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Friday Afternoon News, April 26

County Fire Departments Busy With Grass Fires

(Le Mars) -- Grass fires have kept some Plymouth County Fire Departments busy on this Friday.
The Hinton Fire Department responded to a grass fire that was reported at about 9:35 a.m. this morning.  That fire was located along county road K-18 and West Loop Road.  Fire officials were on the scene for a half an hour.
Meanwhile, the Le Mars Fire Department was called to a field fire near 130th Street and Nature Avenue, near Highway 60 on Friday afternoon.  The fire was reported at about 12:35 p.m.  Fire crews needed to use three trucks to surround the fire's perimeter and keep it from spreading any further.  A brush pile was purposely set on fire, but quickly got out of control and spread to a nearby corn field burning approximately twenty acres.  Smoke could be seen for miles as fire officals arrived at the scene. There was no one attending the fire when officials arrived on the scene.  Officials were on the scene for more than an hour.

Okoboji School Told To Drop "O" Logo

OKOBOJI, Iowa (AP) - A northwest Iowa school district superintendent says the Okoboji Pioneers team will phase out its use of an "O" logo after receiving complaints from the University
of Oregon.
Superintendent Gary Janssen says the district will phase out use of the maroon logo at the request of the Eugene, Ore., university. Oregon has trademarked its green or yellow emblem, designed by athletic apparel company Nike
Janssen says he has drafted a plan to stop using the logo and has asked Oregon for time, noting the district has used the logo for nearly 10 years.
Matt Dyste, the university's director of marketing and brand management, says Oregon must protect its trademark but doesn't want to hurt local school districts and will be patient.

Supreme Court Says Town Council Acted Appropriately With Floating Bar

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says the city of Okoboji acted appropriately when it took action to close a floating, lakeside bar at a popular marina.
The court upheld an injunction Friday that prevents Leo "Butch" Parks from using his marina on West Lake Okoboji to operate the Fish House Lounge or any other bar located on an
excursion boat.
The Fish House boat was moored to the marina, which provided bathrooms, parking and access for customers. The bar featured karaoke, hog roasts and "howl at the moon" parties.
City officials said the bar violated zoning rules designating the area as residential, increasing traffic and noise in the neighborhood.
Parks argued the city couldn't regulate the bar, which had been granted a state liquor license to operate on the water.


Supreme Court Says Police Made An Illegal Stop and Search

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a central Iowa police officer was not justified in stopping a car in October 2010 and says evidence that led to the driver's drunken driving
conviction must be thrown out.
In its ruling Friday, the court orders a new trial for Tommy Tyler Jr.
The court says Johnston police officer Brad Lowe violated Tyler's constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure when he claimed he stopped Tyler because his SUV's license
plate covers blurred the plate numbers.
Tyler, who is black, alleges racial profiling. The justices don't address profiling but say it appears Tyler was stopped for reasons other than obscured plates.
The Iowa Attorney General, Polk County Attorney, and Johnston police did not immediately return messages.




Friday News, April 26

Use Caution When Using Recreational Fire Pits

(Le Mars) -- With this spring-like weather, many people may take the opportunity to get outdoors and perhaps start up the barbeque grill, or light the recreational fire pit.  But before you do, the Le Mars Fire Department wants to remind you of some of the regulations.  Recreational fire pits are allowed within the city limits.  Recreational fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and chimneys need to have an appropriate screen cover. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says stay away from combustibles.

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Dave Schipper, Le Mars Fire Chief urges people to follow the ten foot rule.

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Schipper says the device should not be larger than three feet in diameter and the fuel load should not exceed two feet in height.  Only charcoal, natural gas, propane, or clean, dry

seasoned firewood shall be used.

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Obviously, when you have a grill or fire pit, it needs to attended to at all times by a competent adult.  A garden hose, water bucket, or fire extinguisher should be close by, and winds need to be under 20 mph.


