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Wednesday Afternoon News, July 8

Casey Named Chamber's July "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce recognized its latest recipient of the "Employee of the Month" award during last evening's After 5 event held at Cork-It.  Katie Casey was presented the plaque for being named the July Employee of the Month.  Katie Casey was nominated by her employer, Kathy Schwader.  Schwader says of Casey: "Tough, kind, unfiltered, understanding, loyal, opinionated, intelligent, fine sense of humor and these are just the beginning.  Katie walked into my life in 2009.  I didn't remember her until 2012 and then it was a blast of fresh air.  She has been at my side at Cork-It for the last several years and I don't worry when she is in control. 
Katie can figure it out.  She is more than an Employee, she is a Cork-It Person.  Her great passion for beer has made this store a Point of Destination in Northwest Iowa.  She has sat with Jake Leininkugel in Wisconsin to find out why we don't have Big Eddy beer.  Well we will now.  Thanks Katie!!
We all here at the store love you".  Our congratulations go to Katie Casey for being named the July "Employee of the Month."




Judge Rules Illegal Immigrant Can't Serve Shorter Probation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ruled that a man brought to the U.S. illegally as a child can't serve a shorter probation term for a misdemeanor conviction to allow him to be admitted to the New York bar.
Cesar Vargas, a native of Mexico, is trying to become one of the first immigrants illegally living in the U.S. to practice law.
But he was convicted of trespassing and sentenced to a year of probation after disrupting a speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during an event in January in Des Moines, Iowa.
An Iowa judge on Wednesday denied Vargas' request to end his probation early even though he's completed all requirements. That could delay his chance becoming a lawyer because New York generally doesn't grant law licenses to people on probation.




State Senator Rob Hogg Exploring Possibility To Run For U-S Senate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic lawmaker Rob Hogg says he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible 2016 U.S. Senate bid.
The 48-year-old state senator from Cedar Rapids announced his plans Wednesday. The seat is currently held by popular Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican who has served in the Senate since 1981.
Hogg says he will start meeting with voters and raising money. He says he'll be talking about climate change, economic growth and reforming the campaign system. He has not set a timeline to make a decision.
Hogg, who works as an attorney, is currently serving his third term in the Iowa Senate, where he is chairman of the Government Oversight Committee. He previously served in the Iowa House. He authored a book about climate change that was released in 2013.





Sioux City Man Pleas Not Guilty To Stabbing Girl Friend

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A September trial has been scheduled for a 35-year-old Sioux City man accused of fatally stabbing a woman in her Sioux City apartment.
The Sioux City Journal reports that Isack Abdinur filed a written plea of not guilty Tuesday in Woodbury County District Court. His trial is set to begin Sept. 15.
Abdinur is charged with killing 43-year-old Cornelia Stead as he punched and stabbed her on June 23. Police say five children who belong to Stead's niece were in the apartment when Stead was stabbed but were not injured.
Police have said Stead and Abdinur were in a romantic relationship.





Judge Refuses To Dismiss Jury Based On Lack Of Diversity

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge who agreed to dismiss a jury pool earlier this year because of a lack of racial diversity has declined to do so the second time around.
Tyrone Washington Jr. is charged with murder in the 2013 stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, Justina Smith, in Northwood.
District Judge Colleen Weiland had granted the defense's motion in May to dismiss a jury pool after all but one of the prospective jurors were white. Washington is black. His defense attorney argued the lack of diversity hurt his chances of a fair trial.
The Globe Gazette reports that three blacks were among the more than 200 prospective jurors who showed up in court on Tuesday. The judge declined the defense's request to strike the jury pool a second time.





Emerald Ash Borer Found In Lee County

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say an invasive insect that kills ash trees has been confirmed in the southeast Iowa's Lee County, bringing the state total to 26 counties.
A news release from the Iowa Agriculture Department said Wednesday that the emerald ash borers were confirmed in Fort Madison.
The larva of an emerald ash borer cuts off an ash tree's flow of nutrients when deposited below the bark. Once infected, trees typically die within five years.
The insects are native to Asia and were first spotted in the U.S. in 2002, when they showed up in the Detroit area. They devastated ash trees in Michigan and have spread to at least 21 other states.



Wednesday News, July 8

Supervisors Write Letter To EPA Director Opposing New Ground Level Ozone Standards

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have written a letter to Environmental Protections Agency Director Gina McCarthy informing her the new regulations for ground level ozone emissions basically are unachievable.  The new regulations calls for the reduction of the standard to 65 parts per billion.  The county supervisors say a reduction in allowable ground level ozone emissions will send much of Iowa, including Plymouth County, into non-attainment status.  The letter reads: Plymouth County citizens, and business leaders, have worked hard to achieve air quality that exceeds the EPA's current standard of 75 parts per billion.  The supervisors say in their letter that the standard reduction is an unwarranted punishment to those counties already making significant changes to abide by the rules.  The letter continues to say the new regulations will be extremely costly.





