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KLEM News Update, July 2, 2011

A semi-tractor/trailer owned by Hilltop Farm Inc., driven by Bruce Hanno of Le Mars caught fire on Highway 75 north of Le Mars.  Mr. Hanno was not injured.  When firefighters arrived on the scene, the semi-tractor was fully engulfed in flames.  An investigation by the Le Mars Fire-rescue chief determined the orgin of the fire was in the engine compartment of the semi.  An exact cause for the fire is currently listed as undetermined due to the amount of damage to the semi-tractor.  Fire fighters were able to save the 2011 Wilson Trailer.  A diesel saddle tank ruptured while extinguishing the blaze.  Fire crews used two hand lines, using water and foam to control the blaze.  The Le Mars Fire-Rescue department was assisted by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Le Mars Police Department and the Iowa Department of Transportation. 

(Linn Grove, Ia)  Two Orange City men are lucky to be alive after the boat they were fishing in capsized below the Linn Grove dam Wednesday evening. 


Authorities at the Buena Vista County Communication Center received a 9-1-1 call around 6:20 pm Thursday evening that a boat had capsized below the Linn Grove dam.  The caller indicated that two people were trapped in the water below the dam.  Emergency rescue services, with the Sioux Rapids Fire department and the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office discovered a small, flat bottom jon boat caught in the turbulent water below the dam.  One of the boaters, Phillip Elgersma, 26 of Orange City was able to swim to shore and was not injured.  The other victim, John Foreman, 19, of Orange City, was rescued after serveral attempts with a rescue rope.  Foreman was transported by ambulance to Buena Vista Regional Medical Center for full medical treatment.  According to interviews, the men were fishing below the dam and were caught in the backflow of water.  Repeated attempts to start the boat motor failed.  Both men were wearing life jackets which helped them stay afloat. Major Doug Simons of the B-V county sheriffs office cautions that due to recent rains, the river is extremely high, causing dangerous conditions for boating.

 (Sioux City)  The Sioux City police department is investigating a truck - motorcycle accident that occured in the 2700 block of Floyd Boulevard at approximately 6:30 pm Friday evening.  The driver of a blue Ford Ranger told police he was northbound on Floyd Boulevard, making a left turn into Lawrence's Meat Market when his vehicle was struck by a southbound motorcycle.  The driver of the motorcycle was unconscious and was transported to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City.  He is listed in guarded condition.  The driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet.  Authorities have determined that speed and alcohol were not a factor.

Hole blown in levee to let water return to river

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) Someone has created a hole in a private levee in western Iowa to allow floodwaters to drain back into the Missouri River, but officials weren't told about the plan beforehand.

County Attorney Matt Wilbur says explosives were used Friday morning to breach the private levee in rural Pottawattamie County.

The same levee developed a breach upstream last weekend at a spot just south of U.S. Highway 30 near Missouri Valley, letting floodwaters cover farmland.

Officials said no government entity was involved with breaching the levee.

Officials are checking to make sure the explosives were handled by a licensed user. But otherwise, Wilbur says the breach doesn't appear to have broken any laws because the levee was private.

Iowa senate leader predicts property tax overhaul

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal is predicting the Legislature will overhaul the state's property tax system next year.

This year's lawmakers deadlocked on the issue, but Gronstal says property tax reform will be the top priority of Democrats running the Senate next year. He is predicting they will find common ground with Republicans running the House and with Gov. Terry Branstad.

Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley suggested that a bipartisan panel of lawmakers be created to study the issue over a long stretch of time and make recommendations. That was the method used to write state law governing regulation of giant hog production facilities and could work again.

The two spoke during a taping of Iowa Public Television's ``Iowa Press'' program airing this weekend.

E. Iowa man dies 10 days after ATV crash

(Information in the following story is from: The Gazette, http://www.gazetteonline.com/)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) An eastern Iowa man has died 10 days after he was seriously hurt in an all-terrain vehicle accident.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that 30-year-old Scott Dierks of Clarence died Thursday at University Hospitals in Iowa City.

Dierks and his passenger were thrown off on June 20 after Dierks lost control of the vehicle.

The passenger, Daniel Mohr of Clarence, wasn't seriously injured.

Dierks is the third person to die in an ATV crash near the small town of Clarence in three months.

Seventeen-year-old Jayce Droll of Stanwood and 16-year-old Aaron Lawrence of Mechanicsville died from their injuries when they crashed on a gravel road on April 1.

Services held for ``Butter Cow Lady''

(Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com)

TAMA, Iowa (AP) Several hundred people gathered in Tama to remember Iowa's beloved ``Butter Cow Lady''

The Des Moines Register says services were held Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church to honor Norma ``Duffy'' Lyon, who died Sunday of a stroke. She was 81.

Lyon was known to most people as the ``butter cow lady'' of the Iowa State Fair.

Lyon produced her first butter sculpture for the fair in 1959.

D.M. hospital bans hiring of smokers

(Information in the following story is from: WHO-TV, http://www.whotv.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Des Moines hospital is no longer hiring smokers, saying it wants employees to emulate the same healthy behaviors it encourages from its patients.

Mercy Medical Center began the policy on Friday as part of an expansion of its smoke-free workplace initiative.

The hospital's tobacco-free hiring policy will include testing applicants for nicotine during drug testing.

WHO-TV in Des Moines reports that Mercy's new policy won't apply to current employees.

Supplier suspends purchases from Iowa Select Farms

(Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A company that supplies several major retails chains, including Hy-Vee and Costco, with pork produced by Iowa Select Farms has suspended its purchases from the Kamrar facility.

The company, JBS Swift, confirmed the suspension Friday. But it says will continue to buy hogs from Iowa Select Farms, which has dozens of operations scattered throughout Iowa.

The Iowa Select Farms location in Kamrar was the subject of an undercover video released this week by a Chicago-based group called Mercy for Animals.

The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa Select Farms has retained an Iowa State University animal science expert to investigate the incidents depicted on the video.

Co-owner of Cedar Rapids strip club gets probation

(Information in the following story is from: The Gazette, http://www.gazetteonline.com/)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) The co-owner of a Cedar Rapids strip club has pleaded guilty and was sentenced on a lesser charge for employing underage girls to dance last year.

Thirty-two-year-old Bryan Bresler pleaded guilty Friday to exhibiting persons, a serious misdemeanor, and was given a deferred judgment.

Bresler, a co-owner of Woody's Show Club, will serve a one year self-supervised probation.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette says Bresler was originally charged with felony sexual exploitation of a minor. But the charges were changed to public indecent exposure because the state couldn't prove Bresler or co-owner Justin Brown knew the underage dancers were being filmed.

Bayer to pay $750 million to settle GMO rice suit

ST. LOUIS (AP) Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay $750 million to settle several lawsuits with U.S. farmers who claimed a strain of the company's unapproved genetically modified rice contaminated the food supply and hurt their crop prices.

Bayer AG and attorneys for the farmers announced the settlement late Friday. The litigation goes back to 2006, when Bayer disclosed that its experimental strain of Liberty Link GMO rice was found in U.S. food supplies. No human health problems were associated with the contamination.

Farmers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas sued Bayer, saying the accident closed off critical export markets and caused the price of rice to drop.

The settlement will cover farmers who planted rice between 2006 and 2010.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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