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Tuesday Afternoon News, August 20

Le Mars City Council Considers Removing Stop Signs

(Le Mars) -- The topic of stop signs, and the possible removal of some stop signs was again discussed at the Le Mars City Council meeting on Tuesday.  The Le Mars city council has asked city officials to identify potential stop signs within the city limits that could possibly be eliminated. 
The city has identified a total of 23 intersections where they believe stop signs could be removed.  City councilman Rex Knapp has advocated the action of removing identified stop signs for a number of years, and explains his reasons.

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Many people wonder about the safety of the intersections if the stop signs were to be removed.  Knapp says he wants to know if the traffic signs are absolutely necessary.

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Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga spoke before the council members and says there is a
reason for each stop sign.

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The police chief says he can see only one stop sign that could be removed and not pose a safety risk.

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The council decided to allow the city's Public Safety Committee evaluate the proposal and
gather public comments and to report back to the city council with its recommendations.

 

IDOT To Close County Road C-44 & Hwy 75 Junction At Merrill

(Sioux City) -- The Iowa Department of Transportation is announcing that pavement replacement work will require closing Plymouth County Road C-44 and the junction of U-S Highway 75 into the Main Street of Merrill.  The work is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 21st with weather permitting. The closure is expected to last for three weeks.  Motorists are encouraged to follow the signed detour routes.

 

Le Mars Man Sentenced To 25 Years For Death Of Motorcyclist

(SIOUX CITY) -- A Le Mars, Iowa, man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday in
connection with the death of a motorcyclist.
Todd Ross, 50, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to vehicular homicide and
possession of a controlled substance -- third offense as a habitual offender for a May 17
accident in which he ran a stop sign and collided with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven
by Jerry Graves and drove away.
Graves, 69, of Sioux City, died May 27 from the injuries suffered in the collision. No
family members were present at Monday's sentencing.
As part of a plea agreement, another drug possession charge, as well as fleeing the scene
of an accident and numerous misdemeanor traffic violations were dismissed. Ross must pay
$150,000 in restitution to Graves' estate.
Ross admitted he was in possession of methamphetamine at the time of the accident. Court
documents said that when police located Ross after the accident, he crashed his car into a
tree and failed field sobriety tests. He had two prior felony drug convictions, which led
to the habitual offender enhancement on his drug possession charge.

 

Crop Condition Deteriorates Slightly

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Another dry week has caused the condition of Iowa's corn and
soybean crops to slip backward.  Both crops have showed some deterioration with development behind normal.
Northwest Iowa may have the best looking crops in the state, however, as Joel DeJong, Iowa
State University extension crops specialist says there have been a lot of "hits and misses" in terms of precipitation.

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DeJong says the corn is entering the "dough" stage which means it is still at least a month
away from full maturity.

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The crops specialist says soybean development within the area has been making some nice progress.

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Statewide average precipitation was less than half an inch while normal for the week is
nearly an inch.  It was the sixth week of the past seven to bring less than normal rainfall.

 

Escaped Inmate Killed After Invading Home

BEDFORD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an escaped inmate suspected of shooting a southwest
Iowa sheriff's deputy has been killed by a homeowner who said the armed man broke into his
house.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced that Rodney Long was shot to death early
Tuesday. No one else was seriously injured in the shooting in Bedford.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mitch Mortveldt says 71-year-old
Jerome Mauderly shot Long with a shotgun in the kitchen of the home he shares with his
wife, Karen. Long broke into their home around 10:15 p.m. Monday.  Shortly after 2 a.m. Karen Mauderly called 911 to tell authorities her husband had shot Long.
Authorities had been searching for Long since Sunday night, when the fugitive shot and
wounded a deputy.

 

Judge Stephanie Rose Comes Under Fire

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — When she was the top federal prosecutor in northern Iowa, U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose secretly monitored the whereabouts of employees, removed the office's civil division chief because she believed he was a poor manager and fired an attorney whom she called "flighty."
Rose is now the nation's youngest federal judge. She made the comments during a May
deposition in a lawsuit brought by former assistant U.S. Attorney Martha Fagg, a civil prosecutor fired in 2011.
Fagg says Rose and Rose's top aide retaliated against her for raising concerns about age
discrimination.
The Department of Justice released excerpts of depositions and other documents last week
with a court filing arguing that Fagg's lawsuit should be dismissed. In her deposition,
Rose testified bluntly about the performance of her former subordinate employees.


Branstad Wants To Improve Juvenile Home

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has signed an executive order designed to
improve the care of children at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo where the use of physical
restraints and isolation rooms has been criticized.
Branstad's order, signed Tuesday, also establishes a five-member task force charged with
recommending additional improvements and assisting in implementation.
The group is to recommend a plan for eliminating seclusion rooms and transferring the
home's education plan to management by the local area education agency instead of the Iowa
Department of Human Services.
The task force report is due Oct. 15
Branstad's spokesman says in a statement the increased standards will lead to greater
safety, transparency and oversight at the state-run juvenile home.

 

Found Woman Skull -- 200 Years Old

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a skull found on a Skunk River sandbar in Ames was that
of a woman of American Indian ancestry who died more than 200 years ago.
Experts say the woman likely was 25 to 40 years old when she died. The experts have not
determined the cause of her death.
Ames police say a person walking along the river found the skull on July 2. Officials said
heavy rains may have washed the skull down the river.
The skull and another bone fragment will be turned over to the Office of the State
Archaeologist.



