Friday News, November 15
Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Hosts Dinner Theater Fundraiser
(Le Mars) -- Last evening the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner theater
fund raiser. More than 500 people attended the event held at the Le Mars Convention Center featuring more than a dozen notable community people as the cast. The dinner theater consisted of a cruise to Alaska in which a famous investment officer, B.S. Sutton, turned up missing, and each of the members of the cruise ship, from the staff to the entertainers, to the tourists were all suspects in his disappearance. 11 of the 13 cast members delivered a monolog as to why they would have reason to get rid of the investment officer, but with each denying they were responsible for the finance and investment officer's disappearance. The audience was able to participate in the interaction of the play, first by voting on which cast member was perhaps responsible for the missing ship's guest, and second by listening to the monologs presented by both of the ship's activity directors and listing all the common known card and board games, and sporting activities.
Plymouth County Fairboard Elects Officers
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County 4-H and Agricultural Society, perhaps better known as the Plymouth County Fair, elected officers and directors during its annual meeting held last evening. Tony Schroeder was re-elected to serve as president, Rich Benson will serve as the fairboard's vice president, Micheal Bietelspacher was elected as treasurer, and Gail Shanerock will be the fairboard's secretary. Keith Korselman and Brad Collins were newly elected board directors. Four other directors were re-elected to serve another term. They include: Brett McNaughton, Tom Bainbridge, Tom Lehner, Terry Reuter, and Dan Sheehan. Outgoing fair board member Carol Scheinder was presented the fairboard's person of the year award. Two directors were recognized for their long service to the fair. Wayne Bietelspacher had served as a fair board director for 12 years and Tom Galles was a director for 31 years. Both directors retired from the Plymouth county fairboard.
Plymouth County To Save $70,000 On Employee Insurance Premiums
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Supervisors were told they can expect to save nearly $70,000 on employee insurance premiums. That good news was delivered by Jessica Trobough who coordinates the wellness program for county employees. Trobough says Plymouth County was able to achieve 100 percent compliance, which in turn, means a savings for the county on its insurance premiums.
Watershed Review Board Approves 10 State Projects Amounting $2 Million
DES MOINES - The Watershed Improvement Review Board recently approved ten applications totaling $2,307,554 in grants to support projects that will improve water quality or reduce flooding in the state.
The grant funds will be matched by recipients, who will provide $6,523,949 in funding from the local communities to support these projects. As a result, $8.8 million will be going to support conservation work in priority watersheds throughout the state.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says "These projects are a partnership between federal, state and local organizations that are committed to improving Iowa's water quality. By supporting projects that address runoff and drainage, sedimentation, urban stormwater, livestock runoff, streambed and bank stabilization and a number of other issues, these projects are focused on issues that directly impact the state's waterways and water quality."
The approved projects have already completed watershed assessments that identified critical water resource areas and will focus on implementing specific water quality or flood reduction improvements.
The projects will start after a grant agreement is signed between the applicant and the Watershed Improvement Review Board. Soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, counties, county conservation boards, cities, and local watershed improvement committees were eligible to apply. Individual projects could request up to $300,000.
WIRB received a total of $3 million this year and at least half of the funds must be used to support voluntary, science based water quality practices referenced in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. In this area, the Gere Creek watershed in Cherokee County will receive just short of $300,000.
Water Advisory Lifted For Elliot
ELLIOTT, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources says officials in the southwest Iowa city of Elliott have lifted an advisory that encouraged residents to drink only bottled water after contractors hit a water main.
The DNR and city officials lifted the advisory Thursday after water samples showed the water was clean.
The advisory was implemented Tuesday after the water main was damaged, causing water pressure to drop and leaving the water supply more vulnerable to bacterial contamination.
Bottled water was recommended rather than boiling water because Elliott's supply already has high levels of nitrates. Boiling the water would cause it to have a higher nitrate concentration.
Democratic Governor Candidate Wants To Raise Gas Tax
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic candidate for governor Jack Hatch says he wants to hike Iowa's fuel tax to pay for road improvements in the state.
In a policy plan released Thursday, the Des Moines lawmaker says he would raise the tax - now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees - by two cents a year for five years. That money would go to fixing deteriorating bridges and roads. Hatch also wants to direct some surplus budget dollars to infrastructure projects.
Iowa's fuel tax hasn't been raised since 1989. A commission appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad in 2011 recommended an increase of 8 to 10 cents a gallon to boost funding for the state's network of bridges and roads. But changing the tax rate has been unpopular in the state legislature.
Zebra Mussels Found In Iowa Great Lakes
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Juvenile zebra mussels have shown up attached to boat hoists removed this fall from East Okoboji, West Okoboji and Lower Gar lakes in northern Iowa.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the discovery comes after four juvenile zebra mussels were found in East Okoboji and Upper Gar Lake last fall.
Summer monitoring for zebra mussels resulted in little evidence of an expanding population but inspection efforts continue on hundreds of boat hoists.
It is required by law for boaters to remove all invasive species and to drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water body.
Zebra mussels can compete with other aquatic organisms for food. They kill native mussels. They also attach to water intakes and pipes of power plants and water supply facilities causing damage.
Jury Adjourns On Murder Trial Of Guard Accused Of Killing Pregnant Wife
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) - A jury has adjourned in the murder trial of a former Iowa jail guard accused of fatally shooting his pregnant wife.
The Ottumwa Courier reports that a judge granted the adjournment Thursday. The Henry County jurors will return Friday to resume deliberations.
The jury is trying to reach a verdict in the case of Seth Techel. He is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2012 death of his wife, Lisa Techel. She was found shot in the couple's Agency trailer in southeast Iowa.
Prosecutors say Seth Techel killed his wife to pursue a relationship with another woman. Defense attorneys say a former neighbor, who is now deceased, was a better suspect in the case.
This is Seth Techel's second trial. A judge declared a mistrial in March.
Man Injured In Bar Fight Is Suing Bar
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines man who was severely injured in a bar fight two years ago is suing the bar and a party bus company, claiming both could have prevented the attack.
The Des Moines Register says 63-year-old Forey Jacobson, known around the area for his tendency to run without shoes, filed the lawsuit against Johnny's Hall of Fame and B-Bumpn Party Lines. Jacobson says the bar and company should have recognized his attacker's intoxication, which the lawsuit says was a leading factor in the assault.
Jacobson says he suffered brain damage from the attack by 33-year-old Benjamin Vogl, who was sentenced last year to five years in prison but was released last month. He is named in the lawsuit.
Jacobson is seeking damages, including for medical expenses.
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