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Friday Afternoon News, March 1

Bicycle Helmet Presentation Postponed Until March 15

(Le Mars) -- Opportunities Unlimited was originally scheduled to present bicycle helmets to Gehlen Catholic's second graders this afternoon, but Gehlen officials have notified us to say that presentation will now occur on March 15th.  Apparently, Bishop Walker Nicklass of the Sioux City Diocese is visiting the Opportunities Unlimited facilities this afternoon.

 

New Le Mars Stores Open For Business

(Le Mars) -- Two new businesses have open their doors today in downtown Le Mars. Bad Habit Boutique, which is a women's boutique and Sugar and Spice, a children's clothing store.  Both stores are located on the 100 block of Plymouth Street SW.

 

Le Mars Fire Department Issues February Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has released its February monthly report.  Last month, the Le Mars Fire Department had a total of 31 calls.  There were seven fire calls, four rescue calls, and seven investigation.  The Le Mars Fire Department was asked to offer mutual aid once during February, and the fire department had 12 requests for services.


Le Mars To Utilize Mobile Warning Siren To Help Locate Future Siren Sites

(Le Mars) -- It won't be long before we will be looking to the skies in anticipation of severe weather, and city officials are wanting to make certain Le Mars citizens will always be given proper warning in advance of any pending storm.  Next Wednesday, a mobile unit equipped with a weather siren will be in Le Mars to help city officials determine the precise location for future warning sirens.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper explains.

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With Fedder's Marine and RV already positioned at the junction of Highways 60 and 75, there is speculation that the city will continue to expand on the north side.  Schipper says the mobile siren unit will move around to different locations focusing its attention to  the residents and businesses located  the north side of town.

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He says the warning sirens are primarily designed to alert people who are participating in outdoor activities.

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In addition to the city's expanded growth, Schipper says there are plenty of outdoor activities on the north side that need to have the early warning system including the golf course, the municipal park, the hiking trails, and even the Plymouth County Fair.  Schipper says sometimes when people hear the siren sound twice, they are confused believing the second siren is an "all clear" signal.  The fire chief says that is not the case for Le Mars.

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Branstad Selects Local People For State Boards and Commissions

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad announced his choices for state boards and commissions today.  Dr. Thomas Jenery of Le Mars has been selected to serve on the Board of Dentistry, Larry Den Herder of Sioux Center will serve on the Board of Economic Development Authority, and Dr. Allison Schoenfelder of Akron has been asked to be on the state board of medicine.


Lang Retained As Chairman of Regents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is appointing Board of Regents President Craig Lang to another 6-year term on the board that governs Iowa's public universities.
Branstad announced Friday that he wants Lang, a Brooklyn dairy farmer and former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, to stay on the board when his term expires April 30.
Branstad also appointed Grimes businessman and Republican activist Robert Cramer and Webster City doctor Subhash Sahai to the board. They'll replace David Miles and Jack Evans.
The appointments need confirmation from the Democratic-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have accused Lang and President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter of exerting too much influence.
Lang acknowledged Friday he needs "to do some work" to shore up his support. He says he wants to continue efforts to make education valuable and affordable.

 

Iowa Improves On Its Healthiest State Status

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has jumped to ninth in a national health ranking of states.
Officials say the state jumped seven spots last year in the yearly Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
The state ranked 16th last year, 19th in 2010 and fifth in 2009.
Gov. Terry Branstad launched the Healthiest State Initiative in 2011 in an effort to make Iowa the nation's healthiest state by 2016.
On Thursday Branstad hailed Iowa's progress and says the ranking "proves our efforts are working."  However, Democrats are critical of Branstad's decision not to expand Medicaid.  In a release, the state democratic party believe Iowa's new position as being the ninth healthiest state in the nation is in jeopardy, unless Branstad expands the Medicaid program. Democrats note of the top ten healthiest states, only two have not expanded the Medicaid program.  Branstad says the expansion of the healthcare program would be too costly for the state's finances.  He, instead advocates the continuation of IowaCare.

