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Wednesday News, January 20

Supervisors Ready To Approve Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are ready to approve the budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.  During Tuesday's weekly meeting, the supervisors did a final review of the proposed budget figures.  The supervisors will follow the suggestions of the County Compensation Board relating to salary increases for elected officials by giving them a three percent increase in their salary.  The supervisors also approved action to offer county employees a 2.75 percent salary increase, and as for themselves, again, the supervisors are following the suggestions of the Compensation Board, and have approved a two percent salary increase.  During their weekly meeting, the Plymouth County Supervisors agreed to the terms of a three-year contract for the Plymouth County Secondary Road Employees Association.

 

 

 

 

City Council Approve Re-zoning Area Near Nor-Am

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council approved a public hearing scheduled for February 2 relating to a zoning change for an area around Nor-Am.  The area in question has been re-classified from a residential (R-1) to now it will be classified as General Business (B-2).  The city council also approved a property tax exemption to ICON Ag Solutions Real Estate L.L.C.  The city council spent nearly two and a half hours discussing the coming fiscal year budget proposals.  Councilman Rex Knapp and City Administrator Scott Langel took some time to discuss the complicated Tax Increment Financing of TIF programs that relate to Le Mars, and how the TIF programs would be impacting the city's budget.  The Le Mars Police Department is requesting city leaders to consider purchasing a new squad car, while the Fire and Rescue Department is asking the city council to approve the purchase of a new pickup truck that will be used as a second command vehicle, as well as the designated vehicle to pull the hazard materials trailer, the foam trailer, or to carry grain bin rescue equipment.

 

 

 

 

Water Department Delivers Annual Report

(Le Mars) -- During the Le Mars city council meeting, both the city water department and the fire and rescue department submitted their annual reports to the city council.  Gayle Sitzmann, superintendent of the water department informed the council that the water department is responsible for over 80 miles of underground water mains, 4286 meters, 635 fire hydrants, over 1100 main line valves, and two 1 million gallon elevated water tanks.  In addition, the water department watches over a filtration plant, a high service pump station with a total of four pumps, one booster station with three pumps that run in alteration, and six Dakota aquifer wells.  Sitzmann says the city pumped 980,346,000 gallons of water during 2015. The average daily amount of water pumped was listed at 2,600,583 gallons, which is up 100,000 gallons per day from 2014.  Sitzmann informed the city council that the new water tower located on 26th Street is now in operation. According to Sitzmann, some of the highlights from 2015 include: installing 3000 feet of a 12 inch diameter water main from 18th Street on 6th Avenue southwest.  Another 2400 feet of 12-inch diameter water main was put in service on 27th Street.

 

 

 

 

 

Fire And Rescue Department Responded To 457 Calls In 2015

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper gave the fire and rescue department's annual report during Tuesday's city council meeting.  During the year 2015, the local fire and rescue department responded to a total of 457 calls, which was up 44 additional calls from 2014.  Schipper reported of the 457 calls, 370 were in town, 60 times the fire department responded to rural calls, and 27 times the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department offered mutual aid to surrounding communities.  Schipper indicated in his annual report that the total amount of loss due to fires in 2015 was at $495,450 with nearly 250 thousand dollars in city loss, and the remaining $245,550 was from rural fire losses. In his report, Schipper says some losses were not reported.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department conducted a total of 117 inspections from this past year compared to 111 in 2014.

 

 

 


GOP Hopefuls Sound Off At Renewable Fuels Summit - Branstad Says He Wants Cruz To Lose

