Home News Friday News, February 25th

Friday News, February 25th


Le Mars Community Schools To See Three Music Instructors To Retire At Conclusion Of School Year

(Le Mars) –– Le Mars Community School will say good-bye to 186 years of educational experience at the conclusion of the current school year as six faculty and staff members have indicated they intend to retire. The six retirees submitted their request for resignations during the last Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting.  The school board approved those requests and commented as to the great impact each of the six faculty and staff members contributed to the Le Mars Community School District.   Le Mars Community will see a void in its music department and will need to fill a few positions within the music department as Randy and Nancy Ewing have both indicated their interests in leaving the school district.  Both of the Ewings have taught at Le Mars Community for 37 years each.  Randy has served as the high school vocal music teacher, and was named the “Teacher of the Year” last year.  His wife, Nancy, has been the Middle School vocal music instructor.  The 5th and 6th grades instrumental music teacher has also announced his intentions of retiring at the conclusion of the school year.  Randy Benton has been the instrumental music teacher for the secondary level for a total of 30 years.  Angela Catton is the current president of the Le Mars Community Board of Education and a long-time supporter of the Le Mars Community Music Boosters Club.  Catton says the school board reluctantly approved the resignation requests, because they understand the strong reputation that has been built by the retiring instructors.  Catton says not just the music teachers who are leaving, but all the teachers and staff members who are retiring are “icons within the school district.”  Catton says the Ewings have built a premier music department at Le Mars Community.

Catton says under the supervision of the Ewings in the music department, Le Mars Community built a strong reputation for its music department consisting of several superior ratings for the entire choir, ensembles, duets, and soloists when they performed at regional music contests.


Randy Ewing      Nancy Ewing      Randy Benton

The school board president says it is sad to see such good instructors wanting to retire, but she says it is a fact the school district has to acknowledge.

Catton says the three music retirees have set the standards high for their successors, but she says, because of the strong reputation of the school district’s music department, she believes the recruitment of new music teachers will see several strong applicants who are eager to continue the established music reputation and tradition.

The other faculty and staff members that have announced their retirement from the Le Mars Community School District include: Amy Anderson, 32 year as the Middle School art teacher.  Kevin Westhoff is giving up his position as the elementary physical education instructor.  Westhoff has been with the school district a total of 27 years, and Julie Theisen after being with the school district for 23 years is retiring from her position as the alternative high school teacher and TLC committee.




Senator Joni Ernst Comments On Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

(Washington) — U-S Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa says she was not shocked by Russia’s attack on Ukraine Wednesday, and that warning signs have been out there for weeks that this was coming.

Ernst says Ukraine matters to America and the rest of the free world.

Ernst hopes Congress will be united in acting to support measures against Vladimir Putin and Russia.

The Red Oak Republican says that pressure does not involve direct military involvement, but our troops may play a background role.

Ernst does say that if Russia goes beyond Ukraine into other countries that are part of NATO, then military alliances come into play.

Ernst says she is waiting to see what sanctions President Biden will impose against Russia.




Tax Bill Passes House and Senate

(Des Moines, IA) — The tax reform bill is on the way to the governor’s desk for her signature after passing the Senate and then the House. The bill would gradually cut the personal income tax rate to three-point-nine percent by 2026 and eliminate taxes on retirement income. It would cut the corporate tax rate while also reducing some refundable business tax credits over time. House Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans are following through on their commitment to use the state’s budget surplus to cut taxes. Democrats reiterated their criticism, saying the bill gives the biggest benefits to the richest Iowans.




AG Seeking Information on High Fertilizer Prices

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa’s Attorney General says he is looking into the reasons behind the 200 and 300 percent increases in fertilizer prices in the last year. Fertilizer companies blame natural gas cost spikes and production shutdowns because of Hurricane Ida. But Attorney General Tom Miller says he wants to know if these justify the jump in prices. Miller has written letters to the C-E-O’s of the top fertilizer companies — but he emphasizes that it’s not an investigation. Miller says he’s talked with attorneys general in eight other states — primarily in the Midwest — about fertilizer prices. But he wouldn’t share which states have shown interest.




Iowa Lawmakers Denounce “Godless Tyrant” Putin

(Des Moines, IA) — Tax policy dominated yesterday’s (Thursday) debate in the Iowa legislature, but the dire situation in Ukraine was the subject of a fiery prayer in the Senate — and the House ended its day with a standing ovation for the people of Ukraine. Senator Tom Shipley of Nodaway mentioned Russia’s invasion right before he led the opening prayer in the Senate, in which he asked God to “stop the godless tyrant that will bring tragedy and grief” to Ukraine. Just after voting on the tax bill, senators from both parties gave brief speeches in support of the people and the government of Ukraine. In the Iowa House, Representative Todd Prichard — who’s also an Army reservist — delivered a brief speech in which he about meeting Ukrainian soldiers during a tour of duty in Europe five years ago.




Gas Prices Up After Russian Invasion

(Undated) — Triple-A Iowa spokesperson, Meredith Mitts, says the price of a barrel of oil went up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That is causing gas prices to increase as well. She says the roughly six percent increase in the cost of oil translates into a ten to 15 cent increase at the gas pump. Mitts says gas prices might not drop again until things calm down in Europe. Mitts says there’s no reason to rush out to the pumps to fill up because Iowa has a good supply of gas. That price of a gallon of gas was already up 70 cents from one year ago before the Russian invasion.




Iowa National Guard Preparing For European Deployment Scheduled Later This Year

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The Iowa National Guard says there have been no requests for any of its units to take action since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.  A statement says the Guard, like the rest of the world, is monitoring the current situation.  Iowa National Guard leaders say they are prepared to support Iowans here at home or support our nation’s requirements abroad when called upon.  Two Iowa National Guard units were already scheduled for deployment to Europe that starts later this year.




Speaker Grassley:  Tax Plan Includes Backstop If Economy Falters

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley says the agreement Republicans have reached to dramatically cut the personal income tax rate includes a backstop if the economy fails.  Grassley says if tax collections fall below expectations, money in the Taxpayer Relief Fund would be used to fill state budget holes.  That fund is expected to have two-billion dollars in reserve by July.  The tax cut is called the largest in Iowa history.  The three-point-nine-percent rate would be the fourth-lowest in the country.




Waterloo Apartment Fire Leaves 1 Person Dead

(Waterloo, IA)  —  Fire officials in Waterloo report one person has died in a Wednesday apartment fire.  Firefighters were called to a duplex at about 2:15 p-m.  They say they arrived to find smoke coming from the windows of a two-story structure.  The fire apparently started inside a first-floor apartment.  The adult who died in the fire hasn’t been officially identified.  There have been two people who died in Waterloo fires this year.  The city fire marshal is investigating to determine the cause.