Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Saturday News, September 13

Plymouth County Authorities Arrest Two Men On Drug Charges

(Le Mars) -- On Thursday, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office arrested two people on dvarious drug charges.  Arrested were Armondo Negron, age 18, from Sioux City for Possession of Paraphernalia, and Marquel Denson, age 27, of Sioux City for Possession of a Controlled Substance,  Possession of Paraphernalia, and Operating While Intoxicated, and was also cited for failure to prove security against liability.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle driven by Denson at Wren Road and Hwy 75 north of Hinton for traffic violations.  During the traffic stop a Deputy became suspicious of criminal activity.  A search of the vehicle was conducted.  Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found inside the car resulting in the arrest of Denson and Negron. Denson and Negron were then transported to the Plymouth County Jail.  The LeMars Police Department assisted the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office in this case.


Charter Bus Involved In Accident

(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating an accident involving a charter bus that happened on Friday afternoon.  The accident occurred on Highway 10, about one mile west of Granville.
Harold Flavell, age 57, of Johnston, IA was driving a charter bus transporting 39 passengers westbound on Highway 10 when he apparently experienced a medical condition, lost control of the bus, entered the north ditch, struck afence and came to a stop in a soybean field.
Flavell was transported by the Granville Ambulance to Orange City for treatment of minor injuries. None of the passengers reported any injuries.  The bus sustained approximately $7,500 in damages. The fence and soybean field sustained an estimated $500 in damages.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Granville Fire Department, Granville Ambulance and the Spalding Catholic School in Granville who provided a school bus to transport the passengers to another charter bus.


Body Found In Council Bluffs Golf Course Pond

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in Council Bluffs on Friday said they were investigating the discovery of a body at a golf course.
     Police said they were called to the Council Bluffs Country Club after a person on the golf course reported seeing a body in a pond. Authorities later removed the body.
     The body appeared to be decomposed,  Additional information has not been released.


Some Northwest Iowa Communities Short On Water

(Des Moines) -- Continued rains in September are adding to a wet August and have all but a portion of the state with good soil moisture levels. Tim Hall tracks the water situation for the Iowa D-N-R, and says the state is running four inches ahead of normal this year and one foot ahead of the drought year in 2012.
But he can't say the entire state has enough groundwater. 

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 Hall says the water companies haven't had a break.

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Hall says the situation is not always apparent when you look at just the rainfall numbers.

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 Hall says it gets tougher and tougher for the dry area to fill up the aquifers as the calendar changes.

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For more on Iowa’s water resource trends, go to:


Former Staffers Of Senator Harkin Hold Reunion

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - For generations of Democrats, a popular first job in politics has been with Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, whose campaigns have served as a kind of training school for a generation of up-and-comers, a place where you got lessons on how to charm a voter, where to place a bumper sticker or even how to stand up for issues you believe in.
     As Harkin gets ready to retire after four decades in Congress, his current and former aides have gathered in Iowa to commemorate their time on his political team. 
     More than 200 are expected to attend an informal reunion in Des Moines on Saturday, and then on Sunday they'll hit Harkin's final "Steak Fry" fundraiser.  Many said working with Harkin prepared them for jobs in Washington and on campaigns around the country.
      Former staffer, David Plouffe says "You never really leave Tom Harkin. That's part of your identity. I'm a Harkinista," He says that working for Harkin in the early 1990s schooled him in grassroots organizing principles that he carried to his position of manager of President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. 
     Notable Harkin alumni include Plouffe, as well as Larry Grisolano and Jeff Link, both veterans of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. Teresa Vilmain, who worked for Harkin in his 1984 Senate campaign, has held a long list of political jobs, including serving as Iowa State Director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.


Parents File Lawsuit Over Food Bidding

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 20,000 claims have been filed by parents seeking part of a $1.9 million class-action lawsuit settlement over food bidding at hundreds of Iowa schools, according to attorneys handling the case.
     The claims filed since the settlement was announced Sept. 2 cover more than 47,000 students, said Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney for parents who sued Martin Brothers Distributing Company, the Iowa Educators Corporation and the Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing.
     Fegan called the surge in numbers within a two-week period, "exciting."
     The Cedar Falls-based Martin Brothers was accused of conspiring with IEC and IAEP for years to monopolize the business of selling food at schools across Iowa. The lawsuit, filed in 2011, said the result was students being overcharged because there wasn't healthy competition in the market to keep prices down.
     The defendants maintain they did nothing wrong and that the process was fair. They reached the settlement to avoid costly litigation, according to one of their attorneys.
     "There was no admission of liability or wrongdoing," said Deb Tharnish, an attorney representing Martin Brothers. "It made economic sense to get the case resolved."
     Attorneys for IEC said they had no comment because the case is still pending.  IAEP representatives did not immediately respond to a message left Friday
     Parents and others have until the end of September to file a claim to receive up to $3.50 per student per year. A judge is expected to finalize the settlement in early November.


