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Friday News, January 31

Plymouth County Taxes To Remain The Same

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth county taxpayers should see little change in their property taxes during the coming year.  The final proposed budget from the county auditor's office was released for fiscal year 2014-15.  Both the urban and the rural tax levies are virtually unchanged, with each less than a half cent less than the previous year.  The ending fund balance for all county budgetary funds is projected to be $4.548 million dollars.  A public hearing on the budget will be held February 25th at 10:00 a.m. in the Plymouth County Courthouse Board Room.


Two Sioux City Men Arrested After Home Burglary

(Sioux City) -- Two Sioux city men are in custody on burglary and other charges following a break in and pursuit through Morningside area of Sioux City.  A resident witnessed a home burglary in progress at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and called the police.  The suspects drove off, causing a traffic accident as officers pursued them.  The eventually stopped and were taken into custody.  The driver, 53 year old Lester Junck is charged with third degree burglary, second degree theft, eluding, and reckless driving, revoked license and three other counts.  A second suspect, 25 year old Ryan Eastman is charged with burglary in the third degree, second degree theft and three outstanding warrants.  Both men are in custody in the Woodbury County jail.


Judge Hears Testimony On Sioux City Casino Case

(Des Moines) --  A Polk County judge heard arguments Thursday afternoon regarding the awarding of a gamin casino license for a Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City.  Sioux City Entertainment President Bill Warner, whose campany is building the new casino, was on the stand much of the afternoon.  Warner was questioned by an attorney for Penn Gaming, the company that operates the Argosy Belle Riverboat casino.  Warner released a statement after the hearing say SCE appreciates the judicial process and the opportunity to present important information to the court.  He says thery are committed to uphold their agreement to bring a world class entertainment destination to Sioux City.  Back on January 8th, the Iowa Supreme Court remanded a decision back to state district court on a stay against the casino license issued to Warner's group by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on the case.


Names of Victims From Arlington Fire Released

   ARLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the names of five people whose bodies were retrieved from a northeast Iowa house completely destroyed by an early morning fire.
     The Fayette County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that the people found in the rumble of the Jan. 24 fire near Arlington were 84-year-old Gil Raymond Stachar; 30-year-old James Dean McCain; 27-year-old Amanda Lynn Smith-Miller; 4-year-old Delacisey Seales; and 1-year-old Isabella Miller.
     An official cause of death for the five has not been released. 
     The blaze completely destroyed the house. Officials have not released information on what may have caused the fire.


Truck Crashes Spilling Oranges On Railroad

 CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A truck crash along Interstate 35 in northern Iowa caused a load of oranges to tumble over the side of a bridge and onto railroad tracks below.
     The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened Thursday morning in Clear Lake when 36-year-old Singh Surinder, of Bakersfield, Calif., lost control of his truck in icy conditions.
     The truck hit a bridge guardrail, causing its trailer to fall off the bridge and come to rest on its side.
     The oranges inside the trailer fell onto train tracks beneath the bridge.
     The sheriff's office says the driver won't be cited.


Lawmakers Consider Property Tax Breaks For Veterans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate are considering legislation that would provide additional property tax breaks for veterans.
     A bill that would expand tax credits for veterans got approval from a Senate subcommittee Thursday. The bill will next be reviewed by the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
     Under the proposal, veterans considered fully disabled with a service-connected injury would be exempted from paying any property taxes.  The bill would also boost the amount of property tax credits available to all veterans in the state.
     Senators on the committee expressed support for the proposals, but said they needed to review costs and whether the state could make up any lost property tax revenue at the local level.
     Veteran advocates testified in favor of the proposals, particularly the credit for the disabled.


Legislators Thinking About Lowering Age For Gun Use

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa House have granted preliminary approval to legislation lowering the minimum age that minors can use handguns under supervision.
     A subcommittee backed the measure at a hearing Thursday. It will now move to the full House Public Safety Committee.
     Currently in Iowa, those between the ages of 14 and 20 may use a handgun with supervision from a parent, or from an instructor approved by a parent. This bill would lower that minimum age to 12.
     Supporters say this is an educational initiative that would promote gun safety and training. State Representative Greg Heartsill, a Republican from Chariton, says teaching young people how to properly use a gun was educational.  Gun safety groups testified against the measure, saying it could cause more gun-related accidents.


DCI Agent Stops Casey's Robbery
Iowa (AP) - A state investigator is being credited with stopping a robbery in western Iowa after noticing the crime unfolding inside a convenience store.
     The Department of Public Safety says the incident happened Wednesday night when a man entered a Casey's General Store in Atlantic. He told the clerk he had a weapon and demanded money.
     Shelby McCreedy, a Division of Criminal Investigation special agent, was outside and noticed something was happening inside.
     McCreedy warned other away, then walked inside, identified herself as an officer and ordered the man to the floor. The man complied with her instructions until Atlantic police arrived.
     Police charged 22-year-old Brady Thomas Salberg with second-degree robbery. He was taken to the Cass County Jail.


Report Shows Iowa Is A Good Place For Solar Energy 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report by an environmental group says Iowa ranks 16th in the nation for the amount of solar power it could reasonably produce. The Iowa Environmental Council says just as wind energy grew rapidly in Iowa, so can solar.
     The report, funded largely by the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University, says Iowa's solar electric potential outranks states like Georgia, Utah and South Carolina. The group says solar projects are being installed at farms, businesses, universities, and even homes.
     The report cites examples of successful solar installations including a 280 kilowatt array at Luther College in Decorah, the largest.  Another is the 150 kilowatt array on a distribution center near Peosta, which cuts carbon emissions and energy costs for Colony Brands Inc. 










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