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Wednesday Afternoon News, June 25

Head-on Collision Sends Two People To Hospital

(Le Mars) -- A head-on collison of two vehicles happen on Business highway 75 this afternoon south of the 18th Street intersection.  The accident happened at about 12:45 p.m.  The accident remains under investigation by the Le Mars Police Department, but apparently a passenger vehicle was traveling southbound on Business 75 when it lost control and initially left the road entering the west ditch and momentarily driving on the recreational bike trail.  The car then re-entered the roadway, but crossed over the center line striking a minivan traveling northbound.  The drivers of each vehicle were the only victims, and both were transported to Floyd Valley Hospital.  Additional details will be made available after the police department issues an accident report.

 

Rock Valley Says They "Will" Host RAGBRAI

(Rock Valley) -- There has been some discussion as to whether or not Rock Valley would be hosting the annual RAGBRAI bicycle ride since the community was inundated with flood waters last week.  Officials in Rock Valley say they will continue with plans to host this summer's big bike ride, despite the recent flooding.  Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo says it was not a decision that was taken lightly and any money generated by the RAGBRAI (RAG-bry) stop will have a distinct purpose -- to help residents who were displaced and to repair damaged property.

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Funds have been set up at the three local banks. The Rock River crested last week at Rock Valley some 11 feet over flood stage, breaking records set in the Flood of 1993. At least 150 homes in the town were damaged. The Rock Valley RAGBRAI Committee will make arrangements for housing in the coming weeks, as some of the people who were hosting bicycle riders have seen damage to their properties. Van Otterloo says the recovery is going well, but it's slow.

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RAGBRAI kicks off in Rock Valley on Saturday, July 19, with riders leaving to head towards Okoboji on Sunday the 20th.

 

Former Administrative Services Official Testifies On "Secret Settlements"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former attorney for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services says he and Gov. Terry Branstad's top lawyer discussed settlement agreements with state employees that included confidentiality clauses.  Ryan Lamb, who left the agency earlier this year, testified Wednesday before the Senate Government Oversight Committee that he discussed agreements with legal counsel Brenna Findley. Lamb says Findley was aware money was offered in agreements, but he didn't know if she knew payments were made in exchange for silence.  Lamb says former Department of Administrative Services director Mike Carroll knew about settlement agreement payments prior to his testimony before the committee. Branstad fired Carroll in April after he testified no money was paid for silence. Documents later surfaced showing such payments had been negotiated by Lamb.  Carroll also will testify Wednesday.

 

Appeals Court Says School Districts Cannot  Unilaterly Cut Salaries

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An appeals court says Iowa school districts cannot unilaterally cut employees' severance pay and must instead bargain any changes with unions.The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday against the Fort Dodge school district, which proposed a plan in 2012 to eliminate severance pay to save money. Teachers who had been with the district more than 10 years, for instance, had been eligible for pay based on their unused sick days.  Unions representing district employees argued that severance pay provisions in their contracts were mandatory topics of collective bargaining. The Public Employment Relations Board agreed, ruling that severance is "supplemental pay" and therefore must be bargained.  The appeals court says the board has the express authority to interpret Iowa's collective bargaining law, and it cited "sufficient authority" for its decision.

 

 

 

 

   

Wednesday News, June 25

Semi Truck And Trailer Plunges Into Floyd River

(Le Mars) --  A semi truck and trailer plunged into the Floyd River on Highway 75 near Merrill early this morning.  The semi truck crashed through the barricades and eventually ended up partially on the riverbank and with the truck in the Floyd River.  The Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments responded to that accident that occurred at about 2:00 a.m.  The truck is owned by the B-T Inc of LeMars.  The trailer was hauling beef trimmings to be used to make sausage.  Officials with the trucking firm said the beef trimmings would need to be disposed at a landfill.  Michael R Wichner, age 55 of Sioux Falls, SD, was operating a 2012 Peterbilt belonging to B-T Inc of LeMars. Wichner was traveling northbound on Hwy 75 just on the north edge of Merrill when he lost control of the semi, struck a bridge rail belonging to Iowa Dept of Transportation, entered the east ditch and rolled into a waterway under the bridge. Wichner had to be extricated from the cab by emergency personnel.  Wichner was transported to Mercy Medical by Merrill ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Officials associated with the trucking firm said he has since been released.  The right lane of travel on Highway 75 just outside of Merrill is closed as officials attempt to remove the semi truck and trailer from the river.   The accident remains under investigation.

