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Monday Afternoon News, April 7

Donated Trees

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A group of University of Northern Iowa students is helping bring thousands of free saplings to Cedar Falls to help the city replace trees lost to disease or flooding.
     UNI Hardwoods recently transported 6,500 oak tree saplings from a nursery in East Moline, Ill.  More than 100 student volunteers will plant some of them on April 12 at a new nursery in the North Cedar neighborhood.
     The saplings will replace trees infected by the emerald ash borer or destroyed by historic flooding in 2008. City officials say funding for tree removals and replacements has dwindled.
     The saplings will mature for several years before they're either moved or kept in place to reforest the area.
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Lawmaker Returns Home Before Session Adjourns

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A southwest Iowa lawmaker has stopped participating in the legislative session, saying he's too busy working on his farm.
     Sen. Hubert Houser hasn't cast a vote on the Senate floor since March 4.
     Houser, a Republican who has served 22 years in the House and Senate, says he asked GOP leaders for a light load this session, which will be his last. They obliged, and Houser says he now doesn't have much to do at the Legislature, other than vote on bills making it to the Senate floor.
     Because Democrats are in the majority, Houser says his vote makes little difference.
     Houser says he's busy on his farm, where his family is building new livestock facilities.
     Houser says he's "more than ready to move on."
     ---

 

Branstad Stands Behind IDAS Director

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is standing firm in support of the director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, who says no money was offered to former workers for silence about their dismissals.
     Branstad, at his weekly news conference Monday, says he believes Mike Carroll when he says no money was offered to keep settlement agreements confidential.
     At least two state workers have testified they were offered additional cash to remain silent about their dismissals in 2011. Carroll told a joint legislative Government Oversight Committee last week that no money was offered.
     Branstad says he believes Carroll that no state agencies offered money for silence. He says the workers are disgruntled former state employees.
     Branstad in an executive order signed last month prohibited future confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements.

 

Inmate Gets Work Release Parole After 30 Years In Prison

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa inmate who has spent most of his life in prison for playing a minor role in a 1984 slaying has been granted work-release privileges.
     Todd Hoffer has left the minimum-security prison in Rockwell City and transferred to a halfway house in West Union in northeastern Iowa.
     The Iowa Board of Parole ordered work-release for the 53-year-old Hoffer after interviewing him last month. If he's successful in that facility, he could be released on parole.
     Hoffer was one of three men convicted in the 1984 killing of Juanita Weaver, who was shot during a Des Moines home invasion. 
     Gov. Tom Vilsack commuted Hoffer's life sentence in 2007, noting that Hoffer wasn't the shooter and never intended for Weaver's death. Even the man who prosecuted Hoffer supported his clemency application.

 

 

    

   

Monday News, April 7

Sunday 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.  A farmer also assisted with a tractor.  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.


Oyens To Get Back Ambulance Service

(Le Mars) -- Good news for the people living in and around Oyens.  Back in early February, the town was forced to abandon its community ambulance service due to the lack of needed volunteers to keep it operating.  However, according to Bob Gengler, a retired director with the fire and ambulance services and spokesperson for the ambulance service, the small town of Oyens will again have an ambulance thanks in part of a local grant and the people of the town stepping up to take the training.

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Gengler says nearly a dozen people are now receiving training to be certified as an Emergency Medical Technician in Oyens.  Gengler says it may be June before the new volunteers are certified and the ambulance service can be fully restored.  Gengler says the county supervisors allocated some Local Options Sales Tax funding to help defer the expense associated with the emergency medical training.

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Gengler says the town of Oyens is grateful for the volunteers taking the emergency medical training and giving back the local ambulance service.


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Soderberg And Anderson Hold Last Legislative Forum

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson held their last legislative forum for this session on Saturday.  The two Republican lawmakers met with a handful of constituents at the Le Mars Public Library.  Soderberg explained to the six people attending that progress has been made with regards to the budget.  One issue that was discussed during the legislative forum was the so-called "Silver Alert" bill.  The "Silver Alert" would act much the same way as the Amber Alert only instead of missing children, it would be issued when a senior citizen with dementia, altzheimers, or other mental issues are a factor for when a senior is missing.  Representative Soderberg says the bill is dead, but he believes the issue may be acted on from an administration standpoint, rather than legislative action.

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Senator Anderson says he will definately bring the bill back for next session.

 

Des Moines Man Reports Finding Rat Poison After Burglary

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines man has reported finding rat poison on his floor after a break-in at his home.
     The man reported his discovery after he returned home on Saturday evening.
     He told police nothing seemed to be missing. Police say he told officers that he thinks someone may have been trying to kill his dog and cat, saying he's had issues with neighbors who are always "messing with him."
     No arrests have been reported.
     ---

 

Motorcyclist Dies After Police Chase

  WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 30-year-old Cedar Falls man has died after crashing during a pursuit by an Iowa state trooper.
     The Iowa State Patrol says Jon Winburn tried to get away from the trooper after running a stop sign late Sunday morning. The patrol says the brief chase ended when Winburn lost control of his motorcycle and it crashed into a concrete wall of the Mutual Wheel building on La Porte Road in Waterloo.
     The patrol says Winburn was pronounced dead at Covenant Medical Center.

 

 

 

 

   

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