(LE MARS)–On a five-to-one vote, the Le Mars Community Board of Education is moving ahead on a nine-point-four million dollar school construction project.
The second phase of a building plan developed about five years ago will provide new art, music, and athletic facilities as well as storage and restroom areas.
Operating costs for the additional space are estimated at 50-thousand dollars a year. The building will be financed over 10 years by the statewide school sales tax.
Board member Dan Smith of Merrill voted against proceeding to bids for the project. Smith expressed a concern about the future asking if the project could lead to a reduction in teachers. He recalled a financial consultant’s estimate of declining enrollment.
Board member Mark Stelzer was absent from the meeting due to a professional commitment.
The board also set November 22nd at 7:30 p.m. as a time for public comments on plans to give the Kissinger Elementary Building to the city of Merrill for one dollar. The school building was closed at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Board member Patrick Murphy abstained from voting citing the potential for a conflict of interest. Murphy is the attorney for the city of Merrill.
Check back for more on this news report.
General election results will be reviewed by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today
(LE MARS)–A review of the General Election in Plymouth County is needed before the November 2nd results are final.
Plymouth County Supervisors will include the review, known as a canvass, in the agenda for a meeting this (Tuesday) morning.
An update from County Economic Development Director Andrea Westergard is an agenda item at 10:30 this morning.
Supervisors discuss the budget for mental health-related services coordinated by county staffer Sharon Nieman at ten.
The Board’s final agenda time is at 11 when Assistant County Engineer Terry Marienau provides a weekly road update.
Middle School employee recognized for nurturing students
(LE MARS)–A Le Mars Community Middle School staff member is the school’s “Employee of the Month.”
Middle School Educational Associate Elaine Van Otterloo was honored Monday.
A nomination for Elaine Van Otterloo indicates she’s served the Le Mars Community Middle School in a variety of ways for many years. Today, she assists students needing extra help with their academic and social needs.
Her strength is described as her ability to build on the uniqueness of each student and focusi on the curriculum and material that has life-meaning for the Middle School students.
The nomination sums up her work by stating Van Otterloo “most certainly has made a difference in the life of her students.”
Board appoints negotiating team for teacher contract talks
(LE MARS)–Contract talks between the group representing teachers at Le Mars Community School and the Board of Education are expected to begin early next year.
Le Mars Community Education Association President Rachel Cunningham has notified Board President Patrick Murphy of plans to bargain for a 2010-2011 school year contract.
The Education Association is prepared to make its initial proposal on January 3rd of next year at 5 p-m. The group representing the district’s teachers expects the Board of Education to respond with an initial proposal two weeks later on January 17th.
The negotiator for the Le Mars Education Association is Doug Martin.
The Board of Education Monday night appointed a bargaining team for the new contract negotiations.
The board members are Scott Kommes and Patrick Murphy with Mark Hemmingson serving as an alternate member. The Board’s chief negotiator is Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt.
The initial proposals are presented at public meetings. Any agreement that is reached would be tentative until accepted by the Board of Education at a public meeting.
Jurors do not need to report today
(LE MARS)–Plymouth County Jurors DO NOT NEED to report for jury duty Tuesday, November 9th. Jurors are asked
to call the Clerk of Court’s office Monday, November 15th after 3:00 pm to find out whether to report on Tuesday, November 16th.
Le Mars Police charge two teens after sexual abuse investigation
(LE MARS)–Two teens face charges after an investigation of a sexual abuse report by Le Mars Police.
According to written information released by police on Monday, the investigation involved a report of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old female on October 24th.
Eighteen-year-old Stephen Anthony Stewart of Le Mars is charged with aiding and abetting sexual abuse; delivery of counterfeit marijuana known as SPICE; gathering where controlled substances were used; and two charges of delivery of a controlled substance to a person under age 18. He was arrested Saturday afternoon (November 6th) and is being held in the Plymouth County Jail.
A fifteen-year-old, Jacob Scott Peters of Le Mars, was charged with sexual abuse in the third degree in Juvenile Court on October 30th and was released to his parents.
Paulsen, Upmeyer to lead Republicans in Iowa House
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republicans in the Iowa House have selected Rep. Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha as the chamber’s new speaker and Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Garner as the new majority leader.
Republicans met Monday to map their course after winning control of the House by a 60-40 margin during last week’s election.
Paulsen will be formally elected by the full House on the first day of the session in January.
Republicans in the Senate also met Monday to choose their leaders. Democrats hold a 26-24 edge in the Senate but recounts are likely for two seats.
