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Wednesday News, July 4th

Le Mars Plans for Independence Day Celebration

(Le Mars) -- Here is a run down of the schedule of events being planned for today in Le Mars.  At 10:00 a.m. this morning will be the Independence Day parade that will start at the Le Mars Community High School parking lot.  The parade route will travel east along 8th Street to 3rd Avenue Southwest then to the Plymouth County Veterans Park.  Any entries are welcome as long as they have a patriotic theme.  At 11:00 a.m. will be the Celebration Program from the Plymouth County Veterans Park.  A noon lunch will be served at the Le Mars Convention Center, upper level.  From 1 to 5 p.m. the Plymouth County Historical Museum will off root beer floats at the Miller's Lunch.  At 3 p.m. will be a watermelon feed also to be held at the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  The Le Mars Municipal Band will perform a concert beginning at 8:00 p.m.  The free concert is open to the public and will be held at the Foster Park.  To conclude the day's festivities will be the Fireworks Sky Show being held at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.  Those fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. and you can tune your  radios to KLEM 1410 AM and 96.9 on the FM for a musical salute during the fireworks display.

 

City Council Discusses Former IDOT Property

(Le Mars) -- In yesterday's Le Mars city council meeting, there was much discussion focussed on city owned property near Business Highway 75 on the north end of town.  The city wants to sell the property that has a machine shed and several smaller utility sheds.  The city had acquired the property from the Iowa Department of Transportation, as it was used as a maintenance and equipment storage facility.  Real estate agent Lance Sitzmann, who is on contract with the city to assist with the selling of city-owned property, informed the council that there is some interest by people to acqire the property.  The city council decided to ask for bids on the property with a August 28th deadline.

 

Howard Concerned About Costs With Paving Project

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars city council heard from a concerned citizen regarding the installation of concrete paving of the curb and guttering along 6th Avenue Southwest. Jeremy Howard resides on 6th Avenue Southwest.  He says he isn't opposed to the idea of installing the concrete.  But he was worried his property taxes would increase, and the amount of money being asked by city exceeded his level of funding his share of the project.

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City Councilman Rex Knapp negotiated with Howard.  Knapp asked Howard if the city would extend the payments over ten years with a low interest rate, if Howard would be acceptable to the plan?

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The city has two of the three residents affected by the paving project in agreement.  The property of the third parcel has multiple owners, and the city is trying to reach some type of agreement with each owner.

 

City Council Evaluates Administrator's Performance and Approve Salary

(Le Mars) -- During closed session, the city council evaluated the job performance of both the City Administrator Scott Langel, as well as Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole. The council reconvened in session and approved the salary level of $92,000 plus mileage for city business at the approved city rate for fiscal year 2013 for Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole. The council also approved the salary level of $129,600 plus mileage for city business for City Administrator Scott Langel.  The council approved both salaries on a 5-0 vote.

Le Mars Officials Want Residents to Conserve Water

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Water Department is requesting residents of Le Mars to voluntarily conserve water.  Water Superintendent Gayle Sitzmann says all seven of the city's wells and pumps are active and pumping more water than the system is accustomed.  Sitzmann says on June 28, the city pumped nearly 5 million gallons of water, and under normal daily usage, the city would utilize about three million gallons of water.  City officials have had to turn down the valve on one of its wells since the pumping level is getting low due to multiple wells operating at once.

Hull Residents Are Restricted On Water Use 

(Hull) -- The residents of Hull, Iowa are being told to conserve water.  As of last Tuesday, City officials have declared a water emergency.  Les Van Roekel is the city adiministrator for Hull.  He says Hull gets its water from Rock Valley and from Sioux Center and the dry conditions forced the city to make the restrictions.


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Residents are prohibited from outdoor watering and irrigating of lawns and gardens.  No water may be used to fill private swimming pools or any other recreational use.  No water may be used for nonessential use.  Car washing is prohibited except in commercial establishments that provide the service.  Van Roekel hopes the city doesn't have to impose additional water restrictions on essential water usage.

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The Hull city official says they have implemented the restrictions so to make certain plenty of water would be available for emergency use, such as fires.

