Home News Thursday News, September 26th

Thursday News, September 26th


Road Construction Projects Are Delayed Due To Spring Flooding

(Le Mars) — Spring floods are being blamed for many of the Plymouth County road construction projects that were scheduled for this summer, but were delayed, and in some cases, may not be completed until next spring.
Plymouth County Engineer, Tom Rohe says crews are hoping to complete many of the scheduled construction projects, but he says many work crews are at least four to six weeks behind schedule.

Rohe says he is hopeful the bridge that crosses the Floyd River on C-44 near Merrill will be completed by the end of November.

Resurfacing of asphalt was done on county road K-49 from county road C-38 heading south to the Woodbury County border. Rohe says although the project was also delayed, it will soon be finished.

One paving project that was scheduled for this year was the stretch of roadway on 150th Street between Highway 60 to Marble Avenue, going past the county landfill. Rohe says that project may have to wait until next year.

Rohe says the county crew along with contracted crews were able to replace several older bridges with the installation of culverts. However, the debris clean-up from the spring and summer floods took more time than what was originally estimated, and Rohe says it interfered with general
scheduled maintenance.



Pork Producers Prepare For African Swine Fever

(Le Mars) — Pork producers are concerned about a deadly swine disease that is making its way across Africa, Asia, and starting to enter Europe. The disease is referred to as African Swine Fever, and according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Swine Specialist for Northwest Iowa, Dave
Stender, the hog disease has swept across China.

Fortunately, the deadly swine disease has not been detected in the United States. However, Stender says the African Swine Fever has nearly a 100 percent death loss with affected hog herds. The swine specialist says pork producers are taking preventative measures to insure the swine disease
does not enter the U-S borders.

Currently, there isn’t any vaccination against the virus. Stender says people do not need to worry about contracting the disease, as it only affects hogs.

Stender says the fatal hog disease appears to have similar symptoms of other swine diseases when it first strikes a hog herd, but soon turns deadly.

Two area meetings have been scheduled for October 1st and October 3rd to call attention to the disease, and ways pork producers can improve their bio-security measures to reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease.
Stender says, this week, state and national agriculture officials have conducted an educational seminar that simulates the spread of the disease.
He says meetings have been set up next week for Le Mars and at Orange City to brief area pork producers.

Stender says pork producers need to develop a plan in the case their farm is ever infected, or if they are close to a control zone. The swine specialist says in the most extreme case, a pork production could be quarantined, and hogs would not be allowed to move away from the farm.



Reynolds Taps Schleswig Judge As Appeals Judge

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed a northwest Iowa state district court judge to the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Reynolds says in a statement released Wednesday that she’s chosen Julie Schumacher, of Schleswig, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Chief Judge Gayle Nelson Vogel.
Schumacher is a district court judge in a six-county northwest Iowa judicial district. She has previously served as an associate judge, an assistant county attorney for Crawford County, and an assistant city attorney for Denison. She also was a lawyer in private practice in Denison for nearly 20 years.
The appeals court has nine judges and decides appeals from district courts across Iowa.
Schumacher was chosen from a list of three finalists, which also
included Tim Gartin, an Ames attorney, and Myron Gookin, a judge from Fairfield.



Workers’ Compensation Hearings Being Delayed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Injured Iowa workers seeking benefits from their employers are waiting longer to get their hearing dates as a state agency transitions to a new filing system.
Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joseph Cortese told
lawmakers in a letter Tuesday that a moratorium on scheduling new hearings will likely continue for another four to six weeks.
His agency imposed the moratorium in July when it launched a new online case management system to replace a legacy system that dated to the 1970s.
Shutting down the old system has temporarily prevented the agency from being able to schedule new hearings because that tool isn’t ready to be launched yet.
Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, says there is growing frustration among lawyers, claimants and employers about the impact. He says workers “need to know when their date to get justice is” and that hearing deadlines can lead to settlements.
Cortese says the situation shouldn’t result in delays in deciding
claims. He says it means only that cases that will go to hearing after June 30, 2020 will be scheduled later than normal.



Des Moines Settles With Family Over Death From Police Chase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines will pay $90,000 to settle a lawsuit over the death of a man killed when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a car being chased by police.
On Monday the City Council approved settling the October 2017 lawsuit filed by the estate of Jason Hunt.
The 41-year-old Hunt was driving to a grocery store early on Aug. 14, 2016, when he was hit by a car that crossed into oncoming traffic. Police say the car driver was trying to evade Des Moines officers who’d attempted to stop him because his car didn’t have any license plates.
The lawsuit alleged police were partly at fault for Hunt’s death,
because the defendants “acted in reckless disregard” for the safety of the public. Police spokesman Paul Parizek has said the officer who started the chase acted within department policy.



Mason City Man Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – A man accused of being drunk when he ran his motorcycle into a car in Mason City last year, killing his passenger, has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.
The Globe Gazette reports that 41-year-old Brandon Roy Kellar, of Mason City, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to vehicular homicide by reckless driving. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of vehicular homicide while under the influence. Kellar faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Nov. 19.
Kellar entered the plea just before jury selection in his trial was
set to begin.
Police say Kellar was driving the motorcycle late on the night of
Sept. 28, 2018, when he ran into the back of a car. He and the woman riding with him, 36-year-old Shawn True, were thrown off the bike. True died from her injuries.



Ames Parking Tickets Database Compromised

AMES, Iowa (AP) – The city of Ames has announced that the personal information – including credit and debit card numbers – of some 1,500 people who used the city’s website to pay parking tickets this summer may be at risk.
The city says information submitted from July 30 to Sept. 12 was
targeted in a data breach that also exposed the names, addresses and email addresses of customers. The city says no one who used the system has reported any suspicion activity to the city.
Ames uses Click2Gov to process parking ticket payments. The city also maintains its own web server to communicate with Click2Gov. The city says the breach occurred on the city’s web server, which has since been replaced.
In November 2018, the parking ticket system was compromised after Click2Gov experienced an attack, affected 4,600 people who paid Ames parking tickets.



West Branch Farmer Who Lost Rights To Hold Firearms Found With Guns

WEST BRANCH, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa farmer caught possessing firearms after asking the governor to restore the gun rights he lost decades ago has been sentenced to 18 days in jail.
Allan Phillips, 77, of West Branch, has been ordered to report to
the Cedar County Jail by Oct. 1.
Judge Henry Latham imposed the jail term under a plea agreement and granted work-release privileges that will allow Phillips to farm from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Phillips lost his gun rights for life in 1978 when he was convicted
of a misdemeanor weapons charge. He’d been out of trouble for four decades when he applied in 2017 to the governor’s office for clemency to restore his firearms rights.
State agents conducting a background check as part of the clemency process found during an announced home visit in February that Phillips had three shotguns, a long gun and ammunition. Phillips was charged with illegal possession of a firearm as a felon, even though he’s not a felon.
Under the plea deal, Phillips pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge.