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Saturday News, February 16

Orange City Hospital Auxiliary Donates $50,000

(Orange City) -- The Auxiliary of Orange City Area Health System (OCAHS) presented a check for $50,000 to the health system during its February board meeting. The monies have been allocated to purchase new chairs for the hospital's birth center/OB wing ($7,700); new tables for dinners, meetings, and lobby sales ($2,300); and  to satisfy a portion of the Auxiliary's $200,000 pledge to the new Prairie Ridge Care Center ($50,000).
Mary Plathe, Volunteer Services Manager says "Making a contribution of this amount is definitely a team effort," She says "The Auxiliary Board and the volunteer team deserve a special thank you for the tremendous amount of work -- planning and organizing our monthly fund-raisers and staffing the GiftGarden hospital gift shop."
Health system volunteers and Auxiliary members bake desserts and breads, embroider dish towels and pillowcases, make over 2,000 pigs-in-a-blanket for the annual holiday open house, manage the spring plant sale, work at numerous lobby sales throughout the year, prepare and serve food at fund-raising events, and staff the gift shop. Community support of these activities helps raise monies that directly benefit health system patients, residents, and families.

Le Mars Chamber Receives Grant From Hotel/Motel Tax For Easter Egg Hunt

(Le Mars) -- In February of last year, the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce was awarded $750 from Le Mars Hotel/Motel Sales Tax receipts.
Funds will be used to hold an Easter Egg Hunt in Le Mars. Hundreds of area children will be able to participate in an old-fashioned hunt for Easter eggs. “We’re very grateful for the CVB funding.” stated Mary Reynolds, Main Street Manager at the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce. “Many area children will be able to take part in this fun event. Over approximately 13,000 eggs will hidden for children to hunt.”
The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce was one of 19 applicants receiving funding in 2012. Funding recommendations of the Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory Board were approved by the Le Mars City Council on February 21, 2012.
The CVB Advisory Board received 23 application requests totaling $64,409.07 for the 2012-2013 budget year. There was $40,000 available to be awarded to qualified groups.


Republicans Differ On Karl Rove's Intervention

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Efforts by leading Republicans to field better candidates in the next election are continuing to stir dissension in the party.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad said a plan by Karl Rove to boost candidates in key state races is "not smart" and "a mistake."
Rove heads an organization that plans to run advertising to help Republicans who seem capable of winning a general election, and to ward off Republicans who aren't.
Branstad said Rove should leave any candidate steering to party leaders in the states.
Republicans have been debating how to get the best candidates after losing Senate elections in Missouri and Indiana last year that the party expected to win.
Rove has been attempting to fend off criticism in recent weeks from tea party and libertarian-oriented Republicans.


Jorgensen Comments On Education Bills

(Sioux City) -- Next week the Iowa House will begin debate on an education reform plan that's a priority of Governor Branstad.
Representative Ron Jogensen heads the House Education Committee.  The Sioux City Republican says lawmakers are hoping to pass a plan to help regain Iowa's former standing as the leading state in public education.
The House Education Committee has advanced a modified version of the plan which includes a four thousand dollar increase in teacher starting pay and options for bonuses for veteran teachers mentoring new educators.

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Jorgensen says parts of the plan were made optional because of concerns from rural districts.

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The Education Committee voted 13-10 on a straight party vote to send the plan to the full house.  The Senate has already approved a different plan, focusing on funding instead of reform.  Jorgensen says he's hopeful both chambers will reach a compromise by the end of this month.

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Insurance Commissioner Submits Paperwork For State/Federal Partnership

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's insurance commissioner has submitted paperwork outlining information about the upcoming state-federal health insurance partnership.
Nick Gerhart submitted documents late Thursday to U.S. Health and Human Resources Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The blueprint hashes out details about how Iowans can buy their health insurance.
The documents say Iowa will retain a lot of management control in the exchange. That includes regulating insurance plans, and determining eligibility for Medicaid and children's health
insurance programs.
The Iowa Insurance Division also will oversee companies participating in the exchange and its qualified health plans.
Federal health officials now need to accept the paperwork. The exchange will be implemented in Iowa by January 1st, 2014.

Volunteer Firefighter Charged With Arson

KELLEY, Iowa (AP) - A volunteer firefighter in central Iowa has been accused of setting multiple fires.
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds says 19-year-old Brett Graham of Kelley has admitted to starting four fires in Story County and Boone County over the past few months. One includes a fire in Boone
County that killed a dozen horses in late January.
Graham was arrested Thursday and faces three counts of second-degree arson. He remains in the Story County Jail on a $30,000 bond. Online records do not list an attorney.
Television station KCCI says the fires are part of 20 to 30 fires that authorities have been investigating as possible arson.
Graham is a volunteer firefighter with the Kelley Fire Department. His father is the department's assistant fire chief.

