Home News Friday Afternoon News, March 29th

Friday Afternoon News, March 29th


BPI To Change Name To Empirical Foods

(Dakota Dunes) — A regional meat processing company has announced it will change its company name, and also change the executive management team of the company. Beef Products Incorporated of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, or also known simply as B-P-I will become known as “Empirical Foods.” The
founders of B-P-I, Eldon and Regina Roth, confirmed that they have completed the transition of executive management responsibility for the BPI family of companies to the next generation of family leadership. Those companies will
now be identified and known as “Empirical Foods, Empirical Technology, and Empirical Innovations.” While newly named, the companies remain family-owned and operated as they have since their formation. The new executive leadership team has already assumed managerial responsibility and includes their son, Nick Roth, daughter, Jennifer Letch; and son-in-law, Craig Letch.
Effective immediately, Nick Roth will serve as president of Emperical Technology and Empirical Innovations. Craig Letch has become president of Empirical Foods. B-P-I is probably best known for its finely textured ground beef, but under the new companies, they hope to diversify by producing fully cooked taco meats, eggs, Bolognes pasta sauce, as well as a line of fresh portioned cuts of beef and pork, and bringing consumers new
fully cooked meal options in the future.



Sioux County Authorities Arrest Hull Man For Theft At Pharmacy

(Orange City) — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday arrested Jesse Van Leeuwen, age 26, of Hull, IA.
The arrest stemmed from a burglary investigation that began on Wednesday, March 13, at 9:19 p.m., when a burglary alarm alerted at Lewis Family Drug, 1044 Main Street, in Hull.
Upon further investigation, deputies discovered that the front door had been forced open by breaking the glass and prescription medications were stolen from the pharmacy area inside the store.
Deputies gained information that led to Van Leeuwen as a suspect in the crime.
A search warrant was executed at Van Leeuwen’s residence and evidence from the drug store burglary was discovered as well as other property that linked him to another active Hull
residential burglary investigation where electronic equipment and personal property had been stolen.
Van Leeuwen was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of criminal mischief.



March Is Hospice Awareness Month

(Le Mars) — As we round out the month of March, awareness is being directed toward social work and specifically as it relates to hospice Care. March is designated as “Hospice Awareness Month.”
Sue Flemming is a social worker and she says many times there are a lot of misunderstandings and wrong ideas about hospice care. She says being placed on hospice doesn’t necessarily mean it is the end of life.

Flemming says social workers that deal with hospice patients try to provide emotional support.

Flemming says hospice care doesn’t always have to mean a terminal illness.
She says there are many other illnesses that people suffer from that require hospice, but are not life-ending.

The social worker says hospice care is not just for the patient, but also for the patient’s family members.

She says the thing to remember about hospice care is that they can provide support, education, and comfort to family members and the patient.



It Will Take Several Months To Fully Recover From The Flood Damage

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Transportation officials say it will take months to repair major roads in western Iowa damaged by spring flooding.
The Des Moines Register reports that state transportation official
Scott Suhr says crews were on site Thursday to inspect some of the worst damages on parts of Interstate’s 29 and 680, Highway 34 and state highway 2.
Suhr says around 25 miles of interstate in southwest Iowa and roughly 14 miles of roads north of Council Bluffs remain closed Thursday afternoon due to washed away shoulders, eroded pavement and scattered waste.
Suhr noted his chief concern is state Highway 2, since portions are still submerged.
Suhr added getting construction equipment into the area will be
challenging because the ground is drenched, saying that inescapable spring downpours could muddy things.



Army Corps Of Engineers Say Flood Control Is Not Their First Priority

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – This spring’s massive flooding along the Missouri River has renewed criticism of the agency that manages the river’s dams.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says much of the water that created this month’s flooding came from rain and melting snow that flowed into the river downstream of all the dams. At the same time, massive amounts of water filled the reservoirs and some had to be released.
But many people who live near the Missouri River believe the Corps isn’t doing enough to prevent floods or is placing too much emphasis on other priorities, such as protecting endangered species and preserving barge traffic.
Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri says Congress should consider serious reforms to ensure flood control is the agency’s top priority.

