(LE MARS)–Plymouth County voters opposed three members of the Iowa Supreme Court and joined a statewide majority who decided not to retain the justices.
According to unofficial election results from Plymouth County auditor Stacey Feldman, the largest number of Plymouth County votes against a justice went to Chief Justice Marsha Ternus. Ternus was opposed by more than 52-hundred of the more than 77-hundred voters.
Terry Branstad’s bid for a fifth term as the state’s governor was supported by Plymouth County voters who backed Branstad with 75 percent of the vote or 6,448 votes. Democratic incumbent Chet Culver had 2,137 votes.
Unofficial results give Bill Anderson of Pierson a seat in the Iowa Senate representing portions of Plymouth, Woodbury and Cherokee Counties. The Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat was retired Sioux City Police Officer Marty Pottebaum who is a Remsen native. Anderson is a member of Congressman Steve King’s staff. Senate District 27 voters supported Anderson with 62 percent of the vote compared to 37 percent for Pottebaum. Incumbent Ron Wieck of Sioux City did not seek re-election.
Le Mars banker Jack Guenthner, a Republican, received more than 69-hundred votes in his unopposed bid to join the Board of Supervisors. Guenthner will fill the only all -city residents supervisor’s district in the county which is now held by Gordon Greene of Le Mars. Greene did not seek a third term.
The top vote getter in county office was Treasurer Linda Dobson, a Republican from Le Mars who had 7,472 votes.
Feldman says some voters registered on Election Day.
Pat Winter of Le Mars was re-elected as a Plymouth County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner. The second winner in a three-way race was Jeff Petersen of rural Merrill. Third place went to Sandra Fravel.
Elected to the Plymouth County Extension Council are five new members: Julie Madden; Jill Utesch; Jim Jauer; Glen Hayworth and Chad Banks.
The majority of Fredonia Township residents who voted opposed appointment of township officers by the board of supervisors when vacancies occur. Fredonia Township remains the only township among the county’s 24 to continue to fill those vacancies by election rather than appointment.
Three justices voted off the Supreme Court
(Des Moines) Three Iowa Supreme Court justices will be leaving the court at year’s end. The names of the chief justice and two other justices were on yesterday’s ballot in a retention election, and while returns were not complete early this morning, the justices issued a written statement at 12:30 a.m., acknowledging their losses and the end of their service on the court. Bob Vander Plaats of rural Sioux City is a spokesman for the group “Iowa for Freedom” which formed this summer to campaign against the judges because of the court’s ruling on gay marriage.
Dan Moore, a Sioux City attorney who is a past-president of the Iowa State Bar Association, headed up a group that had urged Iowans to retain the justices.
In April of 2009, the court issued a unanimous ruling on the same-sex marriage case and while three of the co-signers of that opinion have now been voted off the court, the four others will find themselves up in a retention election in the future. (News report by Radio Iowa)
For unofficial election results click here
Sioux County–center of the home page
Cherokee County–look for the flag
Republican King wins another term in 5th District
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Fifth District Republican Rep. Steve King easily won his fifth term in Congress, overcoming a challenge from Democrat Matt Campbell.
Campbell argued that King was more focused on being a national figure in the conservative movement than in helping the 5th District.
Since his first election in 2002, King hasn’t been seriously challenged in the predominantly Republican western Iowa district. He cruised to victory again Tuesday.
Over the years, he’s become a fixture on national talk radio because of his hard line against President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
Campbell is a lawyer from Mannin who was making his first run for Congress.(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Theatre may open in downtown Le Mars soon
(LE MARS)–On a four-to-one vote, the Le Mars City Council Tuesday afternoon agreed to provide funds for a downtown theatre renovation project.
The request for 150-thousand dollars received a no vote from Council member Delana Ihrke.
Armand Bartsch of Le Mars asked the Council not to invest in the project to reopen the closed Royal T III Theatre.
A timeline outlined for the project would put the opening of the state-of-the-art, three-screen theatre at Christmas of this year.
Movies are to be first runs and the equipment will be digital. The project cost is estimated at more than 700-thousand dollars.
Plans are to keep the facade of the theatre but everything else would be new.
Plymouth County supervisors have been asked to provide 50-thousand dollars. The request will be considered November 16th at 10 a-m.
In other business, the Council approved a 2011 contract with Mike Fiddelke of Orange City for the City of Le Mars Willow Creek Golf Course Bar and Grill.
Two Le Mars residents spoke in opposition to development of a new city park in the southwest area of the city due to costs, the current economy and property tax rates. Council members said the designs posted at the Le Mars Public Library and City Hall are concept drawings and no decision has been made to move forward.
City Council’s initial offer to employees freezes pay
(LE MARS)–An initial proposal from the Le Mars City Council makes few changes in the current agreement with the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining Group.
The one-page initial bargaining position is signed by Council members John Leonard and Delana Ihrke. Negotiations involve a contract that would go into effect in July of next year.
The city offer made Tuesday afternoon would freeze wages for three years. Employees’ initial offer was a three-and-a-half percent raise for each of the first two years of a new contract and a four percent increase in pay in the third year.
Over three-years, the city proposes to move to have family health insurance paid for entirely by the employee.
According to City Administrator Scott Langel, the current contract requires the employee to pay for 10 percent of their coverage and 10 percent of the cost of family health insurance.
Sick leave accrual would be based on an eight-hour day, working days would be eight hours for the purpose of vacation accumulation. In the area of pay in lieu of holidays. the number of hours would be changed from 100 to 80 hours to equalize accumulation rates across the workforce.
The city’s initial offer will be presented to the employees and a schedule for future talks will be prepared. The City Council is required to act on any agreement at a public meeting but negotiations being the first two initial offers are not legally required to be open meetings.
