Monday News, June 24
Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments Respond To Storage Shed Fire
(Le Mars) -- Both the Le Mars and the Merrill Fire Departments responded to an early morning structure fire in Le Mars. The alarm was sounded at about 2:25 a.m. when a storage shed located behind the Dinger's Bar on 2nd Street was filled with smoke. Fire officials worked for nearly an hour on the blaze.
Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper describes the scene upon arrival.
Schipper believes the fire may have been intentionally set.
Schipper says the matter will be turned over to the Le Mars Police Department for additional investigation.
Tractor Ride Comes To Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- More than 500 tractors of all sizes, makes, models, and colors will roll into Le Mars today. It's all part of the 17th annual WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride. The tractors started from Sioux City at about 7:30 this morning and will make their trek north and have lunch at the Le Mars Convention Center. Marc Dorenkamp says the ride started as a result of the late farm broadcaster, Mark Pearson having a speaking engagement at Grinnell.
Many on today's tractor ride are either past or present farmers, or perhaps they were raised on a farm, and Dorenkamp says the appeal of the tractor ride is because they are reliving their history.
The drivers of the tractor ride will eat lunch at the Le Mars Convention Center, where they will feed on the famous "pork chop in a glove" as provided by the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association and the Plymouth County Extension and Outreach.
School Board To Vote On Superintendent's Contract
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education are scheduled to meet this evening. The school board is expected to act upon the three year contract for school superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt. The contract proposal would offer a 12 percent increase for the salary base pay for Wendt during the first year and a four percent increase for year two and year three. If approved, starting July 1st, Wendt's salary would be $149,628. Year two would make the salary $155,613 and for the third year of the contract the superindentent's salary would be $161,838. The contract includes hospitalization, life and disability insurance. The school board will also discuss the upcoming school board election. The first date for candidates to file nomination papers is July 8th. Fifty signatures are required for a nomination, and the last day to submit nomination papers is August 1st. As a result of
re-redistricting, district one is vacant. Scott Kommes is eligible to run in district 2. Mark Hemmingson and Chris Collins can run for director in district 3, and Brenda Phelan is eligible to run in district 4.
MRHD Spent Thousands On Legal Fees Over Casino Dispute
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Documents show that legal costs for Missouri River Historical Development soared last year as the nonprofit group and its former casino partner battled in court over
their disintegrated relationship.
The nonprofit group spent $324,769 in legal fees in 2012. That's more than six times the $50,795 reported in 2011. A year before that, the nonprofit's fees were $11,641.
The nonprofit and Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino operator Penn National Gaming Company have been locked in a legal battle over their contract for more than a year.
Nonprofit president Mark Monson says the rising legal costs will not hamper his group's ability to distribute casino proceeds to charitable causes, as Iowa law spells out.
Correctionville Man Shoot Himself While Trying To Shoot A Raccoon
CORRECTIONVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 45-year-old northwest Iowa man who was trying to shoot a caged raccoon accidentally shot himself.
The accident occurred a little before 10 a.m. Sunday at Copeland Park in Correctionville.
Woodbury County Sheriff's Maj. Greg Stallman says Tim McCormick had set out traps at his home in Correctionville and caught a raccoon. Stallman says McCormick took the caged raccoon to the park
to shoot it, but instead accidentally fired his .38 caliber revolver into his left leg.
He was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. The uninjured raccoon was released back into the woods.
The shooting is being investigated.
Child Falls From Des Moines Apartment Window
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a child was injured in a fall from a second-story window at a Des Moines apartment complex.
The accident occurred Sunday afternoon at the Oakridge Apartments. The boy's mother told police she left her son alone for a moment while she used a bathroom. She soon heard pounding on her apartment door and screaming from outside. She then learned her boy had fallen from an apartment window.
Officers say the boy's head was bleeding and he was crying when they arrived. He was taken to Blank Children's Hospital.
Robber Uses Unusual Get A Way Vehicle
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A man who robbed a Des Moines area fast food restaurant had an unusual getaway car.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says a man entered a Wendy's Restaurant just before 5 p.m. Sunday. He told an employee he had a weapon and demanded money.
He was given an undisclosed amount of cash, and then fled across a parking lot of an adjacent building.
He got into a maroon Ford Ranger pickup pulling a large trailer that contained furniture, covered by a dark tarp.
Witnesses say the trailer had blue, out of state license plates.
Iowa Can Do More To Prevent Flooding According To Experts
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Experts say Iowa could do more to avoid flooding by limiting how much rain runs into the state's rivers and streams. Stemming that runoff would include moves to tackle climate
change and expand grasslands and wetlands to absorb rain where it falls.
Figures show that Iowa's participation in the federal Conservation Reserve Program - which pays farmers to keep some land in native grasses and out of crop production - has dropped sharply as corn prices have steadily increased.
In 1993, Iowa peaked with 2.2 million acres in the CRP. By 2008, acreage had dipped to 1.8 million. This spring, it stood at just 1.5 million.
Experts predict the threat of flooding will only grow as rainfall increases in the future due to climate change.
U-S Supreme Court To Act On Ethanol Case
WASHINGTON (AP) - It's a dilemma for drivers.
Do they choose a gasoline that's cheaper and cleaner even if, as opponents say, it could damage older cars and motorcycles?
That's the peril and promise of a high-ethanol blend of gasoline known as E15. The fuel contains 15 percent ethanol, well above the current 10 percent norm sold at most U.S. gas stations.
The oil industry's chief lobbying group has asked the Supreme Court to block sales of E15, saying the high-ethanol blend could leave millions of drivers with broken down vehicles and high repair
bills. The ethanol industry calls that a scare tactic and notes that no documented cases of engine damage have been caused by ethanol.
The court could decide as soon as Monday whether to hear the case.
Two Million Dollar Powerball Lottery Ticket Sold In Decorah
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A $2 million Powerball ticket has been sold at a gas station in Decorah.
The Iowa Lottery says the ticket was for Saturday's Powerball drawing and was sold at a Casey's in Decorah. It matched the first five numbers, but missed the Powerball. The lottery says the purchaser of the ticket also added Power Play, which doubled the prize from $1 million to $2 million.
It was one of two tickets to win $2 million in the country for the Saturday drawing. A $131.5 million jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Pennsylvania.
Casey's in Decorah will receive a $2,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
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