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Wednesday Afternoon, June 24

Le Mars Public Works To Close Streets For Repairs

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Public Works have announced they have closed North Greenwood Drive between Greenwood Avenue and West Valley Drive.  The street is closed due to sewer intake repairs.  In addition, the city will close 12th Street southwest from Central Avenue to 6th Avenue Southwest beginning Tuesday, June 30th.  The city will close one block at a time in between intersections to tar and seal the cracks in the street.  All intersections will remain open.





Police Department Issues 3rd & 4th Quarter Reports

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has issued its quarterly report.  During the 3rd and 4th fiscal year quarters covering the time period of December 23rd of 2014 to June 23rd of 2015, the police had investigated 566 complaints, the police had a total of 2,541 calls for service, issued 299 traffic citations, and 788 warnings.  The police responded to 122 accidents and made 155 arrests.




June "Employee Of The Month" Named Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its June "Employee of the Month" this morning.  Kevin Eekhoff representing the Chamber presented the honor to Richard Wilkins. Wilkins was nominated by Rust's Western Shed.  In the nomination, it states, Richard Wilkins is a dependable, valuable employee who handles a wide range of responsibilities at the store.  He waits on customers, helps in the repair area, sells boots and other merchandise and is capable of running the store by himself when needed.  He has a good understanding of how to meet the requirements of our shoe customers because of his knowledge of the store's inventory.  Fifteen years of experience have also enabled Richard to understand the shoe, boot, and other repair needs side of Rust's Western Shed.  He can answer customer's questions about their needs and guide customers through the repairs options available to them.  Richard provides friendly customer service and this loyalty and trustworthiness have made him a very valuable employee and asset to Rust's Western Shed.  That is why we are pleased to recognize Richard Wilkins as the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce June 2015 Employee of the Month.  Our congratulations go to Richard Wilkins.  By the way, Richard is celebrating his 80th birthday today.





Lady Of Assumption Catholic Church In Merrill To Hold Last Mass Service On Sunday

MERRILL, Iowa (AP) - A final mass is planned for the Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, which has been in the small northwestern Iowa community of Merrill for more than 120 years. 
Bishop R. Walker Nickless will preside over the Sunday closing mass. 
A smaller membership at the parish and a shrinking number of priests had led to the forthcoming closure. 
Nickless says closing a parish always is a painful experience for him. He says the decision to close a parish is made after consulting with the priest council, the parish directors and the finance committee.





Iowa Universities Can't Be Sued For Refusing To Pay Into Insurance For People With Health Risks

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's public universities can't be sued for allegedly refusing to pay their share into a state program that subsidizes insurance for Iowans with health risks.
The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal Wednesday of a lawsuit that seeks millions in assessments from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.
The Iowa Individual Health Benefit Reinsurance Association contends that the universities, like other agencies that offer self-funded health insurance plans, are legally required to pay those fees.
ISU and UNI had paid them for years but all three universities refused to participate when the University of Iowa became self-insured in 2010. The Board of Regents contends the schools aren't covered by the law.
The court says the program doesn't have the authority to sue.





Fort Dodge To Move Creek

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Fort Dodge officials are moving ahead with plans to move a creek and shore up a bank to reduce erosion and improve water quality.
$2.1 million project at Soldier Creek is being done by Fort Dodge and Webster County.
Fort Dodge project engineer Tony Trotter outlined the project at a meeting Tuesday night, saying the work was needed because the creek has been moving north for 80 years, as it cuts into a steep bank at Snell-Crawford Park.
Crews will shift the creek back to an earlier path and place large rocks on the shoreline to reduce more erosion.
The project is being funded by the state and county.
Workers also will reduce pollution by adding basins to another part of the creek.





Environmental Protection Agency Hears Comments Regarding Renewable Fuels

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Federal environmental officials say hundreds have signed up to testify on a renewable fuels proposal that ethanol supporters say would have stifling implications for their industry.
Last month the Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan to reduce renewable fuels requirements by 4 billion gallons in 2015 and more than 3 billion in 2016. The agency says volumes required by a 2007 law are impossibly high.
The EPA is conducting the hearings Thursday in Kansas City, Kansas, with plans to announce its final decision in November.
At least two governors, busloads of FFA members and farmers from several states are planning to rally against the proposal at a nearby park.
Ethanol backers say the EPA caved in to the demands of the petroleum industry, which is generally opposed to the standards.



Wednesday News, June 24

Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department To Close 260th Street

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department is closing 260th Street from Sunset Avenue to Tamarack Avenue beginning today.  That stretch of road is expected to remain closed until at least mid-July.  County work crews are replacing a wooden bridge with a culvert pipe.




Branstad Declares Emergency For Southern Iowa Counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for four Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather.
Branstad issued the proclamation Tuesday for Davis, Humboldt, Monroe and Wright counties. The areas were affected by severe weather Monday.
The proclamation allows officials to use state resources to help affected people. It includes an assistance program that provides grants of up to $5,000 for certain households needing food, clothing and temporary housing.
In Monroe County in southern Iowa, a tornado ripped into a grocery store and nearby homes Monday.




Marcus Cleaning Up After Monday Morning Storms

(Marcus) -- The town of Marcus also suffered some damage due to the strong winds from Monday morning.  Gary Huseman serves as the mayor of Marcus.  He says numerous trees and homes were damaged.

(sot) Husman1

Husman says at least ten homes have been damaged by the strong winds, and he wonders if possibly a small tornado may have hit his community.

