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Saturday Afternoon News, February 6

Lawmakers Address Issues During Legislative Forum

(Le Mars) -- Local lawmakers Chuck Holz and Bill Anderson visited with a dozen people in Le Mars Saturday morning during their legislative forum.  The group size may have been moderate to small, but it provided for good round table discussion.  Those attending the legislative forum represented school officials, Farm Bureau, Rural Electric Cooperative, and retired citizens and the media.  School funding and water quality were two of the issues that were discussed.  Holz reminded the group that the state House of Representatives passed a school funding bill that would increase the school spending by two percent, where as the Senate have advocated a four percent increase.  Holz says the issue now rests in conference committee.  State Senator Bill Anderson says he believes the final compromise may be close to the figure of 2.45 percent as proposed by Governor Terry Branstad. Dr. Todd Wendt, the superintendent of schools for Le Mars Community was on hand for the meeting.  Wendt says if only a two percent increase for school funding is approved, it will mean the local school board will need to raise the tax levy on property. The lawmakers were also asked about taking money from tax that is collected to help finance school infrastructure and instead to devote it to the efforts of improving the state's water quality initiative.  Holz turned the question back on the group asking for what their opinion is of the issue.  The consensus of the gathering was the money should continue to finance school infrastructure, and another source of revenue should be devoted to funding water quality efforts.  KLEM news will have comments from State Representative Chuck Holz and State Senator Bill Anderson on Monday.




Remsen Chamber To Hold Annual Awards Banquet Saturday Evening

(Remsen) -- Tonight at the Avalon Ballroom in Remsen will be the Remsen Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet.  The Remsen Citizen of the Year and the Remsen Business of the Year will be announced during the banquet.  Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the banquet scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.




16 Year Fugitive Brought To Justice On Sexual Abuse Charges

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A man who fled the country 16 years ago to avoid prosecution for sexually abusing two girls has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
53-year-old Mitchell Meyer pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of flight to avoid prosecution. He was sentenced Thursday.
Meyer was arrested and charged in 1998 for sexually abusing two girls. But he never appeared for his May 1999 trial.
Meyer was arrested in June in Mexico and returned to Woodbury County for prosecution.





Trump Tomato Thrower To Go To Trial

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City man accused of throwing two tomatoes at GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump will stand trial in the case.
The trial for 28-year-old Andrew Joseph Alemao has been set for March 22. Alemao is charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. University of Iowa Police say Alemao was seen throwing two tomatoes at Trump during a speech Jan. 26 in Iowa City. It's not clear whether the tomatoes hit anyone.
Alemao is free while awaiting trial. His attorney, Al Smith, says he has asked for a jury trial and that his client "is innocent until proven guilty."
If convicted, Alemao faces up to 30 days in jail or a $625 fine.







Saturday News, February 6

Le Mars Super Expo Continues Today

(Le Mars) -- Its day two for the KLEM Le Mars Super Expo being held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Doors will open this morning at 10:00 a.m. and will remain open until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.  More than 70 booths are on display featuring financial institutions, insurance, home improvement, flooring, home furnishings and appliances, communications, healthcare and exercise, and new this year in the board meeting room, are several home-based businesses marketing their products.  Because of the big game featured on Sunday, this year's expo has taken on a football theme.  Admission is free to the Le Mars Super Expo. 





Lawmakers To Host Legislative Forum

(Le Mars) -- A legislative forum being hosted by state lawmakers Chuck Holz and Bill Anderson will take place this morning beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.  The local legislators will give an update as to the issues being debated in Des Moines at the state capitol building, and listen to constituent's concerns.  Other locations will include stops at Kingsley at 8:30, Merrill at 9:45, and Akron at 12:15 p.m.





