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Monday Afternoon News, June 8

City Officials Will Pick Up Tree Limbs On Tuesday

(Le Mars) -- The City of Le Mars will be picking up branches tomorrow (Tuesday) starting at 7:00 A.M. and covering the town one time, all branches must be placed along curb for pickup.  The tree and grass site will also be open today from 10:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M.

 

 

 

Branstad Undecided If He Will Sign Budget Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is not saying whether he will sign off on the $7.3 billion spending plan approved by the Legislature last week.

Branstad said Monday he needs to review all the budget bills backed by the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate. He declined to say how he will act on the compromise plan, which includes $7.17 billion in ongoing spending, as well as $135 million in one-time expenditures.

Branstad criticized lawmakers for failing to approve K-12 education funding for the 2016-2017 school year before they adjourned but did not say if he would try to call lawmakers back in a special session to resolve the issue. He also would not commit to a compromise plan struck to keep open two mental health institutions slated for closure.

 

 

 

Northey Says He Hopes Bird Flu Cases Will Stop

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are optimistic after the growth of bird flu cases in the state slowed last week.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says he's hopeful the disease has been contained in the state.

But officials are still working to dispose of millions of chickens and turkeys that were killed to limit the spread of the disease. Northey estimates that will take several weeks, if not months to complete.

It's important that poultry and egg producers remain vigilant about biosecurity measures at their farms. It's possible that migratory birds could bring another round of disease outbreaks this fall when they pass through the region again.

Northey talks about how devastating the bird flu will be on the local and state's economy, having a rippling effect.


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Man Arrested In Minneapolis For Emmet County Shooting

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have arrested a man in Minneapolis in the shooting death of another man in northern Iowa.

The Emmet County Sheriff's Department announced Monday that police arrested 18-year-old Lee Samuel Christensen in Minneapolis and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Thomas Bortvit. Both men are from Estherville, Iowa.

The sheriff's office says officers found Bortvit's body in a rural area of Emmet County late Sunday afternoon.

Later Sunday, Christensen was arrested in Minneapolis and accused of using a firearm to kill Bortvit on Saturday.

Christensen is being held in the Hennepin County Jail, and authorities plan to return him to Iowa to face charges.

Online court records weren't available to indicate whether Christensen has an attorney who could comment on his arrest.

 

 

 

Fake Actor Faces Charges

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - A San Diego man accused of posing as an actor from the "Twilight" movies has been given 10 years in an Iowa prison for sexual abuse.

34-year-old David LaVera was sentenced Monday in Newton.

Authorities say that while LaVera was in Jasper County last spring, he posed as "Twilight" actor Kiowa Gordon and visited two Newton schools. Prosecutors say LaVera inappropriately touched a 14-year-old girl and lured her into his vehicle.

The newspaper also reports that a federal judge on Friday rejected a plea deal LaVera made with U.S. prosecutors, saying the punishment wasn't severe enough.

In March LaVera pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges. The plea deal called for more than five years in prison, plus 10 years of supervised release.

 

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Man Finds Class Ring 50 Years After It Was Lost

THORNTON, Iowa (AP) - A man has found and returned a class ring lost in Mason City nearly 50 years ago.

It was found by Tom Teeter, of Mason City, with his metal detector last month in a field near Hoover Elementary School.

Terry Long told the Mason City Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/1RXX1Ch ) that he'd given it to his girlfriend to hold while he was coaching at a Little League game in 1967. She'd placed it on a blanket on the ground and forgot it was there when they went to a car to leave. He remembered, though, and they went back to check. No luck.

His luck changed when Teeter found the ring and called. Teeter had tracked Long using his initials and the Meservey-Thornton High School initials on the ring.

 

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Monday News, June 8

Saturday Storms Created Street Flooding

(Le Mars) -- Those Saturday night rains came rather quickly, dumping more than two inches of rain during a short time period causing some street flooding. Major erosion occurred along the Union Pacific rail line on the southwest side of Le Mars near 24th street, and it was reported a tree had fallen on a car.  West of Le Mars pea sized hail had fallen during the storms.  But, according to the Plymouth County Sheriff's office, there were no other damage reports within the county from Saturday's storms.

 

 

 

Saturday Afternoon Accident Leaves Three People Injured

(Le Mars) -- Local authorities responded to a two-vehicle accident located on Business Highway 75 and 18th Street Southwest.  The accident happened Saturday at about 2:35 p.m.  A van, driven by Margaret Grosenheider of Le Mars was traveling in the inside lane heading southbound on Business Highway 75, and was making a left hand turn onto 18th street.  A 2005 Chevy Impala with a Nebraska license plates, and driven by 17 year old Kailey Bledsoe of Homer, Nebraska collided with the van causing the van to roll on to its side. 16 Alex Lundeen of Dakota City, Nebraska was a passenger with Bledsoe. All three people were transported to Floyd Valley Hospital with what was believed to be non-life threatening injuries. Responding to the accident were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, the Le Mars Ambulance, Le Mars Police Department, Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, and the Iowa State Patrol.  Fire and rescue personnel had to help with the clean up of the debris left after the collision.

 

 

 

Secondary Road Department To Close Tamarack Avenue

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department is closing Tamarack Avenue between 270th and 260th Streets.  The road will be closed beginning today, (Monday), and will remain closed until next Tuesday, June 16th.  Work crews are replacing a bridge with a culvert.

