Wednesday News, February 25
School Board Approves Plan For New Concession Stand
(Le Mars) -- During Monday evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, board members approved an estimated $600,000 cost to build a new concession stand near the football stadium, and the renovation of the middle school restrooms. Architect Rick Dean of the Cannon, Moss, and Brygger firm explained the details to the school board. The proposed new concession stand will feature a new ticket sales area, new restrooms, an area designated for tailgate serving, as well as a covered picnic area next to the tail gate preparation and serving area. The proposed facility will feature a larger concession prep and sales area than the existing concession stand. School officials have set March 30th as the date for contractor bids to be opened and for a public hearing on the proposed project. Construction for the new facility is hoped to begin in early May with completion done before the first home football game in the fall.
Floyd Valley Hospital Offers Medical Services That Are Unique To Local Hospital
(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital was the focus during the recent "Lunch and Learn" session. The gathering of nearly 35 community and business leaders were able to gain some insight regarding services offered at Floyd Valley Hospital. Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says Floyd Valley is the only hospital within the region to conduct stem-cell research.
Another area in which Floyd Valley Hospital is making medical advancements involves orthropedics.
Still, another area that Donlin is proud to share with others is the physical therapy center's work with Parkinson's patients.
The hospital administrator also informed the group of the good work being done with the home health care services.
During Donlin's address he updated the group on the latest trends occuring at Floyd Valley, as well as offered a construction update relating to the new north addition. Donlin also reminded the "Lunch and Learn" attendees that Floyd Valley serves as a major employer within the community by having a staff of 350 people and generating nearly $50 million in business trade. Next month, the focus will be on Western Iowa Technical Community College.
Five Arrested On Marijuana Possession Charges
(Le Mars) -- In an effort to deliver an arrest warrant to a subject, Plymouth County authorities came across five people, some who are minors, with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and alcohol. The incident occured Friday evening at a rural farmstead. Arrested were 19 year old Blake Beitelspacher, 18 year old Tyler Ahlrich, 19 year old Derek Newman, 17 year old John Magnussen, and 17 year old Quinton Boddie, all of Le Mars. The subject sought for the arrest warrant was not located.
Sioux City Woman Given Probation For Child Endangerment
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City mother has been sentenced to three years of probation for leaving her 10-month-old son alone in a bathtub while she smoked marijuana in another room.
Twenty-one-year-old Maricela Vasquez pleaded guilty earlier this month in Woodbury County District Court to child endangerment resulting in bodily injury and possession of a controlled substance.
Vasquez agreed to a 10-day jail sentence on the drug charge as part of her plea agreement. She was given credit for the 10 days she already served in jail.
She was arrested in August after Sioux City officers responded to a 911 call, found evidence of marijuana in the apartment and discovered the baby had nearly drowned. The boy has been removed from Vasquez's custody.
Library Delivers Annual Report
(Le Mars) -- Last week, Shirley Taylor, the librarian for the Le Mars Public Library delivered the library's annual report to the city council. Taylor says the local library is being utilized by a lot of people.
Taylor reports there were more than 60,000 visits from June of 2013 to July of 2014. This past year, the library initiated a two-tier system having to ask $40 from county residents living outside Le Mars. She says the system has been working, but she admits there has been some confusion.
The Le Mars Librarian says the majority of funding is still used for printed material.
Legislators Approve 10 Cent Per Gallon Fuel Tax
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislature has approved a 10-cent increase to the fuel tax to help pay for road improvements.
Both chambers gave bipartisan support to the bill Tuesday, with the Senate voting 28-21 and the House 53-46. The plan would provide over $200 million annually for Iowa's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
For years, the Legislature has considered raising the tax, which hasn't been changed since 1989. But until this year, lawmakers never took action, despite heavy lobbying by groups representing farmers and trucking companies.
This session, Republican Governor Terry Branstad voiced his backing for increased infrastructure funding, sparking a more serious conversation.
Branstad told the Associated Press he wants to review the bill, but indicated he was "very likely" to sign it into law. Republican State Senator Bill Anderson says he voted in favor of the bill and he explains the added money will help finish Highway 20.
Senate Approves Minimum Wage Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved bills that would raise Iowa's minimum wage and try to curtail cases of wage theft.
The Democratic-majority Senate voted 27 to 22 Tuesday to increase the state's minimum wage level to $8.75. The Senate also voted 26-23 to establish more rules to curtail alleged wage theft by employers in Iowa.
The bills now head to the Republican-led House for consideration, but it's unlikely there's enough support there to get them to Governor Terry Branstad's desk.
Lawmakers in the House have said they would rather focus on skilled worker training opportunities instead of a minimum wage bill that raises it above its current level of $7.25. Lawmakers have also said there are other ways to prevent wage theft.
School Funding Still Unresolved
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Democratic-majority Senate and the Republican-controlled House have not yet found consensus on a school funding level for the coming academic year.
Both sides stuck firm to their original funding proposals Tuesday. Senate Democrats are standing by a plan that would provide more than $200 million in new funding for K-12 education, which is more than double the increase sought by House Republicans. The House and Senate proposals both include funding specifically dedicated to teacher leadership training.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames who chairs the Senate education committee, said he expected the issue to move to a negotiating committee to try and find a compromise solution.
Senate Sub-committee Passes Anti-bullying Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill aimed at reducing school bullying in Iowa, a key legislative issue for Governor Terry Branstad this session.
Members of an education subcommittee approved the bill Tuesday. It now heads to a full committee for consideration.
The bill would expand guidelines for Iowa school districts responding to cases of bullying. It would allow school officials to address bullying outside of school grounds and expand the definition of cyberbullying.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is opposing the bill, saying the legislation has overly broad language about parental notification and how much teachers should be monitoring for bullying off school grounds.
Other groups have expressed support for the bill. Similar legislation failed to garner enough support last session.