Wednesday News, July 9
Local Church Helps Those In Need With Construction and Painting Of Home
(Le Mars) -- A local church, along with a youth group from Manitoba, Canada are assisting with a construction and painting project in Le Mars. Pastor Ken Vander Ploeg of the Calvin Reformed Church of Le Mars is overseeing the project. He says the "Prairie Project" identifies families of limited means, or who are physically unable to make needed repairs to their homes. The group focused its attention on a home located at 315 2nd Avenue northwest, and belonging to Steve and Jan Sneller.
Vander Ploeg says the youth group are in the area for only three days, but have worked on several projects.
Vander Ploeg says the groups are an extension of the Habitat for Humanity.
Sioux City Council Tells Police There Isn't Enough Money For Repairs To Building
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council says Sioux City doesn't have nearly $4 million to repair its police and fire department headquarters. The city has budgeted $2.5 million for the repairs to the leaky, 28-year-old building. Police officials say they will revise their plans and come back to the council in a few weeks.
Attorney General Secures Refunds From Club Membership
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - More than 400,000 Iowans who were tricked into signing up for buying club memberships will be eligible for refunds ranging from $6 to hundreds of dollars or more.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Tuesday that refund notices are being sent to Iowans who had memberships with Connecticut-based Vertrue Inc. and two other buying clubs.
The $40 million refund is the culmination of Miller's 11-year investigation and prosecution of Vertrue, which was found to have tricked Iowans into buying 864,000 memberships dating back to 1989. Most of the memberships weren't used.
Miller says the checks will be sent later this year, likely between October and December. Des Moines man Richard Schulz says he expects to receive $1,500 in refunds from Vertrue after he unknowingly had a paid membership for years.
Iowa State University Intergrating The Role Of Crop Specialists
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University is revising the way its crop specialists work with farmers on the best ways to plant and care for soybeans and corn.
Traditionally corn specialists worked with corn growers and soybean specialists worked with soybean producers. Now, however, the university says it's putting together a new team of integrated cropping systems specialist.
They will focus on how corn and soybean production interacts with soil, weather, cover crops, crop rotation and management practices and support farmers' use of data-driven technologies in precision agriculture.
The team is led by Sotirios Archontoulis (So-tee-ree-os Ark-on-tool-is), who joined Iowa State in 2012.
Joel DeJong, who serves farmers in northwest Iowa as a crops specialist, says the new intergration will not change much in the manner how he assists farmers.
Iowa DOT Establishes Dates For Roadside Haying
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa transportation officials have set two schedules for harvesting hay within state-maintained highways.
The Iowa Department of Transportation says cool season grasses and forage legumes can be harvested between July 15 and Sept. 1. Warm season native grasses can be harvested between July 15 and Aug. 15.
People must obtain a permit to perform any type of work on state highways. They will also need to wear a fluorescent green safety vest and provide traffic control in some instances.
DOT officials say only one cutting per year is allowed so grasses can recover before the winter season.
Hog Confinement Barn On Fire
HUDSON, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters are battling a fire at a rural hog confinement operation in northeast Iowa.
Officials say a structure at the confinement in Hudson caught fire Tuesday before spreading to an adjacent building. Heavy smoke and impaired visibility was reported.
The second structure contained hogs, and some are believed to have died in the fire. It is unclear how many hogs were inside.
Firefighters from at least three departments were battling the fire. Nearby neighbors at one point gathered to help move several items, including propane and gasoline tanks, out of the fire's path. Authorities say it's unclear what caused the fire.
Iowa WWII Pilot Remains Are Found And Identified
MOULTON, Iowa (AP) - Officials say remains found in Germany in 2012 have been positively identified as belonging to a WWII airman from Iowa who went missing more than 69 years ago.
The Iowa National Guard says Staff Sgt. Robert "Bobby" E. Howard, of Moulton, Iowa, was 21 years old in April 1945 when his aircraft was shot down over Germany. He and four other crew members were officially declared dead, though their remains were never recovered.
Officials say in a news release Tuesday that a research and analysis group concluded earlier this year that human remains found near the possible aircraft crash site belong to Howard.
A memorial service for Howard will be held in Moulton on July 19 with full military honors.
AIDS Research Team Forfeits Grant
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An AIDS research team at Iowa State University will not get a final payment of $1.38 million it had been awarded from the National Institutes of Health after a team member admitted last year to faking research results.
The NIH says the final payment of a five-year grant will not be made.
Dong-Pyou Han has pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports. He is free on bond awaiting trial.
Prosecutors say Han wrote a letter to university officials before resigning in 2013 in which he says he spiked samples of rabbit blood with human antibodies to make an experimental HIV vaccine appear to work. Han's letter says he acted alone.
The team continues its research and is seeking additional funding.
Medicaid Director Resigns
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state's Medicaid director has resigned to take a job with the University of Iowa.
The state Department of Human Services says Jennifer Vermeer's resignation will be effective Aug. 21. She is leaving to become the new assistant vice president of medical affairs with University of Iowa Health Care.
Julie Lovelady, the Medicaid deputy director, will become the interim director. A national search will be launched to permanently fill the position.
Vermeer has been the state's Medicaid director since 2008.
Nashua Police Chief Demoted
NASHUA, Iowa (AP) - The police chief of a northern Iowa city has been demoted back to officer.
The Nashua City Council made that decision on Monday regarding the city's chief, Ernie Willsher.
Mayor Deanne Lantow said in the demotion notice to Willsher on June 20 that his attitude is to blame, but she did not go into specifics.
Willsher has 30 days to appeal the decision and request a formal hearing.
Officer Paul Becthold was named interim chief of the four-member department. Nashua has about 1,700 residents.