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Thursday News, May 30

No Flooding From Wednesday Evening's Rains

(Le Mars) -- Last evening's rain may have placed a few people on edge wondering if additional flooding would occur, but early reports from the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department indicate there wasn't any flash flooding around the Le Mars or Plymouth County area.

 

Waste Water Treatment Plant Dodges Disaster

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Waste water Treatment Superintendent Ron Kaiser is thinking he has dodged what could have been a major disaster.  Kaiser says the city's waste water treatment facility was able to handle the extra water from the heavy rains and flooding, and he adds the treatment plant is "holding up well."

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Kaiser says the waste water treatment plant did get to three million gallons in one day, but it was able to handle the extra load.  For a while on Monday, the Le Mars Waste Water Treatment facility looked like an island with flood waters completely surrounding the plant. Kaiser says had the flood waters actually penetrated the facility, it would have spelled trouble for the city.

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Kaiser says officials considered the idea of deploying sandbags around the facility, but later thought sandbags may not be needed.

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Le Mars is getting set to construct a new waste water treatment plant that will be located  to the west of the present facility. New piping is in bundles near the site for the new facility, and currently sets ready to be placed in the ground. Kaiser says he is relieved knowing the piping system for the new facility did not float down river.

 

Monona County Reports Storm Damage

(Onawa) -- Monona County authorities are reporting straight line winds did some extensive damage to structures. Monona County Sheriff's officials says the Knoepfler Chevrolet car dealership Onawa was damaged and several trees were downed.  Authorities say very strong winds led to the damage, but it was not a tornado.


Branstad Adds More Counties To Disaster List, Including Lyon County

(Des Moines) -- Governor Branstad has added another eight Iowa counties to the list hit by recent storms and flooding.  Lyon county was the only additional northwest Iowa county to be proclaimed as a disaster area.  The others include: Benton, Grundy, Johnson, Louisa, Mitchell, Poweshiek and Wapello.  On Tuesday, the governor had declared a total of 13 counties eligible for state assistance. In northwest Iowa they included Ida, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Sioux and Plymouth Counties.

 

Heartland Rivers On The Rise

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Rivers in the nation's heartland are rising yet again, and with heavy rain in the forecast, parts of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois are bracing for another round of flooding.
The National Weather Service said Wednesday that 2 to 4 inches of rain will be common as strong storms fire up through Friday; some areas could see up to 6 inches.
How bad things get will depend on how much rain falls and where.
The weather service says a worst-case scenario would be widespread heavy rain along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, and along the Missouri River. The Mississippi and many of
its tributaries are already above flood stage, and the Missouri is getting close.
Forecasters say the Mississippi could reach its highest level at St. Louis in nearly two decades.


Rotary Club Hosts Bicycle Safety Fair

(Le Mars) -- Nearly twenty youth between the ages of five to 13 participated in the Le Mars Rotary Bicycle Safety Fair held last evening at the O'Toole Park.  Steve Harrington, president of the Le Mars Rotary says the bicycle fair was to teach the youngsters about how to remain safe with their bikes.

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Harrington says third graders is the ideal age to teach bicycle safety.

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Each of the young participating bicyclist received small reflectors that were placed on their bike and helmet.  Bike Central and the Le Mars Police Department assisted with the bicycle safety fair.

 

Ackley Man's Body Recovered From Flash Flood

PARKERSBURG, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have recovered the body of a man whose vehicle was swept off the road by flood water in northeast Iowa.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the body of 71-year-old Howard Hodson of Ackley was taken Wednesday to the state medical examiner's office in Ankeny.
Witnesses told Butler County Sheriff's deputies that Hodson drove his sport utility vehicle into rapidly moving water Monday morning. The car was washed into a creek west of Parkersburg.
Officials say deep swiftly moving water made it too dangerous for divers to reach the SUV immediately after the accident.

 

Search For 15 Year Old Girl Is Suspended

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are halting their search for an Iowa teenager who was abducted more than a week ago.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday that investigators have exhausted their ground search efforts for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. Officials also say flooding has
affected their efforts.
Officials have searched more than 250 square miles in the Dayton area, about 60 miles north Des Moines.
Police suspect Michael Klunder abducted Kathlynn and her 12-year-old friend on May 20th in Dayton. The younger girl was able to escape. Klunder was later found dead. Some of Kathlynn's blood
was found last week, dampening hopes of finding her alive.
The announcement comes the same day Kathylnn's father asked Senator Charles Grassley to support stricter sex-crime penalties. Michael Shepard argued it could have prevented her abduction.


Trial Date Scheduled For Bachmann Campaign Ethics Violations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A trial date has been set for next year in a lawsuit filed against former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann by an Iowa campaign aide.
Barb Heki claims in the lawsuit that Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, state Senator Kent Sorenson, took an email list from Heki's private computer in November 2012. The list included names
and contacts for thousands of Iowa families who were members of the Iowa home-school network. The campaign wanted to promote Bachmann to Christian home-school advocates.
Heki, of Johnston, says she had refused to provide the contacts to the campaign so Sorenson took the information from her computer when she wasn't using it.
On Wednesday a jury trial was scheduled for May 12th, 2014, and is expected to last seven days.



