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Wednesday News, July 1

Semi Truck Rolls Over On Highway 75 Near Merrill

(Le Mars) -- A semi truck and flatbed trailer rolled over on its side early this morning on Highway 75 striking a utility street lamp pole and knocking out power for the town of Merrill.  The accident occurred at about 4:00 a.m. this morning.  The semi truck and flatbed trailer was heading southbound on Highway 75 and was just entering the town of Merrill when apparently the truck lost control and went off the highway, and rolling on its side.  The truck was hauling concrete slabs.  Emergency crews are finishing up with the scene.  The accident reduced southbound traffic to one lane heading into Merrill.  It is not known whether the truck driver sustained any injuries as a result of that accident.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department and the Merrill Fire Department responded to that accident.

Photo contributed

 

 

 

Retired Fire Fighter Collecting Shirts To Call Attention To Cancer

(Le Mars) -- A retired Le Mars fire fighter is collecting t-shirts from other fire departments across the country in an effort to call attention to his battle with cancer.  Doug Harms retired from the Le Mars Fire Department last year due to health issues relating to his heart.  Since that time, he has also been diagnosed as having cancer in his neck and throat. Harms' girlfriend had the idea to send a message on Facebook social media asking for the t-shirts as a way to help boost his morale.

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Harms says he is receiving other items in addition to the t-shirts.

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Harms says several t-shirts have come from Iowa fire departments, and he says Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper helped by spreading the word of Harms condition.  Harms served the Le Mars Fire Department for 27 years and was promoted to the rank of Captain before his retirement.  In addition, he was a fire fighter for the 185th Iowa Air National Guard. Harms talks about the heart condition that forced him into retirement.

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Shortly, there after is when the former fire fighter was diagnosed with cancer.

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This past Sunday a benefit auction was held in Harm's honor.  He says people have been very generous.

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Harms says more than $10,000 was raised during Sunday's benefit auction.  His fellow fire fighters plan to hold a benefit scheduled for Wednesday, July 22nd at the Le Mars Fire Station Number 1.  Harms receives both chemotherapy and radiation for his cancer, and doctors are saying to him they feel confident he will be cancer free and will make a full recovery.  Harms says it is not within his character to request help.  He would rather be the person helping others.
Tip Leads To Arrest Of Fugitive

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A tip from the public on the potential whereabouts of a longtime Iowa fugitive has led to his arrest in Mexico.
The U.S. Marshals Service says authorities in Mexico arrested Mitchell Meyer on Monday.
Authorities say Meyer was facing two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in 1999 when he was scheduled to appear for trial in Sioux City. He was released on bond but never appeared.
A deputy marshal revisited the case in 2014 and offered information to local media. It was featured on a "Most Wanted" posting that brought in tips. One indicated Meyer was in Mexico.
Meyer has been sent to the U.S. and is being held in Texas before he can be returned to Iowa. Court records do not indicate if he has an attorney.
Former Egg Manager Avoids Jail
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa egg farm manager will avoid jail time after cooperating with investigators in a criminal prosecution stemming from a 2010 salmonella outbreak.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett sentenced Tony Wasmund to four years of probation Tuesday after the government said he provided "substantial assistance" in the salmonella case. Bennett imposed no restitution or fine on Wasmund, of Willmar, Minnesota.
Wasmund worked for egg tycoon Jack DeCoster, whose Iowa operations caused the outbreak that prompted the recall of 550 million eggs and sickened thousands.
Under a plea deal, Wasmund pleaded guilty in 2012 to his role in bribing a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector to allow sales of eggs that didn't meet federal standards. He cooperated in an investigation that led to convictions of DeCoster and his son Peter.
Commodity Analyst Believes Corn Prices May Increase Following USDA Reports
(Le Mars) -- The U-S Department of Agriculture issued two reports on Tuesday, an acreage report and a grain and stocks report. According to the figures provided by the U-S Department of Agriculture corn acreage has dropped off two percent from last year at 88-point-nine million acres.  Meanwhile, soybean acreage is shown to have increased two percent from last year to 85-point-1 million acres.  But many commodity traders, including David Kruse of the Commstock Investment firm of Royal, Iowa, are saying "Wait a minute."  Kruse says there have been many factors to consider since the survey was taken that may change the final outcome.  He says wet weather conditions in the southern plains have taken away some corn acreage.
(sot) Kruse1
Kruse says the grain and stocks report for corn was perceived to be neutral to bullish to the marketplace.  He says there has been an increase of demand for corn as livestock and poultry products are heavier.
(sot) Kruse2  :36   cue: "...at a strong rate".
You may think that with the bird flu eliminating more than 30 million chickens and turkeys, that would disrupt the corn market since there are no longer those birds to feed.  However, Kruse says the loss of feed to layers, those chickens that produce eggs, is being offset with the corn going to broilers, or the chickens that we eat.
(sot) Kruse3  :28   cue: "...from the egg sector".
As for the corn production, Kruse says the southern cornbelt has had an abundance of rainfall creating flooding conditions, and wiping out some of the corn acreage.
(sot) Kruse4  :26  cue: "...of these markets significantly".
Kruse says this information may mean good news for corn growers.
The commodity market analyst believes because of these factors, with the increase demand for corn, and fewer corn acres to harvest, there could be some upward potential to the corn market, and farmers may see higher prices for their corn.
New Laws Take Effect Today
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A number of new Iowa laws take effect Wednesday, though the governor has not yet acted on some key parts of the state budget. 
One new law would allow grocery stores and liquor stores with the proper permit to sell craft beer in refillable containers, known as "growlers." Another would likely allow sledding in more public parks next winter by protecting cities from liability if people are injured. 
Some key legislation did not have a July 1 start date. A bill to raise the state fuel tax already took effect. 
Gov. Terry Branstad still must act on several key pieces of the state budget, including a one-time funding bill for K-12 education. He has until Monday to decide if he will approve budget bills.
Branstad Declares 18 Counties As Disaster
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A disaster proclamation has been issued for 18 Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather.
Gov. Terry Branstad issued the proclamation Tuesday. It allows the state to help residents impacted by a tornado that hit parts of Wapello County on June 20.
The proclamation also helps residents affected by other severe weather and flooding in Iowa in late June. It includes Adair, Allamakee, Appanoose, Butler, Clayton, Dallas, Des Moines, Guthrie, Henry, Howard, Lee, Lucas, Marion, Mitchell, Polk, Warren and Winneshiek counties. 
An assistance program will be available to residents in 10 of those counties. That offers grants of up to $5,000 to certain households for clothing, food and temporary housing.
Branstad Appoints New Education Director

