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Friday News, June 28

Governor Branstad Compliments Plymouth County For Environmental Stewardship

(Des Moines) -- Four entities from Plymouth County were recognized and honored yesterday during the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards.  The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation and Recycling, and Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency were honored with the Special Recognition in Waste Management, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director, Bruce Trautman announced the honorees.

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The Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever were honored with the Water Quality Award.

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Governor Branstad points to the people of Plymouth County as being progressive-minded when dealing with environmental issues and says other counties and communities can follow Plymouth County's example.

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The governor was also complimentary of the efforts by the Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever.

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Sioux City's Worst Mass Murderer Hangs Himself

(Sioux City) --  A man convicted in the worst mass murder in Sioux City history has been found dead in his prison cell.  35 year old, Adam Moss, an inmate assigned to the Iowa State Penitentiary clinical care unit in Fort Madison, was discovered unresponsive in his cell just before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Moss was found hanging with a bed sheet around the neck tied to a wall vent.  Efforts to revive him by prison staff were unsuccessful.
Moss was serving a life sentence from Woodbury County for seven counts of first degree murder in the August, 2001 slayings of his girlfriend Leticia Aguilar, her five children ages 6-12, and Sioux City businessman Ron Fish.

The Lee County Medical Examiner confirmed the cause of death to be asphyxia due to suffocation.  An autopsy will be conducted and the incident remains under investigation.


Marshalltown Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a Marshalltown man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to inflate his expenses.
The office of U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt in Des Moines says 48-year-old Michael Allison made his plea earlier this week.  Allison faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 9.
Prosecutors say Allison was chief financial officer and finance director of a regional subsidiary of Airgas Inc. Prosecutors say Allison mailed false expense reports from 2003 to 2012, obtaining
at least $300,000 as a result.

 

District Courts To Go Back To Full Time Hours

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has approved a budget that will expand open hours for the state's 100 clerk of court offices.
The court announced Thursday that the $167.7 million judicial branch budget for the fiscal year that begins in 2013 will keep all clerk of court offices open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. They previously were closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays during afternoon hours. An additional 21 offices were closed during other hours.
The new budget will allow the court to hire more than 40 positions, including 13 juvenile court officers.
Nearly 30 offices in northwest Iowa will open with the new hours on July 15. The remaining offices, including the clerk of appellate court office, will open with the new hours on Sept. 3.

 

USDA To Issue Acreage Plantings Report

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing an annual report that will provide the first real look at how much the wet, cool spring has damaged the corn crop.
In Iowa, the nation's leading corn state, the crop has had a tough time getting started and in some fields didn't get planted.
Just how much of an impact the weather will have will be revealed in Friday's acreage report based on field surveys and farmer interviews.
Analysts compare the results with the March prospective planting report to gauge crop season progress. That report said U.S. corn growers would plant 97.3 million acres this year, the most since
1936.
Analysts expect the weather problems to reduce the area planted in corn by 2 million to 3 million acres.

 

Branstad Declares Two Additional Counties As Disaster Areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for two more counties following recent storms and flooding in the state.
The proclamation announced Thursday for Winneshiek County and Worth County means state resources can be used to respond to the effects of the severe weather. It also activates the state's
individual assistance program for the counties.
The program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. That translates to a maximum annual income of about $39,000 for a family
of three.
The grants can be used for home or car repairs, as well as clothing, food or temporary housing.


State Fair Tickets To Go On Sale

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Visitors to the Iowa State Fair can soon get their hands on some tickets to this year's event.
The annual fair's ticket office will open July 8 and will offer discounted passes on admission and rides.
Adults save several dollars if they buy ahead, and they save a $1 on kids. Children ages 5 and under are allowed in for free. A ticket purchased is good for any day of the fair.
The ticket office will be open weekdays and Saturdays. Tickets can be bought online, though a processing fee will be applied to some purchases.
The fair will run from Aug. 8 through Aug. 18.


