Tuesday News, June 24
Moped and Car Accident At Walmart Parking Lot
(Le Mars) -- A moped and a car were involved in an accident yesterday afternoon at about 5:30 p.m. at the Le Mars Wal-mart parking lot. Little is known at this time other than there were injuries reported. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to that accident.
Fatal Accident At Buena Vista County
(Storm Lake) -- A fatal accident occurred in Buena Vista County Monday morning when a car traveling on county road M-54 failed to stop at a stop sign at Highway 3. The car struck a semi truck and trailer hauling gravel. The passenger car collided with the rear of the semi trailer and was lodged underneath the semi trailer. Rescue workers had to use the jaws of life to extricate the driver of the car. Buena Vista County Medical Examiner declared the driver to be dead at the scene. The driver of the car was the only person in the car. The driver of the truck and trailer was 37 year old Aaron Keene of Storm Lake, and did not suffer any injuries. The name of the driver who died is being withheld until family members have been notified. Assisting at the scene were the Albert City Fire Department, Iowa Highway Patrol, Sioux Rapids Police Department, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement, the Buena Vista County Medical Examiner's office, and the Buena Vista County Regional Medical Center. The accident remains under investigation.
Supervisors To Convene At Courthouse Board Room
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County courthouse board room. The supervisors have a light agenda, but they will act upon a resolution asking the week of the Plymouth County Fair be designated as "Plymouth County Agriculture Awarenesss Week". In other action, the supervisors will hear a construction update from County engineer, Tom Rohe, and the supervisors will open bids for additional construction projects scheduled to begin later this summer.
Felon Found Guilty Of Possessing Firearm Acquired On Facebook
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Storm Lake man has pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms that he purchased using Facebook.
21-year-old William Kurtz pleaded guilty Monday in Buena Vista County District Court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and acquiring a pistol without a permit. Two counts of felon in possession of a firearm were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Kurtz was prohibited from owning guns because of a felony conviction.
Court documents show Kurtz used Facebook to buy the guns. Police arrested him Feb. 17 after an undercover officer exchanged a gun with Kurtz and took money as a down payment on a second gun.
Police found another gun and ammunition in Kurtz's home.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 18.
State Climatologist Confirms Heavy Rainfall For Iowa Last Week
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Rainfall totals are in for last week and they confirm it was indeed a very wet week in Iowa.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says the statewide average rainfall was nearly 3.7 inches, three times the normal 1.2 inches. It was the greatest weekly average for the same week in six years.
It explains why some rivers and streams are flooding in western Iowa. Eastern Iowa is seeing high river levels this week.
The rain has all but wiped out the state's drought. Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are now rated either adequate or in a surplus on 86 percent of the state's soil.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 95 percent of Iowa's corn crop is in fair, good, or excellent condition and soybeans are 98 percent fair or better.
Northey Says Despite Northwest Iowa, State's Crops Still Look Good
(Des Moines) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey says "parts of the state, especially Northwest Iowa, are dealing with excess water resulting in pockets of damage from recent severe weather. But, overall, a large majority of the state's corn and soybean crops continue to be in good to excellent condition." Northey made the comments as part of the weekly crop condition report. Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 58 percent good, and 21 percent excellent. With almost all of Iowa’s soybean acreage emerged, soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 18 percent fair, 58 percent good, and 18 percent excellent. There were isolated reports of soybeans blooming across Iowa. Seventy-one percent of the oat crop has headed, 8 percentage points above last year but 4 percentage points behind the five-year average. A few farmers reported seeing oats starting to turn color. Recent rains have raised soil moisture levels. Northwest Iowa is now the wettest section of the state with over 40 percent of the topsoil in surplus condition.
ISU Crops Specialist Discusses Northwest Iowa Crop Conditions
(Spencer) -- The governor and state emergency management director say the crop damage in the state from storms and flooding will likely be in the millions. Northwest Iowa has some of the worst hit fields, in a situation that Spencer-based Iowa State University Extension agronomist Paul Kassel says has dramatically changed.
