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Friday News, February 13

Fatal Accident Victim Identified

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police have released the name of that fatal car accident victim that occured on Wednesday afternoon.  The 64 year old Sioux City woman has been identified as Barbara Burke.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation.


George, Iowa Man Found Guilty Of Possessing Contraband In Sioux County Jail

(Orange City) -- A George, Iowa man has been found guilty of possessing contraband while in jail, possession of marijuana, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  Sioux County attorney Thomas Kunstle announced that 30 year old Fredrich Trei III, was found guilty on Wednesday by a Sioux County jury. The case goes back to April 4th when Trei was involved in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 18 near Boyden.  A Sioux County Sheriff's deputy who responded to the accident noted Trei seemed sleepy, responded slow, and his eyes were glazed over.  The driver of the other car discovered a pipe used to ingest marijuana in the snow.  Trei failed standard sobriety tests at the scene, and failed additional sobriety tests administered at the Sioux County jail.  After the arrest, Trei was placed into a holding cell.  An unmarked medication pill bottle fell from his pant leg.  The pill bottle contained small particles of marijuana, and an amoxicillin tablet.  Sentencing is set for March 23rd.  Trei faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


Gengler Honored As Chamber "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- Long time auto salesman, Bob Gengler of Oyens was honored by the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce as the February "Employee of the Month".  Gengler was presented the honor during a Chamber After 5 event held Thursday afternoon at Total Sales and Service, Gengler's employer.  Gengler has been in business for more than 50 years.  He started with Chuck Wood, then Dick Morris, then Reardon Nuebel, followed up with Neubel Chevrolet and now in his fifth year with Total Sales and Service.  In the nomination for Gengler, it says he has witnessed many interesting, challenging and significant milestones in both your career and in your personal and family lives.  During your years you have worked witih numerous car dealerships, you have significantlly contributed to the success as a whole, particularlly in the sales department, where you have always been a leader that others could follow.  Our congratulations go to Bob Gengler for being named the Chamber of Commerce February "Employee of the month."


Museum To Honor Citizens And Businesses Of The Year

(Le Mars) -- Citizens of the Year from both Le Mars and Remsen will be honored during a special reception at the Plymouth County Historical Museum at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Study Hall.
The Le Mars citizen is Rob Bixenman, who was honored at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce banquet Saturday, Jan. 31.
The Remsen Chamber selected Jane Bork as the Citizen of the Year during the banquet Saturday, Feb. 7.Also in the spotlight at the Museum will be the businesses of the year – Bike Central of Le Mars and Mid-Sioux Opportunity of Remsen.
Other award winners who will be honored from Le Mars will be Angie Erdmann, Main Street volunteer; and Jack Guenther, the Paul Olson United Way honoree.
Following brief remarks by the award-winners, the Museum will host a reception in the Study Hall. The event is open to the public. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for those who would like to tour the Museum. Exhibits will be open until 5 p.m.


Gehlen Catholic Making Plans For All School Family Reunion

(Le Mars) -- Plans are being made for the Gehlen Catholic and St. Joseph's All School Reunion.  St. Joseph’s (Gehlen Catholic’s predecessor) and Gehlen Catholic School announce the All School “Family” Reunion will be held Friday and Saturday, June 19 & 20, 2015.  The festivities will feature an alumni and family picnic the evening of Friday, June 19th, at the Plymouth County fairgrounds.   The night will conclude with a fireworks display at twilight. 

Saturday, June 20th’s activities will include a golf tournament at the Le Mars Municipal Golf Course, entries in the Ice Cream Days Parade, tours of the school and All Saint’s Parish - St. Joseph’s Church, an all school Mass, dinner catered by Timmy’s Catering, program by emcee Mark Woll (’76) and  Rick  Herbst (’00).  DJ Rob Renner (‘97) will be providing music for the dance to be held after the Saturday night’s meal and program.

