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Friday Afternoon News, February 13

Water Line Insurance: Is It Worth The Money?

(Le Mars) -- Several Le Mars residents have been solicited to purchase water line insurance.  Sioux City recently approved the program, with more than 1500 residents making the purchase for insurance against water line breaks.  Waterline Coverage Plus also known as Home Serve has been contacting residents encouraging them to purchase the insurance.  Le Mars City Water Superintendent Gayle Sitzmann says he has heard of many people being contacted.  sitzmann says whether a home owner decides to purchase the water line insurance is entirely up to the home owner.  The city water department superintendent explains what is the city's responsibility and what is the home owner's responsibility when a water line should break.

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Sitzmann says he has been contacted by several Le Mars residents asking questions about the water line insurance program.

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Sitzmann says people need to weigh the risks versus the benefits, if and when, they decide to purchase water line insurance.  He sees older homes may need the insurance while newer homes would not necessarily need the additional coverage.  He says the program is like an extended warranty.

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The city of Sioux City has endorsed a program offering water line insurance, but according to City Code Enforcement Officer, Jason Vacera, the city of Le Mars has not given any endorsement.  Residents may wonder if thier home owners insurance policy would cover water line breaks and repairs.  Rob Bixenman of Bixenman Insurance says probably not.

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Bixenman says he does not offer any water line coverage insurance, but is aware of some companies that do.  He says people should first do research before investing money into water line insurance.

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Gayle Sitzmann says there were 15 water main breaks last winter, and this winter only two breaks have occurred, and none since December 18th.  He says last year he was aware of seven total residential water line breaks resulting from frozen pipes, and this year he has not heard of any water service line breaks.


Ankeny Plastics Company To Expand

 ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Officials have announced the expansion of a high-tech plastics manufacturing plant located in Ankeny.
     Roger Hargens is the president and CEO of Accumold, a company that designs, develops and produces micro-sized plastic parts, and he said Friday that a $10 million expansion of Accumold's plant is expected to begin this spring.
     Hargens says the expansion will add more than 200 jobs over the next three years. Accumold currently employs 221 people.
     According to a news release, the planned expansion reflects a $7 million project in 2010. But Hargen says the latest addition is meant to strengthen the facility to be "capable of withstanding an F-5 tornado."
     Founded in 1985, Accumold manufactures miniscule parts found in surgical tools, hearing aids, antennas and other devices.


John Deere Hires Additional Employees For Dubuque Plant

 DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - John Deere has recently laid off hundreds of workers in the Midwest, but it has added jobs at its factory in Dubuque, where the company manufactures huge vehicles for construction and forestry.
     Last month, the company announced the layoff of 910 workers at five locations in Iowa and Illinois, citing reduced demand for farming equipment as the reason. But John Deer Dubuque Works has added more than 100 jobs since late 2014.
     General Manager Byron Taylor says this addition brings the total number of people working at the Dubuque site to 2,500.
     Taylor says the rollout of new bulldozer models and forestry machines, which hit the market in January, have contributed to the company's strong growth in a new customer segment.


Clive Gynecologist Fined By Iowa Medical Board

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Documents from the Iowa Board of Medicine show a Clive gynecologist has agreed to pay $7,500 to settle accusations he acted inappropriately with patients.
     Frederic Sager also has agreed to have a female chaperone present during patient appointments.
     The 64-year-old will undergo "professional boundaries" training and psychotherapy. His work will be overseen by another doctor, and he'll serve five years of professional probation.
     The licensing board says Sager had obstetrical patients stay at his Florida vacation home while he was there. It also says he prescribed medications to a woman displaying "drug-seeking behavior."
     The board says he treated a woman after hours when no one was present at his clinic.


Group Drops Funding For Popular Des Moines Shuttle Service 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The future of a popular downtown shuttle in Des Moines is in doubt after an organization decided to stop contributing to the program.
     Operation Downtown won't make its annual contribution of $72,000 to the shuttle, operated by the Des Moines Area Regional Transportation Authority. Operation Downtown also plans to stop funding a number of other programs.
     When the shuttles began several years ago, the city and state also contributed to the program, but that funding has stopped. The transportation authority covered those costs, but it's unclear if they cover the latest expense. The total cost is $400,000.
     City Council Member Bob Mahaffey notes the shuttles are popular with people at the state Capitol as well as many downtown workers.


Storm Lake Man Given Probation After Robbery Charges

  FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old who'd been charged with robbery after a lockdown at Iowa Central Community College has been given probation.
     Garhoth Dak, of Storm Lake, was sentenced on Monday to two years of probation and five years in prison, suspended. Dak pleaded guilty last month to one count of extortion.
     Prosecutors say Dak admitted threatening someone at an Iowa Central apartment on Nov. 10. College officials placed the school on lockdown when the student reported that men were in her room. Dak surrendered to Fort Dodge police the day after the incident.
     Robbery charges against three others arrested in the case have been dropped. The three are Joseph Odir and Molong Deng, of Des Moines; and Juma Deng, of Urbandale.


