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Wednesday News, August 6

Premier Communications Offers Progress Report To City Council

(Le Mars) -- Representatives from Premier Communications appeared before the Le Mars City Council on Tuesday and offered the council a status report regarding the progress of the installation of fiber optic cable within the city.  Premier spokesman Scott Testroete (Test-row-tee) says by next year the project will have been completed.

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Testroete says Premier Communications has a committment to staying in Le Mars and says the installation of fiber optic cable for the city came with a huge investment.

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The Premier Communications spokesman says Premier believes in the growth potential and of the future of Le Mars.

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Testroete says overall, Le Mars has overlooked the small inconvenience of the construction, and has welcomed the installation of fiber optics into the community.

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The cable company and internet provider spokesman says Le Mars has been an understanding and patient community through the transition of installing fiber optic cable.

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City Council Has First Reading Of Proposed New Speed Limit

(Le Mars) -- In other action during Tuesday's city council meeting, the council heard the first reading for a new proposed speed limit on Business Highway 75.  From Blue Bunny Drive to 4th Street southwest the speed limit is proposed to go from the current 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. Councilman Rex Knapp says the speed limit is being considered to be lowered, not for additional speed tickets and revenue, but instead for safety considerations. Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga says within the last three and a half years, there have been 74 reported accidents on business highway 75 from the north city limits to the south border of the city limits.  Dekkenga also said of the 74 accidents, 27 involved personal injuries.  Following a closed door session, the city council approved the purchase of the former CSS building located on South Business Highway 75.  The building was purchased for $300,000.   

 

Accident Information Released

 

(Le Mars) -- We now know the details of that accident that happened on Saturday afternoon at highways 140 and county road C-38.  51 year old Patricia Britt of Aurelia was traveling eastbound on C-38 when she pulled out in front of 45 year old Jon Neumann of Kingsley.  Neumann was traveling southbound on Highway 140, and was towing a boat and trailer.  Britt collided with the Neumann vehicle causing it to go into the southeast ditch.  Damage was done to both vehicles and the boat and trailer.  The Remsen, Kingsley, and Marcus Ambulances all responded to the scene, as did the Remsen Fire Department.  Britt had to be extricated from her vehicle, and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital by the Remsen Ambulance.  There were two other passengers in the Britt vehicle, but apparently were not injured.  Neumann was not injured, but two other occupants in his vehicle did receive injuries and were taken to Mercy Medical Center in the Kingsley ambulance.  Charges are pending for Britt for failure to yield from a stop sign.

 

Preparations Being Made For "Creekfest"

(Cherokee) -- It’s being called "a party in the pasture". Over the past few years one event in northwest Iowa is becoming well known... Creekfest.  It started out pretty humbly.

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John Hansen is one of the organizers, he says this year 10,000 people are expected for two nights of live music.

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Hansen says there will be people of all ages there, and they work hard to make it a family oriented event. This year Florida Georgia Line will be headlining Friday night, and Chris Janzen will headline Saturday night.
 
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Gates open at 4pm both nights and the music starts at 4:30. Portions of the proceeds go to the June E Nyland Cancer Center, and to local groups who volunteer time at the event. The festival site is two miles west and 2 miles north from the water tower in Cherokee. 

 

Judge Tells Attorney To Make Training Video

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A lawyer who angered an Iowa federal judge by repeatedly raising objections has received an unusual punishment: an order to produce a training video that denounces such tactics.
     U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett issued the sanction last week to attorney June Ghezzi, who works in the Chicago office of the law firm Jones Day. 
     Bennett criticized Ghezzi's pretrial conduct in a case in which she successfully defended Abbott Laboratories against a lawsuit alleging its infant formula contained dangerous bacteria that caused a baby to suffer brain damage. He wrote that, during depositions, Ghezzi "proliferated hundreds of unnecessary objections and interruptions" that coached witnesses and delayed the proceedings.
     Bennett says the video must be made available to Jones Day lawyers.
     Jones Day said it will appeal, arguing Ghezzi acted appropriately.

