Friday News, December 14
Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Alarm At Econolodge Motel
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to a call at the Econolodge Motel last evening shortly after 6:00 p.m. Fortunately there was no fire at the motel. Fire officials determined that water vapor had gotten into the alarm system, triggering the alarm.
Hinton Battles Shed Fire
(Hinton) -- Hinton's Fire Department battled a shed that was on fire yesterday afternoon. The call came in at about 2:00 p.m. Fire officials were dispatched to 28215 Marble Avenue. Fire officials were on the scene for approximately an hour. No word on the extent of damage or the cause of the fire that burnt the shed.
Le Mars Police Arrest Le Mars Man For Forgery
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police have placed under arrest 24 year old Robert McDougall of Le Mars. McDougall was arrested after an investigation was conducted into his involvement in forging documents to obtain controlled substances from the local pharmacies. While at the police department, he was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance. The prohibited acts counts are a class C felony, the forgery charge is an aggravated misdemeanor and the possession of a controlled substance is a simple misdemeanor. McDougall was transferred to the Plymouth County Jail and held on a $10,000 bond.
Iowa Land Values On The Rise...Again
(Ames) -- Iowa land values have once again risen over last year and according to Mike Duffy, Agricultural Economist with Iowa State University, in many cases, new records were established. Duffy noted northwest Iowa saw the largest increase in land values.
Duffy says there are a number of factors that are helping drive the land values higher including good investment opportunities, the need for additional land for manure application for livestock and poultry producers, but he says the most mentioned driving factor are higher commodity prices.
There are some people, including Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who believe farmers are entering an era much like the 70's when grain and land prices were high, only to see the bubble burst, causing a recession era which occurred in the 1980's. Duffy says although there are some farmers that may be over-extended with their financing, he doesn't see it being a wide spread problem, at least not just yet.
Harkin Worried About Rising Land Values
(Washington) -- Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says this week's report on rising Iowa farmland values is worrisome. The annual study from Iowa State University found the average selling price for an acre of Iowa farmland was nearly 83-hundred dollars, an increase of 24-percent from a year ago.
Harkin acknowledges it appears Iowa farmers will "be in good shape" in terms of future demand for feed grains and for grain and stover used in ethanol production. Still, he fears changes in the weather and other factors could quickly prompt another farm crisis like the nation saw in the 1980s.
The ISU report found farmland prices were widely varied across the state. For example, prices in northwest Iowa were up almost 34-percent, while prices in southeast Iowa were up only nine-percent.
The 24-percent price increase found in the ISU report marks the third straight year the state's farmland values have increased by at least 15-percent.
Soybean Association Applauds Governor's Action On Nutrient Runoff
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Environmentalists say it doesn't go far enough, but the Iowa Soybean Association is praising Gov. Terry Branstad's strategy to keep harmful nutrients from reaching Iowa
waterways and the Gulf of Mexico.
Association leaders who met in Ankeny this week reaffirmed their support for the plan, which was released last month. ISA President Mark Jackson says the plan is based on science, recognizes the
diversity of the state's landscape and is "much more effective than a costly, one-size-fits-all effort to improve water quality."
The plan calls on wastewater treatment plants to make upgrades to reduce their discharges into waterways. But it asks farmers to take voluntary steps to reduce the runoff caused by fertilizers and
manure on farm fields.
Critics say they doubt a voluntary approach will have much impact.
State Historical Museum To Celebrate 25 Years
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the State Historical Building.
Gov. Terry Branstad and others will attend a gala Friday night aimed at raising funds for the in-house State Historical Museum. It will feature a display of objects from the museum's permanent
collection to represent the past 25 years. More than 500 people are expected to attend.
Officials also are currently trying to raise funds to restore the building. The state Department of Cultural Affairs presented a proposal to Branstad on Thursday projecting costs of up to $101
The State Historical Building opened in 1987. It houses several divisions of the cultural affairs agency, State Historical Museum and other offices.
Thousands Honor Missing Cousin Elizabeth Collins
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A huge crowd of well-wishers joined the friends, relatives and family at a memorial service Thursday for one of two Iowa cousins whose remains were found by hunters last
week, months after their summer disappearance.
More than 1,000 people turned out to honor Elizabeth Collins, who was 8 when she and her 10-year-old cousin, Lyric Cook, vanished after setting off on their bicycles last July.
Elizabeth's mother, Heather Collins, told those at the Cedar Falls gathering not to lose faith, saying her family knows the girls are in a better place.
"You sometimes feel like God is not with you when you go through all this. But he is. He's by your side," she said.
The event was meant to celebrate Elizabeth's life, and a band played uplifting tunes while those gathered sang along and prayed. Lyric's family said they would hold something for her after Christmas, the paper reported.
Heather and Drew Collins, Elizabeth's father, said at a news conference prior to the memorial service that their faith in God is stronger than ever. Heather Collins said she knows God was with the girls, whose remains were found in a wooded area about 25 miles from Evansdale, where the girls were last seen.
"We know God was with them the whole entire time," she said. "We know where they are now. They're in such a much better place. They're going to have such a much better Christmas than we are."
Heather Collins said her and her husband's three other children are coping with their sister's death by getting counseling and finding ways to speak to their sister through drawing and looking
up at the sky.
Drew Collins said that although the family may never find closure, they are determined to find who hurt the girls. He said he suspects the person may have been a sex offender.
"We want whoever is responsible to have to answer for what they've done," he said. "I think we'll get a little more closure then. We don't want this person to be able to hurt anybody else."
The couple said they will meet with Gov. Terry Branstad and other families next week to discuss death penalty legislation. Drew Collins said he supports the death penalty and he believes there should be changes to the judicial system on how prison sentences are issued to sex offenders who may commit again.
"If someone murders a child, they need to be punished severely," he said.
Heather Collins said the family had always planned a celebration for when their daughter came home, though the circumstances are different.
"She did come home, even though it wasn't on earth," she said.
Cedar Rapids Woman Drowns In Cedar River
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the death of a Cedar Rapids woman whose body was pulled from Cedar River was an accidental drowning.
The body of 50-year-old Teresa Cooling was found near the Ellis Boat Harbor around 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.
Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Cristy Hamblin says that investigators have concluded that no crime was involved in Cooling's death and that she drowned after accidentally falling into the river.