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Wednesday News, March 20

Hinton Fire Department Responds To Fire Along Railroad Tracks

(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department was called to battle a blaze along the railroad tracks on Tuesday afternoon.  The alarm came in at about 2:30 p.m. and the fire stretched from just north of Hinton to near James located near the Plymouth County - Woodbury County border.  It is believed a train may have somehow ignited the fires, possibly due to faulty wheels on a rail car.  Fire officials were on the scene for a total of nearly two hours, but were called back to the scene a second time.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Listed As Top 100 Rural Hospitals

(Le Mars, IA) Floyd Valley Hospital was named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics as determined by the company’s Hospital Strength Index™.  The Hospital Strength Index is a comprehensive scorecard that evaluates the market conditions, clinical and operational performance, and financial and qualitative outcomes.  The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are the nation’s best rural safety-net institutions.  Floyd Valley Hospital was one of nine Iowa hospitals to be recognized from 1,267 Critical Access Hospitals nationwide.

 

Chamber Ag Committee To Host Agri Luncheon

(Le Mars) -- Today marks the start of spring.  This week is also the time the nation pays tribute to America's Agriculture.  For 19 years, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Agri Committee has recognized local agriculture by hosting a luncheon.  This year's luncheon to be held at the Le Mars Convention Center is slated for tomorrow (Thursday) starting with a chamber coffee at 9:30 a.m. sponsored by the Plymouth county Farm Bureau organization.  The key-note speaker for Thursday's event is Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association.  Putze has had a long career associated with various agricultural organizations including the Coalition To Support Iowa Farmers and the Iowa Farm Bureau.  Putze says too many times the general public takes agriculture for granted and those people involved in agriculture need to tell its story.
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Putze says agriculture is a story worth telling, although he admits it may be a slow process before people have a better understanding of agriculture.
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The Soybean Association representative says those in agriculture should utilize the opportunity, not just during National Agriculture Week, but every week, to engage in conversations about the importance of agriculture and how it delivers food, fiber, and fuel to the consuming public everyday.
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Tickets sell for $10 and can be purchased from the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce offices.

 

Senate Ed Committee Questions Regents Nominee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate panel has grilled a Board of Regents nominee about his views on social issues like stem cell research, gay rights and academic freedom.
Lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee interviewed Tuesday Robert Cramer, a businessman from Grimes. Cramer is one of two nominees selected by Gov. Terry Branstad to replace retiring members.
Some committee members say Cramer's conservative views on social issues could compromise the academic values of the public universities and schools that the board oversees.
Candidate Subhash Sahai, a physician from Webster City, also appeared before the panel.
The 15-member committee will decide Wednesday which of the nominees to move to the full Senate for a vote. Two-thirds of the
Senate must approve.
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Senate Approves Bill To Allow Iowa Businesses Preference

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would give preference to Iowa businesses when the state is purchasing certain supplies and services.
Lawmakers passed the measure 34-16 Tuesday with bipartisan support. It would give Iowa-based businesses a second chance to match the lowest bid by an out-of-state business for goods and
services that cost the state under $500,000.
Bill sponsor Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the measure levels the playing field.
Iowa law already says state departments must give preference to Iowa businesses during a competitive bidding process. But Mathis says her bill is more precise and fair.
Data from the state Department of Administrative Services shows almost half of Iowa's last 100 purchases were from out-of-state businesses.
The measure now heads to the House.

 

Branstad's Property Tax Bill Passes House Committee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's plan to cut commercial property taxes in Iowa has won committee approval in the Republican-controlled House, but the bill faces an uncertain future
as the Democratic-majority Senate favors an alternate proposal.
The House Ways and Means committee approved Branstad's plan Tuesday. The bill would gradually reduce taxable assessments for commercial property owners by 20 percent. House Republicans amended the plan to include a provision that the state would gradually start paying a larger portion of general school funding.
Senate Democrats have given committee-level approval to a plan that would gradually provide commercial property owners with a tax credit equivalent to a roughly 40 percent tax cut to their first
$324,000 in assessed property value.
The bill will now go to the full House for a vote.


Altoona Man Sentenced To Four Years For Mortgage Fraud Scheme

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 38-year-old Altoona man has been given four years in prison for his role in a fraudulent mortgage scheme.
Lane Anderson also most serve five years of supervised release after he leaves prison. He was sentenced on Monday.
Federal prosecutors say Anderson and two co-defendants submitted fraudulent documents to obtain mortgages on 13 properties they had acquired and renovated. Prosecutors say a third co-defendant, Paul Kramer, knew the transactions were fraudulent when he closed them
at his closing company.
The scheme collapsed when the mortgage payments lagged and lenders foreclosed. The lenders lost more than $600,000.
Prosecutors say co-defendants Dave Mable and Shannon Flickinger already have been sentenced. Co-defendant Kramer is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12.

