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Friday News, May 22

Northey Orders No Poultry Shows At County And State Fairs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There will be no chickens or ducks at the Iowa State Fair this summer and no poultry shows at county fairs in Iowa this year as the bird flu continues to infect birds.

Iowa Department of Agriculture officials on Thursday prohibited all live bird exhibitions at fairs and live bird sales at livestock auctions and swap meets. The order lasts through the end of the year. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey explains why there will not be any poultry exhibition shows.

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Iowa has more than 25 million birds and more than 60 farms infected with the H5N2 virus.

Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the scale of the current outbreak is unprecedented and it's important to take every step possible to limit the spread of the disease.

Other states to take similar steps include Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

 

 

Ernst To Host Bird Flu Townhall Meetings

(Sioux Center) -- Speaking about the bird flu, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is hosting a series of town hall forums addressing the the bird flu epidemic.  The forums are scheduled for Saturday and will take place at Osceola, Lyon, and Sioux Counties.  Joining Senator Ernst will be Iowa Republican 4th District Congressman Steve King, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and various state representatives and state senators.  The meetings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Cooperative Energy at Sibley, 11:15 a.m. at the Rock Rapids Public Library, and at 1:45 p.m. at the DeJager Student Activities Center at Dordt College in Sioux Center.

 

 

 

Preparations Being Made For "Avenue Of Flags"

(Le Mars) -- Monday is Memorial Day, and the Wasmer Post #241 American Legion of Le Mars will be hosting the annual "Avenue of Flags" event at the Plymouth County Courthouse.  Post Commander, Wayne Schipper says the event will display over 1200 flags with each one with a name of someone who is being remembered and honored. Prior to the reading of the names ceremony, Schipper says there will be a parade.

 

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The Courthouse grounds and surrounding area will be featuring more than 1200 flags, and Schipper says there will be the dedication of new flags presented.

 

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Schipper says families wanting to dedicate a flag this year in honor of a loved one that has passed should contact either himself or Jim Rolfes by today (Friday).

 

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The Post Commander says in addition to the dedication of the flags ceremony, wreaths will be placed recognizing those people who lost their lives from each war the United States has been involved.  Pat Murphy will again read the names of the 1200 plus veterans who are being honored.  Should it rain on Monday, the ceremony will be moved to the Le Mars Community Middle School auditorium.  Keep listening to KLEM radio for further announcements regarding the Memorial Day ceremony.

 

 

 

Electronic Recycling Program Scheduled For Today

(Le Mars) -- If you have an electronic gadget that no longer is operational, or time has passed it by beyond its usefulness, you may want to consider recycling.  Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole says an electronic recycling program is scheduled for today (Friday) in the parking lot behind the city hall between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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Sioux City Farm Equipment Manufacturer Shuts Down Operations

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A farm equipment manufacturer in Sioux City is shutting down its two plants, eliminating more than 50 jobs in the area.

Soo Tractor, which has been doing business as Radius Steel Fabrication, will shut down production at its two Sioux City plants between the end of May and the end of June.

It's unclear why the company, founded more than 70 years ago, is shutting down the plants. Its chairman, Allen Mahaney, died in February at age 77.

Messages left for the company Thursday were not immediately returned.

The company will host a job fair May 29 for displaced workers such as welders, machinists and laser cutters.

 

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Des Moines Continues To Grow

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Pat yourself on the back, Des Moines, you've never been bigger.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released an estimate showing Des Moines' population on July 1, 2014, was 209,220.

That tops the city's previous population high of 208,982 set in the 1960 census. Following that peak, the city's population began a long decline that saw the number of residents bottom out at 191,003 in the 1980 census.

It's been a slow climb back since.

Des Moines is Iowa's largest city, followed by Cedar Rapids, with at 2014 estimate of 129,195, and Davenport with 102,448.

Sioux City had a population of 82,517, Iowa City had 73,415 and Waterloo totaled 68,364.

