(LE MARS)–Consumers searching for value on the grocery shelf may buy a product made by a new Le Mars business planning to begin production next month.
Bret Peterson of North American Co-Pack says the food processor prepares meat products for private label customers such as grocery store chains. Among the products is pork.
Consumers have been searching out those store brands in response to slower economic conditions.
Le Mars was identified as a possible location for North American Co-Pack with the former ProVisions location on Prospect Street. The C-F-O says distribution across the country is a plus from Le Mars.
Petersen describes the community’s leaders as very supportive.
According to Petersen, North American Co-Pack is looking for a long term commitment to contribute to the community.
Jobs will include basic labor, quality control, sanitation, technical and maintenance positions. Training opportunities are being explored with Western Iowa Tech Community College.
North American Co-Pack was looking for an eastern Nebraska or western Iowa location when the start-up company chose Le Mars.
Le Mars Community School facilities to be expanded
(LE MARS)–Statewide School sales tax will finance a construction project approved by the Le Mars Community School Board of Education Monday night.
The board action followed months of discussion about the design, costs, and financing.
At the meeting board member Scott Kommes pointed out the second phase of a construction project planned about five years ago was more than a gym. Band, choir, art, restrooms and athletic facilities are included in the building project projected to cost nine-point-four million dollars.
Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt was asked by board member Mark Hemmingson about the 50-thousand dollars a year to maintain the expanded facilities.
Board member Mark Stelzer was absent due to a professional commitment but board president Patrick Murphy said Stelzer has left word he was in favor of the project. Murphy said he joined Stelzer in his position of support.
Board member Dan Smith said he was worried about the maintenance cost impact on the district’s general fund which finances day-to-day costs of education.
Smith voted against the motion to proceed with the project and let bids on the work.
Groundbreaking and construction are expected in the spring.
School could be new Community Center
(LE MARS)–Kissinger Community Center is the name a Merrill group sees for the future of a former elementary school building.
Merrill Mayor Rich Husman appointed a committtee of Council members and citizens who see possibilities for the building.
Relocating some Merrill offices is also being considered.
Husman says there aren’t plans to abandon the Merrill Civic Center.
Public comments on plans to give the closed school building to the city of Merrill for one dollar will be heard by the Le Mars Community Board of Education November 22nd at 7:30 in the evening at the Education Service Center.
Band trip planned to Anaheim and Disneyland
(LE MARS)–More than 100 students will travel to Anaheim, California for the Le Mars Community High School Summer Band Trip.
The trip May 25th through June 1st is a switch from previous band trips to Orlando, Florida. Instrumental Music Director Curt Ohrlund says the band trip will include time at Disneyland and a performance by the University of Michigan Band.
The students are fund raising for the cost which is $790 per student. Ohrlund reviewed the plans for the Le Mars Community Board of Education Monday night.
Nearly 9,000 voted in Plymouth County
(LE MARS)–The general election cost about 24-thousand dollars in Plymouth County.
Auditor Stacey Feldman and deputy auditor Cheri Nitzschke reviewed election information with the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
There were 8,895 votes either at voting locations or through absentee ballots. Supervisors said the cost per vote is $2.69.
Feldman says there were 2,914 absentee ballots requested and 162 were not counted for a total of 2,752 absentee ballots. Nitzschke says some weren’t mailed back while others didn’t qualify to be counted, for example, because they were mailed too late.
Sixty-five voters registered and cast ballots on election day.
Men and women in the military got their ballots by email. The county had three or four of the 10 email ballots returned after voting by the soldier.
KLEM News incorrectly reported the voter turnout in a news story on November 3rd. According to the Sioux County auditor’s office Tuesday, the total number of voters was 12,890.
Student charged after bomb threat at Ankeny school
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) Police in Ankeny say they’ve arrested and charged an 18-year-old student in connection with a bomb threat at Ankeny High School.
KCCI-TV in Des Moines reports Tuesday that police say 18-year-old Jeremy Hackett of Ankeny told them he wrote a bomb threat message in the school bathroom. He’s charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon.
Hackett’s mother said Tuesday evening that the family had no comment.
Officials closed the school and put new security rules into use Monday after officials said there was a written bomb threat against the high school of about 1,600 students.
Police Chief Gary Mikulec says the threat cost “measurable economic loss.”