Mike and Mary Kay (Campbell) Dreckman (‘74), co-chairs of the event, are excited about the upcoming All School “Family” Reunion.  “We are right in the middle. It is unbelievable the changes that have transpired from the days of St Joseph’s Catholic School to Gehlen Catholic’s unification with Spalding Catholic School.  It is truly amazing what has and is happening! Even though our children have graduated and moved away, many of our nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews are attending Gehlen Catholic School,” stated Mike. 

This is an all school “Family” reunion.  Alumni are encouraged to bring their families to Friday’s night festivities.   We also want to invite past and present faculty, priests, women religious and the community to join us for this very special celebration.


Scientists Believe Midwest Will Suffer From Long-term Drought

SAN JOSE, California (AP) - Scientists warn the Southwest and Central Plains could face "megadroughts" during the second half of this century. And they could last for decades.
     The scientists write in a study in the journal Science Advances that global warming will lead to "unprecedented drought conditions" -- the worst in more than 1,000 years.
     The study is based on current increasing rates of rising emissions of carbon dioxide and complex simulations run by 17 different computer models, which generally agreed on the outcome.
     The Southwest will see less rain. But the biggest problem in both regions will be the heat, which will increase evaporation and dry out the soil.
     The lead author is NASA atmospheric scientist Benjamin Cook, who says, "We're going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America."


House Panel Passes Gasoline Tax Hike

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel has approved a bill that would increase Iowa's fuel tax, a move that mirrors action in the Senate.
     Members of a transportation subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration.
     The bill would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. A Senate transportation subcommittee approved similar legislation Wednesday. A full committee can now review that bill.
     Iowa's current fuel tax is 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. Diesel fuel has a slightly higher tax and ethanol blends are a bit lower. The tax hasn't been raised since 1989.
     Governor Terry Branstad and lawmakers have been vocal about raising money to help fix the state's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.


Jeb Bush Turns Over Email Messages

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - By posting online all of his personal email from his eight years as Florida's governor, Jeb Bush sought to show himself as a tech-savvy executive, in touch with constituents and an active administrator.
     But tucked away in a small percentage of those hundreds of thousands of messages were the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of more than 12,000 people. A data security firm, Identity Finder, audited the database.
     By Thursday, Bush had removed the private information from all but a few hundred of the emails he had posted to a website,
     Bush's attempt to demonstrate transparency comes as he prepares for a likely presidential run in 2016. A Bush spokesman says his political action committee, Right to Rise, wasn't involved in the email-posting effort.


Biden Visits Iowa -- Says Next Election Will Important Choice
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the 2016 White House election will be a choice between continuing President Barack Obama's policies or going with a failed Republican approach from the past.
     Biden said during a stop Thursday at Iowa's Drake University that Democrats should run on what he and Obama have done. He called it "sticking with what works."
     He's putting his deep ties to the state on display during a visit that's spurring speculation about his own political plans.
     The vice president also plans to speak at a community college in Iowa about higher education.


Principal Says Student Who Brought Bullets To School Didn't Know The Danger  

 DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque elementary school principal says a student who brought bullets to school didn't understand the danger of bringing them. 
     Principal Vicki Sullivan of Bryant Elementary School said in an email to parents Thursday there was never any ill intent or threat to students or staff. 
     Several .380-caliber pistol bullets were found Wednesday afternoon in a toilet in a boys' restroom. Students remained in their classrooms for the rest of the day and had their coats checked before they left. 
     A police sweep of the building found no evidence of additional ammunition or weapons. 
     Sullivan said the incident is a reminder for parents to talk with their children about not bringing dangerous items to school.


Iowa Couple Charged With Sex Trafficking

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An Iowa couple are being charged in Virginia with sex trafficking after a woman found in their recreational vehicle said they were holding her against her will.
     The U.S. attorney's office says 36-year-old Aldair Hodza and 31-year-old Laura Sorensen of Clive, Iowa, made in an initial appearance Thursday in federal court. 
     The two were arrested on Jan. 6 east of Richmond in New Kent County after police said a frightened and malnourished 20-year-old woman told officers the couple had physically and sexually abused her. She also said she had been forced to engage in prostitution during the trip from Iowa to Virginia.
     The government said Sorensen and Hodza told officers they were on vacation.
     Court records did not list an attorney for Sorensen and Hodza.



