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Wednesday News, March 11

Car And Tractor Collide On Highway 75

(Le Mars) -- A car, and a tractor pulling a grain wagon collided last evening at about 8:15 p.m.  The accident happened on Highway 75 about four miles north of Le Mars.  Responding to the accident were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department and the Le Mars Ambulance Service.  No word yet on the identities of the victims, but two people were transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital.  Traffic was backed up for nearly a half hour while rescue crews worked on the accident.

 

Merrill And Hinton Fire Departments Respond To Grass Fire

(Merrill) -- The Merrill and Hinton Fire Departments responded to a grass field fire shortly after 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.  The fire was located in a remote area of Plymouth County at 21682 250th Street. According to Captain Eric Weber of the Merrill Fire Department, the fire was the result of a controlled burn that got out of control.
 

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Weber says the fire was fueled by the dry grass on top, even though the field  underneath is wet.


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Weber says an area of between five and ten acres were burnt as a result of the grass fire. Both the Merrill and Hinton Fire Departments were on the scene for approximately an hour.

 

Real Estate And Mobile Home Taxes Are Now Due

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the second-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. Taxes are delinquent Wednesday, April 1, 2015.   Mail must be postmarked on or before March 31 to avoid delinquent interest.   Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on March 31 does not guarantee a March 31 postmark.   Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on April 1, 2015, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter.  There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. 

 

Commstock Report Commentator David Kruse To Speak At Agri-Business Luncheon

(Le Mars) -- Next Wednesday, March 18th, is the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Luncheon to be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  The key-note speaker will be David Kruse, president of the Commstock Investments and commentator on commodity markets and agricultural issues.  Kruse, is heard on many farm-based radio stations, and appears in several farm publications.  Kruse offers an insight to his address next week.


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Kruse says there isn't a lot of hope to seeing an improvement on crop prices, and he says livestock profit margins are also running thin.


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The commodity market analyist says the strength in the U-S dollar may mean a cutback to the export markets.  Kruse also closely follows the political scene and how it oftens affects agriculture.


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Tickets for the Agri-business luncheon are selling at $10 and can be obtained at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office.

 

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

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water.
     The board voted Tuesday afternoon to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.
     The counties oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts north of Des Moines. The lawsuit will allege the drainage systems are no different than city wastewater treatment plants in that they discharge pollutants and should be subject to heightened regulatory oversight.
     Nineteen citizens spoke in support at the meeting. Several farm groups say in a statement the lawsuit undermines the relationship between the water utility and farmers upstream but they'll continue to work on water quality.

 

Farm Groups Respond To Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit

(Des Moines) -- The announcement by Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) to pursue legal action against drainage districts in three Iowa counties reveals a startling disconnect from the scope and complexity of nonpoint water issues. It risks slowing the momentum of the nationally recognized Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy implemented with bipartisan legislative support in 2013. Nitrate levels in Iowa rivers are complex, fluctuating with weather and soil fertility but not significantly affected by fertilizer application rates or management. Our weather and nutrient-rich soils, which are ideal for growing plants, dominantly influence what happens in Iowa’s waters. Merely enacting regulation will do nothing to improve water quality. We will remain focused on empowering farmers and land owners to select and use scientifically proven practices that can have a real impact on water quality, which benefits all Iowans.

Today's decision undermines the strong relationship that once existed between Iowa’s largest water utility and farmers upstream. However, the DMWW litigation will not distract us from collaborative efforts that bring continual improvements in water quality. 

 

Legislator Chastises Branstad For Closing Mental Health Institutes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa lawmaker has reiterated his criticism of the planned closing of two state mental health facilities.
     Rep. David Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, spoke on the House floor Tuesday about the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. He received a standing ovation from many lawmakers.
     Gov. Terry Branstad's budget proposal removes funding for two of the four state mental health facilities in Iowa. Branstad calls the facilities outdated and says patients could receive more efficient treatment elsewhere.
     Heaton says the closings would force patients to travel long distances for treatment. He says medical professionals have told him there is no space available in local hospitals for additional patients.
     Heaton says Branstad and the state Department of Human Services should offer more solutions as the session moves forward.