 

Wall Lake Couple Indicted On Bank Robbery Charges

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A federal grand jury has indicted a northwest Iowa couple on bank robbery, conspiracy and firearm charges.
     47-year-old Jeffrey Schoon and 40-year-old Roxena Schoon are accused of robbing four banks.
     Jeffrey Schoon pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. Roxena Schoon is scheduled to be arraigned July 12.
     The indictment alleges that the Wall Lake, Iowa couple robbed Iowa State Bank in Odebolt on Dec. 29, Citizens First National Bank in Early on Jan. 11, Westside State Bank in Vail on Jan. 28 and
Heritage Bank in Lytton on March 23. A total of nearly $33,000 was stolen.
     The indictment says Jeffrey Schoon robbed the bank, and his wife drove the getaway car.
     --

 

Kroll Pleads Not Guilty To Beatings

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has pleaded not guilty to bludgeoning two people in their sleep with a crowbar.
     23-year-old James Kroll entered the plea Monday in Woodbury County District Court.
     Kroll is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and first-degree burglary.  Police say Kroll beat 54-year-old Jeffrey Moravek to death and seriously injured 54-year-old Mary Tope after breaking into Tope's home on June 13. Tope remained hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City last week. An updated condition report was unavailable Tuesday.
     Police say Tope's daughter, Emily Tope, was in the house at the time and identified Kroll, her former boyfriend. Court papers say Kroll was distraught that his relationship with Emily Tope had
ended.
     --

 

Highway Patrol Will Watch Holiday Travelers

(Le Mars) -- The Iowa State Patrol wants to remind people to use their seat belt and to refrain from drinking and driving during this holiday.  Trooper Vince Kurtz says the Highway Patrol will be on the roads looking for violators.  He says normally the July 4th holiday has a high rate of alcohol-related accidents and incidents, but since the Independence Day holiday falls on Wednesday this year, Kurtz says he isn't certain as to what the statistics may show, but he hopes the number of incidents may be lower.

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Kurtz says the Iowa State Patrol anticipates fewer long-distance motorists during this holiday season since the the 4th falls on a Wednesday as opposed to the weekend.  

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Kurtz suggests motorists to take along a "summer survival kit" when traveling.  He says motorists should be prepared for the heat.  He suggests taking an extra bottle of coolant for your car, in case it were to over-heat, and he says motorists should have extra bottles of water to stay hydrated, and to have a cell phone fully charged in case you were to be stranded.

 

Transportation Officials Warn Travelers About Highway Buckling

AMES, Iowa (AP) - State transportation officials are urging drivers to watch out for pavement problems as the high temperatures heat the highways.
     Officials say pavement blowups happen when thermal expansion forces the pavement to buckle and shatter.
     A blowup can happen anytime without warning. Officials urge drivers to pay special attention to highways when driving during afternoons when the mercury climbs to 90-degrees or higher.
     The DOT says many of the blowups result in a pothole or with small chunks of concrete on the pavement, and they take time to repair.
     Officials say the repairs cost an average of $400,000 each year.

 

Education Officials To Study Length of School Day

      DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A task force will study whether Iowa's public schools should lengthen the school day and make other changes to their calendars.
     Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass on Tuesday appointed the members of the Instructional Time Task Force, which was created by lawmakers as part of their education reform law.
     The committee will study whether the minimum length of the school day and year should be extended for some students or all students and whether schools should have a uniform start date. The group will also consider whether summer break should be shortened, with days off spread out throughout the year.
     Glass says time in school should be applied differently to students based on their individual needs, but that adding time should be carefully studied because of its expense.

 

 

 



   

Tuesday News, July 3

Grassley Holds Townhall Meeting At Akron

(Akron) -- Senator Chuck Grassley was met my fifty people at Akron during his townhall meeting Monday afternoon, all wanting answers to their questions relating to issues at Washington .  Grassley addressed questions ranging from the Supreme Court's recent decision on the Affordable Health Care Act to the U-S energy policy, to the educational reform of No Child Left Behind, to the flat tax, and he was even asked about welfare programs.  Grassley was also asked about the latest scandal in Washington, that being the so-called "Fast and Furious" scandal involving the Justice Department.  Grassley started the investigation, but knowing he was on the minority side in the Senate, he also knew he would not be able to pursue the investigation so he consulted Congressman Issa of California, the chairman of the House government over-sight committee.
 

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The Iowa Republican Senator says Congress should not have had to place Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress, but he says the actions of Holder and the Obama administration forced Congress to take the historical vote.

