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Friday News, September 20

Two People Die In Sioux City Auto Accident

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City officials responded to an auto accident last evening where a vehicle struck three parked cars and burst into flames, killing both the male driver and the male passenger.  That accident occurred at about 9:48 p.m. at the 2300 block of 4th street.  When officials had arrived on the scene the car was fully engulfed in flames.
The two people were deceased upon the fire department's extinguishing of the fire.  Officials are still investigating the accident and the names are being withheld until notification of family members.


Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Auto Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to an accident last evening that occurred at about 7:10 p.m. That accident was on Plymouth Street and between 1st and 2nd Avenue Northwest.  No other details are known at this time.


Le Mars Library Seeks Additional Funding

(Le Mars) -- Officials with the Le Mars Public Library say they are in need of more funding and they are turning to the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors to request the county to ante up.  Sue Kroesche serves as the librarian for the Le Mars Public Library, she says the digital age has placed additional expenses on the library.  Kroesche says Plymouth County is behind in terms of funding when compared to the rest of the state and with neighboring counties.  Plymouth County invests slightly more than $8 per person for library services.  Kroesche says that is less than half of what Cherokee, Buena Vista,
Sioux and Woodbury Counties invest for their libraries.  Kroesche says Plymouth County ranks 81st in the state with library funding, although the county ranks 8th in the state with highest per capita income.  Kroesche is scheduled to meet with the county supervisors on October 1st to discuss the issue and find a suitable resolution.  (Check later for additional details to come).


Public Defender Asks For Mental Evaluation On Teen

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An attorney for a teen accused of killing a 5-year-old boy in western Iowa is asking that his case be moved to juvenile court.
Public defender Michael Williams of Sioux City is also asking for a full evaluation of the 17-year-old's mental health, juvenile court history, and family history.
The teen's family has said he is mentally disabled and has the mental capacity of a preschooler.
A judge has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 30, the same day the teen is supposed to be arraigned.
Authorities believe the teen killed 5-year-old Dominic Elkins, whose body was found at the bottom of a ravine on Aug. 31, near Logan in Harrison County.
The teen and the boy had lived at the same foster home for nearly three weeks.



Most of Iowa Remains In Drought

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new water summary report says most of Iowa remains in some type of drought.
The state Department of Natural Resources says Iowa has had below normal precipitation, though it's in better condition than a year ago at this time.
The report says most of the state ranges from abnormally dry to experiencing moderate to severe drought.
The report adds that central Iowa's shallow groundwater is near or at historic low levels. Stream flows are also below normal levels, though they vary according to the immediate area of sporadic rainfall.
Iowa DNR and other agencies prepare the report, which is published every two weeks
or as conditions significantly change.


Storms Hit Central Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Weather officials say a line of severe thunderstorms and high winds in central Iowa have left thousands of customers without power.
The National Weather Service says a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect several hours Thursday for various central Iowa counties. At one point, more than 38,000 MidAmerican Energy customers were without power, with a majority in the Des Moines area.
Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg says winds from the storms reached up to 70 mph, but tornadoes were not expected. The system hit the Des Moines area before heading northeast toward Ankeny, Elkhart, Altoona and Bondurant.
Kotenberg says reported damage includes dime-size hail in Johnston and fallen tree limbs in Adel. He says minor flooding is expected in parts of Polk County.


Steve King For President?

(Sioux City) -- President Steve King?  Iowa Congressman Steve King Says rumblings about him considering a possible run for the presidency are just that.  The 4th District Republican says his visits to key states like New Hampshire and South Carolina are to help the G-O-P get the White House back.

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King says he won't totally rule out a run for the Oval Office in the future.

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King says he would like the best candidate come forward who can accomplish those things, but it remains to be seen who that will be.


Branstad Appoints Appeals Judge

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has appointed a district judge from Des Moines to the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Branstad on Thursday announced the appointment of Christopher McDonald. He will fill a vacancy left by Chief Judge Larry Eisenhauer, who will retire on September 30th.
The 38-year-old McDonald currently serves in Iowa Judicial District 5C and begins his tenure in October. He previously served as senior counsel to Aviva USA and was in private practice.
McDonald was one of three finalists recommended by a judicial nominating commission. He beat out Assistant Attorney General Jeanie Kunkle Vaudt from West Des Moines and attorney Sharon Greer from Marshalltown.


Woman Dies Of Meth Overdose

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say autopsy results show that a woman whose body was found in a southwest Iowa cornfield was killed by an accidental overdose.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Thursday that an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner's Office found that 31-year-old Maggie Weaver died due to acute methamphetamine intoxication. There were no signs of foul play.
Weaver was last seen July 31st when she was waiting for a ride from a friend. When the friend showed up a couple hours later, she was gone.
Friends found her body August 3rd in a cornfield near Lenox, in rural Taylor County,


Thursday Afternoon News, September 19

Iowa Farmland Values Continues To Rise

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's farmland values continue to increase, with the latest survey showing average prices climbing by 20 percent to $8,400 an acre.
The  U.S. Department of Agriculture survey finds that Iowa's agricultural real estate values grew
more sharply than all nearby states except North Dakota, where an energy boom has led to
a big jump.
Iowa's 20 percent increase compared to a national farmland value rise of 9.4 percent.
The survey compared prices from August 2012 to August 2013.
Iowa State University economics professor Michael Duffy credits the land value rise to increased farm income. He says big increases started in 2007 when corn and soybean prices climbed and remained at higher levels.


Governor's Brother Fined By EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The brother of Gov. Terry Branstad will pay a fine and spend $26,000 to install a wetland area after his cattle farm failed to comply with requirements of his clean water permit.
The Environmental Protection Agency says Branstad Farms near Forest City did not maintain adequate records for the application of manure onto farm land and did not sample the manure and soil as required.
EPA documents show Monroe Branstad, the governor's brother, operates the farm.
The EPA says the farm will pay a $5,100 civil penalty and spend the additional money to install a wetlands restoration area, the first agreement of its type in the EPA region covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska,
The governor's spokesman says he will not comment.
Monroe Branstad did not immediately return a message.


Senator Schumer To Speak At Iowa Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has been chosen to be the keynote speaker at a major Iowa event that has previously featured some of the national Democratic Party's top figures.
Schumer will speak Nov. 2 at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa. He will focus on the party's platform for the middle class.
The event's organizers say Thursday that Schumer was chosen because of legislation he sponsored including a college tuition tax credit, a consumer protection measure for credit card users, and for securing relief funding after Superstorm Sandy.
Previous speakers have included former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and Vice President Joe Biden. In 2007, U.S. Representative, and at the time, House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi conducted a meeting at the dinner with presidential contenders, including then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.


Bait Cars Yielded No Results

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two vehicles designed to catch car thieves in the Des Moines area have yielded zero results.
Sgt. Scott Bright of the Iowa State Patrol says officials are surprised no one has tried to steal the cars, which have been parked for several days at a time in high crime areas since April. Troopers have even left keys in the cars.
Des Moines television station KCCI reports ( ) the bait cars are designed to track and record a theft.
Troopers say they will continue to monitor the vehicles. They say up to 5,000 cars are stolen in Iowa each year.




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