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Friday News, June 12

Tractor Ride Explores Plymouth County

(Le Mars) -- They come from all over.  Case, John Deere, International Harvester, Oliver, Massey-Ferguson, Minneapolis-Moline, Farmall, Allis Chambers, and plenty of other familiar tractor companies make up the 165 tractors ready to explore Plymouth County roads during the 16th annual tractor ride as being sponsored by a Spencer, Iowa radio station.

Gary Hoefling of Spencer has participated on all but three of the tractor rides.  His profession is working on tractor carberators, and his hobby is restoring antique tractors.  He says he drives in the tractor ride as a mini vacation.

 

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Hoefling will be driving a 1965 John Deere, but it isn't painted and polished.  As he says the tractor has its "work clothes on" and Hoefling says the tractor has gone through a bit of transformation.

 

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Hoefling's son, Nicholas will join him on the tractor ride for the first time. He also will be driving an older John Deere tractor.

 

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Hoefling says he won't be bothered by the cool weather, or the mud that may splatter, and he summarizes his thoughts about the tractor ride.

 

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The tractors, representing all types of brands, colors, models, and makes are ready to head south toward Hinton and Kingsley today, along the way they will stop at the old Union school building.Saturday morning, the farm machines will explore the eastern portion of the county as they make stops in Remsen, Granville, and Oyens.  The tractor cavalcade began their Plymouth County journey starting at 7:30 a.m.. Heading out of town, the tractors will follow 4th Avenue to 12th Street, and then follow county road K-49.

ICON Ag And Turf Hosts "Play Day"

(Le Mars) -- Hundreds of children, being accompanied by their parents, enjoyed the "Day of Play" late Thursday afternoon as hosted by the farm equipment dealer ICON Ag and Turf of Le Mars, Iowa. The rain may have pushed the event indoors, but it did not dampen the spirits of children of all ages, and children at heart from participating.  ICON Ag and Turf provided for several activities that kept the children interested and active.  Children could ride on a John Deere train being pulled of course by a John Deere lawnmower.  A sand box was provided for those imagining themselves as soil excavators. Meanwhile, across the shop area was a race track where young kids could operate a small version of the ultra terrain Gator vehicle.  Tucked away in another area of the maintenance shop area was a large inflatable, resembling a skid loader, allowing the children to bounce like a trampoline.  In the center of the area, normally designated to repair tractors, combine harvesters, and other farm equipment were tables set up for children to create crafts, get their face painted, and have removable tattoos placed on their cheeks. Every where a person would look, you would see long lines of people waiting for their turn at each activity. Several children took advantage of sitting on the seat of a John Deere lawnmower with hands on the steering wheel, perhaps imagining themselves operating the larger tractors parked outside.  Inside the main showroom and lobby, people were busy purchasing a John Deere toy, or buying some type of John Deere clothing.  Refreshments consisting of hot dogs, chips, and sodas along with soft served ice cream completed the enjoyment for everyone.
Gehlen Catholic Wins National Quiz Bowl Competition

(Chicago) -- The Gehlen Catholic Quiz Bowl Team was crowned “Small-School Champions” at the National Academic Championships (NAC).  The team competed June 6th through the 8th at the Chicago site.  “Small Schools” are defined as those schools competing at Nationals with an enrollment of 500 or fewer students in grades 10-12 and a non-selective admissions policy for all three regions including New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago.
Nationally, the team received recognition as an impressive rookie team due to their victories over the Plano, Texas, and Detroit (Michigan) Jesuit teams during Gehlen Catholic’s advancement in the Chicago Final Four.
At each of the three regions/locations, approximately 100 teams competed.  The 100 teams were comprised of 32 high school varsity and additional junior varsity and junior high teams.  The schools included a mix of both private and public secondary schools.
Gehlen Catholic’s Quiz Bowl Team won 7 of the 9 competitions, which included 6 prelims and 3 playoff matches.  The prelims ran approximately 25-30 minutes each.  The playoff matches took between 35-40 minutes each.
Junior, Megan Kellen, stated the NAC featured more audio questions than previous competitions.
Seniors, Jozef Lamfers and Aaron Stoll, indicated the NAC’s questions were comparable in difficulty to the KCAU/Morningside College High School Quiz Bowl Competitions and harder than many of the local high school competitions. The “Stump the Experts” Rounds utilized questions at the college level.
Senior, David Puhl, recalled the most exciting competition.  During the first round of the playoffs, Gehlen Catholic faced Plano, Texas.  Plano, who was recognized for their accomplishments in the past by the NAC moderator, swept the first quarter by 100 points.  Gehlen Catholic came back in the second quarter and scored 50 points more than Plano, thanks to the increased level of difficulty of the bonus questions.  At the end of the four quarters, Gehlen Catholic was declared the winner, beating Plano by a total of 20 points. Gehlen Catholic’s Quiz Bowl team consisted of: Seniors:  Nathan Klein, David Puhl, Jozef Lamfers, Drew Dickman (all of LeMars) and Aaron Stoll (Ashton); Megan Kellen (Alton), Liam Murphy and TJ Kruse (both of LeMars), and Andrew Kordick (Hospers); Sebastian Buman and Carter Sitzmann (both of LeMars).
The NAC competitors included David Puhl, Nathan Klein, Drew Dickman, Jozef Lamfers, Megan Kellen, and Aaron Stoll.

