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Thursday News, July 23

EPA Officials Conducting Tests For P-C-E In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- City council members heard a brief update Tuesday from Environmental Protection Agency officials who are in town conducting research and testing on the pollutant, P-C-E found in the downtown area of Le Mars.  The EPA officials are trying to determine if the pollutant P-C-E that was located more than a year ago in the soil near the railroad tracks and other locations within downtown, has spread.  Susan Fisher is an onsite coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Fisher says EPA officials have tested about 20 downtown properties.  She says testing has also occurred in buildings that had small amounts of P-C-E detected nearly a year ago.

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The EPA official says P-C-E is a cancer causing agent that is similar to radon, and was used many decades ago in dry-cleaning operations.

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Fisher says her studies are not conclusive, but she believes the P-C-E has been confined to the contamination area with in downtown.

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Fisher will again report back to the city leaders when her findings are conclusive.

 

 

 

 

Branstad Authorizes National Guard To Arm Personnel At Facilities

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is authorizing the Iowa National Guard to increase security and arm additional personnel at facilities, including recruiting stations. 
Branstad said Wednesday he was authorizing Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr to strengthen security, but would leave the decisions to Orr's discretion. Earlier this week, Branstad asked Orr to review the current security measures at National Guard sites.
The Republican governor also plans to ask the federal government to review the protections at all military facilities. He'll make that request during a meeting this week in Washington for a group of governors who advise federal officials on security matters.
Last Thursday, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at a military recruiting office and a Navy-Marine operations center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four Marines. A sailor wounded in the attack died Saturday.

 

 

 

 

Branstad Asks For Federal Disaster Assistance For 19 Counties

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is asking President Barack Obama to issue a presidential disaster declaration for 19 Iowa counties to aid recovery from damaging storms in June.
Branstad announced Wednesday he was sending a letter to Obama that seeks the declaration for Allamakee, Appanoose, Butler, Clayton, Dallas, Davis, Des Moines, Guthrie, Howard, Jefferson, Lee, Lucas, Marion, Mitchell, Monroe, Warren, Wayne, Winneshiek and Wright counties.
They were damaged by winds, tornadoes, heavy rain, hail and thunderstorms from June 20 to 25.
A preliminary damage assessment found the weather caused $5.1 million in damage that would be eligible for aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program.
That program aids the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, including roads, bridges and public facilities. It also covers the cost of debris removal.

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists Develop Vaccine For Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Scientists have developed a vaccine strain that is 100 percent effective in protecting chickens from bird flu and testing is underway to see if it protects turkeys 
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee at a hearing on Wednesday that the agency plans to quickly license it for widespread production if it is effective for turkeys. The USDA is seeking federal funding to stockpile vaccine nationally.
The vaccine targets the H5N2 virus that killed 48 million birds in 15 states this spring. Development is part of the USDA's preparation for a possible outbreak recurrence.
Scientists believe the virus was spread by droppings of wild birds migrating north this spring. They're concerned it could return this fall when birds fly south for the winter or again next spring.

 

 

 

 

Road Rage Incident Results In Arrest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines authorities say a man suspected of firing gunshots during a road rage incident has been arrested. 
Police say 21-year-old Jamar Wooten was arrested by Des Moines detectives on Wednesday afternoon. His attorney didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Thursday.
The allegations of intimidation with a dangerous weapon stems from an incident July 9. A man and woman were returning home with their children in a sport utility vehicle when another driver cut them off. After exchanging shouts, the other driver began following the SUV.
The SUV driver parked, and the other man demanded that they fight. The SUV driver says he saw the other driver get a handgun from his vehicle and shoot at the SUV driver, striking the SUV.

 

 

 

 

 

Road Crews Use Snow Plows To Remove Insects From Bridge

SABULA, Iowa (AP) - Iowa highway crews had to plow a bridge crossing the Mississippi River because of ankle-deep mayflies that swarmed the span.
The  insects on Saturday night swarmed to the Savannah-Sabula bridge, connecting Iowa and Illinois.
The bugs covered the bridge so thickly, and caused such slick conditions, that crews plowed the bugs off the lanes and then applied sand for traction.
Officials plan to keep bridge lights turned off for the next few weeks in hopes that the insects will be less attracted to the structure.
Mayflies, also known as fishflies and shadflies, emerge from freshwater and spend lives as short as 24 hours flying around and reproducing.
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Johnson County Proposes Increasing Minimum Wage

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour by 2017.
The proposal would raise the current minimum of $7.25 by 95 cents a year for three years, starting in November. 
Supervisor Janelle Rettig said Wednesday during a board work session that, for people's basic human needs, $10.10 an hour "is not aggressive at all."
County Attorney Janet Lyness says her office is reviewing whether the county could withstand any lawsuit brought against the new wage. Cities inside the county would have the option of passing an ordinance exempting them from the new wage rule, were it to be passed by the supervisors.
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Wednesday News, July 22

Fire Department Responds To Fire At Godfather's Pizza

 

(Le Mars) -- At nearly 11:00 p.m. last evening, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to an alarm at Godfather's Pizza restaurant located on Business highway 75.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says when fire officials arrived on the scene, a smokey haze was seen inside the restaurant.

