4-1 NEWS

IOWA GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD SAYS HE WILL NOT SIGN AN EXTENSION TO THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE SALES TAX WITHOUT SOME OF THOSE FUNDS BEING EARMARKED FOR WATER QUALITY INITIATIVES. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR MIKE BREITBACH OF STRAWBERRY POINT SAYS DOING SO WOULD BE DISINGENOUS TO THE VOTERS THAT APPROVED THE TAX.

BREITBACH

BREITBACH SAYS THE TAX SHOULD BE EXTENDED PAST ITS CURRENT 2029 EXPIRATION DATE SO SCHOOL CAN USE THE INFRASTRUCTURE TAX DOLLARS TO HELP FINANCE ANY BUILDING PROJECT.
WINNESHIEK COUNTY CREWS HAVE STARTED WORK ON THE SCIENIC RIVER ROAD IN BLUFFTON TOWNSHIP. COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE SAYS A BRIDGE IS BEING REPLACED ON THAT ROAD. BJERKE SAYS IT SHOULD BE AN APPROXIMATE FOUR WEEK PROJECT.
A farm real estate group says Iowa farmland values have dropped nearly 9 percent over the past year.
The Iowa Realtors Land Institute farmland survey through March shows the average value of cropland fell to a little more than $6,700 an acre, 8.7 percent lower less than a year ago and a reduction of 22.5 percent from 2013. Hertz Real Estate Services broker Kyle Hansen told The Des Moines Register that, “with lower commodity prices and lower revenue . we continue to see a softening of our market and downward pressure on land values.” Iowa farm income has dropped 47 percent, to $5.1 billion in 2014, the most recent data available, from $9.6 billion in 2011.
A Fayette County man is now facing federal charge of possession of destructive device. 33-year-old Trevor Satrom of Oran is accused of having four destructive devices, three pipe bombs and a pressure cooker bomb, without registering them. The charge alleges that Satrom didn’t register the devices with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by federal law. If convicted on the federal charge, Satrom faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Fayette County authorities arrested Satrom in February after they say they found weapons inside his home. The weapons allegedly include two pressure cookers, several guns and rifles, smoke grenades and a flame thrower that can shoot a 50 foot flame. He also faces state unlawful possession of explosive material and unlawful possession of offensive weapons charges.

3-31 NEWS

OTHER THAN WORK ON THE BUDGET, DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR MARY JO WILHELM OF CRESCO SAYS THERE IS TWO IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED BY LAWMAKERS. WILHELM SAYS SHE IS CONTINUING TO HEAR FROM MANY CONSITUENTS REGARDING THE PRIVITIZATION OF MEDICAID.

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WILHELM SAYS HOPE IS DWINDLING REGARDING CHANGES IN WATER QUALITY INITIATIVES FOR THE SESSION.

WILHELM 2

WILHELM SAYS THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION HASN’T ENDED WITHIN THE ALLOCATED ONE HUNDRED DAYS IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, BUT SHE FEELS IT’S A REAL POSSIBILITY THIS YEAR.

