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Wednesday News, October 30

Electrical Cooperatives Appeal FEMA Decision

(Des Moines) -- Several northwest Iowa electrical cooperatives are appealing the Federal Emergency Management's Administration's decision not to grant any financial assistance aid following an April snow storm.  Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Iowa Lakes Electrical Cooperative, Osceola Rural Electric Cooperative, and Sanborn Municipal Utilities have filed a formal appeal asking that FEMA reverse an earlier decision to deny federal disaster aid to Iowa following devastating storms, a decision that could also force the repayment of millions in previously awarded aid.  Following a late winter snow, ice, and wind storm in
April, a federally declared major disaster area was given to Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux and O'Brien counties.  However, FEMA officials stated that disaster aid could not be issued because the affected electric utilities did not conduct comprehensive laboratory testing on every mile of wire on an annual basis.


Recent Rains May Slow Down Harvest But Helping Soil Moisture Levels

(Le Mars) -- Harvest may be interrupted temporary due to the wet conditions of the last few
days, but Iowa State University extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong says the moisture that we have been receiving during the last month is helping replenish lost moisture levels in our soil.

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DeJong says in general the harvest has been progressing without too many problems.  However, some farmers are having to deal with lodging and ears dropping.

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Sioux County Authorities Investigate Thefts From Implement Dealer

(Orange City) -- Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating a series of thefts that occurred at a farm equipment implement dealership at Rock Valley.  This past summer, a New Holland L225 Skid Loader was stolen and on Friday, Town and Country Implement has reported a Power Take Off shaft and a New Holland Computer Monitor have been stolen. Sioux County authorities are asking the public if they have any information related to the thefts to contact the sheriff's office.  People can remain anonymous by utilizing "Text-A-Tip".

 

330 Pounds Of Expired Medicine Gathered At Drug-Back Program

(Sioux City) -- You may recall from Saturday's news update that the Sioux City Police
Department participated in the National Prescription Drug Take Back program.  A program
which is designed to collect old and expired medical prescriptions.  The Sioux City Police
is reporting they collected over 330 pounds of expired and unused medications.  Prescription
medications are a public safety issue, often leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and
abuse.

 

Storm Lake Police Arrest Woman For Felony Criminal Conduct

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Storm Lake police says they arrested a Waterloo woman suspected of
trying to scam Wal-Mart stores by claiming clogged toilets damaged her property.
Police arrested 34-year-old Shannon Cannon on Monday.
Police allege Cannon tried to scam 18 Wal-Mart stores by clogging toilets at the
stores, then claiming her property was damaged by the overflowing water.
Investigators say Cannon brought her young children along to the stores and used them
as part of her scheme.
Cannon was originally arrested in Storm Lake in September. After an investigation, police filed additional charges.
She is now charged with felony ongoing criminal conduct, using a juvenile to commit a
crime, misdemeanor fourth-degree fraudulent practice and criminal trespassing.
Online court records do not list an attorney.

 

Police Arrest Man After Making Threats To A School

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have in custody a man suspected of entering a Des Moines middle school and claiming to have a gun.
Des Moines police say 35-year-old Ryan Collier was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon
following a manhunt on the city's west side. The search included officers scouring backyards
and tree houses.
Collier is suspected of arguing with his girlfriend at Merrill Middle School and telling staffers he had a gun. He then allegedly fled the school.
The incident prompted the middle school and several surrounding schools to be put on
lockdown around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. They were later lifted.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/16jIpqU) no one at the school saw the
gun and no one was injured.

 

Branstad To Open Two Prisons

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is opening two new prisons in Iowa and touting
a recent decline in the number of people behind bars.
Branstad is attending a grand opening for the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison Wednesday. On Monday, he was at a ribbon-cutting for the new Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
The projects cost a combined $217 million and were started under the previous governor.
Branstad says the new facilities will be more efficient. He also says the state is making progress in reducing the prison population.
There are currently 8,230 inmates in Iowa prisons. That's down by about 600 people from
when Branstad took office in 2011.
Branstad attributed some of the decline to better programs for ex-offenders to prevent
their return to prison.

 

State Tax Revenues Up 9 Percent

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislative Services Agency says the state's tax receipts
were more than 9 percent higher in September than a year ago.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/17qy5QN ) Tuesday that tax receipts totaled $648.9 million in September, a 9.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The agency says there were gains in individual income tax, corporate income tax and the sales/use tax.
Iowa's year-over-year annual growth is 7.3 percent.
Senior legislative analyst Jeff Robinson says Iowa's fuel tax revenue was down 1.9
percent over the past 12 months. Casino taxes dropped during that period by less than 1
percent.
In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, net revenue from all taxes deposited to the state totaled $7.595 billion.

