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Friday afternoon news, August 24

West Nile Virus In Plymouth County

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Health Department is reporting that it has confirmed five cases of West Nile virus in the state and is investigating several more cases.
The agency on Friday announced confirmed cases in Grundy, Linn, Lyon, Page and Plymouth counties. All those sickened by the virus have recovered.
In Nebraska, officials say 20 human cases have been confirmed, with no deaths reported.
The cases in Iowa and Nebraska come amid one of the largest national outbreaks of West Nile. More than 1,100 illnesses have been reported across the country.
Iowa health officials say state figures are typical for this time of year, but they urge people to use mosquito repellent when they are outdoors to protect against the virus.


Fire Destroys House in Harcourt

HARCOURT, Iowa (AP) - Three people have been treated for minor injuries after a fire that heavily damaged a house in the central Iowa town of Harcourt.
Harcourt Fire Chief Matt Nahnsen says the fire was reported a little before 5:30 a.m. Thursday and that the front of the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The fire began on
the front porch, and an electrical outlet is suspected.
Sam Dorman says he owns the house, and that his son, grandson and his son's girlfriend were treated at Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge but were discharged Thursday afternoon.
Dorman says he and his family were awakened by smoke detectors and that his wife, Kathy, saw 15-foot-high flames on the front porch.


Iowa City Buys Flooded Homes

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City has bought the final property in a flood buyout program that began in 2009 and expects to complete demolitions this fall.
The city made its final purchase in July.
The city has bought 93 homes in the Parkview Terrace area through a program prompted by the 2008 floods that hit much of eastern Iowa.
The federal and state government will pay the roughly $22 million cost of buying and demolishing the Iowa City homes and paying to relocate owners.
In Cedar Rapids, the city has acquired more than 1,300 properties.
Iowa City plans to extend a trail through the area and create another access to City Park.




Friday news, August 24

Fareway Selected As Third "Cash Mob" Business

(Le Mars) -- (sot) "Fareway Shopping Center...Fareway grocery..."
That's what Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff told a group of 35 people standing outside the Le
Mars Chamber offices last evening awaiting word on which downtown food business would be
selected for the third "Cash Mob".  The group then either walked, or drove their vehicles to
the downtown supermarket store to pick up a few items.  Each participant was asked to spend
at least $20 at the designated food business.  Dr. Mark Stelzer, and his wife, Kathy
participated in the third cash mob and purchased some of Fareway's steaks.  Stelzer commented
that he and his wife were going to do some grilling last evening."  Others went to the
produce area and started selecting melons, fruits, and vegetables.  Still other participants
selected frozen foods and some went for the bakery items.  Fareway officials seemed pleased
that their store was selected for the third cash mob.  At one time, Fareway manager Dave
Shaver called for all available grocery employees to assist with the checking and bagging
duties, as every cash register was busy. Just prior to selecting the lucky business, mayor
Kirchoff discussed the value of shopping in Le Mars.
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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought Up By Plymouth County Attorney

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Iowa counties who claimed that banks failed to pay millions in recording fees when they transferred the ownership of mortgages to
create profitable but risky financial instruments.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett dismissed the lawsuit brought by Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond against companies that own a national registry tracking ownership interests for home loans.
The lawsuit claimed the registry allowed mortgage companies to transfer loans to other banks to be pooled into mortgage-backed securities to sell to investors. It claimed the system violated
Iowa law because they did not record each transfer of ownership, and pay required fees.
Bennett ruled that Iowa law does not contain such a recording requirement and dismissed the lawsuit, which was seeking class-action status on behalf of 99 counties.


King and Vilsack Debate The Debates

(Le Mars) -- It seems as though U-S Representative Steve King and his Democratic challenger
Christie Vilsack are having a debate about debates.  Recently, an organized debate scheduled
for September 22 which was to be held at Ames and sponsored in part by the Ames Tribune has
been called off due to the parties can't come to any agreement as to the debate format.  On
Monday of this week, King held a townhall meeting at Le Mars in which he was asked if there
would be any debates.  King's immediate answer was "I really don't know."  King told the
questioner that he believes there will be at least two debates, one at Des Moines, and the
other at Mason City.

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King says the two sides can't agree as to the types of debates, the locations, or the formats.

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The four-term Republican says he most definately wants to hold a debate with Vilsack, and he says he will do it anytime, and anywhere.

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To emphasize his point, the U-S Congressman was seen tapping his finger on the podium,
indicating his interest in debating Vilsack.  He says he has been criticized in the past for refusing to debate his opponents, which he says was a tactical move.

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Storm Lake To Pay For Boating Accident Resulting In A Death of Boy

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Storm Lake officials have approved its part of $1.1 million settlement to the family of a Nebraska boy who died in a boating accident in 2010.
The payment will settle a federal lawsuit filed after the death of 10-year-old David McFarlin, of
South Sioux City, Nebraska. He died when the boat he was riding in hit a submerged dredging pipe in Storm Lake. The outboard motor flipped into the boat and hit the boy.
The City Council this week approved an agreement in which the city, Buena Vista County and the Lake Improvement Commission would pay a combined $800,000. The driver of the boat will pay about
$100,000 and Brunswick Boats will pay $30,000.
David's mother, Jamie Laass, filed the lawsuit.


Sioux City Casino To Operate On Extension

(Des Moines) -- Iowa (AP) - State regulators say Sioux City's riverboat can keep operating without a contract extension between the operator of the casino and its nonprofit partner.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission backed off a threat to proceed with shutting down the boat if Penn National Gaming Company and the Missouri River Historical Development didn't agree on a
short-term deal by Thursday's board meeting in Riverside, Iowa.
The commission last month refused to accept a contract signed by the partners that would have run through March 2015. The commission instead approved an extension through March 2013, saying it fit plans to seek bids for a land-based casino.
Penn has gone to court to overturn the decisions that put the license up for bid and rejected the 2015 extension.


Ethics Commission Dismisses Complaint Against Rastetter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State ethics regulators have dismissed an ethics complaint filed against Iowa Board of Regents member Bruce Rastetter, saying there weren't sufficient legal issue to
The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, meeting in Des Moines on Thursday, voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a government watchdog group, filed the complaint against Rastetter, a prominent Republican businessman, on June 19th.
The complaint alleges Rastetter misrepresented himself on financial disclosure forms by failing to list investments and income he gets from executive positions at corporations he
Rastetter on Monday filed an amended financial disclosure statement.
Iowa CCI also claims he tried to use his influence as a regent to financially benefit one of his companies that is developing farmland in Africa.



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