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Saturday News, October 5

Tornadoes Hit Plymouth County

(Le Mars) -- Last evening's storms did some damage to some Plymouth County.  Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says a tornado was spotted and touched down in the southwest portion of the county.  Storm damage extended from an area south of Brunsville, or about 4 miles west of Le Mars south to North Loop Road, about five miles north of Sioux City.  Several storm spotters had seen rotation in the clouds, but fortunately many of those would-be tornados did not reach the ground.  Sirens were sounded for Le Mars residents to take cover shortly before 7:00 p.m.  The sheriff's office is reporting ten instances of moderate to severe structure damage reports that includes everything from powerlines down to trees toppled, to in some instances buildings and structures that have been damaged.  There were no report of injuries.  Deputies and volunteer fire fighters went door to door after the storm to check on the welfare of all residents.  The Le Mars Bulldog football game was delayed for an hour due to the storm.  People were moved to the Le Mars Middle School for safety.  Plymouth County Emergency Management Coordinator Gary Junge is assessing the area for additional damage.  More will be known after the sun comes up.

Several storm spotters were dispatched throughout Plymouth County to watch the storms, and as we stated earlier, a tornado did touch down in the southwest area of the county.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper was one of those storm spotters and he describes what he saw last evening.

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Tornadoes Strike Moville, Pierson, Quimby, Cherokee, and Jefferson, South Dakota

(Le Mars) -- The storm traveled from the southwest moving to the northeast.  Starting in Wayne, Nebraska a tornado did considerable damage to the town's east side industrial area. 
There were eight reports of injuries from Wayne, however, fortunately, no fatalities.  The
storm then split when it arrived in northwest Iowa, avoiding any direct hit with Sioux City.
At least two tornadoes were reported, causing extensive property damage in northwest Iowa.

A mile-wide tornado was spotted shortly before 7 p.m. Friday near the town of Moville, in Woodbury County. Early witness reports indicate that the town had seen some damage. Pat Rogers lives on the north side of Moville and describes the scene.
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Rogers is an insurance agent and anticipates the damage estimate to be quite costly.

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Homes were reported destroyed in the town of Pierson, and power poles were down in the town of Quimby.

A second tornado was spotted near Jefferson, S.D., about 10 miles northwest of Sioux City. Local firefighters reported considerable damage in the town, according the National Weather Service.

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security says a tornado touched down near the town of Cherokee, but officials haven't yet reported whether it caused major damage.
Officials said the mile-wide tornado traveled about 1 mile south of Cherokee. It cut a 2- to 3-mile path through farmland but didn't hit any population centers.
About 2,700 homes and business in the Sioux City area were without power Friday night.
More than 500 of them were around Sloan, near where the mile-wide tornado touched down.
The National Weather Serivce says homes were damaged near the Iowa towns of Pierson and

Students Watch Martial Arts Demonstration For Anti-Drug Campaign

(Le Mars) -- More than 300 students of fourth, fifth and sixth grades from the Le Mars Community and Le Mars Gehlen Catholic schools were given a martial arts demonstration during an afternoon assembly.  It was part of the Le Mars Optimist Club "Just say no" to drugs and alcohol campaign.  Each of the students received a free T-shirt depicting boxing gloves with the slogan "Just Say No - Knock OUt Drugs and Alcohol".  This year's t-shirt was designed by Gehlen student Sydney Livermore.  Micheal White, owner of the White Tiger Martial Arts organization was the featured speaker.  White told the enthusiastic crowd of students to think "strong mind...strong body...and strong spirit, all with the underlying message that a student must be self-disciplined to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

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White says he entered martial arts after being beaten up by bullies at school.

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The students witnessed White and three of his colleagues use martial arts to break through
wooden boards, and concrete blocks.  White demonstrated the use of focus, concentration, and
balance when he stood on top of two dozen eggs without breaking them, while demonstrating
other martial arts moves.  White owns and operates the White Tiger Martial Arts organization which has five locations, including Le Mars.


People Asking If State Parks Are Affected By Federal Government Shutdown

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa natural resources officials say they're taking frequent phone calls from people wondering if the state parks have been affected by the federal government shutdown.
Jim Lawson the supervisor of the State Parks Bureau for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says state parks are open, even those located on federal land including Honey Creek near Centerville and Elk Rock by Knoxville.
Lawson says it can be confusing to sort out which government functions are affected by the partial government shutdown.
He says state parks are not affected but facilities run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Monuments and Federal Refuges and other federal areas are closed during the shutdown. That includes the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City.