Goodchild Delivers County Recorder's Report

(Le Mars) -- In other action during the county supervisor meeting, Plymouth County Recorder JoLynn Goodchild reported to the supervisors that the county earned $145,906 through the collection of fees.  Goodchild says the vast majority of the funds were through mortgage collections amounting to $22,750.  Goodchild reported the county issued 85 passports, and 331 birth, death, and marriage certificates.  She reported there were 39 marriage applications.  The Plymouth County Recorder says the county also collected $1,462 for ATV, boat, and snowmobile titles and registrations.  The county supervisors accepted the payment in full from the Le Mars Business Imitative Corporation, concluding the mortgage owed to the county.





Browns To Feature Free Concert On Thursday

(Le Mars) -- The Merrill family musical group, "The Browns" are about to release their latest CD entitled: "Aim Higher".  As a way to introduce the music from that new CD, the local musical group has scheduled a free concert for Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Olson Cultural Events Center.  There will be free cake and ice cream.  A fund raiser food stand, serving hotdogs, chips and drinks with the proceeds benefiting the Youth For Christ.  Bring your lawnchairs.





Branstad's Education Bill Veto May Mean Higher Tax Levy

(Le Mars) -- Governor Terry Branstad's veto of the one-time $56 million dollars for K-12 education funding, may mean residents could see an increase in their tax levy.  Dr. Todd Wendt is the superintendent of schools for the Le Mars Community School District.  He says he is disappointed in the Governor's recent education bill veto, and is critical of the governor's commitment to education.

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Wendt says school officials did not plan on the one-time funding, and did not include it as part of the Le Mars Community School District's budget.  However, Wendt says it would have meant additional funding to offset deficit spending.

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The Le Mars School Superintendent says the governor's decision will force school boards across the state to consider raising local tax levy.

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As for reducing the number of staff and faculty, because of Governor Branstad's veto, Wendt says school districts are required to alert teachers by April 30th if any staff reductions are to take place.  He says since the legislature was so late in making a compromise, schools did not know what they should do.  Wendt says the Le Mars Community school district has already cut staff and faculty positions, and are operating under-staffed as it is.

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Wendt says next year's legislative session should prove to be interesting based on the governor's veto.





U-S Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing On Severity Of Bird Flu

(Washington) -- The U-S Senate Agriculture Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday regarding the severity of the avian bird flu.  The hearing was scheduled after the urging of Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.  Two people from Iowa testified at the hearing held in Washington.  James Dean of Sioux Center,  president of the United Egg Producers and Brad Moline of Manson, Iowa.  Both testified at the hearing saying there was a lack of communication between the U-S-D-A and the contractors which caused delays, and perhaps allowed for the spread of the bird flu.  Some questions centered around bio-security measures, but Dean informed the Senate Ag Committee that just a month prior to his operation being struck by the bird flu, Dean had U-S-D-A inspectors check his facilities to see if he was following the proper procedures for bio-security. He was told his operation scored a 100 percent perfect rating for bio-security. Moline testified he had lost 56,000 turkeys when his operation was struck by the bird flu. Following the hearing, both poultry producers were available for a media conference, and were asked when they will be re-populating their barns.

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Dean, the egg producer, says his re-population will take a much longer time than the turkey operations.

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U-S-D-A Prepares For Future Bird Flu Outbreaks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A top veterinary official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says more money, surveillance and farm security is needed to fight off a possible return of bird flu this fall.
David Swayne, director of a USDA poultry research laboratory, told the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday that no new cases have been detected in three weeks.
But he says the government has increased surveillance of wild birds to detect any return of the virus, and is working with farms to improve biosecurity. He says work continues on a vaccine, and the USDA is hiring 460 temporary animal technicians as first responders in case the virus returns.
The outbreak has forced farmers to kill 48 million turkeys, chickens and other birds in 15 states, mostly in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.




Clinton Warns Against Voting Republican

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning the nation about taking a "big U-turn" to a Republican in the White House.
She's citing her husband's eight years in office as a time that helped not only the wealthy but the poor.
Clinton is back in Iowa Tuesday as Democratic rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has appeared before large crowds in recent weeks.
She says President Bill Clinton's administration created 22 million jobs, but after eight years, Republicans left President Barack Obama with an economic crisis.
On guns, Clinton says the country shouldn't be afraid of the gun lobby, which she says doesn't represent most owners of firearms.
Sanders has said he would take the country to "the middle" on guns, noting rural gun owners who obey laws.



Corrections Department Removes Inmates From Area Where Escape Occurred

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State Penitentiary has removed inmates from a lockdown unit where a maximum-security offender was able to escape his cell.
Penitentiary spokeswoman Rebecca Bowker said Tuesday that 12 offenders in the unit known as the A-pod have been transferred elsewhere in the prison complex.
Authorities are investigating how 25-year-old Justin Kestner escaped early Sunday from his cell on the unit, which features strict security measures and some of the most disruptive inmates in the state.
The Iowa Department of Corrections says Kestner removed screws from an access cover to an enclosed space that has the building's pipes. He then was able to maneuver through the space, go through a vent and onto the building's roof. Kestner used rope constructed from torn bed sheets to descend to an unfenced area.


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