 

Remsen Fire Department Responds To Structure Fire

(Remsen) -- The Remsen Fire Department was called to a structure fire last evening at about 10:00 p.m.  The fire was located at a business at 2nd street and Washington.  Todd Tentinger, Remsen Fire Chief says thanks to the carnival personnel who were in town for the Remsen Kids Days, for calling in the fire.

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Tentinger says there were no flames visible upon arrival at the scene, and the Remsen Fire Department was on the scene for about a half an hour.

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The investigation of the fire has been turned over to the Remsen Police Department and the Plymouth County Sheriff's office. 

 

Le Mars Fire Department and Dean's Foods to Hold Tornado Drill

(Le Mars) -- Tornadoes have ripped through several communities in recent years with Pilger, Nebraska being the latest town to be wiped off the map because of a strong tornado.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department wants to be prepared if a tornado should strike our community and severly damages one of our industries.  For that reason, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department in cooperation with Dean's Foods will jointly conduct a training session Wednesday evening on tornado safety.  Dave Schipper, fire chief for the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department explains what will occur during the training.

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Schipper says they will not be conducting a mock injury scenerio with Wednesday evening's training.  He says it is more of a plant tour to know where people would most likely be located if in the event a tornado should hit the Dean's Foods facility.

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Hedge Avenue Closed Due To Bridge Repair

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Division has announced they will close Hedge Avenue between 250th to 270th Streets starting Wednesday and continuing through late August.  The road is being closed due to the replacement of a bridge.

 

Graves Construction To Replace Bridge That Washed Away From Floods

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors accepted a bid submitted by Graves Construction of Spencer, Iowa for a bridge replacement project.  The bridge in question was was washed away from the flooding of a year ago during the Memorial Day weekend.  Graves Construction was one of three bids submitted for the 120 feet long by 30 feet wide bridge, located on 110th Street in Fredonia Township.  Graves' bid was listed at $412,471 with 85 percent of the cost to replace the bridge will be financed through FEMA. 

 

Supervisors Proclaim Fair Week As "Agriculture Awareness Week"

(Le Mars) -- In other action taken by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors, they approved a resolution proclaiming the week of Monday, July 21st through Sunday, July 27th as "Plymouth County Agriculture Awareness Week".  The week happens to be the same week as the Plymouth County Fair.  Five members of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee were on hand for the proclamation.  Paul Jacobson, the chairman of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee informed the supervisors of the economic and social importance agriculture has upon the county.  Jacobson told the supervisors that more than $600 million dollars is generated through the sale of grains, livestock, and agricultural products, making Plymouth County third in the state of Iowa and 66th in the nation for total value of agricultural products sold.

 

Disabled Veterans Eligible For Tax Benefits

(Le Mars) -- Thanks to bills passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, disabled veterans and their spouses will be able to receive some tax benefits.  Plymouth County Veterans Affairs Director Wayne Thieman explains who is eligible for those benefits.

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Thieman says it does not change anything with those veterans who have signed up for a regular homestead tax credit.  Thieman says the program is for the veterans residence up to forty acres where the home is actually located. Thieman explains what veterans will need to do in order to participate in the program.

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Owner Of Former YMCA Building Indicted

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The owner of the former YMCA building in Sioux City has been indicted, accused of several asbestos removal violations.
     Larry Wolf is charged with nine counts of work practice standards violations and one count each of failing to notify state and federal agencies of his intent to do renovation work and making false statements to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. 
     Wolf told the newspaper on Tuesday that he didn't renovate the building but declined to comment further.
     The indictment says Wolf had insulation containing asbestos removed from pipes inside the building and didn't follow proper removal and disposal procedures. A court document says Wolf denied removing any asbestos and told investigators he removed only metal pipes that had no insulation attached.
     ---

 

Lake View Nursing Facility Fined $500,000

LAKE VIEW, Iowa (AP) - A skilled nursing facility in northwest Iowa has agreed to pay $500,000 to resolve civil allegations against the center involving payment claims made to the government.
     The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa announced Tuesday that Blackhawk Lifecare Center in Lake View agreed to make the payment following allegations that the business submitted improper therapy services claims for payments. Blackhawk didn't admit to any liability or wrongdoing, and the government didn't allege the business harmed any patients.
     The government had alleged that between January 2007 and December 2009, the company submitted claims to Medicare for therapy services that weren't justified by the patients' conditions.
     The allegations were prompted by an investigation led by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Page 18 of 1115

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