(Des Moines) -- A feud over fuel has erupted in Iowa's Republican Party. Governor Terry Branstad is declaring it is his hope that Ted Cruz loses the Iowa Caucuses, because Cruz opposes the federal ethanol production mandate.
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[capRFSmtg8] :14 :in this country."
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Branstad made his comments right after addressing the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. G-O-P candidate Donald Trump spoke to the group about three hours later and praised Branstad.
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[capRFSmtg7] :10 :many people listen."
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Republican Congressman Steve King has endorsed Cruz and he spoke with reporters over the noon-hour about Branstad's remarks.
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[capRFSmtg6] :04 :endorsement of Trump."
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King is accusing Branstad of failing to review all of what Cruz has pledged to do to expand market access for ethanol-blended fuels.
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[capRFSmtg10] :02 :to me."
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And King is critical of the work Eric Branstad, the governor's oldest son, has been doing on behalf of a political action committee that's been critical of Cruz's stand on ethanol.
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[capRFSmtg11] :11 :have miscalculated."
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Branstad again today (Tuesday) said he would NOT be endorsing anyone in the Republican presidential race before the Caucuses. But Branstad says it would "be very damaging" to the Iowa Caucuses if an opponent of the Renewable Fuels Standard like Cruz were to win on February 1st.
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[capRFSmtg9] :15 :in this state."
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Trump read a brief written statement to the crowd of ethanol backers.
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[capRFSmtg12] :with me, right?" (fade)
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And Trump took this shot at Cruz's stand on ethanol.
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[capRFSmtg13] :07 :interesting to see."
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Three other G-O-P presidential candidates are speaking at the Renewable Fuels Summit. Rick Santorum told the group that Iowans will have their fingerprints on the weapon that kills the Renewable Fuels Standard if Cruz wins the Caucuses.

 

 

 

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump

(Ames) -- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump received a key endorsement from conservative heavyweight Sarah Palin, Tuesday.
The former Alaska governor, and former running mate of Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential race, endorsed the billionaire businessman, Trump's campaign said in a statement, noting that he is "honored" by the endorsement.
The endorsement comes less than two weeks ahead of the critical lead-off Iowa caucus, where Trump is locked in a dead heat with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Palin was a virtual newcomer to the national political arena when McCain named her as his running mate but has since risen to prominence as one of the most outspoken conservatives in the party.
She signed on as a Fox News commentator after resigning as Alaska's governor in 2010, a job she held until last year.

 

 

 

 

Staff Volunteers For Ben Carson Involved In Fatal Auto Accident

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A volunteer for the presidential campaign of Ben Carson has died after being hospitalized with injuries suffered in a car accident in western Iowa that hurt three other campaign workers.
Carson was in South Carolina at the time of the Tuesday morning accident and has suspended his campaign events.
An official for a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, says the Carson campaign volunteer, 25-year-old Braden Joplin, died late Tuesday afternoon.
Campaign spokesman Jason Osborne says the crash occurred Tuesday morning when a van carrying three Carson volunteers and a paid staffer flipped onto its side on an icy road and was hit by another vehicle. The others in the van were treated at a hospital in Atlantic, Iowa.

 

 

 

 

State Senate Considers A "Ban The Box" Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State Senate lawmakers in Iowa are considering a "ban the box" bill that would limit when employers can ask job applicants about their criminal histories.
A three-member panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the bill Tuesday but took no action. They plan to meet soon to decide whether to advance it to a full committee.
The bill would prohibit an employer or employment agency from inquiring about an applicant's criminal history until the applicant has been selected for an interview or after he or she has been given a conditional job offer.
Supporters say the bill offers a second chance to applicants who have been turned down for work. Critics say it could be a liability to employers. Some sought more clarity over certain exemptions in the bill.

 

 

 

 

 






   

Tuesday News

Supervisors To Work On Budget During Weekly Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will be dealing with the budget during today's meeting.  The supervisors are expected to review and possibly approve the ISAC wellness program agreement for Plymouth County employees.  The supervisors will also review and approve the 2015 Weed Commission annual report.  Prior to discussing the budget for the next fiscal year, the county governing board will hear from Curt Sitzmann with the Secondary Road Department.  The supervisors will review and are expected to approve the Plymouth County Road Bargaining Unit contract for the next three years.  County engineer Tom Rohe will also appear before the county supervisors and will review the fence payment schedule.

 

 

 

City Council To Change Meeting Time For Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars city council will hold its meeting at a different time than usual today.  Instead of convening at noon, the city council will gather at 4:00 p.m.  The city council has a light agenda, however, the council will begin work on the next fiscal year budget immediately following the city council meeting.  In action items, the city council will review a request to rezone property near the Nor-Am facility.  The council is expected to approve a partial property tax exemption to ICON Ag and Turf.

