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Monday News, July 13

Fire At Ireton Feed Mill

(Ireton) -- Fire fighters from six different communities were called to Ireton last evening to fight a fire in a feed mill and grain elevator.  The alarm was sounded at about 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening at the Deluxe Feed Incorporated.  Ireton Fire Chief Rich Steckelberg says he believes the fire may have started in the electrical room.


(sot) -- Steckelberg1

Smoke could be seen billowing from the structure.  An aerial truck provided by the Sioux Center Fire Department, was used to spray water on the four-story high feed mill, and fire fighters were seen dismantling the metal walls to have better access to the fire. Fire fighters were not only battling the blaze, but also the heat and humidity. Several fire fighters were suffering from heat exhaustion, and were seen taking frequent breaks. Ireton Ambulance and Sioux Center Ambulance crew members were checking the fire fighters' vital signs.  Several Ireton townspeople not only were watching the fire, but assisted the fire fighters by providing bottled water to drink, and wet towels which was placed on the fire fighters heads.  Steckelberg says it is too early to determine the cause of the fire. He said the state fire marshal will arrive on Monday to help with the investigation.  Fire fighters were at the scene the entire night.  There were no injuries reported.  Damage estimates due to the fire may run into the tens of thousands of dollars.




Le Mars Community Board of Education To Meet Tonight

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening at the Education Center.  The school board will hear a report from Bruce Ludwig, the school's technology director.  Ludwig will share with the school board the results of a survey entitled "Bright Bytes Technology Survey" administered in the spring of 2015 to students, parents, and teachers.  The school board will also hear a report given by Assistant School Superintendent Steve Webner as he will submit the preliminary results of the Iowa Assessments and progress on district student achievement goals.  The school board will have its second reading on policy regarding transporting students in private vehicles.  The school board will also consider approving agreements with the Hinton Community School District and the Remsen-Union Community School District to provide vocational programming under a sharing agreement.





Hundreds Watch Union Township 100th Celebration

(Union) -- Hundreds of people withstood the heat Sunday afternoon and turned out to help Union township celebrate its 100th anniversary.  The parade featured more than 50 entries. Many floats consisted of local families living within the area for several generations. There were antique cars, antique pick-up trucks, and several antique tractors, along with modern-day tractors showing the contrast and progress of agriculture.  The Shriners "Rat Patrol" based in Sioux City was a hit with parade viewers.  The group drove their go-carts in precision manner, performing criss-crossing maneuvers.  Also, featured in the parade was the Class of 1962 from Union as they rode on a horse-pulled trolley.  The crowd enjoyed several old fashioned games during the afternoon event, and the school building was open for people to tour and reminisce.





Algae Bloom Killing Fish

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Fish are dying in a northern Iowa pond because of low oxygen levels caused by an algae bloom.

Oxygen-deprived fish were spotted Friday at Black Pit, a 16-acre pond in Lester Milligan Park in Mason City. Dead fish were also found Saturday.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins says more fish were likely to be found Sunday as oxygen levels dropped overnight. Officials don't know if Black Pit will recover on its own or need restocking.

The same problem was blamed for thousands of dead fish on Iowa's Crystal Lake earlier this week.

Baskins says dying algae produces a substance that can be toxic to human and pets, so suspicious looking water should be avoided.







Motorcyclists Gather To Honor Killed Cousins

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Motorcyclists have rallied in an eastern Iowa town to honor two cousins who were abducted and killed three years ago.

The third annual "Memorial Ride and Drive for the Girls" drew supporters Saturday to mark the anniversary of the day 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins were taken.

The Evansdale girls disappeared on July 13, 2012, sparking a massive search that ended tragically when their bodies were discovered on Dec. 5, 2012, in Bremer County.

Elizabeth's parents, Drew and Heather Collins, say they're grateful for the continued community support and ride organizers.

More than 125 cyclists and others in cars left on a 155-mile ride from Lofty's Lounge in Evansdale and ended at the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo.







Regents May Increase Tuition Rates At Mid-year

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Students at Iowa's three public universities could see an unprecedented mid-year tuition hike, if the Iowa Board of Regents approves an increase for the upcoming spring semester.

Late last year, the Iowa Board of Regents approved a freeze on tuition rates for the third consecutive year. But a regents spokesman says a state funding shortfall could lead to the mid-year increase.

Spokesman Josh Lehman tells Cedar Rapids television station KCRG that the board agreed to the tuition freeze this year with the understanding that their request for a 1.75 percent increase in state funding would be approved. But only a 1.25 percent increase was appropriated.

The regents are set to discuss raising tuition for the spring semester of the 2015 to 2016 school year during an August meeting.






Des Moines Residents Expecting A Utility Payment May Have To Wait

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Utility ratepayers expecting a piece of a $40 million judgment against the city of Des Moines for years of collecting an illegal franchise fee might have to wait about two months before getting a refund claim form.

The Des Moines Register says that follows a court hearing Friday held to work out the language of the claim notices.

Lisa Kragnes sued in 2004, saying city franchise fees tacked on to utility bills were illegal. The courts agreed and ordered $40 million in refunds.