   

Tuesday News, August 20

Supervisors To Set Dates For Public Hearings

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning at the Plymouth County Courthouse and they will set the dates for public hearings relating to Van's Sanitation development agreement, and also set the date for a public hearing regarding the approval of the Local Options Sales Tax.  The Supervisors will also get a construction update from County Engineer Tom Rohe.

 

City Council To Discuss New Dogwood Addition

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to convene at the City Council chambers at noon today.  The council will address the proposed dog park, as well as discuss the new Dogwood First Addition.  The council is expected to address the Community Development Building Grant downtown revitalization award.  The council is also expected to discuss the stop sign request, and they will discuss the rail maintenance plan.


Mercy Medical Center Plans To Expand

(Sioux City) -- Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City has scheduled a news conference for this morning.  The hospital will announce its intentions to spend $16.8 million investment in Mercy’s critical care and imaging services.  The investment includes renovation of the current intensive care units and the installation of the largest MRI in the region, the 3.0 Tesla (3T)!  We are actually “raising the roof” here at Mercy to allow for the installation!

 

Kessenich Honored For Bishop's "Excellence In Education"

(Le Mars) -- A Gehlen Catholic faculty member was honored Monday by the Sioux City Diocese.
Carol Kessenich of Le Mars was informed that she is one of four recipients of the Excellence in Education Honorees.  Dan Ryan of the Sioux City Diocese explains why Kessenich was selected for the honor.

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Kessenich was surprised by the recognition.  Her family was also in attendance, and by her side when the announcement was made.  Kessenich expresses her feelings about the award and gives credit to her mother.

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Kessenich has been a teacher at Gehlen Catholic for 17 years.  Prior to Gehlen, she also taught at Remsen St. Mary's.   She teaches both junior high religion and mathematics.  Kessenich is the seventh Gehlen faculty member to be honored with the Excellence in Education award by the Sioux City Diocese.  The last Gehlen faculty member to be given the honor was the late Steven Shea, for which the Gehlen gymnasium is being named for this year.  Carol Kessenich will be again recognized during the Bishop's Dinner scheduled for October 13th in Sioux City.

 

Dynamite Found At Buena Vista County Farm

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County authorities found some old explosives located on a farm near Newell.  Deputies responded Saturday morning to 2345 590th Street and determined the items to be dynamite and other related items which were located in an outbuilding.  The area was secured and the state fire marshal's office was notified.  The dynamite was disposed of by the state fire marshal.  The dynamite was determined to be extremely old and had been stored on the property by previous owners.  Officials warn that if suspicious explosives such as dynamite, blasting caps, or gun powder are found, do not attempt to move them as age makes the items become extremely unstable.  Contact authorities and get to a safe distance.

 

Authorities Suspend Search For Escaped Inmate

NEW MARKET, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in southwest Iowa decided the search for an escaped inmate suspected of shooting a sheriff's deputy had to be called off in the hours of darkness. But they said patrols in the area would be increased so that officers could respond quickly if needed.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety said the ground search for inmate Rodney Long in Taylor County was terminated Monday night.
Long escaped the minimum-security prison facility in Clarinda on Friday morning.  He's suspected of shooting deputy Dan Wyckoff, who attempted to talk with him late Sunday as he walked along a highway.  Long fled in Wyckoff's patrol car after the shooting.  After joining another deputy in a chase, Wyckoff was taken to an Omaha hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

 

Iowa's Unemployment Rises During July

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent in July as total employment in the state dropped for the first time this year.
Iowa Workforce Development reported Monday that unemployment was up from 4.6 percent in
June.
Despite the increase, Iowa's rate is far less than national rate for July of 7.4 percent.  Iowa's unemployment rate also is down from 5.5 percent in July 2012.  Workforce Development says Iowa's total employment in July was 1,573,200. That's a drop from the 1,577,200 employed in June.

 

Ahlers Awarded Seed Association Scholarship

(Ames) -- Six $3,000 scholarships have been awarded by the Iowa Crop Improvement Association to support Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students planning to pursue careers in seed science or the seed industry. Rebecca Ahlers of Le Mars was one of the scholarship recipients.
Ahlers is a senior majoring in Agronomy and Journalism and Mass Communications.  Her passion for agriculture began young and has developed into a love of plant sciences coupled with sustainable agriculture. Ahlers has a goal of communicating agronomic information to farmers while also being an advocate for agriculture.

 

Crop Conditions Decline Slightly

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Another dry week has caused the condition of Iowa's corn and soybean crops to slip backward.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's report that 48 percent of the corn crop is good or excellent, down 1 percentage point from the week before. Eighteen percent is poor or very poor, one point above the previous week. About a third of the crop is fair, the same as the previous week.
Soybeans retreated with 18 percent now rated poor or very poor. That's up three percentage
points from the week before.
Corn pollination remains significantly behind normal.  Statewide average precipitation was less than half an inch while normal for the week is nearly an inch.
It was the sixth week of the past seven to bring less than normal rainfall.


State Fair Attendance Passes One Million, But Lower Than Past Years

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 1 million visitors attended the Iowa State Fair during its 11-day run that ended Sunday, but the number was a little smaller than last year.
The fair reported Monday that 1,047,246 people attended the event this year.
That's nearly 50,000 less than last year's attendance.
The fair's top attendance day was Saturday, Aug. 17, when 112,534 made it to the sprawling fairgrounds in east Des Moines.
The fair is Iowa's largest event and ranks among the top state fairs in attendance across the country.

 

 

   

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