WEDNESDAY WAS THE DEADLINE FOR PERSONS TO FILE NOMINATION PAPERS TO RUN FOR COUNTY OFFICES. EIGHT PEOPLE HAVE FILED TO RUN FOR THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS. THREE PEOPLE HAVE FILED TO RUN FOR BOTH THE DISTRICT THREE AND DISTRICT FOUR SUPERVISOR SPOTS. IN DISTRICT THREE, INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT DEAN THOMPSON HAS FILED PAPERS TO SEEK RE-ELECTION. TWO REPUBLICANS HAVE TURNED IN PAPERS TO RUN FOR THE DISTRICT THREE SEAT, FORMER SUPERVISOR LES ASKELSON AND FORMER DECORAH CITY COUNCILMAN TADE KERNDT. IN DISTRICT FOUR, INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN JOHN LOGSDON WILL FACE A PRIMARY CHALLENGE FROM DEVIN HUMPAL. DEMOCRAT JOHN LENSCH HAS ALSO FILED TO RUN FOR THE DISTRICT FOUR SEAT. IN DISTRICT FIVE, INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT MARK KUHN AND REPUBLICAN LONNIE PIERCE, A FORMER SUPERVISOR, HAVE FILED PAPERS TO RUN. INCUMBENT REPUBLICANS BEN STIENES, COUNTY AUDITOR AND DAN MARX, COUNTY SHERIFF, WERE THE LONE PERSON TO FILE TO RUN FOR THOSE POSITIONS.
A POSTVILLE MAN WAS INJURED IN A SEMI-ROLLOVER ACCIDENT IN CLAYTON COUNTY WEDNESDAY MORNING. AUTHORITIES SAY ADAM BERNS LOST CONTROL OF HIS SEMI AND IT ROLLED INTO A DITCH THREE MILES EAST OF GARNAVILLO. BERNS SUFFERED NON-LIFE THREATNING INJURIES IN THE ACCIDENT.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BRIDGE CLOSURE. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY ENGINEER’S OFFICE SAY A BRIDGE ON 230TH STREET IN LINCOLN TOWNSHIP NEAR RIDGEWAY HAS BEEN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE SAYS THE CLOSURE IS DUE TO ADVANCED SUBSTRUCTURE DECAY.

3-30 NEWS

THE COLOR OF THE WAL-MART SUPERCENTER BUILDING WAS DISCUSSED AT MONDAY NIGHT’S DECORAH PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING. WAL-MART OFFICIALS APPLIED FOR A SITE PLAN AMENDMENT TO RE-PAINT THEIR SUPERCENTER TO THE TRADITIONAL BLUE AND GRAY SCHEME OFTEN SEEN AT WAL-MART STORES. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS WHEN THE ORIGINAL SITE PLAN WAS APPROVED IN 2001, THE CITY PUT A CONTINGENCY IN FOR THE BUILDING TO BE A NEUTRAL COLOR. BIRD SAYS THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION RECOMMENDED APPROVAL OF THE CHANGE 5-2. THE MATTER WILL NOW MOVE ONTO THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL NEXT WEEK.

THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE FORMER BLUFFS INN PROPERTY IN DECORAH HAS TAKEN ANOTHER STEP FORWARD. THE DECORAH PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION RECOMMENDED APPROVAL TO A SITE FOR A FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES ON THAT PROPERTY AT ITS MEETING MONDAY NIGHT. THE MATTER WILL NOW GO BEFORE THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL APRIL FOURTH.

REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL BRANHAGEN OF DECORAH SAYS THE LEGISLATURE DID ITS ABSOLUTE BEST WHEN FUNDING K-12 EDUCATION THIS SESSION. BRANHAGEN SAYS FOR DEMOCRATS TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE IS A CHICKEN-LITTLE ARGUMENT.

BRANHAGEN

THE HOUSE AND SENATE APPROVED A TWO-POINT-TWO-FIVE PERCENT INCREASE IN STATE SUPPLEMENTAL AID LAST WEEK. THE GOVERNOR IS EXPECTED TO SIGN THE BILL THIS WEEK.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT IS RELEASING DETAILS OF A MARCH 20TH ACCIDENT THAT INJURED A DECORAH TEENAGER. AUTHORITIES SAY AROUND SIX-30 THAT EVENING, 17 YEAR OLD JADE HOTVEDT LOST CONTROL OF HER VEHICLE NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF POLE LINE ROAD AND 328TH AVENUE, ENTERED THE DITCH, HOTVEDT OVER-CORRECTED, ENTERED THE OPPOSITE DITCH, STRUCK A T-INTERSECTION SIGN, ROLLED AND LANDED ON ITS ROOF. HOTVEDT WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE CRESCO HOSPITAL. THE ACCIDENT REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

A WAUKON MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED AFTER AN INVESTIGATION INTO A MARCH TENTH ACCIDENT. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS CHAD LANDIS ROLLED HIS VEHICLE ALONG ON COUNTY ROAD W-14 AROUND TEN-30 THAT NIGHT. LANDIS WAS CHARGED WITH OPEN CONTAINER, NO PROOF OF INSURANCE, FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL AND FAILURE TO REPORT AN ACCIDENT.

