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Wednesday Afternoon News, July 3

Fire Marshall Stresses Safety With Fireworks

(Le Mars) -- Fireworks are commonly associated with the 4th of July.  Iowa is among only four states in the US to ban fireworks. The reason, according to State Fire Marshall, Ray Reynolds, is in 1931 a sparkler was responsible for burning two and half blocks of downtown Spencer.

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Not surprising, Reynolds, says more fires occur around the Independence Day holiday.

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Reynolds explains there are a few fireworks that are legal in Iowa.

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The fire official wants to make certain everyone is safe with fireworks and offers these safety tips.

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Kingsley Fire Department Responds To Car Fire

(Kingsley) -- The Kingsley Fire Department responded to a car fire this morning at about 9:00 a.m. The fire was reported at 41598 310th Street in rural Kingsley. No other details are known at this time. Fire officials were on the scene for about 40 minutes.

 

U of I Over-payed Employees

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A state audit shows the University of Iowa overpaid its employees about $805,000 in the fiscal year that ended in 2012.
The state auditor's report released Wednesday shows the university made more than 300 overpayments in that fiscal year. It resulted in an increase in overpayments of nearly $160,000 from the
previous year.
Overpayments happen when a university department fails to submit in a timely basis electronic forms that reflect changes in employment status.
The Iowa City-Press Citizen reports (http://bit.ly/12lU2Il ) the university responded in the report that it's made changes and reduced overpayments by roughly 60 percent since then.
The report details a university-wide audit and lists various aspects of the school's operations that required corrective action. It was sent to the Iowa Board of Regents.
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DCI Agent Suspended For Reporting Branstad's Vehicle Speeding

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A special agent complained to superiors at the Iowa Department of Public Safety that an April speeding incident involving the governor's vehicle put public safety at risk and illustrated a dangerous double standard.
Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation sent a memo to superiors April 29, days after he was involved in a three-vehicle pursuit in which a trooper
driving the governor was traveling 90 miles per hour but let go without consequence.
Hedlund wrote that, "Regardless of what dignitaries are in the back seat of the speeding vehicle, it is still against the law."
Two days later, his superiors put him on paid administrative leave in what his attorney calls retaliation.
Hedlund's attorney gave the complaint to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

 

Boaters Urged To Stay Off Mississippi River

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) - Officials are advising boaters to stay off the Mississippi River from Clinton in eastern Iowa down to the Missouri border.
The state Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that the water is above flood stage with a strong current that makes for a hazardous situation. The high water was caused by recent flash flooding in northeast Iowa.
State Conservation Officer Ed Kocal says they're advising against boating until the water level drops several more feet. That could take weeks.
Two people were towed from the Mississippi River Tuesday after their boat lost power and drifted down the river at a rapid pace with no control.

 

West Nile Virus Detected In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials have confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Iowa this year.
The state Department of Public Heath announced Wednesday that the case is a middle-aged man from Linn County who is recovering.
Officials are reminding residents to take precautions to protect against the disease, which is transmitted by mosquito bites. That includes using insect repellant and wearing long-sleeved shirts,
pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
About 20 percent of people infected with the virus have symptoms like a fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one percent of cases become seriously ill. An even smaller amount could
die from the disease.
There were 31 human cases of the virus in 2012 and no reported deaths.


Madison County To Pay $685,000 For Sexual Harassment Suit

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa county will pay $685,000 in a settlement with a dispatcher who claimed she was groped and sexually harassed by the sheriff and fired after complaining.
Madison County Sheriff Craig Busch also provided a letter of recommendation to Kathryn Frank under the settlement. In the letter, Busch says the 15-year employee who he fired in 2009
handled 911 calls with "the utmost expertise" and was praised by officers for her "excellent skills."
The settlement avoids a third trial in Frank's lawsuit after the first two ended in hung juries.
Frank claims that Busch harassed her for years before he became sheriff in 2008, leading to an earlier $60,000 settlement. She says Busch retaliated by firing her for bogus reasons.
Busch said Wednesday he denies wrongdoing, but declined further comment.

 

Human Skull Discovered Near Skunk River

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a human skull has been discovered near the Skunk River in Ames.
Ames police say a person walking along the sandbar Tuesday night discovered the skull. It was north of the old Carr Pool and was located within inches of the river.
Officials say the skull, which appears to be very old, was taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office along with another fragment. It is being sent to a forensic anthropologist.
Officials say recent heavy rains may have washed the skull down the river.


   

Wednesday News, July 3

Le Mars Mainstreet Organization To Kick Off Fundraising Campaign

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program will kick-off a fundraising campaign on Tuesday, July 9th. The campaign hopes to raise a goal of $10,000 for two projects, the Ally Art Public Project and the State of Iowa Main Street workshop scheduled for November that will take place in Le Mars.  Le Mars Mainstreet Coordinator, Mary Reynolds says the fund drive will help in many ways.

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Reynolds says with the Alley Art project, the money raised will be used to purchase primer paint and caulk to prep surfaces in the alley, pay for paint that the artists will use in doing their art work, pay for artist's fees, help purchase banners, sculptures and other art pieces.  The Alley Art project is the second joint public art project between the city of Le Mars, the Le Mars Arts Center, and the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Main Street program.  The first, was the fiberglass ice cream cones. Reynolds says the alley behind Claussens Mens Wear will be the first to be painted.

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The backside of Hotopp's Jewelry and Gifts will be the first to be painted featuring an outdoor garden theme with flowers, trees, and birds.  The mural will measure 13 feet by 25 feet.  The local Mainstreet official offers a glimpse of what we will see in the near future.

