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Tuesday News, February 5

Remsen Fire Department Battle Farm Equipment Fire

(Remsen) -- The Remsen Fire Department was called to 47732 180th Street on Monday afternoon to put out a fire that was burning some farm equipment.  That call came in at about 2:45 p.m.  No word as to how much damage was sustained to the farm equipment as a result of that fire.  Fire officials were on the scene for about an hour.

Two People Arrested On Drug Charges

(Le Mars) --  The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office has charged two individuals for drug violations.  At approximately 1:20am, Sunday, Jessica Thornton, age 24 of Moville, Iowa was stopped in Merrill for an equipment violation.  Thornton was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.  The passenger, Samuel Scott Iverson, age 26 of Merrill, was also found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.  Thornton was cited into court for simple misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and released.

Iverson was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver (Class C felony), possession of marijuana 3rd or subsequent offense (aggravated misdemeanor), and possession of drug paraphernalia (simple misdemeanor).  Iverson was jailed at the Plymouth County Jail.  Iverson was seen by a judge and bond was set at $15,000.


Supervisors To Hear About Proposed Sioux City Casino

(Le Mars) -- In today's Plymouth County Board of Supervisor's meeting, the board will review their insurance programs with Rob Bixenmann and Clarence Hoffman, the president of the ICAP.  The supervisors will also decide upon three different real estate subdivisions.  Also on the agenda will be Brian Chamberlain of Warrior Entertainment who will share information regarding the possible casino license in Sioux City.  Chamberlain is seeking a letter of support.  County engineer, Tom Rohe will review the proposed construction project for 5th Street in Merrill.


City Council To Discuss Start Time of Meetings

(Le Mars) -- During today's city Council meeting, the Le Mars City Council will again discuss the start time for council meetings.  Two of the council members have previously discussed and asked the council to consider having the meetings start later in the day, so more city residents and constituents may be able to attend council meetings.  In other action during the council meeting, city leaders will hear from Hy-Vee representatives regarding a development request, and the council will discuss a sales agreement with city owned real estate.  The city council will also discuss the city's ISO rating which helps determine the insurance rates for residents.

Sioux City Man Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with a fatal crash.  Lenley Schofield Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular homicide and operating while intoxicated. The plea agreement includes an 11-year prison sentence.  Prosecutors say the 28-year-old Schofield was driving on Iowa Highway 141 near Mapleton in November 2011 when his car veered into an oncoming truck. His passenger, Robert Palmer, later died.

Legislators Want Three-Fifths Majority To Decide On Tax Increases

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican lawmakers want to require a three-fifths majority vote for any state tax increase.
Legislation discussed Monday by a subcommittee in the state House would change the Iowa Constitution to require a three-fifths majority to approve any tax hike or new tax. Rep. Mark Lofgren, one of the sponsors, says he wants to make it difficult to raise taxes
in Iowa.
Lofgren argued that Iowa needs low taxes to compete with other states. But Democratic Rep. Tyler Olson says he was concerned that changing the voting rules could make it harder for future
legislators to respond to budget matters, such as a drop in revenue during the 2008 recession.

Iowa Officials Seeding Roadsides By Airplane

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are controlling roadside erosion statewide. The Iowa Department of Transportation has hired aviation contractors to perform aerial seeding and fertilizing
along the state's highways. Several seeding projects are scheduled to be completed in February and March.

Des Moines Woman Charged With Theft and Impersonating A Officer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 36-year-old Des Moines woman has been charged with theft and with impersonating an officer.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) that Danielle Shaffer was arrested Sunday afternoon.
Officers say Shaffer flashed a badge when she was stopped by Wal-Mart workers outside a store in south Des Moines. A police report says Shaffer had put merchandise into bags she'd taken into
the store, and then she bypassed the cash registers on her way out.
Officers say the badge she flashed said Bussey Police. The southern Iowa town of Bussey hasn't had a police force for more than seven years.
Shaffer remained in Polk County Jail on Tuesday, pending $7,000 bail. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.


Lawsuit Filed Against Anita School Officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former elementary student in the small western Iowa community of Anita has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming the school's principal and superintendent knew a former teacher abused girls and failed to report it. The girl and her mother, who are not named, claim she also was abused.  The girl was a student until 2011 at Anita Elementary, one of the schools in the
consolidated CAM School District.  Last October, 66-year-old former teacher William Foulkes pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. He received a suspended prison sentence and probation.  The lawsuit filed Monday claims Principal Larry Hunt and Superintendent Steve Pelzer knew about Foulkes' behavior but allowed him to resign in 2010. Foulkes wasn't charged until last March.








