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Tuesday News, May 29

Sunday Storms Knock Out Power

HULL, Iowa (AP) - Many in northwest Iowa spent Monday cleaning up after a severe thunderstorm hit Sioux County.
     The Sioux County Sheriff's Office says trees, branches and power lines were knocked down during the storm as it passed over Hull, Hawarden and Boyden on Sunday night.
     Several homes were hit by downed trees but that no injuries were reported.
     Officials say wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour were also reported and some residents lost power for about three hours.

Tractor Roll-over Claims Inwood Life

(Inwood) -- A weekend tractor roll-over accident has claimed the life of an Inwood man.  68 year old Gerald Van Beek was making a right-hand turn when he lost control of his tractor.  The tractor's right tire left the ground and it rolled over landing on top of Van Beek.  He was transported by helicopter to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Despite Recent Rains, Moisture Levels Still Short

(Le Mars) -- Northwest Iowa has been fortunate to receive some timely rains during the last couple of weeks, but an Iowa State University Crops Specialist says we are still short on moisture levels to sustain our corn crop.  Joel De Jong says the recent rains have been beneficial, but more is needed to replenish subsoil moisture levels.
 

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The I-S-U crops specialist says the unusual warm weather has helped the crop development.

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Farmers across the nation have planted a record corn acres for this year.  De Jong says that trend is evident for northwest Iowa as farmers have  expanded their corn acreage.

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The U-S-D-A will have a final plantings report issued on June 30th.

Supervisors Will Not Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will not meet today.  The next supervisor meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 5th. 

 

Iowa State Universitiy Hires To Focus On Research and Manufacturing  

 AMES, Iowa (AP) - The president of Iowa State University says the hiring of more than 200 faculty members will be focused on helping central Iowa become a research and manufacturing center and
expand its biotech offerings.
     ISU President Steven Leath says that he wants the hires focused "so we can really make an impact in some areas."
     Leath will use positions left open by retirements and those financed by private companies and grants.
     The hires would help develop the corridor that runs from Ames to Des Moines, focusing on research and manufacturing in agricultural, metals and other arenas.

 

Le Mars Residents Urged to Complete Cultural Survey

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Art Center, Postal Playhouse, the Historical Museum, the Library, high school theater, the Le Mars Municipal Band, Ice Cream Days and more.  These are all entities and events in Le Mars that may or may not strike your fancy- but no matter how you feel about them, the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the City of Le Mars wants to hear your opinions on the arts and other activities through a cultural assessment survey that's being done for the city.
Kathy Moore, CVB board member and Le Mars Arts Center director says the survey is easy to access and won't take long.


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Not only are Le Mars residents encouraged to share their opinions, but also those who work here and spend time here for shopping and entertainment are asked to participate.  Moore says the more feedback, the better, as leaders for the various organizations need feedback to plan for the future.


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If you're someone whose saying..."Cultural activities really aren't my thing" Moore says YOU are the people whose opinions need to be heard.


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If interested in sharing your opinions, please log onto www.lemarsarts.com and click on the tab on the right that says "Take the 2012 Cultural Survey." June 1st is the designated cut off date for collecting the data.


 

   

Saturday News, May 26th

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Courthouse lawn is being prepped for 1,160 flags to be placed on Memorial Day morning. Veteran and Legion Member Tom Baack says the flags represent deceased Veterans from Germany to Le Mars and many places in between.

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Monday's Memorial Day activities begin with the parade of Patriotism stepping off at 9:30 downtown near Bike Central. The parade then leads to the Plymouth County Courthouse where a ceremony honoring our veterans is held. 20 new flags are being added this year and all names who are represented by a flag will be read. Tom Baack says that's what makes the Memorial Day Avenue of the Flags Program so important.


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Another portion of the program will honor Staff Sergeant James A. Justice, an Iowa man who fell during the call of duty in April of 2011.


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A flyover is also expected between 10:18 and 10:23am on Monday.

Tom has been the chair of the Memorial Day program committee since 1994.  He says that as this program gets bigger the concern isn't finding a place for all the flags, it's finding people to help set up. Volunteers are still needed Monday morning at 6am to to place all 1,160 flags.

Also throughout the weekend, Baack says that volunteers with Wasmer Post #241 of the American Legion Le Mars, including the legion riders, are going to cemeteries placing flags on the graves of soldiers who have passed.

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Pizza Ranch Honored by Farm Bureau Program

(Orange City) -- A well known Iowa family owned pizza restaurant chain is being recognized for its commitment to good food and community involvement.  Pizza Ranch, head-quartered in Orange City, is Mays winner of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award.  Sandy Ehrig, Economic Development Administrator for the Iowa Farm Bureau, explains the award.


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Pizza Ranch was nominated by the Sioux County Farm Bureau.  Ehrig tells us what made them stand out.


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Ehrig says that another stand out thing Pizza Ranch does for the communities they are a part of are "Tip Nights."


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If you have a business you would like to nominate for their Entrepreneur of the Month Award, you can find application forms at www.renewruraliowa.com.
Renew Rural Iowa is an initiative through the Iowa Farm Bureau, supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial services.

