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Sunday News, April 6

Sunday Afternoon Field Fires

(Le Mars) -- Despite the recent blanket of snow from Thursday, conditions are still dry, and as a result, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, with assistance from the Hinton Fire Department responded to a field fire Sunday afternoon.  The fire was reported at about 4:00 p.m. near the intersection of 270th Street and County Road K-49, about eight miles south of Le Mars.  The fire started as a brush fire but quickly got out of control. The owners admitted to fire officials they believed the recent moisture would have prevented the fire from spreading.  It had spread over a corn stalk stubble field, burning approximately 20 acres before fire officals were able to contain and control the fire with two grass fighting rigs and an all terrain vehicle equipped with a water tank.  Fire officials were at the scene for an hour.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's office also responded to the fire.

(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department also had to respond to a field fire Sunday afternoon.  The fire was reported shortly after 1:00 p.m. at 21257 County Road C-16.  Fire officials were on the scene for approximately one hour.

Former Normady Restaurant Sustains Severe Fire Damage

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The owners of a historic Sioux City building that dates to the 1930s are trying to determine how much can be salvaged after a weekend fire.
     The distinctive Normandy building sustained significant damage Saturday. 
     Fire officials haven't been able to determine what caused the fire partly because it hasn't been safe for inspectors to enter the building. Sioux City Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph says the roof will have to be removed before investigators can enter.
     The white building with cone-shaped turrets was the longtime home of the Normandy Restaurant. It has also housed other businesses and in recent years, several art studios.
 
     ---

Fire Investigators Finish Looking At Des Moines Younkers Store Fire

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Federal experts have wrapped up their investigation of a downtown Des Moines fire without determining the cause.
     Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Sunday there is no sign the March 29 fire in the former Younkers building was set intentionally.
     But it's not yet clear what caused the fire at the building built in 1899 that was being renovated into apartments at the time.
     Control of the devastated building will be turned over to the developer. 
     City officials will now work to determine what development might be done on the block after the fire.
 

Pedestrian Hit By Car

FARLEY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say an eastern Iowa man struck and killed a pedestrian early Sunday.
     The accident happened before 3 a.m. Sunday along Highway 20 near the town of Farley.
     The Dubuque County Sheriff's office says 24-year-old Alex Hannan was merging onto the highway when his vehicle struck the pedestrian.
     A deputy arrested Hannan on suspicion of drunken driving.
     The name of the pedestrian was not immediately released.
     ---

 

Suspicious Death

  CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Police say the death of a 37-year-old Cedar Rapids woman is suspicious.
     Cedar Rapids police say Shanna Lee Beyhl's death is being investigated.
     Beyhl was found dead in her apartment Friday after officers went to check on her. 
     Police said an autopsy has been scheduled, but they didn't say how Beyhl died. 
     No arrests had been made by Sunday morning, but police say they don't believe there is any threat to the public.

 

Focus On Settlement Agreements Continues At State Capitol Building

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Settlement agreements are likely to continue to dominate the agenda at the Iowa Capitol this week as some lawmakers remain unsatisfied with discrepancies in testimony and answers they received during hearings last week.
     Former employees testified at a Government Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday they were treated badly when fired in 2011 and were offered money to keep quiet about their dismissals. Department of Administrative Services Director Mike Carroll denied those allegations on Thursday in testimony to the committee that completely contradicted the workers.
     Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen, chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, says she plans to ask state department heads and human resources officials to come before the committee. She's waiting for the Department of Administrative Services to provide numerous documents about state contracts and hiring practices.

 

 

    

 


 

   

Saturday News, April 5

Soderberg And Anderson To Hold Final Legislative Forums

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg along with State Senator Bill Anderson will hold their final legislative forums today.  The Republican lawmakers will be at the Le Mars Public Library beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Following their Le Mars visit, the two legislators will be in Struble at 11:00 a.m.; Remsen at the Mid-Sioux Opportunity office at noon, Moville Fire Station at 1:15 and Pierson at the Community Center at 2:15 p.m.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.  The lawmakers will give an update as to the legislative session and listen to issues of concern by constituents.