 

Senate Says Let Schools Decide When To Start

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa school districts could decide when to start the academic year under a bill that has won approval in the Iowa Senate.
     The Senate voted 32-17 in favor of the legislation Tuesday. School start dates became a key issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early.
     Supporters say providing districts with control is best for students, while opponents argue early starts can hurt tourism.
     The bill will now move to the House, where lawmakers in the House Education committee have approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner. Senators said they hoped to soon resolve the issue.

 

Senate Approves Plan To Expand Pre-school To 4 Year Olds

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would expand preschool for 4-year-olds in Iowa, though its chances of advancing this session are unclear.
     Members of an appropriations subcommittee approved the bill Tuesday, after an education committee advanced it last month. It now heads to a full appropriations committee.
     The bill would provide extra funding for school districts that expand preschool programs. The bipartisan Legislative Services Agency says the bill would cost $20 million in the fiscal year that ends in 2017.
     Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach, the bill's sponsor, says he hasn't reviewed the LSA's fiscal analysis. He says preschool funding should be a priority, despite Democrats and Republicans fighting publicly over education spending.
     Similar legislation failed to advance last session.

 

Jurors Find Frederiksen Guilty Of Killing 5 Year Old Girl

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) - Jurors have convicted a man of first-degree murder and sexual assault in the killing of his former girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter.
     After about five hours of deliberation Tuesday, jurors found 35-year-old Casey Frederiksen guilty of sexually abusing and stabbing to death Evelyn Miller while babysitting her in July 2005. The girl's body was found in the Cedar River five days after she was reported missing.
     Frederiksen was arrested in 2012.
     Jurors received the case shortly after noon following closing arguments from the prosecution and defense. Prosecutors say Frederiksen could be linked to the death based on statements he made to investigators and relatives, but defense attorneys maintained that another suspect was responsible for the girl's death.
     A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 11.

 

Supreme Court To Review Telemedicine Abortions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is set to consider the future of telemedicine abortions in Iowa.
     The high court is scheduled Wednesday to hear arguments by the Iowa affiliate of Planned Parenthood and the Iowa Board of Medicine. A decision is not expected for several months.
     Iowa allows physicians to use webcams or teleconferencing to dispense abortion-inducing drugs to patients in remote locations. Minnesota is the only other state that allows the practice.
     The board voted in 2013 to require physicians to be present during medication abortions, effectively banning telemedicine abortions. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit, which ultimately reached the Iowa Supreme Court. For now, telemedicine abortions are still performed in Iowa.
     Planned Parenthood says banning telemedicine abortions is unconstitutional. The board disagrees.

 

 

 



 

  

 

   

Tuesday News, March 10

South Dakota Man Arrested In Remsen For Failure To Appear In Court

(Remsen) -- Plymouth County authorities, along with the Remsen Police, arrested 48 year old Victor Ahrens of Jefferson, South Dakota, early Sunday morning.  The arrest was made at about 12:50 a.m. due to Ahrens' failure to appear in court for a rule to show cause/burglary of the third degree.  Ahrends was arrested at a Remsen residence.  Ahrens was transported to the Plymouth County jail where bond was set at $10,000.

 

Ireton Man Arrested In Tennessee For Failure To Appear In Court

(Le Mars) -- An Ireton man was arrested in Tennessee over the weekend for failure to appear for Plymouth County trial.  Arrest warrants were issued for 43 year old Richard Perrin for two counts of failure to appear for trial bond totaling $40,000.  Perrin was arrested and transported back to the Plymouth County jail.