Senator Grassley Hopes Feds Stay Away Of Nitrate Lawsuit Against Iowa Counties

(Washington) -- Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it would be wrong for the federal government to intervene with a possible lawsuit between the Des Moines Water Works and three northwest Iowa counties over the the level of nitrates found in the Raccoon River.

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The republican Senator says he believes the Obama Administration is aware of the pending lawsuit and is possibly hoping for the Des Moines Water Works to win the lawsuit that has been filed against Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun counties.  Grassley says if the Des Moines Water Works is successful with its suit, it would set a dangerous precedence.
Also during the senator's news conference, he commented on the EPA's ruling relating to the Waters of the United States.  Grassley says the Senate Environmental Committee passed a bill this week that would stop the funding to the Environmental Protection Committee from enforcement of the rules for the Waters of the United States policy.

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Grassley also announced that the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a public hearing on the bird flu scheduled for July 7th.  Grassley says the hearing will take place at our nation's capital.  He didn't think Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts would  schedule any field hearings within the states.
Emmet County Authorities Find Evidence From Shooting Incident

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they've recovered a gun likely used in the slaying of a man in northern Iowa.
The Emmet County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Thursday that the gun, shell casings and other evidence were found during searches and that the items have been sent to a state laboratory for criminal analysis.
The office also says 18-year-old Lee Christensen, the man suspected of killing 19-year-old Thomas Bortvit, has waived extradition proceedings and soon will be returned to Emmet County from Minneapolis. Christensen was arrested there on Sunday. Bortvit's body was found earlier in the day in a rural area of Emmet County.
Online court records weren't available to indicate whether Christensen has an attorney who could comment on his arrest. Christensen has been charged with first-degree murder.


 

   

Thursday News, June 11

Hinton and Le Mars Fire Department Called To Grain Elevator Fire
(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department responded to a fire at the Farmers Cooperative Elevator on Wednesday afternoon.  Fire Chief Chad Beck says a grain dryer had caught on fire.


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Beck says the grain dryer at the time held between 400 and 600 bushels of corn.  The Hinton Fire Chief says he called for assistance from the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department to have access to the aerial truck.


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No word yet as to what may have started that fire.  Fire officials were on the scene for approximately two hours.

 

 

 

Law Enforcement Officials Ride The Train To Watch For Rail Crossing Violators.

 

(Le Mars) -- Local law enforcement officials were on board some trains yesterday to watch for violators crossing in front of an on coming train.  Le Mars Police Senior Officer Jay King was one of the officers to sit in an Union Pacific locomotive.  King offers an explanation as to the purpose of the program.

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Union Pacific railroad had three locomotives that passed through Le Mars between the Fairway supermarket on Plymouth Street and continuing past the 12th Street rail crossing near the Hy-Vee supermarket.  King says he witnessed several vehicles that may have gotten too close to the railroad crossings.

 

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Officer King says one fact the train companies informed the local law enforcement officials is that it takes a great distance to be able to stop a train.

 

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King says he had never before yesterday had the opportunity to ride in a train locomotive.  He says it is an unique perspective to view the scenery from the engineer's viewpoint.

 

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King says law enforcement officials did issue one warning to a motorist for being too close to the rail crossing during the time of an approaching train.

 

 

Sioux City Water Treatment Plant Under Investigation

(Sioux City) -- Sioux Ciity's  Wastewater Treatment Plant is under investigation by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency.  The investigation was prompted by a complaint about the plant.

Moyor Bob Scott read a statement following a closed door session of the city council Wednesday afternoon that was called because of the issue.

