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Saturday News, October 13

City Tree Disposal Site Catches On Fire

(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters worked through the night battling a fire at the City's Tree, Leaf, and Grass disposal site located on the west side of town near the Riverview ball parks.  The call came in at about 7:24 p.m. and it wasn't long before the entire area of dry tree limbs and the leaf pile was fully engulfed with an inferno, creating one giant bon fire.  The fire glowed during the evening darkness and could be seen for several miles. Fire chief Dave Schipper says their first concern were the mobile homes just west of the scene.
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Schipper says the next goal of the fire officials were to contain the fire, knowing they would not be able to extinguish the blaze. 

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The Le Mars Fire chief suspects the fire may have started as a result of ashes being dumped at the site.

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The Le Mars Fire Chief says they were fortunate in several ways. One was the fact the wind was blowing from the right direction, and second, the fire was isolated, and third, there was a fire hydrant within close proximity allowing fire officials to tap into the city water supply.

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Schipper anticipates the fire will continue to burn and smolder for several days.  Due to that fire, Le Mars mayor, Dick Kirchoff has closed the area until further notice.  Residents with grass clippings, leaves, or tree limbs will have to dispose them at the Plymouth County Landfill.

 

Clinton Campaigns In Sioux City For Vilsack

(Sioux City) -- An estimated crowd of around a thousand people gathered outdoors on historic 4th Street in Sioux City Friday evening to hear Former President Bill Clinton.  President Clinton came to Sioux City to campaign for Democratic 4th District Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack.  Clinton says the election pitting Vilsack against Republican Congressman Steve King isn't simply Democrat versus Republican, it's about ideology.

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The Former President spoke for about a half hour on a chilly evening, with much of his speech about the philosophical differences between the candidates.

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The Sioux City speech capped off a cross country day of campaigning for Clinton, who earlier in the day spoke in Indiana and Michigan.


Fort Atkinson Man Charged With Tax Fraud

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for submitting two false claims to the IRS seeking over $100,000 in tax refunds.
The U.S. attorney's office says 43-year-old Gene Jirak, of Fort Atkinson, was sentenced on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. He was convicted of several charges, including submitting false claims for tax refunds and mail fraud.
Prosecutors say Jirak devised a scheme by filing two tax returns claiming he was entitled in each return to a refund of over $50,000. Authorities say Jirak filed the first tax return as an
amended joint return, using his ex-wife's name and Social Security number and forging her signature.
Jirak was released on bond and is to surrender to the U.S. Marshal on Nov. 5.

 

Arkansas Woman Charged With Sex Trafficking Ring

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An Arkansas woman has pleaded guilty to helping run a violent nationwide sex trafficking ring that solicited customers for prostitutes as young as age 17.
Brittany Lawson, of Hot Springs, Arkansas pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking in federal court in Council Bluffs.
She faces a lengthy prison term when she is sentenced because the charge carries a maximum of life in prison. But prosecutors agreed any recommended sentence should be shortened because she was under the coercion of co-defendant Johnelle Bell, described as a violent New Jersey pimp and mastermind of the ring.
Bell has pleaded not guilty and faces trial next month.
Lawson admitted that she posted ads on backpage.com soliciting customers in Iowa and elsewhere, recruited prostitutes, secured rental cars and rented motel rooms.

 




   

Friday Afternoon News, Oct. 12

Fire Officials Ask Public To Be Careful During Dry Season

(Le Mars) -- Thursday's grass fire tells us that conditions are still dry, and area fire fighters are reminding people to use caution, and that the burn ban is still in effect for nearly every county in northwest Iowa.  Le Mars Fire chief Dave Schipper says although local fire departments have been busy, in comparison, last year at this time was much more hectic.  Schipper attributes the fewer fires to the awareness of the burn ban.
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Schipper says another reason for fewer calls this year is because farmers are taking steps to be more careful.

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The local fire official says he worries every time the weather forecast calls for strong winds along with low humidity levels.

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With the colder weather setting in, Schipper wants everyone who uses space heaters and candles to be careful.

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Catholic Daughters Celebrate 100 Years

(LE MARS) -- "To be helping hands where there is pain, poverty, sorrow and sickness." This is the charge of the Catholic Daughters of the America's. The Le Mars Court Santa Maria 179 of the Catholic Daughters commemorates their 100 year anniversary this year and will be celebrating with with a Mass and dinner coming up on October 22nd. 
Janet Manning has been involved with the Le Mars chapter for the last 50 years.  She says that the group fund raises and then invests their time and resources into the community.

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They also sponsor poster contests where kids create something around the theme of Christian values.  Manning  said the group also backs their beliefs by promoting family values and beliefs through political demonstrations.

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Manning said she went to a DC march about 10 years ago and was also there for a rally in 1990. She added that the camaraderie of the group as well as the educational aspects are the

reasons she stays involved.

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Membership numbers have dwindled over the years for the Le Mars chapter of Catholic Daughters which is made up of women from 6 area Catholic churches.  At it's height there were over 600 members in the group, now they have about 300.

Catholic Daughters was started in 1903 for women by the Knights of Columbus. 
The 179 in the title of the Le Mars Court Santa Maria 179 signifies that they were the 179th court to organize. According to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Website there are now over 1,200 courts in existence in 45 states across the country, and in Puerto Rico, Mexico,
Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

The 100 year celebration of the Le Mars Court of the Catholic Daughters will take place in the new St. Joseph Church Monday, October 22nd with mass at 5:30 and dinner to follow at the KC Hall.  The group meets monthly throughout the school year and are always accepting new members.


Audit Reveals Missing Funds From Power Plant

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) - An audit says the former general manager of a municipal power plant in northeastern Iowa misused more than $50,000 in proceeds from the sales of scrap metal over
the last decade.
State Auditor David Vaudt released a report on Friday that faulted Brian Geschke, who resigned in August from his 18-year job leading the New Hampton Municipal Light Plant.
The report says Geschke did not deposit at least $55,000 the power plant made from selling excess scrap metal to a private company dating back to 2001.
It says he gave $1,000 cash to 8 employees after one sale last year, and kept thousands more in a cabinet in his office.
Geschke told auditors he kept the money to use for expenses like office Christmas parties and buying flower arrangements.


Prison Guard Charged With Providing Contraband and Sex To Inmate

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A former prison guard at the state prison in Fort Dodge is accused of providing contraband to an inmate and performing a sex act on him.
35-year-old Rhiannon Quintana, of Fort Dodge, is charged with providing electronic
contraband and sexual misconduct with an inmate. The alleged incidents happened on July 15.
The inmate is not identified in a criminal complaint filed with the Webster County attorney's office.
Quintana, who no longer works at the prison, made an initial court appearance on Thursday. Her preliminary hearing is Oct. 26.
There is no defense attorney listed for Quintana on the online court system.

 

Police Conduct Prostitution Raid

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Several people have been arrested during a prostitution bust at a motel in western Iowa.
Authorities say the operation began just before 1 p.m. and ended with the last arrest at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday. The name of the motel in Council Bluffs wasn't disclosed.
The Council Bluffs Police Department says its officers worked on the investigation with deputies from Pottawattamie, Mills and Harrison counties and the FBI's Great Plains Innocence Lost Task
Force.
The Innocence Lost Task Force targets juveniles involved in prostitution.
Five women from Omaha, Neb., were among those arrested, as well as a Lincoln, Neb., man. Police say he solicited an undercover officer for sex.

 

 

 

 

 

   

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