Monday Afternoon News, April 13
Secondary Roads Department Closes Two Roads For Bridge/Culvert Repairs
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced Fawn Avenue between County Road C-38 to 200th Street will be closed beginning Monday at 12:00 noon and it will remain closed until July 28th. The road is closed due to the replacement of a bridge. In addition, 280th Street between county road K-30 to Hedge Avenue will be closed beginning today until Wednesday for a replacement of a culvert pipe.
Water Main Break Interrupts Hydrant Flushing Schedule
(Le Mars) -- Last week while the city was flushing some fire hydrants, they encountered a water main break, resulting in an interruption of the flushing, and causing the city water crews to be delayed with their schedule. Gayle Sitzmann is the city water department superintendent, and says the water main break occurred near 501 2nd Avenue northwest.
Sitamann says hydrant flushing will continue on Tuesday.
Local Ethanol Producer Reacts To Supreme Court Ruling
(Marcus, 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 argued 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.
Steve Roe is the manager of the Little Sioux Corn Processors ethanol plant and explains how he believes the tax is unfair.
Roe says under the current law, the Little Sioux Corn Processors have to pay about six times the amount in the tax rates, as opposed to some other ethanol plants.
The Little Sioux Corn Processors executive says the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the lobbying organization that represents ethanol and biodiesel plants, were trying to convince lawmakers to change the law. He says it is too late for this legislative session to act upon it, but the ethanol industry will bring the matter to the attention of lawmakers in future sessions.
Farmers Making Progress On Field Work
(Le Mars) -- Farmers have been taking advantage of the warm weather by preparing their fields for crop production. Iowa State University Extension Crop Specialist for Northwest Iowa, Joel DeJong says so far, farmers are off to a good start.
Soil temperatures have been rising according to DeJong, but still a bit cooler than desired for crop production.
As for sub-soil moisture levels, and despite some reports indicating drought-like conditions, the crops specialist says for most of Northwest Iowa the levels are sufficient.
Most Iowa farmers will probably plant this year's corn crop between April 20th and May 10th.
Osceola Authorities Looking For Person Who Dumped Puppies In River
SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're searching for the person who dumped a bag of dead puppies near a northwestern Iowa bridge.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says the bag was located near a bridge north of Sibley, Iowa on Northwest Boulevard. The sheriff's office received a report of the puppies April 6.
The puppies have been described as medium or large breed dogs. Officials say they were seemingly left near the bridge sometime in the winter.
The case remains under investigation.
Bank Robbery Case Sent To Federal Trial
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The case of an Urbandale man accused of robbing a central Iowa bank at gunpoint has been sent to a federal grand jury.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa says 35-year-old Hussam Fayiz Abusharkh appeared in federal court Friday on a criminal complaint. He is accused of robbing the Farmers and Merchants State Bank in St. Charles on March 25, when Madison County deputies responded to reports of a man with a handgun ordering employees to fill a bag with money.
Abusharkh turned himself in to authorities Thursday on a state first-degree robbery charge.
It was unclear Monday whether Abusharkh has an attorney. Online court records don't yet list the case.
A judge ordered that Abusharkh remain detained pending the grand jury's review of his case.
Two People Killed In Brandon, South Dakota Home Fire
BRANDON, S.D. (AP) - A homeowner and a firefighter have died in a house fire in the Minnehaha County city of Brandon.
Police Chief David Kull says 47-year-old homeowner David Smith was taken late Sunday to a Sioux Falls hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities identified the firefighter as 38-year-old Steven Ackerman, a volunteer with the Valley Springs fire department.
Firefighters responded to the scene shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday. They were ordered out of the burning home about 40 minutes later. Ackerman was reported missing about 11 p.m. His body was found in the home's basement about 1:30 a.m. Monday.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire but authorities say they do not believe it is suspicious. Kull says it appears the blaze started in the basement.
Carbon Monoxide Death
DELHI, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old man found unresponsive in a running car in eastern Iowa has died.
The Delaware County Sheriff's Office say Cole Haan died Monday morning after he and 17-year-old Nichole Lucas breathed in carbon monoxide from the car. Deputies found the pair in the car near Maquoketa Valley High School in Delhi on Saturday night.
The car had been running for about an hour when authorities found the teens. They were transported to the Regional Medical Center in Maquoketa before being airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Investigators say the vehicle's exhaust pipe was broken, allowing fumes to enter the vehicle.
The sheriff's office says Lucas remains at the Iowa City hospital, where her condition is said to be improving.