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Thursday Afternoon News, January 15

Local Option Sales Tax Grant Applications Now Available

(Le Mars) -- The 2015  Plymouth County Local Option Sales Tax Grant Applications are available to be picked up in the Auditor’s Office at 215 4th Ave. SE, or are available on line at to download.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors allocated $100,000 of Local Option Sales Tax Funds to be awarded to grant recipients via the Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Board for FY 2015-2016.  The appointed members of the L.O.S.T. Grant Advisory Board are Brad Cave and Lynn Bohnenkamp of Supervisor Dist. 1; Donna Rohe and Maryls VanOtterloo of Supervisor Dist. 2; JoEtte Hiemstra and Tom Letsche of Supervisor Dist. 3; Cam Kounkel and Doug Becker of Supervisor Dist. 4; and Tim Blum of Supervisor Dist. 5.  The completed grant applications are due to the Auditor’s Office at the Courthouse by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 13th, 2015.  If awarded grant funds, grant recipients will be notified, and the funds are available to the recipients beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.
If you have any additional questions, you may contact Stacey Feldman, Plymouth County Auditor at 712-546-6100.


Soderberg And Anderson Schedule Legislative Forum

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson have announced their first scheduled legislative forum will be held on Friday, January 23rd at the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Le Mars.  An hour has been set aside starting at 11:30 a.m. and continuing through the lunch period until 12:30 p.m.  The legislators will be discussing various issues concerning the 2015 Iowa Legislative Session.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meeting and discuss any issues that are of concern.


School Board To Hold Special Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District Board of Education will hold a special meeting scheduled for Monday, January 19th at 5:00 p.m.  The meeting will be at the Le Mars Education and Administration Center.  It is expected the Le Mars Teachers Association will present to the school board their initial bargaining proposal relating to the master contract for the 2015 - 2016 academic school year. 


Big Sioux River To Be The Focus On Water Quality Project

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The United States Department of Agriculture has selected a project dedicated to improving water quality in the Big Sioux River as one of its "high-impact" projects for 2015.
     The USDA says the 115 projects in the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will receive more than $370 million in total. Community partners nationwide will also contribute an estimated $400 million.
     The department says the biggest concern of the Central Big Sioux Water Quality Project is the degradation of surface water quality from bacteria, nutrients and sediment. The project will assist land owners and producers with improving water quality by avoiding, controlling and trapping nutrient and sediment runoff.
     The funding will also go toward installing 13 Animal Waste Management Systems.


University Of Iowa President Mason To Retire

   IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she plans to retire after leading the school since 2007. 
     Mason announced Thursday that she will step down Aug. 1 after managing a devastating flood, major budget challenges and numerous controversies. 
     The 64-year-old biology professor came to Iowa City from Purdue University, where she had been provost. Almost immediately, she was thrown into managing one problem after another, many caused by events outside her control. 
     A historic June 2008 flood came to symbolize her tenure, when heavy rains caused the Iowa River to overflow its banks and damage and destroy numerous buildings. 
     Mason worked to keep the university open and spent the following years overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars of rebuilding projects.


Polical Organizations Urging Massasschuetts Senator To Run For President

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group trying to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race has hired several staffers in Iowa.
     The "Run Warren Run" campaign announced Thursday that it had opened an office in Des Moines and hired an Iowa field director and four other field organizers in the early-voting state. The field director is Blair Lawton, an Iowa native who worked for President Barack Obama's 2012 Iowa campaign.
     The campaign is being organized by and Democracy for America. They held their first Iowa meeting in Des Moines last month. The activists are trying to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, but the Massachusetts senator has said she isn't running.
     MoveOn plans to spend $1 million on its Warren effort and Democracy for America has pledged $250,000.



Thursday News, January 15

Life Skills Training Center Told It Will Need To Change Its Focus

(Le Mars) -- Earlier this week the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard a report from Shelly Thomson of Life Skills Training Center.  Thomson explained to the county governing board the funding of Life Skills has changed drastically within the last five years, and its focus will also be changing. 