Winter ready ideas include furance maintenance
(LE MARS)– If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start winterizing your home. A good place to start is with your furnace. Derek Langel, owner Langel’s Plumbing and Heating in Le Mars, says preventative maintenance on your furnace is important.
That unknown gas is carbon monoxide. It’s a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is common in many homes. Having an annual furnace inspection will help make sure your home is carbon monoxide free.
Once the furnace is ready to go, keep the heat in by checking for gaps and cracks in windows and doors. Consider replacing cracked windows, weatherstrip any gaps, and put plastic over especially drafty areas. Another good way to keep warm air in is to add insulation to your attic, this can also prevent ice daming by keeping the roof cold.
A couple other things to consider…clean out the gutters, tune up snow blowers now, buy supplies for any possible power outages, and test your smoke detectors. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)
GOP ex-Gov. Branstad wins Iowa governor race
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is returning for a fifth term after a 12-year break.
Voters elected the Republican on Tuesday over first-term Democrat Chet Culver, whose loss made him the first incumbent Iowa governor to lose election since 1962.
Branstad campaigned on promises to rein in government spending and cut business taxes. He called for making Iowa more friendly to entrepreneurs and told voters he’d create 200,000 jobs within five years.
Those pledges played well in a state with unemployment of nearly 7 percent, the highest Iowa has seen in decades.
The 63-year-old Branstad was first elected governor in 1982 and served 16 years. After opting not to run again, he was named president of Des Moines University.
Iowa judges’ removal emboldens gay marriage foes
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gay marriage foes have been emboldened by the removal of three Iowa Supreme Court justices.
They say they now plan to press Republicans who took over the governor’s office and the state House to work toward a ban on gay marriage in the state.
Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit will be removed after about 54 percent of voters backed their ouster Tuesday.
They were among the seven on the court of seven justices who unanimously decided last year that an Iowa law restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated the state’s constitution.
The court’s ruling stands.
However, gay marriage opponents hope to make it an issue. They’ve sought a constitutional amendment requiring that marriage may only exist between a man and a woman.
Republicans regain state House majority
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa Republicans have gained control of the state House, but Democrats were hanging on to the Senate by a slim margin.
Republicans were positioned Tuesday night to control the House with at least 56 seats in the 100-member chamber.
Democrats were holding a majority in the Senate but Republicans had picked up at least three seats, given them 21 positions in the 50-member chamber.
House GOP Leader Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says Republicans will focus on jobs, the economy and reducing the size of government.
Miller wins Iowa attorney general’s race
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller has been re-elected after a heated and expensive race.
The 66-year-old Miller held off Republican Brenna Findley on Tuesday to retain the job he’s held since 1978, save for a four-year stretch after he lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Findley had run a high-profile campaign, thanks in part to more than $1 million in donation, much of it from the Republican Party of Iowa.
Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, a Spirit Lake farmer, won a second term, beating Democrat Francis Thicke, of Fairfield.
State Auditor David Vaudt and Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald also won re-election.
1st District Democrat Braley wins 3rd term
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democrat Bruce Braley survived an expensive and bruising challenge to win a third term in the U.S. House.
Braley, a Waterloo lawyer, defeated Independence lawyer Ben Lange on Tuesday, overcoming heavy financial backing for the Republican from outside conservative groups.
Like other Republican challengers, Lange tried to link Braley to President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both of whom have relatively low poll numbers.
Braley claimed he was targeted by conservative groups because he’s been a progressive leader in the House.
Democrat Loebsack wins 3rd term in 2nd District
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democratic Rep. David Loebsack has won a third term in Congress, surviving a determined challenge by Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks in a rematch of a race two years ago.
Loebsack was first elected in 2006 in a surprise win over veteran Republican Rep. Jim Leach. In 2008, Loebsack cruised to a win over Miller-Meeks.
The race seemed more competitive this time, as Miller-Meeks campaigned extensively and focused on a message of reducing the deficit and cutting spending.
It wasn’t enough to beat Loebsack on Tuesday in the 2nd District, which has a sizable Democratic majority.
Before being elected to Congress, Loebsack was a political science professor at Cornell College in Mount Vernon.
3rd District Democrat Boswell wins eighth term
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell has won an eighth term in the U.S. House, overcoming a tough challenger from Republican state Sen. Brad Zaun.
Zaun, a former mayor of Urbandale, sought to make Boswell a symbol for what’s wrong in Washington. Zaun linked Boswell to national Democratic leaders and blamed them for mismanaging the economy and increasing the deficit.
Boswell responded that he’s gained seniority in the House and effectively served his district and the state. Boswell says Democrats successfully prevented an economic meltdown.
The race featured a steady stream of negative television ads from both candidates.
Republican Latham wins in 4th District
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Fourth District Republican Rep. Tom Latham has won to a ninth term in the U.S. House, defeating retired educator Bill Maske.
Latham was first elected to Congress in 1994, representing a sprawling district that includes much of north Iowa. Since that first election, he hasn’t been seriously challenged.
Latham has argued he’s positioned well within Republican circles to be a force should the GOP take control of the House.
Maske is a veteran Democratic activist who was making his first run for Congress. He had a 34-year career as an educator in a series of Iowa school districts before retiring. At one point he taught at American University in Tehran.
Before being elected to Congress, Latham worked in his family’s seed corn business.
Voters OK environmental trust fund
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowans have approved a constitutional amendment to establish a trust fund to pay for environmental efforts in the state.
The Land and Water Legacy Amendment was passing easily in partial returns. It will create a fund to pay for efforts such as improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, protecting wildlife habitats and creating parks and trails.
The fund won’t have any money. But supporters hope lawmakers in the future will approve a 1 percent sales tax increase, of which three-eighths of each penny would go toward the fund.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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