(LE MARS)–The mayor of Le Mars expects soldiers who’ll leave the National Guard Armory in Le Mars for active duty in Afghanistan to see the community’s commitment to their service Thursday night.
Members of Wasmer Post 241 of the American Legion in Le Mars are organizing the recognition and support for Le Mars Troop C of the First Squadron, 113th Infantry, 34th Division. The Troop will be deployed this summer.
Mayor Dick Kirchoff told the City Council Tuesday Troop C will receive community convenants Thursday night at seven at the National Guard Armory on Highway Three East.
“The city, the chamber, board of supervisors, the police, the fire department, the sheriff, Le Mars Community High School, veterans of Wasmer Post 241, the school board, Gehlen Catholic, Floyd Valley Hospital, the Daily Sentinel newspaper, and KLEM Radio will all be signing these commitments and as I said we will be presenting this to the 34th Division Thursday night at seven o’clock,” Kirchoff says.
A total of 15 representatives of employers, educators, civic and business leaders are slated to sign the community covenants.
(LE MARS)–Amnesty is the option the Le Mars City Council is choosing to encourage Le Mars residents to stop sump pumps from emptying into sanitary sewers sending more water into the Wastewater Treatment system.
Wastewater Treatment superintendent Ron Kayser says, at this time of year, large amounts of water flow into the treatment facility. He explained the bottom line could be more money.
“The problem is if it doesn’t get fixed it’s going to be more money–essentially you’re adding on to a plant,.” Kayser explained. “Right now we’re handling it. I’m not going to say we have a lot of excess capacity, but if we have to build for the capacity of all the sump pumps and the other drains that are running in there that aren’t supposed to be, it’s alot of money to spend that you don’t have to.”
Councilmember Ken Nelson suggested a summer intern could help the city address sump pumps connected to the sanitary sewers, fencing, zoning, odd and even parking and tree trimming issues.
“Let him go door to door and accomplish some of these things and inform people that they don’t have a system that’s proper,” Nelson says. “Give them the authority to go down and take a look at their plumbing and go out and tell them they need to trim their trees up 10 feet off the ground on the street–cover a whole bunch of issues all at once.”
Under city code, the city could assess 750 dollars a day for violations now. None of the council members or city staff spoke in favor of that direction. Amnesty was proposed by Councilmember John Rexwinkel.
“We need to enforce, but I think we need an amnesty period to let people adjust,” Rexwinkel says. “It’s going to require plumbing work and you’re not going to get plumbers overnight. I’d suggest you give people until the end of the year to become in compliance on the sump pumps and then you’d be ahead of next spring’s thaw.”
City administrator Scott Langel recommended the Council have the water, wastewater and code enforcement departments direct the sump pump checks rather than choosing a specific area of the city or dividing the city by quadrants over a period of years.
(LE MARS)–The Le Mars City Council Tuesday voted to accept the Highway Three widening project as a completed project. An explanation was presented on payments a contractor didn’t receive and
penalties for delayed completion of the project near Floyd Valley Hospital.
April 20th at noon was set as the time for comments on a hearing to refund bond issues from 2002 and 2003 to save an estimated 91-thousand dollars.
Based on council discussion, options to solve traffic congestion on Lincoln Street Southeast, east of Le Mars City Hall, will begin with temporary no parking signs.
Three options to fix potholes on Business Highway 75, South of Highway Three, range from resurfacing to patching. Costs are to be prepared for Council consideration. City crews continue to fill potholes.
The Council decided to get more information before agreeing to post some fishing ponds as catch and release only for fishing.
(LE MARS)–Awareness is the focus of a proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Plymouth County.
Board of Supervisors chair Jim Henrich Tuesday read and signed a proclamation urging county residents to participate in activities and events for Sexual Assault Awareness month.
“Whereas the year 2010 theme, “Stand Up, Raise your Voice, Ending Violence is Your Choice,” encourages everyone to hep make a difference by modeling respect and equality and work towards a society where all women, children and men live in a society free from violence and exploitation, therefore be it resolved that I, Jim Henrich, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, do herby proclaim April 2010, Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Plymouth County,” Henrich read.
Cathy Van Maanen of the Plymouth County Outreach office of the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (CSADV) says she’s grateful to schools becoming more aware of the issue of technology. She describes information presented recently to one school group about the dangers of sexting.
“Sexting is a huge problem that has developed very quickly and we shared stories of two young girls who actually committed suicide after pictures that they had intended for their boyfriend only were sent out to the entire school body. So it is an issue that we are trying to stay on top of,” Van Maanen explained.
She told the board of supervisors cyberbullying is another issue that has led to the deaths of young people. The Council has set Denim Day April 20th as an awareness month event in the Le Mars area.
(LE MARS)–More than one-million dollars in new construction is planned or underway in rural areas of Plymouth County.
Zoning administrator Alan Lucken’s March report lists 14 permits for one-point-two-million dollars in building activity.
Lucken issued six permits for construction in rural areas not considered farms. Those permits included three new houses being built in Henry and Perry Townships. There was also a permit for a shop and two storage buildings in non-farm rural areas.
Lucken reports eight permits for construction on farms including two house additions, two machine storage buildings, two grain bins, a cattle barn and a garage. Farm construction was estimated at nearly 300-thousand dollars.
