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Monday News, February 16

Le Mars City Council To Convene On Tuesday

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and among the action items scheduled include: the approval of the funding allocations as recommended by the Convention and Visitor's Board.  The council will also discuss engineering projects for 2015, as well as engineering project involving the sewer and water line along 27th street southwest.  The council is scheduled to discuss the CDBG Main Street facade rehabilitation project.  The city council will again be discussing the proposed fiscal year 2015-2016 budget.


Supervisors To Hold Two Public Hearings

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have scheduled a couple of public hearings for Tuesday when they convene for their weekly meeting.   The Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the amendment to the Plymouth County and Le Mars Highway 75 Bypass Urban Renewal Area and to approve a resolution of the urban renewal plan amendment and to approve a resolution of a tax increment financing or TIF revenue sharing agreement with the city of Le Mars.  The County Board of Supervisors will also hold a public hearing on vacating part of Otter Avenue.


Advocates Say Slow Down When Closing Mental Institutions

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Closing some of Iowa's four state mental hospitals might be needed, but people who work in the field warn that any changes should be made carefully.
     Governor Terry Branstad said last month he plans to close state mental institutions at Clarinda and Mount Pleasant and move any remaining patients to the other two state institutions this summer.
     Ron Honberg with the National Alliance on Mental Illness says it can be dangerous to close facilities like this quickly.
     Suzanne Watson is CEO of the new, nine-county Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region. She hopes to open a crisis center by the time the Clarinda hospital closes, but she would like to have more time to prepare.


Two California People Arrested On Forgery Charges

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two Californians are accused of using fake credit cards and identification in a scheme to defraud Iowa banks and credit unions.
     A 45-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were arrested Thursday. Both face several forgery charges and one charge each of ongoing criminal conduct.
     Court documents say the pair visited two credit unions in Sioux City and requested $9,800 cash advances on credit cards. When the bank called to verify the credit card, an accomplice would provide answers.
     When police searched the car they rented, the pair had a map of credit unions throughout Iowa. Authorities say the pair had attempted to get cash from Iowa credit unions and banks more than 100 times in the past three weeks.


Mason City Man Arrested Following Standoff

 MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Mason City man has been arrested and charged after a standoff with police at a residence over the weekend. 
     Fifty-four-year-old Philip Todd Geilenfeld is charged with felony domestic assault strangulation. 
     Sgt. Steven Klemas of the police department says dispatchers received a report about an assault on Saturday and that firearms were involved. 
     Authorities were able to get an injured woman safely outside of the home, but Klemas says Geilenfeld refused to leave. Other law enforcement officials were called to the scene, including the Iowa State Patrol.
     Klemas says after several hours of attempted negotiations with Geilenfeld, authorities entered the house and found him inside the basement. 
     He was arrested and booked into the Cerro Gordo County jail. Online jail records don't list an attorney for him.


West Des Moines High School To Add Security

   WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A high school says it's increasing security efforts following three fights in a single day on its campus last week.
     Principal Tim Miller of West Des Moines Valley High School sent a message to students' families on Sunday night, saying more police will be at the school. 
     He also says there will be increased supervision of hallways and backpack checks at the school's main entrances.
     The increase in security measures follows three fights that broke out Thursday. School officials reported that about 75 percent of students came to school the next day. The school's average attendance rate is 97 percent.
     Miller says the additional security will continue until "we return to our normal and expected learning environment."


Street Potholes That Cause Damage To Vehicles May Qualify For Insurance Claims

(Des Moines) -- The freeze-thaw cycle we're in is making some monster potholes in Iowa's streets. The road craters can ruin tires and rims, damage suspension and alignment and they can even knock the exhaust system off your vehicle. Ann Avery, a spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance in Iowa, says if there's a lot of damage from a pothole, you may be able to file a claim. 

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Avery says you can't prevent potholes but you can help protect your vehicle by driving carefully. 

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If you spot a chuckhole, Avery says to break before impact, as there's less damage when the tire is rolling, rather than skidding over a hole during breaking. She offers another tip:

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She reminds, always check with your agent first to see what is -- and what is not -- covered.





Saturday News, February 14

Sunday Is Deadline To Sign-up For Affordable Health Care 

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa residents seeking health care coverage on the federal exchange have until Sunday to sign up.
     This is the second open enrollment period under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act. For the most part, enrollment has gone more smoothly this time, with fewer complaints about technical glitches.
     Federal authorities say nearly 40,000 people in Iowa had signed up or had been re-enrolled in a plan as of last week. 
     In Iowa, some consumers have been scrambling to find new coverage since the state took over a cooperative that was selling insurance to residents in Iowa and Nebraska.


Knoxville Teens Arrested For Terrorism Against School

 KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Police say they've arrested two eighth-grade boys in connection with a threat against a central Iowa middle school.
     The Knoxville Police Department says two Knoxville Middle School students were arrested Friday on the charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism. The 13- and 14-year-old have been transported to a juvenile holding facility.
     Authorities say they responded Thursday night to a threat against the middle school. According to a news release, officers determined the school wasn't in immediate danger and continued investigation Friday morning.
     Information on the nature of the threat has not been released.


Des Moines Attorney And Real Estate Agent Arrested For Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines area attorney and a real estate agent have been convicted of bank fraud after an eight-day federal court trial.
     A jury on Thursday convicted attorney Jason Springer on seven counts of bank fraud and real estate agent Rick Makohoniuk on one count. 
     Prosecutors allege Des Moines area banks lost $400,000 when the men bought 18 homes in short sales at prices they claimed were fair market value then quickly resold them for more than they paid. Short sells are homes on which the owner owes more than the property is worth.
     Two other men - Nathan Smith and Patrick Steven - earlier pleaded guilty to bank fraud and Jerod Hogan, a mortgage broker, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make a false statement.


Republican Party Has Received Four Bids To Host Straw Poll

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Republican Party has received four bids to host the 2015 straw poll later this year. 
     The party announced Friday that four venues have submitted proposals to host the August event, which has traditionally been held in Ames the summer before a contested presidential caucus.  
     The locations are the Central Iowa Expo in Boone, the Iowa State Center in Ames, the Iowa Speedway in Newton and Drake University in Des Moines. 
     A committee will review the bids and recommend a location. No timeline has been set for the decision. 
     First held in 1979, the Iowa straw poll has grown from a county GOP fundraiser to a large event. The poll draws a small percentage of caucus attendees. It's one early test of campaign organization.


Florida Senator Mulling Over Run For President

 WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he's still mulling a presidential decision, but if he runs, he'll come to Iowa. 
     Rubio signed copies of his latest book Friday at a Barnes and Noble in suburban Des Moines. After chatting with the more than 100 people who lined up, Rubio said he and his family are still deciding on a 2016 presidential bid.
     Should he run, Rubio says he'll spend time in the early voting state. He noted that candidates "have to come to Iowa more than once or twice."
     Iowa was the first stop for Rubio as he promotes "American Dreams: Restoring American Opportunity for Everyone." He says he was also going to try to meet with Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.


Jeb Bush Making Donations To Political Action Committees

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Jeb Bush is focusing the first round of his political action committee's donations on candidates and state Republican organizations in early-voting presidential states and general election swing states, leaving little doubt the former Florida governor is planning to seek the 2016 GOP nomination.
     Bush announced Friday that the group he formed in December is contributing $122,800, more than half of which is going to candidates and state Republican parties in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The four states are scheduled to hold the nation's first GOP nominating contests in February 2016.
     The rest of the money Bush has been raising aggressively this year is going to his home state's Republican Party and a mix of younger and diverse candidates and candidates from swing-voting Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.





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