Check Windbreaks During Winter Months

(Le Mars) -- During the winter is a perfect time to check your windbreaks, according to a state technician with the Natural Resources and Conservation Services.  Chuck Hoelker says walking around your farmstead and feedlots at this time of year can provide you with valuable information helpful in making decisions about your windbreak.  Snow drifts in areas of the farmstead could indicate a need for additional snow catch areas to be planted.  Hoelker says windbreaks play an important role in the protection of livestock particularly for young animals.  By reducing wind velocity and the effects of cold temperatures, a good windbreak can significantly reduce stress on feed energy requirements.  The N-R-C-S official says a good windbreak around a farmstead will result in better animal health, lower mortality, reduced feed costs, and increased profitability in your livestock operation.  Hoelker says evergreens work well for windbreak protection, but he also recommends some shrubs.

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The N-R-C-S is now offering a cost-share program for farmers and landowners wanting to plant a windbreak.  Monte Dowlinger, also is a state technician with the N-R-C-S.  He says the N-R-C-S will provide up to 75 percent of the costs for planting a windbreak, with the farmer or landowner paying the remaining 25 percent. He explains the details of the cost-share program.

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Dowlinger says a properly planted windbreak will offer many benefits.  He says windbreaks have proven to help reduce odors emitting from livestock production facilities.

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Dowlinger says windbreaks can also add value to your farm.

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The N-R-C-S technician says other benefits to planting a windbreak include: added beauty to the home or farm, reduces the weathering effect on buildings, and provides food and shelter for wildlife.




ISU Climatologist Says El Nino Conditions Could Produce A Wet Spring

(Ames) -- An Iowa State University climatologist says the current El Nino (EL-NEEN-yo) weather pattern is generally providing Iowa with milder temperatures this winter. Elywnn Taylor says it’s also bringing abundant moisture which is causing sub-soil tiles to run at full capacity to drain the state’s farm fields. Taylor says there's a big drawback for farmers from El Nino.

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Taylor says a strong El Nino weather pattern, like we have now, is often historically replaced by the opposite La Nina (La-NEEN-ya) pattern, which brings drought conditions during the summer and fall. Taylor says first indications of that won’t be apparent until late March when the sun moves into spring position over the Midwest.




Supreme Court Says Emmetsburg Man Can Sue His Attorney For Malpractice

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says an Emmetsburg man who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for sex but later had the conviction overturned can sue his defense attorneys for legal malpractice without being required to prove his innocence.
In the ruling Friday the court for the first time in Iowa declined to adopt proof of actual innocence as a prerequisite to sue one's criminal defense attorney.
The case involves Robert Barker who was convicted in 2006 after entering a plea agreement.
His conviction was later overturned when a judge found Barker's actions didn't correspond to the charge for which he was convicted. Barker sued his attorneys for advising him to plead guilty.
The court's ruling says Iowa won't require defendants to prove innocence before suing defense attorneys in such cases.





Culver To Hold Townhall Meetings Addressing Medicaid Privatization

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Iowa Governor Chet Culver, often rumored a possible Congressional candidate, has scheduled town meetings next week to talk to Iowans affected by the state's plan to hire three private companies to run the Medicaid program.
The public meetings will highlight the impact of the proposal on Iowa's 560,000 people who rely on Medicaid for their health care needs.
Culver, a Democrat, says Iowa's swift move toward privatization is putting peoples' health at risk.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who defeated Culver in 2010 proposed the privatization more than a year ago. The implementation has been delayed by the federal government until March 1 after officials concluded the state wasn't prepared to make the switch to private company oversight.
Culver's meetings are scheduled for Tuesday in Coralville and Cedar Rapids.





Council Bluffs To Erect Monument Saluting Public Safety

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors has unanimously supported a proposed monument honoring those who serve in public safety.
The site would take a small portion of county land in Council Bluffs.
Supervisor Justin Schultz says the board's vote stipulates that it will work with Council Bluffs officials when necessary, such as transferring the deed of the impacted land and adjusting lot lines if requested.
Council Bluffs resident Lloyd Marsh's idea for the project drew financial support from two other local residents, Ron and Suzanne Mahoney.
The plaza would include four life-sized bronze sculptures of a firefighter, highway patrolman, police officer and a female deputy sheriff.
Mayor Matt Walsh said he hopes the project will be completed by the end of the year.









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