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Wednesday News, June 5

Supervisors Hear About Flood Damaged Roads and Bridges

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors were briefed yesterday by County Engineer Tom Rohe regarding the extent of damage from flooding to Plymouth county secondary roads and bridges. 
Rohe informed the supervisors that four bridges were needing additional repairs as a result of the flooding from last week.

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Of the four bridges that were closed, Rohe says only one is in need of major repairs.

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Supervisor Jim Henrich asked if the bridge itself was still in good shape?

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The county engineer told the supervisors he anticipates at least two weeks worth of work to get the bridge back in condition. Rohe informed the supervisors that perhaps as many as 30 locations flooding waters had ran over the top of the road, and needs repairs.  He says perhaps as many as 100 locations will need to have debris cleared.  Rohe says once all the repairs will be made to the bridges and roads, his crews will then tackle the clean up duties of clearing the ditches of the debris left behind from the floods.

Sheldon Printing Company Catches Fire

SHELDON, Iowa (AP) - The co-owner of a northwest Iowa printing business says the company's building was severely damaged in an early-morning fire.
White Wolf Web co-owner Myrna Wagner says the printing facility in Sheldon and equipment were damaged in the fire that broke out at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday.
The family-owned company publishes the N'West Iowa Review and other publications.
Wagner says other printers are helping White Wolf Web meet its publication deadlines.
Wagner says no one was in the building when the fire broke out. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.


Sioux City Police Look For Robbery Suspects

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are looking for two men that robbed the Abbartoes El Arcoiris grocery store located at 2201 Court Street.  The robbery took place on Monday evening at about 9:00 p.m.  The two suspects are being described as African-American males who were armed with a handgun.  The suspects entered the store and demanded cash from the clerk and then fled on foot.  The men are described as being in their early 20's. One suspect is 5'7" to 5'9" and of thinner build. The other, being a bit shorter, between 5'5" and 5'7" with a heavier build.  Both were wearing hooded sweatshirts and bandanas.  The suspects fled the area on foot with an undetermined amount of cash.  The two employees in the business at the time were not harmed during the incident.


Albert City Man Arrested For Narcotics

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County authorities executed a narcotics search warrant at the Robert Taylor Jr. residence located in Albert City.  The search warrant was the result of an on going narcotics sales investigation.  Numerous items of narcotics and drug paraphernalia were located in the residence along with a 14 year old male from Albert City.  Taylor, age 18, was arrested and the 14 year old juvenile male was detained during the search warrant and investigation.  Robert Taylor Jr. was arrested and transported to the Buena Vista County jail and has been charged with using a person under the age of 18 in drug trade, a class C felony, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a class D felony, gathering where controlled substances are unlawfully used, a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.  He is being held on a $16,300 bond.  The 14 year old male was released to a parent and charges are pending on the juvenile.  The investigation is continuing and further charges are expected.


Orange City Man Sentenced For Drugs

(Orange City) -- An Orange City man has been sentenced to a residential treatment facility for delivery of oxycodone and possession of marijuana.  Andrew Hemmelman, age 18, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Monday in Sioux County District Court for the crimes of delivery of oxycodone, a class C felony, and possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor.  The case arose on March 28th when authorities witnessed Hemmelman delivered five oxycodone pills and a small amount of marijuana to an undercover informant monitored by officers with the Orange City Police Department and the Sioux County Sheriff's Department.  The drug transaction occurred at Windmill Park in downtown Orange City and the defendant was arrested minutes later.


ACLU Says More African-Americans Than Whites Are Arrested For Marijuana Charges

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union says the racial disparity between blacks and whites arrested for marijuana possession Iowa is the worst in the nation.
The  ACLU report issued Tuesday cited FBI data collected from 2001 through 2010. The data say black people in Iowa are arrested about eight times as often as white people, even though both smoke pot at about the same rate.
The report recommends legalizing marijuana as the best way to end racially biased enforcement.
The ACLU says that in 2010, Iowa black people were arrested at a rate 8.34 times higher than whites for marijuana possession. That was a rate of 1,454 blacks arrested per 100,000 of the black
general population, compared with 174 whites arrested per 100,000.

Regents To Name New President

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Members of the Iowa Board of Regents will name a new president to lead their board, which governs Iowa's three public universities.
The regents meet Wednesday at the University of Iowa.
The agenda includes picking a president to replace Craig Lang, who left the board when his term expired in April. The Democratic-controlled Senate blocked Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's appointment of Lang to a second six-year term.
Board member Bruce Rastetter has served as interim president since Lang's departure. A top donor to Branstad and a powerful Republican agribusiness executive, he would appear to be in line for the top job. He's been praised for improving relations with the Legislature.
But Rastetter's also been in the middle of controversies involving academic freedom, board transparency and his own business dealings.






Tuesday Afternoon News, June 4

First National Bank To Become Northwest Bank

(Le Mars) -- Customers of the First National Bank will notice a name change in the coming months.  First National Bank of Le Mars, Sioux Center, and Sioux City will become known as Northwest Bank.  Kevin Eekhoff, Market President with First National Bank says the transition will be seamless to the bank's customers.

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Eekhoff says the bank is still with the original holders of the bank, and now will become one of the larger banks to be located in western Iowa.

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In a release, bank officials say the transition will provide the operation with new growth opportunities, and allow Northwest Bank to increase lending capabilities and provide new products and services in the former First National Bank service areas.   The change will also strengthen the bank's ability to reinvest into its communities and employees, all under a strong and diverse leadership team.

Eekhoff says the transition makes sense for the holding company.

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With the addition of the First National Banks of Le Mars, Sioux Center, and Sioux City, Northwest Banks will have more than 20 locations in Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

The name change is expected to be completed by mid-October.


Driver's License Renewal To Be Online

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Transportation says it expects to set up an online process to renew driver's licenses by mid-July.
The agency says in a news release Tuesday that although it's close to establishing a system, people should be aware that fake Internet renewal sites exist that are designed to take advantage of
people. Until the state site goes live next month, people will have to renew their licenses in person.
The Iowa Legislature approved online renewals in the last session, and the measure was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad.
Under the new system, drivers between 18 and 72 can renew driver's licenses through the state Department of Transportation's website without passing a vision test. The bill also extends the
time licenses are valid from five years to eight years.

Branstad Appoints Two To Regents Board

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has filled two vacancies on the Iowa Board of Regents, naming a former state senator and a construction business owner to the panel that
oversees the state's three public universities.
Branstad announced the appointments Tuesday morning of former state Sen. Larry McKibben and construction business owner Milt Dakovich.
They will be subject to state Senate approval during the 2014 Legislature.
Their appointments came after the Senate in April didn't give the appointments of Craig Lang and Robert Cramer the two-thirds majority required for their approval to the nine-member board. Branstad had asked senators to confirm Lang, who was serving on the board and had been its president, and Cramer, a new appointee.
Branstad made the appointments in advance of the next regents meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Former Senate Staff Member Files Civil Rights Suit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former staffer for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus has filed a civil rights complaint alleging that she was fired after reporting sexual harassment.
Kirsten Anderson filed the complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission last week. She says she was fired several weeks ago from her job as communications director for the caucus, hours after
complaining about harassment from lawmakers and staffers.
In the complaint, Anderson says that she received pay increases for her work. But she said that the workplace was a hostile environment. Anderson says she first complained several months ago and then began getting poor performances reviews.
Anderson said in an email Monday that she wants the workplace culture to change.
Ed Failor Jr., an assistant to Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, declined to comment.





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