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Tuesday Afternoon News, June 4

First National Bank To Become Northwest Bank

(Le Mars) -- Customers of the First National Bank will notice a name change in the coming months.  First National Bank of Le Mars, Sioux Center, and Sioux City will become known as Northwest Bank.  Kevin Eekhoff, Market President with First National Bank says the transition will be seamless to the bank's customers.

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Eekhoff says the bank is still with the original holders of the bank, and now will become one of the larger banks to be located in western Iowa.

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In a release, bank officials say the transition will provide the operation with new growth opportunities, and allow Northwest Bank to increase lending capabilities and provide new products and services in the former First National Bank service areas.   The change will also strengthen the bank's ability to reinvest into its communities and employees, all under a strong and diverse leadership team.

Eekhoff says the transition makes sense for the holding company.

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With the addition of the First National Banks of Le Mars, Sioux Center, and Sioux City, Northwest Banks will have more than 20 locations in Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

The name change is expected to be completed by mid-October.

 

Driver's License Renewal To Be Online

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Transportation says it expects to set up an online process to renew driver's licenses by mid-July.
The agency says in a news release Tuesday that although it's close to establishing a system, people should be aware that fake Internet renewal sites exist that are designed to take advantage of
people. Until the state site goes live next month, people will have to renew their licenses in person.
The Iowa Legislature approved online renewals in the last session, and the measure was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad.
Under the new system, drivers between 18 and 72 can renew driver's licenses through the state Department of Transportation's website without passing a vision test. The bill also extends the
time licenses are valid from five years to eight years.


Branstad Appoints Two To Regents Board

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has filled two vacancies on the Iowa Board of Regents, naming a former state senator and a construction business owner to the panel that
oversees the state's three public universities.
Branstad announced the appointments Tuesday morning of former state Sen. Larry McKibben and construction business owner Milt Dakovich.
They will be subject to state Senate approval during the 2014 Legislature.
Their appointments came after the Senate in April didn't give the appointments of Craig Lang and Robert Cramer the two-thirds majority required for their approval to the nine-member board. Branstad had asked senators to confirm Lang, who was serving on the board and had been its president, and Cramer, a new appointee.
Branstad made the appointments in advance of the next regents meeting scheduled for Wednesday.


Former Senate Staff Member Files Civil Rights Suit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former staffer for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus has filed a civil rights complaint alleging that she was fired after reporting sexual harassment.
Kirsten Anderson filed the complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission last week. She says she was fired several weeks ago from her job as communications director for the caucus, hours after
complaining about harassment from lawmakers and staffers.
In the complaint, Anderson says that she received pay increases for her work. But she said that the workplace was a hostile environment. Anderson says she first complained several months ago and then began getting poor performances reviews.
Anderson said in an email Monday that she wants the workplace culture to change.
Ed Failor Jr., an assistant to Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, declined to comment.

 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, June 4

Le Mars City Council Expected To Act On New Water Tower

(Le Mars) - The Le Mars City Council has a light agenda before them for Tuesday's meeting.  The Council is expected to approve the new water tower and booster station improvements.  The council will also discuss the sewer revenue loan agreement.  A public hearing will be held at noon today when the city council hears public comments regarding a billboard lease with Avery Brothers.


Supervisors To Amend Date For Local Option Sales Tax

(Le Mars) - Plymouth county Supervisors are expected to amend and clarify the expiration date for the Local Options Sales Tax.  The date voters will decide upon whether they want to re-new the local options sales tax is August 6.  The supervisors will also read and approve the disaster designation for Plymouth County.  The supervisors will hear from Fred Zenk and Kenneth Wright as they propose plans for minor sub-divisions.

 

Lawn Mower Accident Results In Fatality

(Akron) -- An Akron man has died as a result of a lawnmower accident that happened on Monday evening at about 6:15 p.m.  61 year old, Tomothy Parks of Akron was found under a lawn mower.  He was transported to a Sioux City hospital where he was pronounced dead.  The investigation shows Parks was mowing along the west part of his driveway when it appears a tire dropped in the ditch, causing the mower to roll over onto Parks.  The Akron Fire Department, Akron Ambulance and Akron Police all responded to the scene at 26312 Highway 12.