Real Estate Agency Dispute

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's largest real estate agency has filed a lawsuit against a competitor, alleging an attempt to damage its reputation.
The Des Moines Register reports West Des Moines-based Iowa Realty filed the lawsuit Thursday in Polk County District Court.
It alleges Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams filed an earlier lawsuit as an attempt to embarrass Iowa Realty and that Keller Williams never intended the courts to resolve the matter.
Keller Williams dropped its lawsuit last month. That suit alleged unfair competition and other claims after Iowa Realty refused to share sales commissions equally with Keller Williams agents who sell existing homes listed by Iowa Realty.
Iowa Realty head Mike Knapp says Keller Williams continues to attack Iowa Realty through social media.
Keller Williams didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.



Friday News, October 4

Lost Boy At Merrill Rural Residence

(Merrill) -- For a brief time last evening there were some anxious moments at a Merrill rural residence.  The Merrill Fire Department along with deputies from the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department were called to help with locating a small three year old boy who had wandered off into a cornfield.  The Merrill Fire Department responded to the call at about 6:20 p.m. last evening at 23546 Lynx Avenue.  Fortunately, nearly 20 minutes later, the boy was located.  He was safe without injuries.


Le Mars Features Another Fiberglass Ice Cream Cone

(Le Mars) -- The Ice Cream Capital of the World has another fiberglass ice cream cone for display.  The latest is placed near the Ideal Cleaners at 18 Plymouth Street, Southeast.  The artist of the five foot cone was Randy Becker.  The cone features a painted zipper and the ice cream features various painted clothing articles hanging from a clothes line and swaying in the breeze.  There are now more than 50 fiberglass ice cream cones throughout the community of Le Mars.


Spencer Man Dies From Bicycle Accident

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - Police say a 19-year-old Spencer man has died from injuries he received in a bicycle crash last week.
Police say Jonathan Ferguson died Thursday morning at a Sioux City hospital.
Ferguson was injured Sept. 27 when he crashed his bicycle into the side of a utility truck in Spencer.
He was flown by helicopter to Sioux City for treatment.
The truck driver wasn't hurt.
No one was cited in the incident.


Central Bank Acquires Liberty Bank Branches

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Storm Lake-based Central Bank has announced a deal to buy seven branches from Liberty Bank, which is based in West Des Moines.
The terms were not disclosed in Thursday's announcement.
In July Marion-based City State Bank said it was buying five Liberty branches.
Liberty's two sales agreements for the 12 branches are subject to regulatory approval. The sales apparently would leave Liberty with but one bank office.  Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records say Liberty had 13 locations as of June 30.
Central Bank says it's buying three Liberty branches in Des Moines, two in West Des Moines and one each in Urbandale and Ankeny. That would give Central Bank 18 branches.


Strong Storm To Hit Midwest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An unusual strong storm front is threatening the Midwest from the central Plains to the Mississippi Valley over the next several days.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma says the system could bring heavy thunder, wind, rain and possibly tornadoes on Friday.
Meteorologist Gregory Carbin says about one-third of Iowa and parts of southern Minnesota have a 45 percent chance of severe storms, More than 1 million people live in that risk area.
Parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin are also on the storm front's path. Western Nebraska and Western South Dakota are under a Blizzard Warning.  Areas as far south as Oklahoma and Texas could be affected.


Problems Still Exist With National Healthcare Enrollment

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowans wanting to get signed up for health care insurance under the nation's historic health care overhaul aren't deterred by a third day of technical glitches with the federal government's computer system.
At Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines 12 certified financial counselors have been helping applicants attempting to get signed up for insurance.
Betty Spratt the financial counselor supervisor says 128 people sought assistance Tuesday and 123 on Wednesday. Thursday's numbers haven't been compiled but it's been busy.
She says the computer system still kicks people off so her team turned to telephones until operators said they too were having technical problem and asked the counselors to try back in a few days. They're turning to paper applications.
Spratt says spirits are high and people are optimistic they'll get insurance.





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