Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Wednesday News, July 22

Fire Department Responds To Fire At Godfather's Pizza


(Le Mars) -- At nearly 11:00 p.m. last evening, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to an alarm at Godfather's Pizza restaurant located on Business highway 75.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says when fire officials arrived on the scene, a smokey haze was seen inside the restaurant.

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Fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour, and Schipper says the smoke traveled through the entire building through the duct work.

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Schipper believes the pizza restaurant should be able to be open for business as usual for today.






EPA Officials In Le Mars Conducting Tests

(Le Mars) -- City council members heard a brief update Tuesday from Environmental Protection Agency officials who are in town conducting research on a pollutant found in the downtown area of Le Mars.  The EPA officials are trying to determine if the pollutant that was located in the soil near the railroad tracks and other locations within downtown, has spread.  EPA officials believe they may have identified the source.





Des Moines Group Wants To Find Long Term Solution To Nitrates In Water

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines business group says it wants to find a solution to a water quality dispute that has prompted the city's water utility to sue three counties.
Des Moines Water Works claims that drainage districts in those counties act as conduits in moving nitrates from farm fields into a river, which serves as one of two sources of drinking water for city residents.
As a result, the utility says it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to reduce nitrates to levels the federal government deems safe. The lawsuit is set to go before a federal judge next summer.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership wants to bring together business, farming, water, environmental and legislative leaders to find long-term solutions to Iowa's water-quality issues.





Most Area Crops Are Doing Well, But There Are Some Dry Areas

(Le Mars) -- The latest weekly crop condition report was issued on Monday, and it indicated that more than half of the state's corn crop has reached the silking stage, with 83 percent of the state's corn crop listed as good to excellent condition.  Iowa State University Extension crops specialist Joel DeJong, says most of the area is progressing towards a good crop.  However, there are some areas that have had too much moisture, and still other areas within northwest Iowa that are showing signs of being a bit dry.

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Both corn and soybeans are in the middle of the pollination stage, and DeJong says in most cases there is enough moisture in the soil to sustain the crops through pollination.  But he points out that in Plymouth County during a recent rainfall, the range of rainfall was from just fifteen one-hundredths of an inch in the far northwest corner to more than five inches in the east central region of the county.

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DeJong says earlier in the season some corn fields were showing signs of northern corn leaf blight, but since we have had warmer temperatures that crop disease has nearly disappeared.  The Iowa State University crops specialist reminds farmers to continually scout their fields.





Sex Offender Listed As Escape Inmate

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A man serving a lifetime sex offender special supervision sentence has been listed as escaped from a state work release facility in Sioux City.
The Iowa Corrections Department says 25-year-old Michael Euchner II went on the list Tuesday because he didn't return from his job.
The department says Euchner was transferred to work release on June 14 to begin his special supervision sentence following discharge of a 10-year sex abuse conviction in Ida County.





Iowa Democrats Set Up "Corn Feed" Fundraiser

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Democrats missing the Harkin Steak Fry can gather at a new progressive event next month.
Liberal group Progress Iowa told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they will host a gathering called the Corn Feed. The Aug. 30 event in downtown Des Moines will feature sweet corn and a speaking lineup with Iowa Democrats and at least one 2016 presidential hopeful.
Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic says former Sen. Tom Harkin will attend, along with Congressman Dave Loebsack, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith. Former Rhode Island governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Lincoln Chafee will also attend.
Harkin's annual Steak Fry fundraiser was held for the final time last fall. For decades, the event drew prominent Democrats and huge crowds.





Army Veteran Stands Guard Outside Military Recruiting Center

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An armed Army veteran says he's doing what he can to protect a military recruiting center in Des Moines.
Veteran Kim Paulsen was spending time Tuesday pacing in front of a recruiting office, located in a strip mall in east Des Moines.
Paulsen was dressed in military fatigues and carried a rifle as he walked on a sidewalk between parked cars and the recruiting center.
He says, "I feel I need to be here, doing this," because of the shooting deaths last week of four Marines and one Navy sailor at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Paulsen says he hopes his presence will prevent a similar attack on the Des Moines office, where military personnel are not armed.





Branstad Orders Flags To Fly At Half Staff To Honor Killed Marines And Navy Sailor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's governor has ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff at sites throughout the state in honor of the five servicemen killed last week in Tennessee.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday called for the state-controlled flags to be lowered from Tuesday through Monday. President Barack Obama has ordered flags flown at federal buildings and grounds to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Saturday.
The action honors the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed in a shooting last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The state is encouraging individuals, businesses and local governments to take similar action to show respect for those killed.




Turkey Farm Hit By Bird Flu Ready To Re-populate Barn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One of the first Iowa turkey farms to get bird flu is getting nearing the time at which birds can be restocked but most of the 77 farms affected are still weeks away from introduction of new flocks.
Iowa Department of Agriculture officials said Tuesday all farms have been cleared of dead chickens and turkeys but disposal of manure, compost and other waste continued at 18 farms.
All birds that died or were euthanized have been incinerated, buried or taken to landfills. 
Iowa lost 34 million chickens and turkeys in the bird flu outbreak that began in mid-April. The last reported case was June 16.
One turkey farm in Calhoun County will finish a required 21-day fallow period this week and if tests remain negative may begin restocking.


