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Tuesday News, March 18

City Council To Hold Two Hearings Today Regarding Code Changes

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council has set up two public hearings today in order for Le Mars residents to voice their opinion regarding proposed city code changes.  The city council will hold its regular meeting at noon, at which the council will hear comments.  They will also convene at 7:00 p.m. this evening at the city council chambers to listen to additional comments about the city code changes.  The proposed city ordinances include no parking on streets and alleys during winter months, tree maintenance, private irrigation systems, plumbing requirements, recyclables, and open burning and recreational fire pits. 


Supervisors To Approve Resolution On Debt Service Loan 

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse board room.  The supervisors will hold a public hearing to approve a resolution for debt service loan.  The supervisors will also hear a report from county engineer Tom Rohe.


Spencer, Iowa Opposes Sale Of Fireworks

(Le Mars) -- The state legislature is considering a bill to allow the sale of fireworks to take place in Iowa.  However, there is one northwest Iowa community that is dead set against the proposed measure.  Spencer, officials have been lobbying hard trying to influence lawmakers not to take such action.  Bob Fagen serves as the Spencer city manager.

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It was Spencer that was successful in making the sale of fireworks illegal in the first place.  Back in 1931, a drought had hit the state, and a boy ignited some fireworks, and combined with strong winds and the extreme dry conditions, fire broke out and burned down two and a half city blocks of downtown Spencer, totally destroying the community.  Fagen says he knows of colleagues from other communities who would welcome the sale of fireworks since it would mean additional sales tax revenue, but he says the older generation of Spencer still remembers.

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Sioux City Police Arrest Imposter

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police have arrested a 29 year old man for impersonating an officer and enticing children to his vehicle.  Arrested is Joey Alberts.  Police was able to make the arrest following leads that were generated as part of an ongoing investigation.  Alberts was identified as being involved in multiple incidents in Sioux City over the last year and a half.  Police report that on October 20, 2013 at about 6:30 p.m. Alberts called two females, 11 years of age, and 13 years of age, over to his car and told them he was a police officer.  The 13 year old approached him and he touched her inappropriately during a pat-down.  He then left the area.  On November 6, 2012 at about 3:15 p.m. Alberts stopped his car near two females, 13 years of age, and 12 years of age, at 9th and Jennings Street.  He called out to the girls to come to his car and told them he was a police officer.  The girls refused and left the area.  A short time later on November 6, 2012 at about 3:45 p.m. Alberts approached a 13 year old girl in the 1500 block of Pierce Street and told her he was a police officer.  He called her to his vehicle and then touched her inappropriately while patting her down.  Alberts was booked into the Woodbury County jail and charged with three counts of impersonating an officer, three counts of enticing a child away, and two counts of indecent contact with a child. 


Escaped Inmate Found In Storm Lake

 STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A 54-year-old man who'd fled a South Dakota prison facility more than a year ago has been found in northwest Iowa.
     Police in Storm Lake say David Lee, originally from Minneapolis, was captured Friday. Officers had been tipped to watch for a vehicle listed as stolen from a dealership in Hermantown, Minn. It was found parked near a Storm Lake apartment building. Police say Lee fled when he realized officers were in the area, looking for him. He was found hiding under a mattress in a garage nearby. 
     He remains in Storm Lake custody, pending extradition to South Dakota.
     Police say Lee walked away from a community transition program at the Yankton minimum-security facility on Feb. 8 last year. He'd been serving time for forgery.


Hudson Request To Represent Himself In Murder Charge

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - A man accused of using a hammer to kill his uncle in Yankton says he wants to represent himself.
   Joshua Hudson told Judge Glen Eng on Monday that he does not want legal counsel. He faces a second-degree murder charge in the March 7 death of 46-year-old Todd Hudson, along with aggravated assault and grand theft counts. He could face life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.  Hudson led a police car chase through the streets of Sioux City and into Plymouth County before heading back into South Dakota where authorities were able to apprehend him.
     Joshua Hudson does have a court-appointed attorney. Eng says public defender Dan Fox will remain appointed to the case for now.
     Hudson is jailed on $1 million cash bond. He is due back in court on April 14 to enter pleas.


Cruz To Visit Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tea party darling U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is logging some serious face-time in Iowa. And he's doing it before most other potential 2016 White House hopefuls.
     Texas' freshman senator will be in Iowa on Tuesday, marking his fourth trip in eight months to the state that kicks off presidential voting. That's more Iowa trips than any other possible presidential contender except for fellow tea party-backed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
     Cruz is scheduled to keynote a Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators' event in Des Moines before heading to Mason City for a GOP fundraiser. 
     Many home school advocates are politically active. Their support helped former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee win the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania win them in 2012.


Senate Delays Anti-Bullying Bill Vote

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has postponed a vote on legislation that would help schools across the state better respond to cases of bullying.  
     Republican Sen. Mark Chelgren, of Ottumwa, requested Monday that the Senate delay a final vote on the bill while he drafts an amendment.  Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal says the Senate could resume debate on the bill as early as Tuesday. 
     The bill as written would broaden the definition of bullying, require parental notification, grant school officials the authority to respond to bullying off-campus and require that school officials receive training. 
     Cracking down on bullying in Iowa schools has been a priority of Gov. Terry Branstad this session. Both the House and Senate have drafted proposals to address the issue. 


Wastewater Sludge Spills Into Des Moines River

 FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Officials say about 2,500 gallons of wastewater have spilled from a facility in Fort Dodge, and most of it entered the Des Moines River.
     The state Department of Natural Resources says sludge was being transferred Sunday from the facility when the hose on the transfer pump came out of the receiving structure. The incident happened when the transfer pump was left unattended for 10 minutes.
     Only about 55 gallons could be recovered because of snow melt and other complications. Most of the remaining sludge entered a nearby intake that discharges directly into the Des Moines River. However, officials say dilution limited the impact to the river.
     DNR says it will continue to monitor the situation.


Winter Fish Kill May Be Severe In Lakes And Ponds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say the harsh winter is expected to affect some fish populations in the state.
     The state Department of Natural Resources says lakes and ponds experience natural winter fish mortality. But Jim Wahl, supervisor for fisheries in northwest Iowa, says officials are expecting to see more lakes and ponds affected this time around.
     Wahl added a few lakes are experiencing oxygen levels that are lower than normal.
     Officials say lakes under snow are shut off from sunlight that helps aquatic plants. That has a ripple effect on photosynthesis and the flow of oxygen into the water.
     DNR officials have placed aeration systems at a few lakes with a history of winter kills. Those systems keep a section of a lake from freezing.



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