THE NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS BETWEEN THE NORTH WINNESHIEK SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE DISTRICT’S EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WILL BEGIN (WEDNESDAY) AFTERNOON. THE BOARD WILL PRESENT ITS INITIAL OFFER AT THREE-30 AND THE EDUCATION ASSOCAITION WILL PRESENT ITS INITIAL OFFER AT THREE-40 IN THE NORTH WINNESHIEK LIBRARY.

3-29 NEWS

WINNESHIEK COUNTY IS ANNOUNCING ANOTHER BRIDGE CLOSURE. COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE SAYS A BRIDGE ON 107TH AVENUE IN BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP IN SOUTHEAST WINNESHIEK COUNTY HAS BEEN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO THE DETERIORATION OF THE NORTH ABUTMENT.

THE MONTHLY MEETING OF THE DECORAH PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION WILL BE HELD TONIGHT. A SITE PLAN FOR A FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES AT THE FORMER BLUFFS INN SITE WILL GO BEFORE THE COMMISSION. THE SITE PLAN HAS BEEN SUBMITTED BY REBOUND HOSPITALITY. THE COMMISSION WILL ALSO REVIEW FOUR C-3 COMMERCIAL DESIGN APPLICATIONS. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SIX AT DECORAH CITY HALL.

A DECORAH MAN WAS ARRESTED ON A WARRANT OVER THE WEEKEND. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS 32 YEAR OLD DAVID KOCIAN WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY FOR FAILURE TO SERVE JAIL TIME.

Gas prices in Iowa have risen about 1.8 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $2.07 a gallon, according to GasBuddy’s latest report. The national average has increased 5.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.04 a gallon. GasBuddy says prices Sunday were 34 cents a gallon lower than the same day one year ago, and 15.3 cents per gallon higher than just one month ago. The national average increased 29.5 cents per gallon during the last month.

THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT HAS RELEASED THE NAMES OF TWO JUVENILES CHARGED IN THE THEFT OF MULTIPLE VEHICLES ON MARCH 20TH. AUTHORITIES SAY 17 YEAR OLDS ANDREW JAMES NAGEL AND TYLER JAMES WESTCOTT, BOTH OF WEST UNION, WERE BOTH CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY, A CLASS D FELONY. NAGEL WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH THEFT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE AND SECOND DEGREE CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, BOTH CLASS D FELONIES, CARRYING WEAPONS, AN AGGRAVATED MISDEMEANOR AND NO VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE. WESTCOTT WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH AIDING AND ABETTING THE THEFT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, A CLASS D FELONY.

ROAD MATTERS WILL BE THE ONLY TOPIC OF DISCUSSION OF A WORK SESSION OF THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS (TUESDAY) MORNING. THE BOARD WILL MEET WITH COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE TO DISCUSS ROAD PROJECTS, CLOSED BRIDGES AND THE FIVE YEAR ROAD PLAN. THE WORK SESSION WILL BEGIN AT TEN A.M. AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

The Republican Convention this July could have more of an impact than any other convention in recent history.

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University of Iowa Associate Politics Professor Tim Hagle says it remains to be seen whether or not front runner Donald Trump can hit the magic number of 1,237 delegates in the primaries.

Hagle 2

Hagle says if Trump doesn’t hit that number, then the convention will be a “Contested Convention.” He says that means a bit of wheeling and dealing on the convention floor – and the potential for someone other than Trump being named the nominee. He says the Rules Committee meetings will determine the final process for naming a nominee – and that meeting will get a lot more attention this year.

3-28 NEWS

THE IOWA HOUSE AND SENATE APPROVED A TWO-POINT-TWO-FIVE PERCENT INCREASE IN STATE SUPPLEMENTAL AID FOR K-12 EDUCATION LAST WEEK. DURING THE HOUSE DEBATE, HOUSE DEMOCRATS ACCUSSED HOUSE REPUBLICANS OF NOT MAKING AN EDUCATION A PRIORITY. REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOSH BYRNES OF OSAGE SAYS HIS CAUCUS HAS PUT THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS.

