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Thursday Afternoon News, March 7

Plymouth and Sioux County Authorities Make Drug Arrests

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department arrested two men from Sioux City on Tuesday evening on drug charges.  A traffic stop at the intersection of County Road C-80 and Frelon Road resulted in the arrest of 20 year old Brandon Hieb and 21 year old Cody Baker. 
Hieb was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, and Baker was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of
drug paraphernalia.  Both were transported to the Plymouth County jail.

(Orange City) -- Sioux County authorities executed two separate search warrants resulting in
the arrest of five people.  A search warrant was issued on Tuesday at 905 Highway 10 west, Lot B in Orange City resulting in the arrest of 27 year old David Miedema and 24 year old Alyssa McConnel also of Orange City.  Both were charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  Miedema was also cited with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, child endangerment.  The 15 month old child present was not injured.  Meanwhile, on Wednesday a second search warrant was executed, this time at 3962 Garfield Avenue, two miles west of Sioux Center.  Upon further investigation, it was determined that the occupants were growing marijuana at the residence.  26 year old Mark Pruismann and 26 year
old Justin DeBondt both of Sioux Center, and 36 year old Melissa Berg of Roberts, Wisconsin were all charged with manufacturing marijuana, child endangerment, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The nine year old child present was not injured.

Floyd Valley Hospital Ask City For Expansion Project Funding

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital's expansion project was given a bit of a boost on Tuesday when the Le Mars City Council approved to commit up to one million dollars from the Local Options Sales Tax to the hospital.  Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin appeared before the city council on Tuesday asking in fact for financing from the city to help with the expansion project.  Hospital officials say they were seeking at least three million dollars, but the city has only the one million available to allocate at this time.  Donlin appeared before the city council in January, and at that time, the city instructed its finance committee to meet with the hospital's finance committee to determine where extra funds could be raised.

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The city council said they would approve the other two million dollars that is being requested by the local hospital on the condition voters approve the renewal of the Local Options Sales Tax.  Donlin says a precedent has been established with voters approving construction projects with the local options sales tax when it approved the construction of the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center.

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A major portion of financing the hospital's plan for expansion depends upon whether the U-S Department of Agriculture's Rural Development agency extends a low-interest loan to the hospital for nearly $16 million dollars.  Donlin is confident the loan will be approved for the hospital.

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The hospital administrator says there is no set deadline, but he did say he hopes actions can take place as soon as possible as to show the USDA the community support for the proposed project.  Donlin anticipates if all goes as planned, and financial commitments and pledges are received, ground breaking may occur next winter or spring.


Regulators Don't Renew Gaming License For Argosy Casino

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa regulators haven't renewed the gambling license for the floating Argosy casino in Sioux City.
But the cards still will be shuffled and dealt and bets will be made, because the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission intends to keep the Argosy operating.
The Sioux City Journal reports ( that the commission gave routine license renewals to the rest of the state-regulated casinos on Thursday.
But the Argosy's wasn't because its operator, Penn National Gaming Co., and its local nonprofit sponsor, Missouri River Historical Development, no longer have an operating agreement.
Commission chairman Jeff Lamberti says the plan is to keep the Argosy operating and its more than 300 employees working until its land-based replacement opens.

State's Budget May Be Reduced By $46 Million Due To Federal Budget Cuts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Department of Management Director David Roederer says Iowa's state budget will be reduced by $46 million due to automatic federal budget cuts.
Roederer says education, public health and workforce development will be the hardest hit areas. More than 235 budgeted positions could be impacted, though he didn't say how many of those jobs were filled or how many could face layoffs or furloughs.
Roederer said at the Thursday press conference at the state Capitol that the state's National Guard funding will be cut. But it is largely funded by the federal government and doesn't come under
the state budget.
The total state and federal budget for Iowa is about $12 billion.
The White House and Congress last week failed to meet a deadline to prevent $85 billion in budget cuts.


Airports May Lose Overnight Traffic Controllers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Airport control towers in Des Moines and Omaha could go dark during overnight hours if the federal government follows through with a plan to eliminate midnight air
traffic controller shifts. It's because of the government's automatic spending cuts.
Executives at Des Moines and Omaha airports expect no disruption since commercial flight schedules end before midnight. Planes could still land and takeoff without controllers since all pilots are trained to use electronic Instrument Landing System equipment.
The FAA says it may eliminate overnight shifts at 72 airports beginning early April including Eppley Airfield in Omaha and Des Moines International.
Control towers at 238 smaller airports including Waterloo, Dubuque, and Sioux City in Iowa and Grand Island, Neb., could be completely closed.
The FAA is expected to decide by next week.






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