Democrats are planning to meet next week to select its leaders, and to decide what course they will take heading into a legislative session where their power is greatly reduced.
Cedar Rapids amphitheater project moving forward
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids city leaders are going forward with plans to build a $6.6 million amphitheater outside on the west bank of the Cedar River.
The Gazette newspaper reports that the City Council will this week be asked for just more than $1 million over the next two budgets for the project. That money will be used to match $3.75 million in state fund and $2 million in private donations. The amphitheater would seat 3,000 people and act as a flood-control levee.
According to city documents, the amphitheater could attract as many as 52 events a year.
Iowa man pleads guilty in prosecutor assault
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A Dubuque man convicted of killing a friend and wounding a neighbor has pleaded guilty to assaulting the prosecutor minutes after the jury’s verdict.
The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque reports that Michael Mayton pleaded guilty Monday to willful injury in the attack on Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter.
Mayton was convicted in July of the August 2009 stabbing death of David Tate and the stabbing of Richard Schramm Jr.
After the verdict, Mayton was accused of hitting Potter with his cuffed hands. Potter was treated at a hospital and released.
Mayton was sentenced in October to 55 years in prison in the stabbing case.
He’ll be sentenced Nov. 29 for willful injury. Attorneys declined to comment until after sentencing.
Hispanic businesses see 60 percent growth in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Census data has found 60 percent growth in Hispanic-owned businesses in Iowa before the recession.
The Des Moines Register reports that the figure for Iowa is the 19th-fastest growth rate in the nation.
The data show the Hispanic business growth rate outpaced the 10 percent growth seen for all Iowa businesses between 2002 and 2007. Statewide, Hispanic-owned businesses make up less than 1 percent of the state’s total. Data show that ten other states have fewer Hispanic-owned businesses than Iowa.
Hispanics are about 4.5 percent of the state’s population, growing nearly 63 percent from 2000 to 2009 to about 134,000. The newspaper reports receipts from Hispanic businesses increased 59 percent from 2002 to 2007, totaling $457 million in 2007.
Traffic cameras curb speeding in Cedar Rapids
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) New statistics from the speed cameras in Cedar Rapids show a 52 percent drop in violations over four months at an intersection on northbound Interstate 380.
The Gazette reports Monday that more than 38,000 tickets have been issued since March worth more than $970,000. Vehicles from every state have been caught. About 93 percent of citations are for speeding and the cameras catch 14 speeders for every motorist who runs a red light.
Lt. Jeff Hembera is the commander in charge of the traffic division. He says he’s seen a big change. Hembera says a goal of the program was to change driver behavior and “it’s worked.”
Des Moines inspects dam in downtown
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Army Corps of Engineers is dropping the level on the Des Moines River so the city can get a good look at a dam in downtown.
WHO-TV reports the corps started lowering the river Monday afternoon between downtown and Saylorville Lake, which is just north of the city. It will allow the city to complete work along the river and to inspect the dam.
The city asked that the river be lowered to complete the projects that have been on hold because of high water levels all summer.
The city says the river won’t return to normal until Friday.
Former owners of US Fidelis settle with 11 states
ST. LOUIS (AP) The former owners of a suburban St. Louis company that was once among the nation’s top marketers of auto service contracts have reached a settlement with Iowa and 10 other states that bars them from telemarketing or selling in those states.
The settlement was announced Monday between former US Fidelis owners Darain and Cory Atkinson and attorneys general in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
US Fidelis filed for bankruptcy in March amid accusations it used illegal telemarketing ploys and sold worthless warranties. Federal prosecutors continue to investigate.
The Atkinsons do not have listed phone numbers. Messages seeking comment from the US Fidelis office in Wentzville, Mo., and with the attorney for the brothers, were not returned.
Ohio man charged in manhole cover theft in Iowa
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) An Ohio man is charged in Iowa with stealing manhole covers, drain covers and fence posts to sell as scrap.
The Messenger in Fort Dodge says Matthew Hyatt of Columbus, Ohio, faces seven theft charges and a third-degree burglary charge.
According to criminal complaints, Hyatt’s allegedly stole manhole covers and sewer drain covers from several store parking lots in Fort Dodge last week.
The replacement cost is around $1,600. Some were reportedly sold as scrap to a salvage yard.
Hyatt is also accused of stealing 54 metal fence posts, four sections of railing and 11 storm sewer gates from a supply store. Those were valued at more than $2,000.
Hyatt remained in the Webster County jail on Monday on $22,000 bond. The sheriff’s office did not know if he had an attorney.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)