BYRNES

BYRNES SAYS IN 2009, EDUCATION FUNDING WAS OVER PROMISED AND UNDER-DELIVERED WHEN GOVERNOR CULVER WAS FORCED TO ENACT A TEN PERCENT ACROSS THE BOARD CUT LONG AFTER SCHOOLS CERTIFIED THEIR BUDGETS. BYRNES SAYS ITS MORE RESPONSIBLE TO GIVE SCHOOLS AN INCREASE THE STATE KNOWS IT CAN AFFORD THEN TO OVER PROMISE AND UNDER DELIVER.
A SITE PLAN FROM REBOUND HOSPITALITY WILL GO BEFORE THE DECORAH PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION THIS EVENING. REBOUND IS PLANNING TO CONSTRUCT A FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES ON THE FORMER BLUFFS INN PROPERTY. THE COMMISSION WILL DISCUSS A SIRE PLAN AMENDMENT FOR WAL-MART AND THE PRELIMINARY AND FINAL PLAT FOR THE RIVERWALK SECOND ADDITION SUBDIVISION. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SIX AT CITY HALL.
THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS WILL TAKE A ROAD TOUR WITH COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE AS PART OF ITS MEETING TODAY. THE BOARD WILL ALSO GET AN UPDATE FROM BEV FREDERICK OF THE SPECTRUM NETWORK, DISCUSS INSURANCE MATTERS WITH DENISE BALLARD OF THE IOWA GOVERNMENTAL HEALTH CARE PLAN AND WILL REVIEW A PROCLAMATION FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

THE 10 YEAR OLD CHATFIELD BOY WAS KILLED IN AN A-T-V ACCIDENT ON SATURDAY. THE FILLMORE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS HUNTER WAYNE BERGO DIED OF INJURIES IN THE ACCIDENT WHICH OCCURRED SHORTLY AFTER ELEVEN SATURDAY MORNING IN RURAL CHATFIELD. AUTHORITIES DID NOT RELEASE ANY SPECIFIC DETAILS OF THE ACCIDENT. HUNTER WAS A FOURTH GRADE STUDENT AT LANESBORO ELEMENTARY.

The Iowa Legislature has checked off several boxes that are needed to agree on a state budget and reach adjournment this session. The completed tasks include deals on taxes, K-12 education and what’s actually available to spend for the fiscal year that begins in July. Lawmakers could adjourn the session on schedule in April, a stark contrast to last year when they extended it into June amid disagreement over education funding. Lawmakers appear to agree there’s about $7.35 billion available for the next budget, and about $176 million in new dollars. Legislative leaders agree most of that new money will go to K-12 education, but they haven’t released information about where the rest should go. Issues like Medicaid oversight, funding for water quality initiatives and medical marijuana remain in limbo.

3-27 NEWS

THE CITY OF DECORAH’S COMPOSITE SITE WILL OPEN NEXT WEEKEND. STREETS DEPARTMENT SUPERINTENDENT KEVIN NELSON TOLD THE CITY COUNCIL LAST WEEK THE SITE ON TROUT RUN ROAD WILL OPEN SATURDAY, APRIL 2ND. NELSON SAYS THE SITE WILL BE OPEN SATURDAYS FROM EIGHT A.M. UNTIL NOON AND WEDNESDAYS FROM ONE P.M. UNTIL SEVEN P.M.

ARTHAUS (ART-HOUSE) IN DECORAH HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION. THE IOWA AFTER SCHOOL ALLIANCE HAS RECOGNIZED ARTHAUS WITH THE AFTERSCHOOL INNOVATOR AWARD. ARTHAUS WAS ONE OF SIX ORGANIZATION IN THE STATE TO BE RECOGNIZED WITH THE AWARD. THE AWARD WILL BE PRESENTED AT A LUNCHEON ON APRIL 28TH IN DES MOINES.