 

 

 

 

   

Tuesday Afternoon News, March 19

Report Issued For Early Saturday Auto Accident

(Le Mars) -- We now know more about that early morning accident that happened Saturday at about 3:30 a.m.  23 year old Judith Donado of Sioux City was on her way home after working the late shift at Wells Blue Bunny.  Donado's vehicle was southbound on U-S Highway 75 when the vehicle went off the shoulder and into the ditch where it had rolled two times ending up on its wheels.  Donado left the vehicle and had started walking to Hinton when she was picked up by a fellow employee. She was taken home by this person.  Sioux City Police conducted a welfare check of Donado and advised she was uninjured with the exception of some minor scratches and abrasions.  No alcholol or other substances was suspected in the cause of the accident.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, along with the Hinton Fire and Rescue all responded to the accident scene.

 

Tritz Involved In Auto Accident

(Orange City) -- Sioux County authorities are investigating an auto accident that occurred early Monday morning.  At about 12:15 a.m. 24 year old Kaitlin Tritz of Le Mars was heading southbound on Jackson Avenue, about a mile south of Orange City, when she lost control of her vehicle.  The car ended up in a creek bed.  Tritz was transported to the Orange City Hospital by the Orange City Ambulance with minor injuries.


Floyd Valley Hospital Selected As Top 100 Rural Hospitals

(Le Mars, IA) Floyd Valley Hospital was named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics as determined by the company’s Hospital Strength Index™.  The Hospital Strength Index is a comprehensive scorecard that evaluates the market conditions, clinical and operational performance, and financial and qualitative outcomes.  The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are the nation’s best rural safety-net institutions.  Floyd Valley Hospital was one of nine Iowa hospitals to be recognized from 1,267 Critical Access Hospitals nationwide.


Gehlen Mission Students Set To Leave For Mississippi

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic students participating on a mission trip were given a send-off and blessing earlier this morning.  In past years, the group would make an international trip to the Central American nation of Honduras, but due to a spike of violence within the designated region, Gehlen officials instead organized a domestic mission trip to Mississippi.  14 students along with chaperones will depart Le Mars early Wednesday morning to help those people still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina.  The missionary trip will last ten days.


Sioux City Police Apprehend Counterfeit Suspects

(North Sioux City) -- Three suspects are in custody following a high speed chase Monday night that injured an Union County Deputy.  Union county Sheriff Dan Limoges says officers were in the process of serving a search warrant around 10 pm at a North Sioux City, South Dakota residence when the subjects at the home fled in a pickup truck.  A pursuit ensued through the North Sioux City business district, along I-29 to McCook Lake and back to the Riverside area of Sioux City.  Sgt. Jim Cunningham of the Sioux City Police says the suspects were throwing counterfeit money out of their vehicle during the chase.  Spikes were deployed on I-29 into the path of the driver, who swerved around them and headed to Riverside and eventually on West 19th Street where the suspects were apprehended.
Limoges says the pickup rammed and totaled a deputy's vehicle and also struck a North Sioux City Police vehicle.  The deputy was treated and released from a local hospital with hand and arm injuries.  The driver and two passengers were taken into custody. 27 year old Brandon Miller, 21 year old Shaun Wakefield and 21 year old Alison Daughtery are charged with forgery.  Other charges are pending in the case.

 

 

Cattle Producers To Hold Environmental Forum

(Orange City) -- Area cattle producers who are concerned about staying compliant with state  environmental rules and regulations will want to attend a seminar scheduled for this evening.  The open forum will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at the Community Center at Primghar.  Beth Doran serves as the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist for northwest Iowa.  She encourages all beef and dairy producers to attend tonight's seminar.
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Doran says environmental officials have explained to her that cattle producers should be aware of any run-off following a large rain or during the spring snow melt.

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Bank Robber Receives At Least 10 Years In Prison

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) - An Iowa man has been given 10-14 years in a Nebraska prison for bank robbery.
Twenty-nine-year-old Robert Thomas, of Marshalltown, Iowa, pleaded no contest in January to attempted robbery. Prosecutors had reduced the charge in exchange for Thomas' plea. He was sentenced on Monday in Dakota County District Court.
Thomas also must pay $6,150 in restitution to Bank of the West. Police say Thomas robbed a Bank of the West branch in South Sioux City on July 23.
Authorities say Thomas told investigators that he robbed the bank so he could pay bills for his family.

 

Iowa and Illinois May Compete For Fertilizer Business

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Illinois and Iowa could get into a bidding war over the construction of a $1.2 billion fertilizer production facility.
According to Illinois officials, Iowa is offering Cronus Chemical LLC an estimated $35 million in taxpayer subsidies to build a plant in Mitchell County near the Minnesota border.
Illinois lawmakers are considering tax breaks in a proposal by state Rep. Adam Brown, a Republican from Champaign. The plant would be built near Tuscola in the east central part of the state.
The newspaper reports the facility would create 2,000 construction jobs and 150 full-time jobs.
Iowa beat Illinois last year over the site of a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant. Gov. Terry Branstad has been criticized over taxbreaks related to that plant.
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