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Myor Scott says the city cannot provide any additional details on the complaint until the investigation has concluded.

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City Attorney Nicole Jensen says the city was informed of the complaint on Monday.

She can't confirm if any staff at the plant are on paid or unpaid leave because of the complaint.

 

 

Sergeant Bluff Call Center To Add Jobs

More new jobs are coming to Sergeant Bluff. Convergys, which operates a customer service call center at the Pioneer Mall,

announced Wednesday that they are expanding and adding 400 new jobs to the facility.

Barry Belcher is the Sergeant Bluff facility's site director.

(sot) Convergys1

80 new hires are currently training at the facility, and the rest of the jobs will be filled as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of the year.

(sot) Convergys2

Sergeant Bluff mayor Jon Winkel helped found the facility years ago when it was owned by Long Lines Wireless.

(sot) Convergys3

Winkel says both Sergeant Bluff and the Siouxland area will benefit from the expansion.

 

 

Veterans Affairs Investigates Des Moines Veterans Hospital

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Department of Veterans Affairs investigators say the Des Moines VA hospital didn't deny mental health services to a veteran whose body was found frozen at a Des Moines park in February.

The death of 41-year-old Richard Miles was ruled a suicide. The suicide prompted U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst to call for a federal investigation into VA programs and the treatment Miles was provided.

The Iraq war veterans suffered from anxiety, a stress disorder and depression and had a history of suicide attempts. He'd sought care at the hospital five days before his death.

The investigators say Miles wasn't denied the services he sought, but the investigators also say Miles' VA case management worker should not have removed Miles from the worker's client list.

 

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Sheriff's Deputy Sentenced To 13 Years For Fraud

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A former sheriff's deputy in Jones County has been given 13 years in prison for fraud linked to a fire he set at his vacant home.

Prosecutors say 50-year-old James Plower, of Olin, was sentenced on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. Plower had pleaded guilty to mail fraud and using fire to commit a felony.

At his plea hearing, Plower said he made up a scheme to defraud his insurance company. He said he set fire to his vacant home in Martelle and submitted an insurance claim asserting the fire was accidental. He collected more than $66,000 from the insurance company.

 

 

 

Republicans Ponder Over The Fate Of Iowa Straw Poll

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Republican Party officials are pondering the future of the state's traditional straw poll for presidential favorites.

Iowa GOP spokesman Charlie Szold confirms that a conference call has been set up for Friday, but declines to provide further details. The call was first reported in the Des Moines Register.

State GOP officials have fought to keep the August 8th event alive. But critics say the poll has become a costly sideshow and few candidates have committed to participate this year.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are among the White House hopefuls who plan to skip the event. Others say they won't spend money to participate.

 

 

 

Christie Says Republicans Need To Welcome Minorities

WASHINGTON (AP) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is faulting his party for taking an unwelcoming tone at times toward minority voters.

In a speech to a Latino Coalition small business conference, the potential Republican presidential contender also boasted about getting 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in his re-election as governor.

Christie portrays himself as the kind of Republican who can attract female, black and Hispanic voters normally drawn to Democrats.

Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote nationally as the 2012 Republican nominee.

Christie says he'll decide this month whether to run for his party's nomination.

 

 

 

Four Democrat Presidential Hopefuls Attend Iowa Gathering

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Four Democratic presidential hopefuls will appear at an Iowa Democratic Party event next month.

The state party organization announced Wednesday that their "Hall of Fame" dinner will be attended by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb. All but Webb have officially announced they are running for president.

The event will be held July 17th in Cedar Rapids. Clinton's Iowa spokeswoman Lily Adams confirmed that this is the first announced multi-candidate event for Clinton, the front-runner in the field. Some other Democratic candidates have previously appeared together.

Iowa Democrats have seen less big candidate round-ups than Republicans, given the smaller field of declared and potential contenders.

 

 

 

Murder Conviction Overturned

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of a Des Moines man serving a life prison sentence and ordered the case dismissed.

The court, in a decision posted Wednesday, says a jury didn't have enough evidence to convict 48-year-old Spencer Pierce in November 2013 along with Deanna Hood. They were tried together for first-degree murder and robbery, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. They were charged in the shotgun death of 35-year-old Steve Harmon, who was found dead June 6, 2013, in a parking lot on the north side of Des Moines.

Polk County prosecutors could seek further review from the Iowa Supreme Court. They didn't immediately return a message.

The appeals court upholds Hood's conviction saying prosecutors presented enough evidence against her to justify conviction.

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

   

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