Wednesday afternoon news, January 28
Sioux City Man And Woman Arrested For Drug Possession
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have arrested two people from Sioux City on various drug related charges as a result of a traffic stop conducted Monday evening. The arrest was made at the intersection of South Ridge Road and West Loop road. 32 year old Maria Newbern was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, a second offense for Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated, and driving while license was suspended. 41 year old Heath Ridsdal, also of Sioux City, was a passenger in the car and was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.
KLEM Expo Approaching
(Le Mars) -- Only a few days remain until the KLEM Expo scheduled for Friday, February 6 and Saturday, February 7. Both floors of the Le Mars Convention Center will be filled with exhibitors. This year's KLEM Expo will feature financial institutions, insurance companies, home furnishings, home improvement, health and wellness clubs, and so much more. Enjoy a free Catalanos pizza party on Friday evening, and for Saturday, children can create crafts with the assistance of the Le Mars Arts Center, as well as participate in the Coloring Contest. Free Blue Bunny ice cream treats will be distributed for both days. The hours of the KLEM Expo are from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. for Friday, February 6th, and from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Saturday, February 7th. Don't forget to register for a free trip to Las Vegas! That's the KLEM Expo.
Interstate 29 May See Another Sioux City Interchange
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County Board has taken a step down what could be a 10-year journey for another Interstate 29 interchange.
The board committed nearly $181,000 for its share of a study that will cost $600,000. Local officials have been asking the Iowa Transportation Department since 2012 for an exit between mile markers 138 and 140 to help boost economic development. They cite traffic near Southbridge Business Park, which is being built south of Sioux Gateway Airport.
Department rules require a justification report before interchanges can be built. The interchange cost was estimated at $20 million in 2013.
County consultant Terry Lutz told the board that even if state approves the project, it would take eight to 10 years before it opens to motorists.
Flu Hospitalizations Are Declining
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa health officials say the number of flu hospitalizations has decreased by more than two-thirds since late December.
An Iowa Department of Public Health report shows just 50 flu hospitalizations were recorded in the week ending Jan. 17, down from 182 admitted in the week ending Jan. 3. The drop in cases comes when Gov. Terry Branstad's hospitalization due to the illness focused attention on the flu.
Health Department medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says there are likely more cases last week than the report indicates because a major hospital couldn't send its figures. Still, she says it's clear fewer people are becoming severely ill from the flu.
Despite the drop, Quinlisk says flu season is not over yet, and the epidemic could rekindle.
Legislators Hope To Introduce Gasoline Tax Bill By Next Week
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers say they hope to introduce a bill to increase Iowa's fuel tax as early as next week.
Sen. Tod Bowman, a Democrat from Maquoketa, and Rep. Joshua Byrnes, a Republican from Osage, said Wednesday they are working on legislation that would increase the tax, potentially by 10 cents a gallon. That would provide $215 million annually for the state's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
Iowa's fuel tax is currently 22 cents a gallon, including fees. It hasn't been raised since 1989. The lawmakers said they are working on ways to maintain the funding in future years.
Gov. Terry Branstad has said he wants to increase funding for roads this year, though he has not endorsed a specific plan.
Volunteer Fire Department Is Fired By City Officials
SHELBY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council in western Iowa's Shelby has dismissed the town's volunteer firefighters.
The council decided on Monday to dismiss all but one member of the 12-person department. The town of about 640 people will be relying on departments in Minden and Avoca to respond to any emergencies.
Fire Chief Eric Wendt, who wasn't among those ousted, says the council has said the department's fundraising proceeds should be under council control, something the volunteers don't want.
City attorney Clint Fichter says all department revenue, including money from fundraising, are public funds, subject to the same rules as tax money.
Lawsuit Against Scouts Is Partially Dismissed
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An attorney says a sex abuse lawsuit against the Scouts and a former scoutmaster has been partially dismissed.
The lawsuit was filed in January 2013 by an unnamed man who says he was sexually abused in 1977 or 1978 when he belonged to a West Des Moines troop. The lawsuit named former scoutmaster Kenneth Newell, who now lives in Cedar Rapids.
Guy Cook, who represented the Boy Scouts, said Wednesday that the dismissal filed by the plaintiff states that the scouting organization is not liable for the plaintiff's costs. Cook says the organization denies any liability or wrongdoing. He also says the lawsuit continues against Newell.
Newell has not been criminally charged. Court records don't list the name of his attorney.
Judge Blocks Farm Groups Lawsuit Against EPA
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by two major farm groups that sought to block the release of data on large livestock farms in Minnesota and Iowa.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council filed the lawsuit in in Minneapolis in 2013 after some activist groups requested the Environmental Protection Agency data under the Freedom of Information Act. The data includes physical addresses and other operational details about the farms. The farm groups said releasing the data would violate farmers' privacy.
But U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday. She ruled that Farm Bureau and the Pork Producers lacked legal standing. And she pointed out that the data the two groups sought to keep private is easily available from other public sources anyway.