to facilitate endowment building and grant making throughout the county. This amount will be combined with other funds for a total of $145,393 to be granted out to organizations meeting the qualifications in Plymouth County. The contribution to the foundation was made possible by the Iowa Legislature. In 2004, the state legislature passed several bills to encourage foundation building and community based philanthropy. These measures included bills which provided that non-gambling counties, initiating a county-wide community foundation would be eligible to receive one half of one percent of the state's gross gambling tax receipts. All inquiries pertaining to the Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County grant application opportunities should be directed to Karla Bohle of Kingsley.
Museum To Open Service Club Room
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Historical Museum is asking civic organizations to help with their new room featuring civic service organizations from the county. The new room is scheduled to open this autumn. The new Service Club room will showcase artifacts on display representing the various service clubs. The museum is asking for any type of memoabilia from scrapbooks to uniforms. The new Service Club room is located on the second floor and is accessible by elevator or stairs. Any organization interested in participating in the Service Club Room should contact the museum.
Photos Of Plymouth County Fair Champions On Display
(Le Mars) -- Photos of the champions from the 2014 Plymouth County Fair are currently on display at Primebank of Le Mars. Next week, the display will be featured at the Plymouth County Farm Bureau annual meeting, then on Friday, September 5th it will be moved to Northwest Bank of Le Mars for a week. The photo display will travel throughout the county and will be on display at each of the county's banks for a week. It will conclude at the American Bank in Le Mars during the week of November 21st.
Police Still Searching For Walmart Robbery Suspect
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police officials are examining security video in hopes of getting a good image of the man who robbed the Le Mars Walmart store early Thursday morning. Photos of the suspect are featured on the KLEM website. Police are searching for a white male between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall of medium build, with light colored hair, wearing a cap, and was seen wearing a long sleeve black t-shirt with red printing. The suspect robbed the Walmart store at about 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Witnesses say the suspect claimed to be armed with a knife, forcing the employee to open the safe. The suspect fled the scene in a light colored four door passenger car heading south on Highway 75. There were no injuries reported and an unknown amount of cash was stolen.
Law Enforcement Officials Ready For Labor Day Weekend
(Le Mars) -- Today begins the long Labor Day holiday weekend, and law enforcement officials say they will be out in force watching the highways for intoxicated and distracted drivers, among other violations.
Iowa Highway Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz says the Highway Patrol is committed to making a safe road environment for the motoring public.
Auditor Reports $2.4 Million Paid For Settlements
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A review from the state auditor shows that since 2010, Iowa has paid out $2.4 million in settlement payments, mostly to former employees.
Auditor Mary Mosiman on Thursday released a report on the grievance process and settlement payments made between July 1st, 2010 and June 30th, 2014. The report was prompted by discussion during the 2014 legislative session about settlement agreements that included confidentiality clauses.
Mosiman found 2,679 grievances were filed during that time. Most were denied or resolved without payment, and hundreds were settled by providing back-pay. A total of 38 people, most former employees, received settlement payments totaling $2.4 million.
The report says 42 current or former employees had settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses.
Branstad signed an executive order on March 24 ending the use of confidentiality provisions.
Republican Presidential Hopefuls To Visit Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential prospects are making plans to visit Iowa in September.
Texas Governor Rick Perry will campaign with 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Rod Blum on Tuesday. They plan stops in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Dubuque.
On September 27th, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will speak at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event is billed as a "family banquet" and is intended to charge up conservatives ahead of the Nov. 4 election. It's also expected to feature Iowa candidates, including Governor Terry Branstad.
Perry, Cruz and Jindal are among Republicans weighing 2016 presidential candidacies.
All have made repeated visits to Iowa, which will begin the presidential nominating process with its caucuses.
Senate Candidates Agree To Debates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The candidates running for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat have agreed to three debates this fall.
The campaigns for Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst announced Thursday that the candidates will face off around the state. On September 28th they will likely appear in Indianola. They'll be in the Quad Cities on October 11th and in Sioux City on October 16th.
Braley and Ernst are locked in a tight race for the Senate seat, which is open because longtime Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring.
The race will play a key role in the battle for control of the chamber.
Iowa WorkForce Development Under Fire
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The firing of a Des Moines woman who became an internet sensation for her drunken frolic in a fountain at a Kansas City Royals baseball game last summer has become the center of a dispute over Iowa Workforce Development unemployment judge independence.
Former unemployment appeals judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer says IWD Director Teresa Wahlert pushed her to justify her ruling in awarding the "fountain lady" unemployment benefits. Hendricksmeyer says she felt pressured by Wahlert after concluding Jessica McCoy was acting outside work responsibilities when she drunkenly waded into the Kauffman Stadium fountain a year ago and was later fired.
The issue is important because Wahlert, a political appointee, has taken over supervision of judges that decide unemployment benefit appeals cases. Federal regulations require judges to be insulated from political pressure.
Seven Cases Of West Nile Disease Reported In Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus in Iowa.
The state Department of Public Health said Thursday that in addition to the human cases, four mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus.
The human cases have been confirmed in Buchanan, Clay, Crawford, Monona, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties. Additional cases are being investigated in Sac and Shelby counties.
Officials say two of the confirmed cases involved hospitalized patients, but they are now recovering at home.
Doctor Patricia Quinlisk, the department's medical director, says the cases were expected given the time of year. She recommends people use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn.
There were 44 human cases of West Nile virus last year. There were no deaths.