School Officials Violate Open Meetings Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There is probable cause that a southwest Iowa school district violated the state's open meetings law when it met privately to discuss the firing of a principal, according to a state investigation.
     The Iowa Public Information Board said the five-member board of the Red Oak Community School District failed to properly vote to close an April 10 meeting and broke the law on April 14th when it failed to appropriately apprise the public of an agenda item.
     Each board member could face fines of up to $2,500 per violation, The Des Moines Register reports. The Iowa Public Information Board will make a decision on the issue when it meets on September 18th.
     The school board voted earlier this year to consider terminating Red Oak High School principal Jedd Sherman's contract. Sherman said at the time the board was trying to fire him in retaliation for his reporting of two cases of student bullying.
     The school district later agreed to pay Sherman $100,000 in exchange for him resigning.


Legislative Committee Approves Re-classification For Marijuana

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee narrowly recommended allowing medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Iowa to help people with epilepsy.
     The 10-member committee was formed to look at problems with a new law that was supposed to allow some epilepsy patients to get marijuana extract. On Thursday, the committee also backed changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it would be easier to get as medication. 
     In May, lawmakers vote to allow people to possess marijuana extract, an oil that doesn't contain the chemical that makes people high, to treat seizures if it's prescribed by an Iowa neurologist. But the law didn't provide any way for people to make or distribute the extract in Iowa.
     Parents who pushed for the bill have said in the months since that it's basically unworkable. Most states where medical marijuana is legal don't allow people from other states to buy it. And people from Iowa would have to break the law to bring it back home. 
     State Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said he saw the original law as a giant step for families, but now it's clear that it needs to be fixed.
     He and five other lawmakers voted to recommend the closely regulated production and distribution of medical marijuana for approved patients. It did not say what type of marijuana but did say it should not be taxed. 
     Four of five Republicans on the committee voted against the motion. The tie-breaking vote came from state Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and retired state trooper who said the state needs to find a way to help people with severe epilepsy. He said he opposes expanding the law to let people possess marijuana for other conditions such as cancer or Crohn's disease. The committee voted against recommending such an expansion.
     The committee voted 9-1 on a measure to recommend reclassifying marijuana in a way that would be a step toward making it legal for medical purposes.
     Parents said Thursday that they're frustrated with how long it is taking to register people for the new program. Administrators said identification cards won't be available until at least Jan. 30.
     "These families are going through living hell," Dotzler told an official from the Iowa Department of Public Health, saying state workers should be able to move more quickly. The official said administrators are moving as fast as they can under the law.






Friday News, September 12

Le Mars Community School Celebrates Homecoming

(Le Mars) -- This week is Homecoming week for Le Mars Community School District, with the theme "Welcome to the Jungle".  Coronation and the community pep rally are scheduled to happen on Friday afternon at 1:00 p.m. with the Homecoming parade scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m.  All of the afternoon events will be featured live on KLEM radio.  This year's king candidates include: Tyler Borchers, Tyler Paulson, Caleb Cline, Matt Ellefson, Hunter Fedders, and Beau Ohm.  The queen candidates include: Holly Schneider, Paige Tracey, Angel Lamoreux, Allie Theisen, Emily Ahlers, and Kassidy Rieken.  Kickoff for the football game against the Storm Lake Tornadoes is at 7:00 p.m.


Family Medical Clinics Honored

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that Floyd Valley Hospital’s Family Medicine Clinics (Le Mars, Marcus, and Remsen) have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long term, participative relationships. Mike Donlin, Administrator for Floyd Valley Hospital and the Family Medicine Clinics says “We have been working to accomplish this goal since the transition to the Patient Care Team Model several years ago.”  Donlin continued to say,   “We are excited to earn this highest level of recognition. It raises the bar even higher to continue providing high quality health care.” 
The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.


