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Friday News, April 12

Branstad Declares Disaster Area For Northwest Iowa

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a proclamation of disaster emergency in response to severe weather that impacted ten counties in northwest Iowa.  Counties included in the proclamation are Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, Osceola, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, and Palo Alto .  Beginning April 9, damaging winds, heavy rains, thunderstorms and freezing rains caused damage to public and private property, power outages from downed power lines and poles, and a large amount of debris.
The Governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of these storms, including for removal of debris and wreckage on publicly or privately owned land that may threaten public health and safety, or public and private property.


More Than 200 Rural Residents Still Without Power

(Orange City) -- The North West REC crews continue to make progress on their outage restoration efforts, but as of 7:30 p.m. last evening, there were approximately 200 members still without electric service.  The majority of the outages are in the north half of Sioux and O’Brien counties where the ice loading was the heaviest.  Northwest REC General Manager Lyle Korver says when the ice came off the lines yesterday at mid-morning, it resulted in the lines wrapping together and causing an extensive number of burn downs.  Northwest REC has moved all of the available linemen to the impacted areas and they are working hard in some challenging conditions to restore power as quickly as possible for our
members.  Rural residents living near Sheldon, Sanborn, Boyden, Hospers,and Sioux Center have been
without power since Tuesday.

Today's Winds May Create Additional Problems For Power Restoration Efforts

(Le Mars) -- As we have mentioned there are still a number of reported power outages in northwest Iowa, from this week's spring storm, but meteorologist Brad Temeyer of the National Weather Services of Sioux Falls says after the ice and heavy snowfall from this week, we may want to be concerned with the strong winds that are predicted for today.

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Winds will be blowing from the north-northwest at speeds of 20 mph, with wind gusts up to 30 mph.

Iowa Farmers Eligible For Low-Interest Loans For Disaster Areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers in 22 Iowa counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans since their counties have been declared a federal agricultural disaster or they are next to
declared counties. Some qualify because of freezing temperatures in April last year and some because of the drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers affected by the April 2012 freezing temperatures in Dickinson, Emmet, Howard, Osceola, and Winneshiek counties must apply for the loans by Aug. 5.
Farmers in Decatur, Fremont, Page Ringgold and Taylor are eligible due to the drought and must apply by Sept. 9.
Other drought eligible counties include Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Woodbury. Deadline for application is Dec. 10.
Kossuth County and seven contiguous counties also are eligible. The deadline for making application there is Nov. 20.

Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Hosts Antique Show & Flea Market

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the third annual Spring Fever Antique Show and Flea Market this tonight and tomorrow.  Although only in its third year, Mary Reynolds of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce says the antique show and flea market has been able to build a good reputation.

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This year's antique show  features more than 70 booth spaces and will utilize both levels of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Reynolds says the show will feature all types of collectable antiques and she suggests visiting Friday evening.

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Friday's hours are from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday's hours are 9;00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is $10 on Friday evening and $2 for Saturday.


ATV's May Get Go Ahead For Limited Road Use

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A measure that would permit the use of all-terrain vehicles on some roads is gaining support in the Iowa Legislature.
The Senate Transportation Subcommittee approved the bill Thursday and moved it to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee.  It earlier passed the House in a 75 to 22 vote.
The bill would require those who want to drive an ATV on county roads to register for a small fee with the state Department of Transportation. ATVs would not be permitted on highways except on
designated crossings. Cities could allow the ATVs on certain highways within their jurisdiction.
Critics of the bill say ATVs aren't made for road travel and passing the law could increase the potential for accidents.


Senate Committee Approves Education Budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved $964 million in spending for the state's public universities and a number of other education programs.
The Senate Education Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amended version of a measure already passed by the House. Because the Senate's version spends far more than the $895
million bill approved by the House, the measure will likely end up in a joint committee if it passes the full Senate.
In joint committees, members from both chambers and parties try to work out compromises.
The Senate-backed measure includes more money for student financial aid at state universities. It also includes some of the money for Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed K through 12 education


Task Force To Examine Regents and Universities

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A task force that is examining ways to improve the public information practices of Iowa's three public universities will hold four public hearings to gather input.
The Board of Regents Transparency Task Force announced Thursday that the first hearing will be Wednesday at Johnston High School.  The public will be allowed to participate there or at several Iowa
Communication Network locations.
The group says speaking time will be limited to three minutes, and those wishing to speak should sign up in advance through its website.
Dates for public hearings in Council Bluffs, Muscatine and Dubuque will be announced next week.
The task force says it will use the information gathered as it develops recommendations for improving transparency.


Branstad To Meet With China's President

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an upcoming trade trip to China.
In a press release announcing the Monday meeting, Branstad says he is looking forward to the visit with an "old friend."
Branstad departs for China Friday. He will be joined by two Republican governors and a delegation of people representing Iowa businesses and other organizations.
The group will visit Beijing and three other cities to meet with business leaders and government officials. They are scheduled to return on April 18th.
Branstad's ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad's first stint as governor. Xi returned to Iowa last February for stops in Muscatine and the Des
Moines area.
Branstad last visited China in May 2012.


Inmate and Wife Accused Of Wanting To Injure Caseworker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines inmate and his wife have been accused of trying to get another inmate to harm a caseworker.
The Des Moines Police Department says Thursday that William Paulsen, an inmate at the Fort Des Moines Correctional Facility, asked an inmate to assault the corrections employee. He offered
money for a specific injury.
Gabrielle Paulsen is accused of later approaching the inmate at a convenience store and providing the caseworker's vehicle information.
William Paulsen and his wife have been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony. William Paulsen is at the Polk County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Gabrielle Paulsen was released from jail on bond.
Police say they're providing surveillance to the caseworker's home.


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