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Thursday Afternoon News, August 13

Hawarden Hosting Viet Nam War Memorial Replica Wall

(Hawarden) -- A half size replica of the Viet Nam Memorial Wall is scheduled to be in northwest Iowa through the weekend.  The "Moving Wall" arrived in Hawarden Thursday afternoon and features all 58,306 names of those service men and women that lost their lives during the Viet Nam War.  Roger Johnson is the chairman of the Sioux County Commission of Veteran Affairs and is overseeing the exhibition of the moving wall.  He says it is referred to as the "moving wall" not just because of its capability of traveling from town to town, but he says, the wall also stirs up emotions for those that view it.

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For Johnson, the wall symbolizes a special meaning.

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In addition to his brother's name, Johnson says there are four other names on the wall with either a Hawarden or neighboring town Ireton connection.

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Johnson says the local American Legion post had been trying for four years to bring the Viet Nam replica wall to Hawarden.  He says when the wall arrived Thursday afternoon, a caravan helped escort it into town.

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Johnson says the "Moving Wall" will be accessible 24 hours, and it will have guards posted, as well as volunteers to assist with the locating of names.  He says, like the Wall featured in Washington D.C., people will also have the opportunity to sketch a name.  The Viet Nam replica wall will remain on display until Monday, August 17th.  The Viet Nam War Wall Memorial is located near the Hawarden Community Center.



School Election Registrations And Absentee Ballots Available Now At Auditor's Office

(Le Mars) -- School board elections are scheduled for Tuesday, September 8th and the Plymouth County Auditor's office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for those people needing to register to vote.  Registration forms can be obtained in person from the Plymouth County Auditor's office at the county courthouse.  Voter registration forms can also be downloaded by going to the county's website and click on Online Services and then County forms and mailed to the auditor's office.  If you wish to have a voter registration form mailed to you, you can contact the auditor's office. Absentee ballots for local school board elections will be available beginning on Friday, August 14th in the auditor's office.  The last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to your attention is Friday, September 4th.  The deadline for postmarks on absentee ballot is Saturday, September 5th for this year's school elections, due to the Labor Day holiday.  Voted absentee ballots can be brought to the auditor's office on Election Day, Tuesday, September 8th, up until 8:00 p.m. in order to be counted.





Crop Dusting Plane Crashes Near Sac City

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a crop-dusting plane has crashed shortly after taking off from an airport in northwest Iowa.
The Sac County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Thursday that the accident was reported about 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Sac City Airport manager said the plane had crashed south of the airport and that airport officials were in contact with the pilot, who said he hadn't been injured.
The pilot was identified as 50-year-old Randall Sievert, of Alta. He reported that he noticed engine trouble after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport when he crashed into a cornfield.
Sievert and airport officials didn't immediately return calls Thursday from The Associated Press.
The crash is being investigated.





Judge Rules Landowner Must Allow Oil Pipeline Company To Look At Property

PILOT MOUND, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa district court judge says a man must allow a company to survey his land as part of a proposal for an oil pipeline.
Judge John Haney says in a ruling filed this month that Dakota Access LLC has the right to temporarily enter Laverne Johnson's property in Boone County to examine the land, which is in the path of the proposed pipeline. Haney says the move does not interfere with fundamental property rights.
Johnson had refused to let representatives of Dakota Access, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, onto his land. Dakota Access sought a court injunction.
Dakota Access is seeking approval to build an oil pipeline across Iowa and other states.





Mike Huckabee: First Presidential Hopeful To Stand On State Fair's "Soap Box"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Mike Huckabee has veteran insight to share about the Iowa State Fair.
"Pork chop on a stick. Trust me. It's what's for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack," the former Arkansas governor said Thursday.
The winner of the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, Huckabee started his turn atop the fair's political soapbox with the dining tip.
When he got around to politics, the presidential hopeful spoke about his experience in office, his plans to create jobs and his opposition to abortion.
He then took questions from the crowd, but with a caveat. He said he didn't actually want any Q and A, but rather some "questions and avoidance."
He told the crowd, "You ask questions. I will try not to do anything that will end my presidential aspirations here today at the soapbox."
Huckabee went on to banter easily with the crowd.





