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Friday afternoon news, August 31

Labor Day Weekend Travel On The Rise


(Le Mars) -- Holiday weekend travel is expected to rise, despite the recent increase in gasoline prices, that according to a AAA official.  Gail Weinholzer is the Director of Public Affairs for the Iowa and Minnesota motor club organization.  She says despite the nearly ten cent per gallon increase in gasoline prices this last week, people are wanting to travel during the Labor Day weekend.
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Weinholzer says she is not surprised to see the increase in travel plans.  She says people tend to want to see friends and family during extended holiday weekends, and they usually save up the money needed for their travel plans. The AAA official believes gasoline prices may decline after the long weekend.
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The AAA official advises people to use caution when traveling this weekend.

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Iowans are being reminded to buckle up, obey the speed limit and play it safe. Randy Hunefeld  with the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau says the last holiday weekend of the summer can be a dangerous one on Iowa's roads because too many people are driving drunk.

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Hunefeld is coordinator of the bureau's special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP). The agency is conducting a sTEP wave that started August 23 and runs through next Wednesday. Hunefeld warns that the heightened enforcement effort means motorists will have a better chance of getting caught if they're breaking traffic laws.

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During Iowa's last sTEP project, over the July 4 holiday, law officers made contact with more than 15,600 motorists. That included 295 contacts with alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.
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Northwestern College Sees Increase In Student Enrollment

(Orange City) -- Northwestern College of Orange City is reporting an increase in enrollment for the fall semester.  The enrollment total is 1,241 students, or an increase of 30 students, from last year. The tally is the college's second-highest enrollment in the last five years and the tenth highest overall.  Northwestern also recorded a record number of 52 transfer students. 

Kenton Pauls, the dean of enrollment management, says this year's enrollment includes more students of color than ever before.  The student body consists of nine percent American ethnic minorities and another three percent are international students.  Northwestern's incoming freshman class has a higher ACT test score of 24.3, well above the average score of 22.3 for other Iowa colleges or the national rate of 21.1.  Northwestern's retention rate of freshmen returning for the sophomore year was 77.2 percent, with 91.7 percent of second-year students returning for their third year.

Fifty four percent of the Northwestern student body is from Iowa, 11 percent are from Minnesota, eight percent are from South Dakota, seven percent hail from California, and six percent refer to Nebraska as home.

 

Judge To Rule On Libertarian Presidential Candidate's Name On Ballot

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A district court judge says he plans to rule on Tuesday whether to block Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's listing on the November ballot in Iowa.
Attorneys for two voters filed documents Thursday in Des Moines asking Judge Arthur Gamble to review the decision of a panel of three state officials that allowed Johnson on the ballot.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Attorney General Tom Miller and Warren Jenkins, the chief deputy for Auditor David Vaudt, voted Wednesday to allow Johnson on November's ballot.
Libertarians say they held a convention at the Iowa State Fair to get Johnson onto Iowa's ballot.
The challengers say Libertarians didn't hold a real convention.  They say the panel of officials made an erroneous decision not supported by the evidence.
Gamble heard arguments Friday morning.

 

Injured Iowa Sailor Returns Home From Afghanistan

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa sailor who lost parts of his arms and legs in a bombing in Afghanistan has told a hometown crowd that "you rock" as his sacrifices and recovery inspire others.
Taylor Morris, a 23-year-old Navy bomb detection expert, returned to Iowa on Thursday for a weekend visit from Walter Reed Medical Center. Thousands of people lined the route from the
Waterloo airport to his hometown of Cedar Falls. It's Morris' first trip home since his deployment and the bomb blast in May.
Morris says in a statement that it feels "really awesome to know the entire community has our back."
Longtime friend Ben Hagarty says people thought they had problems, then they think of Morris and "if he can do it, I can do it, too."

 

   

Friday News, August 31

Cultural Assessment Survey Results Announced

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Arts Center will announce the findings of a recent Cultural
Assessment Survey this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  Members of the community and various sectors
within the community, including the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Board, Plymouth County
Historical Museum, the Le Mars Community Theater, Chamber of Commerce, Le Mars Municipal
Band, Plymouth County Fair Board, Le Mars Arts Council, and the local media participated in
an assessment of Le Mars cultural events last year.  Mary Sundt Jones, past Arts Division
Administrator of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs conducted the survey and compiled
the results.


Bridge Replacement Completed -- Noble Avenue Open

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Road Department has announced that people can
again travel on Noble Avenue between County Road C-70 and 320th Street as a bridge replacement project is now completed.


