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Monday News, September 15

Le Mars Fire Department Respond To Smoke At Apartment

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to an apartment complex Sunday afternoon for what was thought to be the smell of smoke.  Fire officials responded to 1111 2nd Avenue southeast, Apartment number 35 at about 12:37 p.m.  When fire officials arrived, a smoke detector had been activated.  However, fire officials say there was no fire.  Apparently, the occupant of the apartment had started his furnace, and there was some dust build up on the burner which caused the smell of smoke. 

 

Manure Spill At Maurice Dairy Farm 

  MAURICE, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Natural Resources Department is investigating a fish kill caused by manure spilled into a northwest Iowa creek.
     The spill appears to have occurred after a wrong switch was pulled Saturday evening at the Brian Roorda Dairy east of Maurice, the department said in a news release. The switch turned on a pump that moves manure from one lagoon to another, causing the second lagoon to overflow. The overflow ran down a waterway into Orange City Slough Creek.
     The spill was reported to the department on Sunday morning, and the dairy operators built an earthen dam to contain the manure.
     The manure had affected about five miles of the creek by early Sunday evening, the department said.

 

Hillary Clinton Visits Iowa During Harkin's Steak Fry

(Indianola) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given the broadesst hint yet that she is a likely 2016 candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

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Clinton spoke Sunday afternoon at Senator Tom Harkin's 37th and final "Steak Fry" fundraiser. She hadn't set foot in the state since the night in 2008 when she finished third in Iowa's Caucuses. News of her visit sparked a firestorm of speculation about her intentions for 2016, and Clinton sent them soaring soon after she started speaking Sunday.

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Although she never defined what "it" meant, her comment was interpreted by the crowd as a declaration and they roared in response. Harkin, in his introduction of Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, reworked the "comeback kid" title Bill Clinton earned during his 1992 campaign, calling Bill AND Hillary the "comeback couple."

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Clinton mentioned "that young senator from Illinois" who wound up beating her here in 2008.

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And, after talking about the anxiously-awaited arrival of her first grandchild, Clinton joked about all the attention her appearance at Harkin's event had generated.

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Bill Clinton was the final speaker at the event, but he focused instead on the 2014 election. Both Clintons paid tribute to retiring Senator Harkin, praising his "progressive" voice and record over the past 40 years in congress. Harkin delivered a speech that was a sort of retorspective of his political career, his voice sometimes cracking with emotion as he started with his first unsuccessful campaign for congress back in 1974 and his decision in 2013 not to seek reelection.

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But, Harkin -- who is 74 years old -- said there "comes a time to gracefully bow out" and let new leaders step forward and that's why he decided not to seek reelection this year.

 

U-S Marshal Cleared Of Shooting Fugitive

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A deputy U.S. Marshal who shot an Iowa fugitive in his arm during an arrest earlier this year has been cleared by an investigation.
     Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilbur concluded that the May 29th shooting was an accident.
     A task force of officers from several departments arrested Daniel Hannan Junior that day. But Wilbur said the 39-year-old had a history of methamphetamine use and had made statements about not wanting to be arrested alive, so officers were treating it as a high-risk case.
     While officers gathered outside the Council Bluffs home during the standoff, Deputy Marshal Scott Cannon fired through the front door and struck Hannan in the right arm after the door slammed. His injuries were not life threatening.
     Wilbur's decision means Cannon won't face Iowa criminal charges, but he could still face discipline from the Marshals Service because he gave several different explanations for the shooting after the incident.

 

A Year Passes Since The Disappearance Of Hampton Man

 HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) - A $20,000 reward has been renewed for information that helps authorities find a northern Iowa man who has been missing for the past year.
     Ethan Kazmerzak, of Hampton, was last seen at a party in rural Franklin County on Sept. 15, 2013. His car hasn't been found either, police said.
     At a news conference Monday morning at the Windsor Theatre in Hampton, his parents are expected to discuss his disappearance.
     People with information about Kazmerzak's location are asked to call North Iowa Crime Stoppers at 1-800-383-0088 or the Hampton Police Department at 641-456-2529.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Saturday News, September 13

Plymouth County Authorities Arrest Two Men On Drug Charges

(Le Mars) -- On Thursday, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office arrested two people on dvarious drug charges.  Arrested were Armondo Negron, age 18, from Sioux City for Possession of Paraphernalia, and Marquel Denson, age 27, of Sioux City for Possession of a Controlled Substance,  Possession of Paraphernalia, and Operating While Intoxicated, and was also cited for failure to prove security against liability.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle driven by Denson at Wren Road and Hwy 75 north of Hinton for traffic violations.  During the traffic stop a Deputy became suspicious of criminal activity.  A search of the vehicle was conducted.  Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found inside the car resulting in the arrest of Denson and Negron. Denson and Negron were then transported to the Plymouth County Jail.  The LeMars Police Department assisted the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office in this case.

 

Charter Bus Involved In Accident

(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating an accident involving a charter bus that happened on Friday afternoon.  The accident occurred on Highway 10, about one mile west of Granville.
Harold Flavell, age 57, of Johnston, IA was driving a charter bus transporting 39 passengers westbound on Highway 10 when he apparently experienced a medical condition, lost control of the bus, entered the north ditch, struck afence and came to a stop in a soybean field.
Flavell was transported by the Granville Ambulance to Orange City for treatment of minor injuries. None of the passengers reported any injuries.  The bus sustained approximately $7,500 in damages. The fence and soybean field sustained an estimated $500 in damages.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Granville Fire Department, Granville Ambulance and the Spalding Catholic School in Granville who provided a school bus to transport the passengers to another charter bus.