Thursday News, February 12

Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department along with the Merrill Fire Department responded to a grass fire Wednesday afternoon located about five miles west of Le Mars on county road C-38.  The fire was reported at about 12:50 p.m.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says he believes the fire perhaps started as a result of someone disgarding a cigarette.  The strong northwest winds aided the blaze, burning a stretch of grass measuring approximately 550 feet along the road's shoulder.  Snow in the ditches prevented the fire from spreading into the ditch.  Fire officials were able to quickly extinguish the grass fire as they were on the scene for approximately 20 minutes.


Sioux City Woman Killed In Auto Accident

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating a fatal accident involving a 64 year old Sioux City woman.  At about 2:25 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, police and rescue units responded to a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Military Road and George Street.  The operator of the vehicle was the only occupant and had to be extracted from the vehicle by the Sioux City Fire Department.  According to the traffic accident reports, the vehicle was traveling east on Military Road and struck a curb just prior to the intersection of George Street.  The vehicle crossed the intersection and struck a cement retaining wall on the southeast corner of the intersection.  Police say speed of the vehicle appears to be a factor in the severity of the accident.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation, and authorities have not yet released the name of the accident victim.


Man Pleads Guilty To Eluding Police And Drug Possession

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 31-year-old man has pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to leading police on a high-speed chase and possessing drugs in October. 
    Chad Hughes of Pender, Nebraska, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison. 
     He was charged with eluding, operating while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. 
     As part of his plea agreement, a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and other traffic offenses were dropped. 
     Court documents state Hughes led police on a chase on U.S. Highway 75. Police were able to stop Hughes. He then fled his vehicle into a cornfield and was tracked down with the help of a police dog. 



Floyd Valley Hospital Construction Making Progress

(Le Mars) -- If you haven't driven past the Floyd Valley Hospital lately, you have no doubt missed seeing the progress being made on the new north addition expansion.  Contractor crews have erected steel beams giving viewers a sense of the frame for the new addition.  Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says he sees progress everyday.

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Donlin says although contractors have been progressing on the work with the new north addition, the construction pace is still somewhat behind schedule.

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The hospital administrator says he recently was away from Le Mars for a couple of weeks and was surprised at the construction progress upon his return.

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Legislators Undecided On School Start Date

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are differing greatly over bills that would decide when fall classes can start for Iowa school districts.
     A Senate education committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would give control to school districts. Lawmakers on a House education committee later approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner.
     Both the full Senate and House will now be able to debate the bills.
     The school start issue emerged as a top issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early. District leaders say they need to cater to students. Tourism officials argue the early start hurts businesses.


Senate Panel Gives Approval For 10 Cent Per Gallon Fuel Tax

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has given preliminary approval to a bill to raise Iowa's fuel tax to pay for road improvements.
     The bill, which got subcommittee support Wednesday, would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. That would provide about $215 million annually for Iowa's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
     Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative leaders have been vocal this year about raising money for infrastructure needs.
     Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. It hasn't been raised since 1989.
     Organizations advocating for construction companies and truck drivers favor the legislation. Opposing the effort are anti-tax groups and advocates for truck stops.


Family Dog Finds Owner In Hospital

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A family says a dog that ran away from home was found inside a Cedar Rapids hospital where her owner was staying at. 
     Nancy Franck was at Mercy Medical Center following a surgery. 
     Last Saturday, her husband discovered their miniature schnauzer Sissy was gone from their residence, which is at least 15 blocks away from the hospital. 
     A hospital security guard used Sissy's tags to call Franck's husband, Dale. He said Sissy was on a mission to see her mom but simply couldn't find the right elevator to take. 
     The family is still perplexed on how Sissy sniffed her way to the hospital. But they think she might've knew her way around from car trips in dropping Nancy Franck off for work next door.







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