Plymouth County Farm Bureau To Hold Annual Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Farm Bureau organization will hold its 94th annual meeting
Tuesday evening, September 4th at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Century Hall.  District Director Mark Bohner offers a preview of the meeting.

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Eammon Byrne, the CEO of Plymouth Energy will be the featured speaker.


Le Mars Prepares For Sprint Triathlon

(Le Mars) -- Next Saturday, September 8th, the Le Mars YMCA, Le Mars Hy Vee, and Wells Enterprises, Incorporated will be hosting the Le Mars Sprint Triathlon.  The triathlon consists of three events including a 300 yard swim, a 15 mile bike ride, and a 5K run.  Organizers are expecting good participation from various parts of the Midwest.  Approximately 175 participants from eight different states are expected to compete in the annual event.  The Le Mars YMCA is encouraging people if you choose not to participate, then at the very least, come out and cheer for those particating.  The event kicks off at 9:00 a.m.


Healthiest State Walk Scheduled for October 3

(Des Moines) -- Iowa wants to be Healthy.  As part of Governor Terry Branstad's desire to
have Iowa as the healthiest state in the nation, October 3rd has been designated as the day
Iowans are encouraged to walk one kilometer, or about a half a mile.  More than 291,000
Iowans participated in last year's kick-off walk for the Healthiest State Initiative.  Le Mars had a couple thousand people participate last year with walks around downtown, at Gehlen Catholic/Floyd Valley Hospital, the YMCA, Le Mars Community School, Dean Foods, and near Wells Corporate offices.


Northey Speaks About Presidential Race and Agriculture

(Boone) -- Both President Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have conducted extensive campaign stops in Iowa, a major swing state, with the hopes of persuading voters to their side.  But is agriculture a part of the political rhetoric? Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says he believes both candidates do have agriculture on their minds when they visit the Hawkeye state.

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Northey further explains the positions of the presidential candidates.

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Northey says although the farm bill may not have as much significance with this presidential election as with elections of the past, he says it is most definately on the minds of Iowa farmers.  Northey was a speaker at the Farm Progress Show held near Boone.

 

Biplane Makes An Emergency Landing

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A biplane on its way to an airshow for antique aircraft has landed safely on a state highway near Knoxville in south-central Iowa.
Authorities say the plane was headed from Spokane, Wash., to Blakesburg when its engine failed. It landed on Iowa Highway 5/92 about a half-mile west of Knoxville around 10:20 a.m. Thursday.
No injuries have been reported, and Marion County authorities say the plane didn't sustain any damage.
The plane was towed to the Knoxville airport for repairs.
Knoxville is about 35 miles from Blakesburg.

 

Fort Dodge Man Sentenced To Prison For Meth

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 32-year-old man from Fort Dodge has been given 5 1/2 years in prison for conspiring to make methamphetamine.
Federal prosecutors say Phillip Farmer Jr. was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. He had pleaded guilty in May. Farmer must serve five years of supervised release after he leaves prison.
Prosecutors say that from December 2009 through July 2011, Farmer bought or otherwise acquired pseudoephedrine so he and others could make meth. Prosecutors also say Farmer admitted
selling meth in the Fort Dodge area.


Farmers Talk Drought At Farm Show

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - Farmers typically attend the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone to look to the future.
They want to see the latest equipment, seed, and chemicals, and they want to learn about where the markets are headed.
At this year's three-day show that ended Thursday, plenty of people spoke about the drought, but they noted the last few years have been good. And even during this hot, dry summer, the harvest
might not be as bad as it seems.
While some individuals will lose money, farmers overall may earn more than last year's record net income of more than $100 billion.
Crop insurance and commodity prices are helping to compensate for lower yields.
The USDA estimates farm income of $122.2 billion in 2012, up about 3.7 percent from last year.

 

Police Dog Dies From Heat

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the brutal heat is suspected in the death of a Des Moines police dog found dead inside a patrol vehicle.
Harley, a Labrador retriever assigned to the narcotics team, was found Wednesday afternoon. The temperature had already reached the low 90s.
Police Sgt. Chris Scott says Harley had been working with his human partner, Officer Brian Mathis, on Wednesday. Scott says it was Mathis who found Harley dead in the vehicle.
Investigators are checking how long Harley was left inside the vehicle and whether the air conditioner was on or some windows were rolled down.
Scott says the department has "lost a fellow officer who just happened to be a dog."
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