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Thursday Afternoon News, April 4

Police Release Information On Tuesday Morning Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has released additional information regarding that early morning accident that happened on Tuesday.  A car driven by 19 year old Edwin Barerra of South Sioux City, Nebraska failed to make a stop and pulled out in front of an on coming semi truck and trailer being driven by 36 year old Grace Jackson of Harrington, Delaware.  The accident occurred at the junction of Business Highway 75 and 18th Street Southwest.  The semi truck did not have time to avoid the car and struck the Barerra vehicle causing debris to be scattered on the highway.  There were no injuries associated with the accident.  The police report indicated frost was covering the windshield and side windows in the Barerra vehicle which obstructed the vision.  The Le Mars Fire Department responded to
that accident to assist with the clean up of debris and fluids.

Bock Arrested On Drug and Burglary Charges

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County law officials have arrested a 28 year old Le Mars man for various drug charges and for a burglary charge.  On Wednesday of last week, Andrew Bock was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance 3rd or subsequent offense, a Class D Felony; driving while impaired 3rd or subsequent offense, a Class D Felony; burglary 3rd degree, a Class D Felony; driving while revoked, a simple misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a burglary that occurred in rural Plymouth County near Le Mars.  The burglary was from a machine shed and included the theft of numerous tools valued at approximately $850.  During the investigation, Bock, was developed as a suspect.  Originally, Bock was stopped for a stop sign violation in the area of 170th Street and Impala Avenue west of Le Mars. 

As a result of the arrest and investigation, Bock was also charged with the burglary and theft of the tools from the incident on March 24th.  A search warrant was executed at 1315 W. 20th Street in Sioux City, IA for the stolen property.  Stolen property from the Plymouth County burglary was recovered from that residence.  The residence belonged to John Warner, age 61 of Sioux City.  Warner was incarcerated at the Woodbury County Jail at the time of the search warrant for a parole violation.  The investigation with Warner is on-going.  Bock is currently jailed at the Plymouth County Jail with a bond of $15,000.


Plymouth County Authorities Dispatched For Domestic Abuse Case

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a residence in the 2100 block of K18 in rural Plymouth County on Wednesday morning for a domestic assault.  After an investigation at the scene, Eric Robley, age 41 of rural Akron, was arrested for simple domestic abuse assault.  Robley was taken to the Plymouth County Jail and held to see a judge.


Plymouth County Sheriff's Office and Le Mars Police Train For Lost Individuals

(Le Mars) -- Members of the Plymouth County Sheriff's office and the Le Mars Police Department have been receiving training during the last couple days of how to locate individuals who may wander.  It's part of Project Lifesaver, and its a program that utilizes a radio transmitter signal to help find those individuals that may suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's, autism, or other developmental disorders.  Neil Johnson is with the St. Croix County Wisconsin sheriff's office.  Johnson has been training the local law enforcement agencies and explains the program.
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Individuals in long-term care facilities or other special needs facilities would be fitted with a transmitter about the size of a watch that could be worn on their wrist.  If that individual would happen to wander away from the facility, the care unit could contact the local law enforcement agency to assist with the search.

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Johnson has taught 26 agencies in the use of the equipment.  He says the training sessions have all gone well and the local law enforcement agencies participated in five simulated searches on Wednesday morning, with each search scattered around Le Mars at various points.

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Plymouth County has acquired two hand-held units and according to Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo, he is pursuing a grant in order to have a third unit.  Van Otterloo says eleven counties within northwest Iowa are already equipped with the locator technology.

State Auditor Dave Vaudt Resigns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State Auditor David Vaudt says he is resigning his elected position to become chairman of a national nonprofit accounting board.
Vaudt, a Republican who has served as auditor since January 2003, announced Thursday he would leave the position to become chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.
His new position will begin July 1.
Gov. Terry Branstad will appoint a replacement, who will serve until Vaudt's term expires.
The next election for auditor will be in November 2014.

Election Commissioner Asks School Officials To Dismiss Students On Election Day

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County elections boss is working with Sioux City school officials to have children absent on November's Election Day every two years.
Woodbury County Elections commissioner Pat Gill has asked the district to hold teacher training that day so students won't be in buildings being used as polling places. Gill says removing children for the day would eliminate security concerns posed by doors being left open
for voters.
District Superintendent Paul Gausman  says the district will consider holding the training on those Tuesdays.  Normally the sessions are held on Monday afternoons.
Gill has said that if such measures are not taken, Sioux City schools eventually won't be used as polling places. He says other counties are moving away from using schools for voting.  None of the Plymouth County polling places are within any school district facility.


Former Judge Charged With Marijuana Possession

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former Muscatine County judge who's served time for drunken driving has been charged with marijuana possession.
59-year-old James Weaver, of Muscatine, was cited on Sunday in Iowa City. Officers had gone to a hotel to evict Weaver when his credit card was declined.
Officers say Weaver wouldn't open the room door, so a hotel manager used a key. Officers say Weaver was inside, on the bed, and seemed intoxicated.
Officers say they found a small bag of marijuana under the mattress.
A phone listing for Weaver couldn't be found. Online court records don't list an attorney for him.
Weaver was an associate judge from 1982 to 2004. Since 2002 he has had three drunken-driving convictions and has served time in prison.







