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Friday Afternoon News, June 8

Le Mars Main Street Organizing Downtown Clean-Up

(Le Mars) -- Next week is "Ice Cream Days" for Le Mars, but before the city welcomes its many guests acknowledging the "sweet treat", efforts are being organized to help clean up the downtown district.  Le Mars Main Street Coordinator Mary Reynolds says on Monday between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. citizens are invited to the Chamber office to help clean the downtown area.

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Reynolds says she is hoping for at least 50 people to join in on the cleaning duties. 

 

Highway Patrol Investigates Motorcycle-Car Accident

(Orange City) -- The Iowa Highway Patrol is investigating a motorcycle-car accident that occured Wednesday morning near Alton.  Apparently, 28 year old Joel Van Engen of Paullina was riding his motorcycle when he failed to see the car ahead of him had stopped and was about to make a left-hand turn.  The car, driven by 57 year old Sharon Bortscheller of Remsen had yielded to an oncoming over-sized vehicle when the motorcycle struck the car.  Van Engen was ejected from the motorcycle and suffered injuries.  He was transported to the Orange City Regional Hospital.  Van Engen was wearing a helmet.

 

Iowa Supreme Court Rules On Wind Energy Expansion

 
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is giving the green light to a major wind energy expansion by the state's largest public utility.
     The court on Friday upheld a 2009 decision by the Iowa Utilities Board that guaranteed MidAmerican Energy could raise customers' rates in the future to pay for a huge wind energy project set to be completed this year.
     The court rejected a challenge by NextEra Energy Resources, a rival who argued MidAmerican didn't demonstrate need for extra capacity and didn't properly consider other alternatives.
     In a 5-0 ruling, the court says the board's decision was based on "substantial evidence" the expansion would reduce emissions, diversify the fuel supply, promote economic development and maintain reasonable prices for customers.
     MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen says the company is pleased with the ruling.

 

Bridgestone Tires Plans Expansion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Bridgestone Americas plans to invest $74 million more through next year to expand its Firestone tire factory in Des Moines.
     The  investment is in addition to Bridgestone's $77 million project at the plant, which was announced in March 2010.
     The plant has added about 250 workers in the past two years, bringing the total to nearly 1,700 people. Bridgestone Americas, which is based in Nashville, Tenn., didn't say whether the new plan
will bring more jobs.
     The plant makes tires for the agricultural, forestry and construction equipment markets.
     The state and Polk County gave Bridgestone $600,000 in loans and grants, plus $108,000 in tax credits, last year to aid the last expansion.
     Officials say Bridgestone hasn't applied for assistance with its latest expansion plan.

School Principal Found Guilty of Simple Assault  

   LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - A former western Iowa school principal accused of pulling down the pants of a student has been found guilty of simple assault.
     Online court records say 35-year-old Mike Loftin was given a year of unsupervised probation after his conviction on Wednesday.  He also was given a deferred judgment, which means the conviction
could be removed from his record if he successfully completes probation.
     Loftin, who lives in Omaha, Neb., was principal for the West Harrison Community School District junior-senior high school in Mondamin.
     Loftin also coached the girls' basketball team. Authorities say he pulled down a girl's warm-up pants before a game on Jan. 20. She wasn't wearing uniform or gym shorts underneath.
     He was fired in late January.

 

 

    

   

Friday News, June 8

Penn Gaming and MRHD Still At Odds Over New Casino

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - State gambling regulators say they will take applications from other casino operators to run a proposed new casino in Sioux City after negotiations with Penn National Gaming
and its nonprofit partner fell through.
     Penn National operates the Argosy riverboat casino with its nonprofit partner Missouri River Historical Development.
     Penn National is proposing a new $100 million land-based casino in downtown Sioux City, but the nonprofit group wants the company to give more than the current 3 percent of gross revenue to
community projects.
    On Thursday the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted to allow other casino operators to submit applications after the two partners couldn't agree on a new contract.
     The commission believes a land-based casino will better serve the Sioux City area.
    

Motorcycle Accident Near Alton

(Orange City) -- The Iowa Highway Patrol is investigating a motorcycle-car accident that occured Wednesday morning near Alton.  Apparently, 28 year old Joel Van Engen of Paullina was riding his motorcycle when he failed to see the car ahead of him had stopped and was about to make a left-hand turn.  The car, driven by 57 year old Sharon Bortscheller of Remsen, had yielded to an oncoming over-sized vehicle when the motorcycle struck the car.  Van Engen was ejected from the motorcycle and suffered injuries.  He was transported to the Orange City Regional Hospital.  Van Engen was wearing a helmet.

 

Plymouth County Solid Waste Systems Considering Options

(Le Mars) -- The problems associated with the Cherokee Solid Waste Landfill is starting to affect the Plymouth County Solid Waste program.  Since 1989, Cherokee County and Plymouth County have had an agreement that allows solid waste from Plymouth County to be transported to Cherokee County.  That agreement between the two counties continues through 2017.   However, the Cherokee County Landfill recently had to lay off 25 employees, and it is running low on money.  Mark Kunkel, the manager of the Plymouth County Solid Waste Systems says Cherokee is now asking for an increase. 

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Kunkel says Cherokee wishes to implement the increase by July 1st.  Kunkel says Plymouth County officials are looking at other available options.

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Could Plymouth County store or otherwise utilize its own solid waste?  Kunkel says that plan would not be practical.

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Relay For Life Scheduled for Tonight at Remsen

(Remsen) -- More than 500 people are expected to participate in Friday evening's Plymouth County Relay for Life to be held at Remsen.  Stacy Kliever serves as the chair for the local cancer awareness campaign.  She says the event is set up to show support for those afflicted with cancer, those who have survived cancer, and for those people who have lost their lives to cancer.

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A major part of the Relay for Life are the hundreds of illuminaries that surround the track, and Kliever says this year they will be a bit different.

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Kliever says the event is open to everyone, and although the focus is on Plymouth County, she says people from neighboring counties and states will come to participate at the event. Kliever says the evening will be filled with countless fun events.

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In addition to the fun and games, the Relay for Life will also hold a silent auction.  The Plymouth County Relay for Life will be held at the Remsen football field and track, and it is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. and will conclude eight hours later at 2:00 a.m.

Whistleblower Wins Suit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa State University employee who reported financial misconduct by his boss has won more than $1.28 million because of retaliation for his whistle-blowing.
     Dennis Smith was falsely accused of being a "potential terrorist or mass murderer" by his superiors.
     In a judgment filed Wednesday, the judge found that the 59-year-old Smith, of West Des Moines, suffered three years of severe emotional distress.
     ISU intends to appeal the decision.
     Smith had told then-ISU President Gregory Geoffroy about financial misconduct by the director of the College of Engineering marketing department, Pamela Reinig.
     Reinig pleaded guilty to first-degree theft in 2009 and was given probation.
     ---

Climatologists Predict Hot and Dry Conditions for Summer

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - State climatologists say farmers in Nebraska and Iowa should prepare for persistent drought conditions this summer that could devastate their crops.
     Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher said Thursday that he expects that ranchers and farmers in the western part of the state will suffer crop damage, unless the weather suddenly becomes cooler and wetter. He says that's unlikely, given the current conditions.
     Ranchers in western Nebraska and farmers in north-central Iowa say the weather conditions are the driest they've ever seen.
     The situation is less dire in Iowa, but State Climatologist Harry Hillaker predicts that June will be warmer than usual. High winds are also causing water to evaporate faster.

 


 

   

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