Low Income Senior Home Owners May Qualify For Tax Credits

(Le Mars) --  Plymouth County Treasurer, Linda Dobson, and members of her staff will be visiting Plymouth County communities to sign up applicants who qualify for a state credit on their house taxes, mobile homes taxes, or for rent reimbursements.  To qualify and receive a credit on your real estate taxes, Iowa residents who own their own homes must be 65 years or older by December 31, 2012 (or totally disabled and 18 years of age or older) AND ALSO have a total household income under $21,335 for the year of 2012, including your social security earnings. 
If you own and live in a mobile home, you are eligible to claim a reduced tax rate if your 2012 combined household income was less than $21,335 and you were 23 years of age or older as of December 31, 2012. 
If you rent where you live, an application can be made for a rent reimbursement if the total household income was less than $21,335, and you (or your spouse) were born before 1948,  OR totally disabled and born between 1994 and 1948.     
Sign up must be done by June 1.  Bring in your 2012 income tax return, social security statement(s) of earnings, and the amount of any other income that you received in 2012.

May 6   Monday          -  Hinton Community Bldg           from    9:00  -   9:45 a.m.

May 6   Monday          -  Merrill Kissinger Building            from  10:00 -  10:45 a.m.  

May 7   Tuesday         -  Remsen Library                       from    9:30 -  11:00 a.m.

May 8   Wednesday    -  Kingsley City Hall                      from    9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

May 8    Wednesday   -  Akron Library Comm Room        from    9:30 -  11:30 a.m.

May 8    Wednesday   -  Westfield City Hall                    from    1:00  -   2:00 p.m.

Sign up at any time in Le Mars at the treasurer’s office in the Courthouse from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by June 1.


Sioux City Schools To Lay Off Teachers

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City's school district has sent layoff notices to 30 educators due to state and federal funding cuts.
The Sioux City Community School District sent the notices this week. The district had previously announced plans to eliminate 37 positions, but retirements and attrition kept the total lower.
The Sioux City Journal ( ) reports up to 15 of those teachers could keep their jobs past July 1 if the state keeps funding a $1.1 million early intervention grant. But
Superintendent Paul Gausman says there is no guarantee about the funding.
He called the layoff notices the largest he's seen during his time leading the district.
The notices were sent to 28 teachers and two counselors. The school board passed its $149 million budget earlier this month.


Regents Approve Apartment Leasing For Iowa State University

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The Board of Regents has approved a plan by Iowa State University to lease five apartment buildings in Ames to meet increased demand for university housing.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) the regents on Thursday approved spending $2.7 million to lease space for 503 students in an apartment building known as Legacy Tower.
The space will be available beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.
The board was meeting in Cedar Falls.
The lease decision comes at a time when Iowa State President Steve Leath says he expects another year of record enrollment. Last fall, Iowa State enrolled a record 31,040.
The apartments will be available to non-freshmen or those at least 19 years old. First-year students live in residence halls on campus.


Council Bluffs To Receive Grant From EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Council Bluffs has been awarded a $166,500 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan for cleaning up a 70-acre area populated by
vacated industrial business buildings falling in disrepair.
The city has identified the former Katelman Foundry as the initial site in the area for redevelopment. The former steel fabrication business on 3.8 acres filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and
moved its operations out of the neighborhood. It includes eight parcels spanning several city blocks.
The EPA program providing the money focuses on rehabilitating brownfields - property that may have hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants that prevent redevelopment.
Council Bluffs is one of 20 communities nationwide to receive a grant.


Man Uses Hammer On Girlfriend

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man used a hammer to beat his girlfriend at a Des Moines apartment.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) that officers were sent to the apartment a little before 12:30 a.m. Thursday. They say they found a woman with blood on her face and right hand.
She reported that she and her boyfriend had been arguing Wednesday and into Thursday when their dispute turned violent. She says he choked her and used the hammer to hit her several times.
Officers say the man had fled the apartment before they arrived. No arrest has been reported.
The woman was taken to a hospital.







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