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Friday News, August 10

Northern Natural Gas Sues DeRocher Construction For Gas Line Rupture

(Le Mars) -- Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska has filed a lawsuit against the DeRocher Construction Company of Le Mars for the gas line rupture that occured east of Hinton last April.  The lawsuit was filed at the U-S District Court in Sioux City.  The accident occurred when employees of the DeRocher Construction were trenching for a tile line and had hit the underground gas line producing an explosion and a fireball that could be seen for miles.  Northern Natural Gas is seeking $439,273 in compensation for what it says is for emergency response, inspection and repair, labor, equipment usage, gas loss, and third-party contractor costs while repairs were made.  Northern Natural Gas claims that the DeRocher Construction Company did not call Iowa One-Call, a utility locater hotline prior to their trenching work.  Iowa's Attorney General is investigating the accident.

Rembrandt Man Arrested For Sexually Assaulting 15 Year Old Girl

(Storm Lake) -- A Rembrandt Iowa man has been arrested and charged with four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, a class "C" felony for sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl.  Buena Vista County authorities received a complaint on Wednesday, August 7th.  Arrested was 36 year old Cory Wernimot.  He is currently being held at the Buena Vista County jail on a $40,000 bond.  Assisting with the investigation was the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Buena Vista County Attorney's office.  The investigation continues with possible further charges.


Plymouth County Has New Park Ranger

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County has a new park ranger.  Derek Christoffel was sworn in during the Plymouth County Conservation Board meeting held last evening.  Christoffel is a Le Mars native who graduated in 2009 from Briar Cliff with a degree in environmental science.  This is Christoffel's first job as a park ranger.  He says his duties will include the law enforcement of the county parks, conservation, and managing the seasonal help.


Woodbury County Conservation Board Opens Grasslands For Haying

(Sioux City) -- The Woodbury County Conservation Board announced that it will accept competitive signed bids to hay multiple parcels of county grassland located in several conservation areas.  The total acreage open to haying represents no more than 200 acres and less than four percent of the public lands managed by the Conservation Board.  Bids will be accepted for individual areas ranging from 13 to 110 acres and must be submitted to the Dorthy Pecaut Nature Center by 3:00 p.m. Friday, August 17th.  Federal disaster guidelines for haying will be in effect, and maps of specific parcels open to haying will be provided to the successful bidders.  Executive Director Rick Schneider says that the haying must be completed by August 31st and all bales removed from county lands by September 15th.


Museum Hosts Bus Tour To Civil War Re-enactment

(Le Mars) -- Its not too late for you to join the bus tour to Pipestone, Minnesota this Saturday to see history in action with the reinactment of the civil war.  The Plymouth County Historical Museum is hosting that tour.  The all day tour will leave Le Mars at 8:00 a.m.  Museum Administrator Judy Bowman says the tour will start with a look at the soldier camps.

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Bowman says the civil war demonstrations take place on what was the former Hiawatha pagent area.  She says following the civil war camp grounds, the tour will then visit the stone quarries, and Native American displays.

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Bowman says the town of Pipestone has a connection with the town of Le Mars.

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For additional information regarding the tour and all the activities, you can contact the Plymouth County Historical Museum at 539-0223.


Schultz Defends His Actions On Voting Rights

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz says his office plans to use a federal citizenship database to investigate whether more than 1,000 registered voters should be
disqualified because they're ineligible non-citizens.
     The Republican said in a statement Thursday his office identified the voters and recently was promised access to a government database of naturalized U.S. citizens to check their
status. The individuals could include those who are in the U.S. legally on green cards but do not have voting rights.
     Schultz says rules adopted last month lay out the process that will be used to notify individuals affected and remove them from the rolls.
     Schultz's statement was the first attempt to explain the rules, which were the challenged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by civil rights groups.


Iowa Lawyers Say Keep the Judges

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawyers believe all 75 judges and justices up for a retention vote this year deserve to stay in office.
     A new report released Thursday by the Iowa State Bar Association shows an average of 90 percent support among lawyers for the judges and justices who will appear on the 2012 ballot. But the Des Moines Register reports that Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins scored the second-lowest approval rating of any judge on the survey, with 63 percent support.
     Bar Association President Cynthia Moser acknowledged that the court's 2009 decision that allowed same-sex marriage may have played a role in the response. But she notes that all judges received majority support from lawyers.
     The head of the Iowa Republican Party is urging voters to deny Wiggins a new term.


Iowa Workforce Face Criticism With Employment Kiosks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal report has criticized the self-help computer kiosks set up to replace three dozen Iowa unemployment offices.
     An unreleased U.S. Labor Department report that says the kiosks do not provide adequate service access to people looking for jobs.
     A federal review of the kiosk program this spring found the kiosks have only descriptions of services and do not aid self-help or staff-assisted services that an unemployed person might need.
     Iowa Workforce Development Deputy Director Ed Wallace describes the report as a preliminary draft and says federal reviewers probably didn't fully understand the project.
     Gov. Terry Branstad closed nearly two-thirds of Iowa Workforce Development field offices last year in an effort to save money.


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