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Thursday News, February 12

Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department along with the Merrill Fire Department responded to a grass fire Wednesday afternoon located about five miles west of Le Mars on county road C-38.  The fire was reported at about 12:50 p.m.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says he believes the fire perhaps started as a result of someone disgarding a cigarette.  The strong northwest winds aided the blaze, burning a stretch of grass measuring approximately 550 feet along the road's shoulder.  Snow in the ditches prevented the fire from spreading into the ditch.  Fire officials were able to quickly extinguish the grass fire as they were on the scene for approximately 20 minutes.

 

Sioux City Woman Killed In Auto Accident

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating a fatal accident involving a 64 year old Sioux City woman.  At about 2:25 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, police and rescue units responded to a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Military Road and George Street.  The operator of the vehicle was the only occupant and had to be extracted from the vehicle by the Sioux City Fire Department.  According to the traffic accident reports, the vehicle was traveling east on Military Road and struck a curb just prior to the intersection of George Street.  The vehicle crossed the intersection and struck a cement retaining wall on the southeast corner of the intersection.  Police say speed of the vehicle appears to be a factor in the severity of the accident.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation, and authorities have not yet released the name of the accident victim.

 

Man Pleads Guilty To Eluding Police And Drug Possession

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 31-year-old man has pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to leading police on a high-speed chase and possessing drugs in October. 
    Chad Hughes of Pender, Nebraska, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison. 
     He was charged with eluding, operating while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. 
     As part of his plea agreement, a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and other traffic offenses were dropped. 
     Court documents state Hughes led police on a chase on U.S. Highway 75. Police were able to stop Hughes. He then fled his vehicle into a cornfield and was tracked down with the help of a police dog. 

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Floyd Valley Hospital Construction Making Progress

(Le Mars) -- If you haven't driven past the Floyd Valley Hospital lately, you have no doubt missed seeing the progress being made on the new north addition expansion.  Contractor crews have erected steel beams giving viewers a sense of the frame for the new addition.  Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says he sees progress everyday.

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Donlin says although contractors have been progressing on the work with the new north addition, the construction pace is still somewhat behind schedule.

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The hospital administrator says he recently was away from Le Mars for a couple of weeks and was surprised at the construction progress upon his return.

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Legislators Undecided On School Start Date

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are differing greatly over bills that would decide when fall classes can start for Iowa school districts.
     A Senate education committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would give control to school districts. Lawmakers on a House education committee later approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner.
     Both the full Senate and House will now be able to debate the bills.
     The school start issue emerged as a top issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early. District leaders say they need to cater to students. Tourism officials argue the early start hurts businesses.

 

Senate Panel Gives Approval For 10 Cent Per Gallon Fuel Tax

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has given preliminary approval to a bill to raise Iowa's fuel tax to pay for road improvements.
     The bill, which got subcommittee support Wednesday, would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. That would provide about $215 million annually for Iowa's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
     Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative leaders have been vocal this year about raising money for infrastructure needs.
     Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. It hasn't been raised since 1989.
     Organizations advocating for construction companies and truck drivers favor the legislation. Opposing the effort are anti-tax groups and advocates for truck stops.

 

Family Dog Finds Owner In Hospital

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A family says a dog that ran away from home was found inside a Cedar Rapids hospital where her owner was staying at. 
     Nancy Franck was at Mercy Medical Center following a surgery. 
     Last Saturday, her husband discovered their miniature schnauzer Sissy was gone from their residence, which is at least 15 blocks away from the hospital. 
     A hospital security guard used Sissy's tags to call Franck's husband, Dale. He said Sissy was on a mission to see her mom but simply couldn't find the right elevator to take. 
     The family is still perplexed on how Sissy sniffed her way to the hospital. But they think she might've knew her way around from car trips in dropping Nancy Franck off for work next door.
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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 11

Police Chase Stolen Vehicle

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police was able to apprehend two suspects accused of stealing a vehicle following a car chase.  The incident occured Tuesday evening at about 9:30 p.m. Police were alerted to a stolen vehicle from 805 3rd street southwest.  The stolen vehicle was a 1997 White Dodge Intrepid.  While responding to the call, an officer noticed the vehicle at the intersection of 3rd St and 9th Avenue southwest.  The officer attempted to stop the suspect vehicle by activating his lights and siren. However, the occupants of the vehicle tried to elude the police.  The Le Mars Police, along with deputies from the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office pursued the stolen vehicle.  The driver lost control of the vehicle at 3rd Street and 14th Avenue Southeast.  Arrested were 16 year old Nicole Daughtery of Le Mars and 23 year old Mark Meerdink also of Le Mars.  Daughtery was charged with theft in the 2nd degree, a class D felony; eluding law enforcement which is an aggravated misdemeanor; and possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor.  Meerdink was charged with theft in the 2nd degree, a class D felony.  He was booked into the Plymouth County jail, and Daughterly was released to a family member since she is a juvenile.  

 

Fire Department Responds To Afternoon Grass Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department along with the Merrill Fire Department responded to a grass fire this afternoon located about five miles west of Le Mars on county road C-38.  The fire was reported at about 12:50 p.m.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says he believes the fire perhaps started as a result of someone disgarding a cigarette.  The strong northwest winds aided the blaze, burning a stretch of grass measuring approximately 550 feet along the road's shoulder.  Snow in the ditches prevented the fire from spreading into the ditch.  Fire officials were able to quickly extinguish the grass fire as they were on the scene for approximately 20 minutes.