THE DECORAH CAMPGROUND IS SCHEDULED TO OPEN THIS WEEK. DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION DIRECTOR ANDY NIMROD TOLD THE CITY COUNCIL LAST WEEK THE FACILITY SHOULD BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS OF FRIDAY.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT WILL MEET TUESDAY NIGHT. A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD REGARDING A HARVEST FARMS CAMPGROUND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT REQUEST. ANOTHER PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD A VARIANCE REQUEST FROM LINDA PETERSON. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SEVEN-30 AT DECORAH CITY HALL.

Republican House leaders plan to introduce legislation that would fund water quality initiatives without the use of a sales tax set aside for education infrastructure. The proposal is an indication Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposal to merge the two efforts is dead this session. House lawmakers said Thursday the bill would use other revenue sources, and it could include money that typically goes to the general fund or dollars from a separate infrastructure fund. Ben Hammes, a Branstad spokesman, says the governor will work with lawmakers to find consensus and that he believes any water quality plan needs a long-term source of revenue. Some Senate lawmakers criticized the House plan, saying the general fund is already limited and several infrastructure projects need attention.

THREE FIRST GRADE TEACHERS AT JOHN CLINE ELEMENTARY IN DECORAH HAVE BEEN AWARDED A GRANT THROUGH THE IOWA AGRICULTURAL LITERACY FOUNDATION. WITH THE FUNDING THE TEACHERS PURCHASED 30 LEVELED BOOKS ABOUT AGRICULTURE. STUDENTS WILL READ, DISCUSS, AND WRITE ABOUT AGRICULTURAL TOPICS INCLUDED IN THE BOOKS.

3-26 NEWS

THE IOWA HOUSE AND SENATE BOTH APPROVED A TWO-POINT-TWO-FIVE PERCENT INCREASE IN STATE SUPPLEMENTAL FOR K-12 EDUCATION THIS WEEK. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE JOSH BYRNES OF OSAGE SAYS AN OFFER BY HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO FUND A THIRD GRADE READING RETENTION PROGRAM WAS DENIED.

BYRNES

BYRNES SAYS THE SENATE DEMOCRATS WERE OFF ON THEIR BUDGET PROJECTIONS RELEASED LAST WEEK AND FELT THEY COULDN’T AFFORD THE READING DOLLARS.

A northern Iowa school has voted to let its high school principal run for a state House seat. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that the Osage board met Thursday morning and approved a request by Osage High School Principal Tim Hejhal (HEY-hall) that he be allowed to seek the District 51 seat. Republican state Rep. Josh Byrnes says he won’t seek re-election. Hejhal says he would want to continue working as principal if he were elected. Hejhal is a Democrat and will face Northwood Mayor Jane Bloomingdale, a Republican. District 51 encompasses Howard, Mitchell and Worth counties and part of Winneshiek County.

A SITE PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FORMER BLUFFS INN PROPERTY WILL GO BEFORE THE DECORAH PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MONDAY NIGHT. THE SITE PLAN IS FOR A FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES. THE COMMISSION WILL ALSO REVIEW FOUR C-3 COMMERCIAL DESIGN REVIEWS, WILL REVIEW THE PRELIMINARY AND FINAL PLAT FOR THE RIVERWALK SECOND ADDITION SUBDIVISION AND A SITE PLAN AMENDMENT FOR WAL-MART. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SIX AT CITY HALL.

NORTHEAST IOWA IS LOSING POPULATION. THE IOWA STATE DATA CENTER RELEASED FIGURES THIS WEEK SHOWING POPULATION TRENDS FROM APRIL FIRST OF 2010 TO JULY FIRST OF 2015. THE FIGURES SHOW ALLAMAKEE COUNTY LOST THREE-POINT-ONE PERCENT OF ITS POPULATION IN THAT TIME, FAYETTE COUNTY LOST THREE PERCENT, CHICKASAW AND CLAYTON COUNTIES LOST TWO-POINT-SEVEN PERCENT EACH, WINNESHIEK COUNTY LOST ONE-POINT-SEVEN PERCENT AND HOWARD COUNTY LOST ONE-POINT-SIX PERCENT. CENSUS ESTIMATES AS OF JULY FIRST, 2015 HAD WINNESHIEK COUNTY WITH 20-THOUSAND 709 PEOPLE, FAYETTE COUNTY 20,257, CLAYTON COUNTY 17,644, ALLAMAKEE COUNTY 13, 556, CHICKASAW COUNTY 12, 097 AND HOWARD COUNTY 9,410.

