Saturday, April 18, 2015
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Monday News, April 13

Le Mars Experiences A Brief Power Outage On Sunday

(Le Mars) -- Many Le Mars residents experienced a brief power outage Sunday morning.  Power was interrupted at approximately 8:20 a.m. and the cause was a tree limb that had fallen on a utility power line, near the 300 block of 9th Avenue Southwest.  In most cases, power was restored within a few minutes.



No Damage Reported From Sunday Storm

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County was able to escape any weather related damage from the season's first major thunderstorm that rolled into the area last evening. According to the Plymouth county Sheriff's office, a transformer was struck by lighting, otherwise, there were no reports of damage.  Here at the KLEM studios, we had three tenths of an inch of rain.



School Board To Hold Budget Hearing This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District Board of Education will hold a public hearing this evening for the purpose of allowing public comment regarding the proposed 2015-2016 budget following the presentation by School superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt.  The school board will also hold a public hearing for the purpose of allowing public input regarding the proposal to continue participation in the instructional support program as provided by in the Iowa Code Sections 257.17 through 257.21.  The school board will hear reports from each of the principals.  Other topics to be discussed during this evening's school board meeting include: a meeting with the Remsen-Union School Board, the annual Foundation Banquet, Safety Group Insurance meeting, and the Iowa Association of School Boards School Law Conference.  The Le Mars School Board will also act upon one resignation.



DeCosters Face Sentencing For Contaminated Eggs

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two former egg industry executives are scheduled to be sentenced in Sioux City on Monday for their roles in a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands.

Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster pleaded guilty last June to misdemeanor charges of shipping adulterated food.

The two hope to avoid jail time, but prosecutors have argued for tough punishment because of the widespread harm caused by the outbreak.

Prosecutors also say the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for contamination.

Federal health officials linked 1,939 illnesses to the 2010 outbreak, but they estimate that up to 56,000 people may have been sickened.

The Quality Egg company agreed to pay a $6.8 million fine as part of a plea agreement, and the DeCosters will pay $100,000 apiece.




Waldorf College Student Dies At Recreational Lake

FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials say a Forest City college student died after his small boat overturned at Torkelson Pits Conservation Area over the weekend.

The Waldorf College president sent a message to faculty and staff, confirming that Timothy Brown Jr. died Saturday. President Robert Alsop says Brown, a criminal justice student and football player, enrolled in the college five years ago and was set to graduate in May.

Alsop says a school counselor will be available to help grieving students. A remembrance to honor Brown also is being planned for Monday night on campus.

The Hancock County Sheriff's Department is investigating. Deputies say it appeared Brown was alone in the recreational watercraft when friends from the shore called for help.





Nitrates Found In Drinking Waters On The Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers efforts to control the spread of nitrates in recent years appears to be helping but research shows that levels of the fertilizer byproduct have soared in the state's major rivers.

Nitrate levels have more than tripled since the 1950s to more than 7 milligrams per liter in 2010.

Researcher Keith Schilling says the upward trend in nitrate levels is unmistakable. Schilling studies nitrate levels for the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa.

Last month, the Des Moines Water Works sued Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over high nitrate levels. The utility has invested in costly measures to control nitrates in drinking water.





Legislators May Not Finish Work By May 1st Deadline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The time is approaching when Iowa lawmakers typically start wrapping up their work for the year, but with budget negotiations moving slowly, it doesn't look like the Legislature will be adjourning any time soon.

May 1st is the final day of expense payments for the part-time lawmakers, as well as the last day for much of the temporary staff and the student pages who work in the Legislature.  With just three weeks to go, lawmakers in the Republican-majority state House and Democratic-controlled Senate are still far apart on how much additional funding to provide for K through 12 education and remain at odds over basic budget issues.

Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen declined to predict when the session may end.





Hillary Clinton To Bring Presidential Campaign To Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hillary Clinton is taking her newly announced presidential campaign into the heart of small town Iowa this week.

Clinton will tour a community college in Monticello on Tuesday and visit a produce distribution company in Norwalk on Wednesday. That's according to a schedule provided by her campaign Sunday. She will also hold meetings with Democratic elected officials and activists in the leadoff caucus state.

Clinton announced Sunday that she'll seek the presidency for a second time. Her team has made clear that she wants to avoid big campaign events and instead focus on more personal interaction with voters in early voting states like Iowa.

Clinton's 2008 campaign faltered in Iowa, where she placed third in the caucuses.




Lottery Worker Fraud Trial To Begin Today

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The fraud trial for a former lottery worker accused of buying a Hot Lotto ticket and setting up a scheme to try to cash it in is scheduled to begin Monday.

Eddie Tipton of Norwalk faces two counts of fraud. He was arrested in January after authorities claimed he had bought the ticket in December 2010. It was worth about $14 million. The jackpot went nearly a year without being claimed until a New York lawyer tried to get the prize on behalf of an undisclosed ticket owner. He eventually dropped the claim.

Iowa doesn't award lottery prizes anonymously.

Authorities traced the convenience store ticket purchase to Tipton.

As director of information security for the Multi-State Lottery Association based in Des Moines, Tipton wasn't allowed to play or win prizes.








Saturday News, April 11

Supreme Court Rules Against Ethanol Industry Over Natural Gas Tax

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Rejecting a challenge from the ethanol industry, the Iowa Supreme Court says the state's tax on the use of natural gas is constitutional.

Several ethanol plants argue the law is unfair because it requires them to pay higher taxes than many competitors for natural gas, which is heavily used in the manufacturing process.

