Monday, November 24, 2014
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Tuesday Afternoon News, November 11

(Le Mars) -- Today is Veteran's Day, and at the Gehlen Catholic Special Prayer service for veterans, former Gehlen alum Kimberly Kuhn spoke to the gathering about how today's military represents less than one percent of the nation's population.  Kuhn recently retired from the U-S Army as a colonel. She entered the Army following college, and has been at various locations around the world.

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Kuhn made a career with the Army with an emphasis as a Military Police and Criminal Investigation Division. She says it was a joy to work with young people who shared a similar committment to the military.

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The retired Army Colonel says in today's world it is different than the days of World War 2, in the fact that communities are not asked to make sacrifices, as they once did.

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Kuhn says sometimes people tend to forget about the active duty military, and the fact they are deployed around the world to help maintain the peace.

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The 1985 Gehlen Alum has a concern that society, in time, may forget about the veterans, especially the disabled veterans.

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Railroad Tie Catches On Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a fire at about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon located along the railroad tracks south of county road C-38 along Highway 75.  Apparently, a railroad tie had caught on fire, presumably from a passing railroad train.  Fire fighter crews were able to extinguish the fire in short time.  The railroad company has been notified to inspect the burned railroad tie.


Des Moines Pharmacist Has Charges Dismissed

     DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A misdemeanor drug charge has been dismissed against a Des Moines pharmacy owner convicted of illegally selling painkillers.
   A Polk County district judge on Monday dismissed a charge of illegal possession of prescription drugs against Mark Graziano.
     The charge was filed in August after an expired bottle of antacid pills was found in a car Graziano was driving. The county attorney's office, which filed the charge, asked that it be dismissed.
     Graziano pleaded guilty on Thursday to two federal felony counts of drug conspiracy and tax evasion, after he admitted to illegally selling about 700,000 hydrocodone pills. Sixteen other charges were dropped. 
     Graziano and another man convicted in the case will be sentenced in February.


Arbitrator Rules Against Wahlert

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An arbitrator has ruled Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert overstepped her bounds when she promoted a judge who had been removed from the position following complaints of a hostile work environment. 
     The decision filed Friday is another setback for Wahlert, the embattled head of the agency that oversees benefits for unemployed workers.
     Arbitrator Sharon Dendurent says Wahlert didn't have the authority to overturn a previous settlement in a grievance case that prohibited administrative law judge Teresa Hillary from managing other employees.
     Dendurent says the conflict raises questions about IWD management.
     Sen. Janet Petersen, Democratic leader of the Government Oversight Committee, investigated similar complaints earlier this year and says she doubts Wahlert could get through Senate confirmation if she's nominated for the job again.
     Wahlert didn't respond to a message.


Iowa Has Fewer West Nile Virus Cases

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the number of human cases of West Nile virus in Iowa is down compared to last year.
     Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the state had 15 human cases of the mosquito-borne disease as of Oct. 31. There were a total of 44 human cases in the state in 2013.
     Quinlisk says the drop is connected to the weather. Total rainfall numbers were below average in May and July and just above average in June, August and September.
    Of the cases this year, eight people were hospitalized. There were no reported deaths.


Eastern Iowa Airport Reports Data Breach

   CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids is revealing a data breach that may compromise the credit card information of customers who paid to park there.
     The airport said Tuesday that customers who used credit and debit cards to pay for public parking between Sept. 29 and Oct. 29 are at risk and should closely monitor their accounts.
     Customers who notice fraudulent activity should notify their bank and the airport's public safety department.
     The airport says it recently learned of the breach, and took steps to isolate the affected server and stop the further compromise of data. The airport says the breach didn't affect any other concessions.
     The breach is being investigated by law enforcement officials and forensic experts.


Union Wants To Remove Ban On Political Pins

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An employee union is asking a court to overturn a ruling that bans state workers from wearing pins critical of Gov. Terry Branstad.
     The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently filed a motion asking the Polk County District Court to intervene in a ruling issued by the Public Employment Relations Board.
     The board ruled in October that the pins worn by employees at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center represent "special circumstances" that interfere with prison decorum. It reversed a ruling by an administrative law judge that AFSCME workers could display the pins on their uniforms or clothes. 
     The pins depict a black and white photograph of Branstad's face bisected by a red diagonal slash with the words, "NOTHING HAS CHANGED."










Tuesday News, November 11

Gehlen Catholic School To Offer Veterans Day Prayer Program

(Le Mars) -- Today is Veteran's Day, a day in which we pay tribute to the men and women who gave service to this country.  Gehlen High School will have a special veteran's day program scheduled for this morning beginning at 8:45 a.m. at the Le Roy Kellen Memorial Gymnasium.  Former Gehlen alum and retired Army Colonel Kimberly Kuhn is scheduled to speak. Colonel Kuhn is the proud daughter of Vincent and Alana Kuhn of LeMars.  The prayer service is open to the public.  Coffee and rolls will be served afterwards in the Kolker Library and Media Center. 


Westfield Woman Dies From Auto Accident 

(Sioux City) -- A Westfield woman was involved in a fatal auto accident that happened last evening on Highway 12 near the Plymouth County-Woodbury County border near the Dorthory Pecaut Nature Center. Barbara Dewey was waiting at a red light for a temporary traffic control light located south of a construction zone.  Apparently a Ford Ranger pickup truck being driven by Debra Jordan, now of Sioux City rear-ended the Dewey vehicle.  Both vehicles were in the ditch when Sioux City Police officers arrived on the scene. Both drivers were transported to Mercy Medical Center where Dewey passed away from injuries she sustained from the accident.  Jordan is being held at Mercy for further observations.