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Grassley says he believes the Obama Administration has something to hide and that is the reason for them to stall in the investigation.

 

Blood Organizations Need Donors During Holidays

(Le Mars) -- Holidays always seem to be a time when blood is needed the most, and it is also a time when donors are least likely to donate blood.  Life Serve Blood Center is asking for blood donors to do their part.  Blood donations leading up to the busy 4th of July festivities will help keep our hospitals fully operational.  Floyd Valley Hospital will hold a community blood drive on Thursday, July 5th.  The blood drive will be at the Floyd Valley Hospital in the Lower Conference Room from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Right now the current critical blood needs are for B negative and O negative.  If you would like more information you can call (800) 287-4903 or visit them online at www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.

 

Akron Fire Department Respond to Grass Fire

(Akron) -- The dry conditions were responsible for a grass ditch fire late last evening.  The Akron Fire Department was called to respond at about 10:15 p.m.  They were assisted by the Alcester, South Dakota fire department.  The grass fire was able to be extinguished rather quickly.  Fire officials were on the scene for a little more than a half an hour.

 

Dry Conditions Persist -- Crop Conditions Decline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Crops conditions in Iowa have declined as the state remains dry despite some much-needed rain.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that 62 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition. A week ago, it was 68 percent. Fifty-nine percent of soybeans are in good shape, down from 63 percent a week ago.
     The USDA says 73 percent of topsoil and subsoil levels are dry. South-central Iowa is the driest with 91 percent of topsoil running short or very short.
     Storms brought rain to the middle of the state on Friday along with hail and strong winds. Rain fell on southeast Iowa late Saturday and Sunday.
     The statewide average rainfall for the week was 0.25 inches. The normal is over an inch.

 

Iowa Has High Number of Boating Accidents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With seven boating fatalities so far on Iowa lakes and rivers, the state is on pace for its deadliest summer boating season in recent years.
     Seven fatalities are the most Iowa has seen since nine were reported for the entire boating season in 2007. The most dangerous boating months of July and August are still ahead.
     Alcohol may be playing a role. Authorities say 22 people have been arrested for drunken boating in the state. In all of last year 54 were arrested.
     The Des Moines Register reports  that from 2006 to 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in 43 Iowa boating accidents, which included 13 deaths and 23 injuries. That's nearly half of the 27 fatalities during that span.
     Nationally, about two-thirds of all boating crashes are alcohol-related.

 

Le Mars Chamber Wants "Little Ambassadors"


(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a contest to select ten children who will serve as the 2012-2013 Le Mars Chamber Little Ambassadors. Children must be four to six years of age and live in town or rural Le Mars. Mary Reynolds of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce explains the role of the Little Ambassadors.

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 Between now and July 20th, the Chamber will be accepting nominations for Little Ambassadors.  Contestants are asked to submit a 5" x 7" photo.  Entries must include the names of the child and parents, address and phone number with the submission.  Chamber officials ask that you not write on the photo, and photos will not be returned.  A selection committee will choose five boys and five girls to serve as Le Mars Little Ambassadors.  Reynolds says the group will take part in several Chamber sponsored activities including Ice Cream Days.

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Reynolds says the Little Ambassadors will all appear on the cover of the updated Le Mars Visitor's Guide which will be distributed to welcome centers, and motels and hotels across the region.  She says some businesses use the visitor's guide for other purposes.

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New  Penalties Are Being Enforced On Traffic Laws

(Le Mars) -- As of July 1st, several new laws have gone into effect.  A couple of transportation related laws were already on the books, but now the fines and penalties have increased.  Iowa State Patrol Trooper, Vince Kurtz says Iowa previously had a law forbidding motorists to pass a stopped school bus with its lights flashing and stop sign arm extended.  But now, thanks to what has become known as Kadyn's Law those penalties are much stiffer.

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Another revision with a previous law requires motorists to slow down and move over to the left when an emergency or maintenance vehicle is stopped along the shoulder of the road.

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The Highway Patrol official says the "move over law" came about as the result of two episodes, the first having a tow truck being hit and the second involving the death of a volunteer fire fighter assisting an accident scene on Interstate 80.  Kurtz says violation of either law will mean the suspension of driving priviledges. Kurtz says the legislature also passed a law that limits the amount of window tinting on the front and side windshields.
  




    



 

   

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