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Thursday Afternoon News, June 25

(Sioux City) -- Sunday will mark the final mass services for the Our Lady of Assumption Parish located in Merrill.  The church had served the people around Merrill for 122 years.  Bishop Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese will lead the final mass.  He says it will be very emotional for the congregation and for himself.

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The Catholic Bishop says Sunday's mass service will also be a way for the people to express gratitude to the parish for serving the community for so many years.

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Bishop Nickless says nearly five years ago, the diocese took a strategic look at all the parishes to determine their sustainability.  Bishop Nickless says many rural churches have fallen victim to declining attendance, as well as the declining number of Catholic priests able to serve the parish.

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Bishop Nickless says the Catholic parish of Ellendale and St. Michael's of Sioux City will be combining by sharing a priest, and he says St. Joseph Catholic Church in Struble will become a worship center, but will not necessarily have regular Sunday masses.

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Merrill Ambulance To Host "Safety Day"

(Merrill) -- Merrill Ambulance will be hosting a "Safety Day" scheduled for Saturday in conjunction with Merrill Days.  Randy Luschen is the Director of the Merrill Ambulance Services, and he says the safety day will focus primarily on bicycle safety.

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In addition to promoting safety, Luschen hopes the event can also serve as a recruiting platform.

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Luschen explains there has been a change of location for the events from earlier published promotional fliers.

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The Merrill Ambulance Director says there isn't any pre-registration with the safety event.  He says there will be a drawing for two bicycles, as well as bicycle helmets.




Highway Patrol Trooper Re-assigned

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - One of three veteran Iowa State Patrol officials who were on leave during an internal investigation has been transferred to a new job.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Maj. Todd Misel is no longer in charge of field operations for the patrol.
Instead, he has been moved into a position in the commissioner's office overseeing the department's compliance with national law enforcement accreditation standards.
Misel and two other patrol officials were placed on paid leave in April while the department investigated whether they mishandled a state contract to purchase handguns.
The department announced earlier this month they had returned to work without discipline. The department has refused to release the findings of multiple investigations but says the three didn't commit any crimes or violate any policies.





Supreme Court Ruling On Health Insurance Subsidies Helps Iowans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding tax credits for the federal Affordable Care Act more than 38,000 Iowans will be able to continue insurance coverage with government support.
Had the court struck down the tax credits those Iowans would have lost subsidies and likely would have dropped coverage.
In Iowa, more than 45,000 Iowans use the federal insurance exchange to buy health care coverage and 86 percent of them receive tax credits to help pay premiums.
Iowa is among 34 states using a federally-facilitated model that allows state officials to maintain some management of the insurance program but allows citizens to sign up using the federal government exchange.
The challenge to the law focused on whether states without their own state exchange, like Iowa, could still offer subsidies to users.





EPA Holds Public Hearing On Renewable Fuels Standard

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Opponents of an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reduce renewable fuel standards say the agency's indecision has slowed investment in the industry.
The EPA has proposed reducing the required volume of renewable fuels in the U.S. gasoline supply by 4 billion gallons this year and 5 billion gallons next year. The agency says Congress set the standards impossibly high in 2007 and they aren't being met.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Thursday accused the petroleum industry of pressuring the EPA to lower the standards through "misinformation and half-truths." He and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon joined hundreds of others addressing the EPA about the proposed changes.
American Petroleum Institute spokesman Bob Greco says the standards need to be lower because demand for renewable fuels isn't high enough to meet them.





Public Defender Submits Large Bill To State

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Waukon lawyer wants the state to pay more than $50,000 for her work in defending a man who faced drug charges.
Mary Jane White was appointed by the court to represent Matthew Florek.
Florek had faced decades in prison over accusations that he was a pseudoephedrine buyer for local meth cooks. But he only spent six months in a county jail after White negotiated a plea deal for him.
She charged the state $50,678 for 800 hours of work and expenses in the case that she called complicated. State Public Defender Adam Gregg said the fee was too costly for a drug case. He told her that his office would pay her $21,940.
White seeks the full amount and has gone to court over the matter.


Thursday News, June 25

Le Mars Public Works To Close Streets For Repairs

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Public Works have announced they have closed North Greenwood Drive between Greenwood Avenue and West Valley Drive.  The street is closed due to sewer intake repairs.  In addition, the city will close 12th Street southwest from Central Avenue to 6th Avenue Southwest beginning Tuesday, June 30th.  The city will close one block at a time in between intersections to tar and seal the cracks in the street.  All intersections will remain open.





Police Issue Quarterly Reports

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has issued its quarterly report.  During the 3rd and 4th fiscal year quarters tht covers a time period between December 23rd of 2014 and June 23rd, 2015, the police had investigated 566 complaints, the police had a total of 2,541 calls for service, issued 299 traffic citations, and 788 warnings.  The police responded to 122 accidents and made 155 arrests.





