Thursday, January 29, 2015
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Friday News, January 9

Blizzard Conditions Hit Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A cold front entering northern Iowa is packing wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.
     The National Weather Service says a portion of the state is under a blizzard warning until Friday. They include Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Mason City and Waterloo.
     While snowfall totals should remain around an inch or less, officials say blowing snow with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour will reduce driving visibility in some areas to a quarter mile or less. Meteorologist Craig Cogil says drivers should be careful.
     Wind chills of 20 to 30 degrees below zero are expected in northern and central Iowa Thursday night into Friday.


Republican Party Officials Tell Iowa That Straw Poll Is Acceptable

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa Republican Party says holding a straw poll is permissible under new Republican National Committee rules.
     Jeff Kaufmann released a statement Thursday saying he has met with top party officials in Washington. He said those discussions made it "crystal clear" that a straw poll does not violate any RNC rules.
     Critics of the poll, traditionally held in Ames the summer before a contested caucus, had questioned if the event could jeopardize Iowa's early voting status.
     The committee that governs the state party will meet Saturday to vote on holding a straw poll this year.
     The RNC provided an advisory opinion to Kaufmann saying the poll does not appear to violate any rules, but that the party should make clear that the event is "unofficial and unscientific."


Wisconsin Governor Contemplating To Run For President

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he's praying over whether to run for president in 2016 as he hires a senior adviser, plans a trip to Iowa in a couple weeks and expects to form an organization to raise and spend money on the exploratory effort.
     Walker said Thursday that his hiring of experienced presidential adviser Rick Wiley doesn't mean he's decided to enter the race. But he says Wiley will help him to seriously study whether to run.
     Walker also says in coming weeks he will form a political action committee or something similar to raise and spend money on a potential presidential run.
     Walker later this month also plans to attend a conservative political event in Iowa that's also attracting a host of other potential candidates.


Southwest Iowa Fertilizer Plant Explodes, Killing One Employee

 CRESTON, Iowa (AP) - The manager of a fertilizer plant in southern Iowa says an employee has died following an explosion at the facility.
     Bill Clem, plant manager of Green Valley Chemical in Creston, says the explosion Thursday morning killed an employee and injured at least two people. He called those injuries non-life-threatening, but he did not elaborate. He also would not say if the injured are employees.
     Clem said he could not immediately provide any further details about the circumstances of the explosion.
     Lee Freeman with the Creston Fire Department says officials responded to a medical call from the plant around 11 a.m. He says there was a report of an explosion, but he did not have additional information.
     A website for the plant says it produces agricultural fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia.


Des Moines Water Works To Sue Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun Counties 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Water Works board has voted unanimously to sue three northern Iowa counties, holding them responsible for the high nitrate levels the in rivers the utility uses for source water.
     The five-member board says it will file a notice of intent to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties because they oversee 10 drainage districts that were designed to move water out of farm fields downstream. The suit will allege with water the drainage districts move contaminants like nitrate that Water Works must remove when the levels exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits.
     A notice of intent will be Friday which informs the county supervisors and state officials that a lawsuit will be filed in 60 days.
     The process is laid out in the federal Clean Water Act.


Propane Prices Falling From A Year Ago 

(Des Moines) -- Iowans are enduring extremely cold temperatures lately, but there's encouraging news for those who use propane to heat their homes. Harold Hommes (HOME-us), a fuels analyst with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says prices are falling.

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Hommes is hopeful the cost of propane will remain steady for the rest of the winter.

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 A year ago, prices spiked within a matter of days, shooting from under two-dollars a gallon to nearly five-dollars.


Auditions For Community Play "Boeing...Boeing" Scheduled For Monday And Tuesday 

(Le Mars) -- With an emphasis on "community", the Le Mars Community Theater is kicking off its 2015 season with a comedy called "Boeing...Boeing" by Mark Camoletti. Auditions for the show will take place this coming Monday and Tuesday nights, January 12th and January 13th starting at 7:00 p.m. at the LCT Postal Playhouse. Why the emphasis on community?  Because without new faces on stage and behind the scenes, community theater just wouldn't be possible.  Director Larry Brangwin tells us a little about the plot of the upcoming show.

