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Tuesday Afternoon News, July 16

3200 License Plates Get Pass For Speeding, Red Light Cameras

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - State data shows that more than 3,200 license plates have been issued to local, state and federal agencies with a designation that allows them to avoid tickets from Iowa traffic cameras.
A recent speeding incident involving Gov. Terry Branstad's state SUV has revealed how cities give a break to some government vehicles caught on red light and speed cameras.
Several cities said they do not issue tickets to drivers whose plates are not included in police databases because they're conducting undercover or sensitive work.
Iowa Department of Transportation data requested by The Associated Press shows that 350 agencies have been issued at least one license plate with that designation, ranging from small police departments to the Transportation Security Administration.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources leads the way with 210.

Environmental Groups Want Tougher Water Quality Rules

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Environmental groups pushing the federal government to take over enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa say Gov. Terry Branstad has lobbied the EPA on behalf of farmers, ignoring the fact that water in Iowa's rivers is worsening
due to manure spills and farm runoff.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says Tuesday it has obtained a letter from Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letter shows Branstad and
Reynolds wrote to top EPA officials in Washington in May, stepping over the EPA's regional office in Kansas City, which is negotiating with Iowa DNR about stricter livestock enforcement.
Branstad and Reynolds express "strong concern" about proposed increased farm regulation.
The EPA has been pushing Iowa for stricter enforcement for a year.


Newell Man Drowns

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County authorities responded to an emergency call regarding a possible drowning at Sturchler's Pit of rural route Newell on Monday.  Authorities were notified of the incident at about 8:12 p.m.  An adult male had entered the water at Sturchler's Pit and was swimming.  The victim slipped beneath the water and did not resurface.  Witnesses on scene entered the water and attempted to locate the male, but were unsuccessful.  Rescue units were dispatched to the scene and a search was conducted.  At about 9:40 p.m. the body of the missing man was recovered.  He has been identified as 49 year old Kurtis Kruse of Newell, Iowa.  The victim's body has been transported to the State Medical Examiner's office in Ankeny, Iowa.


Missing Tuber

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a 19-year-old Waterloo man who went missing while floating down the Cedar River in eastern Iowa.
The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office identified him as Andre Tims. Authorities say Tims was floating with several other people on Sunday evening when they hit debris in the river near Black Hawk
Park, which sits northwest of Cedar Falls.
Searchers are using a sonar-equipped boat and are still looking along the banks.


Davenport Woman Drowns In Mississippi River

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A preliminary ruling on the death of a 29-year-old Davenport woman is that she drowned.
The body of Jennifer Cooney was pulled from the Mississippi River on Friday morning, about 200 yards downstream from the Crescent Bridge.
Davenport Assistant Police Chief Don Schaeffer says the death was either an accident or a suicide because no visible signs of other injuries were found during an autopsy.
The Quad-City Times says the death investigation is continuing.


Emerald Ash Borer Located In Iowa Trees

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Officials say an insect that's killed millions of ash trees has been found in a second Iowa location.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture said in a news release Tuesday that an emerald ash borer was found in a tree in the southeastern Iowa city of Burlington.
The first sighting was made in 2010 in northeast Iowa, on Henderson Island in the Mississippi River.
Emerald ash borers are native to Asia and were first detected in Michigan in 2002. Since then the insects have killed more than 50 million ash trees as the infestation moves from state to state.
The borer can spread when infested logs or firewood are moved from one area to another. In Nebraska officials have begun a voluntary firewood restriction to help stem the tree onslaught.




Tuesday News, July 16

Supervisors To Again Discuss Harvesting Of Grass Ditches Along Roadways

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth county Board of Supervisors will meet today, and on their agenda the board is expected to appoint Nick Beeck (Beck) to the Loess Hills Alliance Board following the resignation of Dennis Sohl from the position last week.  The Supervisors are expected to approve a resolution involving the Multi-jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan which is updated every five years.  The plan was organizied by the SIMPCO.  The county governing board is also expected to take action involving grass hay and
harvesting permits from county roadside ditches.


Mainstreet Organization Needs Volunteers For Alley Art Project

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Mainstreet Organization is seeking volunteers today to assist with the preparation of the alley walls for the alley art project.  Priming of the walls will start this afternoon.  Volunteers wishing to help with the alley art project should report to the alley located behind Claussens Mens Wear, or the alley between Central Avenue and First Street Northeast at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  The primer paint is being furnished, but volunteers are asked to bring brushes, rollers, and other essential painting supplies.

