Tuesday News, June 18
Ice Cream Days Offers Boost To Le Mars Economy
(Le Mars) -- It may be difficult to determine how much of an economic impact the recent Ice Cream Days had upon the Le Mars economy, but local officials do believe a record number of people attended the four-day event. Jessica Lindgren serves as the Director for the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says there isn't an exact dollar amount tracking system.
Lindgren says Saturday's parade had generated interest from thousands of people, even living outside Le Mars.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau Director says Chamber and city officials will meet within the week to review the Ice Cream Days to determine what worked well, and what may need improvement. Lindgren says one huge success was the festival finale at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds with the new addition of the fireworks show.
Lindgren says this years celebration attracted more people, in part due to the 100th anniversary celebration of Wells.
Ireton Man Faces Multiple Charges For Saturday Incidents
(Le Mars) -- An Ireton man is facing numerous charges following several incidents that occurred early Saturday morning. Plymouth County authorities responded to a call of a suspicious individual sitting in a vehicle behind Perera's in Merrill. It was determined the vehicle was owned by Ronald Perera. The subject was identified as 42 year-old Richard Perrin. Perrin also had injuries that was sustained from an auto accident. Through their investigation, deputies learned that Perrin had stolen a car belonging to Mandy Staab of Le Mars, then wrecked the car in an accident on Highway 75 near Merrill. The car was found on its top in a ditch. Perrin was initially transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital via the Hinton ambulance. Later, that morning, Rick Wright of Radiator Works and Welding had reported that his business had been broken into and numerous tools were stolen. Nearly all the tools were located in the vehicle that Perrin was driving. Perrin was located in Le Mars by Le Mars Police officers and sheriff's deputies and after a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody. Perrin is charged with Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor; interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor; burglary in the 3rd degree, a class D felony; and possession of stolen property, a class D felony. He is being held until he can appear before a judge. The investigation is continuing.
Supervisors To Review County's Mental Health Programs
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will review the county's mental health program today as they meet with Sharon Nieman, the Plymouth County Mental Health Director. The supervisors are also expected to approve a contract with Plains Area Mental Health, as well as approve other contracts for individuals that provide mental health services.
City Council To Hear From Floyd Valley Hospital Officials
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council has scheduled two public hearings for today's regular meeting. The city council will hear comments from the public regarding the proposed new water tower and the proposed new water booster station. The city council will also hear from representatives from Floyd Valley Hospital as the hospital seeks permission from the city leaders for approval to start on the $25 million north addition expansion project. The city council will take action on the offers to purchase property for the new water tower and booster station sites.
Chamber To Host "Cash Mob" For Thursday
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will once again host a "cash mob" scheduled for Thursday at 12:15 p.m. This time the selected business will be a downtown chamber member that focuses on food for their business. Eligible businesses include: the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, Piece of Cake, Pizza Ranch, and Sunshine Natural Foods. The "cash mob" invites people to the Chamber office, then the winning business will be selected and announced, and the "mob" of people then go to that business with the understanding of making a purchase of at least $20.
Two People Testify At Utilities Board Hearing Against MidAmerican Rate Increase
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two people have testified in Des Moines against a $135 million base rate increase sought by MidAmerican Energy Co.
Bob Wessel and Jerry Bridgeman, who are both retired, asked at the Iowa Utilities Board hearing on Monday in Des Moines whether the rate hike is justified.
MidAmerican officials say the utility hasn't had a base rate increase since 1995. The company has 640,600 Iowa customers.
Bridgeman is a former accountant for the Iowa Utilities Board who retired in 2009. He suggests a mandatory audit for MidAmerican to make sure that customer costs are appropriate.
He also says the state board should ensure that MidAmerican will "stay healthy, but not become wealthy."
Branstad Says School Start Dates Need To Change
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says the rules governing school start dates in Iowa are "too lax."
Branstad told reporters Monday that the existing policy hurts summer tourism in the state and that he expects to see some changes made by the Department of Education.
Under current Iowa law, schools are supposed to start the week that includes Sept. 1. But nearly all districts apply for and get waivers to start earlier in August.
A group led by Iowa State Fair Manager Gary Slater has filed a petition with the state Department of Education seeking tougher enforcement of the law.
Department of Education Director Jason Glass says the department is reviewing the petition with the governor's office, but no final decision has been made.
Iowa City Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Cocaine To Undercover Police Officer
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - One of the men involved in an alleged Iowa City drug ring involved in a deadly police sting has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Norman Dudley pleaded guilty Monday to selling crack cocaine to an undercover Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement agent in the parking lot of a K-Mart store last August.
Authorities have said the transaction came days before undercover agent Daniel Stepleton went to an Iowa City trailer as part of an undercover operation, where he was ambushed by masked
men wielding weapons. Police say Ivan Hardemon pointed a gun to Stepleton's head, but the agent managed to grab his own weapon and open fire.
Stepleton shot and killed the 24-year-old Hardemon and injured Demarco Dudley, Norman's brother, before escaping unharmed. Investigators determined Stepleton acted in self-defense.
Police Chase 13 Year Old Boy Driving Car
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Police in central Iowa say a 13-year-old boy led officers on a weekend car chase through a residential area.
Ankeny police say the boy drove the car with a flat tire early Sunday morning over curbs and around 50 mph in a residential area. The car also went through a construction zone and several
barricades before speeding off again.
The chase ended after the boy crashed the car into a tree. He was taken to a hospital for a minor injury to his face.
The boy has been charged with reckless driving, operating while intoxicated, eluding police and driving without a license. The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles suspected of crimes.
World Food Prize To Announce Winners On Wednesday
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The World Food Prize foundation will announce the winners of its annual award on Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington featuring Secretary of State John Kerry as the
The prize was founded in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1970 for boosting agricultural production in what has become known as the "Green Revolution."
The prize honors individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Past laureates have come from 13 countries and the United States
The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines. It will host the recipients at the Iowa State Capitol in an award ceremony on Oct. 17 with more than 800 invited guests.
Weekly Crop Report Shows Poor Crop Performance
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Iowa's cornfields have been hit hard by the wet spring.
Twelve percent of the crop is in poor condition, worse among the 18 leading corn growing states. Monday's report says 4 percent is very poor while 34 percent is fair and 50 percent is good or excellent. Eleven percent of corn plants haven't emerged from the ground yet and 6 percent of the crop hasn't been planted. Normally the crop is all in by now and 99 percent emerged.
The USDA already assumes the average amount of corn expected to be harvested per acre in the U.S. to be reduced to 156.5 bushels per acre down from 158 bushels estimated a month ago.