 

Milk No Longer Tested For Aflatoxin

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa agriculture officials are no longer requiring that milk received in the state be tested for a poison-producing fungus.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says milk will not be screened or tested for aflatoxin beginning Friday.
Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. They occur more frequently in hot, dry summer conditions.
The milk began being tested at the end of August. Since then, four loads of milk tested positive for aflatoxin. The last load tested positive in November.
The agency has been monitoring the prevalence of aflatoxin through a corn sampling program. It also blends aflatoxin with some corn for animal feed.

 

Former Investment Broker Sent To High Security Federal Prison

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa investment broker convicted of orchestrating a $200 million fraud scandal has been moved to a high-security federal prison in Indiana.
Authorities say Russell Wasendorf Sr. was transferred Wednesday to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute. His release date is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2056.
Wasendorf has been in the Linn County Jail since he was arrested in July. He pleaded guilty in September to misspending investor funds over a 20-year period at his former Cedar
Falls-based brokerage, Peregrine Financial Group Inc.
Wasendorf was sentenced in January to 50 years in federal prison.
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Lawyer Suspended For Using Crack Cocaine

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended the law license of a Cedar Rapids attorney for 60 days in the wake of his conviction for possessing crack cocaine.
The court on Friday suspended defense attorney Stanley Roush, who was sentenced to 15 days in prison last year.
Agents found drugs in Roush's car during a sting in November 2011, which came after one of Roush's clients told investigators that the attorney routinely smoked crack with a female
acquaintance.
Roush said his drug use was tied to his alcoholism, and that he's getting treatment. He says he always remained competent to practice law.
The court says Roush demonstrated a pattern of drug use since a 2003 marijuana possession conviction, and his behavior -- quote -- "shows disrespect for the rule of law."

 

Des Moines Burglary Suspect Blames Snow Pants For Capture

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say a burglary suspect thinks there's a good reason he was caught: His bulky snow pants slowed him down.
Police arrested Martin Thicklen Thursday following a car and foot chase. A woman had earlier reported that Thicklen burglarized her house.
Police reports say the woman confronted Thicklen outside the house before he rammed his truck past her car and fled. His car later hit a power pole and Thicklen was arrested on foot.
Police say the 49-year-old Thicklen later told them he would have run faster if he wasn't wearing his thick snow pants.
Thicklen's charges include second-degree burglary, driving while suspended and reckless
driving. He remains in the Polk County Jail.
Online records do not list an attorney for him.



 

   

Friday News, March 1

Gehlen Second Grade Students To Receive Helmets From OU

(Le Mars) -- Opportunities Unlimited (OU) of Sioux City will be presenting bicycle helmets to second grade students at Gehlen Catholic Elementary School. The presentation will take place this Friday afternoon.  OU will be giving away helmets to each student who participated in an essay contest on bike and helmet safety program known as "Gotta Brain...Getta Helmet".  The helmet give away is in recognition of March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.  The donation is meant to further highlight the importance of protective
equipment during recreational and athletic activities.   Opportunities Unlimited is a non-profit organization providing rehabilitation and therapeutic services for individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and/or physical disabilities, as well as support for those families.

 

Minnesota Couple Arrested For Methamphetamine

(Le Mars) -- On Monday of this week, shortly before 9:00 p.m. the Plymouth County Sheriff's office received a call that a man was walking on Highway 75, south of Merrill, wearing only a t-shirt and hospital pants.  That man was located by a sheriff's deputy and was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Nearly a half hour later, the sheriff's office also received a call of a suspicious black SUV near the intersection of 220th Street and Iris Avenue.  A subsequent investigation found that 33 year old Jason Boltz and 42 year old Denise Kernan, both of Minnesota were involved in a domestic argument earlier in the evening.  Boltz was identified as the man walking along Highway 75.  Both were found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia.  They were both arrested and booked into the Plymouth County Jail for possession of methamphetamine, a serious misdemeanor, possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

 

Alton Woman Arrested For Marijuana Possession

(Orange City) -- Plymouth County and Sioux County Sheriff's offices worked together on an arrest of 18 year old Sierra Johnson of Alton.  On Monday at about 2:00 a.m., Johnson was stopped on Highway 60 for a traffic violation.  Upon further investigation, it was determined that Johnson was in possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Apple Growers Fear Lingering Drought Will Further Hurt Business

