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Tuesday News, August 14

Plymouth Oil Company Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

(Merrill) -- High grain prices and high transportation costs have forced Plymouth Oil Company of Merrill to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Dave Hoffman of the Plymouth Oil Company says the board felt this was the best move to pay off their debts. 
 (sot) Hoffman bankruptcy1
The papers were filed in Plymouth County on July 23rd.  Hoffman says Plymouth Oil had hoped to obtain corn germ from their neighbors next door, Plymouth Energy, but those plans fell through.
 (sot) Hoffman bankruptcy2
Hoffman says the plan is to keep operating, and to keep paying bills.  The plant started operations in February of 2010.  It specializes in producing food grade products from corn, such as corn oil for cooking purposes.  Hoffman says the decision was in the best interest for the investors and for the creditors.

School Board Discusses Hiring Policy

(Le Mars) -- In last evening's school board meeting, the Le Mars Board of Education reviewed and discussed the hiring procedures conducted by the Le Mars community School District.  Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools, presented the board with a manual detailing how the district advertises an open position, how team members are given training and assist with the interview process, how candidates must meet a certain criteria in order to be considered.  No action was taken on the proposed hiring manual during last evenings meeting, as board members expressed an interest of including additional information. The school board discussed the federal law of "No Child Left Behind" and how it would affect the Le Mars school district since Iowa was not given a waiver on the law.  Dr. Wendt told the board, he believes the school district will be in a good position, and it is his belief that more attention may be directed to the new Iowa Common Core.  The board also discussed the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremonies being planned for next Monday, August 20th for the completion of construction for the Phase II project.  The ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 5:00 p.m. followed by a tailgate party at 5:30 p.m. Self-guided tours will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the introduction of autumn activities and participants will occur at 6:30 p.m. and self guided tours will continue at 7:30 p.m.


Supervisors To Discuss Bargaining Contracts

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a report during today's meeting regarding bargaining unit contract discussions.  The report will be presented by Kirk Hatting of the Sheriff's Department Employee Association.  Also on today's agenda is County Engineer Tom Rohe, who is expected to discuss with the board a gravel contract with Knife River, as well as an application for traffic safety funds for the intersection of County Road C-38 and K-42.


Floyd Valley Trustees To Meet

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening, and on their agenda will be discussion on the proposed north side addition.  The hospital trustees will review the latest quarterly Press Ganey Satisfaction survey, approve some capital acquisitions and hear updates from Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin.  The trustees are expected to review and approve the June financial statement, and look at the July statistics.


Food "Cash Mob" Scheduled

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce has announced that Thursday, August 23rd will be the date for the next "Cash Mob".  This time around, a downtown food establishment will be selected as the "cash mob" scene.  Those downtown businesses eligible include the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, and Pizza Ranch.


Crop Conditions Show Slight Improvement

(Des Moines) -- For the first time in weeks, the weekly crop condition report actually showed some improvement.  The improvement was noted in the soybeans, as rains fell on the state during the past week.  Soybean condition is rated as 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 24 percent good, and only one percent of the state's soybean crop is rated as excellent condition.  More than half the state's corn crop is rated as being poor to very poor condition. 


Obesity Rates Growing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal report says 29 percent ofIowa's adults are severely overweight.
     The report issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Colorado had the lowest figure, at just below 21 percent, while Mississippi had the highest at nearly 36 percent.
     Iowa's neighbor to the west, Nebraska, had a rate of 28.4 percent.
     Catherine Lillehoj of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the 2011 statistics aren't directly comparable to previous numbers because of changes in collection methods.
     Lillehoj says there have been dramatic increases in obesity across the nation, mainly because of poor diets and lack of exercise. Obesity is often accompanies by health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.





Monday Afternoon News, August 13

Oliver Pleads Not Guilty To Shooting and Other Charges

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old Sioux City man suspected of shooting at two bicyclists in northwest Iowa has pleaded not guilty to drunken driving and other charges.
     Authorities say Terry Oliver Jr. on Monday entered a written plea of not guilty to OWI, going armed with intent and two counts of misdemeanor assault with a firearm. A trial date hasn't been
     The bicyclists reported that they were riding along Iowa Highway 12 near Stone State Park when the incident occurred Aug. 5. They say a vehicle slowed as it neared them and someone inside it
started shooting. They took cover in a ditch.
     A suspect vehicle was stopped four miles north, and Oliver and Cesar Gonzalez were taken into custody after a brief foot chase.
     Authorities say Gonzalez is a material witness.

USDA To Purchase Meat -- Assist Drought Striken Livestock Producers

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Agriculture Department will buy up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish to help drought-stricken farmers and ranchers.
     USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the purchase for food banks and other federal food nutrition programs will help producers struggling with the high cost of feed.
     The announcement comes as President Barack Obama campaigns in Iowa, where he criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for blocking a farm bill that could help farmers cope
with the drought.
     Obama has pledged a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.
     His administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, opening more federal land for grazing and distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.

Iowa Wants To Start Up Again The Movie Industry

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is looking to restart its film industry after a scandal linked to a tax credit program shut down the state's film office and sent some people to jail.
     The Gazette says the scene moves from the courtroom to the process of rebuilding an industry that has a long memory.
     Wendol Jarvis served as film officer manager during Gov. Terry Branstad's previous four-term stint as governor. He says the fiasco was a mix of incompetency and greed that caused widespread damage.  He says whatever course Iowa takes, the state must provide trust
and security.
     Lawmakers appropriated $200,000 - half of what Branstad requested - when they voted last session to permanently end the tax credit program and keep the film office. There will be no
incentives when the office reopens.


Branstad Shows Ryan The Iowa State Fair

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will escort fellow Republican Paul Ryan around the Iowa State Fair today. Branstad says the Wisconsin congressman is a good pick by Mitt Romney as his running mate for vice president.
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 Branstad has said in the past he prefers to see a governor become president and he says Romney fits that bill, while Ryan adds to the ticket.

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The governor was asked if he was being considered or ever contacted about being Romney's running mate.
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The governor made his comments at the weekly meeting with the media. He was also asked if he will take any action to prevent the use of state money to finance abortions in the cases of rape and incest.

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House Republicans had asked the Iowa Department of Human Services to eliminate Medicaid funding of abortions in cases of rape or incest, but D-H-S director Charles Palmer responded last week in a letter and said such a move would “violate federal funding requirements” and would “jeopardize all” the money the State of Iowa gets from the federal government to cover Medicaid expenses. Palmer said the state would lose over two-point-one-billion dollars in federal funding if he granted the request. House Republicans suggested the governor could take action, but Branstad says the legislature has to do something if this is what they want to do..

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 Some House Republicans believe the budget bill passed by the legislature provides the legislative intent for the governor to take action. But Branstad says the bill has been thoroughly reviewed and the language is "very vague and there are many different interpretations of that."




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