 

 

 

 

School Board Submits Collective Bargaining Counter Proposal

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board and school administration has submitted its counter proposal on collective bargaining to the Le Mars Community Education Association.  Superintendent Todd Wendt indicated to the faculty representatives that a final contract would not be able to be extended until the state legislature and the governor pass a school funding bill.  Wendt also informed the teachers association that the school district did have a decrease of 3.59 students in the budget enrollment for 2016-2017 and that would have some impact on the budget proposal.  Wendt said the school board and administration are prepared to age the salary schedule for the 2016-17 school year.  Total package will increase the cost of salary and benefits to the district by $88,565 or .66 percent for 2016-17.  Dr. Wendt indicated the current contract includes two middle school assistant lines in the schedule.  He indicated that was not consistent with all other categories.  Wendt says only one line is needed, however two positions will continue to be employed.

 

 

 

 

Authorities Investigate Juvenile Beer Party

(Akron) -- Plymouth County authorities are investigating a juvenile beer party that was held Friday evening at 18742 Concord Avenue, of rural Akron.
The sheriff’s office asked for assistance from the Akron Police Department. Upon arrival, numerous people were seen running from the property and into the residence.
During this investigation, deputies located a total of 24 people, a large amount of alcohol, suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
As a result, the sheriff’s office has cited 8 people between the ages of 18 and 20 with possession of alcohol under the legal age, and 7 people under the age of 18 have been cited into juvenile court for possession of alcohol under the legal age.  Several of those present were found to have not been drinking alcohol and they have not been charged.
The case remains under investigation and charges are pending on the owner of the property.

 

 

 

 

Hawarden Man Arrested For Drug Use

(Le Mars) -- At approximately 1:00 a.m., Friday morning, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of 180th Street and Granite Avenue in Plymouth County.  During the investigation, the driver, Gabriel Mark Topete, age 18 of Hawarden, IA was transported to the Plymouth County Jail for testing by a drug recognition expert.  As a result of the testing, Topete was arrested for driving while under the influence, drugged, 1st offense.  Topete was held on bail.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Le Mars Police Department.

 

 

 

 

Struble Man Arrested For Outstanding Kansas Warrant

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Floyd Clifford Coates Jr, age 38 of Struble IA. Coates was arrested on a warrant issued out of Sherman County, Kansas for Possession of Stimulant Drug-Methamphetamine and Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement.  Coates was arrested at his residence in Struble and transported to the Plymouth County Jail.  A complaint for Fugitive from Justice was also filed by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office.

 

 

 

 

National Spotlight On Iowa Caucuses

(Sioux Center) -- Iowa has been placed in the national spotlight as the Hawkeye state prepares for the "first in the nation" caucuses.  Both the Democrats and the Republicans will begin the political selection process on February 1st. Iowa Republican Party Co-chair Cody Hoefert attended the Marco Rubio rally that was held Saturday evening on the Dordt College Campus at Sioux Center.  Hoefert says the state benefits in many ways to have the candidates meet personally with the people of Iowa.

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Hoefert says it is critically important that the candidates visit Iowa, answer the tough questions, and to learn what issues are foremost on the minds of Iowans. The state republican party official sees Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as distancing herself from the people of Iowa.

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There has been discussion as to whether Iowa will retain its "first-in-the-nation status of selecting future presidential candidates.  Hoefert believes Iowa will remain first, simply because we take the political selection process very seriously.

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Two more Republican presidential candidates have announced that they will visit northwest Iowa in the coming days.  Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is scheduled to visit Le Mars on Thursday morning. He will appear at the Habitue Coffeehouse and next door at The Living Center between 11:15 and 11:45 a.m.  Business tycoon Donald Trump is scheduled to appear at the DeHaan Auditorium at Dordt College in Sioux Center on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.

 

 

 

Le Mars To Host Crop Advantage Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Convention Center will be the site of the next "Crop Advantage" seminar scheduled for January 26th, beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host the day-long seminar and Joel DeJong, ISU extension crop specialist says the focus will be on managing margins during this period of low commodity prices.

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Farmers have the opportunity to visit any of three programs during the break-out sessions.  DeJong discusses the topics to be covered during the morning break-out session.

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DeJong says following lunch, farmers will have three additional sessions to attend.

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DeJong says farm management specialist Shane Ellis will lead the final breakout session.

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The crops specialist advises farmers to register early to take advantage of the cheaper registration fee.

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DeJong says everyone's situation is unique and different as to how much the lower prices are affecting a farmer's bottom line.

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