Sunday, August 30, 2015
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Monday News, August 24th

Schools Across The State Start Today

(Undated) -- Today marks the first day of school for many school districts across Iowa since the state legislature and Governor Branstad compromised last spring on the starting date.  Branstad had wanted school to start after Labor Day.  He wanted to have schools start after the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair.  Both Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic will start classes on Thursday, August 27th.




Le Mars School Board To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education will meet this evening at the Education Service Center.  The school board is expected to discuss Pride Night, which is scheduled for Thursday evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Jim Lorenzen Field.  The school board will also discuss the upcoming school board election.  Fred Zenk is running unopposed in District 5.  Three candidates are seeking the two openings for the At Large positions.  They include: incumbent Patrick Murphy, former school board member Mark Hemmingson, and new comer Angela Catton.  No one filed nomination papers for District 3.  All positions are voted by all eligible voters in the school district.  The school board will also discuss the new teacher and administrator introduction to the district, which is scheduled for Monday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.  The school board will act upon at least four contracts and five students wishing to open enroll at Le Mars Community.  The school board will also review each of the principal's achievement reports from the last school year.





Sioux City School Board Member Resigns After Sexual Harassment Scandal

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City school board member accused of sexually harassing a district employee has resigned.
Paul Speidel resigned Friday. Earlier last week he acknowledged sending inappropriate texts but said he'd remain on the board. He said the communications had stopped. 
With the resignation letter he sent to the board, Speidel included a copy of an apology he'd sent to the employee, who was not named.
Speidel says he'd exchanged texts with the woman for years and was surprised that she did not tell him she was offended by his communications.





State Education Officials Ready To Unveil New Computerized Tests

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa education officials are close to adopting new computerized exams for students in the state's 336 school districts, but critics question whether the new tests are worth the cost.
The state Board of Education is likely to drop multiple choice tests with paper answer sheets in favor of Smarter Balanced's adaptive computerized tests.
Critics question the value of the $8.3 million tests because of the potential for technical problems, and the fact that school districts may have to upgrade their wireless networks to administer them.
But supporters say the computerized tests provide valuable information because they can change the difficulty of future questions based on a student's answers.





Des Moines Police Investigate Hit-And-Run Fatal Accident

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are investigating after a 21-year-old man's body was found in the road early Sunday.
West Des Moines Police said Daulton Holly's body was found shortly after 2 a.m.
An autopsy will be performed, but police say the preliminary investigation suggests Holly was hit by a vehicle that left the area.
Holly is from Troy, Tennessee.





Man Accused Of Murder Ask For Reduced Bond

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The attorney for an Iowa man charged with murder in a 1995 homicide is trying to get his $1 million cash bond reduced or eliminated.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports 54-year-old Steven John Klein's attorney asked a judge Friday to release his client until trial because so little evidence links him to Susan Kersten's death.
Attorney Quint Meyerdirk says prosecutors haven't shown any new evidence linking Klein to Kersten's death.
Authorities have said Klein was romantically linked to Kersten and was responsible for her death.
Kersten's charred remains were found inside her burning vehicle in a field near a highway in September 1995. An autopsy determined the 38-year-old woman died of blunt force trauma to the head sustained before the fire.
No decision was made Friday on Klein's bond.






Inmate Missing From Work Release Program

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are searching for an inmate who walked away from a prison work release program for the second time in less than two years.
The state Corrections Department says 26-year-old Anthony David Kendricks was reported missing Sunday when he didn't return to the Hope House Work Release Facility in Coralville.
Kendricks walked away from the same work release facility in April 2014, and he was missing for four months before being found.
Kendricks is serving a five-year prison sentence for grabbing a woman and pointing a gun at her in 2013.





Two Iowa Men Arrested In Boston For Making Threats At Convention

BOSTON (AP) - Two Iowa men suspected of making violent social media threats to people attending the Pokemon World Championships in Boston have been arrested on gun charges.
Boston police said Sunday that convention security reported the threats on Thursday and the suspects were stopped as they were about to enter the event hours later.
Police said they released the men, but seized their car after learning they might have guns inside.
Police said a warranted search of the car Friday found a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife. Police said 18-year-old Kevin Norton, of Ames, and 27-year-old James Stumbo, of Boone, were arrested at their hotel in Saugus, north of Boston.
They are being arraigned on firearms charges Monday. It's not immediately known if they have attorneys.


Saturday News, August 22

ATV Accident Claims Life Of Plymouth County Man

(Hinton) -- A 24 year old Plymouth County man is dead after the All Terrain Vehicle he was riding struck a tree.  Authorities were called to 32954 Fox Avenue shortly before 7:00 a.m. Friday morning,   Apparently, the individual, identified as Carlton Smith Jr. had struck a tree with the ATV.  Plymouth County authorities have determined Smith was traveling  through a grassy area on private property, when he hit the tree.  Smith was thrown from the ATV and discovered by a family member. The deceased ATV driver was taken to Floyd Valley Hospital where the Plymouth County Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was a result of head trauma.





Harris Man Dies From Tractor Roll Over Accident

HARRIS, Iowa (AP) - A 78-year-old man has died after a tractor he was driving rolled over in a northwest Iowa farm field. The accident occurred Thursday at a farm northeast of Harris. The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says Harvey McClain was driving the tractor on a hill when the tractor rolled.