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has appointed the deputy director of the Iowa Department of Education to lead the agency.
Branstad announced Tuesday that he had appointed Ryan Wise as director of the department, replacing Brad Buck who is becoming superintendent of the Cedar Rapids schools.
Wise, who will begin his new job Wednesday, has been the agency's deputy director since September 2013. He led implementation of Iowa's Teacher Leadership and Compensation System, which is designed to give higher pay and leadership opportunities to effective teachers.
Among his other duties, Wise also has been a liaison between the department and Iowa State Board of Education.
The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.
Monopoly Character To Join Butter Cow At Iowa State Fair
(Des Moines) -- It looks like Rich Uncle Pennybags, the main character from the popular board game of Monopoly, will be joining the famous butter cow at this year's Iowa State Fair. 
Organizers of the Iowa State Fair are pairing the event's famous butter cow sculpture with another butter piece celebrating the Monopoly board game.
Officials say the accompanying piece, will this summer celebrate the game's 80th anniversary.
Sarah Pratt designs the butter cow each year as well as a second piece. She is expected to feature some famous Monopoly pieces alongside the game's main character, Rich Uncle Pennybags.
Monopoly was first commercially sold in the 1930s. The property trading game has been printed in more than 37 languages.
The Iowa Star Fair is scheduled Aug. 13-23 in Des Moines.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

   

Tuesday Afternoon News, June 30

New Laws To Start On Wednesday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A number of new Iowa laws take effect Wednesday, though the governor has not yet acted on some key parts of the state budget. 
One new law would allow grocery stores and liquor stores with the proper permit to sell craft beer in refillable containers, known as "growlers." Another would likely allow sledding in more public parks next winter by protecting cities from liability if people are injured. 
Some key legislation did not have a July 1 start date. A bill to raise the state fuel tax already took effect. 
Gov. Terry Branstad still must act on several key pieces of the state budget, including a one-time funding bill for K-12 education. He has until Monday to decide if he will approve budget bills.

