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.
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.
The Premier Communications spokesman says Premier believes in the growth potential and of the future of Le Mars.
Testroete says overall, Le Mars has overlooked the small inconvenience of the construction, and has welcomed the installation of fiber optics into the community.
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.
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.
John Hansen is one of the organizers, he says this year 10,000 people are expected for two nights of live music.
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.
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.
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.
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.