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Wednesday Afternoon News, August 27

Lisa Niebuhr Honored By Diocese

(Le Mars) -- A well-known and long-time staff employee of Gehlen Catholic has been named as a recipient of the Good Shepard Award as presented by the Sioux City Diocese.  Dan Ryan, the superintendent of schools for the Sioux City Diocese was in Le Mars on Wednesday to make the announcement following Mass at the St. Joseph Catholic church.  This year the honor was awarded to Development Director Lisa Niebuhr.

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Lisa Niebuhr will be joining Bishop Walker Nicklass for the annual Bishop's Dinner scheduled for October.  Ryan says the Diocese recognizes those in education with the Excellence in Education award and for others, it is the Good Shepard Award.  Ryan tells why Lisa Niebuhr was selected. 

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The Diocese official says although Lisa Niebuhr would never accept the credit, and always remained in the background, she never-the-less has been instrumental in numerous projects involving the St. Joseph parish and with Gehlen Catholic Schools.

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Ryan says Lisa Niebuhr works hard and has truly dedicated her life for the betterment of others at Gehlen.

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The Bishop's Dinner is a fundraising event for the entire Sioux City Diocese and is scheduled for Sunday, October 12th at Sioux City.  This year's key-note speaker is ESPN football commentator and former NFL coach for Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, Herm Edwards.

 

Le Mars Chamber Receives Grant From Hotel/Motel Tax

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce was awarded $600 from Le Mars Hotel/Motel Sales Tax receipts.  Funds will be used to market the Scoop the Loop event and for miscellaneous expenses. Mary Reynolds, Main Street Coordinator says “The Le Mars Main Street Program is very grateful for the CVB funding that helped promote Scoop the Loop.”
The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce was one of 11 applicants receiving funding this year. Funding recommendations of the Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory Board were approved by the Le Mars City Council on March 4, 2014.
The CVB Advisory Board received 15 application requests totaling $55,594.14 for the 2014-2015 budget year. There was $35,000 available to be awarded to qualified groups.
The mission of the CVB Advisory Board is to attempt to fund as many qualifying projects with enough money to be useful toward completion of the project goal. Qualifying projects meet state code regarding the allocation of revenues generated by the hotel/motel sales tax. Priority is given to projects that encourage growth of tourism to the City of Le Mars.

 

Congressman King Concerned President Obama May Legalize Undocumented Immigrants

(Le Mars) --  Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King is concerned President Obama may take advantage of the Congressional summer recess and implement a plan to legalize between 5 million and up to 9 million undocumented immigrants. King says over the last month, President Obama has said he may implement the plan under his executive powers.  However, the Iowa Republican says if President Obama chooses to follow through with his threats, then the president would be violating the U-S constitution.

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King says the President has no regard for the separation of powers as described in the Constitution.

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King told KLEM news if that happens, he would be on the first plane back to the nation's capital to call his colleagues for immediate action.

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The often times controversial and outspoken Republican stopped short of calling for an impeachment, but indicated severe and harsh action of the president should be taken by Congress. King says President Obama has been "acting like a school yard bully and its time to stop the bully".

 

State Senator Sorensen Pleads Guilty

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his switch of support from one Republican candidate for president to another before the 2012 caucus campaign. 
     In a Justice Department news release, federal officials say the 42-year-old Milo Republican received "under-the-table payments" when he changed loyalties in the campaign's closing days. 
     Although Justice officials wouldn't say, Sorenson was the state chairman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign beginning in June 2011.  He admitted receiving and lying about monthly payments of roughly $8,000 from another campaign from October to December. Six days before the Jan. 3 caucuses, Sorenson declared his support for then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
     Sorenson pleaded guilty to causing a campaign to falsely report expenditures and obstruction.  
     A call to Sorenson wasn't immediately returned.

 

Supreme Court Studies Proposal To Elminate Bar Exam For Iowa Law Graduates

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is hearing attorneys, judges, and law professors give their opinions on what would happen if the state eliminated the requirement that all attorneys must pass the bar exam before beginning practice.
     Currently only Wisconsin allows attorneys graduating from in-state law schools to skip the test. 
     The Iowa State Bar Association has suggested Iowa adopt the policy called diploma privilege allowing students graduating from law schools at Drake or the University of Iowa to practice law without taking the bar.
     Supporters say it will help reduce the debt of law students by allowing them to enter the work force sooner and may help slow declining law school enrollment. 
     Opponents say the bar exam serves an important gatekeeping purpose of weeding out lawyers unprepared to begin practicing law.

 

Attorney General Office Investigated

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative oversight committee will investigate a program administered by the Iowa attorney general's office.
     Rep. Kevin Koester, a Republican from Ankeny who chairs the House Government Oversight Committee, says Wednesday the panel will review some of the practices of the office's Crime Victim Assistance Division. 
     According to a news release, the committee will look at the funding that goes to programs around the state that assist crime victims. 
     The committee will meet Sept. 8 to question staff from the attorney general's office. Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller, says the program was managed responsibly and the office looks forward to discussing operations with the committee.

 

 

    

 

 

 



   

Wednesday News, August 27

Community Health Director Retires After Serving Plymouth County For 30 Years

(Le Mars) -- After 30 years of serving the people of Plymouth County as the Community Health Director, Deb Steffen is stepping down.  Steffen will retire from her position on Friday. She says during the past 30 years she has witnessed several changes to her department.

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Steffen says originally home care was the primary focus.

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The Community Health Director says through the years, there was some confusion among the public regarding children's immunizations, and myths began to spread.

