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Wednesday News, December 5

Chamber To Host Legislative Luncheon

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Legislative Luncheon on Wednesday at noon at the American Bank.  State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson, both Republicans, are expected to attend the luncheon.  Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Neil Adler says the annual event serves to have the community ask questions of their state lawmakers, and find out what issues may be discussed at the upcoming General Session.
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The event is open to the public and tickets are $10. You will need to contact the Chamber office at 546-8821 to make reservations.


Council Approves Second Reading of Sewer Ordinance Rate

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council approved the second reading of the Sewer Rate Ordinance during Tuesday's meeting and set December 18 as the public hearing for the financing of the new waste water treatment facily. Sewer rates will be increased to help finance the waste water treatment facility.  Le Mars residents will be asked to pay a minimum of $7.72 per month, and in addition, they will be asked to pay nearly $2.13 per 1,000 gallons of waste water.  Wells and Deans Foods have signed waste water agreements and will pick up the major portion of the cost to the new treatment facility.  The new waste water treatment facility will be located two miles west of the present facility and is expected to cost more
than $18 million.


Plymouth County Libraries Visit With Supervisors

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Librarian Association met with the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning to begin the process of budget proposals.  The county librarians presented a short video featuring each of the libraries.  Le Mars librarian, Sue Kroesche reported to the supervisors that despite the digital age, people still need and use their local library.  She says usage is on the increase.

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Kroesche says the rural libraries are needing funding that will help retain resources that any more are only available on-line.
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Plymouth County invests approximately $75,000 annually to the local libraries.


E-911 Board To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The E-911 Board is scheduled to meet this evening at the Plymouth County Courthouse. The board members will discuss the southwest tower and the tower located at the courthouse.  The board will also address the feasibility of replacing radios.

Man Falls From Pierson Water Tower

PIERSON, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office says a man was flown to a Sioux City hospital after falling from a water tower in northwest Iowa.
Sgt. Gene Hacker says the man fell and his safety cable broke on Tuesday while he was working on a water town in Pierson, about 25 miles east of Sioux City. The accident was reported about 4:30 p.m.
The man's name wasn't released.
Hacker says the man was conscious after the fall. It wasn't clear how far he fell.

Johnson Chairs IFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Advisory Committee

(Des Moines) -- The state's largest farm organization is meeting this week for its annual convention.  Delegates to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation are deciding upon rural issues such as the condition of roads, taxation, education, and much more. Ben Johnson of Le Mars serves as the chairman of the state's Young Farmers and Ranchers advisory committee.  He farms on a century farm, but says it has its challenges.
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Despite farming's challenges, Johnson remains optimistic about agriculture's future.
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FEMA Turns Down Cedar Rapids Request

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Regional officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have again rejected helping Cedar Rapids build a $3 million recreation center in in a 100-year flood
The City Council heard the bad news during a teleconference call Tuesday with FEMA officials in Kansas City, Mo. FEMA earlier had rejected the council's plans for replacing the Time Check
Recreation Center, which was destroyed in the 2008 flooding.
The council members say building the replacement center in the same spot outweighed the concerns about rebuilding in the flood plain.
But FEMA officials say federal rules bar such construction if a sensible option exists outside the 100-year flood plain.
After the teleconference, council members discussed an appeal to Washington.
The Time Check Neighborhood is in northwest Cedar Rapids.


Social Security Employees Upset Over Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Social Security employees in Des Moines are trying to find ways to protest funding levels at the agency.
An employees union representing Social Security workers plans to hold an informal picket line Wednesday morning outside one of the agency's offices.
The American Federation Of Government Employees Local 836 plans to protest an agency-wide hiring freeze and shortened hours at community field offices.
The local group, which represents about 400 Social Security employees in Iowa and Nebraska, says recent proposals from Congress will cut the agency's operational budget.




Tuesday News, December 4

City Council Expected To Take Action On New Waste Water Treatment Facility

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet at noon today at the city council chambers.  The city council will hold two public hearings regarding the rezoning requests for Hy Vee and the North Greenview Estates.  The council is expected to discuss and take action on the financing of the new waste water treatment facility, along with pass the new sewer rate ordinance.


Supervisors To Hear About Iowa Healthy Living

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a presentation of the 2013 Healthy Living Iowa by Outreach Coordinator, John Stevens.  The supervisors will also review the 2013-14 budget request for the Plymouth County libraries.  Assistant to the County Engineer, Terry Marienau will update the supervisors on the title 6 plan, as well as discuss the motor grader operation position based at Kingsley.


Sioux City Man Sentenced For 10 Years in Prison For Burglarizing Orange City Radio Shack

(Orange City) -- A Sioux City man has been sentenced for ten years after burglarizing the Radio Shack of Orange City.  19 year old Luis Antonio Giron was sentenced on Monday for the crime of burglary in the third degree, a class D felony.  The case arose in the early morning hours of March 13, 2012, when the Radio Shack in Orange City was broken into.  The following morning, employees discovered that the back door of the business had been kicked in and the surveillance system had been stolen.  The amount of stolen merchandise and damage to the business totaled $10,488.  The Orange City Police Department, Sioux County Sheriff's Office, and the Sioux City Police Department conducted a joint investigation which resulted in Giron's arrest in Sioux City.  At the time of the arrest, the defendant was on probation  in Woodbury County for the offenses of willful injury and criminal gang participation.  As a result of his guilty plea to Burglary in the third degree in Sioux County, the defendant's probation in Woodbury County was revoked and a five-year prison term was imposed in the Woodbury County matter.

