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Tuesday News, March 25

Multi County Investigation Leads To Arrest For Theft, Burglary, And Narcotics

(Le Mars) -- A multi county investigation into several area burglaries has led to the arrests of an Alta couple on several theft, burglary, and narcotics charges.  On March 3rd the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office investigated a burglary report of a residence located northwest of Alta.  During the course of that investigation, it was learned that approximately $14,440 of personal property stolen.  A few days later, Buena Vista County Deputies took a report of a burglary that had occurred to a vacant house within a half mile of the first burglary.  Following a joint investigation of the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, the Sioux County Sheriff's Office and the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office, search warrants were executed at residences in Plymouth, Sioux, and Buena Vista Counties.  Items of stolen property were recovered from burglaries in Plymouth, as well as Buena Vista Counties, and narcotics were located at all three counties. 

Charged in this investigation are Chad Braun, age 36 of Alta, formerly of Le Mars, and Patience Braun, age 30 of Alta.  Chad Braun has been charged in Buena Vista County with one count of theft first degree, a class C felony, and one count of burglary in the third degree, a class D felony.  Patience Braun has been charged with possession of stolen property, a class D felony, and possession of controlled substance with the intent to deliver, class D felony.  Chad Braun is being held on bond in the Plymouth County jail and Patience Braun is currently being held on bond at the Buena Vista County jail.

 

Hinton, Merrill, And Le Mars Fire Departments Fight Early Morning House Fire

(Hinton) -- A house fire occurred early this morning at 29254 County Road K-22.  Hinton, Merrill, and the Le Mars Fire Department responded to the structure fire.  Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck says the fire was detected at about 3:35 a.m. 

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Beck says the fire appears to have started in the garage area and quickly moved to the attic of the house.  Beck says the home is a total loss.  At this point in time, fire officials are not certain as to what was the origin or cause of the house fire.  Beck says the American Red Cross has been notified to offer assistance to the family.  Le Mars Fire Department was on the scene for three hours, but as of 7:30 a.m. Hinton and Merrill Fire crews remain on the scene. 

 

Hinton Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire 

(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department also had to fight a grass fire last evening at South Ridge Road and County Road C-60.  The alarm was sounded at about 5:45 p.m.  Fire officials were battling the blaze for nearly an hour.

 

Supervisors To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse Board Room.  The supervisors are expected to review and possibly approve the cost advisory services allocation for 2014-15 for local administrative expense reimbursement from the Iowa Department of Human Services.  The county governing board is also expected to approve a pictrometry ariel flight contract.

 

School Board Approves Contract Bid For New Playground Equipment

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education approved the bid and contract to construct playground equipment at all three Le Mars Community elementary schools.  The School Board made its decision last evening during their regular meeting.  National Playground of Carlisle, Iowa submitted a winning bid of $364,596 to dismantle existing playground equipment, perform needed landscape to the school grounds, and construct the new playground equipment.  In its bid, National Playground indicated they would use some local subcontractors for the project.

 

North West REC To Hold District 3 Annual Meeting Tonight

(Le Mars) -- North West Rural Electric Cooperative will hold its District 3 annual meeting and banquet this evening.  The event will begin with a dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting to start at 7:00 p.m. all to be held at the Le Mars Community High School.  Election of directors will occur.  Steve Brown and David Milbrodt are seeking board of director positions.  Reza, a magician and illusionist will provide the entertainment.  All members of the North West REC are invited and encouraged to attend. 

 

New Scam Tagets Customers Of Wells Fargo Bank

(Sioux City) -- A new scam has hit northwest Iowa.  Cell phone users are receiving text messages, presumably from Wells Fargo Bank, directing people to go to a phony website and enter their private account information.  Angie Kaipust, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo Bank, says the bank and its customers are victims of a "phishing scam".

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Kaipust suggests if you receive such a message, just erase it, and don't act upon it.

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The bank official reminds people that the bank does not need to ask for private account information, because they already have it.

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One customer reported falling victim to the scam, costing him $1700. Kaipust says if people believe they are the victim of a bank scam to contact their bank immediately.

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Youth Pastor Facing Prison For Sexual Abuse Of Teen Girls

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Des Moines youth pastor has been given 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two teenage girls.
     Twenty-seven-year-old Ryan McKelvey was sentenced on Monday in Polk County District Court. He had pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a clergy.
     McKelvey was a youth pastor at Heritage Assembly Church in Des Moines. Officers began investigating him after a girl and her parents alleged a sexual assault by McKelvey. A second girl then reported similar incidents.

 

Smoking Study Shows Higher Rate In Rural Counties

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new study shows higher rates of smoking in rural Iowa counties.
     The  study says some Iowa counties have double the smoking rates of others.
     The national report from the University of Washington says Iowa's Dallas County had the seventh-fastest decline in smoking from 1996 through 2012, when it went from 19.4 percent to 10.9 percent. 
     The report also shows that all Iowa counties have had declines in smoking.
     The researchers used data from phone surveys taken for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
     ---

 

Legislature Approves Tax Break For NASCAR And Iowa Speedway

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that extends a sales tax rebate for the Iowa Speedway in Newton by 10 years has passed the Iowa Senate and moves to the House. 
     The racetrack, bought by NASCAR in November, has about $9 million left on the tax rebate originally approved for the track. The original law said it could only be collected if the track was owned by an Iowa corporation and was nullified by a change of control. 
     The bill, which passed 36-9, allows NASCAR to collect the remaining $9 million through 2026. 
     Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat, says the money will help NASCAR make improvements to the track.
     Sen. Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, opposed the bill saying a 10-year extension of tax credits is excessive.