 

Judge Rules Preacher Cannot Preach At State Fair

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ruled that state troopers didn't violate a preacher's First Amendment rights by asking him to stop preaching near state fairgrounds. 
     U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt delivered the ruling Tuesday. Pratt says it was wrong for troopers to threaten to arrest Christian preacher Jason Powell last year. He says the fair has a legitimate interest in limiting where a person could stand so that attendees can move freely.
     Powell was kicked off the fairgrounds after preaching near the main gates.
     He wanted the judge to order fair officials to allow him access to this year's fair which starts Thursday. Powell's attorney says it's unclear if his client will preach outside the fair this year.
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Grants Offered To Rural Fire Departments

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are offering grant money to help rural fire departments with their equipment costs.
     The forestry bureau of the state Department of Natural Resources is coordinating with the U.S. Forest Service to offer grants for hoses, nozzles and adapters, among other things.
     Applications are due Oct. 15. A grant provides 50 percent reimbursement for fire equipment. A department can received up to $3,500.
     Fire departments are encouraged to submit a special report after responding to a wildland fire to receive priority points in the grant application process.

 

President Obama Issues Emergency Declaration For 22 Iowa Counties

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal disaster declaration has been issued for 22 Iowa counties damaged by severe weather in June and July.
     The White House and Gov. Terry Branstad announced the presidential disaster declaration Tuesday. The declaration was issued for Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Tama, and Washington counties.
     The governor requested the support from President Barack Obama after the counties were hit with storms, hail, tornadoes and heavy rain from June 26 to July 7. The declaration means the counties will get federal funding to help with rebuilding efforts, such as repairing property, removing debris and other emergency work.
     This is the third such declaration that Iowa has received this year.

 

City Refuses To Purchase Old School Building

 INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) - Independence city officials say a proposal to purchase a former high school for $1 is too expensive because of costs to restore or repair the property. 
     City and Independence Community School District officials say a deal between them is dead. 
     The city had reached a tentative agreement in March to purchase the school and 20 acres from the district. City officials had said the building could be repurposed into a police department or civic center. 
     City engineers estimate it could cost more than $250,000 to tear down the building or $2.5 million to bring it up to code. City officials say that's more than tax payers would want to spend. 
     The school board will discuss what to do with the property at its August meeting.
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Water Quality Forum Scheduled

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A forum focusing on how farming can affect water quality is planned for Aug. 15 in Des Moines hosted by the Iowa Food Systems Council.
     The council is a nonprofit organization created to encourage a food system that builds a healthier economy, environment, and people.
     Presenters include Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs for the Iowa Soybean Association; Mike McCurnin, director of water production at Des Moines Water Works and Rick Kruse, Iowa State University agronomy professor.
     Attendees will learn the impact Iowa's farming and food systems have on Iowa's water quality, discuss ideas for reducing water pollution and discuss policy strategies to help improve water quality. 
     The event, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., is set for the Franklin Avenue Library.

 


 


 

 


 


 


 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, August 5

Supervisors Set To Meet Tuesday Morning

(Le Mars) -- After taking last week off, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will again convene today at 9:30 a.m. at the Courthouse Board Room.  The Supervisors have a light agenda before them today.  County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann will appear before the board to review and ask for approval of the semi-annual settlement of funds. Other business to be discussed by the county governing board will be the courthouse holiday schedule.  The County Supervisors will also hear from County Engineer, Tom Rohe.  Rohe will discuss with the supervisors a contract for a bridge project, as well as he will visit with the board about obtaining some right of way property for a culvert repair project. 

 

City Council To Discuss Lowering Speed Limit

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold their meeting at the City Hall Council Chambers today.  One item on the agenda for discussion, is whether the council should lower the speed limit on Business Highway 75.  Several serious accidents have occured in recent months between 12th Street southwest and 24th Street Southwest where vehicles were wanting to make a left hand turn and were hit from behind. The Council will discuss re-zoning for Cresent Ridge.  It is expected they will set a hearing date.  The city council will hear from Roger and Betty Athens who are asking the city to take ownership of nearly an acre of waterway.

 

Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Gas Leak And Auto Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was busy yesterday late afternoon.  First, they were called to 7th Street Southwest and 1st Avenue Southwest for a gas leak.  Contractors were digging in the area when they ruptured an underground gas line. The gas leak occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m.  Firefighters were able to stop the gas leak from the cut line in the ground.   Air monitoring equipment was used to check the area and no dangerous levels of natural gas were detected so everyone was allowed to stay in the area and not be evacuated.   Firefighters stood by until MidAmerican Energy Officials arrived to repair the line.   Then at about 6:30 p.m., the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to an automobile accident at the junction of Highway 75 and County road C-38.  Two vehicles had collided, one vehicle was a Mercury Sable, the other a GMC van. The accident at the intersection caused the van to be flipped on its side.  There were no serious injuries as a result of the accident. The accident remains under investigation.  The fire department assisted with the cleanup of debris and fluids.

