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Wednesday News, September 16

Branstad Announces Special Election Date For House District 5 Election

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad has signed a proclamation directing a special election to be held on Nov. 3, 2015, for Iowa House District 5, following the resignation of Chuck Soderberg who recently announced his resignation after being named as the new executive vice president for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. 
House District 5 is comprised of Plymouth and a portion of Woodbury counties. The district includes the communities of Akron, Hinton, Le Mars, Lawton, Moville, and Pierson.  So far, only one person has filed nomination papers for the District 5 State House of Representatives position.  Retired veterinarian Chuck Holz of Le Mars, a republican, has filed his nomination papers seeking to replace Chuck Soderberg.




Few Candidates Have Filed Nomination Papers For City Council And Mayor Positions

(Le Mars) -- There is not much time for candidates wanting to file nomination papers for two city council positions and for mayor.  Thursday, September 17th is the deadline to submit your name as a candidate.  So far, Dick Kirchoff remains unopposed as he is the only person to file for the mayor's position.  John Rexwinkle is seeking re-election as an At-large district council member.  As is the case with Kirchoff, Rexwinkle is currently running unopposed.  Delana Irhke, who represents the city residents living in District Ward 2 has chosen not to seek re-election, and so far, no one has stepped forward to place a name for nomination to succeed Irhke.





Competency Hearing For Jonathon Neunaber Scheduled For October 16

(Le Mars) -- A hearing has been scheduled for October 16th for the determination of competency of Jonathon Neunaber.  Neunaber is being held in the Plymouth County jail after being accused of killing his mother Esther Neunaber at their rural Akron home a year ago in July.  In a court order, Judge Steven Andreasen has ruled that both the State's appointed psychiatrist and the defendant's licensed psychologist have completed their evaluation of Neunaber.





Museum Applies For Non-profit Status With IRS

(Le Mars) -- Earlier this year, the Plymouth County Historical Museum was notified by the Internal Revenue Service that the museum was no longer listed as a non-profit organization, since the museum failed to file such status requests for three years.  On Tuesday, Judy Bowman, the administrator of the Plymouth County Historical Museum, informed the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors that the museum has now since taken the appropriate steps to rectify the oversight error.  Bowman apologized before the county supervisors for the clerical error.

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Bowman explains what changes have been made in the museum's accounting procedures.

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Bowman appeared before the county governing board to ask if the supervisors would consider sponsoring the museum, so expenses could be paid while the museum waits to learn if its non-profit status would be re-instated by the I-R-S. Appearing with Bowman before the supervisors was Rebecca Krohn executive director of Siouxland Community Foundation. Krohn explained to the supervisors that her organization would assist with the bookkeeping of payments and expenses.  Krohn and Bowman said two accounts would be established, an endowment fund along with a renovation fund.  Bowman informed the supervisors that approval for the non-profit status could be anywhere between two months up to 15 months.  Bowman says the museum recently completed a window painting project which was to be paid using the foundation funds as a non-profit organization.

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Bowman told the supervisors that the museum is continuing to raise funds through various events including the upcoming Woof-stock program, Loess Hills Bus tour, and through the Garage Sale.  The Supervisors approved the action to help sponsor the Plymouth County Historical Museum through the Siouxland Community Foundation, until such time the museum is able to regain its non-profit status with the I-R-S.





City Clean Up Week

(Le Mars) -- This week has been designated as fall clean-up week for Le Mars.  It is a week when the city offers amnesty for the city residents to dispose of wood, and metals.  Bill Cole is the city's assistant city administrator.

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Cole reviews what can and cannot be disposed at the landfill during fall clean up week.

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Cole says the program is only for city residents.  Industrial and Commercial businesses are not allowed to participate in the amnesty clean-up program.  Cole reminds residents that the city will not pick up any items, that in fact, residents need to make their own arrangements in disposing their waste products.




Bishop Nickless To Visit With Pope Francis

(Sioux City) -- Next week Pope Francis arrives in America for his first visit since becoming Pope.  Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Catholic Diocese will be making the trip to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to have an audience with the Holy Father during the world meeting of families.

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It will be the first time the Bishop has met Pope Francis.  Bishop Nickless says while the Pope is perceived as more liberal than his predecessors, the teachings of the Catholic Church are not changing.

