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Wednesday News, June 19

City Council Approves Floyd Valley Hospital Expansion Plans

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave its approval for the Floyd Valley Hospital to proceed with plans for expanding its facilities. Hospital officials, along with representatives of the BWBR Architect firm answered questions from the city council.  The new addition is estimated to cost $25 million dollars.  Although Floyd Valley Hospital is a municipal hospital and is owned by the city of Le Mars, Councilman John Rexwinkle emphasized that the city is not liable for the hospital's debt.  The new expansion will have new surgery rooms, examination rooms, and a new clinic. Construction is expected to begin this fall with completion scheduled for 2015.

 

City Council To Utilize Premier Communications Systems

(Le Mars) -- The city council heard a presentation from officials of Premier Communications as the council considers a new communications enhancement program that combines, phone service, internet, and computer data. In November of 2012, the city staff began researching phone systems.  The current system was installed in 1996 and has experienced problems on many levels.  The city staff along with the council felt there was a need to have all phone and computer related systems organized, coordinated, and communicating.  The goal was to allow networking of all city facilities through the internet and email, to centralize operations, and to offer an off-site computer backup system.  The city council approved Premier Communications proposal which will initially cost the city $63,148 for equipment costs, and an expected monthly cost of more than five thousand dollars.


Kingsley Fire Department Responds To Alarm At Nursing and Rehab Center

(Kingsley) -- The Kingsley Fire Department had an early morning wake up call as an alarm at the Kingsley Nursing and Rehab Center sounded a few minutes before 2:00 a.m.  Fortunately, there was no danger to the residents or the facilities.  As it had turned out, the alarm was sounded because of a piece of burnt toast.


Plymouth County To Replace Fallen Bridge

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County is having to replace a bridge that was not originally on the budget for replacement.  Due to the Memorial Day flooding, and subsequent rains that have continued to erode the embankment, a bridge that spans Willow Creek collapsed this past week, falling into the creek.  Plymouth County Engineer, Tom Rohe offers an update as to what happened following the initial flooding.

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Rohe says he faces a new dilemma in how best to remove the fallen bridge from the creek.

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Rohe estimates the cost to replace the bridge between $375,000 to $400,000.  He says it is likely the state will assist the county with the costs to replace the bridge.

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Supervisors Award Contracts To Correctionville Contractor

(Le Mars) -- In other action, the Plymouth County Supervisors awarded two construction projects to a Correctionville contractor.  Dixon Construction placed the low bid for the installation of two culverts.  Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department estimated the first project to cost $30,800.  Dixon submitted a winning bid of $30,837.  Two other contractors had submitted bids amounting to $36,761 and $41,420.  The second culvert project had an estimated costs of $26,746.  Dixon offered the low bid of $27,280.  Kooiker Incorporated of Le Mars offered a bid of $28,399 and L.A. Carlson Contractors of Merrill submitted a bid of $34,706.

 

Construction On C-38 And K-42 Is Progressing

(Le Mars) -- Construction near Merrill is progressing, according to Plymouth County Engineer, Tom Rohe.  Rohe says the overlay paving project on County road C-38 is nearing completion.

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Rohe says the focus of the work will now shift to the southbound lane of County road K-42

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The county engineer anticipates completion of the projects will occur sometime in September or October of this year.

 

Le Mars Chamber Schedules "Cash Mob" For Thursday

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will once again host a "cash mob" scheduled for Thursday at 12:15 p.m.  This time the selected business will be a downtown chamber member that focuses on food for their business.  Eligible businesses include: the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, Piece of Cake, Pizza Ranch, and Sunshine Natural Foods.  The "cash mob" invites people to the Chamber office, then the winning business will be selected and announced, and the "mob" of people then go to that business with the understanding of making a purchase of at least $20.


Branstad Selects Interim Education Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has picked an interim director for the Iowa Department of Education.
Branstad announced Tuesday that Duane "D.T." Magee will run the department while the state looks for a permanent replacement for outgoing Director Jason Glass.
Magee will continue to hold his position as executive director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.
Glass said last month that he would be leaving to become superintendent of a Colorado school district. He had served as director since late 2010 and took the lead in backing education
reforms that were approved by lawmakers in May.
Glass' last day is June 21 and Magee will start June 24.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor hopes to name a permanent director by the start of the 2013 school year.

 

Greene County Wants Casino

JEFFERSON, Iowa (AP) - Casino supporters have turned in petitions calling for a public vote on gambling in west-central Iowa's Greene County.
A group called Grow Greene County submitted more than 750 signatures on Tuesday. Only about 460 verified signatures are needed to force supervisors to schedule a vote. An Aug. 6 election
is expected.
Greene County Supervisor Guy Richardson backs the casino and says the county must grow in order to thrive.
The Rev. Julie Poulsen of First United Methodist Church in Jefferson is a leader of No Casino Greene County. She says she opposes gambling because of the harm to individuals and families.
A Greene County casino likely would be developed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 4 in Jefferson.