Man Saved After Falling Into Chemical Tank

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the 28-year-old man who fell into a large tank filled with chemical cleaning solution.
     The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Friday that Eric L. Woollard, of Des Moines, remains at Mercy Hospital following his fall into a vat of chemical cleaner at Chemorse, Ltd. Information on his condition has not been released.
     Officials say Woollard's coworkers were able to help him out of the tank with a safety rope Thursday before rescue crews arrived at the Des Moines facility. They say Woollard was rinsed off before being transported to the hospital.
     Authorities say they're unsure how the man ended up in the cleaning solution.
     Chemorse, Ltd. is a producer of pesticide enhancers and a distributor of industrial chemicals.


Forest City Man Given Probation After Embezzeling From Pension Fund

 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A Forest City business owner has been sentenced to two years of probation for embezzling funds from an employee benefit plan.
     Owner Anthony Bartleson of Bartleson Masonry also was ordered in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to pay nearly $19,500 in restitution for lost income and tax liabilities.
     The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that amount is on top of the nearly $42,000 he's already paid to the federal government.
     Court documents state Bartleson didn't deposit money from his employees into their retirement accounts. He also didn't pay the employer matching contribution.
     Bartleson admitted to using the money for himself.


Baseball League Overbilled

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Clive plans to repay a youth baseball league nearly $69,000 because the league's been overbilled for water.
     The Walnut Creek Baseball league has been double billed since 2005. City Manager Dennis Henderson says a billing error was discovered during discussions with league officials about league plans. League games are played along the Greenbelt Trail at the Brownell Sports Complex.
     City officials say a meter was improperly set and was overstating the number of gallons used for irrigation and other reasons.









Friday News, February 13

Fatal Accident Victim Identified

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police have released the name of that fatal car accident victim that occured on Wednesday afternoon.  The 64 year old Sioux City woman has been identified as Barbara Burke.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation.


George, Iowa Man Found Guilty Of Possessing Contraband In Sioux County Jail

(Orange City) -- A George, Iowa man has been found guilty of possessing contraband while in jail, possession of marijuana, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  Sioux County attorney Thomas Kunstle announced that 30 year old Fredrich Trei III, was found guilty on Wednesday by a Sioux County jury. The case goes back to April 4th when Trei was involved in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 18 near Boyden.  A Sioux County Sheriff's deputy who responded to the accident noted Trei seemed sleepy, responded slow, and his eyes were glazed over.  The driver of the other car discovered a pipe used to ingest marijuana in the snow.  Trei failed standard sobriety tests at the scene, and failed additional sobriety tests administered at the Sioux County jail.  After the arrest, Trei was placed into a holding cell.  An unmarked medication pill bottle fell from his pant leg.  The pill bottle contained small particles of marijuana, and an amoxicillin tablet.  Sentencing is set for March 23rd.  Trei faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


Gengler Honored As Chamber "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- Long time auto salesman, Bob Gengler of Oyens was honored by the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce as the February "Employee of the Month".  Gengler was presented the honor during a Chamber After 5 event held Thursday afternoon at Total Sales and Service, Gengler's employer.  Gengler has been in business for more than 50 years.  He started with Chuck Wood, then Dick Morris, then Reardon Nuebel, followed up with Neubel Chevrolet and now in his fifth year with Total Sales and Service.  In the nomination for Gengler, it says he has witnessed many interesting, challenging and significant milestones in both your career and in your personal and family lives.  During your years you have worked witih numerous car dealerships, you have significantlly contributed to the success as a whole, particularlly in the sales department, where you have always been a leader that others could follow.  Our congratulations go to Bob Gengler for being named the Chamber of Commerce February "Employee of the month."


Museum To Honor Citizens And Businesses Of The Year

(Le Mars) -- Citizens of the Year from both Le Mars and Remsen will be honored during a special reception at the Plymouth County Historical Museum at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Study Hall.
The Le Mars citizen is Rob Bixenman, who was honored at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce banquet Saturday, Jan. 31.
The Remsen Chamber selected Jane Bork as the Citizen of the Year during the banquet Saturday, Feb. 7.Also in the spotlight at the Museum will be the businesses of the year – Bike Central of Le Mars and Mid-Sioux Opportunity of Remsen.
Other award winners who will be honored from Le Mars will be Angie Erdmann, Main Street volunteer; and Jack Guenther, the Paul Olson United Way honoree.
Following brief remarks by the award-winners, the Museum will host a reception in the Study Hall. The event is open to the public. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for those who would like to tour the Museum. Exhibits will be open until 5 p.m.


Gehlen Catholic Making Plans For All School Family Reunion

(Le Mars) -- Plans are being made for the Gehlen Catholic and St. Joseph's All School Reunion.  St. Joseph’s (Gehlen Catholic’s predecessor) and Gehlen Catholic School announce the All School “Family” Reunion will be held Friday and Saturday, June 19 & 20, 2015.  The festivities will feature an alumni and family picnic the evening of Friday, June 19th, at the Plymouth County fairgrounds.   The night will conclude with a fireworks display at twilight. 

