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ThursdayAfternoon News, February 5

Monsanto To Award LEEP $2,500 Grant

(Le Mars) -- On Friday evening at the Le Mars Community School new gymnasium, between the girls and boys varsity games, officials with the Monsanto agricultural company, along with Julie Bietelspacher of Le Mars, will be making a presentation to school officials.  It's all part of the "America's Farmers Grow Communities" program in which farm families apply for a grant through Monsanto and then direct it to a local cause.  Bietelspacher says Monsanto is doing more to expand their outreach and wanting to give back to local communities.  She explains how she first learned of the grant program.

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Monsanto is awarding a $2,500 grant in each county throughout the midwest growing area.  Bietelspacher completed the application on-line and designated the Le Mars Enhanced Educational Project or LEEP, as the benefactor. Monsanto notified Julie and her husband Wayne, in January, that they are the winning farm family representing Plymouth County. Bietelspacher has had a long relationship with LEEP, serving as a founding board member.  She says many of the school's students will benefit from the grant.

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Bietelspacher says Monsanto requires the applicant to be a farm family and the chosen charity or organization meets the requirements of being a non-profit enity.


Woodbury County Sheriff To Announce An Arrest Connected To Sloan Murder

(Sioux City) -- Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew will be holding a brief press conference today @ 2:00P @ the Law Enforcement Center, Sheriff's Office, Drew will be announcing an arrest in the Dustin Taylor Wilder homicide that occurred at Sloan, Iowa on January 9th.


Onawa City Administrator Charged With Assaulting Son

 ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - The city administrator in a western Iowa town has been charged with assaulting his 15-year-old son.
     Court documents say 45-year-old Bradley Hanson, city administrator in Onawa, got into a fight with his son at their home. A criminal complaint with the Monona County Sheriff's Office says Hanson slapped his son, who slapped him back, and Hanson then took him to the ground and slammed his head into the floor.
     Records show Hanson's wife called police as the fight occurred.
     The sheriff's office says the teen had minor injuries, but didn't require medical treatment.
     Hanson was arrested Jan. 28.
     Hanson has since bonded out of jail. A court hearing is set for Feb. 11.


Legislators Hear Condition Of The Guard Address

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa National Guard says that overseas requirements for the unit continue to decline.
     Major General Timothy Orr addressed the Iowa General Assembly Thursday. He says they currently have about 150 soldiers and airmen deployed around the world. Thousands have served in combat and combat support roles over the past 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
     Orr said the guard is focused on training, so that the guard is ready for military duties and emergency response in the state. He said the guard is "mission focused and warrior ready."
     There are about 9,200 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Iowa.


State Senators Give Preliminary Approval For Changing Election Rules Involving Primaries

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senators have given preliminary approval to legislation that would change primary election rules in Iowa so voters decide certain contested races, rather than political party delegates.
     The bill got subcommittee-level backing Thursday and now goes to a Senate committee for review.  Under the proposal, if no candidate receives 35 percent of the primary vote in certain races, there would be a runoff election between the top two vote-getters.
     Currently, when no candidate meets the primary threshold, party delegates pick a nominee. The legislation would impact races for Congress, the Legislature and statewide office.
     Sen. Brad Zaun, an Urbandale Republican, proposed the measure. Last year, he received the most votes in a six-way Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District. But he didn't reach the threshold and lost at the convention.


Lake Mills Man Charged With Trading Securities Without License

LAKE MILLS, Iowa (AP) - A Lake Mills man accused of trading securities without a license has been fined $100,000 and ordered to make restitution of more than $454,000.
     Randall Finer was cited by the Iowa Insurance Division for dealing unregistered securities, being an unregistered agent, making untrue statements, omitting facts and not complying with orders from investigators.
     They are civil violations of the Iowa Uniform Securities Act, not criminal.
     The newspaper says Finer disputed the allegations in a Jan. 16 letter to investigators. He said had sought money from people in order to trade futures contracts for himself. He said he always made it clear that he was seeking a personal loan and that he was not a broker or financial planner.


Train De-Railment At Mississippi River

  DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Railroad officials say it's unclear how much ethanol has leaked into the Mississippi River following a train derailment in eastern Iowa, but that they're working to monitor the environmental impact and offload fuel from the train.
     The cars went off the tracks Wednesday morning in a remote area about 10 miles north of Dubuque.
     Canadian Pacific spokesman Jeremy Berry says eight of the 14 derailed cars carrying ethanol appear to be leaking. He says some ethanol has reached the river, but it's unclear how much.
     Federal and state environmental agencies are working with Canadian Pacific to set up ethanol monitoring sites downriver.
     Local authorities say three cars caught fire and three others plunged into the river. Fires from the accident had been extinguished by Thursday morning. No injuries were reported.


Church Burglaries Prompts Bishop To Hold Mass To Sanctify Church

   CUMMING, Iowa (AP) - An early January robbery at a historic church in suburban Des Moines compelled a bishop to conduct a special service meant to sanctify it.
     Bishop Richard Pates and Father Dan Kirby led a congregation of about 75 people Monday through the 147-year-old church at St. Patrick's Irish Settlement in Cumming, flinging holy water up the walls in an effort to bless the sanctuary following the theft.
     Kirby says the robbery was more spiritually detrimental than financially. The thief or thieves stole a chalice containing wafers that become the literal body of Christ for Catholics during mass and several Bibles and prayer books.
     Pates says the wafers are "the most sacred element" in the Catholic faith, so their disappearance made the so-called mass of reparation necessary.