IN A NUMBER OF COMMUNITIES IN IOWA, YOU MAY NOTICE WHAT LOOKS LIKE A KID’S PARADE OF SORTS, NOW THAT SPRING IS HERE…. SUE DANIELSON REPORTS.

(DANIELSON VOICER)

THE SOUTH WINNESHIEK F-F-A HAS BEEN AWARDED A GRANT THROUGH THE SYNGENTA CORPORATION. THE SOUTH WINN F-F-A IS ONE OF THREE NATIONAL GROW MORE VEGETABLES SEED GRANT RECEPIENTS IN THE NATION. THE PROGRAM PROMOTES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY GARDENS THAT FACILITATE EDUCATION ON BENEFITS OF VEGETABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION. THE GRANT PROGRAM ALSO FOLLOWS THE GOOD GROWTH PLAN IN HELPING ADDRESS GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY CHALLENGES.

3-25 NEWS

WHILE IT MAY SEEM “UNFAIR” THAT WE’RE DEALING WITH WINTER WEATHER NOW THAT IT’S OFFICIALLY SPRING, STATE CLIMATOLOGIST HARRY HILLAKER REMIND’S IT’S NOT UNUSUAL AT ALL TO GET A LATE-SEASON SNOW-STORM.

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HE SAYS ONE OF THE BIGGEST, LATE-SEASON BLIZZARD’S HAPPENED IN APRIL OF 1973, WHEN THE DRIFTS WERE MEASURED IN FEET, RATHER THAN INCHES AND THE STATE PRETTY MUCH CAME TO A STAND-STILL. HE SAYS THE SPRING CAN BE TRICKY, BECAUSE OF THE INCREASING AMOUNT OF GULF MOISTURE, COLLIDING WITH STILL-COLD AIR IN THE NORTH.

THE IOWA HOUSE AND SENATE BOTH APPROVED A TWO-POINT-TWO-TWO-FIVE PERCENT STATE SUPPLEMENTAL AID INCREASE FOR K-THROUGH-12 EDUCATION WEDNESDAY. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR MIKE BREITBACH OF STRAWBERRY POINT SAYS WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT IN REAL NUMBERS, IT’S THE BEST LAWMAKERS CAN DO.

BREITBACH

BREITBACH SAYS SINCE STATE SUPPLEMENTAL AID IS THE LARGEST PART OF THE BUDGET, THE REST OF THE BUDGETING PROCESS SHOULD BE EASIER.
THIS WEEK IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE STATE OF IOWA. TODD SHEA WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LA CROSSE SAYS IT’S KEY TO BE PREPARED WHEN SEVERE WEATHER HITS.

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SHEA SAYS FAMILIES SHOULD ALSO HAVE A PLAN IF FAMILY MEMBERS ARE NOT TOGETHER IN CASE OF SEVERE WEATHER.

THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS RELEASED STATISTICS FROM ITS MOST RECENT STEP-OR SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM-HELD LAST WEEK COINCIDING WITH SAINT PATRICK DAY. POLICE SAY THERE WERE FOUR SPEEDING CITATIONS, SEVEN SPEEDING WARNINGS, ONE CITATION FOR DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE, ONE VEHICLE REGISTRATION CITATION, THREE VEHICLE REGISTRATION WARNINGS CITATIONS, ONE OPEN CONTAINER ARREST, FIVE EQUIPMENT WARNINGS, FOUR NO PROOF OF INSURANCE WARNINGS, 17 OTHER WARNINGS, ONE TRAFFIC ACCIDENT AND TWO K-9 INTERDICTION SEARCHES WERE MADE DURING THE EFFORT. THE SEATBELT USAGE RATE IMPROVED FROM 87 TO 93 PERCENT AFTER THE EFFORT.

