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Wednesday News, June 13

Sprayer Collides With Train

(Remsen) -- A sprayer applicator collided with a train on Tuesday evening at about 6:00 p.m. sending the driver of the sprayer to be life flighted to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City. The accident took place near 160th Street and Sunset Avenue, about a mile north of Highway 3.  30 year old David Keffeler of Remsen was operating a John Deere self propelled sprayer.  He was approaching a railroad crossing and did not see a westbound Canadian National Train. The sprayer ended in the west ditch.  Keffeler was ejected from the sprayer. The train applied its emergency braking prior to impact in order to slow the train.  The sprayer was listed as a total loss valued at $265,000.  The train sustained over $10,000 in damage to the locomotive.  Witnesses to the accident say trees may have obstructed the view of the on coming train.  The railroad crossing did not have warning lights or a cross arm. The train's engineer did not have any injuries.  Assisting at the scene were the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, Remsen Fire, Remsen Ambulance, Remsen Police, Marcus Police, Marcus Ambulance, and the Iowa State Highway Patrol.  

Primary Election Expenses

 (Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors officially canvassed the primary election results during today's regular meeting.  There were 2184 Republican votes and 86 Democrat votes.  The cost of the election was $19,397.85 or $8.54 per vote.  The majority of the election expense went to wages and mileage for election precinct officials.  Other expenses associated with the election was the election register, envelopes, programming of memory cards, publications, printing of absentee ballots, postage, and the royalities of the software used for elections. 

Supervisors Approve Joining SIMPCO For Housing Trust Fund

(Le Mars) -- In other action, after some long discussion, the supervisors approved the action to join with SIMPCO for a housing trust fund.  Plymouth County found themselves in a middle of a battle between two regional housing trust funds, each asking for Plymouth County's participation.  The first, which includes Ida and Cherokee counties, and the second being SIMPCO that includes Woodbury and Monona counties, with Sioux City having their own housing trust fund, aside from SIMPCO. Supervisor Craig Anderson is the Plymouth County representative to SIMPCO.  He says he urged the two groups to consider combining their efforts to make one regional housing trust fund for the five-county area.  However, those efforts were not acknowledged.  Kristi Quinn of SIMPCO offered an explaination as to the mission and goal of the newly created housing trust fund.

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Supervisor Don Kass questioned if Plymouth County could join the SIMPCO group without making an investment.

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The Plymouth County Supervisors approved the resolution to join SIMPCO for a year trial basis, and not to invest any funds in the project.

 

Plymouth County To Drop Commercial Driver's License Testing

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County may be forced to discontinue the testing of commercial driver's licenses due to new regulations stipulated by the state and federal government.  Plymouth County Treasurer, Linda Dobson told county supervisors the county is currently out of compliance.  Initially, the state had set up a June 1st deadline to be in compliance with the new rules.  One of those new rules was to have a testing area for truck drivers seeking their commercial drivers license that measured 240 x 138 feet of paved area and clear of any obstacles.  Dobson informed the supervisors that the county hasn't been able to locate such an area.  Supervisor Jim Henrich asked if there were  other counties within the area that are in the same situation as Plymouth County?  He wondered where could a person obtain their commercial drivers license and be tested?

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Dobson informed the supervisors the number of people seeking a commercial drivers license has dropped in half over the last few years going from over 100 licenses issued to now under 50.  Keri Borchers, the Drivers License Deputy even further clarified Dobson's remarks.

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Dobson suggested that Plymouth County consider the option of discontinuing the issuance and testing service of commercial driver's license as of August 1, and instead look at expanding other drivers licenses, such as for motorcycles. 

 

Ice Cream Days Kicks Off Today    

 (Le Mars) -- Today is the start of Ice Cream Days.  There are a number of events taking place, including the "Sittin Pretty Art Exhibit at the Art Center, and the ongoing exhibits featured at the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  Brad Pick, the vice president of the Le Mars Chamber highlights some of the other activities slated for today.
 

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One of the highlights at the museum is the opportunity to get a refreshing cold root beer float at the 1940's era Miller's Lunch Diner.

 

Iowa Unveals Plan For Highway Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has a $2.6 billion plan to rebuild
and upgrade the state's highways over five years.
     The IowaTransportation Commission approved the plan on Tuesday for fiscal
2013 through 2017.
     It includes reconstruction projects on interstate highways in Sioux City, Council Bluffs and the Quad Cities, as well as work on dozens of other highways across the state. In the Des Moines area,
the plan includes finishing widening Interstate 35 in West Des Moines and building new rest stops on I-35 near Ankeny.
     The road program is financed by a mix of state and federal money. This year, the Legislature balked at proposals to raise Iowa's gasoline tax to generate more revenue.

 

Two Men Sentenced For Child Pornography

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two Iowa men have been given federal prison sentences for downloading child pornography.
     News releases from the office of U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose identify the men as 28-year-old Justin Funck, of Spencer; and 59-year-old Charles Melchert, of Humboldt.
     Funck had pleaded guilty in November and on Monday was sentenced to 65 months. He must serve five years of supervised release after he leaves prison.
     Melchert had pleaded guilty in December and last week was sentenced to five years. He must serve five years of supervised release after he leaves prison.
     Both men must register as sex offenders.

 

Branstad Wants Unions To Share In Health Insurance Costs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he'll propose during union negotiations that state employees pay 20 percent of their health care costs.
     Branstad told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/KTfscL ) on Tuesday that, "Everybody ought to have some skin in the game and ought to pay something toward health insurance."
     Iowa legislators and most state employees don't share the cost of the insurance premiums.
     Officials calculate that Branstad's initiative could save the state almost $111 million a year.
     State union leaders have said that not having to pay health care premiums is the employees' trade-off for the lower pay in government jobs.
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