Saturday, June 20th’s activities will include a golf tournament at the Le Mars Municipal Golf Course, entries in the Ice Cream Days Parade, tours of the school and All Saint’s Parish - St. Joseph’s Church, an all school Mass, dinner catered by Timmy’s Catering, program by emcee Mark Woll (’76) and  Rick  Herbst (’00).  DJ Rob Renner (‘97) will be providing music for the dance to be held after the Saturday night’s meal and program.

Mike and Mary Kay (Campbell) Dreckman (‘74), co-chairs of the event, are excited about the upcoming All School “Family” Reunion.  “We are right in the middle. It is unbelievable the changes that have transpired from the days of St Joseph’s Catholic School to Gehlen Catholic’s unification with Spalding Catholic School.  It is truly amazing what has and is happening! Even though our children have graduated and moved away, many of our nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews are attending Gehlen Catholic School,” stated Mike. 

This is an all school “Family” reunion.  Alumni are encouraged to bring their families to Friday’s night festivities.   We also want to invite past and present faculty, priests, women religious and the community to join us for this very special celebration.


Scientists Believe Midwest Will Suffer From Long-term Drought

SAN JOSE, California (AP) - Scientists warn the Southwest and Central Plains could face "megadroughts" during the second half of this century. And they could last for decades.
     The scientists write in a study in the journal Science Advances that global warming will lead to "unprecedented drought conditions" -- the worst in more than 1,000 years.
     The study is based on current increasing rates of rising emissions of carbon dioxide and complex simulations run by 17 different computer models, which generally agreed on the outcome.
     The Southwest will see less rain. But the biggest problem in both regions will be the heat, which will increase evaporation and dry out the soil.
     The lead author is NASA atmospheric scientist Benjamin Cook, who says, "We're going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America."


House Panel Passes Gasoline Tax Hike

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel has approved a bill that would increase Iowa's fuel tax, a move that mirrors action in the Senate.
     Members of a transportation subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration.
     The bill would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. A Senate transportation subcommittee approved similar legislation Wednesday. A full committee can now review that bill.
     Iowa's current fuel tax is 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. Diesel fuel has a slightly higher tax and ethanol blends are a bit lower. The tax hasn't been raised since 1989.
     Governor Terry Branstad and lawmakers have been vocal about raising money to help fix the state's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.


Jeb Bush Turns Over Email Messages

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - By posting online all of his personal email from his eight years as Florida's governor, Jeb Bush sought to show himself as a tech-savvy executive, in touch with constituents and an active administrator.
     But tucked away in a small percentage of those hundreds of thousands of messages were the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of more than 12,000 people. A data security firm, Identity Finder, audited the database.
     By Thursday, Bush had removed the private information from all but a few hundred of the emails he had posted to a website, jebemails.com.
     Bush's attempt to demonstrate transparency comes as he prepares for a likely presidential run in 2016. A Bush spokesman says his political action committee, Right to Rise, wasn't involved in the email-posting effort.


Biden Visits Iowa -- Says Next Election Will Important Choice
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the 2016 White House election will be a choice between continuing President Barack Obama's policies or going with a failed Republican approach from the past.
     Biden said during a stop Thursday at Iowa's Drake University that Democrats should run on what he and Obama have done. He called it "sticking with what works."
     He's putting his deep ties to the state on display during a visit that's spurring speculation about his own political plans.
     The vice president also plans to speak at a community college in Iowa about higher education.


Principal Says Student Who Brought Bullets To School Didn't Know The Danger  

 DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque elementary school principal says a student who brought bullets to school didn't understand the danger of bringing them. 
     Principal Vicki Sullivan of Bryant Elementary School said in an email to parents Thursday there was never any ill intent or threat to students or staff. 
     Several .380-caliber pistol bullets were found Wednesday afternoon in a toilet in a boys' restroom. Students remained in their classrooms for the rest of the day and had their coats checked before they left. 
     A police sweep of the building found no evidence of additional ammunition or weapons. 
     Sullivan said the incident is a reminder for parents to talk with their children about not bringing dangerous items to school.


Iowa Couple Charged With Sex Trafficking

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An Iowa couple are being charged in Virginia with sex trafficking after a woman found in their recreational vehicle said they were holding her against her will.
     The U.S. attorney's office says 36-year-old Aldair Hodza and 31-year-old Laura Sorensen of Clive, Iowa, made in an initial appearance Thursday in federal court. 
     The two were arrested on Jan. 6 east of Richmond in New Kent County after police said a frightened and malnourished 20-year-old woman told officers the couple had physically and sexually abused her. She also said she had been forced to engage in prostitution during the trip from Iowa to Virginia.
     The government said Sorensen and Hodza told officers they were on vacation.
     Court records did not list an attorney for Sorensen and Hodza.



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