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Thursday News, April 18

Be Ready For Another Winter-Like Day

(Le Mars) -- Another winter-like day is in store for us today, and authorities are suggesting you use caution during your travels as ice, sleet, and snow builds on the state's roadways and highways.  On Wednesday, the early morning rain and snow caused several vehicles to have accidents.  Plymouth County Communications Director, Kurt Hatting says it was a busy Wednesday.
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Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz advises to slow down this morning.

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Gaming Commission To Announce Sioux City Casino Today

(Sioux City) -- Today is the day Sioux City and everyone else learns which of the four proposed land-based casinos will be selected by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.  The decision will be announced today from Council Bluffs.  The four competing casinos include the Hard Rock Casino, the Hollywood Casino in Sioux City, as well as the Hollywood Casino of Siouxland, and the Warrior Hotel Casino.

 

County To Auction Surplus Property

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County will hold a public auction on Saturday to sell some collected surplus items.  The auction will take place at the County Courthouse and is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.  County Auditor Stacey Feldman talks about what the county will be selling during this auction.

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Feldman says they hope to hold the auction at the courthouse parking lot. She suggests bidders to register their name and pick up an auction number from the Courthouse annex. Feldman says each of the county's departments will have items on the auction.

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The county normally holds an auction of surplus property every two years. The Brock Auction Company will serve as the auctioneers.  A listing of the surplus items are featured on the county's website which is www.co.plymouth.ia.us


Wall Lake Couple Sentenced To Prison For Bank Robberies

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man who asked for mercy in his sentencing for robbing banks has been given 15 years in federal prison.
Jeffrey Schoon was sentenced Wednesday in Sioux City. His wife, Roxena, was given more than two years in prison.
The couple pleaded guilty to robbing four banks within 20 miles of their Wall Lake home in December 2011 and January 2012.
Jeffrey Schoon asked the judge for the 15-year sentence required by a plea agreement in the hopes of seeing his teenage children again. He told the judge in a letter that he's raised an
18-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son who has cystic fibrosis. He says the average life span of someone with cystic fibrosis is 30, and the deal gives hope his family someday will be reunited.

 

Branstad Says China Trip Is Productive

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says his trade trip to China has been "extremely productive."
Branstad spoke with reporters via conference call Wednesday morning. He says he has been promoting trade between Iowa and China during meetings with top officials and business leaders in four cities.
Branstad met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jeen ping) on Monday. He says the conversation was "warm and cordial."
The group is scheduled to return Thursday. Branstad's ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad's first stint as governor. Xi returned to Iowa in February 2012 for stops in Muscatine and theDes Moines area.

 

House Approves Property Tax Reform Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved a version of Governor Terry Branstad's plan to cut commercial property taxes, setting up a battle with the
Democratic-majority Senate which favors an alternate proposal.
In a 54-45 vote Wednesday, the House approved a plan to amend a Senate tax bill to include key items from Branstad's proposal, which gradually reduces taxable assessments for commercial property
owners by 20 percent. The House version also includes a provision that the state would pay a larger portion of general school funding.
The Senate plan provides tax credits and tries to offer more relief to small business owners.
Given the differences between the two sides, the legislation will likely move to a joint committee where lawmakers from both chambers will try to reach a compromise.


Teen Drivers May Have To Wait A Year Before Getting License

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa teenagers who want a driver's license before turning 18 would have to wait a little longer under a measure passed Wednesday by the state House.
Representatives on Wednesday voted 87 to 9 in favor of the bill, which requires that minors have their learners permit for a year instead of the current six months. The measure now goes to Governor
Terry Branstad for his signature.
The bill also would limit minor drivers to carrying one unrelated minor for the first six months after they get a license unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or driving instructor.
Osage Representative Josh Byrnes, who sponsored the bill, says it's important teens have practiced driving in all seasons before getting a standard license.

 

Grassley Says He Has Confidence In Capital Security

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Senator Charles Grassley says he has confidence in security at the Capitol complex as authorities take precautions after letters containing a possible poison were
addressed to a fellow senator and President Barack Obama.
The Hart Senate Office Building, which houses the offices of senators including Grassley's, was locked down briefly Wednesday as authorities investigated suspicious packages.
Grassley, who was in the Capitol for Senate debate, says his staff told him police swarmed the Hart Senate Office Building, keeping anyone from entering the building. Workers had been told to
stay in their offices.
The FBI says a substance in letters sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker have preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a potentially fatal poison. Both letters were
intercepted at off-site mail facilities.

 

Pella Woman Sentenced To Prison For Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 61-year-old southern Iowa woman who persuaded friends and relatives to lend her thousands of dollars has been given four years in prison and ordered to pay more than
$680,000 in restitution.
Federal prosecutors say Beverly DeRonde, of Pella, also must serve three years of supervised release after she leaves custody. She'd pleaded guilty to mail fraud.
DeRonde has acknowledged that she fraudulently asked relatives and acquaintances to lend her money so she could buy birthday and anniversary presents to surprise her husband or equipment so he
could open a boat shop. She promised to pay them high interest rates.
Instead, she used the money to buy antiques, jewelry and Rolex watches for herself while failing to repay them. The scheme ran from 2003 to 2010.

