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Wednesday Afternoon News, May 27

Branstad Declares Clark County As A Disaster Area

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A disaster proclamation has been issued for Clarke County in southern Iowa following severe weather.

Gov. Terry Branstad's proclamation Wednesday will allow the use of state resources to respond to the effects of a severe storm system that hit the county on May 17.

A press release from Branstad's office says the proclamation also activates an assistance program that provides grants of up to $5,000 for certain households. Grants will be available for home or car repairs, food, clothing and temporary housing.




Child Endangerment Investigation

BEDFORD, Iowa (AP) - Iowa investigators have joined Taylor County deputies in a death investigation.

A news release from the Taylor County Sheriff's Office says two suspects have been arrested. Court records say 25-year-old April Clair, of Bedford, and 25-year-old Charles Hall, of Chicago, have been charged with child endangerment causing serious injury. Both remained in custody on Wednesday.

Hall's attorney, Scott Sobel, declined to comment. A phone listed for Clair's attorney rang busy on several calls and didn't go to voice mail.

The Sheriff's Office didn't provide any information about whose death was being investigated or other details.




Democrat O'Malley Ready To Announce Candidacy For President

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hours after he announces his presidential intentions on Saturday, Martin O'Malley will greet Iowa Democrats at a new Des Moines office.

An aide who requested anonymity because O'Malley is not officially a candidate says the former Maryland governor will open the office Saturday near downtown Des Moines. He will hold an event there Saturday, with the doors opening at 5 p.m.

Earlier in the day, he'll make an announcement in Baltimore about whether he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

O'Malley will hold an event Saturday in Davenport before traveling to Des Moines.

If he runs, O'Malley will join former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the major candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination.




Santorum Says He Will Run Again For President

WASHINGTON (AP) - A spokesman for Rick Santorum says the former Pennsylvania senator is running for president.

Spokesman Matt Beynon confirmed Wednesday morning that Santorum will enter the Republican race at an event later in the day near his western Pennsylvania hometown.

He is a favorite of religious conservatives.

The 57-year-old Republican scored a surprising second-place finish in the race for the GOP presidential nomination four years ago. He begins his second presidential campaign as a heavy underdog.

Santorum says his experience could pay dividends the second time around.




Escaped Inmate Back In Custody

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa inmate is back in custody after an unexcused absence from a state work release facility in Waterloo.

Iowa Corrections Department spokesman Fred Scaletta said Tuesday that 26-year-old Eric Livingston was back in custody in Waterloo.

The department says Livingston was listed as escaped on Sunday. Livingston was transferred to work release on Feb. 25. His 10-year sentence for robbery in Black Hawk County began on March 31, 2009.




Judge Declares "Field Of Dreams" Had Proper Zoning

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ruled that Dyersville officials acted legally in approving a zoning change for a proposed baseball complex at the "Field of Dreams" movie site.

Residents seeking to block the development say they'll appeal.

District Court Judge Thomas Bitter's ruling, which was made public Monday, stemmed from a March trial over the council's decision to rezone the site from an agricultural space to a commercial space. The move paved the way for the planned development of a 24-field youth baseball and softball complex.

The council approved the rezoning in 2012. It voted again in 2013 to amend that decision to correct an error in the legal description of the property.

Bitter says the city used the proper procedure to correct the rezone definition.




Sprinkler System Helped Contain Fire At Des Moines School

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a sprinkler helped contain an overnight fire at a Des Moines high school.

The Des Moines Fire Department says it responded to a fire at East High School shortly before midnight Monday. Authorities discovered a pressure washer that had been on fire but was extinguished by a single sprinkler head. The device was part of an automatic sprinkler system that activates at a certain temperature.

Police say the sprinkler helped contain the fire and prevented it from spreading to other parts of the building.

No injuries were reported and the damage was limited to about $1,000. The school opened Tuesday.




Agriculture Officials Say Adair And Webster Counties Now Have Avian Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials say there are two probable cases of bird flu in Adair and Webster counties in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says initial testing at two commercial laying operations were positive for bird flu. The operations have a combined total of about 1.1 million birds.

The agency said Monday if the disease is confirmed, all birds on the properties will be euthanized. It would also mean there are now 66 cases of the disease in Iowa.










Wednesday News, May 27

LEEP Donates $16,000 To Le Mars Community School

(Le Mars) -- Members of the Le Mars Educational Enhancement Program, or LEEP, presented a check totaling $16,000 to the Le Mars Community School Board during last evening's school board meeting.  The money will be used to help finance some technical interaction with the class rooms.



"Calendar Girls" Opens Tonight - Postal Playhouse Extends Production For One More Day

(Le Mars) -- Tonight, (Wednesday) the curtain goes up for the opening of the Le Mars Community Theater's production of "Calendar Girls" at the Postal Playhouse, and already the community theater officials are extending the show dates by an extra day.  Due to the popular demand for seats, the production will continue for an additional night through Wednesday, June 3rd.  Reservations may be made online at, or by visiting or calling us during box office hours, weekdays 11am until 2pm.  We are located at 105 1st St NE in Le Mars, and may be reached at 546-5788.



Tentinger Selected To National Pork Board

(Le Mars) -- A local pork producer has been selected to serve on the National Pork Board.  Bill Tentinger of Le Mars was recently notified by the U-S Department of Agriculture of the selection.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced six appointments to the 15-member National Pork Board. Tentinger and four other appointees will each serve a 3-year term and one appointee will serve a 2-year term. The 15 member pork board oversees the pork check-off program.  Forty cents of every $100 value of pork that is sold is collected from pork producers.  The pork check-off is used for promotion, education, market development, and research.




U-S House Agriculture Committee Votes To Repeal "Country Of Origin Labeling"

(Sioux Center) -- Just before the Memorial Day holiday break, the House Agriculture Committee voted 38 to 6 to repeal the controversial "Country of Origin Labeling" Act, or sometimes referred to as the "COOl" Act. This was done only for meat products of beef, pork, and chicken. It does not apply to fruits and vegetables. The reason the Agriculture Committee voted to repeal the program is derived out of fear that foreign nations, especially our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, would retaliate against the U-S on trade agreements, and would impose some costly tariffs on ag products that we export.

Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King  serves on the House Agriculture Committee, and he says the World Trade Organization had ruled that the label, which requires U-S meat producers to indicate on retail packaging where each animal was born, raised, and harvested, accords less favorable treatment to imported meat than to domestic products.  This was the fourth time the World Trade Organization ordered the U-S to bring COOL rules into compliance.

King says a few years back, the U-S Department of Agriculture had re-written some rules with regards to the Country of Origin Labeling, hoping it would be within compliance of the WTO.  However, the WTO ruled against the United States, saying the country of origin labeling was still acting as a trade protection in favor of U-S products.

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Congressman King says it is in the best interests of American producers and consumers to repeal the COOL act.

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The COOL Act was a part of the 2008 Farm Bill.  It was created with the belief it would better assist consumers with information regarding where their food comes from.  But, one thing Congressman King shared is that sometimes with livestock and meat products, the COOL act can be confusing.  He says as an example,  cattle or pigs that were born in Canada, but are fed, raised and harvested in the United States.The question then becomes, which country do we place on the label?

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee has said he will take a hard look at the repeal bill.  A recent Agriculture Department study found COOL regulations don't provide "measurable economic benefits" for American consumers, and it costs producers, packers, and retailers in the U-S Two-point-six billion dollars a year.  In the words of Senator Roberts, "people aren't really paying too much attention to the COOL label".






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