 

Soderberg Speaks About Budget Progress And "Secret Settlements"

(Le Mars) -- Representative Soderberg believes the Iowa legislature will end its general session within the next couple of weeks, but before the law makers ajourn, they must first agree upon specific department budgets. 

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Despite the waiting game, Soderberg says he is generally pleased with the progress the legislature is making with the budget.

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This past week a lot of attention was focused on the so-called "secret settlements" in which the Branstad administration paid fired state employees money to remain silent about their dismissal.  Soderberg says the issue caught the attention of lawmakers from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle.

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The Le Mars state representative says a joint government oversight committee has been busy this week investigating the allegations.

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Le Mars Public Library To Decide If It Participates With County Library Contract

(Le Mars) -- The Board of Trustees for the Le Mars Public Library is scheduled to meet Monday, and at that time, the directors will decide whether or not to participate in the county contract as established by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors.  Officials with the library say they can't afford to have county residents use the library services without requesting an additional fee from the county residents.  Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond offered an opinion that stated the Le Mars Public Library would not be allowed to charge county residents an additional fee, as long as the Le Mars Public Library was a member of the county library association which accepts funding from the county.  

 

Lawmakers Work On Internet Access Bill 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill intended to expand broadband access to rural Iowans also includes language that could limit the ability of local governments to regulate the placement of cell towers.
     Both the state Senate and House are wrangling with details on the so-called Connect Every Iowan Act. In an effort to increase cellular and wireless coverage as well, the House has included provisions to streamline the cell tower siting application process across the state. 
     This has prompted opposition from some city officials who argue they are being stripped of their authority in tower placement decisions.
     Lawmakers say it's not their intention to remove local authority, and that they will work to find common ground for all parties involved.
     Subcommittees in both chambers plan to meet to discuss the legislation next week.

 

Supreme Court Rules Woman Isn't Eligible For Compensation For Wrongful Imprisonment

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a woman who spent years in prison before her child endangerment conviction was overturned isn't eligible for compensation under a wrongful imprisonment law.
     The court ruled Friday that Tammy Smith didn't meet the law's "very high burden" of proving that she's actually innocent. The ruling means Smith is ineligible for reimbursement for lost wages and other damages under the law.
     Smith was convicted of child endangerment resulting in serious injury in 2007 after her young, non-communicative son ended up with a severely broken arm in their Humboldt home. She received a 10-year term.
     In 2011, an appeals court overturned her conviction after the boy learned to talk and said his arm was broken after getting caught in the washing machine. A prosecutor dismissed the case.
 

 

Prosecutors Want Change Of Venue For Doctor Trial

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - State prosecutors have requested a change of venue for the trial of a Council Bluffs doctor charged with sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl. 
     Officials say in a motion filed Wednesday that it would be "difficult, if not impossible" to find a fair or impartial jury in Pottawattamie County because of Dennis Jones' ties to the community. They also cited extensive media coverage of the case.
     The  Attorney General's Office is handling the case because Jones served as an expert witness for the Pottawattamie County Attorney's Office.
     Jones is accused of inappropriately touching a girl outside of his pediatrics practice and faces a second-degree sexual abuse charge. Court documents show authorities found child pornography during a search of Jones' home. His attorneys maintain their client's innocence.
 

American Gothic Statutes To Be At State Fair

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The iconic figures in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic" have taken up temporary residence at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
     The 25-foot-tall replica of the farmer and his daughter will remain at the fairgrounds in east Des Moines for the next six months.
     Peter Cownie, executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, says his father, Jim Cownie, and central Iowa businessman Bill Knapp paid $30,000 to lease the sculpture.
     The artwork by Seward Johnson was completed in 2007 and has been displayed in several locations, including Chicago, Dubuque and most recently at Simpson College in Indianola.
     Iowa artist Grant Wood painted "American Gothic" in 1930, and it was first displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
    
 
 

   

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