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Monday Afternoon News, June 24

Tractor Ride Accident

BRONSON, Iowa (AP) - A southwest Iowa woman injured her shoulder during a three-day tractor touring event near Sioux City.
73-year-old Judith Callahan, of Glenwood, was a passenger and was injured when the tractor rolled over Monday morning near Bronson.  The area is about 10 miles southeast of Sioux City.
The 79-year-old driver, Clarence Callahan, of Tabor, had pulled over to the side of the road to check on a possible mechanical issue.
A wheel dropped off the road, causing the Farmall M tractor to roll.
Judith Callahan was taken to a Sioux City hospital. Clarence Callahan wasn't hurt.
The vehicle was among more than 500 tractors taking part in the three-day WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride.


Storms Hit Eastern Iowa

SOLON, Iowa (AP) - Weather officials say there are reports of multiple tornadoes in eastern Iowa.
The National Weather Service says a confirmed tornado was located near Solon shortly before 3 p.m. Monday moving northeast at 50 mph.
There are reports of a confirmed tornado six miles southwest of Mechanicsville as well as one near Stanwood. A tornado was later reported southeast of Olin moving northeast at 40 mph.
Information about damage or injuries was not immediately available.
Storms moving across the state Monday have knocked out power for several thousand people.
Officials say severe weather in eastern Iowa has caused significant damage in the city of Muscatine and injured one person.
The National Weather Service says a spotter reported a tornado on the ground around 3:30 p.m. Monday on the north side of the city near Highway 61. A survey team will inspect the region Tuesday to determine if the damage was caused by the reported tornado.
The severe weather hit a body shop attached to a car dealership, as well as a Calvary church and Menard's home improvement store.  Reported damage includes overturned semi-trailers and buildings
with roofs blown off. There are no reports of fatalities.
A line of severe storms moving across the state led to reports of multiple tornados Monday.


Fort Madison Prison Under "Restricted Movement"

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Officials have placed the Iowa State Penitentiary and Clinical Care Unit in Fort Madison under restricted movement following the discovery of suspicious items.
The Department of Corrections says officials found a 17-foot rope and a bottle with an unknown substance Monday during a routine search of an upper cell house. They later discovered a 10-foot rope
and another unknown substance.
The restriction means people at the penitentiary will be mostly limited to their cells, including for meals.
The ropes were fashioned with braided sheets, and other items included blankets, gloves and sand paper. Prison spokesman Fred Scaletta says the materials indicate there may have been plans for
an attempt to escape from the penitentiary, but nothing has been reported.
Scaletta says it's unclear when the restriction will be lifted.


Branstad Declares Allamakee County As Disaster Area

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for Allamakee County in northeast Iowa due to recent storms and flooding.
Branstad announced the decision Monday. The declaration means that state resources can be used to respond to the storms. These proclamations have been issued in dozens of counties since May.
Branstad also announced that residents of Allamakee and Clayton counties are eligible for a state program that provides grants to low-income families that need aid for things like food, clothing or
temporary housing.


Sinkhole In Iowa City Concerns City Officials

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City officials are monitoring a sinkhole near the sidewalk of a county administration building.
The sinkhole near the Johnson County Administration Building was close to six feet in diameter and more than five feet deep as of Monday afternoon.
The heavy rainfall quickly opened up the sinkhole, and officials suspect it has been building beneath the surface for some time.
Bud Stockman, superintendent with the Iowa City streets division, says either the breakage of an active storm sewer pipe or the cap blowing off a discontinued pipe caused the sinkhole.
City officials are trying to determine whether the city or county owns the pipe to determine repair costs.


New Witnesses Being Sought For Missing Cousins Case

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released new witness information in connection with the slaying of two Iowa cousins last year.
The Evansdale Police Department announced Monday that witness information indicates a white SUV was parked on or near Meyer's Lake on July 13, 2012. It's the day Elizabeth Collins and Lyric
Cook disappeared after riding their bikes in the area. Their bodies were found in December.
Police say they want to speak with the person or people in the full-size SUV, which was an older model of possibly a Chevy Suburban, Ford Bronco or something similar. The public is encouraged to contact investigators if they're able to identify the person or people.
Police say the individual is not considered a suspect or person of interest, but may provide important information to the investigation.


