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Thursday Afternoon News, September 19

Iowa Farmland Values Continues To Rise

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's farmland values continue to increase, with the latest survey showing average prices climbing by 20 percent to $8,400 an acre.
The  U.S. Department of Agriculture survey finds that Iowa's agricultural real estate values grew
more sharply than all nearby states except North Dakota, where an energy boom has led to
a big jump.
Iowa's 20 percent increase compared to a national farmland value rise of 9.4 percent.
The survey compared prices from August 2012 to August 2013.
Iowa State University economics professor Michael Duffy credits the land value rise to increased farm income. He says big increases started in 2007 when corn and soybean prices climbed and remained at higher levels.


Governor's Brother Fined By EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The brother of Gov. Terry Branstad will pay a fine and spend $26,000 to install a wetland area after his cattle farm failed to comply with requirements of his clean water permit.
The Environmental Protection Agency says Branstad Farms near Forest City did not maintain adequate records for the application of manure onto farm land and did not sample the manure and soil as required.
EPA documents show Monroe Branstad, the governor's brother, operates the farm.
The EPA says the farm will pay a $5,100 civil penalty and spend the additional money to install a wetlands restoration area, the first agreement of its type in the EPA region covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska,
The governor's spokesman says he will not comment.
Monroe Branstad did not immediately return a message.


Senator Schumer To Speak At Iowa Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has been chosen to be the keynote speaker at a major Iowa event that has previously featured some of the national Democratic Party's top figures.
Schumer will speak Nov. 2 at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa. He will focus on the party's platform for the middle class.
The event's organizers say Thursday that Schumer was chosen because of legislation he sponsored including a college tuition tax credit, a consumer protection measure for credit card users, and for securing relief funding after Superstorm Sandy.
Previous speakers have included former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and Vice President Joe Biden. In 2007, U.S. Representative, and at the time, House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi conducted a meeting at the dinner with presidential contenders, including then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.


Bait Cars Yielded No Results

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two vehicles designed to catch car thieves in the Des Moines area have yielded zero results.
Sgt. Scott Bright of the Iowa State Patrol says officials are surprised no one has tried to steal the cars, which have been parked for several days at a time in high crime areas since April. Troopers have even left keys in the cars.
Des Moines television station KCCI reports ( ) the bait cars are designed to track and record a theft.
Troopers say they will continue to monitor the vehicles. They say up to 5,000 cars are stolen in Iowa each year.




Thursday News, September 19

Plymouth County Deputies Apprehend Fugitive

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office assisted Union County, South Dakota officials in the apprehension of a fugitive.  Plymouth County authorities was advised of a vehicle pursuit that was occurring in the Union County, South Dakota area.  As a result, Plymouth County Deputies went to the area of Westfield Tuesday evening at about midnight, and began to watch for the suspect coming into Iowa.  Deputies were advised that South Dakota had discontinued their pursuit and were about to leave the area when they observed the suspect's vehicle enter Iowa.  Deputies activated their emergency lights and sirens and attempted to stop the vehicle.  The vehicle continued south on
Highway 12.  Approximately two miles south of Westfield the vehicle entered a cornfield
and deputies did not follow.  A short time later deputies noticed a fire in the field and when they checked on it found a full engulfed 2011 Chevy truck.  As a result of the investigation deputies were able to identify a suspect.  He was located at a residence in Akron at approximately 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and taken into custody without incident.
Scotty Hughes, age 32, of rural Elk Point, South Dakota was charged with serious misdemeanor eluding and an unrelated charge of criminal mischief in the 4th degree.  Both are serious misdemeanors.  Hughes was held to see a judge.  Hughes is also suspected of arson in Union county.  As a result of the fugitive on the run, and having ties to students, the Elk Point-Jefferson, South Dakota school was in a lock-down earlier Wednesday.  Hughes is waiting extradition back to South Dakota.

City To Meet With Employees For Salary Negotiations

(Le Mars) -- The City of Le Mars will hear a bargaining unit presentation by the employees of the city scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at 10:00 a.m.  This is the first step in negotiations pertaining to salary and benefits between the city and its employees.  Once the city has the employee's initital proposal they can accept it, or they can make a counter proposal at a later date.


180th Street Closed For Repairs

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department will close 180th street from Polk Avenue to Quartz Avenue beginning today.  The road is expected to remain closed until next Friday, September 27th.  Road crews will be replacing a wooden bridge with a culvert pipe.


