Sunday, April 26, 2015
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Wednesday News, April 1

A Rash Of Grass Field Fires Reported In Northwest Iowa

(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters from several northwest Iowa communities were busy battling numerous grass and field fires on Tuesday.  Plymouth County fire fighters had a total of four field fires.  A grass fire that got out of control destroyed a home near Sioux City,  Authorities say the home contained an exotic bird store and was destroyed in an afternoon grass fire.

The Sioux City Fire Rescue department says five adults lived in the residence and that only the homeowner was there when the structure caught fire Tuesday. The homeowner escaped safely, and no other injuries were reported.  The fire started in Woodbury County but had spread into Plymouth County.  Besides the Sioux City grass fire, Woodbury County authorities reported five grass fires near Cushing, Hornick, and Lawton, and yet another grass fire near Jefferson, South Dakota. Sioux County authorities report there were nine grass fires on Tuesday, near Hospers, Hull, Alton, and Maurice.  In many instances, local farmers assisted fire fighters efforts by tilling the burning fields.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says rains are needed.

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The Le Mars Fire Chief says field fires can spread quickly even on a calm day.

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Le Mars Police Arrest Man Following Warrant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department executed an arrest warrant on Monday evening following a complaint into allegations of domestic assault occurring at 98 Broadview Drive in Le Mars.  Officers also had been informed there was convicted felon living at the address who was in possession of firearms. Several items were seized from the residence during the search warrant including a semi-automatic handgun, three rifles, assorted ammunition, small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, numerous bottles of inject-able steroids, drug paraphernalia and a large amount of cash.  Arrested was 38 year old Angel Arturo Matamoros of 98 Broadview Drive.  He was taken into custody without incident and jailed at the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center.  Matamoros is currently being held on a $25,000 bond. The possession of cocaine, marijuana, and steroid charges were all enhanced to felonies and aggravated misdemeanor due to Matamoros having previous drug convictions.



Log Cabin Information Meeting Tonight At Museum

(Le Mars) -- An informational meeting open to the public regarding the Joy Hollow log cabin is scheduled for this afternoon beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Central gym at the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  Two cabin preservationists will address questions regarding the structural stability of the log cabin that is presently at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds, but advocates hope to save the cabin from demolition.  Efforts are under way to raise enough funds to not only move the historical cabin to the Plymouth County Historical Museum, but to renovate the cabin.  The log cabin at one time served the Joy Hollow Girl Scouts camp before being moved to the fairgrounds.



Woman Sentenced To Prison For Posing As Nurse To Access Prescription Drugs

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A 30-year-old northwest Iowa woman who posed as a nurse so she could get prescription drugs has been sentenced to prison.

Kayleen Stallman, formerly Kayleen Leedahl, was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison. She'd pleaded guilty to three counts of felony obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription drug by deceit. She also pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of the same charge.

Police and court documents state she posed as a nurse over nearly four months in 2013 and used a doctor's information to get the medications from a Storm lake pharmacy.





Police Officer Testifies In Trial Of Sac City Man Accused Of Killing Roommate

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa police chief testified Tuesday that a man accused of killing his former roommate in 2009 admitted to the crime during an interview.

The  second trial of 55-year-old John Green began with opening statements from attorneys and testimony from Sac City Police Chief John Thompsen. Green is charged with first-degree murder in 58-year-old Mark Koster's death in Sac City.

Green's first trial was held in Webster County because his attorney argued that pretrial publicity would make it impossible for Green to receive a fair trial in Sac City. The same argument was used against holding the second trial in Fort Dodge. The first ended in a mistrial.

Koster was declared missing in 2010. His remains were found in the basement of his home in 2012.





State Legislature May Be Stalled On Gun Legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation that would have made sweeping changes to Iowa's gun laws appears to be dead this session, after Senate lawmakers focused on a separate bill with more limited scope.

The Senate voted 46-4 Tuesday for a bill that would allow the use of suppressors to silence weapons. It now heads to the House, where lawmakers have a small window to advance it before a procedural deadline Friday.

The House passed a bill recently that would have made several changes to Iowa's gun laws. It included a proposal to allow children of any age to use a handgun under a parent's supervision.

Attempts to add changes to the bill on suppressors failed Tuesday. Senate Republicans criticized Democrats for not taking up the House bill. Democrats say they wanted to find compromise.




Tuesday Afternoon News, March 31

Supervisors Approve Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Board's Grant Suggestions

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved $100,000 of the Local Options Sales Tax grants as recommended by the LOST advisory board.  Tom Letsche serves on the LOST advisory board and summarizes how the grant requests were divided.