(LE MARS)–The first permit for a new house in Le Mars this year is for construction near the city of Le Mars Willow Creek golf course.
Code enforcement officer Jason Vacura issued four permits for 354-thousand dollars in March. The highest construction value was from a new house estimated at 350-thousand dollars.
The city building report lists two sign permits and a fence permit. Total fees in march were about 18-hundred dollars. Since the first of the year, Vacura has issued seven permits for about 557-thousand dollars in construction.
WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. Department of Education is sending $18.7 million to Iowa to help the state’s lowest achieving schools turn around.
The money is being made available through the department’s School Improvement Grants program. Iowa will distribute the funds through an application process to districts that have low performing schools.
Rep. Bruce Braley said in a statement Tuesday that when schools continually display poor results, it’s important to provide teachers and administrators with the help they need to give students the education they deserve.
Districts applying for the funds must indicate they will implement one of four models in their persistently lowest achieving schools. The options include closing the school and sending the students to higher achieving schools in the district, or replacing the principal, improving the curriculum, and screening existing staff and firing at least half of them.
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver has signed into law two measures that improve benefits for Iowa’s military families.
One of the measures signed by Culver Tuesday allows benefits paid from the Veterans Trust Fund to be exempt from state income taxes. That fund makes payment to veterans to help pay for travel to obtain medical care and for jobless benefits.
The second directs the Department of Human Services to include on the Mental Health Planning Advisory Council a veteran familiar with behavioral issues facing veterans, such as post traumatic stress disorder.
Culver focused heavily on issues affecting military families during this year’s legislative session. He also visited Iowa troops in Afghanistan, saying it was his responsibility as commander in chief of the Iowa National Guard.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) The oldest person in the United States has died in Iowa at age 114, leaving a Texas woman as the oldest American.
Neva Morris died at a nursing home in Ames at about 4 a.m. Tuesday.
The Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles says the oldest person in the U.S. is now Eunice Sanborn of Jacksonville, Texas. She is 113 years and 260 days. The oldest person in the world is Japan’s Kama Chinen at age 114 years, 330 days.
Neva Morris’ family says in a statement that she led a “long, charitable and wonderful life.”
Only one of her four children, a son in Sioux City, Iowa, is still alive.
Morris became the oldest living American on March 8, when a 114-year-old New Hampshire woman died.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) As of June 1, people younger than the legal drinking age of 21 will be shut out of Iowa City taverns after 10 p.m.
As was expected, the Iowa City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to pass and adopt the ordinance change. The only dissenting vote was cast by Regenia Bailey.
Currently, people 19 and older are allowed in Iowa City bars at night. But some city and University of Iowa officials have said setting the minimum bar entry age at 21 would help combat what they say is a culture of binge drinking, particularly by college students.
Opponents of the change have promised to petition for a referendum to send the matter to voters in the Nov. 2 general election, with a goal of reversing the council’s action.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines police say the city’s first homicide of the year was a fatal domestic shooting that apparently stemmed from a quarrel over alleged marital indiscretions.
The victim, 23-year-old Randi Gilmore, was found dead Monday from a gunshot wound in the basement of her home.
Her 25-year-old husband, Donte Gilmore, was arrested without incident a few minutes later and charged with first-degree murder.
Police Detective Capt. Randy Dawson says the two had been accusing each other of infidelity before the shooting.
The Gilmores’ three children, all younger than age 6, were home at the time of the shooting and are now staying with relatives.
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) A trial date has been set for a teenager charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the death of a 3-year-old Charles City girl.
Judge Bryan McKinley set the trial of 14-year-old Edgar Concepcion Jr. for May 4 in the Hamilton County community of Webster City.
McKinley refused to grant pretrial release for Concepcion, who is being held on a $1 million bond, saying he deems him a flight risk.
In addition to murder, Concepcion is charged with first-degree sexual abuse in the July 10 death of his cousin, Krystel Banes.
A 9-1-1 caller said the girl had fallen at the home of a neighboring family. An autopsy revealed the girl died of asphyxiation, and her death was ruled a homicide.
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Waterloo say they have seized a $5 bill that did such a good job of masquerading as a $100 bill that a bank accepted it.
Police say someone washed the printing off a $5 bill, leaving just the paper. The counterfeiter then reprinted it as a $100 bill and apparently passed it to Wells Fargo bank.
The bank, unaware of the forgery, gave the bogus bill to a Waterloo man when he made a withdrawal Monday. The man took it to a Hy-Vee supermarket, and a clerk there determined it was fake by checking the watermark.
Bank officials later gave the man a real $100 bill.
Hy-Vee officials told police they were alert to the counterfeiting because it has been a common problem at their Cedar Rapids stores.
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Politicians and military leaders are hailing the $12 million in renovations to the Iowa National Guard’s aviation facilities near Waterloo Regional Airport.
The pilots, mechanics and other military personnel who work at the post say in addition to showing a commitment to soldiers, it will help them do their jobs.
The Waterloo Aviation Readiness Center and Army Aviation Support Facility is home to five Air Guard detachments and area counter drug operations. Originally built in 1972, officials said more space was needed to house and maintain helicopters and train soldiers.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley pointed to the 2008 floods and Iraq to show taxpayers got a good deal in the renovation. He noted all 180 soldiers training at the facility have been called up to active service. He also noted the guard’s assistance during the 2008 flood.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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