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Tuesday News, August 25

Soderberg To Resign From Legislature-Takes On Position With State Utilities Cooperative Association

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg will soon be resigning his position as a state lawmaker in order to take on new responsibilities as the executive vice president and general manager of the Iowa Association of Electrical Cooperatives, based in Des Moines.  After 40 years living in Le Mars, Soderberg admits it will be difficult to leave the area he fondly refers to as home. Soderberg says republican party officials are working through the process for his replacement.

(sot) Soderberg leaving1

For the past 36 years, Soderberg has worked with the Northern Iowa Power Cooperative, or NIPCO.  He says the work he has performed at NIPCO will prepare him for the next step in overseeing all of the Iowa electrical cooperatives.

(sot) Soderberg leaving2

Soderberg says he will begin his new position on September 8th.  Plymouth County Republican Party Chairman, Don Kass says Soderberg's leadership will be missed.

(sot) Kass-Soderberg1

Kass says the process to hold a special election to replace Soderberg will depend upon Governor Terry Branstad and the Secretary of State.

(sot) Kass-Soderberg2

Soderberg has been a state representative for 11 years.




Plymouth County Board of Supervisors To Review Drainage Project

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning, and they will discuss funding the Iowa District Drainage Association.  It is also expected the supervisors will review and sign an amended Sioux Rivers Mental Health District Service Coordinator Contract. The supervisors will hear from two people requesting approval for subdivisions.  The supervisors will hold a meeting under the Plymouth County Drainage Board as they discuss maintenance in the Akron Drainage District.  Tom Rohe will appear before the county board of supervisors to submit permits and to discuss current road construction projects.





Branstad To Visit With Denison Officials

(Sioux City) -- Governor Terry Branstad will be in Denison today to meet with local officials over the closing of that city's Tyson Foods plant.


Branstad says there will also be discussions about how to help the workers displaced by the plant closing:




On August 14th, Tyson announced to the city that it would shut down the plant.   The plant has a long history in Denison, opening back in 1961.





Le Mars Fire Department Hosts Water Hose Fights

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department hosted its annual water hose fight on Sunday.  Ten different fire departments consisting of 130 different fire fighting personnel competed for trophies and bragging rights.  The Le Mars Fire Department was able to place second behind Sheldon for the Leader Line division, Storm Lake and Hull finished third and fourth respectfully.  In the women's division, Alta1 took top honors, with Le Mars1 finishing second and Le Mars3 placing third.  Storm Lake women placed fourth in the women's division.  Le Mars was able to win the men's division, followed by Milford, Early, and Hull. Competing in this year's water fights included: Sioux Center, Orange City, Sheldon, Merrill, Le Mars, Milford, Hull, Alta, Storm Lake and Early. 





Iowa State Fair Sets Attendance Record

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An unofficial count of attendance at the Iowa State Fair this year indicates roughly 1.1 million people visited the fairgrounds, breaking a previous record.
Organizers say about 8,000 more people visited the fairgrounds in Des Moines this year than in 2008, the previous record holder.
There was extra media attention on the fair this year, as Democratic and Republican candidates seeking their party's nomination delivered remarks from the well-known political soapbox.    Governor Terry Branstad says the spring compromise between school districts, himself, and the state legislature to start public schools in Iowa on August 2th led to more people being able to attend the fair.


Nearly every day of the 11-day event had attendance numbers that exceeded 100,000, though there were some rainy days. Attendance dropped to roughly 75,000 on Aug. 18 as heavy rain moved through the area.
Organizers say they will do a more formal count of tickets to determine the final total.





Utilities Board To Soon Decide On Fate Of Pipeline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A utilities board that will soon decide whether to allow a private company to build an oil pipeline in Iowa says it has received roughly 3,700 objections on the project.
The Iowa Utilities Board says in a report filed Friday that statements against the proposed pipeline were received between November and July. The board also received about 560 letters of support for the pipeline.
The report says the objections include more than 2,600 statements submitted in July by several groups. Many objections focused on whether the board should allow Dakota Access, LLC to access private land for the pipeline.
The report says letters of support focused on potential jobs generated from the pipeline's construction.
The board is expected to rule on the pipeline's future before the end of the year.




Republicans Ask Attorney General Tom Miller To Investigate Funding Of Planned Parenthood

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican lawmakers are asking the Iowa attorney general to investigate abortion providers in the state.
Legislators delivered a letter Monday to Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller. The letter - signed by more than 40 representatives and senators -  includes a series of detailed questions and asks Miller to determine how abortion providers dispose of aborted tissue and if any aborted fetal organs are sold or donated.
A spokesman for Miller says the office was reviewing the request.
Republican lawmakers around the country have sought investigations since the release of secretly recorded videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they provide aborted fetal organs for research. The organization has said it does not profit from tissue donations and that those programs exist in only a handful of states.