State Fair Offers New Foods On A Stick

(Des Moines) -- "Happiness Is" new food at the Iowa State Fair! Eight concessionaires submitted tasty treats in the new foods contest to vie for a finalist title. Fairgoers can try these offerings along with countless other Fair foods August 8-18.
Bringing the beach to Iowa, the Shrimp Corndog, available at the Po-Boy Stand, is a savory snack featuring three fresh shrimp dipped in corndog batter, fried to golden perfection and topped with a sweet jalapeno glaze.
The Smoothie On-a-stick at Turkey Time Concessions will offer Fairgoers a sweet and healthy way to cool down. The strawberry smoothie is frozen, put on a stick and ready to be eaten on any hot August Fair day.
The Bacon Wrapped Riblet On-a-stick, available at the Bud Tent, is a pork riblet wrapped in bacon, hickory smoked and then basted with barbeque sauce.
Additional sweet entries included a Fried Brownie On-a-stick, a Soft Salted Chocolate-Dipped Almond Pretzel On-a-stick and a Coconut Mountain, a soft and chewy coconut ball rolled in coconut flakes and dipped in fresh chocolate. These treats join more than 50 foods on-a-stick offered at the Fair.
The mouth watering treats don't stop there. A barbeque dinner in a waffle cone? Sure enough! Cowboy beans, brisket or pork, cole slaw and barbeque sauce will be put in a spice-flavored waffle cone.
Concessionaires were asked to submit a creative food item that aligned with the integrity of their current menu. The Iowa State Fair Board judged the food entries based on taste/flavor, presentation/appearance, value and creativity/originality.
The contest winner will be announced during the Fair.
The Iowa State Fair is August 8-18.

 

Former Superintendent Suing District

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The former Des Moines schools superintendent is suing the district over its handling of explicit emails that led to her resignation.
Des Moines station KCCI-TV reports Nancy Sebring filed a lawsuit Thursday that claims the emails detailing her affair with a lover should not have been released to the public because they were part
of a personnel matter when district officials uncovered them.
Sebring used school district computers to send the correspondence. She resigned in May 2012 from her post then resigned from her job to lead Omaha schools.
The lawsuit names three district officials, including the former school board president. It claims they acted with malicious intent to have the emails released to the public.
The station reports officials named in the lawsuit have declined to comment.

 

Mail Order Company Agrees To Refund Money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Minnesota-based mail order company has agreed to refund nearly $10,000 in membership fees to dozens of customers in Iowa who claimed the business illegally charged them.
Attorney General Tom Miller announced Thursday that Stauer, a jewelry and general merchandise retailer from Burnsville, Minnesota would change its marketing practices and provide refunds to more
than 50 Iowa customers.
Miller says the company enrolled customers who placed catalog orders into a special membership club that provided offers and discounts in exchange for a $99 annual fee. Many customers say they
were automatically renewed into the club. One customer alleged money was withdrawn from his checking account without permission.
The company denied wrongdoing in a formal agreement, but agreed to the refund and a $5,000 payment to the state.



   

Thursday News, June 27

City Of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation, Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency, And Pheasants Forever To Be Honored Today At Governor's Environmental Excellence Award Ceremony

(Des Moines) -- Governor Branstad will honor twenty Iowa businesses and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the environment during today's "Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Award ceremony. The awards are the premier environmental honors in Iowa, recognizing leadership and innovation in the protection of Iowa’s natural resources.  A delegation from Le Mars and Plymouth County are traveling to Des Moines and will be recognized during the ceremony.  The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever chapter will be honored for its work involving water quality.  Meanwhile, special recognition in waste management will go to the city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation and Recycling and the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency.  Emily Bainter, information specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the awards are recognizing the best efforts in the state for environmental stewardship.


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Bainter explains how the local Pheasants Forever chapter helped with the water quality for the town of Remsen by planting native grasses.

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The DNR official says the prairie grass around the wells has contributed to yet another benefit.

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The city of Le Mars is known for being the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" but city officials through recent recycling efforts are hoping for another title...

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Bainter offers a glimpse of today's award ceremony program.