Thursday News, February 5

City Council And Developer At Impasse Over New Proposed Development Area

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council and Developer Bruce Kellen came to an impasse during Tuesday's city council meeting.  Kellen has been asking the city to approve a new development area to be located on the southeast corner of Le Mars.  The proposed development area would have larger than normal lot sizes to accomodate for both a house and a storage facility building to be located on the lot.  Kellen is asking the city to help by paying for the cost of a street into the development area.  City council members shared their concern over the project, asking for more committment from Kellen.  Kellen has stated he knows of an interested party wanting to build a home in the proposed development area, but city council members were saying they want more assurance that others will also want to build in the area.  City councilman Clark Goodchild was questioning if Kellen is even allowed to sub-divide his property.

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Kellen countered Goodchild's assumption saying he has visited with his attorney, and was under the impression the new development area did meet with the necessary criteria.

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Councilwoman Delana Irhke spoke out against the project saying more investors need to show an interest in the project.  She also wanted Kellen to have a complete platted project before the city council acts upon the request.

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One concern Kellen has is once a development area has been platted, then the tax levy changes from being an agricultural area to a residential area, making the taxes higher. 

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The city council advised Kellen to again check with his attorney to make certain he is legally able to sub-divide his ground, and to sit down with city officials with a complete plan.  Mayor pro-tem Rex Knapp suggested the two sides discuss specifically the entire costs, and to decide which side would finance each portion of the project, including a street, sewer, water, and other costs associated with a new development area. 


Schettler Named School District's "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District honored its Director of Maintenance with the "Employee of the Month".  Duane Schettler has been with the school district for 37 years.  During this time, Duane has always been there to address maintenance issues that come up.  He has performed his job on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week bsasis as the guy who get called when things are not working correctly.  He has rarely utilized his vacation time, and even when he is on vacation, he is available to answer questions about what to do in order to get things working again.  Schettler has the maintenance history of the district during the past four decades in his head and is good at sharing a story or two when recalling facts that are important to solving the current problems.  He is the district expert on a wide variety of things related to keeping things running like kitchen equipment, maintenance equipment, HVAC systems, boilers, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, snow removal, turf management, roofs, etc.  When problems are too big for his and his crew, Duane always knows who to call to get the required service.  The expertise he has gained in these areas can only come from experience and it will be really missed.  Duane has performed an impossible job very well for the past 37 years.  We wish him the best in his retirement.  Our congratulations go to Duane Schettler for being named the Le Mars Community School District's "Employee of the Month."


Atlantic Fire Claims A Life

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man was found dead and a woman was hospitalized after fire at a house in the western Iowa city of Atlantic. 
     Fire Chief Mark McNeese says the fire started just after 10 p.m. Wednesday.  McNeese says firefighters rescued the woman after entering the back of the home. She was flown to an Omaha hospital.
     Firefighters later found the man's body inside. The two victims' names haven't been released.
     McNeese says there's evidence that an explosion may have started the fire. The cause is being investigated.


Evansdale Police Recieving Numerous Tips On Cousins Death

 EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Evansdale police say they have been flooded with phone calls since investigators asked the public this week for help in the case of two girls' deaths.
     Police Chief Kent Smock says as of Wednesday, more than 100 people called in, requiring the department to reign in city staff, retired officers and others to help answer the phones. 
     Investigators asked on Tuesday for tips from anyone who's familiar with a remote wildlife area where the bodies of 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins were found in December 2012. 
     Police think the killer is likely very familiar with the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area.
     Collins' mother says the large volume of calls has given her hope in finding the person responsible in the girls' deaths.


Seven GOP Leaders Commit To Agricultural Summitt

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Seven potential GOP presidential candidates plan to attend a summit in Iowa that will focus on agricultural issues.
     Agriculture entrepreneur Bruce Rastetter announced the attendees Wednesday. He has received confirmation from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and businessman Donald Trump.
     The event is scheduled for March 7th at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Attendees will appear individually with Rastetter on stage for 20 minutes to discuss a variety of topics, such as renewable fuels and land conservation.
     Rastetter, who organized the gathering, is an agribusiness entrepreneur who previously founded and ran large hog production and ethanol companies. He's also a major GOP donor in Iowa.


Senate Panel Approves Breast Density Data Bill For Mammograms

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would require breast density data in mammogram reports be given to patients and physicians, a move that supporters say could help women detect cancer earlier.
     The bill approved Wednesday by a human resources subcommittee would require that patients be told if they have a certain density of breast tissue. Advocates of the proposal say such breast density can obscure early detection of breast cancer in mammograms. They say this legislation will help patients be better informed.
     Several medical groups say they're against mandating standards of care under Iowa law. Some say the information could lead anxious patients to undergo unnecessary and costly additional testing.
     Similar legislation has failed to advance in previous sessions. The bill now goes to a full committee.


Des Moines Names New Police Chief

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders has named Major Dana Wingert as the city's next police chief.
     Sanders announced his appointment Wednesday and will now ask Des Moines City Council to confirm it. Wangert was among four people interviewed for the position over a three-day period last week.
     A 23-year veteran of the Des Moines Police Department, Wangert has served in several capacities, most recently overseeing the operations division where he has been responsible for police patrol, airport security and the traffic and parking unit.
     Sanders says Wangert is well-prepared to lead the department and has proven to be a personable and competent police officer.
     The council is set to meet Monday to confirm the appointment. If approved, the selection will become effective Tuesday.




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