 

School Officials Discuss School Funding During Board Meeting

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community School officials spent a considerable time during last evening's school board meeting discussing the financial shortfall that may happen depending upon the state legislature's actions with school funding.  Many of the school board officials indicated they "would not have the stomache" to make cuts in staff and programs.  Longtime School board member Pat Murphy informed his colleagues that even though fiscal year 2015-2016 may be bad in terms of not enough funding, he says the following year may be worst.  School officials showed their displeasure of a recent legislative forum indicating State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg failed to realize the severity of the potential education cuts.  School superintendent, Todd Wendt indicated another concern for the school is that this year's senior class is the largest class in the district, and expectations for next year's Kindergarten class may be as much as 20 fewer students, indicating the cost to teach per student will rise, at a time when state funding is being withdrawn. Dr. Wendt and school board members are concerned about the unspent authority balance.

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Wendt informed the school board members that many area schools, including Le Mars Community are seeing a negative trend with the spending authority.

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Supervisors Will Not Meet Today

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will not be meeting today due to the lack of agenda items.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Sees Progress In Construction

(Le Mars) -- Several changes are occuring at the Floyd Valley hospital.  Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin reports construction on the new north addition continues as work crews are pouring concrete this week.

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Donlin says as people drive by the hospital campus they will  see the progress being made with the framing of the new addition, however, Donlin says it won't be long before crews will be focusing their work on the inside.

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Another change at the hospital is a new face.  Donlin says the hospital has hired a new physician.

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Donlin says Oden is a native of northeast Nebraska.

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Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet Tuesday evening, where they will be briefed on the hospital's expansion, as well as review the medical staff reports and financial reports.

 

Des Moines Water Works To Vote Today Whether To Sue Three Counties

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Water Works board has scheduled a vote on whether to sue three northern Iowa counties, alleging that they are responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for water.
     The board's meeting agenda for Tuesday afternoon indicates a closed session to discussion potential litigation. The board is expected to publicly vote to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties. 
     In January it sent a notice of intent to sue, which is part of a procedure outlined in the federal Clean Water Act.
     The counties oversee 10 drainage districts north of Des Moines that help move water from fields. The lawsuit will claim the drainage districts are the same as city wastewater treatment plants and should be regulated.

 

Des Moines Police Officer To Face Re-trial

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A retrial has begun for a former Des Moines police officer accused of using excessive force during an arrest two years ago.
     The trial of 38-year-old Colin Boone started Monday at Des Moines' federal courthouse. Boone faces a charge of unreasonable use of force after a November mistrial when jurors couldn't agree whether he used excessive force after a traffic accident in 2013.
     Boone was accused of kicking Orville Hill in the face and then leaving the incident out of an official report. Hill filed a lawsuit in February against Boone, the former police chief and the city of Des Moines.
     A federal jury acquitted Boone of falsifying records in his original trial. Boone was fired in May 2013 for inappropriate use of force.

 

Defense Rests On Trial Involving Death Of 5 Year Old Girl

 WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) - The defense has rested in the trial of a man accused of killing his former girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter.
     Attorneys called just three witnesses to the stand Monday in its defense of 35-year-old Casey Frederiksen, who is charged with first-degree murder and sexual assault. Prosecutors allege Frederiksen sexually abused Evelyn Miller and stabbed her to death while baby-sitting her in 2005. He was arrested in 2012.
     The girl's body was found in the Cedar River five days after she was reported missing.
     Before testimony began, a judge denied the defense's request to acquit Frederiksen. Defense attorneys say the prosecution failed to offer physical evidence in its case against the man, but prosecutors disagreed.
     Closing arguments are expected Tuesday.

 

Limits Placed On Capturing Turtles

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa wildlife officials are proposing limits on when wild turtles can be captured throughout the year, after seeing a rise in their harvest due to an increased demand for turtle meat overseas.
     Reports the harvesting of wild turtles in Iowa has increased seven-fold from 1987 to 2013, and the number of license holders has increased four-fold. 
     The state's natural resources agency has proposed to Gov. Terry Branstad's office that the commercial and sport harvest of the turtles be prohibited from Jan. 1 to July 15. 
     The turtles lay their eggs during the late spring and summer. If the governor's office approves the proposal, it would go to the Iowa Natural Resources Commission.
     Iowa is one of 10 states without limits on its turtle harvest season.
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