Floyd Valley Hospital Says Farewell To Dr. Duncan, Hello To Dr. Geha

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital will host a Chamber of Commerce After 5 event today.  The event will be held at the hospital's conference rooms located on the lower level.  The After 5 program is to honor Dr. Tom Duncan, and to thank him for his 29 years of providing health care to the community.  Dr. Duncan is retiring and moving to North Carolina to be closer to family members.  While we say farewell to Dr. Duncan, the afternoon event is also  set to welcome the newest doctor to Le Mars.  Dr. Andrew Geha is beginning his practice at Floyd Valley Hospital.

Semi Truck Overturns Barely Misses Premier Communications Building

(Le Mars) -- A semi truck overturned on its side on Business Highway 75, yesterday, just missing hitting the Premier Communications Building by mere inches.  The accident happened shortly after 2:00 p.m. The semi truck and trailer is operated by Westside Transport of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was driven by 48 year old Matthew Purdy of Cedar Rapids.  The truck was  hauling bales of cardboard as its cargo.  Purdy lost control as he attempted to make the turn located next to the Family Table Restaurant and Premier Communications.  Both the truck and the trailer ended on its side.  Skid marks from the accident show the trailer coming within inches of striking  the Premier Communications building.  Purdy was not injured from the incident.  The Le Mars Police Department, Le Mars Fire and Rescue, Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Iowa Highway Patrol, and the Le Mars Ambulance all assisted at the scene. The Le Mars Police Department issued Purdy a citation of failure to maintain control.

Sioux City Council Undecided On Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City Council members have not found a way to make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday for municipal workers in Sioux City.
The City Council discussed the issue on Monday, trying to figure out how to deal with different union contracts and pay extra money to maintain key city services on the holiday.
The Sioux City Chapter of the NAACP for 27 years has asked city leaders to recognize the slain civil rights leader's birthday as a holiday. The county, state and federal governments already have done so.
Dick Hayes of the NAACP told the council that "it's time to do the right thing."
The city recognizes several holidays under which city workers get paid days off, depending on union contracts.

Study Shows Three Percent Of Iowa Children Have No Health Insurance

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A new study says that 3 percent of Iowa children do not have health insurance, one of the lowest rates in the nation that could nonetheless be improved.
The University of Iowa's Public Policy Center says it conducted a telephone and Internet survey in 2010 and 2011 that concluded the rate of uninsured children was roughly unchanged from five years
The study says that most of the uninsured children come from families that would be eligible for existing government programs such as Medicaid and hawk-i. Its authors are calling for continued
outreach to get them enrolled and are holding a webinar to discuss the report Tuesday.
The report notes parents will have incentives to get their children insured under the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that individuals obtain insurance.

Ernst Launches Senate Campaign

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - A Republican candidate for Iowa's U.S. Senate seat is launching her campaign with a six-city tour.
State Sen. Joni Ernst announced last week she would seek the GOP nomination for the Senate seat held for decades by Democrat Tom Harkin, who decided not to seek re-election.
The 43-year-old Ernst will start her initial campaign trip Wednesday morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse in her hometown of Red Oak. She'll continue with stops Wednesday and Thursday in Waukee, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Davenport.
Other Republicans seeking the nomination include former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis, attorney Paul Lunde and David Young, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley.
On the Democratic side U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley is his party's only candidate.

Branstad And Ray To Announce Location Of Ray's Legal Papers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad and former Gov. Robert Ray are set to appear together to reveal the plans for Ray's papers.
Branstad and Ray have a news conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the State Historical Museum. They will announce the plans for Ray's official papers.
Ray, a Republican, was governor from 1969 through 1983. During his time in office he served as chairman of the National Governors Association for two years and in 1979 he was part of a U.S.
delegation to the Special United Nations Conference on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.
Branstad served as lieutenant governor during Ray's final term in office and succeeded him in office.


Egg Producer Settles Law Suit

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa egg producers blamed for a 2010 salmonella outbreak have settled a lawsuit brought by a California cooperative that lost profits as a result of the product recalls.
Quality Egg and Hillandale Farms reached the settlement last week with NuCal Foods, Incorporated to end three years of litigation in federal court in California. Financial terms weren't released.
Quality Egg was owned by Jack DeCoster, who had a history of food safety, labor and environmental violations. Hillandale Farms received chickens and feed from DeCoster's operations.
The companies issued recalls covering 550 million eggs in 2010.  Thousands of customers were sickened by the outbreak.
NuCal contended the companies were aware their farms and chickens were contaminated with salmonella but kept selling tainted eggs anyway. Its attorney declined comment on the settlement.




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