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Thompson says Life Skills provides a secure work environment in both laundry and janitorial services for up to 70 mentally challenged adults.  Thomson informed the county supervisors the federal government is mandating a change as to how the Life Skills Training Center will operate in the future.

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Thomson explains what those changes will ultimately mean to the Life Skills clients, and to the community.

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The Life Skills official says the agency will need the support from the entire county in order to make for a successful transition.

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Chamber Of Commerce Schedules Annual Awards Banquet

(Le Mars) -- Reservations can now be made for the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Awards program.  This annual event recognizes the 2014 "Employees of the Month", and "Bosses of the Quarter" along with the "Citizen of the Year" and the "Le Mars Business of the Year" is scheduled for Saturday, January 31st to be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  The Le Mars Community High School Show Choir, "Crimson and Black" will provide some entertainment with their dance and musical tunes routine.  Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner to start at 7:00 p.m.  Again, this year, the event will prove to be fun as satarical comedic videos featuring many of the community's leaders will be shown.  Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office.


Authorities Call Suspicious Death As Homicide

(Sioux City) -- Woodbury County authorities are now calling the suspicious death of a Sloan man as a homicide.  Last week, law enforcement officials went to Sloan to investigate an incident.  When they arrived, they found 29 year old Dustin Taylor dead at the scene.  The Woodbury County Sheriff's office has developed a person of interest in the homicide.  The investigation is continuing.


Man Gets 30 Years For Robberies

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting to breaking into and stealing from two residences.
     25-year-old Dewayne Hendershot pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree burglary. Hendershot must serve a minimum of seven years in prison to become eligible for parole, as outlined in his plea agreement
     Hendershot confessed to breaking into a home and robbing a resident at gunpoint in Dec. 2013. He also admitted to breaking into a home in November 2013 and stealing guns. Charges from another robbery were dropped as part of Hendershot's plea agreement.


Branstad Proposes To Close Two Mental Health Institutions

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed the closure of two of the state's four mental health institutions.
     Amy Lorentzen McCoy, an Iowa Department of Human Services spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Branstad didn't include funding for the Clarinda and Mount Pleasant facilities in his budget proposal released this week. Money to the facilities will be cut off July 1.
     The institutions have experienced a population decline for decades, with only 24 residents currently at Clarinda facility and 47 in Mount Pleasant.
     McCoy says a 2009 taskforce previously recommended closure under Gov. Chet Culver, but the proposal was dropped. Branstad also discussed consolidating mental health services last month, but said there were no immediate plans to do so.
     Facilities in Cherokee and Independence will remain open.


Iowa To Receive Federal Money For Conservation Programs

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is slated to receive federal money to support conservation projects in the state.
     The U.S. government announced Wednesday that Iowa will receive $3.5 million and Cedar Rapids will receive $2.1 million as part of $370 million in federal funding for a national conservation program. The 115 proposed projects across the country are expected to garner $400 million in partner contributions.
     Money allocated to the state will go toward the reducing nitrogen contaminants in state rivers. The money granted directly to Cedar Rapids will fund an initiative among farmers and landowners to improve water and soil quality and aid with flood prevention.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the projects are meant to improve national water supplies and the environment.


House Votes To Deny Money For Obama's Immigration Policy

(Washington) -- The U.S. House has passed legislation to overturn President Barack Obama's immigration actions and remove protections for immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. The measures were part of a $39.7 billion spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 236-191.

    Iowa's 4th District Republican Congressman Steve King voted for the measure:

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     The legislation faces tough prospects in the Senate and a veto threat from the president, but King says Republicans had to act against what he calls an unconstitutional overreach by Obama:

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     The legislation would roll back executive actions Obama announced in November to extend temporary stays of deportation to around 4 million immigrants in the country illegally.    It also would undo an earlier program that provided work permits and deportation protections to more than 600,000 immigrants who arrived illegally in the country as children.




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