 

 

 

 

Statewide Radio Communications Requested By Public Safety

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders from various law enforcement agencies in Iowa say the state's radio system for communicating in emergencies is outdated, and they're urging Gov. Terry Branstad to sign a bill into law that they say will change that.
Authorities from multiple departments spoke at a press conference Tuesday and encouraged Branstad to sign legislation that would allocate funding to upgrade the radio system. They say the current radio system is unreliable.
A Branstad spokesman says the governor is still reviewing the bill.
Sgt. Thomas Lampe with the state Department of Public Safety says a contract for the work would cost $68 million. 
Lampe says if legislation is approved, vendor Motorola has agreed to launch the system in about two years. Motorola was selected amid criticism over the bidding process.

 

 

 

 

 

Audit Shows West Des Moines School Principal Charged With Improper Spending

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state audit has found that a former West Des Moines elementary school principal improperly used school purchasing cards.
The audit released Tuesday says Beth Thornton improperly used the procurement cards, which work like credit cards, to the tune of nearly $10,000. That included nearly $3,500 for airline tickets and hotel rooms for her family, which she reimbursed. It also included more than $5,000 for gift cards reportedly given to families in need. District rules prohibit using procurement cards to buy gift cards.
Thornton resigned in April.
Her attorney, Guy Cook, says Thornton denies "any intentional wrongdoing whatsoever." Cook says no school money is missing and that Thornton resigned to pursue other opportunities.
The report has been sent to the Polk County Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office.

 

 

 

 

State Supreme Court Says More Warrants Needed To Search Vehicles

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A divided Iowa Supreme Court is concluding its term with a ruling that will require police to obtain warrants more often before searching inside suspects' vehicles.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court ruled Tuesday the Iowa Constitution generally requires officers to obtain warrants before they can search vehicles during traffic stops.
The court said a Davenport officer violated a drug suspect's privacy rights when he searched a locked safe found in his van. The search uncovered a loaded revolver and several baggies of marijuana.
The court's majority says that evidence should be suppressed. Its new rule says warrantless searches inside vehicles are justified only when safety concerns are at issue.
Dissenting justices say the rule will be a challenge for arresting officers to implement and goes against prior precedent.

 

 

 

 

Branstad Appoints New Director For Law Enforcement Academy

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is appointing former Des Moines police chief Judy Bradshaw as the new director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Bradshaw has been the academy's assistant director since retiring from the Des Moines Police Department last year.
She will replace director Arlen Ciechanowski, who has decided to retire after his appointment to a four-year term wasn't approved by the Iowa Senate. Branstad withdrew Ciechanowski's appointment after Democrats raised questions about his management and whether the academy had a welcoming environment for female cadets.
Branstad says the 56-year-old Bradshaw has the "leadership, knowledge, temperament and communications skills" necessary to lead the academy.
Bradshaw says she looks forward to helping teach future police officers "best practices to effectively serve their communities." Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation next spring.

 

 

 

Smoke From Canadian Forest Fires Creates Hazy Skies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A haze is blanketing much of the Midwest as strong winds carry smoke from forest fires in Canada thousands of miles to the south.
National Weather Service forecasters say Tuesday that smoke from wildfires in northern Saskatchewan is blowing as far south as Tennessee. A thick band of smoke extends through much of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
The smoke prompted health warnings in Iowa and Nebraska. The haze also has slightly cooled temperatures.
Bill Borghoff, a weather service forecaster in Chanhassen, Minnesota, says the smoky skies should remain through Wednesday but then shift to the east.
The haze could extend as far as New England later this week, but Borghoff says the smoke shouldn't be as thick as it travels east.

 

 

 

 

 

New Trial Ordered For Woman Charged With Drowning New Born Baby In Motel

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering a new trial for a woman charged with drowning her newborn baby in a hotel room.
The court ruled Tuesday that Hillary Tyler's second-degree murder conviction was tainted by improper expert testimony.
Tyler gave birth in a Fort Dodge hotel, where workers found a deceased baby the next day in a trash can. She later allegedly confessed that she drowned the baby in the bathtub. A jury found Tyler guilty of second-degree murder, and she was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The court ruled that jurors shouldn't have heard testimony from a state medical examiner, who ruled the baby drowned based on Tyler's alleged confession and not on any scientific findings.
Tyler's defense argues the baby was stillborn and died immediately after birth.

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran Funding Has Been Cut

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Funding has been pulled for adult day care for veterans in Omaha and western Iowa due to a $2.5 billion shortfall in the Department of Veterans of Affair's health care budget.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System will no longer cover adult day care and other forms of non-skilled nursing care after July 31.
VA spokesman Will Ackerman says that officials understand that it's an inconvenience to veterans and their families but that they must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Ackerman says the VA will work with veterans' families to ease the transition.


 

 




   

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