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Friday News, April 3

Siren Test To Begin Monday

(Le Mars) -- Beginning Monday at 1:00 p.m. the city of Le Mars will be testing its severe weather warning systems. Le Mars Assistant Fire Chief Mike Wise says testing will occur the first Monday of each month through September, unless at the time of the test, there is the threat of severe weather in the area.  Wise says if that's the case, then testing of the weather warning sirens will happen the following week.  National Weather Association meteorologist Todd Heitkamp says its important to understand the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning.

 

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Sioux City Man Sentenced

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been sentenced to five years in prison in connection with an attempted robbery at a convenience store.18-year-old Seth Pointer was sentenced Thursday. He entered a plea deal to assault while participating in a felony for flashing a pellet gun when he attempted to rob a Kum & Go convenience store in Riverside. A second-degree robbery charge was dismissed.Court documents show the incident took place the morning of February 6th. They say Pointer entered the store dressed in all black and brandished a pellet gun that appeared to be a real firearm. He demanded money but fled when two customers interfered. Sioux City police arrested Pointer in March.

 

 

 

Funnel Date Approaches For Legislature

(Des Moines) -- Today is the second funnel date for the state legislature. All introduced bills must have cleared the chamber of origin and be sent to the opposing chamber in order for survival.  Key issues like bullying prevention and broadband Internet expansion remain alive in the Legislature as a procedural deadline looms, but other measure are likely dead.

Lawmakers from the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-majority House lamented the bills that failed to advance Thursday.

For Democrats those bills included efforts to provide more leave benefits to parents of adopted children and to increase the minimum wage. Republicans sought changes to bargaining rules for teacher unions and tried to require women to get ultrasounds before having abortions.

Under legislative rules, Friday is the deadline for many bills to get full approval from one chamber and committee-level approval in the other chamber.Reviewing this past week, state lawmakers finally reached an agreement for when schools can start.  August 23rd is the earliest date for students to return to classes.  State Representative, Chuck Soderberg talks about the compromise.

 

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Soderberg believes the final bill that passed both chambers will serve as a good compromise.

 

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House Approves 2 Mental Hospitals To Stay Open

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House committee has approved a bill that would keep

two state mental health facilities open longer.

The Appropriations Committee unanimously supported the bill Thursday. It

would require the Department of Human Services to submit a transition plan to a

new commission, which would have to give its approval before the facilities in

Clarinda and Mount Pleasant could close.

The plan would include long-term care details for patients at the

facilities.

The House committee added language requiring DHS to submit the plan within

60 days of the bill becoming law.

Governor Terry Branstad backs closing the facilities, saying they're

outdated.

The facilities are scheduled to close within months. Some employees have

already lost their jobs.

The Senate approved the bill in March. It next heads to the full House.

 

 

Rev. Schuller Dies at 88

(California)--The Reverend Robert H. Schuller, who grew up in

northwest Iowa, has died at the age of 88. Schuller gained worldwide fame

through his "Hour of Power" television show broadcast from the massive Crystal

Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. In an interview several years ago with

the Archive of American Television, Schuller discussed his childhood -- he was

born in 1926 near Alton, Iowa.

 

 

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He was the youngest of four children.

 

 

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Schuller and his wife, Arvella, both grew up in northwest Iowa. They spent time

at a church in suburban Chicago before moving to Orange County, California in

1955. By the 1970s, Schuller had the most-watched religious show on television

and in 1980, he opened the $17 million Crystal Cathedral. Schuller said he was

only five years old when his uncle, a Princeton grad and a missionary to China,

returned to Iowa and told Schuller he would grow up to be a preacher.

 

 

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His uncle advised the young Schuller that it would take him 20 years to reach

his goal of becoming a preacher.

 

 

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In the last decade, the Crystal Cathedral ministry fell on hard times. Reverend

Schuller retired in 2006 and the church filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Robert

Schuller died Thursday from esophageal cancer at a care facility in California.

   

Thursday Afternoon News, April 2

People Are Split Over Whether Log Cabin Should Be Saved (Updated)

(Le Mars) -- The status of the Joy Hollow log cabin was discussed last evening during an informational meeting held at the Plymouth County Historical Museum. The log cabin currently sits at the Plymouth County fairgrounds, and fair board officials would like to see the cabin either torn down, or moved off the premises.  Members of the "Friends of the Joy Hollow Log Cabin" have started a fund raising campaign in hopes to raise enough money to move the cabin to the museum grounds, and second to begin restoration of the 115 year old cabin.  Two preservationists who have restored numerous log cabins spoke at last evening's meeting.  Mark Johnson of Artisan Restoration from Kasota, Minnesota believes efforts should be taken to save the cabin.