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That's right! Three fiancees, all airline hostesses.  One is Italian, one German, and the other is American.  At any given time, the pilot, Bernard, hosts these lovly ladies for lay-overs in his Parisian home, until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and to Bernard's apartment at the same time. Brangwin explains the characters involved in this comedic farce.

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You can imagine how silly the situation becomes.  Throw in a maid who is trying to hide each hostess from the other, and the cast is complete.  If you are interested in getting involved on the Le Mars Community Theater stage, for the March performances of "Boeing...Boeing", auditions are being held Monday, January 12th and Tuesday, January 13th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Postal Playhouse.  Now is also the time to get your seasons tickets for the 2015 season at the playhouse.  The four shows planned for this year are "Boeing...Boeing", "Calendar Girls", the musical "Mame", and the thriller, "Wait Until Dark".  For details, leave a message at the playhouse, or visit  







Thursday News, January 8

Frost Bite Can Occur Quickly

(Le Mars) -- Its no secret that frost bite can quickly occur when you are exposed to dangerously low temperatures and equally dangerous wind chill conditions.  Mary Jo Clark serves as the Emergency Room Coordinator for Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.  She says frost bite can happen before you realize anything is wrong.

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The official temperature at the Le Mars airport at 9:30 a.m. this morning, was six degrees below zero with winds blowing between 12 and 18 mph. Clark explains how fast frost bite can occur under those conditions.

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Clark says Floyd Valley hospital has treated several cases of frost bite this winter, including this past week.  She says if you need to be outside, then you

should bundle up, and limit your time outdoors.  She says a person's face, nose, ears, fingers and toes are usually the first areas to suffer from frost bite.

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The Floyd Valley nurse says if you notice blisters, or some whiteish color or chrystalizing of the skin, you should go to the hospital for immediate care.


Fire Department Issues December Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has submitted its December monthly report.  The local fire brigade responded to a total of 22 calls for the last month of the year.  The Le Mars Fire Department was called to four fire calls, six rescue calls, seven investigations, one mutual aid call with the Merrill Fire Department, and four requests for services.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper requests that capable residents living near a fire hydrant, to take the time and clear the snow away from the hydrant.  Schipper says it ultimately will save the fire department time in locating a hydrant if a fire should occur.


Plymouth County Authorities Arrest Two Sioux City Men On Drug Charges

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's office performed a traffic stop, Tuesday, at about 4:05 p.m. on a vehicle on South Ridge Road near Fox Avenue.  As a result of that stop, the driver, Miguel Ramirez Hernandez, age 20 of Sioux City was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance and operating  a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.  A passenger in the vehicle, Carlos Flores Luna, age 20, of Sioux City was also placed under arrest for possession  of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Both individuals were transported to the Plymouth County jail.


Stelzer Assumes Chair Duties For Floyd Valley Medical Staff

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Medical Staff has elected new officers for 2015.  Mark Stelzer, M.D. was elected President of the Floyd Valley Hospital Medical Staff for the year 2015 at the December, 2014 Medical Staff meeting.  Dr. Stelzer is a general surgeon and practices at Floyd Valley Hospital and Sioux Center Community Hospital, both Avera partners.   Dr. Stelzer has been a member of the Floyd Valley Hospital Medical Staff since August 1982.  Dr. Stelzer replaces Dr. Sheila Holcomb who served as Medical Staff President in 2013 and 2014.  Other officers elected include Andrew Geha, D.O.. as Vice-President and Ellen Aquino, M.D. as Secretary.