 

Spencer Man Catches Prize Winning Walleye

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A Spencer man has caught a $1,600 walleye on Big Spirit Lake in northern Iowa.
Joe Larson caught a tagged fish that was part of a contest sponsored by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
In early May, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources released six tagged walleye in Big Spirit Lake, West Lake Okoboji and East Lake Okoboji for the contest. For anglers who paid $15 and registered for the extended contest, there's still a chance to win some money for catching one of the tagged fish up until Sept. 1.
Larson caught his fish Thursday and the Chamber of Commerce released details on Tuesday.
Proceeds from the Great Walleye Weekend contest go to the Easter Seals of Iowa.

 

Swimmer's Itch Found In Crystal Lake

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources is warning people that a condition called swimmer's itch is being seen at northern Iowa's Crystal Lake.
The condition usually is harmless but can cause welts and itching for several days.
The DNR says Tuesday that the condition has been noted at Crystal Lake in Hancock County, about 30 miles west of Mason City.
Swimmers itch is caused by a parasite that can burrow into human skin before dying.
The DNR advises avoiding swimming in areas with aquatic plants, which can contain snails that host the parasite. People also should dry off quickly after getting out of a lake.

 

Iowa's Pheasant Population Likely To Decline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Department of Natural Resources biologist says Iowa's pheasant population likely will decline this year because of the cool and wet spring.
DNR upland wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says Iowa's pheasant population usually increases after mild winters and dry, warm springs. This year, a snowy winter was followed by
record-setting cold temperatures and rain.
Because of those conditions, Bogenschutz says the pheasant population will likely be smaller than in 2012.
Habitat also has been an issue for the pheasant population, as high commodity prices lead more farmers to grow crops rather than set aside land for wildlife under the federal Conservation Reserve
Program.
But Bogenschutz says Iowa has made progress in creating more habitat for pheasants through an effort to set aside 50,000 acres of land to aid the birds.


Postville Explosion Ruled As Accidential

POSTVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they still don't know what caused a small explosion at a northeast Iowa factory that injured three workers.
Postville Fire Chief Jeffrey Bohr says the explosion early Monday at the Norplex-Micarta composite laminates plant in Postville has been deemed accidental. Officials say employees were cleaning equipment at the time.
Bohr says firefighters and the factory's sprinkler system helped contain fires caused by the explosion. Officials also shut down natural gas valves to prevent further explosions.
Three workers were injured, including one who was airlifted to a burn unit in Iowa City. The employee's condition is unclear, though Bohr says the employee is improving.
Another worker was treated and released from an area hospital, and the other declined treatment at the scene. Their names have not been released.

 

Social Worker's License Suspended

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - State regulators have suspended the license of a Coralville social worker accused of being drunk on the job.
The Iowa Board of Social Work announced Tuesday that Brian Nedoba's license has been indefinitely suspended.
Nedoba is accused of drinking alcohol and being intoxicated while providing services at a Waterloo business e in September 2011. Witnesses including co-workers said Nedoba had alcohol containers in his office and made inappropriate comments to clients.
Nedoba was terminated in January 2012.
The board met in May to discuss six counts, including habitual intoxication and inability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. The board determined Nedoba's alcohol abuse may adversely
impact his practice of social work.
There was no public number listed for Nedoba.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, June 18

Ice Cream Days Offers Boost To Le Mars Economy

(Le Mars) -- It may be difficult to determine how much of an economic impact the recent Ice Cream Days had upon the Le Mars economy, but local officials do believe a record number of people attended the four-day event.  Jessica Lindgren serves as the Director for the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She says there isn't an exact dollar amount tracking system. 

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Lindgren says Saturday's parade had generated interest from thousands of people, even living outside Le Mars.

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The Convention and Visitors Bureau Director says Chamber and city officials will meet within the week to review the Ice Cream Days to determine what worked well, and what may need improvement.  Lindgren says one huge success was the festival finale at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds with the new addition of the fireworks show.

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Lindgren says this years celebration attracted more people, in part due to the 100th anniversary celebration of Wells. 

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Ireton Man Faces Multiple Charges For Saturday Incidents

(Le Mars) -- An Ireton man is facing numerous charges following several incidents that occurred early Saturday morning.  Plymouth County authorities responded to a call of a suspicious individual sitting in a vehicle behind Perera's in Merrill.  It was determined the vehicle was owned by Ronald Perera.  The subject was identified as 42 year-old Richard Perrin.  Perrin also had injuries that was sustained from an auto accident.  Through their investigation, deputies learned that Perrin had stolen a car belonging to Mandy Staab of Le Mars, then wrecked the car in an accident on Highway 75 near Merrill.  The car was found on its top in a ditch.  Perrin was initially transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital via the Hinton ambulance.  Later, that morning, Rick Wright of Radiator Works and Welding had reported that his business had been broken into and numerous tools were stolen.  Nearly all the tools were located in the vehicle that Perrin was driving.  Perrin was located in Le Mars by Le Mars Police officers and sheriff's deputies and after a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody.  Perrin is charged with Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor; interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor; burglary in the 3rd degree, a class D felony; and possession of stolen property, a class D felony.  He is being held until he can appear before a judge.  The investigation is continuing.