Authorities Identify Car Chase Accident Victim

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified a man killed in an Indianola crash that injured his 5-year-old son and ended a high-speed chase.
Police say 33-year-old Jeremiah Johnson led officers on a chase early Friday morning that exceeded speeds of 110 miles per hour.
The chase began in Clive when an officer tried to pull over Johnson's car and it sped away. The Iowa State Patrol eventually took over and followed the car into Indianola, where it ran into an
empty police cruiser at a roadblock on Iowa Highway 92.
Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was taken to a hospital. Authorities have not released the child's identify or condition.
Police say Johnson was wanted in Georgia on suspicion of cruelty to a child and reckless driving.





Friday Afternoon News, Feb. 15

Plymouth County To Work On 20 Road Construction and Bridge Projects

(Le Mars) -- It won't be long before spring will be upon us, and with spring also comes
those orange cones, barrels, and barricades as road construction projects begin.  Plymouth County engineer Tom Rohe says there are 20 different construction projects slated for this spring and summer for the county. Rohe says that includes two bridges that will be replaced.
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Rohe says a lot of attention in terms of road construction projects will be devoted to the Merrill area this spring and summer.

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The county engineer believes it will be April or May when construction is to start for all the projects around Merrill.  The Iowa Department of Transportation will widen Highway 75 to include a left-hand turning lane, while the city of Merrill will upgrade 5th Street, and at the same time, Plymouth County will place over-lay asphalt on  county roads C-38 and K42, the roads that serve the Plymouth County Energy and Plymouth County Oil Companies.  Rohe says the Merrill over lay projects and the two bridge replacements will come with a price tag.
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Rohe says most of the other road construction projects through out the county involve replacing old bridges with box culverts.

Sioux City Man Pleads Not Guilty To Weapons Charges

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of shooting and killing his two dogs has pleaded not guilty to two weapons charges.
Jon Holloway won't be prosecuted on animal abuse charges. Sioux City Police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick says it's technically not illegal to shoot your own pets.
Holloway is charged with reckless use of a firearm and discharging a gun within city limits. Authorities say the 51-year-old Holloway shot his two dogs Tuesday with a rifle in his backyard.
Police say Holloway had been arguing with his sister about the dogs being aggressive.
Holloway's trial is scheduled for April 24.


Four Sentenced To Prison For Meth Distribution

(Sioux City) -- Two men and two women have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy.  30 year old Joseph Hough of Dakota City, Iowa; 50 year old Diane Kletsch of Superior, Iowa; 48 year old Timothy Lamb of Fort Dodge, and 46 year old Yolanda Hernandez of Donna, Texas after pleading guilty in October to a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Hough was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment, while Kletsch received seven years and three months sentence, and Lamb got over eleven years, and Hernandez was sentenced for eight years and one month.


Mexico Man Sentenced To 24 years of Prison For Methamphetamine

(Sioux City) -- Meanwhile, a Mexico man who had been living in Sioux City was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for the distribution of methamphetamine.  33 year old, Angel Solano-Fierro was found guilty of distributing 280 grams of pure methamphetamine.  Solano-Fierro admitted to distributing the methamphetamine between February and May of 2012.


Supreme Court Says Farmers Liable For Ag Tour Accidents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says farmers who host educational tours are not shielded from personal injury lawsuits under Iowa's recreational use law.
The court ruled 5-2 on Friday that the owners of a dairy farm can be sued by a chaperone injured when she fell through a hole in a hayloft during a kindergarten class field trip.
The Iowa Farm Bureau had warned that allowing farmers to face liability would jeopardize tours that teach children about animals and farming. The group says farmers may no longer host such events
if they're worried about lawsuits.
At issue is a law that bars injury lawsuits against landowners who open their land for public recreational uses such as snowmobiling and hunting. The court says playing on a hayloft in a
barn doesn't qualify.


DNA Links Suspect To Home Invasion

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Waterloo police say DNA samples taken from a pair of tennis shoes link a suspect to a home invasion.
Joseph Holmes was charged Thursday with first-degree burglary in the Jan. 19 robbery at Dennis Fix's home.
Fix told police that someone broke in his home, assaulted him and stole his television and surround sound system. Fix was treated for brain bleeds on both sides of his head.
At the hospital, officers observed a shoe print on Fix's face.
The investigation later led them to search Holmes' residence, where they found bloody white tennis shoes that were consistent with the tread marks on Fix's face. Police say DNA testing at a
state crime lab recently matched the blood on the shoes with that of Fix.
Holmes is jailed on $50,000 bond.


Branstad Wants Olympics To Keep Wrestling

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is launching a campaign to keep wrestling an Olympic sport after the International Olympic Committee announced its recommendation to drop it.
Branstad will be joined at a Friday news conference by Olympic wrestling gold medalist Dan Gable, University of Iowa associate head wrestling coach Terry Brands and University of Northern Iowa
wrestling coach Doug Schwab. They'll gather at the Iowa State High School Wrestling Tournament to kick-off their campaign called "Let's Keep Wrestling."
Branstad and each member of Iowa's congressional delegation have signed a letter they will send to the IOC on Friday morning describing the importance of wrestling to Iowans and the Olympics.
Rep. Bruce Braley on Thursday noted it would be an "absolute shame" if young Iowans' could not live their Olympic dream.







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