Monday Afternoon News, Feb. 4

Kayaker Chosen As Photo For Tourism Guide

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A photo of a kayaker on the Turkey River in Northeast Iowa will appear on the cover of the 2013 Iowa Travel Guide.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday announced the winner of a contest held by the Iowa Tourism Office to find a cover photo for this year's guide. More than 600 entries were narrowed down to three
contenders. Facebook fans of the office then voted for the winner.
Jessica Rilling, of Cedar Rapids, took the winning image. It will be featured on the 100,000 printed copies of the guide, set to come out in the spring, and digitally on She
will not receive any financial compensation for the photo.
Branstad says tourism is important to the state's economy, noting it generates about $328 million in taxes annually.

Couple Mistakes Police Station For Adult Entertainment Venue

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in Des Moines say a woman was arrested after she and another person accidently drove to a police station looking for an adult entertainment venue.
The female passenger was arrested early Friday for possession of a controlled substance after officers stopped her and the male driver. The pair had driven their vehicle into a private area of
the police station after looking for an adult entertainment venue in West Des Moines.
Officers reported the pair had bloodshot, watery eyes. They also say the vehicle smelled of marijuana. Officers did not find anything illegal in the car.
The passenger was arrested after she reportedly admitted to having prescription pain killers in her


Legislators Wonder If Illegal Aliens Are Entitled To In-State Tuition Rates

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Young people in Iowa who entered the country illegally, but have been granted temporary residency through a presidential order are getting work permits and driver's
licenses. But questions remain about their access to in-state tuition at public universities and community colleges.
Some Democrats in the state Senate want to clear up any confusion. They have introduced legislation that would ensure in-state tuition at community colleges and state universities for students who are accepted, meet residency requirements and commit to trying to pursue legal citizenship.
Bill sponsor Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City says this would help develop a trained workforce in the state.
A previous attempt to pass a similar law in Iowa failed in 2004 and this bill would likely face trouble in the House.


Lawmakers Trying To Make It Easier For Young Farmers To Acquire Land

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two young Republican farmers who serve in the Iowa Legislature are trying to make it more appealing for retiring farmers to lease their land to beginners.
New Hartford Representative Pat Grassley and Wilton Representative Bobby Kaufmann have introduced a bill that would expand the current tax credit program to beginning farmers who
legislators say need incentives to compete with bigger farms for land.
The state now provides $6 million in tax credits to retiring farmers who lease their land to beginners. The bill would double that amount, offering tax breaks for beginners who add livestock or
machinery that increases the value of the land they lease.
About 1,135 farmers have received these tax breaks since the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority started the program in 2007.

Town Loses Power and Water

MESERVEY, Iowa (AP) - Residents of a small north-central Iowa town spent most of Sunday without power or water after a fire damaged utility wires and destroyed two buildings.
The town water tower was drained as firefighters battled the fire early Sunday morning. Then officials in Meservey could not refill the town's water tower because there was no electricity.
Meservey residents were asked not to use any water for most of Sunday.
Power and water service was restored by Sunday evening.
The two buildings that were destroyed in the fire were vacant. The cause of the fire was still being investigated Sunday.


Police Officer Being Sued For Driving While License Had Expired

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) - An Independence police officer who had an expired driver's license when his cruiser hit a woman's car is being sued.
The city hired a Waterloo lawyer to defend Officer David Winger.
Winger is being sued by Charity Weinschenk. She says Winger was negligent when his cruiser crashed into her Jeep in July 2011.
Weinschenk says Winger didn't have his lights or sirens on but he ran a red light.
Councilman Dennis Vaughn says the city will defend Winger in the lawsuit, but Vaughn says he thinks Winger clearly screwed up and got caught in this situation.
In the past, Winger has been involved in controversy. More than 100 people demanded his resignation in 2008, but the city attorney cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Farmland Values Slowing Down

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - The frenzied pace of farmland sales has slowed at the start of the year amid uncertainty about the drought.
Fred Greder, who owns Benchmark Agribusiness, says that between Labor Day and the end of 2012, about 100 farmland auctions were held in north Iowa.
Greder says he's only aware of seven so far this year. Greder says he thinks the market is catching its breath.
The fast pace of sales last fall was boosted by worries about possible tax law changes, low interest rates and high farmland values.
The average value of Iowa farmland rose 24 percent to $8,300 an acre at the end of 2012.
Some farmland near Mason City sold for $15,540 an acre last year to set a county record.


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