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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.


Tuesday News, March 19

Supervisors Cancel Tuesday Meeting

(Le Mars) -- Due to a lack of agenda items, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have announced they will not be holding a meeting today.  The Supervisors will again convene the next week, Tuesday, March 26 at 9:30 at the Plymouth County Courthouse Board Room.


Le Mars City Council To Discuss Railroads

(Le Mars) -- Railroads and railroad crossings will be discussed during today's Le Mars City Council meeting which will take place at 12:00 noon at the City Hall Council Chambers.  The city council is expected to approve a master rail plan for the city of Le Mars. As the industrial park area continues to build and expand, the city wants to work with consultants to know how rail service to the expanding industrial park area may be provided and utilized.  The council will also discuss a recent meeting that was held with Union Pacific Railroad Company officials and Iowa Department of Transportation officials regarding rail road crossings within the city limits.


Hy Vee To Donate Smartboard To Remsen-Union

( Le Mars) – Officials from Le Mars Hy-Vee will present a $1,500 SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard to Remsen-Union High School during a gathering at the school on Tuesday March 19 2013.  Remsen-Union High School is one of more than 200 schools throughout the Midwest that are receiving the innovative technology tools this year through Hy-Vee’s SMART Points promotion, which ran from September 1 through November 30. During the promotional period, shoppers who purchased Procter & Gamble products at Hy-Vee earned points that could be designated to the schools of their choice. Remsen-Union High School achieved the highest average points score in its region to earn the SMART Board. In addition, the Remsen-Union High School student with the most points designated on his or her behalf will receive an iPad2 16GB with Wi-Fi tablet during Tuesday’s presentation.


School Lunches Costs On The Rise

(Le Mars) -- School officials are noticing the cost of school lunches are rising.  Last week during the Le Mars Community School Board meeting, School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt reported to the board that the costs of providing students and staff with school lunches had increased more than $35,000 above what was budgeted.  Although no action will be taken during this school year, the board will consider increasing the price for school provided breakfasts and lunches for next year.  Wendt says a major reason for the increase is due to a rise in food and transportation costs.

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Judy Lubben serves as the Director of Food Services for the school district.  She says much of the increase can be related to the new federal guidelines and regulations that was implemented this year that requires additional fresh fruit and fresh vegetables be served as part of the school lunch program.

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School officials report fewer lunches are being prepared compared to previous years, which has also affected the revenue, and Lubben says it is also difficult to substitute various foods to cut costs due to the federal regulations.


Storm Lake Woman Arrested After Child's Finger Amputated

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Storm Lake woman has been accused of bounding her 3-year-old's finger so tightly a portion of it had to be amputated.
Police say 30-year-old Kaylyn Khamtan brought her daughter to an emergency room Thursday. Police arrested Khamtan after staff became suspicious of the child's injury.
Khamtan said she bound the girl's finger with tissue and a rubber band to cover a hangnail or some other similar injury. Staff told police the binding was so tight the girl's finger
"mummified" and the rubber band sank to the bone, causing signs of gangrene. A surgical team removed a portion of the girl's finger.
Khamtan was charged Friday with child endangerment causing serious injury.
Online records do not list an attorney for Khamtan. There is no public number available for her.


Iowa's Unemployment Holds Steady

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's preliminary unemployment rate was unchanged in January, matching the 5 percent recorded in December.
Iowa Workforce Development says in a report released Monday that December's rate was revised upward to 5 percent from the preliminary figure of 4.9 percent reported on Jan. 18.
The January rate is four-tenths of a point under the 5.4 percent reported for January 2012.
Iowa's rate is significantly lower than the national figure of 7.9 percent in January.
Workforce Development says there were 82,100 unemployed Iowans in January, compared with 81,700 in December. The figure was 88,500 in January 2012.

State Supreme Court To Gather Public Comments On Rules Changes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is gathering public input on proposed rules changes involving the appointment of court interpreters and attorneys representing parents in juvenile
Rules for court interpreters were last changed in 2008 and the court says many new developments since then need to be addressed.
In orders filed Monday, the court proposes to add qualification required for an interpreter, the role of the interpreter in a proceeding, and professional and ethical conduct details. Comments
on the rules will be accepted until May 17.
The court also says it will hold a public hearing on July 9 on juvenile court rules. Written comments will be accepted until May 31.
Proposed rules include standards for practice and a minimum experience requirement for attorneys representing parents in juvenile cases.


House Votes To Keep Gun Permit Records Confidential

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has shown overwhelming support for a bill that would keep public information on gun permits confidential.
Lawmakers approved the measure Monday by a landslide 95-3 vote. The bill would make identifiable information private, though law enforcement would still have access to them.
Bill sponsor Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, says the records are a safety hazard because criminals can target homes without firearms.
Records showing gun permit data is currently public information in Iowa.
The state Department of Public Safety says more than 148,000 permits have been issued through 2012 that allows people to carry a firearm. Statewide data on handgun permits was not available.
The bill now moves to the Senate.


Regent Candidates Being Scrutinized By Senate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's nominees for the Iowa Board of Regents are appearing before a Senate panel.
Robert Cramer from Grimes and Dr. Subhash Sahai from Webster will attend a hearing Tuesday led by the Senate Education Committee. The committee will discuss their nomination to the
nine-member board.
The two were selected by Branstad to replace Regents Jack Evans and David Miles. Evans is a former CEO of SCI Financial Group from Cedar Rapids and Miles is a financial adviser from West Des Moines.  Their terms end this year.
If the Iowa Senate confirms their nominations by a two-thirds vote, Cramer and Sahai will serve six years on the board starting May 1.
Branstad has reappointed board president Craig Lang. He was aggressively questioned Monday during a committee hearing.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Board of Regents President Craig Lang says he's made mistakes during his two-year tenure, but he wants lawmakers to keep supporting him.
Lang appeared Monday before a Senate committee that must review his nomination, which needs a two-thirds vote from the full Senate. The committee can approve the nomination or send it to the Senate without a recommendation.
The Board of Regents oversees Iowa's state universities. Lang cited a tuition freeze for all schools in the upcoming academic year as an achievement.
But Democratic lawmakers on the panel questioned Lang's leadership. Some members asked if the board was politically motivated.
The committee took no action Monday. It meets again Wednesday.




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