A WADENA WAS ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE CHARGES WEDENSDAY. THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS 51 YEAR OLD JEFFERY WILL JOHANNINGMEIER WAS CHARGED WITH CONTEMPT OF COURT AND FAILURE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT.

A CALMAR MAN WAS INJURED IN A THREE-VEHICLE ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. DECORAH POLICE SAY SHORTLY BEFORE THREE P.M, A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 29 YEAR OLD JENNA SCHNITZLER OF DECORAH PULLED AWAY FROM THE INTERSECTION OF PEARL AND MECHANIC STREET AND COLLIDED WITH A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 60 YEAR OLD DAVID PHILLIPS OF CALMAR. THE COLLISON FORCED THE PHILLIPS VEHICLE INTO A DECORAH SCHOOL BUS DRIVEN BY 44 YEAR OLD JOSEPH BALDRIDGE OF DECORAH. PHILLIPS WAS TRANSPORTED BY AMBULANCE TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER. SCHNITZLER WAS CHARGED WITH FAILURE TO YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. ALL THREE VEHICLES WERE DAMAGES.

3-24 NEWS

A HOUSE-SENATE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE AGREED TUESDAY ON A TWO-POINT-TWO-FIVE PERCENT INCREASE IN STATE SUPPLEMENTAL AID FOR K-12 EDUCATION. DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR MARY JO WILHELM OF CRESCO SAYS THERE’S GOOD AND BAD IN THAT NEWS.

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BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE EXPECTED TO VOTE ON THE MEASURE SOON.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A WORK SESSION OF THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL TONIGHT. THE WORK SESSION WILL BEGIN AT SIX AT CITY HALL.

WE COULD SEE DEMOLITION BEGIN AT THE BLUFFS INN SITE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. TODD IHDE WITH THE DECORAH WATER DEPARTMENT TOLD THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL THIS WEEK THE WATER AND SEWER LINES WERE DISCONNECTED FROM THE SITE MONDAY. REBOUND HOSPITALITY IS PLANNING TO BUILD A FAIRFIELD INN AND SUITES BY MARRIOTT AT THAT LOCATION WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE RESTAURANT, OFFICE SPACE OR RETAIL DEVELOPMENT DOWN THE ROAD.

TUITION WILL BE INCREASING AT NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE COLLEGE’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVED A SIX DOLLAR INCREASE IN TUITION AND A SIX DOLLAR INCREASE IN FEES PER CREDIT HOUR AT THEIR MEETING THIS WEEK. COLLEGE VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION DAVE DAHMS SAYS THE UNCERTAINTY REGARDING STATE AID WAS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS FOR THE INCREASE. DAHMS SAYS THE COLLEGE IS TRYING TO KEEP A LEVEL OF AFFORDABILITY FOR STUDENTS WHILE ENSURING THE LONG TERM FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY OF THE COLLEGE.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL APPROVED A THREE YEAR CONTRACT WITH THE AFSCME LOCAL UNION AT ITS MEETING THIS WEEK. THE RESOLUTION CALL FOR A TWO-POINT-TWO-FIVE PECENT COST OF LIVING INCREASE IN FISCAL YEAR 2017 AND TWO AND A HALF PERCENT INCREASES IN FISCAL YEAR 2018 AND 2019. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THE MAJOR CHANGES TO THE CONTRACT INCLUDE INCREASED EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION FOR THE DEDUCTIBLE SELF-INSURANCE COSTS AND A SMALL INCREASE FOR WATER AND SEWER CERTIFICATIONS.

THIS WEEK IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK. A STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL WILL BE HELD IN THE TEN O’CLOCK HOUR THURSDAY MORNING. SEAN SNYDER IS THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR.

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A TEST TORNADO WATCH WILL BE ISSUED AT TEN A.M. FOLLOWED BY A TEST WARNING AT TEN-15. THE ALL-CLEAR IS EXPECTED TO BE GIVEN AROUND TEN-30 A.M.

