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Friday News, September 14

Legal Experts Claim B-P-I Will Have Up Hill Climb On Lawsuit

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Legal experts say a South Dakota beef processor that is suing ABC News for defamation faces a steep climb for a victory in court.
Beef Products Inc. is suing ABC News, Inc. for defamation Thursday over its coverage of a meat product, Finely Lean Textured Beef.  The company alleges that the network created an inaccurate impression that the product is unsafe.
The lawsuit seeks damages under South Dakota's defamation law, as well as a 1994 state law that allows businesses to sue anyone who knowingly spreads false information about a food product. A
company lawyer says BPI will seek $1.2 billion in damages.
Drake University law professor Neil Hamilton says BPI may struggle to convince a jury that the news stories were defamatory or that harm was intended.


Le Mars Ambulance Responds To More Calls

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Ambulance Service has been busy.  In their quarterly report, the Le Mars Ambulance is reporting from June 1 to August 31st they responded to 222 calls compared to 203 calls for the same period last year, an increase of 9.4 percent of calls.  For the year to date figures, the Le Mars Ambulance has responded to 625 calls from January 1 to August 31st of 2012.  For the same period in 2011, there were 528 calls for an increase of 18.4 percent.  The Le Mars Ambulance Service will soon be getting a new Life-Line ambulance.  A new unit is to be delivered sometime in September.

Voters Can Obtain Absentee Ballots

(Le Mars) -- Absentee ballots for the November 6 general election are available as of September 27th in the Plymouth County Auditor's office located at the courthouse.  Absentee ballots to be mailed to voters must be requested in writing.  Forms are available at the Plymouth County Auditor's office.  Absentee ballot request forms can be mailed to the Auditor's office at 215 4th Ave South East, Le Mars, Iowa 51031.  Voters wanting an absentee ballot to be mailed to them must submit the request form to the Auditor's office no later than Friday, November 2nd, as that is the last day absentee ballots can be mailed to voters.   You can vote in person at the Auditor's office using an absentee ballot.  Voting must be done between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Absentee ballots may be cast in the Auditor's office until Monday, November 5th at 5:00 p.m.

Chalk Art Festival Scheduled For This Weekend

(Le Mars) -- Get ready for the Chalk Art Festival for this weekend. The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce is once again sponsoring the chalk art festival.  The chalk art festival will take place at the Olson Cultural Event Center on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 pm. and on Sunday, between 12:00 noon and 5 p.m.  To acquire boxes of chalk, and to participate, contact the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce offices.

Well Aware Health Fair Scheduled For October 10

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital has announced the date for the next "Well Aware" Health Fair.  Wednesday, October 10 from 2:00 p.m. -6:30 p.m.  The Well Aware Health Fair will be held on the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  There will be over 50 exhibitors at the health fair.  Various medical providers will be offering many health-related services and information including blood pressure checks.  Flu shots will be offered for a fee of $25.  Mercy Air Care helicopter from Sioux City will be on display, weather permitting.  The Le Mars Police Department and D.A.R.E. Le Mars will sponsor "Project Safe Meds" a program to help households safely dispose of expired prescription medications.


FedEx Helps Stop A Computer Theft

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police are crediting package delivery company FedEx with thwarting an attempt by someone posing as the state's largest school district to order $30,000 worth of computers.
An unidentified person ordered the equipment using the name Des Moines Public Schools.
Police say the shipment of 20 computers was on its way when FedEx employees noted the shipment was bound for a house in Des Moines and a not a school. The company called the school district to verify the purchase, and stopped the delivery when it learned the district had not ordered the computers.
Police say the person, who was not a district employee, falsified a purchase order using the school district's logo and some basic information.


Vice President Biden To Campaign In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The campaign for President Barack Obama says Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Iowa next week includes a visit to Burlington.
Biden will speak at an event at the Port of Burlington on Monday. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.
The campaign announced earlier this week that Biden will be in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday. Details on other campaign stops haven't been released.
Biden's events come 10 days after he last visited Iowa on September 7th. He and his wife joined Barack and Michelle Obama at the University of Iowa, the day after the Democratic National
Both Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are competing hard in Iowa, which is one of about six battleground states.

Iowa Electoral College Appointee Resigns

AMES, Iowa (AP) - One of the Republican appointees to the Electoral College has resigned abruptly from her post after publicly questioning whether she would support the GOP's presidential ticket when casting official votes after the November election.
Melinda Wadsley of Ames tells The Associated Press that she could not in good conscience vote for party nominee Mitt Romney.
Wadsley was among three electors who had told the AP for a story published Thursday that they were exploring alternatives should Romney win their states. Wadsley had backed candidate Ron Paul.
Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker says the process will begin for selecting a new presidential elector from the Fourth District, which would allow the GOP to confirm a die-hard Romney supporter.