Recession Affects Children Nutrition Needs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report indicates the recession several years ago continues to impact the well-being of Iowa children.
The Kids Count report released Monday shows 17 percent of Iowa children lived below the poverty line in 2011 despite the recession ending in 2009. Nearly a third of them lived in single-parent
families and a quarter of them had parents without secure employment.
There are also improvements, like fewer cases of child deaths, teen drug use and low birth-weight babies.
Michael Crawford, director of Iowa Kids Count, says the trends are due to factors like more kids being covered by health insurance.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation of Baltimore compiles the report annually with help from the Des Moines-based Child & Family Policy Center.


Dubuque Woman Accused Of Murder For Hire Scheme

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque woman has been accused of using a Craigslist ad to try to hire someone to kill her father.
The Dubuque County Sheriff's Department says 23-year-old Megan Schmidt posted an inquiry Saturday that offered $10,000 for an undisclosed job. Interested callers were then told upfront about
the murder-for-hire job.
Capt. Bob Lynn says several concerned callers contacted authorities about Schmidt's ad. An undercover officer responded to the post Sunday and met with Schmidt. Lynn says Schmidt gave the
officer a photograph of her father and repeated the request to have him killed.
Schmidt was arrested and is at the Dubuque County Jail on $50,000 cash-only bond. She faces felony charges of attempted murder and solicitation to commit murder.
Court records do not list an attorney.





Monday News, June 24

Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments Respond To Storage Shed Fire

(Le Mars) -- Both the Le Mars and the Merrill Fire Departments responded to an early morning structure fire in Le Mars.  The alarm was sounded at about 2:25 a.m. when a storage shed located behind the Dinger's Bar on 2nd Street was filled with smoke.  Fire officials worked for nearly an hour on the blaze.

Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper describes the scene upon arrival.

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Schipper believes the fire may have been intentionally set.

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Schipper says the matter will be turned over to the Le Mars Police Department for additional investigation.


Tractor Ride Comes To Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- More than 500 tractors of all sizes, makes, models, and colors will roll into Le Mars today.  It's all part of the 17th annual WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride. The tractors started from Sioux City at about 7:30 this morning and will make their trek north and have lunch at the Le Mars Convention Center.  Marc Dorenkamp says the ride started as a result of the late farm broadcaster, Mark Pearson having a speaking engagement at Grinnell.

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Many on today's tractor ride are either past or present farmers, or perhaps they were raised on a farm, and Dorenkamp says the appeal of the tractor ride is because they are reliving their history.

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The drivers of the tractor ride will eat lunch at the Le Mars Convention Center, where they will feed on the famous "pork chop in a glove" as provided by the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association and the Plymouth County Extension and Outreach.


School Board To Vote On Superintendent's Contract

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education are scheduled to meet this evening. The school board is expected to act upon the three year contract for school superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt.  The contract proposal would offer a 12 percent increase for the salary base pay for Wendt during the first year and a four percent increase for year two and year three.  If approved, starting July 1st, Wendt's salary would be $149,628.  Year two would make the salary $155,613 and for the third year of the contract the superindentent's salary would be $161,838.  The contract includes hospitalization, life and disability insurance.   The school board will also discuss the upcoming school board election.  The first date for candidates to file nomination papers is July 8th.  Fifty signatures are required for a nomination, and the last day to submit nomination papers is August 1st.  As a result of
re-redistricting, district one is vacant.  Scott Kommes is eligible to run in district 2. Mark Hemmingson and Chris Collins can run for director in district 3, and Brenda Phelan is eligible to run in district 4.