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Reynolds says Le Mars has been chosen by the State of Iowa Mainstreet program to host the November workshop with representatives from 49 cities and communities from across the state visiting the "Ice Cream Capital of the World."

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Reynolds says funds are needed for various responsibilities for the host city.  The workshop will be held for two days.

 

Drier Weather Allows For City Construction Projects To Progress

(Le Mars) -- The drier weather of late has allowed many city construction projects to be active.  Le Mars city administrator Scott Langel informed the city council during their Tuesday meeting that the new waste water treatment facility is ready to have a large portion of concrete to be poured, perhaps as early as today.

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Although contractors have only recently been able to conduct an extensive amount of work devoted to the project, Langel believes the project may be a bit behind schedule.

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Langel says the 4th Avenue street construction project is near completion.

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The city administrator says the seeding will take place between August 15th and September 30th in accordance with state specifications.  Langel says other construction projects including 27th Street Southwest and the new K-N-S Addition have also been progressing.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Rated As One Of The Cleanest Hospitals

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital of Le Mars has been rated by Becker's Hospital Review as one of the 49 cleanest hospitals.  Floyd Valley came in at 6th position on the list of 91 percent. The list is based on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results reported in the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare database and covers the period July 2011 through June 2012.  Hospitals were ranked based on the highest percentage of patients who reported that their room and bathroom were "always" clean in the HCAHPS survey.
Mike Donlin, Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator states, “A special congratulations goes out to our Housekeeping and Maintenance Departments, but I know all of our employees take pride in our hospital.  Our number one priority is provided our patients with quality health care, and maintaining a clean environment is high on that list.  I am extremely pleased that our hard work has been recognized by our patients in such a manner.”


President Obama Issues Disaster Declaration For 47 Iowa Counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration for 47 Iowa counties hit by recent storms and flooding.
Governor Terry Branstad announced Tuesday that President Obama had approved his request for a presidential declaration. The declaration means the counties will be eligible to receive federal funding for recovery efforts. Those funds could go to repairs, debris removal, loans for communities or grants to schools.
Northwest Iowa counties that are eligible include: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O'Brien, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux and Plymouth.
Branstad also said that as part of this declaration the state will receive funding to take steps to strengthen infrastructure and limit the impact of future natural disasters.

 

Branstad's SUV Caught Speeding

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Audio recordings indicate a state trooper pursued a speeding SUV carrying Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, but did not pull the driver over after realizing who was inside the
vehicle.
The recordings released Tuesday to The Associated Press capture dispatchers laughing about the April incident near Fort Dodge.
Now, the Iowa Department of Public Safety is reviewing the handling of the incident.
A Division of Criminal Investigation special agent who initiated the pursuit, Larry Hedlund, has been placed on leave. Hedlund's attorney, Tom Duff, says Hedlund was put on leave after complaining
that the governor's driver - a trooper - had put public safety at risk.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds were inside the SUV, but were unaware of the incident until Tuesday.

 

State Revenue Is Up

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A non-partisan state agency says state revenue for Iowa came in higher than expected for the fiscal year that ended June 30th.
Jeff Robinson with the Legislative Services Agency says that net state revenue - which includes taxes and other sources - was about $6.65 billion. That's 8.7 percent more than the $6.1 billion the
state took in during the same period in the previous year.
In March, state budget experts projected a 5.2 percent growth compared with the previous year, so the state has surpassed expectations. There will likely be some changes before numbers are
finalized in September.
Robinson attributed the growth largely to a spike in personal income taxes from residents seeking to avoid a change in federal tax rules by doing things like taking investment income early.

 

Officials Repair Two Small Anhydrous Leaks

BRADGATE, Iowa (AP) - Repairs have been made to plug two small leaks of anhydrous ammonia in a pipeline located in Humboldt County in northwest Iowa.
Inspectors on the Magellan Midstream Partners pipeline found the leaks during routine inspections on Monday. The pinhole-sized leaks were a mile apart near Bradgate. Magellan staff made temporary
repairs to both leaks Monday night and early Tuesday. Work continued Tuesday to make permanent repairs.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources field supervisor Jeff Vansteenburg says the company conducted air quality monitoring and found minimal releases of ammonia to the atmosphere.
There is no impact surface water. Some contaminated soil has been removed and redistributed on a farm field.
Anhydrous ammonia, which is more than 80 percent nitrogen, is commonly used as a farm fertilizer.

 

Authorities Wonder Why Teen Girl Died

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are trying to determine why a 17-year-old girl died last month.
The Polk County Sheriff's office says it is looking into the June 22 death of Aaliyah Jade West of Grimes.
Paramedics performed CPR on West after they found her unconscious, but she could not be revived.
Authorities aren't calling the death suspicious, but they say West didn't appear to die of natural causes and she didn't have any apparent injuries.
Sheriff's spokesman Brent Long says investigators are trying to determine whether alcohol was involved.
An autopsy is planned.

 

Armstrong To Ride In RAGBRAI

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says he'll return to his bike later this month for a state-long trek across Iowa.
Armstrong tells the Des Moines Register that he and staffers from his Austin, Texas-based bicycle shop will ride for "three or four days" in RAGBRAI, an annual event sponsored by the newspaper
that runs from the Missouri to Mississippi rivers.
This will mark the fifth visit to RAGGRAI for Armstrong, who told interviewer Oprah Winfrey in January after years of denials that he doped for all seven of his Tour de France wins from
1999-2005.
Armstrong says his impending trip to Iowa isn't a statement or an experiment. He says he simply wants to ride with what is typically "a friendly group of people that share the same
interests."

 



 

 

 

 

   

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