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Saturday News, April 19

Fire Department Respond To Ditch Grass Fire On Hwy 75 N

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called Friday afternoon to a grass ditch fire along Highway 75 north near the Floyd River bridge, about a half mile north of Le Mars.  The fire was located along the west ditch of the highway.  Southbound traffic was restricted to one lane of travel.  Three trucks were needed to control the fire.  Upon the fire department's arrival, the flames had reached heights of nearly ten feet and was spreading quickly as it was burning the dried grass.  Strong southerly winds helped fan the flames as the fire burned an area of several hundred feet.  Fire officials were on the scene for nearly 45 minutes before bringing the fire under control.


Orban Arrested On Three Warrants

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have arrested a Le Mars man earlier this week on three warrants.  40 yer old Timothy Orban was transported from the Minnehaha County jail to the Plymouth County jail.  He is charged with four counts of forgery, theft in the third degree, theft in the fourth degree, failure to appear for trial, posession of controlled substance on a third offense, posession of drug paraphernalia and driving while license was suspended.  Bond was set at $15,000 cash or surety.


Buena Vista County Authorities Arrest Marathon Man For Adult Dependent Abuse

(Storm Lake) -- Following an investigation, Buena Vista county sheriff's deputies have made an arrest of a dependent adult abuse.  Last October, the Buena Vista Sheriff's office received a report from the Iowa Department of Human Services of the dependent adult abuse of an 89 year old Marathon woman.  The investigation discovered that between May of 2012 and November of 2013 over $49,000 worth of checks of the victim were misappropriated by the defendant.  An arrest warrant was issued for R. Neal Ruge, age 61, of Marathon.  On Thursday, the Laurens Police Department located Ruge and he was transferred to the custody of the Buena Vista Sheriff's office.  Ruge was booked into the Buena Vista County jail for Dependent Adult Abuse, a class D felony.  Ruge is being held on a $5,000 bond.


Georgia Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murdering Sac City Man

 SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Georgia man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of his former roommate in Iowa.
      54-year-old John Green, of Blairsville, Ga., made the written plea Thursday. Online records do not list a scheduled trial date.
     Green is accused of killing 58-year-old Mark Koster, of Sac City. Koster's skeletal remains were found buried in the basement of his house in 2012.
     Police say Green briefly lived with Koster in 2009. Relatives say they last saw Koster that year, and he was reported missing in 2010. 
     Green was arrested in Florida in March. He is being held at the Sac County Jail without bond.


Branstad Reminds Legislature Of His Priorities Before Session Ends

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - As the end of the legislative session draws near, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is pushing lawmakers to keep some of his priorities in mind.
     Before the session began in January, Branstad focused on four priorities: reducing bullying in schools; expanding programs for veterans; extending broadband and Internet access to rural Iowans; and increasing funding for apprenticeships.
     All those efforts remain alive, but none has been approved and time could be running out. Senate and House leaders say adjournment could come next week, meaning lawmakers must work quickly if the proposals are going to be approved and sent to the governor. 
     Branstad says he remains hopeful.


Micro-Soft To Build Data Center In West Des Moines

 WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State and local officials announced that Microsoft will begin construction on a new data center in West Des Moines, increasing the company's investment in Iowa to nearly $2 billion and becoming the largest investment in the state to date.
     Gov. Terry Branstad joined with local officials Friday to announce Microsoft's investment in so-called "Project Alluvion," which is expected to total more than $1.1 billion. A data center completed in 2010 resulted in about a $900 million investment from the company. 
     Branstad says Iowa's central location makes it an attractive location for Microsoft and other companies that have recently opened data centers.
     Google opened a data center in Council Bluffs in 2009, and Facebook is building a data center in Altoona that should open early next year. 


Closed Tama Meat Plant May Re-Open

TAMA, Iowa (AP) - State officials have approved tax credits for developers to reopen a long-closed meatpacking plant in Tama that would eventually employ about 600 workers.
     The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved $4 million in tax credits to Iowa Premium Beef on Friday. To receive the incentives, the company must create the jobs and offer a wage of $15.42 an hour to 120 employees. 
     The facility, which was shuttered in 2000, will help process Black Angus beef for food service, retail and international customers. Production is expected to begin in the fall.
     The company behind the proposed $48 million project is made up of a group of investors.


Civil Rights Groups Ask For Hearings On Improving Voting Procedures

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Civil rights groups are planning a hearing to consider how to improve elections administration and expand access to voting in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
     A coalition calling itself the National Commission on Voting Rights will hear hours of testimony Monday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
     The group is holding similar events around the country to learn about "challenges, successes and opportunities" for reform in all aspects of policies related to voting. The information will be consolidated into reports that will be shared with members of Congress and state activists.
     Community leaders, elections officials and voting rights advocates are expected to be among those who testify on issues ranging from the locations of polling places to how to improve voting access for individuals with disabilities.




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