The affected plants are those that obtain natural gas directly from interstate pipelines rather than local utilities. They are assessed the tax based on the amount they use and their geographic location.

Little Sioux Corn Processors, which operates an ethanol plant in Marcus, and Plymouth Energy, an ethanol plant in Merrill are both affected by the higher taxes.  They, and other ethanol plants, argued the tax was unconstitutional because it treats similar plants differently and punishes consumers who buy gas from out-of-state suppliers.

The court says the tax may not create uniform results, but it is constitutional.



Remsen St. Mary's Receives Grant

(Remsen) -- Remsen St. Mary's schools have been chosen to receive a grant through the "Fund for Siouxland".  Remsen St. Mary's was informed through a letter from the board of directors of the Siouxland Community Foundation, that they will receive a $2000 grant through the foundation's "Fund for Siouxland" program which provides grants to non-profit entities serving the Siouxland Tri-state area.  The grant monies are to be used explicity for a classroom enhancement project.  Grant monies will purchase electronic monitors for the physical education department to help challenge, motivate, and teach students to exercise at a rate to achieve their personal health potential and to realize the benefits of exercise in stress relief and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  A portion of the grant money will be used to purchase graphic calculators for use by algebra and geometry students.  The use of the same model of calculator for all students helps students to advance their skills in both logical thinking and prepares students for higher level math courses.




Gehlen High School Has Hawaiian Luau As Prom Theme

(Le Mars) -- With a volcano as its centerpiece, along with a dock leading out to the beach, and palm trees swaying in the breeze, the Gehlen Catholic High School is ready for its prom.  This year, the prom is taking on a Hawaiian Luau theme.  The walkway stretches from a ship parked in the port  down a dock to the beach front.  The prom decorations are complete with Tiki posts and surf boards to round out the feeling of being in the tropical paradise.  The Gehlen High School prom will take place on Saturday, April 11th with the photo session beginning at 6:10 p.m.



Burn Ban Continues Through Weekend

(Le Mars) -- Despite the recent rains, the Plymouth County Fire Chiefs Association has decided to keep the burn ban in tact through the weekend.  Weekend forecasts are calling for strong winds of up to 35 mph, and fire officials believe if a fire was to get out of control, it would be difficult to fight the blaze due to the winds and because of the muddy conditions.  The county burn ban is scheduled to be lifted at 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 13th.


Two Local Boy Scouts Earn Hornady Badge

(Le Mars) -- Two area Boy Scouts will be honored this evening during the War Eagle District Boy Scout Volunteer Dinner.  Tom Toel of Le Mars and Tristen Heimgartner of Hinton will both be presented the Hornaday Badge for their work with conservation.  Jeff Neary serves as a Boy Scout Leader and says since 1917 only about 1,100 boys have been awarded the Hornady badge or medal.


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Both boys are members of the Troop 184 based in Le Mars.  Neary says Heimgartner's project involved constructing a rain garden near the Outdoor Learning Center at the Hillview Recreation Park near Hinton.  Neary says the project also served as Tristin Heimgartner's Eagle Scout project.


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Neary says Tom Toel's project also involved conservation, but in the form of building bird boxes.  Toel constructed wood duck houses for a private individual as well as for the Hillview Recreation Center.  Neary says Toel's other project involved constructing blue bird homes.


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Neary says that Tom Toel's project was extensive and required numerous hours, which also served as his Eagle Scout project.




Boy Scouts And Food Pantry Partner For Food Drive

(Le Mars) -- Speaking about Boy Scouts, the Food Bank of Siouxland, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts across Siouxland are partnering again this year for the annual Scouting for Food food drive.  This event brings significant quantities of food to the Food Bank to help feed the community's hungry citizens, and is a wonderful community service opportunity for the scouts.  The food drive has two elements: collection at the homes of residents, as well as food collection at area grocery stores.  Door hanger reminders will be distributed to homes by the scouts today, Saturday, April 11th. Then next Saturday, April 18th, scouts will return to collect food left for them.  The scouts will also be at local grocery stores on April 18th for shoppers to donate at those sites.  In Le Mars, the scouts will collect items to be donated to the Christian Needs Center in Le Mars. Most commonly needed items include canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, cereal, pasta and boxed meals.  The Christian Needs Center would like to have pasta sauce, cake mixes, juice, baked beans, Macaroni and cheese, Ketchup, and low sodium soups.




Mother Of Amber Alert Victim Charged With Child Endangerment

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The mother of a 10-year-old eastern Iowa girl whose abduction triggered an Amber Alert last month has been arrested on child endangerment charges.

44-year-old Shelly Johns was arrested Friday and charged with felony and misdemeanor child endangerment charges. Her husband, 48-year-old Kenneth Johns, is accused of abducting the girl from a Solon home in early March.

Criminal complaints from the Coralville Police Department allege Shelly Johns burned her daughter in the face with a cigarette, smacked and kicked her and pulled her hair. Police also claim she kept inside the house where she lived with the girl and used them in her presence.

An attorney from the public defender's office hasn't yet been appointed to Shelly Johns' case to provide comment on her behalf.




Dead Woman's Body Found In West Des Moines Ditch

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have responded to a report of a woman's body found in a West Des Moines drainage ditch.

The West Des Moines Police Department says a neighbor reported the body around 8:50 a.m. Friday near the intersection of EP True Parkway and 84th Street in West Des Moines. She has been identified as 48-year-old Lisa Marie Hulsing.

Sergeant Brent Kock tells the Register that the woman was found face-down in one to two inches of water. She was fully clothed.

Kock says preliminary autopsy results do not indicate foul play.

The death remains under investigation.








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