Despite Growing Economy, Food Banks Still See Increase Demand

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Food banks nationwide are dealing with rising demand despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount they offer each family.
U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds of food this year. Feeding America, the nation's primary food bank network, says that's more than double the amount provided a decade ago.
The group gave away 3.8 billion in 2013.
Food bank reliance exploded when the economy tanked in 2008, but groups say demand still rises each year.
Some economists say the increased demand is surprising because the economy is growing and unemployment has been cut nearly in half since the recession.
But many people who have found jobs are working only part-time or for low wages, and others have stopped looking for work.





Nursing Care Reaches Settlement

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - A nursing facility chain in Iowa that was accused of submitting inaccurate cost reports for Medicaid payments will pay more than $415,000 as part of a settlement.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the southern and northern districts of Iowa said in a news release Thursday that Signature Care Centers, LLC, and its seven related nursing facilities in Iowa have agreed to pay the money to resolve civil allegations involving Medicaid overpayments for the 2008 and 2010 fiscal years.
The agreement includes no admission of liability or wrongdoing. Messages left for Signature Care Centers were not immediately returned Thursday.
The seven related nursing facilities are Gowrie Care Center, Lake Park Care Center, Perry Health Care Center, Primghar Rehabilitation and Care Center, Rosewood Manor, Woodlands Rehabilitation Center and Sutherland Care Center.





Fire Association Official Accused Of Theft

LECLAIRE, Iowa (AP) - The former president of a volunteer fire association in eastern Iowa has been accused of theft that involves the organization.
The LeClaire Police Department said Thursday that 44-year-old Shawn Ream has been charged with second-degree theft. A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned Thursday. 
Ream is the former president of the LeClaire Volunteer Firefighter Association, which is not affiliated with the city.
Police say they contacted state authorities in June following suspicious financial transactions on the association's bank account. Additional information was not released.




Thursday News, August 13

City Department Superintendents Discuss New Facility

(Le Mars) -- The city of Le Mars held an open house for the new public works facility yesterday afternoon.  The two new combined 39,700 square foot buildings now houses the equipment for both the streets department and the public facilities department, as well as the salt needed for the maintenance of the city streets during the winter.   Scott Kneip, the superintendent for the streets department believes the new building will end up saving the city money.

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Brad Eppling, the superintendent for the public facilities department echoed Kniep.

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Residences of Le Mars may not fully understand how much territory is maintained by city employees.  Eppling explains the vast number of acres of green space from the parks, cemeteries, and recreational trails.

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As for the city streets, Kneip says there are more than 73 miles of streets that need maintaining.

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Kneip says after a three to six inch snow storm, it takes the city crew nearly six hours to clean all of the Le Mars streets.  Eppling says his staff takes a week to mow all the cemeteries, parks, and recreational trails.




Chaffin Honored As "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- An employee with the Education Station is the latest to be honored with the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce "Employee of the Month".  The honor was bestowed on Shannon Chaffin during the Wednesday Chamber coffee event.  Shannon was nominated by John and Dawn McGregor of the Education Station.  The nomination reads: Shannon does a remarkable job here at the Education Station.  She has been with the company part time since September 2012.  No matter what the job is, I can always count on Shannon to take care of it, and to do it well.  She has an amazing sense of humor and makes every day working with her a pleasant experience, and customers seem to love her.  
She is one of my go to people if I need something decorated or something done, as I know she will do it correctly the first time, with little explanation.  She just “gets it”.  Shannon is also an asset as she is willing to come in when needed or stay late, even with her full time teaching position.
Congratulations to Shannon Chaffin, the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce August Employee of the Month.





270th Street To Be Closed For New Culvert

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced it will be closing 270th Street from Tamarack Avenue to Almond Avenue beginning today.  That stretch of road is expected to remain closed until September 2nd.  Road crews will be replacing a bridge with a culvert.





Presidential Candidates Expected To Visit Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sampling the pork chop on a stick. Snapping a selfie with the butter cow. Taking questions about foreign policy from hecklers.
For those who would be president, a visit to the Iowa State Fair may be the purest distillation of the campaign experience in the state that starts the voting in the race for the White House.
The 10-day event starts Thursday and most of the 2016 hopefuls will pass through.
It's an unscripted setting can lead to awkward moments and ill-timed soundbites.
Consider the case of Mitt Romney, who during the last campaign said while atop The Des Moines Register's soapbox: "Corporations are people, my friend."
The comment dogged the former private equity executive for the rest of his campaign.