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Letsche suggests organizations to first attempt to raise the needed funds, then use the Local Options Sales Tax grant as a last resort, not the first resort.

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Those organizations that did receive grant approval include: the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Merrill Fire Department, Life Skills Training Center, Akron Parks and Recreation Board, Plains Area Mental Health, Plymouth County EMS Association, Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Kingsley Ambulance and Rescue, The Dwelling Teen Center, Hinton Fire and Rescue, Oyens Fire and Rescue, Akron Fire Department, and Plymouth County Senior Helpmates.

Akron Man Arrested For Domestic Assault

(Akron) -- An Akron man has been arrested for domestic assault.  Plymouth County authorities responded to an incident on Monday morning at about 9:30 a.m. at 19734 county road K-13.  After investigating the incident, deputies determined the resident, 46 year old Ricky Hughes had assaulted a female residing at that residence.  Hughes was arrested and charged with domestic abuse assault in the first offense.  Hughes was taken to the Plymouth county jail for booking.

Former Missouri Valley Fire Chief Faces Trial

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) - A May trial has been scheduled for a former western Iowa fire chief accused of lying to investigators about a fire.
Forty-four-year-old Johnnie Walker entered the plea on Monday and described the situation as "just a big misunderstanding." His trial is set to begin on May 8.
Court documents say Walker is charged with interference with official acts and reporting false information. Both are misdemeanors. Walker resigned from his post as chief of the Missouri Valley volunteer department after he was arrested.
The charges stem from a March 7 fire at a vacant house. The Iowa State Fire Marshal Division says Walker provided false information to police who later investigated the fire.

Des Moines Train Derailment
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say seven freight train cars have derailed in Des Moines, blocking a roadway.
Officials responded to a report of the accident around 6:30 a.m. The cars derailed as the train pulled out to leave a Des Moines station. All cars remained upright, but went off the tracks, blocking Hull Avenue.
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says the freight train was traveling from Council Bluffs to Kansas City with a scheduled stop in Des Moines. He says four of the cars that derailed were empty, two contained soy flakes and one was carrying roofing shingles.
No injuries have been reported. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.
Mason City Toddler Struck By Van

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Mason City toddler has been severely injured after she was hit by a van near her home.
The Mason City Police Department says 2-year-old Akira Cully was taken to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa following the incident Monday evening. She has since been airlifted to a hospital in Iowa City, where she is listed in critical condition.
Authorities say Akira moved into the street and was struck by a van traveling northbound. Sgt. Steve Klemas says the little girl's parents and several others were in the area at the time.
No citations have been issued against the 29-year-old woman driving the vehicle, but police say the investigation is ongoing.
No further information has been released.
Senate Passes Anti-bullying Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Senate has passed legislation that would give school educators more authority to respond to student bullying in Iowa.
The Senate voted 43-7 Tuesday for the bill. It now heads to the House, where lawmakers are considering a similar measure.
The bill would give school educators more authority to respond to bullying, including guidelines to respond to bullying off school grounds. It also expands language on cyberbullying to include social media.
The legislation was briefly debated on the Senate floor Monday before the vote Tuesday. Some lawmakers expressed reservation about the bill not having funding for teacher training and a student pilot program. That differs from the House bill, which has a $200,000 appropriation.
Gov. Terry Branstad, who supports anti-bullying efforts, released a statement Tuesday applauding the vote.

Early School Start

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa schools will be able to start the upcoming academic year no earlier than Aug. 23, under a compromise bill that is now headed to Gov. Terry Branstad for approval.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal on Tuesday lifted a procedural hold he placed on the bill last week. The state House and Senate both approved the legislation, but Gronstal stalled, citing concerns that high schools would be excluded from setting year-round calendars.
Gronstal says it was time to move on. Branstad promised to sign the bill into law.
The state announced plans late last year to stop issuing automatic waivers to allow districts to bypass current start date rules. Many lawmakers wanted districts to have control over their calendars, but Branstad argued that early start dates hurt tourism.

Farmers To Plant More Soybeans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers are expected to plant a record number of soybean acres this year, but less corn as that grain's profit potential remains low due to slumping prices
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's first report of the new crop season says farmers will plant 84.6 million acres in soybeans, up 1 percent from last year's previous record of 83.7 million acres.
Corn planting will fall to 89.2 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. It's the third year of acreage decline.
Soybeans are favored because they cost less to grow and prices haven't fallen as quickly as corn.
The report is based on 84,000 farmer surveys completed in early March.



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