Monday News, August 24th

Schools Across The State Start Today

(Undated) -- Today marks the first day of school for many school districts across Iowa since the state legislature and Governor Branstad compromised last spring on the starting date.  Branstad had wanted school to start after Labor Day.  He wanted to have schools start after the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair.  Both Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic will start classes on Thursday, August 27th.




Le Mars School Board To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education will meet this evening at the Education Service Center.  The school board is expected to discuss Pride Night, which is scheduled for Thursday evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Jim Lorenzen Field.  The school board will also discuss the upcoming school board election.  Fred Zenk is running unopposed in District 5.  Three candidates are seeking the two openings for the At Large positions.  They include: incumbent Patrick Murphy, former school board member Mark Hemmingson, and new comer Angela Catton.  No one filed nomination papers for District 3.  All positions are voted by all eligible voters in the school district.  The school board will also discuss the new teacher and administrator introduction to the district, which is scheduled for Monday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.  The school board will act upon at least four contracts and five students wishing to open enroll at Le Mars Community.  The school board will also review each of the principal's achievement reports from the last school year.





Sioux City School Board Member Resigns After Sexual Harassment Scandal

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City school board member accused of sexually harassing a district employee has resigned.
Paul Speidel resigned Friday. Earlier last week he acknowledged sending inappropriate texts but said he'd remain on the board. He said the communications had stopped. 
With the resignation letter he sent to the board, Speidel included a copy of an apology he'd sent to the employee, who was not named.
Speidel says he'd exchanged texts with the woman for years and was surprised that she did not tell him she was offended by his communications.





State Education Officials Ready To Unveil New Computerized Tests

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa education officials are close to adopting new computerized exams for students in the state's 336 school districts, but critics question whether the new tests are worth the cost.
The state Board of Education is likely to drop multiple choice tests with paper answer sheets in favor of Smarter Balanced's adaptive computerized tests.
Critics question the value of the $8.3 million tests because of the potential for technical problems, and the fact that school districts may have to upgrade their wireless networks to administer them.
But supporters say the computerized tests provide valuable information because they can change the difficulty of future questions based on a student's answers.





Des Moines Police Investigate Hit-And-Run Fatal Accident

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are investigating after a 21-year-old man's body was found in the road early Sunday.
West Des Moines Police said Daulton Holly's body was found shortly after 2 a.m.
An autopsy will be performed, but police say the preliminary investigation suggests Holly was hit by a vehicle that left the area.
Holly is from Troy, Tennessee.





Man Accused Of Murder Ask For Reduced Bond

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The attorney for an Iowa man charged with murder in a 1995 homicide is trying to get his $1 million cash bond reduced or eliminated.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports 54-year-old Steven John Klein's attorney asked a judge Friday to release his client until trial because so little evidence links him to Susan Kersten's death.
Attorney Quint Meyerdirk says prosecutors haven't shown any new evidence linking Klein to Kersten's death.
Authorities have said Klein was romantically linked to Kersten and was responsible for her death.
Kersten's charred remains were found inside her burning vehicle in a field near a highway in September 1995. An autopsy determined the 38-year-old woman died of blunt force trauma to the head sustained before the fire.
No decision was made Friday on Klein's bond.






Inmate Missing From Work Release Program

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are searching for an inmate who walked away from a prison work release program for the second time in less than two years.
The state Corrections Department says 26-year-old Anthony David Kendricks was reported missing Sunday when he didn't return to the Hope House Work Release Facility in Coralville.
Kendricks walked away from the same work release facility in April 2014, and he was missing for four months before being found.
Kendricks is serving a five-year prison sentence for grabbing a woman and pointing a gun at her in 2013.





Two Iowa Men Arrested In Boston For Making Threats At Convention

BOSTON (AP) - Two Iowa men suspected of making violent social media threats to people attending the Pokemon World Championships in Boston have been arrested on gun charges.
Boston police said Sunday that convention security reported the threats on Thursday and the suspects were stopped as they were about to enter the event hours later.
Police said they released the men, but seized their car after learning they might have guns inside.
Police said a warranted search of the car Friday found a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife. Police said 18-year-old Kevin Norton, of Ames, and 27-year-old James Stumbo, of Boone, were arrested at their hotel in Saugus, north of Boston.
They are being arraigned on firearms charges Monday. It's not immediately known if they have attorneys.


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