 

 


    

 

 

 

 



 

   

Monday Afternoon News, March 24

Le Mars Man Charged For Distributing Cocaine

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department have arrested a Le Mars man for the distribution of cocaine.  Early Sunday morning, 41 year old, Corey Dailey of 408 1st Avenue Northwest, was taken into custody without incident in the 10 block of 1st Street Northwest for two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.  Both are Class C felonies.  Dailey was taken to the Plymouth County jail where his bond was set at $20,000.

 

Le Mars Librarian To Leave For Another Position

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars is searching for a new director of library services.  Sue Kroesche has submitted her resignation effective April 25th.  Bill Cole, assistant city administrator says Kroesche has accepted another librarian position in another city.  Kroesche had been the Library Director for the Le Mars Public Library for five years.

 

City Issues Water Quality Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Water Department has issued its annual Consumer Confidence Report to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, showing residents the quality of the city's water.  Gayle Sitzmann, superintendent for the water department says Le Mars has good quality water with very low amounts of contaminants.

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Sitzmann says the state is especially interested in the nitrate level of local water supplies.  He says that is a direct result of fertilizer run-off.

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The city water superintendent says Le Mars is fortunate to have a good supply of high quality water, and he says it should continue long into the future.

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Copies of the Consumer Confidence Report can be obtained by contacting the city water department.

 

Wells Fargo Bank Warns of Scam

(Sioux City) -- A new scam has hit northwest Iowa.  Cell phone users are receiving text messages, presumably from Wells Fargo Bank, directing people to go to a phony website and enter their private account information.  Angie Kaipust, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo Bank, says the bank and its customers are victims of a "phishing scam".

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Kaipust suggests if you receive such a message, just erase it, and don't act upon it.

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The bank official reminds people that the bank does not need to ask for private account information, because they already have it.

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

One customer reported falling victim to the scam, costing him $1700.  Kaipust says if people believe they are the victim of a bank scam to contact their bank immediately.

 Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Turkey Processing Plant To Remain Closed Until Tuesday

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Company officials say the fire-damaged turkey plant in Storm Lake is expected to remain closed through Tuesday.
     Saturday night's blaze caused a portion of the roof to collapse at the Hillshire Brands plant. One firefighter was injured but was soon released after treatment at a hospital.
     Fire crews from four departments were sent to the plant, which employs around 600 people. 
     The cause of the fire is being investigated.

 

People Unable To Pay For Utility Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Thousands of Iowa households are behind on their utility bills in the wake of winter's subzero weather.
     The Iowa Utilities Board figures say that as of February, more than 243,000 households were in arrears - 4 percent more than a year ago. But because of the severe cold and the higher costs of natural gas and propane, the amount of the debt has hit $46 million - 40 percent more than the figure in February 2013.
     William Brand is administrator of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Iowa, and he says 38,000 of the Iowa households in the program are behind on their bills by a total of $11.7 million. April 1 marks the end of the winter moratorium on utility shutoffs for those households.
     ---

 

State Senator Still Trying To Get Medical Marijuana Legalized In Iowa

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Iowa has been declared dead this session, but lawmakers are continuing with efforts to raise awareness about benefits associated with the drug.
     Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, invited current and former Iowa residents to the Capitol on Monday to share how marijuana has helped them medically and explain why they have left or are considering leaving the state. 
     A mother from Waterloo says she uprooted her family to get her epileptic daughter medical marijuana in Colorado. A veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder says he plans to move to Colorado, too. 
     Gov. Terry Branstad has said he fears there would be unintended consequences if medical marijuana were legalized.
     A Quinnipiac University poll shows 81 percent of Iowans support medical marijuana legalization.

 

Branstad Orders Secret Settlements To End

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he has signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies from signing confidential settlement agreements.
     Branstad, back in Iowa from vacation, is responding to criticism of agreements reached between state agencies and several state employees who were fired and then paid more than $280,000 to keep quiet.
     Branstad says Monday that Iowans expect more from state government and deserve better. He says he didn't know about the settlements.
     His order requires settlement agreements to be reviewed by the attorney general's office and all agreements to be posted on a state website.
     He's also ordered all past settlement agreements to be posted - that's more than 321 since he took office. He says 24 contain confidentiality agreements and 10 included lump sum payments to workers.

 

Branstad Supports Work Force Director

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is standing behind the director of Iowa Workforce Development who has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers for allegedly improperly pressuring judges who hear unemployment cases to rule against workers and in favor of employers.
     Branstad says he has tremendous confidence in Teresa Wahlert and says she's an outstanding administrator and very fair.
     He calls the criticism last week led by Sen. Bill Dotzler, of Waterloo, a partisan political attack. 
     Dotzler sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor asking the agency to investigate whether Wahlert is violating federal laws requiring fair and impartial administration of unemployment benefits. 
     He alleges Wahlert has created a hostile work environment and interferes with the independence of administrative law judges.
     Wahlert and Branstad deny the accusations.

 

    

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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