 

Body Found In Council Bluffs Golf Course Pond

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in Council Bluffs on Friday said they were investigating the discovery of a body at a golf course.
     Police said they were called to the Council Bluffs Country Club after a person on the golf course reported seeing a body in a pond. Authorities later removed the body.
     The body appeared to be decomposed,  Additional information has not been released.
     ---

 

Some Northwest Iowa Communities Short On Water

(Des Moines) -- Continued rains in September are adding to a wet August and have all but a portion of the state with good soil moisture levels. Tim Hall tracks the water situation for the Iowa D-N-R, and says the state is running four inches ahead of normal this year and one foot ahead of the drought year in 2012.
But he can't say the entire state has enough groundwater. 

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 Hall says the water companies haven't had a break.

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Hall says the situation is not always apparent when you look at just the rainfall numbers.

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 Hall says it gets tougher and tougher for the dry area to fill up the aquifers as the calendar changes.

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For more on Iowa’s water resource trends, go to: www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.

 

Former Staffers Of Senator Harkin Hold Reunion

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - For generations of Democrats, a popular first job in politics has been with Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, whose campaigns have served as a kind of training school for a generation of up-and-comers, a place where you got lessons on how to charm a voter, where to place a bumper sticker or even how to stand up for issues you believe in.
     As Harkin gets ready to retire after four decades in Congress, his current and former aides have gathered in Iowa to commemorate their time on his political team. 
     More than 200 are expected to attend an informal reunion in Des Moines on Saturday, and then on Sunday they'll hit Harkin's final "Steak Fry" fundraiser.  Many said working with Harkin prepared them for jobs in Washington and on campaigns around the country.
      Former staffer, David Plouffe says "You never really leave Tom Harkin. That's part of your identity. I'm a Harkinista," He says that working for Harkin in the early 1990s schooled him in grassroots organizing principles that he carried to his position of manager of President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. 
     Notable Harkin alumni include Plouffe, as well as Larry Grisolano and Jeff Link, both veterans of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. Teresa Vilmain, who worked for Harkin in his 1984 Senate campaign, has held a long list of political jobs, including serving as Iowa State Director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

 

Parents File Lawsuit Over Food Bidding

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 20,000 claims have been filed by parents seeking part of a $1.9 million class-action lawsuit settlement over food bidding at hundreds of Iowa schools, according to attorneys handling the case.
     The claims filed since the settlement was announced Sept. 2 cover more than 47,000 students, said Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney for parents who sued Martin Brothers Distributing Company, the Iowa Educators Corporation and the Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing.
     Fegan called the surge in numbers within a two-week period, "exciting."
     The Cedar Falls-based Martin Brothers was accused of conspiring with IEC and IAEP for years to monopolize the business of selling food at schools across Iowa. The lawsuit, filed in 2011, said the result was students being overcharged because there wasn't healthy competition in the market to keep prices down.
     The defendants maintain they did nothing wrong and that the process was fair. They reached the settlement to avoid costly litigation, according to one of their attorneys.
     "There was no admission of liability or wrongdoing," said Deb Tharnish, an attorney representing Martin Brothers. "It made economic sense to get the case resolved."
     Attorneys for IEC said they had no comment because the case is still pending.  IAEP representatives did not immediately respond to a message left Friday
     Parents and others have until the end of September to file a claim to receive up to $3.50 per student per year. A judge is expected to finalize the settlement in early November.

 

School Officials Violate Open Meetings Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There is probable cause that a southwest Iowa school district violated the state's open meetings law when it met privately to discuss the firing of a principal, according to a state investigation.
     The Iowa Public Information Board said the five-member board of the Red Oak Community School District failed to properly vote to close an April 10 meeting and broke the law on April 14th when it failed to appropriately apprise the public of an agenda item.
     Each board member could face fines of up to $2,500 per violation, The Des Moines Register reports. The Iowa Public Information Board will make a decision on the issue when it meets on September 18th.
     The school board voted earlier this year to consider terminating Red Oak High School principal Jedd Sherman's contract. Sherman said at the time the board was trying to fire him in retaliation for his reporting of two cases of student bullying.
     The school district later agreed to pay Sherman $100,000 in exchange for him resigning.

 

Legislative Committee Approves Re-classification For Marijuana

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee narrowly recommended allowing medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Iowa to help people with epilepsy.
     The 10-member committee was formed to look at problems with a new law that was supposed to allow some epilepsy patients to get marijuana extract. On Thursday, the committee also backed changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it would be easier to get as medication. 
     In May, lawmakers vote to allow people to possess marijuana extract, an oil that doesn't contain the chemical that makes people high, to treat seizures if it's prescribed by an Iowa neurologist. But the law didn't provide any way for people to make or distribute the extract in Iowa.
     Parents who pushed for the bill have said in the months since that it's basically unworkable. Most states where medical marijuana is legal don't allow people from other states to buy it. And people from Iowa would have to break the law to bring it back home. 
     State Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said he saw the original law as a giant step for families, but now it's clear that it needs to be fixed.
     He and five other lawmakers voted to recommend the closely regulated production and distribution of medical marijuana for approved patients. It did not say what type of marijuana but did say it should not be taxed. 
     Four of five Republicans on the committee voted against the motion. The tie-breaking vote came from state Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and retired state trooper who said the state needs to find a way to help people with severe epilepsy. He said he opposes expanding the law to let people possess marijuana for other conditions such as cancer or Crohn's disease. The committee voted against recommending such an expansion.
     The committee voted 9-1 on a measure to recommend reclassifying marijuana in a way that would be a step toward making it legal for medical purposes.
     Parents said Thursday that they're frustrated with how long it is taking to register people for the new program. Administrators said identification cards won't be available until at least Jan. 30.
     "These families are going through living hell," Dotzler told an official from the Iowa Department of Public Health, saying state workers should be able to move more quickly. The official said administrators are moving as fast as they can under the law.
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