 

Remsen Honors Citizen and Business Of The Year At Chamber Banquet

(Remsen) -- The Remsen Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet on Saturday evening.  Selected as the Remsen "Citizen of the Year" was Jane Bork.  Bork is employed at Smith Insurance Company.  The Remsen "Business of the Year" was awarded to Mid-Sioux Opportunity. Mid-Sioux is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Bork was nominated by her son and co-worker Shane Bork.  He says Jane Bork has been the smiling face for the past 35 years, and she places the customer first, and is always available for her customers, often times taking phone calls during the weekend.  She doesn't leave work until she completes the work. Bork has also given time over the last 25 years volunteering on the Remsen Library Board.  Mid-Sioux Opportunity is a private non-profit community action agency serving 23 Iowa counties, and employs 110 people. Our congratulations to Jane Bork and to Mid-Sioux Opportunity.

 

Legislators Look To Make Fireworks Legal In Iowa

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - July 4th celebrations could get colorful in Iowa under proposed legislation that would legalize more fireworks sales in the state.
     The bill got subcommittee-level approval in the Senate Wednesday. Under the proposal, retailers could sell firecrackers, roman candles and other fireworks. Currently, the state only allows sales of certain "novelty fireworks" like sparklers.
     Bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, said that Iowa residents are already going to border states to buy fireworks. He said the current restrictions are not working and that a more permissive law could promote better safety education.
     Representatives from the fireworks industry offered support for the bill, while health care groups questioned the plan, saying it could lead to more injuries.
     The measure now moves to a Senate committee for review.

 

New Workforce Director Fires Administrative Judge

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The new Iowa Workforce Development director has fired an administrative law judge who alleged the Branstad administration is undermining judicial independence.
     Susan Ackerman, an unemployment benefits appeals judge for 14 years, was fired Jan. 30 by then-acting IWD Director Beth Townsend.
     Ackerman contended in court documents Tuesday there's no grounds for her dismissal. She claims it's retaliation for testifying to lawmakers last year that IWD director Teresa Wahlert attempted to pressure judges to rule in favor of employers.
     Ackerman was suspended Dec. 11 amid an investigation into unspecified misconduct allegations. She filed a lawsuit last month against Wahlert, who retired abruptly Jan. 11.
     Gov. Terry Branstad made Townsend the agency's permanent director days after she fired Ackerman. He praised her for holding misbehaving employees accountable in her previous position.

 

Des Moines Woman Claims To Be Assaulted, Car Stolen And Set On Fire 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines woman says two men assaulted her at a trailer park, stole her car and set it on fire outside of a gas station.
     According to a police report, the woman says she was retrieving her children's school clothes Wednesday at a trailer park in south Des Moines when two men with guns attacked her and took her car keys. Police later found the woman's car engulfed in flames at a Git-N-Go gas station.
     Police went to the trailer park to ask neighbors if they had spoken to the men before the assault, but no suspects have been identified.
     Fire officials responded to put out the fire that damaged the exterior of the gas station's convenience store.
     The case remains under investigation.
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Legislators Looking At Legalizing Catfish Hunting With Bow And Arrow

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Capturing catfish using a bow and arrow would become legal in Iowa under a bill that is moving through the state House.
     The proposal got committee-level approval from lawmakers Wednesday. The bill would let people take catfish in state parks and preserves using a bow and arrow. Currently, catfish is not on the list of approved fish for bow and arrow capture. 
     The bill now moves to the full House for approval. Rep. Jarad Klein, a Republican from Keota, said he expects the measure will win approval in the General Assembly. He said he looks forward to trying this fishing technique if it becomes legal. 

 

IRS Cash Siezures

 MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - The IRS will return $344,000 in legal earnings that agents seized from a prominent Iowa neurologist over the way he withdrew his own money.
     The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa dismissed a civil forfeiture case last week involving Mason City doctor Alireza Yarahmadi.
     The IRS seized $344,405 from Yarahmadi's bank account last year after suspecting he made repeated cash withdrawals in increments below $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.
     Yarahmadi denied wrongdoing, saying he routinely transferred cash from his bank account to safe deposit boxes for safekeeping.
     His attorney, Gail Brashers-Krug, says prosecutors made "a very honorable and professional choice" to drop the case. She says Yarahmadi is an Iran native who is suspicious of banks because his family lost its savings after the 1979 revolution.

 

Court Dismisses Legal Claim Against University Of Iowa Medical Official

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A court is dismissing an order that required a University of Iowa medical official to pay $183,000 for unfairly revoking the clinical privileges of a subordinate.
     The Iowa Court of Appeals dismissed a claim Wednesday against UI nuclear medicine director Michael Graham brought by former employee Ravi Sood.
     A jury ruled in 2013 that Graham violated Ravi Sood's constitutional right to due process when he had university hospital staff rescind Sood's ability to provide patient care without notice or a hearing.
     Jurors awarded $37,000 in damages to Sood, who said the move destroyed his career in nuclear medicine. A judge later ordered Graham to pay $145,000 in legal fees' and costs.
     But the appeals court dismissed Sood's claim, saying he failed to challenge Graham's decision through available administrative channels.
 

 


 


 

 

    


   

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