Tuesday, September 01, 2015
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Wednesday News, August 19 -afternoon

A Hawarden man is in custody facing burglary and assault charges.

The Plymouth County Sheriff says 18 year old Heriberto Armenta-Robles was arrested Monday on a warrant for first degree burglary, a class B felony, and assault while participating in a felony, which is a Class D Felony.

Armenta-Robles was being held on $25,000 bond in the Plymouth County Jail..


There's going to be a workshop held in Le Mars Thursday to develop a safety plan to make Plymouth County's roads safer.

The county is partnering with the Iowa Department of Transportation to develop a local road safety plan.

It's a followup to a similar workshop held back on July 2nd and ideas from that meeting will be reviewed to develop the final safety plan.

The goal is to have zero fatalities on Plymouth County roadways.

The workshop runs from 9am until noon Thursday at the conference room of the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center.


There's a road closure in the county to tell you about.

Polk Avenue is closed between 200th to 190th streets for replacement of a bridge with a culvert.

The closure began this morning (Weds) and is expected to last through September 3rd.



A school board member in Sioux City accused of sexually harassing a district employee says he will not resign from his post.


Paul Speidel (spy-dell) said during a special board meeting Tuesday that he sent inappropriate text messages to the employee over an undisclosed period of time. He says the communication has stopped.


The district confirmed this month that it had received a sexual harassment complaint about a board member.


Speidel says he will not step down from his position. His term expires in 2017.


Mike Krysl,(kree-sull) school board president, says it's up to an elected official to resign. He added the public will be able to offer feedback in the coming days.



A long time federal judge from Sioux City has passed away.

The honorable Donald O'Brien died  tuesday at the age of 91.

O'Brien was appointed to the federal bench back in 1978.

He never retired, remaining active up until the time of his death.

O'Brien also served as Woodbury County Attorney in the late 1950's and twice ran for Congress in 1958 and 1960, losing each time to Republican Charles Hoeven.

He participated in Democratic politics in northwest Iowa for sveral years after that, until being appointed to the federal bench.

Funeral services for Judge Donald O'Brien are being handled through Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel in Sioux City.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have confirmed emerald ash borer in a southwest Iowa county, and they say it's the furthest west the invasive insect has been spotted in the state.


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship did not release additional information Tuesday about the discovery. To date, there have been confirmed cases of the beetle in 27 Iowa counties.


Experts say emerald ash borer gradually kills ash trees. A statewide quarantine has restricted the movement of firewood out of Iowa.


Mike Kintner, a coordinator for the department who focuses on emerald ash borer, says the latest find marks the furthest west the pest has been confirmed in Iowa.


The metallic green insect is native to Asia. It has spread to 25 states since first being identified in Michigan in 2002.







Wednesday News, August 19

Governor Jindahl Speaks At A Campaign Stop In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Louisiana Governor and republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindahl made a campaign appearance in Le Mars this afternoon. Jindahl spoke for nearly two hours before approximately 70 people with the theme "The American Dream is not about government dependence."

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During his appearance, the Louisiana Republican made several references to former president Ronald Reagan.  Jindahl spoke about reforming immigration.  He is a son of Indian immigrants who came to the United States, and he says the United States currently has a "dumb immigration policy".  Jindahl says the United States was, and still is, and always should be the melting pot of the world.  He says immigrants need to follow his parent's example, and come to this nation legally.  The Louisiana governor says the U-S needs to secure our borders, and do away with sanctuary cities.  Jindahl also says the nation needs to shrink its 18 trillion dollar debt, and he claims to be the only candidate that actually has reduced spending.

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Jindahl offers several examples as to where the federal government can reduce its size.

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Jindahl points to his experience as governor of the delta state and says it is possible to have both affordable energy and a clean environment.  He says he favors an "all of the above" energy policy, which would also includes ethanol.

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The Louisiana politician also favors the Keystone XL pipeline.

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The presidential candidate told the gathering he is opposed to Common Core in education, and favors increasing the military both in spending and in numbers, and says the U-S should do a better job of caring for its veterans.




City To Conduct A Housing Assessment Study

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council approved a plan on Tuesday to contract with Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council, or SIMPCO, to conduct a housing assessment study.  Mayor Dick Kirchoff says Le Mars has a shortage of available housing, and due to that fact, the city has had some difficulty in recruiting additional industries.