For instance, the National Weather Service estimates that enough water poured into the reservoir behind Gavin’s Point Dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border during nine days in mid-March to totally fill the reservoir from empty more than twice.
But many people who live near the Missouri River believe the Corps isn’t doing enough to prevent floods or is placing too much emphasis on other priorities, such as protecting endangered species and preserving barge traffic.
Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said Corps officials told him this week that they treat all eight priorities for the river equally.
“I was told point-blank, ‘Flood control is not our top priority. It is not. Period.’ They were very firm on that point,” Hawley said. “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”
Corps officials say they work to balance all the priorities Congress approved when operating the dams, but no single priority outweighs all the others. Their operating model tries to maximize the benefit to several priorities when possible.
Hawley said Congress should consider “serious reform,” such as deciding if the Corps should be taken out of the Department of Defense and placed under direction of another agency, such as the Department of Transportation or the Department of the Interior.
The Corps manages the Missouri River’s system of dams and locks and decides when and how much water is released from reservoirs into the river. The severe flooding this month in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri has renewed criticism of the Corps’ management of the river.
Officials estimate that the flooding caused more than $1 billion of damage to farms in Nebraska and Iowa, destroying stored crops and killing livestock. And the damage total will grow as floodwaters recede and other states assess conditions.
Nearly 400 farmers, landowners and business operators sued the Corps after the historic 2011 floods – and won. U.S. District Judge Nancy B. Firestone’s ruling last year determined that severe Missouri River flooding “was caused by and was the foreseeable result” of the agency’s management practices.
R. Dan Boulware, the St. Joseph, Missouri-based attorney for the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, said those management practices are still in place, contributing to the flooding this month. He said the Corps stores more water in six upper-Missouri River basins than it needs to, and has also modified structures like dikes.
“The river itself is changed,” Boulware said. “It spreads out and it doesn’t flow like it used to flow. It’s like a sluggish drain – it backs up.”
Corps officials declined to discuss the lawsuit because it is still ongoing, but they defended the way they handled this spring’s flooding. John Remus oversees the dams, including Gavin’s Point Dam, for the Corps.
“There was far more water coming into Gavin’s Point than we could hold,” Remus said.
And the National Weather Service’s Kevin Low said significantly more water poured into the Missouri River from rivers in Nebraska and Iowa with no dams, so officials couldn’t regulate the flow from those. Low said the Platte River peaked at over 170,000 cubic feet per second of water on March 17.
Most other rivers that feed into the lower Missouri crested around the same time after heavy rains helped melt lingering snowpack that flowed right into rivers because the ground was still mostly frozen.
Emergency management directors in two northwestern Missouri counties that took the brunt of this year’s flood damage have differing views on the Corps’ responsibility.
Buchanan County Emergency Management Director Bill Brinton said a dam failure to the north sent a surge of additional water into the river, worsening an already bad situation.
“That dam failed and you had billions of gallons of water,” Brinton said. “I don’t see how you can blame the Corps. But I seem to be in the minority.”
In Holt County, Missouri, 460 homes were damaged when the flood reached a foot above the 2011 record, and most are still underwater, Emergency Management Director Tom Bullock said.
Bullock’s home is among the flooded ones. He’s taken a motorboat out to it a few times but won’t know the extent of the damage until he gets inside the home.
“They told us after the flood of ’11 if you build up and elevate above this certain level it’ll never happen again, so I did that,” Bullock said. “It still wasn’t high enough. So I don’t know what the answer is. It gets pretty expensive.”
Much of the concern about the Corps’ management dates to 2004, when it initiated a management change partly to protect endangered species, including the pallid sturgeon, a seldom-seen, bottom-feeding fish.
Bullock agreed 2004 was the turning point when the Corps “started managing the river for recreation and wildlife.”
“Used to be at the top of the list was flood control first place, and navigation second place. Those two things have moved to the bottom of the list,” Bullock said.
“Ever since that happened, we’ve been flooded out regularly down here in the bottom,” he added.
He’s worried his and his neighbors’ homes will be hit again this spring.
“We don’t see an end in sight yet,” Bullock said. “All of our levees are just destroyed. We have no protection from the high river now, or spring rains. We’re sitting there exposed.”



16 Year Old Teen Charged With Murder

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa prosecutors have again charged a Nebraska 16-year-old with helping to rob and kill a man.
The adult murder charge against Xavier Smith Catchings, of Omaha, was refiled after a jurisdiction hearing in Council Bluffs. He and two other people are accused of killing Council Bluffs resident Adam Angeroth.
Prosecutors initially charged the boy in district court and then sought dismissal and his referral to juvenile court because the crime alleged occurred when the boy was 15. The prosecutors said juveniles charged with forcible felonies must be at least 16 when the crimes occurred for the charges to be directly filed to district courts.
A judge ruled Thursday that Smith Catchings’ case should be returned to district court because it was unlikely he’d be rehabilitated in the juvenile system.