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Friday News, September 11

Orange City Tulip Festival Selects Queen's Candidates


(Orange City) -- The 2016 Orange City Tulip Court was elected on Wednesday.  Tulip Court members for the 76th annual Tulip Festival include: Maddie Christy, daughter of Greg and Michelle Christy; Grace DeHaan, daughter of Brent and Patti DeHaan; Ava Grossmann, daughter of Jonathan and Glenda Grossmann; Kelsey Lang, daughter of Chris and Sherry Lang; and Kaylee Puttmann, daughter of Shannon and Kristen Puttman.  A Queen's tea and pageant will be held on November 16th to crown the 2016 Tulip Queen.  The Queen and her court will serve as ambassadors for Orange City's 76th Annual Tulip Festival, slated for May 19-21.





Grassley Opposes Iranian Nuclear Arms Deal

(Washington) -- The U-S Senate has been debating the Iranian nuclear arms deal.  Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley stood at the podium and informed his Senate colleagues he opposes the deal saying it would ultimately give Iran nuclear arms.  Grassley says Americans and Iowans overwhelmingly oppose the deal with Iran.

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Grassley says after studying the nuclear agreement he came to the conclusion the Iranians were gaining too much power and the United States was forfeiting too much leverage it once had on Iran.

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In his floor speech, Grassley says history has proven the Iranians cannot be trusted. He says the economic sanctions placed on Iran were doing some good, but now the U-S has lost its position of strength.

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The Iowa Republican Senator says he is troubled with the inspection portion of the agreement, saying nuclear inspectors will not have complete and free access to Iran's nuclear storage and components.

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Grassley says the deal has too many "side" agreements that are not being presented to the public's attention.  He urged his Senate colleagues to vote against the agreement.

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Grassley says the United States now has enemies that don't fear us, and we have friends and allies that don't follow us, because they question our credibility.  Grassley says the proposed agreement has too many shortcomings, and it will make the world a more dangerous place, and he says it will fail to make the United States and our friends safer.




Storm Lake School District Wants To Sell Old Elementary Building

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Facing the prospect of paying for a new boiler, the Storm Lake school district has put an old elementary school building up for sale.
South Elementary School hasn't been used for classes in eight years, but its auditorium has been rented out for sports and other activities. Superintendent Carl Turner says those rentals have brought in about $30,000 a year, well short of the annual maintenance costs of $80,000.
The board decided to sell the building once it learned that the new boiler it needed could cost the district $100,000. Officials are hoping for a quick sale so the building doesn't sit too long and fall into disrepair, requiring demolition.





Iowa Schools Not Meeting Standards Under "No Child Left Behind"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report says more Iowa schools and districts are falling short of annual targets set through the No Child Left Behind law, and state officials say they want revisions to the federal benchmarks.
The report released Thursday says more than 1,000 schools out of roughly 1,330 in the state did not meet certain targets on student population and demographics. There was an increase in the number of schools considered "in need of assistance" on certain progress.
Department Director Ryan Wise says despite the report, he feels the majority of Iowa schools and districts are not failing. He says the law must be revised on the congressional level to develop a better system of accountability.
Several states have been granted waivers from components of the law, which passed in 2001.





Two Iowa Counties Expanding Psychiatric Hospitals

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Officials in two Iowa counties are considering separate plans for new or expanded psychiatric hospitals.
The Broadlawns Medical Center in Polk County plans to expand its in-patient psychiatric unit to help address a shortage of services for people with serious mental illnesses. It now has 30 psychiatric beds and plans to add 14 more.
The Des Moines area now has about 130 in-patient psychiatric beds at four hospitals, including Broadlawns.
It appeared this summer that the area would've gained more after company Strategic Behavioral Health LLC expressed interest in opening a psychiatric hospital. But the company now says it wants to build the facility in Davenport, which is in Scott County.
A majority of Scott County supervisors say they're inclined to back the company's efforts to build the 72-bed hospital.




