Wednesday Afternoon News, November 20
City Council Votes Down Pedestrian Bridge
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council voted down a proposal for a public hearing regarding a new pedestrian bridge to be constructed across the Floyd River and allowing hikers and bicyclists to cross without having to worry about competing with heavy traffic. Presently, residents living on the west side of the Floyd River must use the bridge built for vehicle traffic. Councilman John Leonard favors the construction of a new pedestrian bridge. His concerns are with public safety. Councilman John Rexwinkle says initially the bridge was to be located next to the highway bridge, but as time passed, the plans called for the bridge to be moved further south. Rexwinkle spoke against the proposed pedestrian bridge saying he believes it would involve additional work from city crews than what was originally being called for. Rexwinkle also thought the bridge's proposed location was not practical. The proposed bridge and recreational trail had an estimate of nearly $205,000.
Little Sioux River Restoration
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Woodbury County officials agreed to spend more money to restore a levee along the Little Sioux River in western Iowa.
The county board Tuesday approved a $128,000 bid for work on the levee near Smithland.
Landowners will be billed for the work, which includes placing 3,600 tons of concrete and quartzite along 1,800 feet of riverbank.
The project follows a $232,000-taxpayer funded effort to add a berm and boulders to retain soil. Those fixes didn't work and the riverbank continued to wash away.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the original flood-control device in 1964.
Board member Larry Clausen voted against the winning bid because he favored a different contractor, but he says the county has no choice but to repair the levee.
Nebraska Man's Body Found In Iowa
MONDAMIN, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man found in a wooded area in western Iowa is from Nebraska.
The state Division of Criminal Investigation says fingerprints submitted to a FBI database helped confirm the identity of 52-year-old Michael E. Gnirk, of Hoskins, Neb. A hunter found him on Saturday in a rural, wooded area a few miles southwest of Mondamin in Harrison County.
Authorities said in a news release Wednesday they're continuing to investigate the case, and they're trying to retrace Gnirk's last few weeks and days. They're looking for anyone who may have been in contact with him over the last three to six months.
Woman's Body Found In Car Following High Speed Chase
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities found a woman's body in a car that plunged into a pond after leading West Des Moines police on a high-speed chase.
A West Des Moines officer noticed a car driving recklessly about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday and tried to stop the driver.
The car sped away and eventually drove down a dead end street. The officer slowed as he approached the dead end and could see the car drove through a grassy area and into a pond.
A dive team searched the car, which was at least 30 feet from the shore, and pulled it from the pond.
Police found the body of a woman inside. She appeared to be in her 50s.
Police and the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office are determining the woman's identity.
Branstad And Other Leaders Defend Ethanol
NEVADA, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. Rep. Steve King, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will lead a group of industry executives Friday in an event aimed at defending the current levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the nation's fuel supply.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes to reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.
The oil industry lobbied hard for the reduction. Biofuel supporters threaten to sue the government over the proposal.
Branstad will gather with others at an ethanol plant in Nevada to defend current policy. He says the reduction negatively impacts thousands of jobs in Iowa, the leading ethanol producer and top grower of corn, which is used to make about 95 percent of the nation's ethanol.