Friday News, September 19
6th Avenue Southwest Closed Today
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city officials have announced that 6th Avenue Southwest from 18th Street to 24th Street southwest (also known as 200th Street) will be closed until Friday afternoon due to manhole and sanitary sewer installations.
Homecoming Float Vandals Reported
(Le Mars) -- Last week KLEM news reported the Le Mars Community Homecoming floats had been vandalized. Today, the Le Mars Police Department has released the names of the individuals responsible for the destruction of the homecoming floats. Each of the four students have been charged with Criminal Mischief in the 5th degree. Andrew Carpenter, Kyle Kliever, Colton Beitelspacher and Silas Buss, all sophomores at Le Mars Community High School, met with and self reported to school officials that they were responsible for the criminal mischief to the three homecoming floats. They each admitted to entering the building at the fairgrounds and destroying the floats on the evening of September 11th, the night before Homecoming.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Holds Open House
(Le Mars) -- Last evening, the city of Le Mars opened the doors of the new waste water treatment facility for the public's review during an open house. The new $18 million plant is capable of pumping 700,000 gallons of water per day. Greg Sindt was the engineer of the new waste water plant. He says this facility differs somewhat from other municipal waste water treatment plants.
Sindt says the procedure used to break down the sludge and other solids in the waste water is a natural biological process.
Although the treated water is not recommended to drink, once the waste water has ran through the system, officials say that 98 percent of the contaminants have been removed. Ron Kaiser is the city's waste water treatment superintendent. He says the old waste water facility located on the northwest corner of town will still be utilized, but only for the residential waste.
Early Frost May Hurt Crop Production Yields
(Le Mars) -- Last week's early frost may have set back the yield production for both corn and soybeans according to Iowa State University Extension crops specialist Joel DeJong. DeJong says some areas of soybeans may see some losses up to five percent of the yield potential.
As for corn, even though many fields are lagging behind in terms of maturity, DeJong believes farmers may see a slight yield reduction due to the early frost, but perhaps not much.
The ISU crops specialist says although area farmers may suffer a slight yield loss as a result of the early freeze, he says most of the plants survived the colder temperatures, and farmers are fortunate the temperatures were not colder as more damage could have occurred.
Most soybean fields are just starting to turn color and DeJong expects to see combine harvesters in the soybean fields within two weeks harvesting this year's crop.
"Kids Day On The Farm" Beneficial To Educational Curriculm
(Le Mars) -- More than 230 students from Le Mars and Remsen elementary schools participated in the "Kids Day on the Farm" today. Its an opportunity for students to learn about agriculture from an "up close" and often times a "hands-on" experience. Gehlen Catholic teacher Cheri Herbst says the annual field trip of visiting four different types of farms is beneficial to the student's better understanding and appreciation for agriculture.
Herbst teaches 4th grade at Gehlen Catholic and she says her curriculm includes learning about the different states and the products produced from each state. She says the farm tour helps her students know the products produced in Iowa.
Clark Elementary school teacher Vicki Oetken says the farm tours serve a good purpose for her class as part of the Social Studies curriculm.
Oetken says it is sometimes surprising to see how much, and how long of time students will remember the information shared from their farm visits.
The Clark elementary school teacher says her students are inquisitative about farming and often ask several questions of the farmer.
The school students visited a beef, swine, sheep, and a dairy farm. The program has been in existance for 16 years, and is sponsored by the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee.
Rayhons Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Abuse
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican State Rep. Henry Rayhons has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of sex abuse.
Online court records say Rayhons, 78, of Garner, made the plea Wednesday. No trial date has been set.
Rayhons is accused of having sexual contact in May with the resident of a care center who was not able to give consent. The Iowa Department of Public Safety has said the woman was Rayhons' wife, Donna Rayhons, who died in early August.
Rayhons represents the 8th District in the state House, which covers part of north-central Iowa. He won the GOP nomination to seek re-election but withdrew from the race.
Prison To Investigate The Origin Of Found Capsules
ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) - The discovery of hundreds of capsules containing an unknown substance at a northern Iowa prison has prompted a state drug investigation, officials said Thursday.
Authorities said that 300 to 400 capsules were found last week during routine searches by staff at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City.
Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said the capsules were found inside the prison, but he would not say where. He said the department believes the capsules may contain illegal substances, and that's why they are being sent to a state crime laboratory in Ankeny for processing and analysis.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety cautioned that test results will take several weeks to complete. The agency's Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Division of Criminal Investigation are leading the investigation.
Scaletta said no one has been arrested in connection with the discovery. He said he couldn't reveal whether any inmates have been disciplined internally.
The minimum-security prison houses low-risk offenders, many of whom are nearly ready to complete their sentences and return to society. The Iowa Department of Corrections says the prison has 494 inmates and 107 employees.
Warden Cornell Smith declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
New Survey Shows Slow Economic Growth In Midwest
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey suggests economic growth in rural areas of Iowa, Nebraska and eight other Midwestern states will continue slowing down in the next few months.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said Thursday that crop prices are significantly lower than last year, and that's a drag on the economy in rural areas.
The overall economic index from the monthly survey of bankers declined to 48.2 in September from August's already weak 48.3 reading.
The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in the months ahead.