 

Supervisors To Review County's Mental Health Programs

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will review the county's mental health program today as they meet with Sharon Nieman, the Plymouth County Mental Health Director.  The supervisors are also expected to approve a contract with Plains Area Mental Health, as well as approve other contracts for individuals that provide mental health services.

 

City Council To Hear From Floyd Valley Hospital Officials

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council has scheduled two public hearings for today's regular meeting.  The city council will hear comments from the public regarding the proposed new water tower and the proposed new water booster station.  The city council will also hear from representatives from Floyd Valley Hospital as the hospital seeks permission from the city leaders for approval to start on the $25 million north addition expansion project.  The city council will take action on the offers to purchase property for the new water tower and booster station sites.

 

Chamber To Host "Cash Mob" For Thursday

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will once again host a "cash mob" scheduled for Thursday at 12:15 p.m.  This time the selected business will be a downtown chamber member that focuses on food for their business.  Eligible businesses include: the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, Piece of Cake, Pizza Ranch, and Sunshine Natural Foods.  The "cash mob" invites people to the Chamber office, then the winning business will be selected and announced, and the "mob" of people then go to that business with the understanding of making a purchase of at least $20.

 

Two People Testify At Utilities Board Hearing Against MidAmerican Rate Increase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two people have testified in Des Moines against a $135 million base rate increase sought by MidAmerican Energy Co.
Bob Wessel and Jerry Bridgeman, who are both retired, asked at the Iowa Utilities Board hearing on Monday in Des Moines whether the rate hike is justified.
MidAmerican officials say the utility hasn't had a base rate increase since 1995. The company has 640,600 Iowa customers.
Bridgeman is a former accountant for the Iowa Utilities Board who retired in 2009. He suggests a mandatory audit for MidAmerican to make sure that customer costs are appropriate.
He also says the state board should ensure that MidAmerican will "stay healthy, but not become wealthy."
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Branstad Says School Start Dates Need To Change

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says the rules governing school start dates in Iowa are "too lax."
Branstad told reporters Monday that the existing policy hurts summer tourism in the state and that he expects to see some changes made by the Department of Education.
Under current Iowa law, schools are supposed to start the week that includes Sept. 1. But nearly all districts apply for and get waivers to start earlier in August.
A group led by Iowa State Fair Manager Gary Slater has filed a petition with the state Department of Education seeking tougher enforcement of the law.
Department of Education Director Jason Glass says the department is reviewing the petition with the governor's office, but no final decision has been made.


Iowa City Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Cocaine To Undercover Police Officer

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - One of the men involved in an alleged Iowa City drug ring involved in a deadly police sting has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Norman Dudley pleaded guilty Monday to selling crack cocaine to an undercover Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement agent in the parking lot of a K-Mart store last August.
Authorities have said the transaction came days before undercover agent Daniel Stepleton went to an Iowa City trailer as part of an undercover operation, where he was ambushed by masked
men wielding weapons. Police say Ivan Hardemon pointed a gun to Stepleton's head, but the agent managed to grab his own weapon and open fire.
Stepleton shot and killed the 24-year-old Hardemon and injured Demarco Dudley, Norman's brother, before escaping unharmed. Investigators determined Stepleton acted in self-defense.

 

Police Chase 13 Year Old Boy Driving Car

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Police in central Iowa say a 13-year-old boy led officers on a weekend car chase through a residential area.
Ankeny police say the boy drove the car with a flat tire early Sunday morning over curbs and around 50 mph in a residential area.  The car also went through a construction zone and several
barricades before speeding off again.
The chase ended after the boy crashed the car into a tree. He was taken to a hospital for a minor injury to his face.
The boy has been charged with reckless driving, operating while intoxicated, eluding police and driving without a license. The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles suspected of crimes.


World Food Prize To Announce Winners On Wednesday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The World Food Prize foundation will announce the winners of its annual award on Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington featuring Secretary of State John Kerry as the
keynote speaker.
The prize was founded in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1970 for boosting agricultural production in what has become known as the "Green Revolution."
The prize honors individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Past laureates have come from 13 countries and the United States
The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines. It will host the recipients at the Iowa State Capitol in an award ceremony on Oct. 17 with more than 800 invited guests.

 

Weekly Crop Report Shows Poor Crop Performance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Iowa's cornfields have been hit hard by the wet spring.
Twelve percent of the crop is in poor condition, worse among the 18 leading corn growing states. Monday's report says 4 percent is very poor while 34 percent is fair and 50 percent is good or excellent. Eleven percent of corn plants haven't emerged from the ground yet and 6 percent of the crop hasn't been planted. Normally the crop is all in by now and 99 percent emerged.
The USDA already assumes the average amount of corn expected to be harvested per acre in the U.S. to be reduced to 156.5 bushels per acre down from 158 bushels estimated a month ago.

 

 

 

   

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