An attorney for Kragnes, Bruce Stoltze, said Friday that ratepayers will have to fill out the claim forms once they're sent. The claims will then be processed by a consulting firm.

Stoltze says getting the actual refund is "going to take a bit of time."











Saturday News, July 11

Relay For Life Held Friday Evening

(Le Mars) -- Several people were walking around the Le Mars Community track last evening as a way to call attention and raise money for cancer research.  It was all part of the annual Plymouth County Relay For Life.  Ann Hoeppner (Hepner) serves as the Community Manager for the Cancer Relay for Life. She says last night's event raised about $15,000. Of that money, Hoeppner says much of it will be directed for cancer research here in Iowa.

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A tradition with the Relay for Life is the various luminaries placed around the track calling attention to a loved one that either has survived cancer, or unfortunately has lost their life to cancer.

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Hoeppner says the organization sends out more than 150 invitations to area cancer survivors, encouraging them to participate in the annual Relay for Life event.  In addition to calling attention to the need for cancer research, Hoeppner says organizers try to make the annual event fun for all participants.

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Hoeppner says besides raising money for cancer research, the organization also reaches out to victims and their families, and serves as an advocacy group to help answer questions.  She says the service is available all day and every day.

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Rising Star Intern Program To Feature Food Demonstration At Farmer's Market

(Le Mars) -- Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach’s Rising Star Internship Program will host a food demo at the Le Mars Farmers Market, at the Olson Cultural Events Center in Le Mars, IA, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22. Rising Star interns Lauren Whetstone and Hannah Klotz will present healthy recipe ideas for eating seasonally with locally-grown food, as part of the Rising Star Internship Program’s work with Flavors of Northwest Iowa.
The Rising Star Internship Program is a cooperative effort between Iowa State University College of Design, College of Human Sciences and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, resulting in three-month summer internship programs for exceptional ISU students.
The focus of the Rising Star Internship Program this summer is Regional Food Systems, a multi-disciplinary issue where the potential is significant for measurable impact. Working with Flavors of Northwest Iowa, part of the Regional Food Systems Working Group which provides producer education, consumer information and support for healthy food partnerships, the Rising Stars will encounter issues in the fields of science, technology, design, statistical analysis, economic development, engineering, life and environmental sciences, entrepreneurship, nutrition, and health and wellness. As part of the focus on regional foods, the Rising Star interns will hold local food demos at a number of locations throughout Northwest Iowa all summer long.





DNR Warns Against Swimming At Many State Park Lakes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It's a nice weekend, and that may prompt you to want to visit one of Iowa's beautiful state parks, and perhaps enjoy a dip in a lake.  However, The state has posted advisories cautioning Iowans to stay away from 11 state park beaches this summer due to toxic blue-green algae blooms. 
The rapid growth of algae usually caused by an excess of phosphorous and nitrogen running off of farms and sometimes from sewage treatment plants and storm water drains.
Algae blooms can result in the release of harmful toxins that can make people sick and be deadly for pets and other animals.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has posted 14 swimming advisories cautioning Iowans to stay out of the water at 11 state parks so far this summer.
Lake Darling in Brighton; Pine Lake near Eldora; Red Haw Lake near Chariton and West Twin Lake near Kanawha are among those posted for the first time.





Trial For Lottery Official May Be Delayed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The trial of a former lottery security officer accused of fixing the Hot Lotto game in 2010 to get himself a winning ticket worth millions may not start Monday as scheduled.
State prosecutors on Friday filed a motion asking the judge in the case to delay the trial of Eddie Tipton. 
The 51-year-old former Multi-State Lottery employee is charged with two counts of fraud.
Tipton denies he altered the number-generating computer that picks Hot Lotto numbers and says he didn't buy the winning ticket in Des Moines on Dec. 23, 2010.
Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand cites a flurry of motions by Tipton's attorney as a reason to delay.
Tipton's attorney, Dean Stowers, says Tipton looks forward to letting a jury decide the case based on the evidence.





Des Moines To Have New Skyscraper Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A developer is proposing building a 32-story building in downtown Des Moines featuring apartments, a movie theater and a climbing wall.
The building planned by developer Justin Mandelbaum would be the fourth-tallest in Iowa.
The proposal was revealed because the Des Moines City Council on Monday will discuss the building, which would be built at a site now occupied by a city-owned parking garage. Officials plan to demolish the garage to make room for new development.
The $85 million development would include about 200 apartments, a nine-screen movie theater, jazz club, parking ramp, indoor/outdoor climbing wall, daycare and a small amount of office space.
Mandelbaum says the building would "firmly establish downtown as the metro area's premier place to live work and play."





Road Rage Incident Ends With Gun Shots

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police are investigating a road rage case that ended in a man firing a gun at a sport utility vehicle.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon when a couple and their children were returning home.
The father, who asked that his name not be used, told police another driver cut off his SUV. The SUV driver yelled that the other driver should be more careful, prompting him to yell back and then follow the SUV.
The SUV driver parked so the other man couldn't see where they lived, and the other man yelled about wanting to fight.
When the SUV driver stepped out, the other driver retrieved a gun from his car and shot the SUV twice near the windshield.
Police are investigating the case.



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