(sot) Kirchoff housing1

Mayor Kirchoff says another problem facing the city is when people decide to work in Le Mars, but can't find affordable housing. Instead they choose to live in another surrounding community.

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City code ordinance officer Jason Vacera answered the mayor's question by saying once SIMPCO completes the housing study and offers suggestions, it then becomes the responsibility of the city council and other city officials to implement those suggestions.
City councilman Clark Goodchild, who is a real estate agent, says there are no houses to sell.  Goodchild questioned the need for a study when city officials already know the results.

(sot) Goodchild housing1

The housing assessment study will cost the city $6500 and is expected to be completed by mid-January.

In other action, city officials approved a request by Wells Enterprises to submit a High Quality Jobs application with the Iowa Economic Development Authority allowing for Wells to obtain financial assistance with an expansion project that will add more jobs.  Wells will be making an estimated investment of $19,000,000.  Wells will receive a tax abatement for five years amounting to nearly $91,980.





Opponents Of Oil Pipeline File Lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa landowners are taking a different legal approach against a proposed oil pipeline, arguing in a lawsuit that a state board has no authority to grant access to private property for the project.
The lawsuit filed in district court in Cherokee County in late July says the Iowa Utilities Board has no legal authority to give developers like Dakota Access LLC the right to use private property for the pipeline. The lawsuit says Dakota Access is not an Iowa utility so it can't utilize such options.
The three-member board filed a motion Friday to dismiss the lawsuit. An attorney for the board says they do not comment on pending litigation.
Dakota Access, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, wants to build a pipeline from North Dakota through Illinois.





Bird Flu Economic Study Released

(Des Moines) - A study by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation shows the avian bird flu that struck Iowa's poultry industry and resulted in the loss of 34 million birds on 77 farms, will cost the state dearly in lost jobs and lost revenue. Spencer Parkinson executive director of Decision Innovation Solutions, the company contracted by Iowa Farm Bureau to conduct the economic study shares the results.

(sot) Parkinson1

Parkinson says it could be a few years before the state fully recovers from the economic setback.  The economist says egg prices are likely to peak this summer, but the elevated price for eggs is likely to linger for a minimum of 12 months and could last for two to three years. Parkinson says the economic recovery will be different for turkey producers than for the layer industry.

(sot) Parkinson2

Parkinson says more than just poultry farms and their workers were affected.  Other Iowa businesses including veterinarians, trucking companies, processors, and lenders were feeling the economic results of the bird flu. Parkinson says grain farmers, feed companies, and other businesses that sell products and services to poultry operations couldn't continue to make and sell products to the poultry industry like they did prior to the bird flu outbreak.





Iowa Medicaid Program Cutting Ties With Management Company

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Medicaid program is planning to cut ties with a company that has managed mental health and substance abuse benefits for its members for two decades.
Magellan Health, Inc. was one of six companies passed over Monday when Iowa officials announced four winning bidders to operate the $4.2 billion Medicaid program.
The Iowa Department of Human Services said Tuesday that Magellan's contracts would expire Dec. 31 and its services will be turned over to the new vendors.
Department spokeswoman Amy McCoy said Magellan has been a "valued partner" since the 1990s but scored lower than the winning bidders.
The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company's stock price dropped after Monday's announcement, which surprised many providers. Magellan said its Iowa contracts generated $262 million in revenue in the first six months of 2015.





Sioux City Man Sentenced For Hitting Son With Binder Notebook


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been sentenced to four years in prison for repeatedly hitting his 13-year-old stepson with a three-ring binder.

48-year-old Michael Bardwell was sentenced Friday on two counts of child endangerment. He had pleaded guilty.

Court documents say Bardwell struck the boy in the head several times on May 15 while they were in a Sioux City hotel room. According to authorities, the boy placed his hands over his head for protection and suffered a fractured middle left finger.






Free Preach Lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal appellate court has ruled that state troopers didn't violate an evangelist's First Amendment rights by asking him to stop preaching near state fairgrounds in 2013.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that Jason Powell's lawsuit should go back to district court for a judge to decide whether unwritten policies fair officials use to manage protesters and advocacy groups are too vague to be enforceable.

Powell sued state and fair officials in June 2014, saying his rights to free speech were violated when law enforcement personnel during the 2013 Iowa State Fair asked him to leave the publicly owned grounds because he stood wearing Christian clothing and holding up a sign.






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