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Fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour, and Schipper says the smoke traveled through the entire building through the duct work.

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Schipper believes the pizza restaurant should be able to be open for business as usual for today.

 

 

 

 

 

EPA Officials In Le Mars Conducting Tests

(Le Mars) -- City council members heard a brief update Tuesday from Environmental Protection Agency officials who are in town conducting research on a pollutant found in the downtown area of Le Mars.  The EPA officials are trying to determine if the pollutant that was located in the soil near the railroad tracks and other locations within downtown, has spread.  EPA officials believe they may have identified the source.

 

 

 

 

Des Moines Group Wants To Find Long Term Solution To Nitrates In Water

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines business group says it wants to find a solution to a water quality dispute that has prompted the city's water utility to sue three counties.
Des Moines Water Works claims that drainage districts in those counties act as conduits in moving nitrates from farm fields into a river, which serves as one of two sources of drinking water for city residents.
As a result, the utility says it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to reduce nitrates to levels the federal government deems safe. The lawsuit is set to go before a federal judge next summer.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership wants to bring together business, farming, water, environmental and legislative leaders to find long-term solutions to Iowa's water-quality issues.

 

 

 

 

Most Area Crops Are Doing Well, But There Are Some Dry Areas

(Le Mars) -- The latest weekly crop condition report was issued on Monday, and it indicated that more than half of the state's corn crop has reached the silking stage, with 83 percent of the state's corn crop listed as good to excellent condition.  Iowa State University Extension crops specialist Joel DeJong, says most of the area is progressing towards a good crop.  However, there are some areas that have had too much moisture, and still other areas within northwest Iowa that are showing signs of being a bit dry.

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Both corn and soybeans are in the middle of the pollination stage, and DeJong says in most cases there is enough moisture in the soil to sustain the crops through pollination.  But he points out that in Plymouth County during a recent rainfall, the range of rainfall was from just fifteen one-hundredths of an inch in the far northwest corner to more than five inches in the east central region of the county.

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DeJong says earlier in the season some corn fields were showing signs of northern corn leaf blight, but since we have had warmer temperatures that crop disease has nearly disappeared.  The Iowa State University crops specialist reminds farmers to continually scout their fields.

 

 

 

 

Sex Offender Listed As Escape Inmate

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A man serving a lifetime sex offender special supervision sentence has been listed as escaped from a state work release facility in Sioux City.
The Iowa Corrections Department says 25-year-old Michael Euchner II went on the list Tuesday because he didn't return from his job.
The department says Euchner was transferred to work release on June 14 to begin his special supervision sentence following discharge of a 10-year sex abuse conviction in Ida County.

 

 

 

 

Iowa Democrats Set Up "Corn Feed" Fundraiser

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Democrats missing the Harkin Steak Fry can gather at a new progressive event next month.
Liberal group Progress Iowa told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they will host a gathering called the Corn Feed. The Aug. 30 event in downtown Des Moines will feature sweet corn and a speaking lineup with Iowa Democrats and at least one 2016 presidential hopeful.
Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic says former Sen. Tom Harkin will attend, along with Congressman Dave Loebsack, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith. Former Rhode Island governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Lincoln Chafee will also attend.
Harkin's annual Steak Fry fundraiser was held for the final time last fall. For decades, the event drew prominent Democrats and huge crowds.

 

 

 

 

Army Veteran Stands Guard Outside Military Recruiting Center

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An armed Army veteran says he's doing what he can to protect a military recruiting center in Des Moines.
Veteran Kim Paulsen was spending time Tuesday pacing in front of a recruiting office, located in a strip mall in east Des Moines.
Paulsen was dressed in military fatigues and carried a rifle as he walked on a sidewalk between parked cars and the recruiting center.
He says, "I feel I need to be here, doing this," because of the shooting deaths last week of four Marines and one Navy sailor at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Paulsen says he hopes his presence will prevent a similar attack on the Des Moines office, where military personnel are not armed.
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Branstad Orders Flags To Fly At Half Staff To Honor Killed Marines And Navy Sailor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's governor has ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff at sites throughout the state in honor of the five servicemen killed last week in Tennessee.
Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday called for the state-controlled flags to be lowered from Tuesday through Monday. President Barack Obama has ordered flags flown at federal buildings and grounds to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Saturday.
The action honors the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed in a shooting last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The state is encouraging individuals, businesses and local governments to take similar action to show respect for those killed.

 

 

 

Turkey Farm Hit By Bird Flu Ready To Re-populate Barn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One of the first Iowa turkey farms to get bird flu is getting nearing the time at which birds can be restocked but most of the 77 farms affected are still weeks away from introduction of new flocks.
Iowa Department of Agriculture officials said Tuesday all farms have been cleared of dead chickens and turkeys but disposal of manure, compost and other waste continued at 18 farms.
All birds that died or were euthanized have been incinerated, buried or taken to landfills. 
Iowa lost 34 million chickens and turkeys in the bird flu outbreak that began in mid-April. The last reported case was June 16.
One turkey farm in Calhoun County will finish a required 21-day fallow period this week and if tests remain negative may begin restocking.





   

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