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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.



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 ( ) 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.






Wednesday News, May 29

Police Investigate Motorcycle Accident

(Le Mars) -- Authorities were dispatched to a motorcycle accident that occurred Tuesday evening at about 9:09 p.m.  The accident happened at the intersection of 3rd Street and 9th Avenue Southwest.  Preliminary indications show that 20 year old Linden Sitzmann of Le Mars was a passenger riding on the back of a motorcycle being driven by Jonathon Ruden, age 21 also from Le Mars.  The motorcycle was eastbound on 3rd street southwest when Linden fell off the back of the motorcycle and sustained incapacitating injuries.  She was first transported to Floyd Valley Hospital by the Le Mars Ambulance, but later transported to Mercy Medical Center by Mercy Air Care.  The accident remains under investigation, and the Le Mars Police was assisted at the scene by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, Le Mars Ambulance and the Le Mars Fire Department.


Floyd Valley Hospital To Hold Public Hearing

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposed new construction project involving the relocation of the loading dock facility.  The construction project is estimated to cost about $750,000.  Although hospital trustees have not officially given the green light for the new proposed north addition, the moving of the loading dock facility, could be considered as phase one of the much larger scale capital improvement project.  That public hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. at the hospital.


Plymouth County Proclaimed Disaster Area By Governor Branstad

(Des Moines) -- Plymouth County and 12 other counties, including Cherokee, Buena Vista, Sioux, and Ida located in northwest Iowa are now eligible for state resources as a result of the flooding.  Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster proclamation due to the recent storms and flooding.  Assistance will include help with removing debris and wreckage.  Low-income households in these counties can apply for grants to help cover the cost of home repairs or other expenses.  The other eligible counties are in central Iowa and include: Butler, Floyd, Iowa, Jasper, Mahaska, Marshall, Tama and Wright.

Officials Inspect Streets, Roads, and Bridges For Flood Related Damage

(Le Mars) -- Since the flood waters of the Floyd River and Willow Creek have started to recede, city and county officials are beginning to inspect the condition of the streets, roads, and bridges.  Officials have had the opportunity to evaluate the damage left behind as a result of the floods.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says despite the rising waters, in general, Plymouth County roads and bridges fared well following the floods.  Rohe says there a few exceptions.

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Marble Avenue near 160th Street was one roadway that was closed due to flood waters spilling over the top of the road.  But Rohe believes the stretch of paved road may have suffered only minimal damage.

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Mud Run Is Postponed Until 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 until September 21st.  The original date was scheduled for this coming Saturday, June 1st.  Those people currently registered for the Mud Run will remain registered for the September 21st event.  Officials say the obstacles that were in place have been damaged or destroyed by the recent flood waters.


Cherokee City Officials Ask Residents To Register All Flood Damage

(Cherokee) -- The city of Cherokee is asking all residents impacted by the flood event to register damages at the Cherokee City Hall.  Officials ask residents to do so regardless of whether ou are able to complete the clean up process yourself.  Flood clean up kits are again available at the Cherokee Fire Station.  Supplies had earlier ran out, but additional kits have now been supplied.  The kits are being provided by the American Red Cross and are free to residents.


Volunteers To Help Repair Stone State Park Equestrian Trail

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources says volunteers have begun making repairs to a popular equestrian trail near Sioux City.
The DNR says 16 AmeriCorps volunteers have begun a three-week project to repair trail damage at Stone State Park.
Among their work will be fixing a 200 feet section of the equestrian trail on Ruth's Ridge that was damaged by severe erosion. As part of their work, crews will add features to the
trail to limit future water damage.
The trail will be closed during the work.
The trail crew is made up primarily of college students from across the country. They next will head to Lake Macbride State Park, north of Iowa City.


Cedar Falls Becomes "Gigabit" City

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Cedar Falls has become one of the nation's first "gigabit cities."
The city utility service announced Tuesday that it can provide Internet service of up to 1 gigabit a second for downloads. That's a boon for businesses that wish to hold video conferences and for city residents who want blazing speeds for their Internet games.
The service will cost businesses $950 a month. Residents will pay $275.
Broadband expansion advocate Connect Iowa says 10 other U.S. cities have 1 gigabit service.
Amy Kuhlers of Connect Iowa says that with the new service, Cedar Falls has opened itself "to a whole new market as far as the capability to attract businesses. Those businesses attract new






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