Iowa State University Students Living With Bats

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Six Iowa State University students living in a rented home in Ames have been vaccinated for rabies after officials learned they have collectively killed 23 bats in their home.
The students were vaccinated Tuesday night.
Ames Animal Control supervisor Ron Edwards told the students and their girlfriends to get vaccinated once he learned how many bats they had been exposed to. One bat tested negative for rabies.
Twenty-one-year-old Quinn Nordland said a roommate found the first bat in the basement Aug. 30, and another one the next morning. The bats kept continued to appear and the students would walk the hallways at night with tennis rackets to combat the animals.
The students said the infestation has persisted despite reporting it to their landlord. Mike Fresco of First Property Management said a company has been hired to find a solution to the problem.





USDA Funding Program To Include More Fuel Blending Pumps


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it is sending money to 21 states including Iowa and Nebraska to help them install more gas pumps that can provide higher blends of ethanol fuel.
A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol but the USDA is encouraging the use of higher blends of the corn-based fuel such as 15 percent ethanol, which the government says can be safely used in cars built in 2001 or later.
Iowa expects to get funding to add 187 blender pumps, which allow customers to choose from various blends of ethanol from E15 to higher blends used in flex-fuel vehicles including E20 and E30, and E85.
The USDA says Nebraska will get funding to add 80 blender pumps and Minnesota will add 620.








Thursday News, September 10

Two Vehicle Accident Causes Three To Be Seriously Injured


(Le Mars) -- A two vehicle accident happened last evening at about 11:30 p.m. on county road C-38, between Otter Avenue and county road K-64, or about five miles southeast of Le Mars, causing three people to be seriously injured.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's office received a call of a possible intoxicated driver traveling west on C-38 from the Cherokee County line.  As deputies were enroute to check on the complaint, they came upon the accident scene.  At that time, there was a 2012 Dodge Charger in the traveled portion of the roadway with a male driver inside the vehicle.  The other vehicle was a 2011 Chevy Equinox located in the north ditch with both a male person trapped in the vehicle and a female passenger still in the vehicle.  The Chevy Equinox was on fire upon the deputy's arrival.  The deputies were able to put out the fire with the use of fire extinguishers.

The Plymouth County Sheriff's office and the Iowa Highway Patrol are investigating the accident.  It appears the Chevy was traveling east on C-38 and the Dodge was traveling west.  It is believed that the Chevy crossed the center line and contact was made in the west bound lane of travel.  All three people were taken to Floyd Valley Hospital and then transferred to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.  All the injuries are considered life threatening at this point.  Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars and Remsen Police Departments, Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Oyens Fire Department, Remsen Fire Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Oyens Ambulance, and the Remsen Ambulance, along with the Iowa Highway Patrol.  The accident scene remains under investigation, and the names of the injured victims are being withheld until family members have been notified.  More information will be released as it becomes available.






Hull Woman Hits School Bus

HULL, Iowa (AP) - A woman has been injured after her vehicle struck a school bus in Hull.
According to the Sioux County Sheriff's Office, 58-year-old Pam Van Sloten was traveling southeast of Hull Wednesday morning when she lost control of her vehicle, slid sideways and struck a bus traveling in the opposite direction.
Van Sloten was transported to Sioux Center Community Hospital and later flown to Avera-McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. She is listed as being in fair condition.
According to police, the school bus driver and the children on board were not injured in the crash.
An investigation is ongoing.





"Bodacious Babes Of Buzzard Bend" To Be Presented Tonight

(Le Mars) -- This evening will be the scheduled performance of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce mystery dinner theater "The Bodacious Babes of Buzzard Bend."  Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner to start at 7:00 p.m. and the play to follow.  That event will take place at the Le Mars Convention Center.



Puetz Family Honored For Environmental Stewardship

DES MOINES – A Plymouth County farming family was recently recognized at a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair for environmental stewardship. Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 95 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair. Receiving recognition for their soil and water conservation measures were Bob and Lisa Puetz of Le Mars, along with their son, Cory, and his wife Kari.  The Puetz family have implemented several conservation measures for their farming operation, including no-till farming, terraces, grass waterways, buffer strips, and windbreaks around his pork production buildings.  The Puetz family is active with the Pheasants Forever Chapter and have helped establish wildlife habitat.  Earlier this spring, the Puetz family hosted Governor Branstad as he signed the proclamation acknowledging Soil and Water Conservation Week.  The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is a joint effort between the Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.  It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.
This is the fourth year for the award program and to date more than 300 families have received recognition.