 

 

   

Thursday Afternoon News, May 21

Legislators Watching Avian Bird Flu's Impact On State Economy

(Le Mars) -- The outbreak of the avian bird flu and its impact on the state's poultry industry has caught the attention of the state legislature.  Le Mars State Representative Chuck Soderberg says state lawmakers are wondering if funds should be appropriated to chicken and turkey producers who have had their flocks wiped out due to the bird virus.  He says the estimates of economic losses may affect the state's budget projections.

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Government Discontinues Offering Military Hardware To Law Enforcement Agencies

(Le Mars) -- This past week the Obama Administration announced that no longer would the government allow the donation or sale of surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies.  Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga says in the past, Le Mars was able to obtain a military vehicle.

 

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The Police Chief says at about the same time the city acquired the military vehicle, the local police department also acquired three M-16 military rifles.

 

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Dekkenga says the reason he would like to return the military rifles is because of too many regulations, and too much bureaucratic red tape. He says the government's decision not to allow law enforcement agencies to acquire military hardware will not affect the Le Mars Police Department. However, Dekkenga says it is a shame the government decided to discontinue the program.

 

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Dekkenga says its too bad the government has issued the order, because as he says, many city budgets simply cannot afford to purchase new armored equipment that may be needed because of its cost.

 

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Dekkenga says he often times questions the wisdom of our government's decisions with regard to military surplus items.

 

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Huckabee Says He Will Skip Iowa Straw Poll

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he won't participate in the Iowa Straw Poll, where he competed and placed second eight years ago.

In an opinion piece published Thursday in The Des Moines Register, Huckabee said his resources are better spent on other efforts. He argued that the straw poll is likely to draw only conservative candidates and that the competition could weaken them.

Huckabee has declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In 2008, he won the Iowa caucuses but did not win the nomination.

State GOP officials have fought to keep the Aug. 8 event alive. But critics say the poll has become a costly sideshow.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will skip the poll and attend a conservative gathering in Georgia.

 

 

 

Sioux City Man Sentenced To 15 Years For Synthetic Marijuana

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of burglary and possessing synthetic marijuana has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

19-year-old Javen Mobley pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary, and in a separate case, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Authorities say Mobley admitted breaking into a house Sept. 1 to steal items, and other people he was with started a fire. Mobley had been charged with second-degree arson in connection to the fire, but the charge was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

According to court documents, Mobley was arrested in April during a traffic stop when police found six plastic bags containing synthetic marijuana. The documents say Mobley told officers he was on his way to deliver the substance to a woman.

 

 

 

Branstad Appoints New Civil Rights Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A woman who's worked since 2012 for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has been named its executive director.

The office of Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday announced his appointment of Kristin Johnson to the post. Johnson replaces Beth Townsend, whom Branstad appointed to be director of Iowa Workforce Development.

Johnson has been working for the commission as a civil rights specialist. Previously she was an arbitrator and mediator for the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a consultant for the Iowa Association of School Boards, an attorney in private practice and a labor relations attorney for the Iowa Department of Personnel.

Johnson earned her bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Iowa.

 

 

 

Con-Agra Expands In Waterloo

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - ConAgra Foods says it plans to expand its Waterloo plant and add 55 jobs to the local payroll.

Officials say Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra expects to break ground next month on the 99,000-square-foot expansion, pending approval of state and local incentives. ConAgra says the expansion project could be finished by late 2016. The expansion will provide space for production of the company's David sunflower seed snacks.

ConAgra has produced Snack Pack and Swiss Miss products in Waterloo since 1997.

 

 

 

Two Landfills Given Permission To Accept Bird Flu Carcasses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa landfills have been given approvals from federal and state officials to dispose of some of the millions of chicken, turkey and duck carcasses amassing from the outbreak of bird flu.

The carcasses will go to the Northwest Iowa Area Solid Waste Agency landfill near Sheldon and the Iowa Waste Systems landfill near Malvern in southwest Iowa.

On Wednesday Iowa officials added two turkey farms to the state list of cases, raising the number to 62.

The USDA says confirmed outbreaks have claimed nearly 40 million birds in 15 states since early March, mostly in Minnesota and Iowa.

 

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