 

Le Mars Fire Department Called To Late Night Vehicle Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department had a late night - early morning call when they were called to the Well's Southern plant for a vehicle fire.  That fire was reported at about 12:50 a.m. Tuesday morning.

 

Wet Spring Continues To Delay Planting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wet fields from too much rain continues to delay corn and soybean planting in Iowa reaching the point where farmers are likely to see at least some reduction in this fall's
harvest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa farmers planted only an additional 3 percent of the crop last week. Corn is 88 percent planted, behind the five-year average of 99 percent.
Seventy-three percent of corn plants have emerged from the ground.  Normal is about 91 percent.
Iowa soybean farmers have just 44 percent planted, trailing the five-year average of 91 percent.
Nationally, just 57 percent of soybeans are in the ground, significantly behind the five-year average of 74 percent. 
Farmers may be faced with the decision to re-plant some of their crops as a result of the wet spring and flooding. Iowa State University extension crops specialist  Joel DeJong comments on the situation.

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DeJong says farmers have many factors to consider if they choose to re-plant, and which crop they wish to re-plant.

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The crop specialist says farmers could very well see yield loss with the delayed planting and he estimates how much yield loss could occur.

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Another consideration on farmers minds is the reduction of crop insurance coverage for late planted crops.  After June 1st, the amount of coverage is reduced one percentage point each day with the deadline for corn at June 25th.  For soybeans, crop insurance coverage is reduced for any soybeans planted after June 15th with the cut-off deadline of July 10th.


Sioux City Council Approves Hard Rock Casino

(Sioux City) -- The Sioux City Council on Monday, approved, after much debate, the agreement with Sioux City Entertainment for a new Hard Rock Casino.  The council first approved 22 million dollars of tax increment financing for the project, which will be located in the Old Battery Building area at 4th and Water Streets.  Mayor Bob Scott abstained on that vote, as well as several succeeding votes on the project at Monday's meeting.

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From there, the council voted on amending the plan to vacate Pearl and Water Streets in the area.
Rich Bertrand, who owns businesses on Pearl Street affected by the street changes, was concerned over access to his businesses and safety for pedestrians and drivers.

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Casino developer, Bill Warner understood Bertrand's concerns, and stated safe parking and access was very important for casino customers.

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Councilman Keith Radig proposed a compromise which was approved, saving Pearl Street access.  Radig, however, voted against the final agreement to develop the casino as well as the tax increment financing.

Thursday, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will vote on ratifying the agreement with Sioux City Entertainment at their meeting in Osceola.  Penn National Gaming, which operates Sioux City's Argosy Riverboat Casino, has asked the IRGC to reverse their decision to award the casino bid to Sioux City Entertainment.

 

Jury Has Been Selected For the Levin Trial

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A jury has been selected for the trial of a 21-year-old Iowa man charged with killing his mother in Early and kidnapping another woman.
The Messenger in Fort Dodge reports (http://bit.ly/19D68D4 ) a jury of seven men and six women was seated Monday afternoon.
The trial for Kirk Levin will begin Tuesday morning with opening statements.
The trial was moved from Sac County to Webster County because of publicity about the case.
The 21-year-old Levin, of Early, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother and third-degree kidnapping in the abduction of a woman who later escaped.

 

MidAmerican Energy Says They Will Not Build Nuclear Plant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy has decided against building a second nuclear power plant in Iowa and against building any major power plant for now.
MidAmerican says there is no approved design for the nuclear plant it wanted to build and there are too many questions about limits on carbon emissions from a natural gas plant.
Iowa has one nuclear power plant, the Duane Arnold plant near Palo.
MidAmerican Vice President Dean Crist says that a feasibility study found that 700-acre sites near Thurman in southwest Iowa and Wilton in southeast Iowa would have worked for a new nuclear plant, which was expected to cost around $1 billion.
MidAmerican says it will refund $8.8 million that its customers paid for the feasibility study.
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