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's apple growers fear what another year of drought will do to their businesses.
Many growers also were clobbered last year by a late freeze.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa's production plummeted 94 percent last year, compared with 2011. The Iowa State research orchard in 2012 barely produced 10 bushels, or about 420 pounds. The facility usually produces 20 tons a year.
The National Drought Mitigation Center says all of Iowa is in drought, with the northwest quarter still in extreme drought.
Iowa State University horticulture professor Paul Domoto says that without more soil moisture, "You could see many of these orchards going out of business."
He says apple crops aren't covered by insurance.
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Pheasants Forever Banquet Set For Saturday


(Le Mars) -- This Saturday, the Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its 28th annual banquet at the Le Mars Convention Center.  Chapter President Bob Puetz says the event usually attracts up to 550 people, and in addition to raising money for pheasant habitat, the evening's festivities prove to be a lot of fun for everyone.
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Puetz says, again this year, the Pheasants Forever chapter will raffle several shotguns and recreational outdoor retreats.
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The Pheasants Forever chapter president says in addition to creating sufficient habitat and to increase the population of pheasants and other wildlife, an additional mission is to introduce youngsters to the outdoors.

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The Plymouth County chapter sponsors several events through out the year directed towards youth and typically more than 100 youth participate.  The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever chapter ranks as one of the more active chapters in the nation, at one time having the most sponsors of any chapter in the nation.  The Pheasants Forever organization recently ranked Plymouth County as being the 25th best pheasant hunting spot in the nation.  The Pheasants Forever banquet will start with 5:00 social hour and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

 

House Republicans Pushing For Voter Photo ID

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House Republicans are moving forward with a controversial proposal that would require Iowa voters to show photo identification at polling places.
Lawmakers in the state government committee approved the legislation in a 12-8 vote Thursday. The measure is backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has filed identical bills in
the House and Senate.
Schultz, a Republican, has made voter ID one of his key issues. GOP lawmakers largely support him, saying identification is needed to prevent fraud. Democrats say there is little fraud and claim
Republicans want to discourage voting by minorities and the elderly, who are more likely to vote Democratic.
Republicans tried and failed to approve a photo identification law last year. The bill will now move on to a vote from the full House.


State Treasurer Encourages Parents To Invest Early For Children's College Fund

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's state treasurer is promoting an early investment account program to help parents pay for their kids' higher education.
State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is encouraging parents to register online for College Savings Iowa. A contest throughout March will award accounts with $250 to five random children.
College Savings Iowa is advertised as a program aimed at helping parents pay for higher education expenses early. It includes investment options and possible tax benefits.
Parents can participate in the contest if their children's daycare is registered with the program.
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Upper Iowa University To Freeze Tuition

FAYETTE, Iowa (AP) - Upper Iowa University has agreed to freeze tuition rates for the nearly 1,000 students who take classes at its campus in northeast Iowa.
The university said Thursday that its board of trustees approved the one-year tuition freeze for students in Fayette for the coming school year. Tuition will remain at $24,400, while room and board
costs will rise by three percent.
Acting President Richard Patrick issued a statement calling the tuition freeze a "rare step" that will help students and families maintain access to the school at a time when many of them are
financially challenged. Tuition increases have averaged about 4 percent annually in recent years.
Tuition rates have not been determined for the roughly 5,200 other students enrolled in other Upper Iowa programs.

 

UNI and Faculty Agree On Salary Contract

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The union representing faculty at the University of Northern Iowa has voted in favor of a new contract with the Iowa Board of Regents.
Members of United Faculty approved the two-year contract during a Wednesday meeting. The board is expected to finalize the agreement.
The contract will include a 2 percent raise for faculty in the first year and a 2.25 percent raise in the second year. The contract also will have changes to internal procedures for
employment, but officials did not elaborate.
United Faculty President Daniel Power says the contract helps secure reasonable protection and fair compensation.
University officials announced this month that William Ruud will be the school's 10th president. His three-year contract begins in June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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