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Thursday News, April 11

Utility Crews Work Overnight To Restore Power

(Le Mars) -- Utility crews have been working through the night to restore power to hundreds of northwest Iowa residents that have been without electricity as a result of the spring storm.  Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative have brought crews from other parts of their service areas to assist with the restoration of power.  Gaylene Eshuis is the Operations Coordinator for the Northwest REC.
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In a news release issued late yesterday, Lyle Korver, the General Manager of Northwest REC says line personnel continue to make good progress on the electric service restoration efforts for our members.   By 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, there are approximately 140 members out of power.  The most extensive damage has been in northwest Sioux County.  We also have a small number of members out of power in O’Brien and Plymouth counties.  We have had 15 to 20 broken poles and a number of line breaks.  Korver stated he believes that most of their members will have had restored power by 10:00 p.m.   However, we will have a few members that will likely be out of power overnight due to the pole replacements that are necessary in order to restore service.


Road Crews Deal With Latest Blanket of Snow


(Le Mars) -- Road crews have been trying to stay ahead of the storm by pushing the snow and ice off roadways as soon as they can.  The Iowa Department of Transportation reports that all highways in northwest Iowa are wet and many are either partially or completely covered with snow.  U-S Highways 75, 18, 71, 59, and State Highways 60, 3, 12, and 9 are completely snow and ice covered and motorists are urged to use caution during their early morning commute.  Iowa State Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz says north of Le Mars was the heavier snowfall.  Kurtz says Orange City has at least five inches of snow.  He says the heavy snowfall will make it more difficult to travel.
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The Highway Patrolman says, if possible delay your travel so to allow road crews the opportunity to clear the roads.  He says there have been some accidents related to the snow and ice.
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State Lawmakers Try To Compromise On Education Funding Bill

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans lawmakers are offering an education compromise that includes more general funding for schools if Democrats agree to GOP policy proposals.
Legislators from the Republican-majority House and the Democratic-controlled Senate met Tuesday on GOP Governor Terry Branstad's education plan.
State Representative Ron Jorgensen of Sioux City says House Republicans would support increasing general school funding if Democrats agreed to the policy language in the House version of the
bill. House Republicans want to make some items optional, like boosting minimum teacher pay.
Under the new House offer, schools would get a 2 percent increase to general school funding in the upcoming school year, plus a one-time payment equal to another 2 percent.
Democrats have supported a 4 percent funding increase for schools. They said they needed time to review.


House Approves New Laws Against Taking Police Radios

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved legislation that creates a new criminal offense for trying to remove a communication device from a law enforcement officer.
The House passed the bill 77 to 17 on Wednesday. It earlier passed the Senate and now moves to Governor Terry Branstad.
The measure makes it a simple misdemeanor to steal an officer's radio or cellphone. Penalties can be enhanced to a felony if the officer is injured during the theft.
Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines voted against the bill, saying it creates another way to incriminate minorities, who make up more than 26 percent of the state's prison population.
The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency reports the bill would apply to nearly 30 cases each year.


Branstad Denies  Inmate Commutations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has denied ten applications from Iowa inmates seeking commutation.
Branstad announced the decision Wednesday. Six of the applicants are serving life sentences for murder. The others were convicted of robbery and kidnapping. They range in age from 40 to 71.
A spokesman for Branstad says he has not yet made a decision on the application for commutation from 66-year-old Rasberry Williams.
Williams is serving a life sentence for the 1974 fatal shooting of a neighbor. His bid to have his sentence commuted to a set number of years so he can become eligible for parole has won the
backing of prison wardens, the prosecutor who convicted him and the judge who oversaw his trial.


Des Moines Bar Ordered To Stop Serving Home Brew Beers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A downtown Des Moines bar has stopped customer sampling of local home-brewed beers, fearing retribution from state regulators.
El Bait Shop's Jimmy Carter Happy Hour has been a weekly event. It's named in honor of former President Jimmy Carter, who signed into law a bill that allowed home brewing.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/16UdnCz ) that the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division notified the bar earlier this month that it was breaking the state law that allows home-brewed
beer to be consumed only in homes.
Bar manager Mike Gauthier says it's the first time legal concerns have been raised in the five years or so the event has been held.
He says the bar stopped holding the event so its liquor license
wouldn't be imperiled.
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Wednesday Afternoon News, April 10

Ice + Wind = Power Outages

(Orange City) -- The spring storm that dumped up to an inch of ice on parts of northwest Iowa is creating problems for the local rural utility providers.  More than 1300 customers throughout northwest Iowa are without power as a result of the storm.  Gaylene Eshuis (Es-hise) is the Operations Coordinator with Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative. 