Kassel says. The fields that soaked up the first rains, have now become overwhelmed with water.
Kassel says thousands of corn and soybean acres are already wiped out, and its not over yet.
Double-digit rains have left crops drowning in some of the state's richest soil.
Kassel says wet fields are also preventing farmers from applying weed-preventing herbicides on corn that is surviving.
Judge Rules In Favor of Arbitrator On Dispute Case
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A judge says a company wasn't deprived of a fair hearing in an Iowa construction dispute by an arbitrator accused of having hearing problems and falling asleep.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade last week rejected a challenge by Dustex Corp. to an arbitration award in favor of the municipal utility in Cedar Falls.
Kennesaw, Georgia-based Dustex argued that it was prejudiced by the poor hearing and occasional napping of arbitrator Marshall Young.
Young chaired a three-member panel that heard a dispute over upgrades that the utility made to a power plant. The utility contracted with Miron Construction, and Miron hired Dustex to supply a piece of emission-reducing equipment called a baghouse. The utility claimed the baghouse didn't work.
The panel ordered the companies and an insurer to pay $3.4 million.
Trial Begins For Mason City Man Accused Of Killing 20 Month Old Baby
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Jury selection has begun in the first-degree murder trial of a man accused in the 1994 killing of a 20-month-old boy in Mason City.
Nearly all of the 32 potential jurors on Monday reported hearing or reading something about the case. Jury selection continued through the day and will resume Tuesday.
Prosecutors have charged 38-year-old Michael Cisneros with killing John Snyder Jr., a Mason City toddler who went missing July 20, 1994. His body was found the next day in a creek.
Cisneros was arrested in July 2013 after investigators say DNA analysis linked him to the killing.
Cisneros has pleaded not guilty.
Council Bluffs Police Looking For Robbery Suspect
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs police are seeking a man believed to have robbed two convenience stores and attempted to rob two other businesses.
The incidents happened early Sunday.
Police say the first was about 12:45 a.m. when a man with blue-tinted pantyhose over his face entered The Eddy's gas station. He ordered a customer onto the floor, and then demanded and received money from a clerk.
Less than an hour later, the same person robbed a Kwik Shop.
A little after 2 a.m., he tried to enter the Microtel Hotel but was stopped by a locked security door and fled.
About 15 minutes later he pointed a gun at a Speedee Mart clerk, but the clerk dropped to the floor in an area protected by bulletproof glass.
Two Judges Announce Their Retirement
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two federal judges from Iowa plan to retire next year, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is recommending replacements.
U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, who is based in Sioux City, has informed President Barack Obama that he intends to retire July 4, 2015. Bennett is known as a critic of harsh sentencing policies for nonviolent drug offenders.
Harkin says that he's recommending Obama appoint Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O'Brien to replace Bennett. O'Brien lost in a Democratic primary for U.S. House earlier this month.
Separately, U.S. District Judge James Gritzner plans to go on senior status next March. Gritzner, who's based in Des Moines, is chief judge for Iowa's southern district.
Harkin's recommending U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt and Polk County Judge Karen Romano as potential replacements for Gritzner.
Marine From Iowa Is Killed In Afghanistan
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Defense says a Marine from Iowa has died in Afghanistan.
A statement from the Marines says Lance Cpl. Adam R. Wolff, of Cedar Rapids, died Friday while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, an area in southern Afghanistan.
Wolff was from Ottumwa but moved to Cedar Rapids to live with a sibling before deploying to Afghanistan. Wolff's aunt, Dawn Harward, of Ottumwa reports that Wolff's mother is in Dover, Delaware, to meet her son's body.
The 25-year-old combat engineer joined the Marines in December 2012. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March.
Also killed in the incident were Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, of Stafford, Virginia, and Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, of Peterborough, New Hampshire.
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