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Steffen says after September 11th of 2001, the role of public health added new responsibilities.

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Following retirement, Steffen says she has been training to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, working with children in the foster care program.  The new Community Health Director will be Terri Geddes, who has health care experience through the Hospice of Siouxland and Siouxland Community He alth Center.

 

Dordt College Opens New Science And Technology Center

(Sioux Center) -- Dordt College at Sioux Center is ready to open its new Science and Technology Building. The official dedication is scheduled for October 19th, but college officials are opening the facility for an early look.  The $12 million building is being built and financed in three separate phases.  Phase one will serve as a hub for teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and math at Dordt College. To foster interdisciplinary interaction across campus, a two-story addition will connect the current science building to the classroom building containing faculty offices, technology-enabled classrooms, computer learning labs, informal learning spaces, and areas for public presentation and display of the ongoing work. An engineering design and project wing will include new project areas and laboratories dedicated to civil structures and engineering mechanics, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, foundations and soil mechanics, electronics, instrumentation and mechatronics, solar energy engineering, and materials science. A high-bay work area will provide space for student design teams to develop, build, and test their prototypes. A modern teaching and research greenhouse to serve agriculture and biology will cap off this project and laboratory space. An expanded nursing skills laboratory will also be added to the current nursing building during this phase.

 

Escaped Inmate Back In Custody

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say an inmate who escaped during a Sioux City work release has been found at a nearby Target. 
     An Iowa Department of Corrections spokesmansays that 22-year-old Melvin William Spencer III was taken back into custody Tuesday night. 
     Authorities say Spencer escaped custody Sunday by not returning to a residential treatment facility from a weekend furlough. He is serving a seven-year sentence for intimidation with a dangerous weapon and carrying weapons. He began his sentence in 2012 and was transferred to work release in June.
     The spokesman says it wasn't clear what Spencer was doing at the store. He says parole officials will review whether to revoke Spencer's work release.
     It's unclear if additional charges have been filed.
     ---

 

Police Investigate Near Drowning Of Child And Arrest Mother On Drug Charges

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police have made a drug-related arrest after investigating a near drowning of a child.  On Monday afternoon, Sioux City Police were notified of a near-drowning of a 10 month old child in the 2800 block of west 4th Street in an apartment complex.  When officers arrived on the scene they observed marijuana in plain view and found evidence of marijuana being smoked in the apartment at the time of the incident.  The child was transported to a local hospital and was checked for observation.  The child's mother, 20 year old Maricela Vasquez was present at the apartment when officers arrived.  Vasques admitted to investigators that she had left her 10-month old child unattended in the bathtub in order to go to a bedroom and smoke marijuana.  The following day, Vasques was arrested and charged her with Child Endangerment, a Class D felony, and possession of a controlled subtance, marijuana, a serious misdemeanor.  The child has been released from the hospital and removed from Vasquez's custody.

 

Sioux City Considers Expanding Hiking/Pedestrian Trail

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Sioux City public works director says officials are moving forward with a $300,000 plan to fix a city trail. 
     Construction on the Floyd River Trail could start as early as the spring. 
     The north trailhead was blocked off five years ago when Union Pacific Railroad tracks were built across the path. The director says a tunnel can be constructed beneath the tracks to divert pedestrians and cyclists.
     City officials say money left over from a different construction project could fund the repair. The plans will require approval by the City Council.
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People Testify About Being Frustrated About Not Able To Obtain Marijuana Extract

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Speakers at an administrative hearing say they're frustrated at the difficulty in obtaining a marijuana extract despite Iowa's new law.
     Sally Gaer, of West Des Moines, and Kim Novy, of Altoona, made the comments Tuesday after a state Department of Public Health hearing on the issue. Both women say they have epileptic children who would benefit from the extract.
     Gaer says the law, which decriminalizes possession of a marijuana extract for patients, offers no legal method for growing or selling the product in the state, and lawmakers are still working on issuing registration cards to allow residents to possess extract purchased in other states.
     Health official Deborah Thompson says officials hope to issue registration cards by the end of the year.
     ---

 

Former Judge On Employment Issues Testifies At Government Oversight Hearing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former chief judge for the state agency that hears unemployment cases says he was fired because he stood up to his boss, who asserted her bias toward employers and against unemployed workers.
     Joe Walsh oversaw 15 unemployment appeals judges from 2010 until his dismissal in 2013.
     On Tuesday, he told the Senate Government Oversight Committee that Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert pushed him to develop tip sheets to help businesses avoid paying unemployment.  She was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad.
     Walsh called for an independent counsel to "fully investigate all of the Branstad administration's abuses of the administrative judiciary."
     A workforce development spokeswoman wouldn't comment but noted Wahlert testifies before the panel Wednesday.
     Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers noted Democrats lead the hearings, calling them "thinly veiled political circus."

 

Republicans Accuse Hatch Of Killing Bill To Protect His Real Estate Business

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Republicans are accusing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch of using his legislative position to halt a bill that could have impacted his development business.
     Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said Tuesday that as a state senator, Hatch sought to kill a bill that would have limited fees for developers receiving federal tax credits to build low-income housing.
     Hatch's development company has built projects using these tax credits. Hatch's campaign called the accusations false, but declined to answer specific questions.
     The bill cited by Republicans was referred to a subcommittee chaired by Hatch in 2013. The panel never met, meaning the bill did not advance.
     A recent investigation by The Des Moines Register found that Hatch had followed development rules and had taken votes for and against his self-interest. 

 


 

 

 

 

 

   

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