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Friday Afternoon News, June 8

Le Mars Main Street Organizing Downtown Clean-Up

(Le Mars) -- Next week is "Ice Cream Days" for Le Mars, but before the city welcomes its many guests acknowledging the "sweet treat", efforts are being organized to help clean up the downtown district.  Le Mars Main Street Coordinator Mary Reynolds says on Monday between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. citizens are invited to the Chamber office to help clean the downtown area.

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Reynolds says she is hoping for at least 50 people to join in on the cleaning duties. 


Highway Patrol Investigates Motorcycle-Car Accident

(Orange City) -- The Iowa Highway Patrol is investigating a motorcycle-car accident that occured Wednesday morning near Alton.  Apparently, 28 year old Joel Van Engen of Paullina was riding his motorcycle when he failed to see the car ahead of him had stopped and was about to make a left-hand turn.  The car, driven by 57 year old Sharon Bortscheller of Remsen had yielded to an oncoming over-sized vehicle when the motorcycle struck the car.  Van Engen was ejected from the motorcycle and suffered injuries.  He was transported to the Orange City Regional Hospital.  Van Engen was wearing a helmet.


Iowa Supreme Court Rules On Wind Energy Expansion

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is giving the green light to a major wind energy expansion by the state's largest public utility.
     The court on Friday upheld a 2009 decision by the Iowa Utilities Board that guaranteed MidAmerican Energy could raise customers' rates in the future to pay for a huge wind energy project set to be completed this year.
     The court rejected a challenge by NextEra Energy Resources, a rival who argued MidAmerican didn't demonstrate need for extra capacity and didn't properly consider other alternatives.
     In a 5-0 ruling, the court says the board's decision was based on "substantial evidence" the expansion would reduce emissions, diversify the fuel supply, promote economic development and maintain reasonable prices for customers.
     MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen says the company is pleased with the ruling.


Bridgestone Tires Plans Expansion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Bridgestone Americas plans to invest $74 million more through next year to expand its Firestone tire factory in Des Moines.
     The  investment is in addition to Bridgestone's $77 million project at the plant, which was announced in March 2010.
     The plant has added about 250 workers in the past two years, bringing the total to nearly 1,700 people. Bridgestone Americas, which is based in Nashville, Tenn., didn't say whether the new plan
will bring more jobs.
     The plant makes tires for the agricultural, forestry and construction equipment markets.
     The state and Polk County gave Bridgestone $600,000 in loans and grants, plus $108,000 in tax credits, last year to aid the last expansion.
     Officials say Bridgestone hasn't applied for assistance with its latest expansion plan.

School Principal Found Guilty of Simple Assault  

   LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - A former western Iowa school principal accused of pulling down the pants of a student has been found guilty of simple assault.
     Online court records say 35-year-old Mike Loftin was given a year of unsupervised probation after his conviction on Wednesday.  He also was given a deferred judgment, which means the conviction
could be removed from his record if he successfully completes probation.
     Loftin, who lives in Omaha, Neb., was principal for the West Harrison Community School District junior-senior high school in Mondamin.
     Loftin also coached the girls' basketball team. Authorities say he pulled down a girl's warm-up pants before a game on Jan. 20. She wasn't wearing uniform or gym shorts underneath.
     He was fired in late January.




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