Judge Says Richter Can See Children

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A prosecutor is expressing outrage about a decision ordering a father to take his two children cross-country to visit their mother while she's in prison for killing a man in
their rural Iowa home in 2001.
Judge Nancy Whittenburg has ordered Michael Roberts to take his children from California to visit their mother, Tracey Richter, at Polk County's Mitchellville prison while she appeals.
Whittenburg says the kids have a bond with their mother and the visits will "bring closure to the sudden and traumatic events of the past year."
Sac County Atorney Ben Smith said Thursday he respected the decision, but couldn't disagree more. He says it's "mind-boggling" Richter still has parental rights since she shot 20-year-old Dustin Wehde while the kids were one room away. Richter claims self-defense.

Des Moines Doctor Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly prescribing large amounts of narcotic painkillers to eight patients who fatally overdosed is seeking a delay in his preliminary hearing.
Doctor Daniel Baldi (BALD'-ee) was charged earlier this month.  One of the eight patients identified in court papers was Paul Gray, a founder of the heavy metal band Slipknot. He died of an overdose
in 2010 at an Urbandale hotel.
Defense attorney Guy Cook on Wednesday filed a motion in Polk County District Court seeking a delay in Baldi's preliminary hearing that's set for Friday. In the motion, Cook seeks a delay, citing among other reasons, time to gather evidence that may be presented during a preliminary hearing.




Thursday Afternoon News, September 13

Beef Products, Incorporated Suing ABC News

(Dakota Dunes, SD) -- Dakota Dunes based B-P-I has filed a $1.2 Billion  lawsuit against ABC News and the American Broadcasting Company for knowingly and intentionally publishing false and disparaging statements regarding B-P-I and its product known as lean Finely Textured Beef.  The 250 page lawsuit was filed in Union County District Court in South Dakota Thursday morning.

Dan Webb, chairman of the Winston and Strawn law firm that is representing the company, says ABC News launched a long term sustained vicious attack of misinformation against B-P-I.

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Webb says the lawsuit takes issue with the term "Pink Slime" which how many of the news reports referred to B-P-I's product.

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Webb says he will tell a jury that 30 years of hard work and production of a good product were decimated in the 30 days of ABC's reports.  

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The company estimates it lost $400 million in profits, so they are asking for triple damages as specified under South Dakota's food disparagment statute, as well as additional punitive damages.

A statement from ABC News says the lawsuit is without merit.

Correctionville To Get New Grocery Store

CORRECTIONVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Community volunteers in the  town of Correctionville are building a new grocery store to replace one destroyed in a 2009 fire.
For the last three years, Correctionville residents have had to make a near hour-long round trip to neighboring towns to buy groceries.
But in May, volunteers came together to build a new store in downtown Correctionville.
The new store, called "The Mercantile," will be managed and owned by Mark and Dawn McCrea of Correctionville. It is set to open around Christmas or early next year.

Floyd Valley Garden Club To Give Away Daffodils

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau has again awarded a Daffodil beautification grant to the Floyd Valley Garden Club.  Last fall, residents along Central Avenue South were offered 20 free King Alfred daffodils by the two groups.  Those flowers bloom in April.  Beginning Sunday, September 16th, and continuing next week, club members will canvas this year's planting routes.  Frank Summerside of the Floyd Valley Garden Club explains why the club decided on daffodils.
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The Floyd Valley Garden Club distributed 1200 bulbs last year along Central Avenue South.  Residents were given 20 free bulbs along with planting instructions.  This year, Summerside says the club wants to focus on Central Avenue North

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In addition to Central Avenue North, the local garden club will also focus on Highway 3.

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Summerside says if you passed on the opportunity last year, you can contact the Floyd Valley Garden Club and be included in the project for this year.

Iowa Health Officials Want Students To Be Immunized Against Whooping Cough

(Des Moines) -- Iowa public health officials want next year's seventh-graders to get a booster shot for whooping cough to boost their immunity before they go to school.
Iowa has seen a surge in the disease over the past year, especially among adolescents.  State
medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says the increase is because their immunity wanes in the years after they're vaccinated as babies and toddlers.
So far this year, Iowa has had 1,085 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis. That's up nearly five times the number reported in 2011.
Quinlisk spoke Wednesday to the Iowa Board of Health, which will decide later this year whether to add the middle-school pertussis booster to the vaccinations young children are required to have
before entering grade school.


Iowa DHS Failed To Guard Against Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new federal report says the Iowa Department of Human Services has failed to adequately guard against fraud in its state-run child care program for the poor.
The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the report Monday. It says the state agency's process of paying claims within the program has left it vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse. The program provides about $88 million worth of assistance to families
each year.
The report estimates that between April 2010 and March 2011, the state agency had paid out $21.7 million in questionable claims.
The state agency agreed with most of the inspector general's recommendations, but said some of the criticisms were unfounded.




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