 

Branstad To Dress As "Ghostbuster" For Halloween Party

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he plans to dress up as a "ghostbuster" this Halloween.
Branstad told Des Moines fourth graders that he and his family would attend a Halloween party at the governor's mansion, and all would dress as characters from the 1980s "Ghostbusters" movies.
The roughly 70 students at Jefferson Elementary School laughed when Branstad told them he dressed as Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi last year but would be a "ghostbuster" this Halloween.
He says that for Halloween, the usual name for the governor's mansion, Terrace Hill, would be replaced by Scare-Us Hill.
He described decorations of ghosts and bats, adding "not real bats, but you know."
Thursday's Scare-Us Hill Pumpkin Ball is sponsored by the Terrace Hill Society Foundation.
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Tuesday Afternoon News, October 29

Le Mars Chamber To Sell Holiday Dollars On Saturday

(Le Mars) -- Christmas may be 57 days away, but the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce wants you to
begin thinking about the holidays starting with this coming weekend.  Chamber holiday
dollars will be sold to the public on Saturday, November 2nd from the Le Mars Convention
Center.  Mary Reynolds, Coordinator for Chamber events says shoppers who purchase Chamber
Holiday dollars will be given a 15 percent discount.

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Reynolds says area businesses and local banks have contributed the money in order to encourage shoppers to shop in Le Mars.

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Reynolds encourages people to arrive early on Saturday morning to take advantage of the discount offers.

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Reynolds reminds people to be sure to use the chamber holiday dollars before the Christmas deadline, or consider purchasing gift certificates.

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Teachers Report To School Board About New Teaching Methods

(Le Mars) -- Three members of the Le Mars Community School faculty appeared before the district's school board last evening to offer a Professional Learning Communities report.  
The teachers had attended a conference and are now implementing lessons learned on new
styles of educating Le Mars students.  Dawn MacGregor is an elementary teacher at Kluckhohn.
She says the purpose for using new teaching methods would be like an eye doctor needing to
use updated information and equipment to perform cataract surgery. 

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MacGregor says teachers are using four questions that they ask themselves when teaching students.

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MacGregor says all students can learn.  She says teachers must shift the focus from teaching
to learning.
Middle school science teacher Ryan Zittritsch and High school science teacher Tami Dunn also
reported to the school board as to how they were implementing the plan for their classes.

 

Harvest Slowly Making Progress

(Le Mars) -- Farmers are making progress with this year's harvest.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports 55 percent of Iowa's corn crop and 87 percent of the soybean crop have been harvested.
Monday's weekly report showed the corn crop was about 5 percentage points behind normal,
while The soybean harvest was about two days ahead of normal.  Joel DeJong, Iowa State
University extension crop specialist says the soybean harvest in Plymouth County is close to completion.

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DeJong says generally the corn harvest is doing well, but a few farmers have had to deal with lodging issues and dropped ears.

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The crop specialist says the recent rains are helping replenish the lost soil moisture levels from the last two years due to the drought conditions.


Sioux City Man Pleads Guilty Of Robbing College Student

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the robbery of a college student.
Gerry Patterson entered his plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. The 24-year-old faced several charges, including kidnapping and possession of a stolen firearm.
Court documents say Patterson and 19-year-old Trey Boykin picked up a Briar Cliff
University student in February who was buying marijuana from them. Patterson is accused of
pointing a handgun at the student and taking more than $300 from him.
The student was not hurt in the incident. Boykin faces several federal charges, including kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He has not entered a plea yet in the case. Court records do not list an attorney for Boykin.
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Judge Says Lawsuit Can Continue

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge says a legal action that claims the Branstad administration illegally shared a confidential report about the firing of a criminal investigator can proceed.
Judge Larry McLellan on Monday rejected the state's request to dismiss the petition filed by former Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund.
The petition challenges the decision to share a 500-page report related to Hedlund's firing with former Iowa Chief Justice Louis Lavorato. It seeks a $2,500 fine against the Department of Public Safety's records custodian and other remedies.
Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Lavorato to review Hedlund's firing and claims of retaliation. Hedlund was placed on leave in May, days after initiating a pursuit with a trooper who was speeding while transporting Branstad. Lavorato concluded that Branstad's office wasn't involved in Hedlund's discipline.

 

Tax Revenues Nine Percent Higher

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislative Services Agency says the state's tax receipts were more than 9 percent higher in September than a year ago.
Tax receipts totaled $648.9 million in September, a 9.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The agency says there were gains in individual income tax, corporate income tax and the sales/use tax.
Iowa's year-over-year annual growth is 7.3 percent.
Senior legislative analyst Jeff Robinson says Iowa's fuel tax revenue was down 1.9 percent over the past 12 months. Casino taxes dropped during that period by less than 1 percent.
In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, net revenue from all taxes deposited to the state totaled $7.595 billion.
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