 

 

 

School Board To Discuss Teacher Association Master Contract

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education will meet this evening.  The school board will hear a report regarding the school district's property and casualty insurance program from local insurance agent, Rob Bixenman.  The school board will discuss the upcoming Athletic Booster Club golf tournament which is scheduled for Sunday, June 14th beginning at 12:30 at the Willow Creek Golf Course.  Also on the school board's agenda will be discussion relating to the upcoming school board election.  The school board election will be held on September 8th.  The first date for candidates to file nominating papers is Monday, July 6th and the last date to file nomination papers is July 30th. Districts 3 and 5, as well as the two at-large positions will be on the ballot. In action items, the school board will consider approving the tentative agreement negotiated between the Le Mars Education Association for the 2015-2016 master contract.  The local school board will also consider the recommendation of the Meet and Confer committee regarding support staff and administrative contracts for 2015-2016.

 

 

 

Legislature Finally Adjourns Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have adjourned the 2015 legislative session, approving a $7.3 billion spending plan that includes modest increases for education, funding to maintain mental health institutions and a tax-break for broadband Internet infrastructure.

The Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House concluded their work Friday afternoon. Their budget bills move to Governor Terry Branstad, who must decide whether he will sign off.

Under the compromise spending deal, the state will spend about $7.3 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. The deal represents only a slight increase over the current spending and includes $7.17 billion in ongoing spending, plus $135 million in one-time payments for items like schools, universities and Medicaid. Those payments will come from the surplus fund dollars left at the end of the current fiscal year.

Le Mars state representative Chuck Soderberg summarizes the last week of negotiations.

 

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As mentioned, as part of reaching a budget agreement between the House and the Senate was approving a one-time expenditure of $135 million.  Republicans have stood by their stance through out the entire session not to spend more than what the state revenue takes in.  Soderberg explains why republicans agreed to the one-time expenditure in order to balance the budget and reach an agreement.

 

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The Le Mars republican state representative says if revenue should drop, the state's revenue would still remain in good shape.

 

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Central Iowa Hit By Storms

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Central Iowa residents are picking up fallen tree limbs and dealing with other minor damage from Saturday night - Sunday morning storms.

The storms that moved across the state early Sunday knocked down some trees and traffic lights with 55 mile per hour winds.

In Ames, two light poles were sheared off and several sheds in the parking lot of a Lowes store were heavily damaged.

Some windows were broken out at a car wash, and several stop signs were blown over.

More than 2 inches of rain fell overnight on parts of Jasper, Webster and Marshall counties.

 

 

 

 

Agriculture Officials Optimistic Bird Flu On The Decline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are optimistic after the growth of bird flu cases in the state slowed last week.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey tells the Des Moines Register he's hopeful the disease has been contained in the state.

But officials are still working to dispose of millions of chickens and turkeys that were killed to limit the spread of the disease. Northey estimates that will take several weeks, if not months to complete.

It's important that poultry and egg producers remain vigilant about biosecurity measures at their farms. It's possible that migratory birds could bring another round of disease outbreaks this fall when they pass through the region again.

 

 

 

 

Abortions On The Decline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Data shows the number of abortions performed annually in Iowa is declining.

Between 2010 and 2013, the number of abortions decreased from nearly 5,400 to just over 4,420. That represents an 18.1 percent drop.

The Associated Press compiled the data based on information from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Data on abortion rates was collected from health departments in 45 U.S. states that keep such information on a comprehensive basis. It shows the annual number of abortions has declined substantially since 2010 in most states.

Penny Dickey with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa says the decline is linked to better access to family planning services like contraception.

Jenifer Bowen with Iowa Right to Life argues more pregnancy centers in Iowa are offering counseling services to women.

 

 

 

 

Iowa Businesses Given Permission To Use Drones

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - At least 10 Iowa businesses are now authorized to use drones, so the unmanned aircraft may become more common in the state.

Several of the businesses plan to use drones to monitor crops, some will use them to help market real estate while others obtained Federal Aviation Administration approval primarily to experiment with the aircraft.

Terry Sharp says he's trying to demonstrate the value of drones with his Agri-Tech Aviation business. So at this point he's not charging farmers for the flights that might be able to identify problems with crops early.

Realtor Seth Hellinga says he thinks drones are a good marketing tool that can help showcase property from a different angle.

 

 

 

 

Watercraft Accident

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) - Five people have been treated for injuries after a personal watercraft ran into a dock on the Mississippi River near Bettendorf in eastern Iowa.

The Iowa Natural Resources Department says 44-year-old Daniel Nelson, of Davenport, was operating the watercraft when it hit the dock at Leach Park around 3:15 p.m. Sunday. He was not hurt.

At least three people were thrown into the water.

All five of the injured were taken a hospital. Their names have not been released.

The accident is being investigated.

 

 

 

 

Escaped Inmates Apprehended

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - The second of two escapees from Warren County Jail in south-central Iowa has been arrested.

29-year-old Darian Crayton was arrested Sunday morning.

According to a news release, Crayton was arrested while at a gas station in Urbandale. He faces several charges, including possession of a stolen vehicle and driving while barred. Crayton will be taken back to Warrant County Jail following his charges in Dallas County. He is being held on $5,000 bail.

Authorities say he and 26-year-old Frank Manders escaped from jail last week by manipulating a cell door lock and descending from the third floor. Manders was found earlier.

Crayton had been jailed on charges of driving while barred and failing to appear in court.

 

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