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Friday News, December 7

Orange City Teen Found Guilty of Burglary and Robbery

(Orange City) -- A 16 year old Orange City teen was found guilty by a Sioux County jury of robbery in the first degree, a class B felony, as well as Burglary in the first degree, also a class B felony.  Because of the nature of the charges, under Iowa law, the defendant, Leandro Valdez, was charged in adult court.  Valdez was accused and convicted by the jury of participating in an armed robbery and burglary at a residence in Orange City on August 30th. At the trial, the victim testified that he awoke to find five intruders in his bedroom at approximately 11;30 p.m.  The intruders were dressed in black and were wearing ski masks.  One of the intruders was armed with a handgun and three others were armed with knives.  The victim testified that the intruders demanded money from him, threaten to kill him, and held him at gunpoint as they ransacked his home searching for valuables. The resident testified
that he was able to flee the home by pushing past one of the attackers, when his attention
was diverted, and tumbled down a flight of stairs.  The intruders pursued him, beating and kicking him, but he was able to get to a neighbor's home where the neighbor called 911.  At the trial, the victim testified that he was able to identify only one of the attackers, the defendant, whose face he was able to observe when the defendant's ski mask fell off during the robbery.  Valdez was taken into custody a few hours after the incident.  To date, no one else has been formally charged in the incident.

Plymouth County Realtors To Ring Bell For Salvation Army

(Le Mars) -- Today (Friday) outside of the Le Mars Wal-Mart, some familiar faces will be ringing the bells with the hopes of filling their kettles in support of the Salvation Army.  Shane Sitzmann of Lance Sitzmann Real Estate explains.

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All the brokerage offices in Le Mars will be participating in ringing the bells from 11-6 today (Friday) outside each door.  Sitzmann adds that volunteering to do this is important to him because every coin placed in those kettles adds up.

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According to the Siouxland Salvation Army office, based in Sioux City, money from the kettles is equitably distributed back to the counties where it was raised each year.  They added that volunteers are needed throughout the season to ring the bells here in Le Mars.  Any group, organization, family or individuals wanting to help can contact the Salvation Army office at 712-255-8836 and ask for Janice.


Realtors Donate To Local Charities

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Multiple Listing Service comprised of the Realtors in Plymouth County have teamed up to donate $500 to the Christian Needs Center and $500 to the Le Mars Backpack program this holiday season.  The Christian Needs Center is a food and clothing pantry for the needy in Plymouth County.  The Le Mars Backpack program packages and donates bags of snacks and nutritional items on a weekly basis to 377 children at Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic schools.  The Plymouth County Realtors are proud to donate to these great causes that have such a significant and positive impact on the community.

Snowmobiles and ATV's Need To Be Registered

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Recorder Jolynn Goodchild wants to remind Snowmobile and ATV owners that registrations expire on December 31st.  Renewals can be made at the Plymouth County Recorder's office located at the Plymouth County Courthouse between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Renewals can also be mailed with the appropriate fee.  If you should have questions, you can contact the Recorder's office at 546-4020.

Authorities Believe Found Bodies Are Those Of Missing Cousins

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're "confident" bodies found in an isolated wildlife area are those of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes last summer.
Black Hawk County sheriff's Captain Rick Abben said that's based on evidence at the scene and the preliminary investigation.  However, autopsies are still pending.
Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins vanished while riding bikes in Evansdale in July. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10.
Hunters found the bodies Wednesday in a rural park about 25 miles away.
Local and state police and the FBI joined in a massive search
that continued for months after the girls disappeared. No one has been charged in the case.
Evansdale is about 90 miles northeast of Des Moines.


Flags To Be Lowered For Pearl Harbor Day

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The flags will be half-staff from Friday morning through the afternoon.
Public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state will participate. That includes the State Capitol Building and the Capitol Complex.
Officials are encouraging individuals, businesses, schools and other government subdivisions to fly their flags at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.
Congress has designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941, by Japan on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii pushed the U.S. into
World War II.

Des Moines Man Faces Nine Years In Prison For Robbing Bank

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A 38-year-old Des Moines man has been given more than nine years in federal prison for robbing a bank in Williamsburg.
Federal prosecutors say Ryan Randles was sentenced this week to 115 months. He must serve five years of supervised release after leaving prison and make restitution of nearly $5,700 to Keokuk
County State Bank.
Randles had pleaded guilty in September to charges that he robbed the bank on Oct. 20, 2010, and pointed what appeared to be a firearm at two people during the heist. No injuries were reported.


Thursday Afternoon News, Dec 6

City Officials Worried About Burdensome Government Regulations

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City officials expressed their concern to State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson about mounting regulations, and how it is costing the city thousands of dollars.  Le Mars City Administrator Scott Langel says there is often a goal expressed by lawmakers to reduce unfair and burdensome regulations, but many times it is all talk and no action. 
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Representative Soderberg asked the group on Wednesday whether unneeded regulations were from the state or from the federal level.  He says the state legislature should be able to lift many of the state regulations to better assist businesses and communities.  Langel says many of the regulations are from the environmental standpoint.

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Bodies Found in a Wildlife Refuge Area

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A sheriff says hunters discovered the bodies believed to be two missing cousins in a secluded wildlife area about 25 miles from where they vanished in July.
Bremer County Sheriff Dewey Hildebrandt said Thursday the bodies were found in Seven Bridges Wildlife Area, a park along the Wapsipinicon River that is popular for hunting and fishing.
Hildebrandt says investigators from his office, the FBI, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and other agencies are processing the crime scene.
Authorities said hunters Wednesday discovered bodies believed to be Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they vanished while bike riding in Evansdale on July 13.
The bodies have been sent to the state medical examiner's office in Ankeny for identification. Authorities will release more information Thursday.


Arnold's Park Roller Coaster Undergoes Renovation

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (AP) - The mild fall weather has let workers begin the $250,000 restoration of the 85-year-old Legend Roller Coaster at Historic Arnolds Park amusement park in the northwest
Iowa town of Arnolds Park.
Work had been scheduled to start this coming spring.
Workers are replacing 575 feet of track and catwalks, along with making other improvements. They also are replacing steel supports added to reinforce old wood about 25 years ago. The steel didn't
flex, which is contrary to the characteristics of a wooden roller coaster.
Park officials say the nearly 1,500-foot ride, built in 1927, is the 13th-oldest operating wooden roller coaster in the country.


State Democrat Top Officials Resign

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Democratic Party's top two leaders are stepping down.  The Des Moines Register reports Sue Dvorsky and Norm Sterzenbach will leave their positions soon to pursue other interests. Dvorsky has been party chairwoman since June 2010 and Sterzenbach has been executive director since December 2006.  The newspaper reports the pair is stepping down for personal and professional reasons.  The Democratic state central committee will choose replacements in January.  The 2010 election secured Republican leadership in the governor's office and the House.
Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate.


Egg Farm Catches Fire

STUART, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in central Iowa say several fire departments were called in to help battle a blaze at an egg production facility.  The Adair County Sheriff's Department confirmed the Wednesday afternoon fire at Rose Acre Farms in Stuart. Chief Operating Officer Tony Wesner says all company staff has been accounted for following the blaze. Wesner says the fire was contained to just one building, and no chickens were inside the building.  Rose Acre Farms has 16 facilities in six states.
Stuart is located about 40 miles west of Des Moines.





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