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Friday News, June 28

Governor Branstad Compliments Plymouth County For Environmental Stewardship

(Des Moines) -- Four entities from Plymouth County were recognized and honored yesterday during the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards.  The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation and Recycling, and Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency were honored with the Special Recognition in Waste Management, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director, Bruce Trautman announced the honorees.

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The Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever were honored with the Water Quality Award.

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Governor Branstad points to the people of Plymouth County as being progressive-minded when dealing with environmental issues and says other counties and communities can follow Plymouth County's example.

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The governor was also complimentary of the efforts by the Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever.

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Sioux City's Worst Mass Murderer Hangs Himself

(Sioux City) --  A man convicted in the worst mass murder in Sioux City history has been found dead in his prison cell.  35 year old, Adam Moss, an inmate assigned to the Iowa State Penitentiary clinical care unit in Fort Madison, was discovered unresponsive in his cell just before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Moss was found hanging with a bed sheet around the neck tied to a wall vent.  Efforts to revive him by prison staff were unsuccessful.
Moss was serving a life sentence from Woodbury County for seven counts of first degree murder in the August, 2001 slayings of his girlfriend Leticia Aguilar, her five children ages 6-12, and Sioux City businessman Ron Fish.

The Lee County Medical Examiner confirmed the cause of death to be asphyxia due to suffocation.  An autopsy will be conducted and the incident remains under investigation.

Marshalltown Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a Marshalltown man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to inflate his expenses.
The office of U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt in Des Moines says 48-year-old Michael Allison made his plea earlier this week.  Allison faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 9.
Prosecutors say Allison was chief financial officer and finance director of a regional subsidiary of Airgas Inc. Prosecutors say Allison mailed false expense reports from 2003 to 2012, obtaining
at least $300,000 as a result.


District Courts To Go Back To Full Time Hours

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has approved a budget that will expand open hours for the state's 100 clerk of court offices.
The court announced Thursday that the $167.7 million judicial branch budget for the fiscal year that begins in 2013 will keep all clerk of court offices open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. They previously were closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays during afternoon hours. An additional 21 offices were closed during other hours.
The new budget will allow the court to hire more than 40 positions, including 13 juvenile court officers.
Nearly 30 offices in northwest Iowa will open with the new hours on July 15. The remaining offices, including the clerk of appellate court office, will open with the new hours on Sept. 3.


USDA To Issue Acreage Plantings Report

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing an annual report that will provide the first real look at how much the wet, cool spring has damaged the corn crop.
In Iowa, the nation's leading corn state, the crop has had a tough time getting started and in some fields didn't get planted.
Just how much of an impact the weather will have will be revealed in Friday's acreage report based on field surveys and farmer interviews.
Analysts compare the results with the March prospective planting report to gauge crop season progress. That report said U.S. corn growers would plant 97.3 million acres this year, the most since
Analysts expect the weather problems to reduce the area planted in corn by 2 million to 3 million acres.


Branstad Declares Two Additional Counties As Disaster Areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for two more counties following recent storms and flooding in the state.
The proclamation announced Thursday for Winneshiek County and Worth County means state resources can be used to respond to the effects of the severe weather. It also activates the state's
individual assistance program for the counties.
The program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. That translates to a maximum annual income of about $39,000 for a family
of three.
The grants can be used for home or car repairs, as well as clothing, food or temporary housing.

State Fair Tickets To Go On Sale

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Visitors to the Iowa State Fair can soon get their hands on some tickets to this year's event.
The annual fair's ticket office will open July 8 and will offer discounted passes on admission and rides.
Adults save several dollars if they buy ahead, and they save a $1 on kids. Children ages 5 and under are allowed in for free. A ticket purchased is good for any day of the fair.
The ticket office will be open weekdays and Saturdays. Tickets can be bought online, though a processing fee will be applied to some purchases.
The fair will run from Aug. 8 through Aug. 18.

State Fair Offers New Foods On A Stick

(Des Moines) -- "Happiness Is" new food at the Iowa State Fair! Eight concessionaires submitted tasty treats in the new foods contest to vie for a finalist title. Fairgoers can try these offerings along with countless other Fair foods August 8-18.
Bringing the beach to Iowa, the Shrimp Corndog, available at the Po-Boy Stand, is a savory snack featuring three fresh shrimp dipped in corndog batter, fried to golden perfection and topped with a sweet jalapeno glaze.
The Smoothie On-a-stick at Turkey Time Concessions will offer Fairgoers a sweet and healthy way to cool down. The strawberry smoothie is frozen, put on a stick and ready to be eaten on any hot August Fair day.
The Bacon Wrapped Riblet On-a-stick, available at the Bud Tent, is a pork riblet wrapped in bacon, hickory smoked and then basted with barbeque sauce.
Additional sweet entries included a Fried Brownie On-a-stick, a Soft Salted Chocolate-Dipped Almond Pretzel On-a-stick and a Coconut Mountain, a soft and chewy coconut ball rolled in coconut flakes and dipped in fresh chocolate. These treats join more than 50 foods on-a-stick offered at the Fair.
The mouth watering treats don't stop there. A barbeque dinner in a waffle cone? Sure enough! Cowboy beans, brisket or pork, cole slaw and barbeque sauce will be put in a spice-flavored waffle cone.
Concessionaires were asked to submit a creative food item that aligned with the integrity of their current menu. The Iowa State Fair Board judged the food entries based on taste/flavor, presentation/appearance, value and creativity/originality.
The contest winner will be announced during the Fair.
The Iowa State Fair is August 8-18.


Former Superintendent Suing District

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The former Des Moines schools superintendent is suing the district over its handling of explicit emails that led to her resignation.
Des Moines station KCCI-TV reports Nancy Sebring filed a lawsuit Thursday that claims the emails detailing her affair with a lover should not have been released to the public because they were part
of a personnel matter when district officials uncovered them.
Sebring used school district computers to send the correspondence. She resigned in May 2012 from her post then resigned from her job to lead Omaha schools.
The lawsuit names three district officials, including the former school board president. It claims they acted with malicious intent to have the emails released to the public.
The station reports officials named in the lawsuit have declined to comment.


Mail Order Company Agrees To Refund Money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Minnesota-based mail order company has agreed to refund nearly $10,000 in membership fees to dozens of customers in Iowa who claimed the business illegally charged them.
Attorney General Tom Miller announced Thursday that Stauer, a jewelry and general merchandise retailer from Burnsville, Minnesota would change its marketing practices and provide refunds to more
than 50 Iowa customers.
Miller says the company enrolled customers who placed catalog orders into a special membership club that provided offers and discounts in exchange for a $99 annual fee. Many customers say they
were automatically renewed into the club. One customer alleged money was withdrawn from his checking account without permission.
The company denied wrongdoing in a formal agreement, but agreed to the refund and a $5,000 payment to the state.

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