 

Tall Corn Obscurs Vision At Intersection Which Leads To Accident

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista authorities are reminding motorists to be alert and extra cautious when approaching an uncontrolled rural intersection. Early Monday morning, two pickup trucks collided with one another at an intersection that was uncontrolled and had tall corn from all four sides, obscurring the vision.  The investigation into the accident determined the collision occured between a northbound pickup truck being driven by 41 year old Walter Morris of Newell, and an eastbound pickup truck driven by 61 year old Steven Williams of Storm Lake.  It is thought the Morris vehicle hit the Williams vehicle.  The Williams vehicle rolled numerous times, ejecting Williams from the vehicle.  Both Williams and Morris were transported by ambulance to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.  Williams was then transported via Lifeflight helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in SiouxCity.  The extent of the drivers' injuries and conditions are unknown at this time.  The accident remains under investigation. 

 

Storm Lake Man Gets Probation After Admitting Stealing Pigs

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man has been sentenced to about a month in jail after pleading guilty to selling 195 pigs that didn't belong to him.
      44-year-old Monty Grote pleaded guilty Friday in Buena Vista County District Court to three counts of third-degree theft. He received a 30-day jail sentence and was placed on two years of probation.
     Grote also has to pay about $14,600 in restitution.
     Court documents show Grote had been contracted to raise pigs from a Minnesota company. Authorities say he sold the animals, claiming he owned them, in August and October.

 

King Wants Eboa Virus Patients Treated In Africa

(Sioux City) --  Concerns are rising among Iowans about the ebola virus after an infected American doctor was brought from western Africa to Atlanta over the weekend and another infected health care worker should arrive in the U-S Tuesday.
    Iowa Congressman Steve King does not approve of bringing those infected with ebola to America:
 
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    The 4th district Republican says he would prefer to see medical aid provided on site instead of treating victims in the United States:
 
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    King says his heart goes out to those who have gone to Africa to help victims, but he says those who have gone there knew what the risk was:
 
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      More than 880 people have died of ebola in three west African nations in recent months, making it the largest outbreak since the discovery of the virus.

 

Cost-share Funds Available For Conservation Measures

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says more than $6.75 million is available to help farmers and landowners prevent erosion and control field runoff through a state cost share program.  
     Farmers may qualify for up to half of the cost of projects which may include terraces, waterways, ponds, buffers, cover crops, and several other conservation measures.
     Farmers who apply now may have approval to begin construction after crops are harvested this fall.
     Soil and Water Conservation District offices are taking applications.
     Money also is available for projects aimed at protecting 13 lakes in Iowa. The cost share for those projects is 75 percent.
     Lakes include Big Creek, Lake Darling, Lake Geode, and Lake Macbride.

 

Former Worker's Compensation Commissioner Finds New Job

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's workers' compensation commissioner is resigning to take a top federal job, but his lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad and aides will continue.
     Commissioner Christopher J. Godfrey told The Associated Press on Monday that he's been appointed chief judge of the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board in Washington, which decides workers' compensation claims filed by federal employees.
     Godfrey was appointed by Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in 2009 and confirmed by the Iowa Senate to a six-year term as state commissioner.
     After Branstad won election in 2010, he asked for Godfrey's resignation. Godfrey declined, saying his job is supposed to be independent. The governor ultimately slashed Godfrey's salary from $112,000 to $73,000, the lowest allowed, and administration officials criticized his performance.
     Godfrey, who is gay, is suing for discrimination, defamation, and extortion.

 

Des Moines Shopping Mall To Close Animal Exhibit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines shopping mall has announced it will close its caged animal exhibits following public outcry. 
     The Merle Hay Mall's chief operating officer says that the bears, wolves and other animals will be moved out of the mall by Oct. 31. 
     The Academy of Wildlife Education exhibit was met with public backlash in June. An online petition to "stop the zoo" has gathered 74,000 signatures. 
     The spokeswoman says the announcement isn't connected to the backlash. She says a $14 million redevelopment of the mall will necessitate more room for larger storefronts.
 

 

 

 



 

   

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