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Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative, based at Orange City, has pulled crews from other service areas to assist with the restoration of power.

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Eshise doesn't have a cost estimate as to how much damage was done by the storm.  The Rural Electric official says they hope to have power restored to all customers by late afternoon or early evening.


Downed Power Lines Start Tree Fires

(Le Mars) -- As a result of the ice storm, fire department crews have also been busy this morning extinguishing tree fires.  Both the Le Mars Fire Department and the Akron Fire Department responded to separate incidents where power lines being weighed down by the ice had sparked trees to catch on fire.   

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Ready To Launch Capital Campaign For Expansion

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees met Tuesday to be briefed on the latest developments regarding the possible expansion of the hospital.  Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says recent surveys conducted by the Renaissance Group, a consulting firm, and community meetings hosted by hospital personnel, show a wide range of support for the future expansion.

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Donlin says the hospital wants to move ahead on at least 12 percent of the expansion project, noting it is a small piece of the entire project, but never-the-less, and important part of the expansion.  Donlin says the hospital will consult again with the Renaissance Group,before officially launching the capital fund-raising campaign, but he says it may occur within the near future.

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Donlin reported to the hospital trustees another customer satisfaction survey conducted by the Healthgrades organization, once again shows the hospital staff excelling with personalized health care.

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Band Instructor Accused of Theft Quits Teaching

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City high school band director accused of stealing more than $50,000 in instruments from the school and pawning them has resigned.
39-year-old Kevin Massey, of Sergeant Bluff, resigned from North High School on Monday. Massey has agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution to the school district.
Massey was charged last month with first-degree theft and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on April 15 in Woodbury County Court.
School officials became aware of the matter after another teacher shopping for musical instruments online noticed some that looked familiar.
Sioux City police say Massey pawned the instruments to cover gambling debts. Police have recovered 62 instruments from three pawn shops. It's not clear how many instruments are still missing.
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Judge Blocks Records on Fine Lean Textured Beef

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has blocked Iowa State University from releasing documents about food safety research conducted for the maker of the beef product that critics call "pink slime."
District Judge Dale Ruigh ruled last month that releasing the information would cause "irreparable harm" to Dakota Dunes, SD-based Beef Products, Inc., by revealing information about proprietary food-processing techniques.
BPI filed legal action seeking to block the release in 2010 after the records were requested by a Seattle law firm specializing in food safety. The New York Times later sought the documents.
The research was conducted by professor James Dickson, who was hired by BPI as a consultant in 2002. Dickson says his research has found that a process in which ammonia is applied to meat makes the product safer by killing bacteria.

 

Marion Woman To Win $1000 For Knowing When Car Fell Through Ice

OKOBOJI, Iowa (AP) - A Marion woman has won $1,000 for predicting when a car would fall through the ice on West Lake Okoboji (oh-koh-BOH'-jee) in northwest Iowa.
Paula Schwers hit it right with her guess of 1:51 a.m. on Thursday last week.
The Spirit Lake Sunrise Kiwanis Club and American Red Cross sell tickets as a fundraiser each year. Buyers record their best guesses for when the car placed on ice in Smith Bay will fall through. The
car engine and all fluids are removed from the car so it won't pollute the lake.
Last year it plunged by mid-March. It took until April 4 this year.
A search and rescue team and a towing company recovered the car so a clock rigged to record the plunge could be checked.


Ankeny Man Sentenced For Stabbing Ex-Girl Friend


ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - An Ankeny man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for stabbing his ex-girlfriend multiple times.
Michael Stewart appeared Wednesday at a Polk County courtroom for the sentencing.
Police say Stewart stabbed the woman in October 2011 at a residence she shared with the couple's three children. The woman had recently moved out of their home after breaking up with
Stewart.
The children were at home during the stabbing. The station reports the woman's 3-year-old son helped comfort her. Her other children had a neighbor call 911.
The woman was taken to a Des Moines hospital and has recovered from her injuires.
Stewart was sentenced on charges of attempted murder, third-degree sexual abuse, willful injury and going armed with intent.
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