Saturday News, October 11
Firefighters Called To Garage Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to a garage fire Friday afternoon at 18818 Hickory Ave. west of Le Mars. Upon arrival firefighters encountered a single stall one and one-half story garage that was fully engulfed. Firefighters fought a defensive fire protecting surrounding buildings and a corn field. The Akron Fire Department assisted at the scene with water and manpower. The fire was contained to the garage of origin. The cause of the fire was ruled accidental. The area of origin was determined to be located in the southeast corner of the building. Sparks from a chop saw hand grinder that was being used about an hour before the blaze was determined to be the cause.
The garage/shop and all contents are considered a total loss. Damage is estimated at $40,000.00. The Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department was assisted at the scene by the Akron Fire Department, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and R.E.C.There were no injuries and firefighters were on the scene for an hour and a half.
Remsen Firefighters Respond To Call
(Remsen) -- The Remsen Fire Department responded to a combine harvester that caught on fire. That fire was reported shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon at 120th Street and Quest Avenue. Fire officials were on the scene nearly an hour. No additional information is available regarding the total damage.
Two Arrested On Drug Charges
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office performed a traffic stop on a vehicle at the intersection of Green Avenue and 325th St. As a result of that stop, the driver, Michael Potter, age 31 of Sioux City was placed under arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A passenger in the vehicle, James Horn, age 32 of Sioux City was also placed under arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both individuals were transported to the Plymouth County Jail.
Plea Hearing Schedueled For Orange City Woman
ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) - A plea hearing is planned next week for an Orange City day care provider who is charged with killing a 3-year-old girl.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Coleman McAllister says details on Rochelle Sapp's plea agreement won't be made public until her hearing Thursday.
District Judge Edward Jacobson set the hearing after a Friday meeting with attorneys.
The 34-year-old Sapp previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and child endangerment in the death of Autumn Elgersma last year. An autopsy report says the girl died of blunt force head injuries.
Harvest Has Started And Good Crop Expected
(Kingsley) -- Harvest is now underway in Plymouth County, and according to Chris Pedersen who manages the Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Kingsley, it is still early for corn, but the soybean harvest has had good yield results.
Pedersen says the farmers around the southeast corner of Plymouth County were not adversely affected by an early season frost of nearly ten days ago.
This year's crop has been slow to mature, and the grain merchandiser says he has seen a slower start to the harvest.
Pedersen says this year's harvest volume should be close to last year's, however, he says farmers are concerned about the drop of commodity prices.
Record Numbers For Harvest Expected
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the expected record corn and soybean harvest will be slightly bigger than previously estimated.
Farmers are expected to bring in 14.5 billion bushels of corn, up from 14.4 billion last month, and 3.93 billion bushels of soybeans, up 14 million bushels.
The October estimate released Friday boosted the per-acre yield for both major crops because of an extended period of late summer warmth in the Midwest.
The USDA says 22 states will set corn record yields this year. Corn farmers are expected to harvest a national average of 174.2 bushels per acre, a significant increase over the record of 169.
A dozen states will set new soybean yield records, and there's expected to be 47.1 bushels per acre, up from the record of 44.
MidAmerican Polans To Expand Wind Farm
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Company says it plans to develop a wind farm in southwest Iowa and expand another operation in northwest Iowa.
The Des Moines-based company announced Friday it plans to build the wind farm in Adams County and expand an existing farm in O'Brien County.
MidAmerican estimates the developments would cost up to $280 million and result in 67 new turbines.
If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the utility expects construction could begin next summer and be completed in 2015.
The turbine blades will be manufactured at a Siemens Energy plant in Fort Madison.
MidAmerican says the projects will generate more than $40 million in property tax revenue over the next 30 years plus payments to landowners.
MidAmerican also has projects underway in Grundy, Madison, O'Brien and Webster counties.
Judge Removes Himself From Case
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The judge overseeing a gay former state official's discrimination lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad and several aides is recusing himself.
Chief Judge Arthur Gamble says in a court order that he feels a conflict of interest has arisen and he must step aside from former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey's lawsuit.
Gamble says he has been consulting on an unrelated matter with two assistant attorneys general who recently have filed appearances in the case to defend the state. He says these consultations will continue during the case, and therefore recusal is appropriate.
Another court official is expected to assign a new judge. Gamble said in an email Friday that he doesn't believe his recusal will affect the timing of the trial, which Gamble recently said he wanted within a year.
Jury Rejects Harassment Case Brought By Prison Guard
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A jury has rejected an Iowa prison guard's lawsuit that said she was sexually harassed after inmates were repeatedly allowed to watch sexually graphic and violent moves.
The Polk County jury reached its decision Friday afternoon, a day after hearing closing arguments in the case of Kristine Sink, who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit in 2012.
Jurors favored the Iowa Department of Corrections, which acknowledged it was wrong to let inmates watch sexually explicit movies, including some that depicted women being tortured and raped. Despite that, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Tyler Smith told jurors that officials appropriately dealt with Sink's complaints and that the difficulties she faced were part of working in a prison.
A call to the state attorney general's office and to Sink's attorney weren't immediately returned.