Plymouth County Government Security Questioned 

(Le Mars) -- On Tuesday of this week a man attended the Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Jackson County courthouse at Maquoketa and fired a shot at a county official.  County supervisors then rushed the shooter and tackled him.  During the struggle, a second shot was fired killing the shooter.   Earlier this year, an incident  occurred in Madison County when an individual brought a gun to the county courthouse. The question has been asked if our Plymouth County government officials are safe?  KLEM news questioned Plymouth county supervisors about their thoughts about whether added security measures are needed.  Chairman Jim Henrich says he has never felt threaten, and says recently, the county has implemented a security plan.  Henrich doesn't believe added security in terms of a positioned sheriff's deputy is needed to attend supervisor meetings.

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Supervisor Craig Anderson says he is concerned for the safety of Plymouth County employees and for his fellow supervisors, but, like Henrichs, Anderson has never felt threaten.  Prior to serving as a county supervisor, Anderson was on the county planning and zoning commission.  He says there were a few occasions when Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo was called to be in attendance of those meetings.

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Woodbury County Courthouse recently implemented a security program involving a metal detector placed at entrances.  At the Plymouth County courthouse, there is one metal detector, but it is located on the third floor, outside the door of the courtroom. Supervisor Mark Loutsch offers his comments on the situation.

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Mapleton To Hire New Police Chief

 MAPLETON, Iowa (AP) - The western Iowa community of Mapleton is accepting applications for a new police chief, despite pleas from residents to reinstate the former chief.
     Residents shared their disapproval of a new hiring during a city council meeting Wednesday night.  The council voted to put an advertisement out for the position.
     John Holton, who had been chief for years, was terminated at a special city council meeting during the summer. Officials have declined to discuss the matter.
     But residents have voiced opposition to the firing since then.
     Officer Kirk Kinnaman is serving as interim police chief in the meantime.


Farmers Expected To Harvest Record Crop

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The nation's corn and soybean farmers will harvest by far the largest crops ever this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a new report.
     Bigger crops have been expected this year as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions, but the new estimates far surpass previous records.
     Corn farmers are expected to harvest nearly 14.4 billion bushels of corn, up from last year's 13.9 billion bushel record. The 171.7 bushels per acre yield is significantly higher than the previous record set in 2009 of 164.7 bushels per acre. Record yields will be set in 18 states, the USDA said.
     Despite the strong forecast, concerns have grown in recent days that early cold weather is creeping into the upper Midwest and some crops are maturing later this year. Temperatures below freezing could slow or stop crops from reaching full maturity and affect the harvest. That possibility was not reflected in Thursday's report. Ten states including Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska have the highest number of ears per corn stalk ever, the USDA says.


Biden To Make Iowa Campaign Appearance

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden is returning to the key presidential state of Iowa next week, reminding voters not to count him out of the next presidential campaign.
     The White House says Biden will be in Des Moines on Wednesday. He'll speak at an event for a Catholic social justice group called Nuns on the Bus.
     Biden's visit will come days after former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton comes to Iowa to headline retiring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry fundraiser, attended by thousands of Iowa political activists. Last year Biden was the headliner for that event, which frequently attracts potential White House contenders.
     Both Clinton and Biden are considering running again for president in 2016. Iowa traditionally holds the first presidential primary contest.


Carole King To Help Braley On Campaign

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley has a friend in Carole King.
     Braley's campaign announced Thursday that the singer-songwriter would meet with supporters at four locations around the state on Friday. The four-term congressman from Waterloo is locked in a tight Senate race with Republican Joni Ernst. Both are vying to win the Senate seat vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin.
     King, whose 1971 album Tapestry won four Grammy awards, will appear in Council Bluffs, Creston, Newton and Iowa City to thank volunteers.
     She is the second musical star from the 1970s to back Braley. Last month Joe Walsh of the Eagles promoted a fundraising effort that gave contributors a chance to win tickets to an Eagles concert.


Railroad Company Fined

 FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A railway company will pay $2,000 for disciplining an Iowa employee seeking doctor-ordered time off, federal officials announced Thursday.
     Canadian National Railway, doing business as Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad, violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act when it denied the request, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
     The $2,000 will cover compensatory damages for the employee, who sought time off in October for an illness. The employee at the company's Fort Dodge Yard complex was instead given a letter of reprimand for violating the company's attendance policy.
     The company will also remove disciplinary information from the employee's record and provide whistleblower rights information to workers.
     Canadian National Railway can file an appeal with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.




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