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Saturday News, January 18

School Board To Hold Special Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education will hold a special meeting scheduled for Monday, January 20th.  The meeting will start at 5:00 p.m. at the Education Service Center.  The school board will offer its counter proposal to the Le Mars Community Education Association regarding the bargaining position for the master contract for the next school year.  The teachers are requesting an increase of salary and benefits that equals 7.5 percent.


City Of Sioux City Gets Involved With Casino Lawsuit

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City is intervening in litigation over the future of a gaming license in Woodbury County.
      Attorneys for the city filed motions Friday in Polk County District Court asking to present evidence in a lawsuit against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
     Attorneys say the city's interests are not adequately represented by other parties in the case. The  city has warned that pulling a gaming license for the proposed Hard Rock casino would put millions of local dollars at risk.
     The Iowa Supreme Court is examining whether the district court had the power in December to stay the license awarded by the commission.  Construction continues on the new casino.
     Owners of the Argosy riverboat casino are challenging the commission's bidding process for the license.


Sioux City Couple Loses Lawsuit Against Baby Formula Company

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A federal jury has ruled in favor of the maker of an infant formula that a family claimed caused severe brain damage to an Iowa girl. 
     The jury in Sioux City said Friday that the powdered formula manufactured by Abbott Laboratories did not lead to 5-year-old Jeanine Kunkel contracting meningitis when she was an infant. The meningitis caused brain damage.
     Security National Bank of Sioux City, acting as Jeanine's conservator, sued the company nearly three years ago to seek damages to pay for the girl's future care.
     Abbott Laboratories argued its products are tested for safety. A spokeswoman said the company is pleased with the verdict.
     Jeanine's family says Social Security and Medicaid will continue to help pay for the girl's medical needs.


Winter Blizzard The Cause For Several Accidents

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have released more information regarding the four-vehicle accident that occurred Thursday afternoon during the winter blizzard.  The accident was on Highway 3, just past Otter Avenue.  All four of the involved vehicles were heading westbound on Highway 3 at the time of the accident.  Apparently, there was whiteout conditions as a result of the blowing snow.  The first vehicle, driven by 63 year old Doug Steichen of Remsen saw a semi truck ahead of him, and thought the truck had stopped.  Steichen then slowed down.  The second and third vehicles driven by 64 year old Daniel Schroeder of Granville, and 62 year old Paul Rueter of Marcus also slowed down.  The fourth vehicle, driven by 16 year old Anna Groszkrueger of Remsen was unable to stop causing a chain reaction collision with the three vehicles ahead of her.  Groszkrueger was issued a citation for driving too fast for the conditions.  Fortunately there were no injuries associated with the accident.

(Le Mars) -- Moments after responding to the four-car collision on Highway 3, Plymouth County deputies responded to a second accident Thursday afternoon, which was also located on Highway 3, about a half mile east of the intersection of Highway 3 and Highway 140.  Two vehicles were traveling eastbound with the blizzard conditions producing zero visibility.  The first vehicle, driven by 64 year old Charles Rohlf of Ida Grove stated he had slowed down due to the blizzard conditions.  The second vehicle, driven by 60 year old Rodney DeJong of Orange City stated he did not see the Rohlf vehicle ahead of him and struck him from behind. Rohlf suffered possible injuries as a result of the collision.


Branstad Brings Re-election Campaign To Norhwest Iowa

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is visiting northwest Iowa today as part of his "Building Iowa's Future" campaign tour.  Branstad announced on Wednesday that he intends to seek a sixth term as governor.  Branstad is scheduled to appear at the Iwwa State Bank in Orange City at 1:00 p.m. and at McCarthy and Bailey's Banquet room in Sioux City at 3:00 p.m.


Legislature Completes First Week Of Work -- Passes Two Resolutions

(Des Moines) -- The Iowa state legislature completed its first week of being back to work and as State Senator Bill Anderson says, the week was for the most part ceremonial with both the Governor offering the "State of the State" address and Chief Justice Mark Cady delivering the "State of the Judiciary" speech.  However, both chambers did pass two resolutions, one to show support for ethanol and the second to urge FEMA to allocate funds to electrical utility cooperatives after last April's late winter blizzard. 

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Anderson says the other resolution called for the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse its decision regarding ethanol.

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The state senator says the focus during this session may be on reducing income taxes.


Dept. Of Transportation Issues Apps Showing Snow Plow Locations

 AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials want people to know where snowplows are working during winter weather.
     The state Department of Transportation is offering an interactive online map that shows where the vehicles are currently located. It's under the agency's winter driving section.
     When snowplow icons are clicked, a visitor can see where its location was last reported and what direction it was headed. It also gives the reported air temperature.
     Data is fed automatically every two minutes from the snowplows. 
     The map is available via desktop or mobile device.


Freight Train Collides With Dump Truck

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - West Des Moines police say a freight train hit a dump truck in West Des Moines, injuring the truck driver.
     Police say the crash happened just before 1 p.m. Friday when an Iowa Interstate Railroad train hit a dump truck driven by 59-year-old Rick Wayne Northway, of Des Moines.
     The truck was on its side when officers arrived, and Northway had to be pulled out of the vehicle. He was taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center with injuries that didn't appear to be life threatening.
      Police are continuing to investigate the crash.


Real Estate Developer Sentenced To One Year In Prison

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A judge has sentenced a prominent Iowa developer to one year in prison for embezzling money from business ventures to prop up his real estate holdings and keep up a wealthy lifestyle. 
     U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose said Friday that she struggled to fashion an appropriate sentence for Chuck Ruhl of Davenport, especially since he had paid his victims back and had made many positive contributions to the community. But she said she was troubled that he improperly withdrew money for years from real estate partnerships he managed, even after he had been caught doing so once.
     Rose's sentence of twelve months and one day was less than the two years sought by prosecutors. She said she would recommend he serve the time at a minimum-security prison in Yankton, South Dakota.


Pork Producers May Need To Change Production Methods

AMES, Iowa (AP) - As the use of small crates to confine pregnant sows is phased out in large-scale pig operations, an Iowa State University swine expert says pork producers have some difficult and potentially costly decisions to make about how to handle pregnant sows.
     Some pork producers are moving away from using gestation crates, which are small enclosures which limit movement of pregnant sows.
     Increasing pressure from retailers, consumers, and animal rights activists is forcing the change.
     Iowa State University swine veterinarian James McKean says allowing multiple sows to share more spacious pens requires producers to retrofit existing facilities or build new ones, which could be expensive.
     The European Union banned the use of gestation crates last year and other countries are considering similar polices.



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