Thursday News, April 4

Supervisors and City Officials To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet with city officials from the county's municipalities this evening during a meeting scheduled for the Courthouse annex.  That meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. It is expected the county and city officials will discuss issues of mutual interests and concern.

Northwest REC Looks To The Future

(Le Mars) -- For 75 years, Rural Electric Cooperatives have provided rural residents with power, and last evening, the members of the Northwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative gathered in Le Mars to celebrate and to hold its annual meeting.  Lyle Korver serves as the C-E-O of the local cooperative utility company.  Northwest Iowa R-E-C serves Plymouth, Sioux, O'Brien, and Ida counties.  Korver says the local utility cooperative has more than 3500 miles of electrical line that provides power to 9500 services and serves more than 7000 cooperative members. Korver says the local cooperative has been able to grow through the years, especially after the consolidation of 15 years ago.  He says through the use of government grants three years ago through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, the local utility cooperative has been able to finance needed improvements.

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The utility official says the local cooperative has utilized several forms of technology in order to remain competitive.

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Korver says along with technical advancements, the Rural Electrical Cooperative has a drive to be more efficient.

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Members were treated to a banquet and an evening of entertainment provided by The Brown Family.

Storm Lake Woman Charged With Theft

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Storm Lake woman has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 in insurance proceeds from family friends.
45-year-old Tum Soulin was arrested Tuesday in Storm Lake and faces felony charges of ongoing criminal conduct and theft. Iowa online court records list her name as Soulin Tum, who also is known as
Khamphavongsa Tum.
Assistant Storm Lake Police Chief Todd Erskine says Tum Soulin took the money as she supposedly was investing it for family friends.
A Buena Vista County jailer said Tum Soulin remained in custody on Wednesday. Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.


House Judiciary Committee Chair Stops Window Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House Judiciary Committee chairman has blocked legislation that would put tougher safety restrictions on windows in new buildings to prevent children from falling out.
The Senate had approved the bill, which was passed by a House subcommittee Monday, but Republican Rep. Chip Baltimore of Boone announced Wednesday he wouldn't let the full Judiciary Committee take up the proposal.
The bill would have modified safety requirements so windows installed in new or renovated multifamily dwellings, hotels and motels had to adopt window fall prevention devices meeting industry
In a statement Wednesday, Baltimore says he hadn't seen sufficient data proving the bill would be the way to prevent such
The bill stemmed from a 2011 incident in which 4-year-old Hannah
Geneser (GIN'-uh-sur) died after falling out a third-story window.

Iowa State Fair Wanting "Blue Ribbon Ideas" for Blue Ribbon Concrete Statues

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Organizers of the Iowa State Fair are encouraging people to submit designs that can be used for concrete ribbons on display throughout the fair grounds.
The contest celebrates the fair's blue ribbon winners. The painted concrete ribbons will be 3  1/2 feet tall.
Participants can be individuals, clubs and companies. Entries must be submitted by May 15, and must include a description and detailed drawing of the paint design. Selected applicants will be
contacted by June.
A panel of judges will award prizes on originality, creativeness and overall look. There will be a novice and professional division, for individuals working in graphic design or an artistry-related field.
Winners will receive other goodies including a state fair plaque and admission tickets.
The Iowa State Fair will be held Aug. 8-18.

Refugees In the Midwest Conference

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A three-day conference at the University of Iowa will shine a spotlight on refugees living in the Midwest.
The "Refugees in the Heartland" conference begins Thursday evening in Iowa City with a keynote speech by Kenneth Quinn, the former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia who now leads the World Food
Prize Foundation.
Panel discussions on Friday and Saturday will examine the experiences of groups such as Somalis who have settled in the Twin Cities and Bosnians and ethnic Burmese who are now living in Iowa.
Speakers will also address issues such as immigration reform.
The university says the conference is designed to educate the public and generate discussions about refugee and resettlement policy and practices. Refugee leaders and service providers are
among those expected to be in attendance.

Lobbyist Faces Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A sex offender faces up to two years in prison following accusations that he didn't report a legislative lobbying job to Iowa authorities.
24-year-old Michael Byars has been pushing legislation that would let sex offenders have lifetime parole sentences lifted under certain circumstances.
Byars was convicted in 2008 of lascivious acts with a child because he'd had what he described as a consensual relationship with a 13-year-old when he was 18. His parole curbs his interaction
with children, including his son.
Byars tried to register as a lobbyist but was told he didn't need to because he wasn't advocating for another person or any group. But a police affidavit says Byars "obtained employment" as
a lobbyist but didn't report that to authorities as required.

Fire Departments To Receive Grants In Order To Purchase Trucks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Four Iowa fire departments are getting federal grants to help them buy fire trucks and to improve and update their operations.
The Monona Fire Department gets more than $53,000 and Independence nearly $50,000. The Nashua Fire Department will receive just over $15,000 and the Grant Lee Township Fire
Department near Alden will receive $3,325.
Sen. Tom Harkin says in announcing the grants Tuesday that the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is designed to increase the effectiveness of fire operations and to support firefighter
Harkin co-sponsored the legislation that authorized the grants.








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