Iowa State Fair Officials Offer Free Grandstand Entertainment On Saturday, August 22

(Des Moines) -- Today marks the start of the Iowa State Fair. Officials with the Iowa State Fair say the opening acts for singer Meghan Trainor's canceled grandstand performance will now be the main act for a free show.
Fair organizers said Wednesday afternoon that Charlie Puth and Life of Dillon will perform Aug. 22 at the grandstand. The announcement comes one day after Trainor, the artist behind the hit "All About That Bass," said she couldn't complete her tour due to a vocal cord problem.
More than 8,500 tickets had been sold for Trainor's show and they will be refunded.
Organizers did not provide additional information about the decision to make the revamped performance free.





Nine Finalists Interviewed For University Of Iowa President's Position

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The committee searching for the next University of Iowa president has recommended a slate of finalists to the Iowa Board of Regents.
Committee chair and interim school president Jean Robillard said Wednesday the names of recommended finalists will remain confidential for now. 
He said the candidates have to still be convinced to come to campus for final interviews before the regents make a selection, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 4.
Robillard spoke on a conference call after the 21-member committee concluded two days of interviews at an airport hotel in Chicago with nine candidates.
He says the interviews went well, and candidates were asked about education, research, diversity, student life and other matters. He says the committee feels "extremely good and very positive" about those who might replace retiring Sally Mason.






Sioux City School Board Director Being Investigated For Sexual Harassment

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Sioux City Community School District says it is investigating a sexual harassment claim against a school board member.
A school district spokeswoman Alison Benson confirmed the investigation Wednesday. 
Benson declined to identify which of the board's seven members is being investigated or the nature of the alleged incident, stating the details are a part of a "confidential personnel matter."





Officials Say Mental Health Care Is Now Better

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A top state official says Iowa is providing better mental health care after an overhaul of the system, though critics question the recent closure of two state-run mental health institutes.
Department of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer told an advisory board Wednesday that Iowa's mental health system was serving more people and providing more modern care. The effort to remake the system began in 2011 and was implemented last year.
Governor Terry Branstad has been criticized for halting funding for two Iowa mental health institutes this year.
The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday that a third patient from one of those centers died after being moved to a private nursing home.





Investigators Say Council Bluff Man's Death Is A Homicide

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the death of a Council Bluffs man found with gunshot wounds is being investigated as a homicide.
The Council Bluffs Police Department says 55-year-old Robert Schendel was found dead Wednesday morning inside his home. His boss contacted authorities after Schendel didn't show up for work.
Authorities say Schendel had several gunshot wounds. His vehicle was also missing.
An autopsy is scheduled Thursday. Additional information has not been released.





Mall Shooting Trial To Be At Different County

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A motion has been filed to move to another county the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a woman inside an Iowa mall.
The motion was filed Tuesday in Johnson County District Court for 22-year-old Alexander Kozak. He's pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the June 12 slaying of Andrea Farrington. 
Kozak's attorney, Peter Persaud, has said media attention will make it difficult to find an impartial jury in eastern Iowa. The motion requesting a change of venue suggests Cerro Gordo, Pottawattamie, Story and Woodbury counties as possible sites, given their distance from local media coverage of the shooting.
A case management conference is scheduled for Aug. 28 to discuss further changes to the case's timetable and location.





Fatal Warren County Accident

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - Two people have died, including a 9-year-old boy, after an RV carrying a trailer struck an SUV in Warren County.
9-year-old Eric M. Fuller and 72-year-old Karla K. Handy, who were passengers in the SUV, died Wednesday morning. According to the Iowa State Patrol, the collision happened at the intersection of Highway 69 and Highway G76.
Sergeant Nate Ludwig said the driver of the RV ran a stop sign and struck the SUV on the passenger side. He said 47-year-old Kimberly R. Fuller was taken to a Des Moines hospital in critical condition, and 10-year-old Lillian J. Fuller was transported in serious condition. The RV's driver refused treatment at the scene.
The collision is under investigation.





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