Sioux City Man Arrested For Arson

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City police have arrested a 51 year old male suspected of setting at least five fires within close proximity to each other in the area of Hamilton Blvd. and Tri View Avenue.  The Sioux City Fire and Rescue crews responded to all four fires. Jeffrey Rosenbaum was located in the area of the fires and questioned by law enforcement officers. Rosenbaum has been charged with one count of Arson in the first degree, and four counts of Arson in the second degree.  On Friday evening, the first fire was reported at about 1:05 a.m. in a construction size dumpster located at 1501 Tri View Avenue.  The second fire was reported just before 3:00 a.m. along the railroad tracks in the area of 1100 Tri View Avenue.  The third fire was near a motel located at 1401 Zenith Drive, and it was reported at approximately 4:20 a.m. When it was reported, fire officials thought the motel itself was on fire.  But fortunately, the fire was in a construction dumpster within five feet of the motel.  The motel was occupied at the time of the fire by a large number of guests, but the fire was extinguished without any damage to the building, and none of the guests were displaced from their rooms because of the fire.  A fourth fire was found at approximately 4:30 a.m. at 1515 Zenith Drive.  This fire was spotted by Sioux City Fire Department personnel as they were putting out the fire at 1401 Zenith Drive.  Again, another dumpster was set on fire at that location.  Then on Tuesday evening at about 8:50 p.m. a fire was reported north of the railroad tracks in the 1100 block of Tri View Avenue.  A joint investigation between the Sioux City Police Department and the Sioux City Fire Marshal's office has determined that all of the fires were intentionally set believed to be related.  Police arrested Rosenbaum at about 10:17 p.m. Tuesday evening.




Regents Agree To Spring Semester Tuition Increase

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The governing board for Iowa's three public universities has approved a roughly $100 tuition increase for students at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.
The Iowa Board of Regents voted 7-2 Wednesday for the increase, which will exempt students at the University of Iowa.
The mid-year increase at UNI and Iowa State ends a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students that went into effect several years ago.
The board originally intended to raise tuition at all three schools. The proposal was amended after the president of UI's student government asked board members to consider the extra tuition's financial impact on some students. 
Student representatives for UNI and Iowa State said the additional money would help offset rapid student population growth and inadequate state funding.




State Universities Have Increased Enrollment

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Representatives for Iowa's three public universities say student enrollment numbers are up, and they include some records.
Iowa State University had just over 36,000 students enrolled for the fall 2015 semester, making it the largest enrollment in school history.
The University of Iowa, which had more than 32,000 students enrolled for the same semester, also had more than 5,200 students for its class of 2019. School officials say it's the university's largest class.
Officials for the University of Northern Iowa say its total fall enrollment is more than 11,900. It's the third consecutive year of enrollment growth for the Cedar Falls school.
The numbers were discussed during the Iowa Board of Regents' meeting on Wednesday.




Des Moines Airport Looking At Private/Public Partnership To Finance Terminal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A public-private partnership is being explored as a way to pay for a new terminal at Des Moines International Airport.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) that financing consultants discussed the possibilities at Tuesday's meeting of the Airport Authority Board. 
David Fisher, a retired corporate executive hired by the airport to find funding for the terminal, says there could be tremendous savings.
Airport executive director Kevin Foley says the potential benefits merited further research, but he is against privatizing the construction or operation of facilities outside the terminal such as parking garages, which generate a profit for the airport.
Airport officials say the old terminal is too small, becoming costly to maintain and isn't configured for modern security and passenger needs.





Former Lottery Official Sentenced To Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former lottery security official has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for rigging a computerized Hot Lotto game in 2010 in an attempt to win a $14 million jackpot in Iowa.
Eddie Tipton, of Norwalk, never got any of the money, but a jury convicted him in July on two counts of fraud. The 52-year-old also was accused of trying to get acquaintances to cash the prize for him without revealing his identity.
During a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Judge Jeffrey Farrell told Tipton his violation of trust was the biggest factor in him receiving the maximum sentence on each count.
Prosecutors say Tipton inserted a stealth program into the computer that picks numbers for the game and then bought tickets.
Tipton is appealing and remains free on bond.



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