MRHD Spent Thousands On Legal Fees Over Casino Dispute

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Documents show that legal costs for Missouri River Historical Development soared last year as the nonprofit group and its former casino partner battled in court over
their disintegrated relationship.
The nonprofit group spent $324,769 in legal fees in 2012. That's more than six times the $50,795 reported in 2011. A year before that, the nonprofit's fees were $11,641.
The nonprofit and Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino operator Penn National Gaming Company have been locked in a legal battle over their contract for more than a year.
Nonprofit president Mark Monson says the rising legal costs will not hamper his group's ability to distribute casino proceeds to charitable causes, as Iowa law spells out.


Correctionville Man Shoot Himself While Trying To Shoot A Raccoon

CORRECTIONVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 45-year-old northwest Iowa man who was trying to shoot a caged raccoon accidentally shot himself.
The accident occurred a little before 10 a.m. Sunday at Copeland Park in Correctionville.
Woodbury County Sheriff's Maj. Greg Stallman says Tim McCormick had set out traps at his home in Correctionville and caught a raccoon. Stallman says McCormick took the caged raccoon to the park
to shoot it, but instead accidentally fired his .38 caliber revolver into his left leg.
He was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. The uninjured raccoon was released back into the woods.
The shooting is being investigated.


Child Falls From Des Moines Apartment Window

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a child was injured in a fall from a second-story window at a Des Moines apartment complex.
The accident occurred Sunday afternoon at the Oakridge Apartments. The boy's mother told police she left her son alone for a moment while she used a bathroom. She soon heard pounding on her apartment door and screaming from outside. She then learned her boy had fallen from an apartment window.
Officers say the boy's head was bleeding and he was crying when they arrived. He was taken to Blank Children's Hospital.


Robber Uses Unusual Get A Way Vehicle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A man who robbed a Des Moines area fast food restaurant had an unusual getaway car.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says a man entered a Wendy's Restaurant just before 5 p.m. Sunday. He told an employee he had a weapon and demanded money.
He was given an undisclosed amount of cash, and then fled across a parking lot of an adjacent building.
He got into a maroon Ford Ranger pickup pulling a large trailer that contained furniture, covered by a dark tarp.
Witnesses say the trailer had blue, out of state license plates.

Iowa Can Do More To Prevent Flooding According To Experts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Experts say Iowa could do more to avoid flooding by limiting how much rain runs into the state's rivers and streams. Stemming that runoff would include moves to tackle climate
change and expand grasslands and wetlands to absorb rain where it falls.
Figures show that Iowa's participation in the federal Conservation Reserve Program - which pays farmers to keep some land in native grasses and out of crop production - has dropped sharply as corn prices have steadily increased.
In 1993, Iowa peaked with 2.2 million acres in the CRP. By 2008, acreage had dipped to 1.8 million. This spring, it stood at just 1.5 million.
Experts predict the threat of flooding will only grow as rainfall increases in the future due to climate change.

U-S Supreme Court To Act On Ethanol Case

WASHINGTON (AP) - It's a dilemma for drivers.
Do they choose a gasoline that's cheaper and cleaner even if, as opponents say, it could damage older cars and motorcycles?
That's the peril and promise of a high-ethanol blend of gasoline known as E15. The fuel contains 15 percent ethanol, well above the current 10 percent norm sold at most U.S. gas stations.
The oil industry's chief lobbying group has asked the Supreme Court to block sales of E15, saying the high-ethanol blend could leave millions of drivers with broken down vehicles and high repair
bills. The ethanol industry calls that a scare tactic and notes that no documented cases of engine damage have been caused by ethanol.
The court could decide as soon as Monday whether to hear the case.


Two Million Dollar Powerball Lottery Ticket Sold In Decorah

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A $2 million Powerball ticket has been sold at a gas station in Decorah.
The Iowa Lottery says the ticket was for Saturday's Powerball drawing and was sold at a Casey's in Decorah. It matched the first five numbers, but missed the Powerball. The lottery says the purchaser of the ticket also added Power Play, which doubled the prize from $1 million to $2 million.
It was one of two tickets to win $2 million in the country for the Saturday drawing. A $131.5 million jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Pennsylvania.
Casey's in Decorah will receive a $2,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.








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