Saturday News, June 29
Fire At Northwest Iowa Auto Center
(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters were called at about 12:15 a.m. to a fire at the Northwest Iowa Auto Center located on North Business Highway 75 in Le Mars. Upon arrival, both the canopy and roof above the office area of the structure were engulfed in flames. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says fire officials were fortunate to contain and control the fire to the office area.
Schipper estimates the damage to be approximately $10,000 to $20,000. He says the cause of the fire appears to have been from an electrical problem.
Fire fighters from Le Mars and Merrill were on the scene for about an hour and a half. Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars Police Department, Le Mars Ambulance, MidAmerican Utilities and Campbell Electric.
Onawa Woman Sentenced To 50 Years For Death Of Son
(Onawa) -- An Onawa, Iowa woman has been sentenced to 50 years in prison in the death of her infant son. 25 year old Ashley Cameron was sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Neary in Monona County District Court, Friday morning. Cameron was sentenced on a charge of child endangerment and received another to years for involuntary manslaughter for the February, 2012 bathroom drowning death of her 15 month old son Markis Dahms. Judge Neary ruled that the terms would be served concurrently. Cameron was originally found guilty on those charges on May 17th during her trial in Onawa.
Supreme Court Throws Out Drunk Driver Case
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has thrown out the drunken driving conviction of a northwest Iowa man, saying a police stop based on an anonymous tip violated the man's constitutional protection against improper searches.
The case is about Rock Valley businessman Leon Kooima's 2010 arrest after a charity golf event in Okoboji. A man who knew him called police to anonymously report an intoxicated driver.
The split court decided 4 to 3 that the tip lacked specific information that the caller knew Kooima was drunk.
The court says evidence gathered after the stop, including a field sobriety test and a breath test that showed he was intoxicated, cannot be used against him if he is tried again.
Le Mars Farmers Market To Start On July 3rd
(Le Mars) -- Next Wednesday, July 3rd, local growers will have the opportunity to sell their onions, radishes, sweet corn, and other home-grown produce at the start of the Le Mars Farmers' Market. The Olsen Cultural Event Center serves as the local market site. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, says Iowa farmers' markets hold national a prominent position.
Northey says farmers' markets are beneficial, not only for our community's economy, but they also serve as an opportunity for consumers to meet with producers.
In addition, Iowa's Ag Secretary says farmers' markets provide an education for consumers.
The market is open Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. The Le Mars Chamber Ag Committee sponsors the local farmers' market.
Insurance Exchange Deadline Nears - Big Two Iowa Insurance Carriers Undecided
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowans should soon know more about what they can expect to find on the new health exchange, though whether the state's two largest carriers will participate remains unclear.
Sunday is the deadline for insurance carriers to file to be included in the online marketplace for Iowa. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says he expects to release the insurance providers' names on Monday, though the details on the specific plan proposals will come later.
Representatives for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare - which combined hold roughly 90 percent of the Iowa insurance market - declined to comment on their intentions.
Gerhart says he expect a few statewide providers to be available, but doesn't know if the big two will opt in.
State Medical Officials To Decide Upon "Day After Pill"
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State medical officials in Iowa have begun the process of considering whether to ban a remote control method of distributing abortion-inducing pills.
The Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 Friday to initiate the state's rule making process to determine whether to change state guideline to end so-called "webcam abortions." The vote simply clears the way for a public comment period before the board makes a final vote.
Des Moines-based Iowa Right to Life submitted petitions with more than 20,000 signatures to the board to ban the practice. It involves a doctor administering pills via videoconferencing.
The group says the practice is painful. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says it's safe and serves women in rural communities.
The board has 60 days to review the matter.
Iowa State University Using Algae For Research
AMES, Iowa (AP) - The use of algae in research is rapidly increasing and Iowa State University has created a way to ramp up algae growth and harvesting to feed the need.
Scientists at universities and in private industry are exploring the potential for algae to be used as a fertilizer, a source of biofuel, and as a feed supplement for livestock, among many other applications
Iowa State's new algal production facility built inside a greenhouse on the BioCentury Research Farm in rural Boone went online in January.
The facility contains a simpler, more efficient way to cultivate algae designed by Martin Gross, a graduate assistant in agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Zhiyou Wen, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition.
The new facility produces about 10 pounds of algae a week.
DNR Says Big Spirit Lake Is Ok To Swim After Wastewater Discharge
ORLEANS, Iowa (AP) - Officials say Big Spirit Lake in northern Iowa is safe for swimming again following the discharge of untreated wastewater on Wednesday. The state Department of Natural Resources says water samples taken yesterday at the Orleans Beach area show levels of E. coli bacteria had rapidly dropped.