June "Employee Of The Month" Awarded

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its June "Employee of the Month" Wednesday morning.  Kevin Eekhoff representing the Chamber presented the honor to Richard Wilkins. Wilkins was nominated by Rust's Western Shed.  In the nomination, it states, Richard Wilkins is a dependable, valuable employee who handles a wide range of responsibilities at the store.  He waits on customers, helps in the repair area, sells boots and other merchandise and is capable of running the store by himself when needed.  He has a good understanding of how to meet the requirements of our shoe customers because of his knowledge of the store's inventory.  Fifteen years of experience have also enabled Richard to understand the shoe, boot, and other repair needs side of Rust's Western Shed.  He can answer customer's questions about their needs and guide customers through the repairs options available to them.  Richard provides friendly customer service and this loyalty and trustworthiness have made him a very valuable employee and asset to Rust's Western Shed.  That is why we are pleased to recognize Richard Wilkins as the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce June 2015 Employee of the Month.  Our congratulations go to Richard Wilkins.  By the way, Richard  celebrated his 80th birthday on Wednesday.




Schipper Receives Fire Fighter Badge

(Sioux City) -- A Le Mars man has been promoted to the rank of Fire fighter for the Sioux City Fire Department.  Devon Schipper, was presented his badge on Monday during an official ceremony.  Sioux City Fire Chief Tom Everett gave the badge to Le Mars Retired Fire Chief Wayne Schipper, who is the grandfather of Schipper.  The retired chief then offered the badge to Allissa Schipper, Devon's mother, who pinned on the badge.  The young Schipper had been working with the Sioux City Fire Department for the past year on a probation basis.  Devon Schipper is a fifth generation fire fighter.  As mentioned, his grandfather is retired chief Wayne Schipper, and his father is current Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper.  Devon Schipper also serves as a volunteer fire fighter for the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department.

New Sioux City Fire Fighter Devon Schipper is seen in front of a Sioux City Fire Department Truck with his family.  From left, father and Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper, sister Josie Schipper, Devon, and mother Allissa Schipper.




Le Mars Man Tries To Elude Officers


(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities gave chase to a Le Mars man who was trying to elude the officers.  The incident happen Sunday.  28 year old Shane Arre was arrested after he failed to stop for speeding, which led to a pursuit in southeast Plymouth County.  While attempting to elude officers, Arre drove through a corn and soybean fields in rural Kingsley.  While trying to exit the second field, Arre crashed his vehicle into a fence and embankment.  After a short search of the area, Arre was located hiding in the tall grass, and was placed in custody.  He was transported to the Plymouth County jail, and was charged with felony eluding, operating while intoxicated - second offense, driving under suspension, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The investigation is continuing for possible additional charges.  Assisting with the apprehension of Arre were the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Remsen police, Kingsley police, the Iowa Highway Patrol, and the Plymouth County Conservation office.






Sioux City Woman's Death Has Contributing Circumstances

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says a woman whose body was found in the Missouri River in southeastern South Dakota died from drowning with contributing circumstances.
Jackley on Wednesday released additional information about the autopsy of 29-year-old Alicia Hummel, of Sioux City, Iowa.
Hummel was found dead June 1st in Vermillion near the Myron Grove boat launch, which also is known as the Highline Area in Clay County.
Jackley says the contributing circumstances in Hummel's drowning were an incision wound to the neck and blunt force injuries to the head. Toxicology reports were negative for any alcohol or controlled substances 
Clay County authorities continue to investigate Hummel's death as a homicide. Individuals with any information are asked to contact the sheriff's office at 605-677-7100.





Two Construction Workers Injured After Building Collapses

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Two construction workers were hospitalized after a building site collapsed in eastern Iowa.
Evansdale emergency officials say the two were being treated for non-life threatening injuries after the collapse at a planned Kwik Star convenience store on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are investigating the cause.
Crews with Evansdale's fire department removed one man from the debris on a stretcher, and a second man who had been standing after the accident was later loaded into another ambulance.
Authorities say the workers were placing roof trusses for the nearly finished convenience store. Both were injured during falls.




Kinze Manufacturing To Have Layoffs

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farm equipment maker Kinze Manufacturing says it must lay off 215 workers as business has slowed because of the impact of low grain prices on farmer purchases.
The privately held company based in the eastern Iowa near Williamsburg makes planters and grain carts.
The company released a statement that says it had earlier this year implemented a 30-hour work week in an effort to avoid permanent cuts, but current demand for its products does not support full staffing.
Office and factory workers are affected. Remaining workers will return to a 40-hour work week.
Deere and Co., another major farm equipment maker laid off 910 workers in its Iowa factories and 500 in Illinois in January.




Ohio Governor Talks About Immigration Policy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Ohio Governor John Kasich says it's not practical or humane to deport the millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
Kasich is on his first trip to Iowa as a 2016 Republican presidential prospect.
He's trying to draw distinctions with some potential rivals on the question of what to do about people in the country illegally.
Kasich has expressed reservations previously about creating a path to citizenship.
But as he described it Wednesday, he's not for "putting them on a school bus, driving them to the border, opening the door and just telling them to get out."
Kasich says he'll decide soon whether to enter the 2016 race.





New Foods Announced For Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State Fair has announced new food items for this summer's contest.
Three finalists have been chosen for the New Food Contest, and fairgoers will be able to vote on them.
Corn in a Cup is one of the finalists. Sweet corn is cut off the cob and then mixed with pork chorizo, butter, chayote cheese, lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise and "Magic Dust." 
The second finalist is the Toasted Coconut Caramel Cluster, a combination of toasted coconut, caramel fudge and pretzel bits that's frozen on a stick and dipped in chocolate.
The third finalist is the Ultimate Bacon Explosion, which features brisket infused with a light jalapeno cheese, blended with seasonings, and then wrapped in bacon. It is smoked and then sauced in a sweet chili barbecue sauce.


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