 

DNR Reports Cities Released Wastewater In Streams

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources is reporting several wastewater releases by Iowa cities.
The largest was Tuesday morning in Cedar Falls, where an electrical problem caused pumps to fail, causing several thousand gallons of untreated wastewater to back up at the downtown treatment plant, then flow onto nearby ground. The water reached a bike path.
Workers took about a half hour to fix the problem. They then cleaned up the area.
In Dubuque, a pipe broke Wednesday afternoon, causing about 200 gallons of wastewater to flow into Catfish Creek before the city could stop the release.
In Cresco, about 500 gallons of untreated wastewater flowed into a creek Monday night. City and DNR officials are investigating the cause of the release but a surge of rainwater could be a factor.

   

Wednesday Afternoon News, April 17

Early Morning Rain, Sleet, and Snow Causes Numerous Accidents

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have had a busy morning with numerous vehicles involved in accidents and going into the ditch as a result of the rain, sleet, ice and snow that fell this morning.  Plymouth County Communications Director Kurt Hatting describes the busy morning.
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Hatting says all the action had taken place for a time period of two hours while we were experiencing the adverse weather.

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City Council Hears About Red, White, & Blue Mud Run

(Le Mars) -- The City Council heard from Le Mars Police Officer Jay King as he discussed the first Red, White, and Blue Mud Run scheduled for June 1st in Le Mars.  King says the Mud Run is a combination of an obstacle course and endurance test.  Already more than 120 competitors have indicated an interest in participating, and King anticipates perhaps 200 or more.   The event is being organized by the Le Mars Police Officer Association, Fire Department Association and First Responders.  King says the event will follow the Floyd River and the hiking and bike trails along the west side of town.

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Contestants will climb walls, crawl under barbed wire, jump over logs, and cross other various obstacles, including going through mud holes.  King says similar events have proven to be very popular across the nation.

 

Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire

(Le Mars) -- Both the Le Mars Fire Department and the Maurice Fire Department responded to
a grass fire last evening that was started as a result of a Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Train creating sparks.  Fire officials were called to the scene at about 6:30 p.m. and remained on the scene for an hour.  The fire was along the railroad tracks near 100th Street, located in the northern section of the county.  An area about the size of a city block had burned before the fire was brought under control.


Buena Vista College Student Arrested For Explosive Device

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A college student has been accused of making a homemade explosive device that detonated at his university campus in northwest Iowa. Authorities say no one was injured.
The Storm Lake Police Department arrested 21 year-old Matthew Hanson, of Villisca, on Tuesday after the device detonated Monday night at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.
Police allege Hanson made the device with a flameless heater and glass bottle. The device detonated about 10 feet from a residence hall.
Officials say the incident is not linked to explosions Monday at the Boston Marathon.
Hanson is charged with possession of an explosive device and reckless use of an explosive device. He is being held at the Buena Vista County Jail on a $3,000 bond.
Records do not list an attorney for Hanson.


Suspicious Packages Sent To U.S. Senate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Charles Grassley says he has confidence in security at the Capitol complex as authorities take precautions after letters containing a possible poison were addressed to a fellow senator and President Barack Obama.
The Hart Senate Office Building, which houses the offices of senators including Grassley's, was locked down briefly Wednesday as authorities investigated suspicious packages.
Grassley, who was in the Capitol for Senate debate, says his staff told him police swarmed the Hart Senate Office Building, keeping anyone from entering the building. Workers had been told to
stay in their offices.
The FBI says a substance in letters sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker have preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a potentially fatal poison. Both letters were
intercepted at off-site mail facilities.


State Senator Says Homosexual Lifestyles Present Health Risk

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Republican senator from northern Iowa says homosexual lifestyles pose a health risk to him and his family in comments that drew a sharp rebuke from an openly gay Democratic
senator.
Sen. Dennis Guth, of Klemme, spoke Wednesday on the Senate floor. He says the media has "bamboozled" the public into a growing acceptance of gay relationships and argues his family faces
"multiple health risks" because of sexually transmitted infections he says are associated with a gay lifestyle.
Guth's comments were quickly condemned by Sen. Matt McCoy, of Des Moines, who says Guth was using "warmed over rhetoric that has been invented by the Christian-right extremist groups." McCoy says being gay is not a choice, but "you certainly can choose to be ignorant."

 

Branstad Comments On China Trip

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says his trade trip to China has been "extremely productive."
Branstad spoke with reporters via conference call Wednesday morning. He says he has been promoting trade between Iowa and China during meetings with top officials and business leaders in four cities.
Branstad met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jeen ping) on Monday. He says the conversation was "warm and cordial."
The group is scheduled to return Thursday.
Branstad's ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad's first stint as governor. Xi returned to Iowa in February 2012 for stops in Muscatine and the Des Moines area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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