   

Wednesday Afternoon News, May 29

Flood Clean Up Begins

(Le Mars) -- City crews are busy with the clean up duties following the aftermath of the Memorial Day flooding.  Tons of debris including, corn stalks, tree limbs, and soil and silt were left behind once the flood waters from the Floyd River and Willow Creek receded. Fire officials from the Le Mars Fire Department are at the Le Mars Airport washing away the mud and debris found on the runway and tarmac.  Meanwhile, city workers from the Public Works Department are using a backhoe and dump trucks to clean the tons of debris along Willow Creek and the hiking-biking .  The flood-related debris is being taken to the Plymouth County Landfill. This afternoon, (Wednesday) golfers will trade their clubs and tees  for shovels and rakes as all golf league players are encouraged to assist with the clean up duties of the Willow Creek Golf Club. The clean up is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. but if you can't arrive at that time, anytime this afternoon will be appreciated.

 

Mud Run Rescheduled For September

(Le Mars) -- Due to the recent flooding of the Floyd River, organizers of the Red, White, and Blue Mud Run have decided to postpone the endurance run.  Jay King says they hope to have the event in September.

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Originally, the mud run was scheduled for this coming Saturday, June 1st.  King says participants that have registered will remain registered for the new date.

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King offers an explanation as to why officials decided to change the date of the mud run, saying many of the obstacles had been damaged or destroyed by the recent flood waters.

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Sioux City Man Faces Mail Fraud Sentenciing

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 36-year-old Sioux City man faces sentencing in August for federal mail fraud.

Darin Moran pleaded guilty to one count and faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced on Aug. 12.

Moran was a certified Apple repair technician who worked for a service provider in North Sioux City, S.D. Prosecutors say he made fraudulent warranty claims on parts for his personal side business for computer repair and sales from 2007 through 2010.

 

Sioux City "French Fries" Sculpture Is Back

SIOUX CITY, The giant french fries are back in Sioux City.

Workers on Tuesday installed the 50-foot yellow sculpture officially known as "Sioux City" but often referred to as the french fries.

The 6,000 pound steel beam artwork by artist John Henry represents Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

It had been at a downtown site for 30 years but was placed in storage when a pedestrian mall was reopened to traffic in 2008.

The sculpture's new home is on the campus of the Sioux City Arts Center.

Plans call for the steel beams to be repainted yellow later.

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Police Examine Kluder's Movements To See If Connection Exists With Missing Cousins

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa police chief says he hopes to know next week whether sex offender Michael Klunder is linked to the abduction and slaying of two cousins who vanished last year while riding bikes.

Evansdale Chief Kent Smock said Wednesday investigators are trying to retrace Klunder's steps from July, when 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins were abducted. Their bodies were found in December.

Police say Klunder committed suicide last week after he kidnapped two girls who were walking home from school in Dayton, 90 miles west of Evansdale.

A 12-year-old girl escaped but 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard remains missing.

Smock said investigators were getting subpoenas for Klunder's phone records and seeking other information. He says he hopes to announce next week whether Klunder is believed to be responsible or uninvolved.

Spring Now Wettest On Record

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - This spring is now the wettest on record in Iowa. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says statewide average rainfall of 16.4 inches as of Tuesday morning is the most rain in March, April and May in 141 years of records. The previous record was 15.5 inches in 1892 and normal is just over 10 inches.

That explains why Iowa rivers are overflowing shutting down roads, flooding basements, and sending emergency managers into flood planning mode.

The worry is another storm system is bearing down on Iowa bringing the potential for heavy rain.

One factor that may have prevented a devastating flood so far is last year's drought but that benefit has faded and Iowa is at a tipping point for major flooding if heavy rain comes in the wrong places.

DMACC To Pay Fine For Free Speech Violations

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa community college will pay nearly $14,000 to settle a free-speech lawsuit filed by a student who was barred from distributing fliers criticizing a conference on gay youth.

Des Moines Area Community College had already pledged to no longer enforce a policy that required students to distribute literature at a table in the student center and to get permission 10 days in advance.

In documents filed Tuesday, the college agreed to pay Jacob Dagel $100 and cover attorneys' fees of $13,700 to end the case without admitting wrongdoing. Dagel was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group.

Dagel filed suit after he was barred by a security guard from distributing fliers that criticized the college for subsidizing a March conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth.

 

Man Threatens Roomate With A Knife

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police say an eastern Iowa man threatened his roommate with a knife after trying to use a plate as weapon.

North Liberty police arrested 18-year-old Chad Sharkey Tuesday night after responding to a report about a fight in progress. Sharkey was found outside a residence and told police an argument with his roommate had turned physical.

Police say Sharkey punched his roommate in the face and attempted to break a plate to use as a weapon. He's accused of then threatening his roommate with a 3-inch pocket knife.

The Iowa City Press Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/19m5Yjf ) the roommate suffered swelling and pain to his left eye.

Sharkey faces charges of assault causing bodily injury and assault while displaying a weapon. Online records do not list an attorney.

 

Girl Survives Fall From Window

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say a 2-year-old girl has survived a fall from a second-floor window.

Officers and medics were called to a home Tuesday evening.

A woman told officers she had briefly left her granddaughter in the living room. After returning she noticed a window had been pushed open and the screen was missing.

The woman ran downstairs and found the girl face down in the grass. She was crying and responsive.

Medics took the girl to a hospital, where police say she was in stable condition.

 

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