3-23 NEWS

TWO PEOPLE ARE DEAD AFTER AN ALLEDGED MURDER-SUICIDE WHICH OCCURRED LATE MONDAY NIGHT. THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS 27 YEAR OLD MORGAN ELIZABETH KAYE OF WEST UNION WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AFTER BEING FOUND ON THE GROUND OUTSIDE OF AN APARTMENT ON LINDEN STREET IN WEST UNION. AUTHORITIES SAY THE SUSPECT, IDENTIFIED AS 27 YEAR OLD ANTHONY RAY HEBERT OF WEST UNION, WAS FOUND DEAD IN HIS PICKUP TRUCK NEAR CALMAR ALONG HIGHWAY 150. WEST UNION POLICE AND THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT WERE FIRST CALLED TO THE SCENE SHORTLY BEFORE NINE P.M. THE INCIDENT REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

TWO 17 YEAR OLDS WERE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN CONNECTION TO A STRING OF STOLEN VEHICLES IN FAYETTE COUNTY EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT IS INVESTIGATING FOUR CASES OF STOLEN VEHICLES WITH SOME INCIDENTS INVOLVING DAMAGE TO THE VEHICLES AND OTHER INVOLVING BURGLARY AND HAVING ITEMS REMOVED FROM THE VEHICLES. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE INCIDENTS ARE CONNECTED AND SAY NO NAMES WILL BE RELEASED UNTIL CHARGES HAVE BEEN FORMALLY FILED.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL WILL HOLD A WORK SESSION TONIGHT. THE COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING BEGINNING AT SIX AT CITY HALL.

GOVERNOR BRANSTAD SIGNED A TAX COUPLING COMPROMISE BILL INTO LAW MONDAY. THE GOVERNOR SAID WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL, THE CONNECTED DECREASE IN STATE REVENUE WILL MAKE FUNDING SCHOOLS A SENSITTIVE ISSUE. REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL BRANHAGEN OF DECORAH DISAGREES.

BRANHAGEN

BRANHAGEN SAYS ITS CLEAR THE LEGISLATURE IS APPROACHING ITS 99 PERCENT SPENDING LIMIT. HE SAYS THAT MAKES THE PARAMETERS EASIER TO MANAGE.

THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED A FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR GRANT FROM THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF NORTHEAST IOWA. POLICE CHIEF BILL NIXON TOLD THE CITY COUNCIL MONDAY NIGHT THE GRANT WILL FUND A COMPUTER SYSTEM FOR A THIRD PATROL VEHICLE. NIXON TOLD THE COUNCIL THEY HOPE TO FIND FUNDING TO INSTALL A COMPUTER SYSTEM FOR THE FOURTH VEHICLE SOMETIME THIS SUMMER.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL APPROVED AN AGREEMENT FOR THE 2016 FARMERS MARKET SEASON AT ITS MEETING MONDAY NIGHT. CITY OFFICIALS SAY THE AGREEMENT IS SIMILAR TO THE AGREEMENT THE COUNCIL APPROVED FOR LAST SEASON. THIS YEAR’S MARKET WILL BEGIN MAY FOURTH. THE MARKET WILL RUN WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS AND SATURDAY MORNINGS THROUGH OCTOBER IN THE PARKING LOT ACROSS THE POST OFFICE.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT PODS ARE CONVENIENT, BUT TO A TODDLER, THEY LOOK LIKE CANDY. THE “PODS” ARE AMONG THE MOST COMMON REASONS WHY PEOPLE CALL THE IOWA POISON CONTROL CENTER. SUE DANIELSON REPORTS.

PORTIONS OF TWO WINNESHIEK COUNTY ROADWAYS HAVE NOW BEEN CLOSED DUE TO ADVANCED DETERIORATION. COUNTY ENGINEER LEE BJERKE SAYS COUNTY ROAD A-14 IN THE FAR NORTHERN PART OF THE COUNTY AND BEAR CREEK ROAD IN NORTHEASTERN WINNESHIEK COUNTY HAVE BEEN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.