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Thursdy News, January 9

Plymouth County And Le Mars Ask For Economic Export Corridor

(Le Mars) -- Both the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and the Le Mars City Council approved a letter of resolution to recommend some roads and highways around Le Mars be designated as an Economic Export Corridor.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe explains what the economic export corridor means.

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Rohe says many businesses will benefit from the designation, but SmithCo dump trucks was the Le Mars based business that is asking for the designation.  He says, if approved, the economic export corridor would allow SmithCo the opportunity to haul two trailers in tandem.

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The County Engineer says the state of South Dakota allows for the larger trucks to be transported.  He says under the designation, SmithCo would be able to make one trip with two trucks instead of two trips to the South Dakota border.  He explains which roads would be given the economic export corridor designation.

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Rohe says Le Mars is one of the first in the state to ask for the economic export corridor.  Rohe says if approved, it would allow SmithCo to be more efficient with the transport of their manufactured goods, saving time and money.  The decision now rests with the Iowa Department of Transportation.


Toddler Survives Cold Weather

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 2-year-old Nebraska girl has survived nine cold hours alone in a car parked outside her mother's workplace in Dakota Dunes, S.D.
     The girl was treated and released on Tuesday from a Sioux City hospital.
     Authorities in Union County, S.D., say the mother told deputies she didn't realize the girl was in the car until the girl's father called after 5 p.m. Tuesday to say the girl wasn't at her day care.
     The girl was bundled in warm clothes in her car seat. National Weather Service records say the area temperature ranged from 2 degrees up to 19 over the day.
     Prosecutors are reviewing the case. The girl remains in her parents' custody at their home in South Sioux City, Neb.

Branstad Has Modest Expectations For Legislative Session

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he is setting modest expectations for the legislative session this year.
     Speaking Wednesday at The Associated Press' annual legislative seminar, Branstad said he will unveil proposals next week dealing with bullying, Internet access and support for veterans. Those items will be released along with his budget plan.
     Last year Branstad and lawmakers reached bipartisan agreements on an ambitious set of policies. They approved a property tax cut, new education spending and an expansion of low-income health care. Branstad and legislative leaders cautioned that they were not expecting the same kind of results this year. 
     It is an election year for many lawmakers, meaning they will likely want to conclude work quickly and get on the campaign trail. Branstad is also expected to run for re-election.


Supreme Court Sets Hearing Date For Sioux City Casino Dispute

(Sioux City) --  The Iowa Supreme Court has sent a decision on a stay against the license issued to Sioux City Entertainment for a Hard Rock casino back to state district court.  The Supreme Court has ordered a hearing on Polk County Judge Robert Hansen's stay against the new casino to be held by February 15th.  That hearing will determine if Judge Hansen had the authority to issue the stay and also potentially speed up future court action regarding the casino issue.  Penn National Gaming, which operates the Argosy Belle Riverboat casino, had obtained the stay against the Hard Rock license.  The Supreme Court's temporary stay of the district court ruling will remain in effect.


Voters Can View Precinct Maps Online

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Voters can now see their county and precinct maps online for all of Iowa's 99 counties.
     Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz says it's the first time precinct maps have been available for all counties. The maps can be viewed at .  
      Schultz says compiling and posting the maps is part of his effort to make useful election information easy to find.
     Schultz says active duty military personnel serving outside the United States can now cast a ballot via fax or email. Previously only a restricted number of soldiers serving in specifically classified areas could do so.
     In addition, the Iowa SOS application for smartphones allows voters to check registration information, fill out a voter registration form, find a polling place, and request and track an absentee ballot.

Iowa Will Be Able To View Northern Lights

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An astronomer says the northern lights should be visible to central Iowans on Thursday night.
     Iowa State professor Charles Kerton says that people who want to see the northern lights need to get away from city lights and look north.
     The arctic phenomenon should be visible because a flare shot from a large sunspot on Tuesday. Kerton says the flare caused particles to be thrown toward Earth. He says the particles should cause Earth's magnetic field to become distorted and pushed down to lower latitudes. 
     Kerton says the distortion should let central Iowans see the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis.


Branstad Pays Outback Bowl Wager

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is following up on a friendly wager with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal over the outcome of the Outback Bowl.
     LSU beat Iowa 21-14 on Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl.
     Branstad says he is donating 100 pounds of Iowa ham to a food bank in his home state and 100 pounds of Iowa ham to a similar place in Louisiana. 
     Branstad's donations will benefit the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines and the Grace Place Ministries soup kitchen in Monroe, La.


Landlord Accused Of Spying On Tenants Wants New Trial

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City landlord convicted of spying on tenants through peepholes wants a new trial.
      64-year-old Elwyn Miller filed a motion for a new trial Tuesday. He also requested to arrest judgment, which would postpone his conviction if a new trial is approved.
     Judge Stephen Gerard on Dec. 31 found Miller guilty of six counts of invasion of privacy. Gerard concluded Miller was looking for sexual gratification when he spied on female tenants through hidden peepholes. He was arrested in October 2012.
     Defense attorney Mark Brown says the state didn't provide sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction. Assistant County Attorney Anne Lahey says the state will file a resistance to the motion for a new trial.
     Miller is scheduled to be sentenced in February.


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