 

Listen to

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Butch Bouvier of Council Bluffs is another log cabin preservationist, and he agrees with Johnson, the cabin should be saved.  Bouvier says he has looked at the cabin and believes it is in better condition that what many have been lead to believe.

 

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Johnson informed last evening's gathering the estimated cost to fully restore the aging cabin could run around $35,000.  Area boy scouts wanting to earn their Eagle Scout badge are encouraging museum officials to adopt the log cabin.  The boy scouts hope to participate in the restoration process. However, the Museum board of directors are split over whether or not to take on the challenge to preserve the deteriorating cabin.  Wayne Marty, a longtime volunteer, and a past president of the museum board of directors, says he would like to see the cabin restored, but he doesn't believe the museum should take on the task. He says the county museum is growing to the point where it is already difficult to keep up with the needed maintenance for the building and its artifacts.

Listen to

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Marty says he is concerned the museum may not have the funding for such a project.  He also spoke of many unfinished projects already at the museum. Marty says adding the Joy Hollow cabin as part of the museum's responsibility will consume precious amounts of time.

Listen to

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Marty says if given more time, a more suitable location for the log cabin may be identified. He offers some suggestions as to how the cabin can be saved, and where it may serve as a useful service to the community.

Listen to

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Cost estimates for moving the log cabin is set at $9,000, and officials indicated last night they have raised around $7200 within the past week in pledges.

 

 

County Burn Ban Again In Effect

(Le Mars) -- Due to the continued dry and windy conditions, and the fact that Plymouth County received only minimal amounts of rain Wednesday evening, Plymouth County is again under a burn ban , and will remain in effect until further notice.  In recent days, there have been a rash of grass and field fires, not only in Plymouth County, but also neighboring counties of Sioux and Woodbury County with one grass fire that got out of control and destroyed a Sioux City home.

 

 

Wiccan To Offer Opening Day Prayer At Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A member of the Wiccan faith will give the opening prayer in the Iowa House of Representatives next week- a break from tradition that has raised some eyebrows in the state Capitol.

Representative Liz Bennett, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said Wednesday she had invited Deborah Maynard, a Wiccan from her district, to address lawmakers on April 9th.

Bennett said this would be the first time, to her knowledge, that a Wiccan gives the invocation, typically handled by religious leaders or citizens invited by lawmakers.

The Wicca religion is shaped by pagan beliefs. A message left for Maynard at a church where she is a member was not immediately returned.

Republican Representative Walt Rogers, of Cedar Falls, said he is a Christian but supports Bennett's choice to invite Maynard.

 

 

Re-sentencing Trial Set For Former Teenager Charged With Murder

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - The resentencing of a Floyd County man who was a teenager when he killed his 3-year-old cousin has been postponed.

Sentencing for Edgar Concepcion Jr. had been set for Thursday but has been delayed until July 22 in Floyd County District Court in Charles City.

Concepcion was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes for the July 2009 death of Krystel Banes. Concepcion was 14 at the time of the slaying.

Concepcion was sentenced in November 2010 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Iowa Court of Appeals later upheld his convictions but overturned his sentences.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, so Concepcion must be resentenced.

 

 

 

Utility Board Member Upset With Governor Branstad

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Utilities Board member has bluntly told Gov. Terry Branstad that his decision to remove her is improper and being done to placate a powerful energy company that complained about a recent ruling.

Sheila Tipton told Branstad in a March 18 letter that his decision to replace her and demote chair Elizabeth Jacobs is an inappropriate attempt to influence the board to favor utilities.

She says Branstad made the changes "to appease MidAmerican Energy," which complained to him about a ruling requiring the company to use some proceeds from a wind energy development to reduce rates. Tipton says that decision was correct and fair to MidAmerican and its customers.

Tipton said Branstad's shakeup threatens the board's independence and sends a message to "get in line" and favor utilities.

 

 

 

Naked Woman Driving Car Involved With Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say they responded to a car crash to find a naked woman behind the wheel of a car that had rear-ended another vehicle through a Des Moines intersection.

The Des Moines Police Department arrived at the scene of the collision around 12:25 a.m. Thursday. 25-year-old Jesse William Jeffries, who fled in nothing but shorts and shoes, was later arrested on a public intoxication charge.

Charges against the naked woman present at the scene are pending.

Police say the couple's vehicle, which they believe reached about 80 miles per hour, rammed into a car stopped at a red light. An accident report notes the naked woman's eyes appeared bloodshot, but that she says she wasn't driving.

Only minor injuries were reported in the collision.

 

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