Cedar Rapids budgets money for Kernels stadium
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) About $220,000 in city funds will be used to pay for immediate repairs at the Veterans Memorial Stadium ballpark in Cedar Rapids.
The Gazette reports Tuesday that members of the Veterans Memorial Commission said at a Monday meeting that the city will get $150,000 from its capital-improvement budget and $70,000 from next year’s city budget. Commission members also said at the meeting that they give the Kernels about $78,000 a year for repairs and ballpark maintenance.
The announcement came after the owner of the Cedar Rapids Kernels minor-league baseball team wrote the city, saying local leaders haven’t lived up to their responsibilities regarding the lease on the team’s ballpark.
1,500 trout to be stocked in Cedar Rapids fishery
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) About 1,500 cold water trout are going to be released and stocked into Cedar Rapids’ Prairie Park Fishery.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that the stocking is planned for this weekend and is part of the agency’s efforts to expand its urban fisheries program. Fisheries biologist Paul Sleeper says high water over the summer forced the cancellation of some scheduled stockings in northeastern Iowa streams.
Sleeper says these fish are left overs from that program. The trout will be about a half pound between 12 and 14 inches long. The department says about a dozen other Iowa communities receive trout during the cold weather months.
Iowa fishing officials remind anglers looking for trout that they must have a trout fee on their fishing licenses.
The daily trout limit is five.
Roederer named director of the Dept. of Management
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republican Gov.-elect Terry Branstad has named David Roederer as the director of the Iowa Department of Management.
Branstad announced the move Tuesday, naming Roederer as the state’s top budget person.
Roederer, who is leading Branstad’s transition team, served as Branstad’s chief of staff during part of previous 16 years as governor.
Branstad says in a news release that Roederer will be instrumental in helping him develop a five year strategic plan and in implementing a two-year state budget.
Roederer says he’s excited about the new position and getting to work on a new budget.
Branstad defeated Democratic incumbent Chet Culver in last week’s election to return to the governor’s office after deciding not to seek re-election in 1998.
Des Moines man sentenced in heroin death
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Federal prosecutors say a Des Moines man has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in the heroin death of another person.
Federal officials said Tuesday that Shawn Sweeney appeared last week before a federal judge and was sentenced to 188 months in prison after pleading guilty to distributing heroin. He also was given three years of supervised release and must pay $100 to a crime victims’ fund.
Prosecutors say Sweeney distributed heroin to another man who distributed to an individual who died Jan. 24, 2009, in Ames after ingesting the drug.
System launched to locate endangered Iowans
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa has launched a new system to help locate endangered people when they go missing.
Law enforcement from across the state on Tuesday announced the Iowa Endangered Persons Advisory. The system is aimed at helping to locate Iowans with cognitive impairments or seniors with medical conditions like dementia when they wander from home or caregivers.
Local police can use the system if they decide media need to be notified. The system has specific criteria. Those include determining if the person is in danger or if the circumstances are unexplained or suspicious. The person’s information will be entered into a state-wide missing person’s database.
Iowa Democratic leader willing to look at cuts
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The state Senate’s top Democrat says he’s not daunted by the big Republican gains in the Legislature and thinks the two parties could work together to cut the budget.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs noted Tuesday that Iowa has a history of divided government, and that’s the case now as Republican Terry Branstad has been elected governor and Republicans have a strong majority in the House. Democrats still hold the Senate, but have a narrow majority.
Gronstal says Democrats succeeded in cutting the budget in the last session and he was willing to listen to GOP plans for reducing the current budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.
USDA reduces corn harvest forecast for Iowa, US
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reduced its forecast for the corn harvest in Iowa and across the country.
The Des Moines Register reports that the USDA on Tuesday cut the projected Iowa harvest from 169 bushels per acre last month to 167 bushels per acre. Last year, Iowa farmers averaged 182 bushels per acre.
Iowa’s total corn production is estimated at 2.2 billion bushels. Last year, it was 2.4 billion bushels.
Nationally, the USDA reduced the crop forecast by 1 percent to 12.5 billion bushels.
The nation’s carryover of surplus corn is 827 million bushels. That’s the lowest level since 1995.
Iowa’s soybean production is expected to climb to 512 million bushels this year.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)