(sot) Husman2

The Marcus mayor says he is proud of the response by his towns people, and for the number of volunteers that came to help with the clean up of the debris.

(sot) Husman3

Husman says at every corner there would be at least ten to twenty people helping.  He estimates more than 100 people came to the rescue of Marcus.  The mayor says the damage was mainly confined to the eastern portion of the small town.  He says there were no businesses that suffered any major damage from the Monday morning strong winds.




Weather Officials Confirm Tornado Hit Albia

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado damaged homes and a grocery store in southern Iowa.
Meteorologist Craig Cogil says the tornado received an EF-3 rating after peak winds were estimated at 142 mph near a damaged house in Lovilia on Monday night.
The tornado developed in Marion County and briefly moved through Lucas County before ending in Monroe County, where the house was located. The tornado had wind speeds of 103 mph when it later ripped into a grocery store in Albia.
About 40 to 50 people in the Hy-Vee store took shelter inside as the storm shattered store windows. Homes in the area lost roofs and windows. 
No injuries have been reported.





Sioux City Council Approves Land Sale For New Pork Processing Plant

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials have approved a land sale for a planned $264 million pork processing plant. 
The City Council unanimously voted Monday to finalize the transfer of a nearly 245-acre lot at the Bridgeport West Industrial Park. 
The 600,000-square-foot plant is expected to employ around 1,100 workers. The joint venture between Kansas-based Seaboard Foods and Missouri-based Triumph Foods is anticipated to open in 2017. 
Seaboard Foods President and CEO Terry Holton says the hiring process already has begun for management positions.
City officials in May announced plans to bring the plant to Sioux City. The facility will be designed with technologies to mitigate odor and will have the capacity to slaughter 10,000 to 12,000 hogs per day.




Sioux City Woman Stabbed To Death

(Sioux City) -- A Sioux City woman is dead and a suspect is in custody following a fatal stabbing early Tuesday morning on Sioux City's Westside.  Police responded to a 9-1-1 call from 521 West 16th Street at 12:47 a.m. where they discovered the body of a female victim.  Sioux City police have identified the woman as 43 year old Cornelia A. Stead of Sioux City.  Witnesses identified the suspect as 35 year old Isack Mahad Abdinur, who police say is a Somali transient.  A Police K-9 tracked down Abdinur in a near-by garage where he was apprehended.  Court documents say Abdinur had an argument with Stead, who had locked herself in a bedroom to escape.  Abindur allegedly then forced open the door and attacked Stead, first punching her in the face several times, and then stabbing her with a kitchen knife, resulting in her death.   Police say the couple were romantically involved.  Abdinur is being held in Woodbury County jail on a 1st degree murder charge.  His bond has been set at one million dollars, and he has been appointed a public defender as his attorney.




Food Supplier Files Lawsuit Against Egg Company

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A food supplier has filed a lawsuit alleging an Iowa farm breached an egg supply contract after its parent company lost millions of chickens to bird flu.
Michael Foods Egg Products Co. filed a complaint in federal court in Des Moines on Monday alleging Hawkeye Pride Egg Farms is violating a January 2014 contract.
Michael Foods is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based cereal-maker Post Holdings Inc. It claims it's suffering irreparable harm.
The company primarily sells liquid and precooked egg products. Its attorney declined to comment Tuesday on the lawsuit.
Hawkeye Pride is a division of Sioux Center-based Center Fresh Group, which owns egg farms that lost 5.5 million hens to bird flu. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, and an attorney did not return a message.





Committee Suggest Adding Computer Science To STEM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A computer science committee has recommended to Gov. Terry Branstad's STEM Advisory Council that Iowa high school students should have to complete computer science coursework to graduate.
The STEM Support of Computer Science working group made the recommendation Tuesday.  Group co-chairs Mark Gruwell and Ann Watts discussed a list of recommendations to integrate computer science into Iowa schools, including an endorsement to recognize teachers and technology professors qualified to teach courses.
The STEM council will have to vote on the recommendations before they can be presented to the governor's office. STEM Council's executive director Jeff Weld said the group will vote in September. A change would need legislative approval.
The governor's STEM Advisory Council focuses on developing initiatives around science, technology, engineering and math education.





Lawmakers Still Trying To Keep Mount Pleasant Mental Health Facility Open

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) - A handful of Iowa lawmakers have reiterated their support for keeping open a state mental health facility in Mount Pleasant.
Democratic Sen. Rich Taylor and Republican Rep. Dave Heaton made remarks Tuesday at the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute in support of keeping the facility open with state dollars. The lawmakers, both of Mount Pleasant, were joined by Democratic Sen. Amanda Ragan, of Mason City, and local leaders.
The facility's future became uncertain this year after Gov. Terry Branstad's budget proposal removed funding for it and the state mental health facility in Clarinda.
Lawmakers eventually approved legislation that would keep Mount Pleasant open and would seek a private provider to run Clarinda.
Lawmakers Tuesday urged Branstad to approve the legislation. Branstad's spokesman says the governor will make a decision soon.





Authorities Identify Man Found In Iowa River

HILLS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified a man found dead in the Iowa River.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek says in a news release Tuesday that 41-year-old Shawn L. Warrington was recovered from the water on June 17. Authorities described him as homeless.
People fishing in the river near Hills contacted authorities after seeing a pair of pants and boots protruding from a brush pile.
The cause of death remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected at this time.


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