Wednesday news, September 5
Storm Knocks Down Trees and Power Lines
(Le Mars) -- Last evening's storm was a double edge sword for people living in northwest Iowa. It produced up to an inch of rain at Le Mars, but also caused several power lines and trees to be blown down. There were reports of isolated power outages in Le Mars, Remsen, Kingsley and Merrill. Both the
Kingsley Fire Department and the Merrill Fire Department responded to emergencies caused by the strong winds and thunder storms. Kingsley had a tree catch on fire from the lightning and due to a power line that was down. Merrill was called twice within a half hour to put out small fires as a result of the storm. Mid-American and Rural Electric Cooperative crews have been working through the night to restore power. As of 6:30 a.m. this morning, there were 450 homes still without power in Sioux City.
Branstad Appoints Petersen As Judge
(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad has appointed a judge for the 3A Judicial District. Lyon County Attorney Carl Petersen of Lester has been tapped to replace the vacancy left by Judge Duffy as a result of retirement. Those counties served in the third judicial district include: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Kossuth, Monona, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury.
City Council Rejects Bids For Former IDOT Property
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council took the action Tuesday during their regular meeting to reject all of the submitted four bids for the city owned property located on North Business Highway 75. The property in question is the former Iowa Deparment of Transportation maintenance sheds. The city is asking a total of $50,000 for the one-point forty-four acres of property. There was a difference of opinion from council members as to whether the council should sell the property. Councilman Ken Nelson suggested the city reject all offers and wait for a better offer.
Meanwhile, Rex Knapp and Delana Ihrke both thought the offers were good and asked the city council to consider selling the property.
Nelson believes since the property is of close proximity to the recreation trail and to the Floyd River,it may attract a recreational type business.
Interested buyers had until August 28th to offer the city a bid for the land and buildings. Two of the submitted bids were for $40,000 and a third offer was for $30,000. The fourth bid was for the amount of $7,500. Councilman Knapp made the motion to accept the bid offered by Wayne Kolbeck for $40,000 with a $5,000 down payment, but the council turned thumbs down the motion by a 3 to 2 vote. Shane Sitzmann, representing the Sitzmann Real Estate Company, and acting as a contractual agent for the city, informed the council members that they have had 40 showings of the property. Sitzmann asked the city officials for clarification as to what is next step?
City attorney Joe Flannery informed the city council and Sitzmann that they would be forbidden to make any counter offers.
City Lifts Water Conservation Measures
(Le Mars) -- In other action taken by the city council, the city has now lifted the mandatory water conservation measure.
Gehlen To Hold Informational Meeting On Wednesday
(Le Mars) -- The Gehlen Catholic Board of Education is inviting parents, alumni, benefactors, and the community to join them Wednesday evening, September 5th, at 7 p.m. at the Reardon Family Gym for an important public announcement that has come about through the school's Long Range Strategic Plan. The Gehlen Board of Education says the announcement will be short and it will deal with the future of Catholic education in northwest Iowa.
Knights of Columbus To Hold Phone-a-thon
(Le Mars) -- For more than 30 years, the Knights of Columbus clubs of Plymouth County have raised money through the means of a phone-a-thon for the mentally challenged residents living in Plymouth County. Today, the Knights of Columbus will again be soliciting funds. Dr. Jeremy Bollin is one of the coordinators of the annual event.
Bollin says the local K-C members hope that you will share your cell phone number with the organization so they can ask for your donation.
Bollin says the Knights of Columbus hope to raise at least $48,000 this year.
The phone-a-thon will be coordinated from the Knights of Columbus Hall in Le Mars and will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue for twelve hours until 9:00 p.m.
Monona Residents Upset Over Taxes
ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - Landowners in Monona County are complaining about a big increase in their property taxes.
The landowners gathered Tuesday at the county courthouse to discuss what they could do about the tax increase and to question county assessor Tim Peters and county board members.
Castana farmer William Brink says his taxes have increased by $9,000 in one year.
Officials say the change is because of a new way counties value land based on the ability to produce crops. If soil is more fertile, it's taxed at a higher rate.
The new system also applies to more land, causing increases on property once overlooked.
Some counties adjust taxes for property not used for row crops, but Monona County is among 50 counties that doesn't make adjustments.
"Field Of Dreams" Expansion Gets Approval
DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The Dyersville City Council has approved a development agreement with an organization that plans to build a 24-field youth baseball and softball complex at the Field of Dreams
The Telegraph Herald of Dubuque reports the council voted 3-1 on Tuesday to approve the deal with Go the Distance Baseball, LLC.
Under the agreement, the city will rebate up to $5.1 million in property tax revenue to Go the Distance Baseball over 15 years.
The Iowa Legislature earlier this year passed a law that provides a $16.5 million tax rebate for the project.
The $38 million complex will be at the site where the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed and where a baseball field carved from a cornfield remains.
Former Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sexual Exploitation
ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) - A retired southwest Iowa teacher accused of sexual conduct with a student has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor by a school employee.
KJAN radio in Atlantic says 65-year-old William Foulkes pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Cass County
District Court. Sentencing is set for Oct. 1.
Foulkes was accused of exploiting a teenage girl from August 2009 until November 2010 while teaching the student in a math program.
Foulkes resigned in November 2010. He was arrested last March.
Harvest Underway Across The Nation
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. corn harvest continues ahead of schedule with some states nearly half-finished at a time when they usually are just getting started.
The USDA said Tuesday in its weekly crop update that little has changed in the condition of drought-damaged corn and soybeans. That's because the plants are too far along for recent rain to make a difference.
Corn was planted several weeks earlier this year and matured more quickly in the summer heat, allowing farmers to start harvesting early.
Tennessee has 49 percent of its corn in, compared to the usual 21 percent. Missouri is at 44 percent, ahead of the average 8 percent.
Nebraska is at 7 percent, and Iowa, the nation's leading corn producer, is at 5 percent. Typically those farmers haven't begun yet.