Judge tosses class-action suit over jail searches

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a
class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of up to 3,000 individuals who
were strip-searched following their arrest on misdemeanor charges
in Woodbury County in 2006 and 2007.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett ruled Wednesday the claims,
filed in 2010, were barred by the state's two-year statute of
limitations for personal injury lawsuits.
Sioux City residents who were arrested on serious misdemeanor
charges such as drunken driving filed the lawsuit alleging the
strip searches violated their privacy rights and were humiliating.
They allege the jail's unwritten policy from 1980 until it was
discarded in 2007 was to conduct strip searches, including visual
body cavity inspection, of all pretrial detainees.

Branstad vetoes Des Moines franchise fee recovery

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has vetoed a
portion of a spending bill that would have allowed the city of Des
Moines to increase its franchise fee to pay off a court judgment
resulting from unlawfully collected fees.
The item, included in a larger spending bill, allowed the city
to increase franchise fees from 5 percent to 7.5 percent for up to
seven years if voters approve. Lawmakers handed the city a way to
collect the higher fee to repay as much as $40 million the courts
say the city collected as part of an "illegal tax."
The Iowa Supreme Court in March upheld a district court ruling
that declared the franchise fee unlawful and ordered repayment.
Branstad says he wants tax reductions in a comprehensive and
holistic manner.

Iowa DNR Director Roger Lande resigns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's top environmental official is
stepping down.
Governor Terry Branstad says he has accepted the resignation of
Roger Lande (LAN'-dee) as director of the Iowa Department of
Natural Resources, effective Friday. Branstad says he'll name a new
director soon. The DNR oversees the state's parks, forests and
other resources.
The 75-year-old Lande, who led the department since December
2010, says that he resigned to spend more time at his home in the
Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada.
Lande is preparing for a trip to China May 29th through June 5th
to visit his friend, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (shee jeen
ping), who visited Iowa earlier this year.

Hearing set on Dubuque superintendent's contract

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A hearing to consider the future of a
contract for Dubuque's embattled school superintendent is set for
next month.
Larie Godinez, who's on an extended leave of
absence, has requested a hearing before an administrative judge.
The Telegraph Herald reports a hearing is set for June 5th. It
will continue on June 6th and June 7th, if necessary.
The school board voted April 30 to consider terminating
Godinez's contract, citing a loss of confidence by staff and
failure to lead effectively. The board and district officials
declined to elaborate because of personnel issues.
Godinez's contract expires in 2014.

FLUSHING MONEY
Man charged in Iowa robbery tried to flush cash

(Information in the following story is from: KCCI-TV,
http://www.kcci.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say a man accused of
robbing a check-cashing store tried to get rid of the money by
flushing it down the toilet.
KCCI-TV reports that 24-year-old Daron Thomas of Des Moines, is
charged with first-degree robbery and interference with official
acts. He was booked in the Polk County jail on Friday.
Police say after the robbery, the suspect fled into a nearby KFC
and hid in the bathroom, where he tried to flush the cash, clogging
the toilet.
Thomas was taken into custody. A plumbing was called to recover
the evidence.
Thomas' case isn't listed on the online court system, and it's
unclear if he has an attorney.

Arraignment for Iowa teen in grandparents' deaths

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa teenager accused of killing his
grandparents in Manchester will be arraigned next week in Delaware
County District Court.
Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Sweet is charged with two counts of
first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Richard and Janet
Sweet. Their bodies were found in their home on May 13th.
Isaiah Sweet was arrested the next day in Cedar Rapids.
County Attorney John Bernau (BER'-naw) says trial information
was filed in the case, canceling the need for a preliminary hearing
which had been set for Friday. He says Sweet will be arraigned on
May 30th.
Sweet remains in the Buchanan County jail in Independence on $1
million bond.

Mason City murder suspect can stay in Waterloo

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge say a Waterloo man accused of
stabbing a man to death in Mason City can stay in the Waterloo area
until his trial.
James Farnsworth the Second is charged with first-degree murder
in the April 14th death of Ian Decker, of Mason City.
The Globe Gazette says Farnsworth posted bond earlier this month
and was released from the Cerro Gordo County jail. A judge now says
Farnsworth can live with a family member in the Waterloo-Cedar
Falls area until his trial. That modifies an earlier condition of
his release that he must live with a sister.
Farnsworth's trial is set for July 17th.

Ex-Iowa condo association leader accused of theft

TIFFIN, Iowa (AP) - A former acting president of a condominium
association in Tiffin in eastern Iowa is accused of stealing more
than $3,000 from the group.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports 30-year-old Kelli Holton was
arrested this week on second-degree theft charge. She's accused of
using money in the association's bank account to make personal
purchases and a house payment.
Police say Holton told investigators that she must have used the
association's checkbook by mistake, thinking it was her own.
Holton has bounded out of jail. A public phone listing for her
couldn't be found. Court records don't list the name of her
attorney.

Salazar, Schweitzer urge wind tax credit extension

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer are urging Congress to extend a
production tax credit for the wind power industry.
Salazar and Schweitzer said in a call with reporters Friday that
energy producers aren't able to plan for next year and beyond
without knowing they can rely on the credits.
Salazar says as many as 37,000 U.S. jobs are at stake.
Schweitzer says the extension could affect 50 planned wind projects
in Montana.
Their comments come a day after President Barack Obama made a
similar request to Congress during a speech in Newton, Iowa.
Newtown has become a major manufacturing hub for wind turbines in
recent years.
Republicans say the credits haven't created the jobs that
Democrats promised and other measures would have a greater economic
impact.
The credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour expires at the end of
the year.

   

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