Sioux City Police Looking For Missing Woman

(Sioux City ) -- Sioux City Police are looking for an adult woman that has gone missing. On Tuesday, August 18th, Raquel Munoz-Perez left her residence on 13th street in Sioux City at 6:30 a.m. to go to work at the Cloverleaf Cold Storage, but never arrived.  Her normal route to work was via Interstate 29.  She was driving a white 2000 four-door Chevy Cavalier with River Auto plates.  She had recently purchased the car and as of yet did not get state issued license plates.





Groetken Named Employee Of The Month

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its Employee of the Month on Friday. This time the award was presented to Steve Groetken at Nor-AM.  Pat Kenaley and Dave Johnson submitted the nomination for Steve Groetken.  In their nomination this is what they wrote: Steve Groetken deserves the LeMars Area Chamber of Commerce  Employee of the Month award almost every month of the year.  Steve works countless hours not only for Nor-Am internal and external customers, but also for the community at large. Steve has parlayed his years of professional experience, integrity and quality in everything he works on.  Nor-Am is fortunate to have Steve on our team.  He is willing to wear many hats including expertise in networks, information security, programming, Warehouse Management Systems, computers, printers, mobile RF equipment, marketing, social media and various software applications that are critical to our operations.  Steve consistently volunteers to work any hours and do what it takes to resolve issues for his internal and external customers, working from home before work hours, during his commute (when his wife is driving) and extended hours in the office.  He supports Nor-Am companies at 10 locations in five states.  If anything needs to be done we can count on Steve to pitch in and get it done.  His extensive leadership experience is evident in the way he calmly deals with crisis situations, much like a highly trained Air Traffic Controller.  His customers always feel confident with his calm, methodical trouble shooting and issue resolution. Steve cares about his colleagues and Nor-Am in general.  He is also always attending community events representing Nor-Am in a professional way and skillfully uses social media to support other community organizations and events through Nor-Am.  We believe nobody deserves to be honored as the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce August Employee of the Month more than Steve Groetken.  Our congratulations go to Steve Groetkin for being named the Employee of the month.





Grassley To Present Medals To Two Plymouth County Veterans

(Washington) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley will be presenting two medals to two World War II veterans from Plymouth County while he makes a stop in Le Mars on Wednesday. He will present World War II victory medals to. John Hart of Le Mars and Robert L. Taylor of Westfield.

Grassley will present the medals at 3:45 p.m. before his scheduled town hall meeting at Floyd Valley Hospital conference room in Le Mars.  The medal presentation will be a surprise to both veterans.

Hart enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 and served on a U.S. landing craft support ship during World War II.  Hart witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender on  when his ship was anchored alongside the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Taylor also enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944.  He served as a Petty Officer Second Class in the Pacific theater, the American campaign and the European campaign during World War II.

Hart and Taylor went to boot camp together in Idaho where they became friends before serving on different ships.  The two men haven’t seen each other in almost 65 years. This year marks the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II.





Utilities Board Tells MidAmerican Energy To Hold Down Costs On Windfarm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Utilities Board has adopted an order encouraging MidAmerican Energy to hold down costs on its $900 million project to build two more Iowa wind farms.
In a 2-1 decision Friday, the board said it would allow MidAmerican to later increase rates by up to $1.61 million for every megawatt of electricity generated.
The investor-owned utility and the Office of Consumer Advocate had agreed on a higher cost cap of nearly $1.64 million per megawatt. For the 552-megawatt plan, the difference comes out to $16 million.
Board members Libby Jacobs and Nick Wagner wrote that the lower cap would reduce risk to customers and provide an incentive to MidAmerican to keep costs low. 
Dissenting board chair Geri Huser says she would have approved the higher cap, calling it reasonable.





Egg Production Rises Slightly From Last Month, But Down From Year Ago Levels

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa egg production in July rose slightly from the previous month but remained 44 percent below year-ago levels, the lasting impact of the bird flu which decimated the state's hen flocks.
Iowa lost nearly 25 million egg layers in the bird flu outbreak that lasted from mid-April to mid-June.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a weekly report Friday says Iowa produced 775 million eggs in July up 2 percent from June. That's the lowest monthly production since February 2002.
The average number layers on hand in July was 33.6 million down 43 percent from a year ago. It's the lowest inventory since October of 2001. 
United States egg production totaled 7.67 billion during July, down 10 percent from last year. That included 6.53 billion table eggs.





Governor Walker Says He Is Uncertain About Children Of Illegal Immigrants

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker says he is not taking a position on whether children of immigrants here illegally should automatically be citizens.
The Wisconsin governor said in a CNBC interview Friday that he wouldn't take a stand "one way or the other" on the Constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship. Walker's statement comes after he gave mixed answers on the issue earlier in the week, including saying that the U.S. should "absolutely" end birthright citizenship.
Rival Donald Trump has said he wants to end the automatic granting of citizenship to children of people here illegally, leading Walker and other candidates to be asked their positions on it.
Walker previously reversed his position on allowing a chance for legal status for those in the country illegally.





Jeb Bush Promotes His Experience At Tea Party Conference

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is highlighting his experience cutting taxes and overhauling Florida's education system in an appeal to tea party conservatives.
Bush received polite applause from one of the nation's most active tea party conservative organizations at its annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.
Speaking to Americans for Prosperity's annual conference for the first time, the former Florida governor focused on his two terms in office.
Bush told more than 3,000 conservative activists from around the country that talking is fine "but now we need leadership."
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also was speaking on Friday, a day before Saturday's tea party stars and GOP rivals, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, will address the group.


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