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Wastewater Spills Into Big Spirit Lake

ORLEANS, Iowa (AP) - Officials say more than 20,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has accidentally been discharged into a part of Big Spirit Lake in northern Iowa.
The Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District inspected an overflowing manhole Wednesday morning near Orleans on the southeast side of the lake. It was then discovered that untreated wastewater had
discharged to a storm sewer, flowing into the lake about 1,400 feet northeast of the Orleans beach.
The state Department of Natural Resources says a pipeline below the manhole had collapsed. The district stopped the discharge and is working to repair the pipeline.
State officials are taking water samples Wednesday and telling residents to stay away from the area.

 

Fire Fighters Battle House Fire In Orange City

(Orange City) -- The Orange City Fire Department, with assistance from the Alton Fire Department, responded to a house fire early Wednesday morning.  The fire occurred at 508 Providence Avenue SE in Orange City.  Upon arrival, the roof of the house and garage were engulfed in flames.  All members of the residence were safely out of the house when emergency personnel arrived.  An Alton firefighter sustained minor injuries at the scene and was treated and released from the Orange City hospital.  The house and its contents sustained an estimated $300,000 in damages.  Fire officials were on the scene for nearly three and half hours.

 

Two Semi Trucks Collide In Lyon County - One Fatality

(Rock Rapids) -- A collision between two semi trucks that occurred Monday afternoon in Lyon County at the intersection of County Road A-52 and Highway 75 claimed the life of an Ashton man.  56 year-old Steven McKee was driving a Freightliner semi truck and trailer heading east when authorities say he failed to stop at the intersection.  The McKee vehicle crashed broadside into a Peterbuilt semi truck driven by 57 year-old Danny Rude of Sioux City.   McKee was pronounced dead at the scene.  Rude was transported by ambulance to the hospital in Rock Rapids.  The accident is being investigated by the Lyon County Sheriff's Department.

 

State Supreme Court To Hear Again Fired Dental Assistant Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A dental assistant fired because her boss thought she was too attractive has won a rare reconsideration by the Iowa Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Mark Cady has signed an order resubmitting the lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson for reconsideration by the court. A new decision could come as early as Friday
Justices have granted just five petitions to rehear a case over the past decade.
Nelson sued after she was fired by her boss, James Knight, in 2010 and told it was because she was an irresistible attraction.
The seven-man court ruled her firing might have been unfair but wasn't illegal.
Nelson petitioned the court to withdraw its December ruling, which she called a "significant blow to gender equality."
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Former Reliant Energy C-E-O Considers Senate Run

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican businessman Mark Jacobs says he's exploring a run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
Jacobs, the former CEO of the Texas-based Reliant Energy, says Wednesday he is forming an exploratory committee to review running for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
An Iowa native, the 51-year-old Jacobs moved his family to Iowa last year and founded an education nonprofit. Jacobs says he expects to make a decision about running in several months and will not fundraise during the exploratory period.
Other Republican candidates include former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis and David Young, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley. State Sen. Joni Ernst is also
weighing a run.
Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, of Waterloo, is his party's only candidate.

 

Soybean Association Launches Program To Help Farmers Contend With Resistant Weeds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Soybean Association has launched an informational campaign to help farmers deal with weeds that are becoming resistant to the farm chemicals commonly used to
kill them.
Iowa State University agronomist Mike Owens says herbicide-resistant weeds are present in 20 to 30 percent of Iowa soybean fields, about 2 to 3 million acres and the area is likely to grow.
He says most farmers are just a year or two away from a serious weed control problem as each generation of seed becomes more resistant to weed killers used most often.
Strategies include rotating chemicals used from year to year, controlling weeds in waterways, edges and ditches, and increasing crop rotation to break weed cycles.

 

Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty To Hit-and-Run

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines woman has pleaded guilty to a hit-and-run crash that killed a man in March.
26-year-old Kristine Annette Gordon pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, involuntary manslaughter and driving while barred.
The charges stem from a March 16 incident in which Gordon hit 58-year-old Clayton Evan Payne as he was crossing a street in Des Moines. He died at a hospital.
Her lawyer, Peter Berger, says at first she thought she'd hit a dog. However, she was talking on a cellphone with her brother, who was driving close behind her when the accident occurred, and he
told her she'd hit a person.
She stopped but panicked and left.
Gordon will be sentenced Aug. 7.
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