Primebank Recognized By ICBA

(Washington, D.C.) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) recognizes Primebank in Le Mars, for reaching an important milestone as an ICBA member.  This marks the community bank’s 70th year as a member of ICBA, the only nationwide trade association dedicated exclusively to serving the needs of the nation’s more than 7,000 community banks.

Camden R. Fine, ICBA President and CEO says “ICBA is fortunate to have Primebank as a member of the association for 70 years, Community banks such as Primebank are relationship bankers that are passionately committed to serving the needs of their local customers and communities.  It is community banks like Primebank that drive economic stability and prosperity on Main Street and make their communities better places to work and live.”

Community banks reinvest in their communities every day because they are an integral part of the economic, financial and civic fabric of thousands of towns and cities across America.  They are common-sense lenders that do right by their customers and exist solely to serve the needs of their local customers and communities.

Matt Ahlers, President and CEO of Primebank, says Primebank is proud to be part of a nationwide network of community banks that advocate on behalf of this great industry and its valued customers."  He says, "Primebank looks forward to continuing its role with ICBA to help strengthen and preserve the community banking industry so that consumers across the nation can experience the difference of working with a local community bank for years to come.”

Primebank first opened their doors to customers in Le Mars in 1891.   Since then they have expanded to offices in Sioux Center and Sioux City and have always been committed to providing responsive solutions and competitively priced products that are delivered with exceptional service.


Branstad Wants To Meet With Federal Officials To Discuss Healthcare

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad is seeking to meet with federal officials in Washington to urge them to approve Iowa's proposal to expand low-income health care.
Branstad aide Michael Bousselot says Wednesday that meeting details are being finalized for next week when the Republican governor will be in Washington.
State lawmakers in May approved legislation that accepts federal funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and to pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get private insurance on the new health care exchanges. Branstad submitted the plan to federal authorities for approval last month.
The new health care marketplaces are opening for enrollment on October 1st. Bousselot said state officials are still negotiating some plan details, but expect approval by then.


Advocates Want Branstad To Review Law Enforcement Academy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Advocacy groups are calling on Governor Terry Branstad to review the hiring and retention practices at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy after an employee was found to have made inappropriate workplace comments.
Leaders of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence say Wednesday they're concerned that an academy official kept his job after making sexually inappropriate remarks to female cadets. The Associated Press first reported that Assistant Director Michael Quinn had been rebuked for the comments.
Quinn kept his job as assistant director but was stripped of his longtime role as its Violence Against Women Act training coordinator. Then-academy instructor Nancy Brady claims she was wrongly terminated for complaining.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the administration must see a request from advocates before commenting.

Creston Manufacturing Plant To Close

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) - A longtime manufacturing plant in southern Iowa plans to close its doors and lay off nearly 80 employees.
Gits Manufacturing says it will shut down its Creston headquarters and move development staff to an Urbandale location. Mayor Warren Woods said Wednesday that the company sent him a letter this week with the news.
The affected positions will be cut in five stages between November and June 2014.
Gits Manufacturing makes oil cups and other lubrication devices. Product production will be relocated to plants in Mexico and China.
The Creston plant has been around for nearly 70 years. Gits Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Actuant Corporation in Wisconsin, declined to comment Wednesday.


Des Moines Lake More Accessible For People With Disabilities

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - People with disabilities will have an easier time boating on a popular Des Moines lake thanks to new equipment installed with help from volunteers.
A ceremony was held Wednesday to dedicate the EZ Launch system at the docks at Gray's Lake Park, about a mile from the city's downtown.
The system uses a transfer bench and boards to allow people with disabilities to easily drop into a boat. They can use handrails to pull themselves off and on.
The system was installed thanks to fundraising from the Friends of Des Moines Parks in partnership with the city's Parks and Recreation Department.


Six Tons Of Trash Removed From Iowa River

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Volunteers have taken advantage of the low water level in the Iowa River by pulling more than six tons of trash out of the water, lowered by this summer's dry weather.
It has taken 38 people in 20 canoes seven hours on the river to clean up a nearly 10-mile section between Iowa City and Hills.
Volunteers in the canoes pulled out of the river 200 old tires, more than a ton of metal, and numerous unusual items including a headless rocking horse, a couch, a water heater, bed springs and a small safe. Another three dozen volunteers on shore separated items for recycling or disposal during the clean-up on Saturday.
The project was organized the city of Iowa City and sanctioned by the American Rivers National River Cleanup program.





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