Tuesday News, July 21

Supervisors Expected To Approve Disabled Veterans Tax Credits

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to convene at the County Courthouse board room this morning.  The Supervisors are expected to approve disabled veterans homestead tax credits.  Alan Fagan is scheduled to appear before the county board to ask for approval of a minor subdivision in Perry township.  County engineer Tom Rohe is also scheduled to meet before the board.  Rohe will submit two permit requests, as well as offer an update on the road construction projects in Plymouth County.





Le Mars City Council To Decide On Rail Line To Ethanol Transload Facility

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet at noon today.  They will begin their meeting with a public hearing regarding the KNS addition rezoning request.  The city council will hear an update from Jason Parker regarding the city management program.  The council is expected to act upon a pickleball court request based on the recommendation of the city's community service committee.  Two weeks ago, a group of residents made the request to include the sport at some of the existing tennis courts.  The council is expected to act upon a stop sign request for two stop signs at the intersection of Plymouth Steet and 7th avenue southeast.  The Public Safety Committee made the suggestion that temporary or roll-out stop signs be utilized during the busy times of the day. An agreement could not be reached in the use of temporary or roll-out stop signs, therefore the request for permanent stop signs is being made.  The city council will also consider a rail easement line to the new ethanol transload facility to be constructed on lot number 4 of the Industrial Park, of the third addition.  Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation will own the ethanol transload facility, the city will own the rail line, Burlington Junction will operate on the railroad siding.  Compensation for the said easement will be a $300,000 loan to Le Mars Public Storage for a term of five years.





Remsen Man Sentenced To Prison For Illegal Discharge From Lagoon

(Des Moines) -- A Remsen man has been sentenced to prison for six weekends following a guilty plea to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into a waterway of the United States.  58 year old Michael Wolf pleaded guilty to the charge last December.  The discharge resulted in a fish kill.  At the plea and sentencing hearings, the United States presented evidence that on October 23 and 24, 2012, Wolf, while he was the maintenance manager at Sioux-Preme Packing, intentionally discharged biological materials and agricultural wastes from one of Sioux-Preme’s waste lagoons into a tributary of the West Branch of the Floyd River.

The discharge lasted more than 11 hours.  It fouled over 11 miles of river, downstream from the lagoon, and killed over 190,000 fish of various species with a value of $20,282 and caused the State of Iowa to expend more than $5,000 in response costs.  One witness to the fish kill described watching fish jumping out of the water and racing around to avoid the deadly plume.  Wolf lied to members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Emergency Response team attempting to minimize the effects of the spill.  The delay likely worsened the effects of the spill.





Blaise Coffee To Compete At National Soap Box Derby

(Le Mars) -- A 13 year old Le Mars boy will be traveling to Cleveland, Ohio at the end of the week to compete in the National Soap Box Derby Finals.  Blaise Coffee qualified after winning the regional competition in Omaha, Nebraska.  Coffee says he has competed in soap box derbies for four years, and by his admission, he has fallen in love with the sport. Coffee says the secret to winning is to make certain you have a fast cart, and to remain low as to cut down on the wind resistance.

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Coffee says it could be considered a coincidence that he started racing soap box cars.

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Coffee explains the different categories of soap box derby racing that will happen at the national competition in Cleveland.

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A tip night has been set up for Wednesday evening at the J & J cafe to help Coffee with some of the expenses of traveling to Ohio for the nationals.  During our 10:00 news update, we will hear additional comments from the 13 year old and his love for soap box derby racing.





Branstad Asking Iowa National Guard To Review Its Security Policies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is asking the Iowa National Guard to review security at its facilities in Iowa, in the wake of last week's shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Branstad on Monday asked Iowa National Guard Maj. Gen Timothy Orr to assess the protection for those working at the Guard's military facilities and recruitment sites.
The Republican governor also plans to ask the federal government to review the protections at all military facilities. He'll make that request during a meeting this week in Washington for a group of governors who advise federal officials on security matters.
Last Thursday, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at a military recruiting office and a Navy-Marine operations center in Chattanooga, killing four Marines. A sailor wounded in the attack died Saturday.




Iowa Companies Fined For Environmental Violations

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) - The state Natural Resources Department has punished three companies in northern Iowa, saying they violated environmental laws.
The department ordered Smith Ag Inc. to pay nearly $5,600 for an October 2014 manure discharge into a Little Cedar River tributary.
The department also told Golden Grain Energy LLC to pay $10,000 for air-quality violations at its Mason City-based ethanol production facility. And the department ordered M.G. Waldbaum Co., of Minnetonka, Minnesota, to pay $8,000 for permit violations at its egg processing facility in Britt.




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