Neunaber Trial Is Delayed

(Le Mars) -- The scheduled December trial for Jonathon Neunaber of rural Akron has been suspended indefinately.  Neunaber, who is being charged with murdering his mother, Esther Neunaber, has pleaded not guilty.  On Friday, District Judge Steven Andreasen filed an order saying both sides had agreed to continue the trial and that lawyers would meet informallly to propose a new trial date, which has not been set.  Autopsies determined that Esther Neunaber died from a blunt force injuries.  The bodies of Esther Neunaber and her husband, Donald Neunaber were found on July 9th.  Donald Neunaber was also dead at the scene, but was determined that he died as a result of natural diseases, namely cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.  Jonathon Neunaber remains in custody at the Plymouth County jail.


Northwest Iowa Sees First Snow Of The Season 

(Le Mars) -- Northwest Iowa may saw its first snowfall last evening, and officials with the Iowa Highway Patrol are reminding motorists to slow down, drive defensively, and to be aware of the changing road conditions. Trooper Vince Kurtz says many times people forget how to drive after the first snow.

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The predicted snowfall did not produce any heavy accumulation.  Still, Kurtz suggests motorists should have their vehicle checked by their local mechanic before dangerous winter conditions strikes.

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The Highway Patrol trooper says proper maintenance ahead of time will prevent many headaches and costly bills, and it will allow you to arrive at your destination without being stranded. The Highway Patrol trooper also suggests equiping your vehicle with a winter survivor's kit.

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Early Literacy Program Successful At Le Mars Community School District

(Le Mars) -- At last evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, board members were given an update from Vicki Borchers, the school district's literacy coach, and from Scott Parry, the principal from Kluckholn elementary school.  Both reported on the early literacy assessments that is happening in the Le Mars Community school District.  Borchers says students from the Transitional Kindergarten through the third grade are tested and evaluated.  She says the purpose behind the program, which now is part of the Iowa Code, is to catch students with possible reading problems and to work with them on an individual basis, in order to bring them to proficient status before they leave the third grade. Borchers says the students must be able to identify words, as well as how to sound out the words.  Borchers and Parry report the program is new, however, teachers are adjusting to the system, and finding it is producing positive results.


Le Mars Stores To Observe Holiday Open House

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars stores will begin staying open at nights in anticipation of the holiday shopping.  The Le Mars Holiday Open House will be held Wednesday, November 12th through Saturday, November 15th.  Stores will remain open until 7:00 p.m. beginning December 8th. Many stores will also remain open on Sundays, December 7th, 14th, and the 21st.  Hours may vary with each business.  Remember, Le Mars Chamber retail holiday dollars are still available, and can be purchased at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. while supplies last.


State Legislature Retains Same Leadership

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans and Democrats are sticking with their leaders in the Iowa House and Senate.
     House Republicans announced Monday that GOP members had elected Rep. Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, to continue in his role as House speaker. They also opted to keep Rep. Linda Upmeyer, of Clear Lake, as House majority leader and Rep. Matt Windschitl, of Missouri Valley, as speaker pro tem.
     Rep. Chris Hagenow, of Windsor Heights, will be House majority whip.
     In the Senate, the majority Democrats chose to keep Sen. Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, as majority leader and Sen. Pam Jochum, of Dubuque, as president of the Senate.
     Sen. Steve Sodders, of State Center, was re-elected Senate president pro tempore.
     The Iowa Legislature will convene Jan. 12, 2015.


AFSCME Asking For Two Percent Raise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The largest union representing state employees is seeking repeated 2 percent raises over the next two years.
     Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, says that in its initial contract proposal, negotiators called for 2 percent raises on July 1, 2015; Jan. 1, 2016; July 1, 2016; and Jan. 1, 2017.
     The Iowa Department of Management says the raises would cost the state an extra $523 million over two years.
     The union workers last received raises in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years. They didn't get across-the-board raises in the current two-year contract but they didn't see reductions in health insurance benefits.
     State and union officials will resume contract organizers in two week.


Iowa Central Community College Issues Lockdown

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the lockdown of a community college campus in Fort Dodge was imposed after a student reported that an armed man had entered her dorm room.
     Iowa Central Community College officials lifted the lockdown around 6:15 p.m., a little less than three hours after it was imposed.
     Fort Dodge police said in a news release that the student reported that several males entered her room while she and others were inside. She says one at least one of the males displayed a firearm. The males soon left the room.
     No shots and not injuries were reported. Fort Dodge police Lt. Chuck Guthrie says officers think the incident was related to another incident that occurred over the weekend. He didn't elaborate. 
     No arrests have been reported.


Iowa City Police Officers Injured After Accidental Shooting

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa City Police Department says two officers have been injured after a gun fired while they were cleaning their service weapons. 
     Police say the officers were transported to an area hospital on Monday night where they were treated for unspecified injuries and released. They say the officers were performing standard cleaning and maintenance of their guns when the accident occurred.
     Police didn't say how the gun went off. The officers' identities haven't been released. 
     The department is conducting an internal investigation.



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