Sioux City Man Uses GPS System To Track His Wife

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 25-year-old Sioux City man who'd been tracking his estranged wife has been convicted of interstate stalking and a weapons charge.
Federal prosecutors say Ralph Rogers was convicted last week. The jury acquitted Rogers of kidnapping and another weapons charge. Rogers pleaded guilty in September to another weapons charge.
His sentencing has not been scheduled.
Prosecutors say Rogers had secretly placed a GPS device on his estranged wife's car. Investigators say that when the tracking device showed that she'd stopped at a residence in South Sioux
City, Neb., Rogers got a handgun and drove there.
Prosecutors say Rogers entered the home without permission and assaulted one of the people inside. Prosecutors say Rogers then took his estranged wife back to his home in Sioux City.


Fire Officials Battle Barn Fire

(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters from Le Mars, Merrill, and Hinton were on the scene over the noon hour of a barn fire located about 4 miles south of Le Mars on 220th Street and near County Road K-49.  The alarm was sounded at about 11:20 a.m.  Upon arrival, heavy black smoke was seen coming from the structure, and within minutes the barn was totally engulfed in flames.  The barn is a total loss, along with hay bales that was inside the structure, the building was also housing some construction insulation.  A few chickens were lost inside the barn at the time of the fire.  Strong northwest winds helped fan the flames, making it that much more difficult for fire officials to extinguish the fire.  Le Mars Fire Chief, Dave Schipper says he had concerns about the other out buildings as well as a newly constructed house that sits within close proximity and was downwind of the barn fire.
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The Le Mars Fire Chief says he was worried when fire crews first arrived on the scene.

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Schipper says the cause of the fire was a burn pile that was ignited early Monday morning.
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Fire crews were on the scene of that barn fire for three and a half hours.
In addition to the Le Mars Fire and Rescue, Merrill Fire Department and Hinton Fire Department, as well as the Le Mars Ambulance, Plymouth County Sheriff's office, Merrill Police, and the Le Mars Police Department offered additional assistance.


Gehlen Students Prepare Advent Gift Bags

(Le Mars) -- Advent is a time for reflection and hope in the Catholic Church.  The students of Gehlen Catholic are celebrating the start of Advent with reconciliation and Advent gift bags preparation on Wednesday, December 5th.  Director of campus ministries, Lisa Sitzmann, says that pre-school, elementary, junior high, and high school students will work together as one to create 382 personalized Advent gift bags.  Throughout the remainder of December, students, staff, and moderators will distribute the Advent gift bags to area shut-ins and nursing home residents.  Each Advent gift bag includes a pair of socks, lotion or hand sanitizer, lip moisturizer, a package of crackers, and a personalized note, all donated by the students.  Sitzmann says Advent gift bags is a special time for the students and staff at Gehlen Catholic.


Iowa Had Record Turnout For Voting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A record number of Iowans cast their
vote this year in the presidential election.
More than 1.5 million people in Iowa voted in the 2012 election for president and vice
president. That includes another record for early or absentee voting, which brought in more than 688,000 votes.
The data shows more people voted on Election Day for Republican challenger Mitt Romney's ticket, but President Barack Obama had an early voting edge over the former Massachusetts governor.
Fayette County had the highest turnout in the state with more than 84 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Fremont County had the lowest with just over 61 percent.


Cedar Rapids Police Shoot Driver

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Police say a car driver has been fatally shot after a traffic stop by officers in Cedar Rapids.
A news release from the Cedar Rapids Police Department says officers had followed a car that didn't pull over for a traffic stop a little before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. The chase continued down several streets until the car stopped on the northwest side of the city.
Police say the driver was shot after displaying a handgun as officers approached. Police say the driver was pronounced dead at St. Luke's Hospital.
The names of the driver and the officers and other details about the shooting haven't been released.
The case has been turned over to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.


Study Shows Iowa Needs Female Supreme Court Justices

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A study says Iowa should make changes to improve gender diversity in the judiciary after becoming one of three states with an all-male Supreme Court.
The study authored by University of Iowa law student Gina Messamer is published in the Iowa Law Review.
Messamer said in a press release Monday that Iowa's lack of female representation among its 7 justices is striking, when 31 percent of members of state high courts overall are female. Only Indiana and Idaho also feature all-male courts.
Messamer says Iowa's Judicial Nominating Commission should address what she calls subtle biases that work against female candidates.
When there were three openings on the high court last year, 8 of 9 finalists recommended by the commission to Gov. Terry Branstad were male. Branstad then appointed three men.

Des Moines Gets Ready For Bacon Festival

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bacon festival in Des Moines that sold out all of its 4,000 tickets in minutes last year, has doubled in size to accommodate more than 8,000 bacon lovers on Feb. 9 at the
Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival celebrates its sixth annual event by using more than 10,000 pounds of bacon from around the nation.
Last year festival participants ate 6,000 pounds, about 96,000 strips of bacon.
In addition to more food vendors, bacon-related lectures and entertainment also is planned.
This year the festival is selling the $35 tickets through flat-fee ticket vendor Tikly, a technology company started in 2011 in Des Moines.
Tickets go on sale on Dec. 12 at 12:12 p.m.


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