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Bishop Nickless says that includes comments from the Pope regarding abortion and gay marriage

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The Bishop says several members of the Sioux City Diocese had inquired about tickets to see the Pope, but he is unsure how many are actually travelling east next week. The conference runs September 22nd through the 27th. The Holy Father will first stop in Cuba before coming to the United States.   


Tuesday News, September 15

School Board Elects Pat Murphy As President

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's school board meeting, long-time board member Pat Murphy was elected as president of the school board with Todd Lancaster elected as the vice president.  School superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt verified the election results and explained the open position of District 3.

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Chris Collins has agreed to remain on the school board and therefore is the District 3 representative.



Fire Department Called To Gas Line Leak

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department were at the scene of a natural gas line leak at the 200 block of 2nd Avenue northeast, near the Agri-Center grain storage complex.  A gas line was ruptured shortly before 11:00 a.m. Monday morning, and neighbors near the incident reported smelling gas.  MidAmerican Energy was called to the scene to cut the power to the neighborhood, as well as, to repair the ruptured gas line.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the gas line that was cut was at least an inch in diameter.

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There wasn't any fire or injuries associated with that gas line leak.  Officials were on the scene for nearly two and a half hours.





Police Investigate Break In At Total Sales And Service

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police are investigating a break-in and thefts from Total Sales and Service in Le Mars. On Saturday, in the early morning hours,  a burglary occurred at Total Sales &Service on Hawkeye Ave SW. Entry was gained by smashing a window on the northwest side of the business. Once entry was gained, two vehicles, a customer vehicle and a shop vehicle were moved from the shop area to the outside. At one point, the customer vehicle was driven into the side of Total’s building causing damage to the exterior of the building. This same vehicle also struck two additional vehicles in Total’s parking lot causing damage to them as well.  A third vehicle, a white 2014 Ford Fusion was driven out of the shop and was later involved in a personal injury single vehicle accident reported to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office at around 6:47 AM this same date.  This case remains under investigation.





Supervisors To Convene Today

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will convene for their weekly meeting today at the county courthouse board room.  The supervisors will hear from Judy Bowman, administrator of the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  She is scheduled to discuss the museum's non-profit status and fiscal sponsorship agreement.  The supervisors will also hear from surveyor, Al Fagan, as he will be seeking an extension to file the Plymouth Energy addition.  County engineer, Tom Rohe is also scheduled to appear before the supervisors.  Rohe will be requesting the supervisors to approve a permit for the Southern Sioux Rural Water Association as they wish to place service in three locations using the right-of-way in both Meadow township and Fredonia township.





City Council To Hold Hearing On Sidewalk Project


(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet today at noon at the city council chambers.  The city council will hold a public hearing regarding the 12th Street Southwest Sidewalk Improvement Project with a special assessment.  The city council will also look at an Ecoengineer's Proposal, and they will discuss the CDBG downtown Le Mars revitalization project.





Farmers Facing Deadline To Sign-up For Farm Bill Programs

(Le Mars) -- Farmers have only until the end of the month to sign up for the Farm Bill program. Jeff Davis, of the U-S-D-A's Farm Services Agency with both Plymouth and Sioux Counties says regardless if farmers are participating in the Agriculture Risk Coverage plan or ARC, or if they want to participate in the Price Loss Coverage or PLC program, they need to stop by their F-S-A office and sign up for the program.

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Davis says the actual time to sign up should take no more than a few minutes.

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The Farm Services Agency Director says the federal government is not planning on issuing an extension for the date.  Farmers will need to sign up for the programs before the September 30th deadline.

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Davis says the farm program covers all base acre crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and many other crops.




Iowa Ranks High For Deer-Car Collisions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new review of accident data says Iowa drivers have a 1 in 68 chance of striking a deer on the road this year.
Insurer State Farm said in a news release Monday that Iowa's is the third-highest rate in the nation. The state had the fourth-highest rate last year.
Neighboring Nebraska's rate for 2015 is 1 in 143, ranking it 25th on the State Farm list. The state ranked 23rd on the 2014 list.
Leading the 2015 list in West Virginia, with a rate of 1 in 44. No. 2 is Montana, where the rate is 1 in 63. The national odds this year are 1 in 169.
State Farm says its estimate is derived from claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration.



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