LifeServe Blood Center Low On Blood Supplies

DES MOINES, Iowa -- LifeServe Blood Center, the sole supplier of blood products to more than 100 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, urgently needs donors to give blood to increase the blood supply. Recent winter weather has caused the blood supply to dip to a critically low level. In fact, nearly 200 units of blood were lost due to cancellations, closings and delayed collection efforts. Currently, there is less than a one day supply of most blood types on the shelf.
Donors are urged to schedule an appointment or walk-in to donate. Schedule you appointment at an upcoming blood drive. For more information, visit or call 800.287.4903. 


Branstad And Legislature Hope To Find Common Ground On Road Repair Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad and lawmakers say they want to work on roads funding during the 2015 legislative session, but no one is committing to a specific plan.
     Branstad and legislative leaders spoke Wednesday during an Associated Press Legislative Forum. Branstad said he hopes to find consensus soon on a way to increase funding for state bridges and roads, many of which are considered deteriorating or deficient.
     Branstad is not saying how he wants to do this. One option is raising the state fuel tax, currently 22 cents per gallon of gasoline, including fees. Branstad said other state or local taxes and fees are also options.
     Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen expressed interest in finding common ground early in the session, which starts Monday.


Breda Man Pleads Not Guilty To Providing Alcholol To Minors Resulting In Fatal Accident

 SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to providing alcohol to a teenager before a fatal car crash in August.
     Twenty-one-year-old Matthias Stork, of Breda, entered his written plea Wednesday in Sac County District Court on two counts of selling, giving or supplying alcohol to a minor resulting in death.  His trial is scheduled to begin in March.
     Stork is accused of supplying beer to a 17-year-old in August who later drove a vehicle. The teen's car crashed into a vehicle driven by 16-year-old Bailey Jacobsen. She and her passenger, 16-year-old Lindsey Quirk, both of Wall Lake, were killed.
     The teen driver has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. Authorities say his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for driving.


Judge Refuses To Dismiss Free Speech Lawsuit Against Iowa State University

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge is refusing to dismiss a lawsuit that claims Iowa State University has improperly barred a pro-marijuana student group from using its logos on t-shirts.
     U.S. District Judge James Gritzner says members of the ISU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform have made a "plausible claim" that administrators violated their free speech rights.
     In a ruling Tuesday, he rejected Iowa State's arguments on why the case should be dismissed. Gritzner noted that colleges cannot discriminate against student groups on the basis of their political viewpoints.
     The lawsuit alleges ISU withdrew its approval of one of the group's marijuana-themed T-shirts featuring the school's Cy mascot under pressure from donors and lawmakers.
     The school later rewrote its trademark guidelines to bar their logos in products that promote illegal drugs.


Fired Des Moines Police Officer May Get Job Back

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines police officer fired in June likely will get his job back.
     The city's Civil Service Commission on Tuesday voiced support for overturning the firing of Cody Grimes. 
     Police officials say Grimes had violated policies on conduct and obedience to laws. He'd pleaded guilty in May to criminal mischief after making a deal with prosecutors. He'd been charged with assaulting his former girlfriend on Dec. 27, 2013. 
     Commission members have determined that firing Grimes was excessive and support the idea of Grimes returning to work but without back pay since his firing. City personnel director James Wells says Grimes likely will return to work later this month, pending a formal vote by the commission.


Robbery Suspect Identified After Being Fatally Shot

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police have identified a robbery suspect who was fatally shot by an officer after he pointed a gun at another officer. 
     A police spokesman says 30-year-old Nicholas Ryan Brickman was shot in the torso by officer Scott Newman. 
     Newman is on leave pending an investigation of the shooting, which the spokesman says is standard procedure for the department. 
     The Polk County attorney says a grand jury will review the shooting. He says he regularly requests them to review police shootings that end in death. 
     Authorities said Brickman was involved in a robbery at Tradesmen Community Credit Union prior to the fatal Wednesday shooting.
     Police say Brickman fled in a stolen vehicle that police tried to stop and then eventually fled on foot.





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