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Monday News, July 16

Merrill and Hinton Fire Departments Respond to Weekend Fires


(Le Mars) -- Both the Merrill and the Hinton Fire Departments had to respond to calls over the weekend.  The Merrill Fire Department had a tree that had caught on fire.  That incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at 714 3rd street.  The fire department was able to extinguish that fire within a few minutes.  Meanwhile, the Hinton Fire Department responded to a field fire on Sunday afternoon.  The fire was reported at 27684 on County road C-60.  Fire officials received the call at about 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.  Fire officials had the fire contained within 45 minutes.



Storm Lake Man Drowns At Lake

(Storm Lake) -- The Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department is reporting a drowning that occurred Friday night at about 9:05 p.m.  A 9-1-1 call to the sheriff's office indicated a male subject was in the lake unconscious and not breathing.  Upon arrival, CPR had already been initiated and continued along with the use of a defibulator by the sheriff's office.  The man was transported to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.   The male subject has been identified as 64 year old Steve McCullough of Storm Lake, Iowa.


Concession Stand Catches Fire

(Alta) -- Buena Vista County authorities are also investigating a fire that started early Saturday morning at the concession stand building at the Buena Vista County fairgrounds at Alta.  Upon arrival by emergency crews, flames were coming from the northwest corner of the building and up into the roof.  The Alta Fire Department was able to contain the fire to the building and within 20 minutes had it under control.  The Buena Vista County Fair was in its third day and the concession stand had been heavily used Wednesday and Thursday nights, but had not been open on Friday evening.  The cause of the fire revealed that an electrical malfunction inside the building was the cause.  The damage was contained to the building and the contents, however, there were other food vendors next to the building that had electrical hookups for frozen foods and those foods are possibly a total loss.  The damage is estimated at about $80,000.


Sioux County Youth Fair Continues

(Sioux Center) -- Speaking of fairs, the Sioux County Youth Fair continues today with several judging events, including  the 4-H Horse Show, 4-H Rabbit show, and 4-H Communications Evaluations.  There is also a little bull riding contest.  Fairboard president, Adam Fedders explains.
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Justice Bruce Zager Key Component on State Supreme Court

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new study of Iowa Supreme Court rulings has identified Justice Bruce Zager as a key swing vote on the seven-member court.
Des Moines attorney Ryan Koopmans noticed the trend while analyzing the court's decisions since April 2011. Koopmans says Zager has consistently voted with the majority in cases that
divided the justices.
Zager was one of three justices appointed in February 2011, after voters denied new terms to three others who participated in the ruling that allowed same-sex couples to marry in Iowa.
Court watchers caution that it's difficult to tag any justices as conservative or liberal. Koopmans says the vast majority of Iowa Supreme Court opinions are unanimous, and most cases the justices
hear don't involve partisan issues.
Convicts Slow To Pay Debts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Despite more aggressive efforts to collect court-ordered debts, legal experts say most Iowa crime victims will never see all the money they're owed.
Data obtained by The Des Moines Register shows that Iowa judges have ordered convicted criminals to pay $159 million in victim restitution over the last five years. But offenders have only paid
$19 million in that time, or less than 12 percent of the new debts.
Legal experts say restitution is a key part of society's commitment to make victims whole, and to get criminal offenders to face what they've done.
Some critics are calling for better collections.
State Court Administrator David Boyd says the total restitution owed to Iowa crime victims will continue to grow, because improved collections still can't keep pace with new debts.
New Prison Nears Completion

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - The warden of a new Iowa prison says the facility will be one of the nation's most secure once the project is finished.
The new Iowa State Penitentiary will house more than 275 convicted killers once construction ends. Those inmates will move from the current, out-of-date facility, and more will arrive later
to relieve crowding in other state prisons.
Work crews are on pace to complete the project in January. The new, 800-bed facility is expected to cost $130 million.
Warden Nick Ludwick says the prison will feature electrified, razor-wire fencing. Locks on cell doors will be wired to a central hub. Members of the state Board of Corrections toured the old
prison and the new construction site on Friday.
Hawkeye Community College Helps Displaced Workers

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A community college is preparing to help workers who suddenly lost their incomes when their company's chief executive admitted to embezzling at least $100 million. Hawkeye
Community College has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday about the displaced workers of Peregrine Financial Group. CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. has admitted he orchestrated a multimillion dollar fraud scheme.
Marion Looking At Turning Trash Into Electricity

MARION, Iowa (AP) - The city of Marion is looking into whether it could turn its trash into electricity for a municipal utility.  The city council has hired a consultant for a feasibility study that's due in the fall. The project would require electricity from Plasma Power, which is taking garbage and converting it into a gas burned to create steam for commercial customers.

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