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Friday Afternoon News, February 5

Winter Is A Good Time To Check Windbreaks

(Le Mars) -- During the winter is a perfect time to check your windbreaks, according to a state technician with the Natural Resources and Conservation Services.  Chuck Hoelker says walking around your farmstead and feedlots at this time of year can provide you with valuable information helpful in making decisions about your windbreak.  Snow drifts in areas of the farmstead could indicate a need for additional snow catch areas to be planted.  Hoelker says windbreaks play an important role in the protection of livestock particularly for young animals.  By reducing wind velocity and the effects of cold temperatures, a good windbreak can significantly reduce stress on feed energy requirements.  The N-R-C-S official says a good windbreak around a farmstead will result in better animal health, lower mortality, reduced feed costs, and increased profitability in your livestock operation.  Hoelker says evergreens work well for windbreak protection, but he also recommends planting shrubs.

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The N-R-C-S is now offering a cost-share program for farmers and landowners wanting to plant a windbreak.  Monte Dowlinger, also is a state technician with the N-R-C-S.  He says the N-R-C-S will provide up to 75 percent of the costs for planting a windbreak, with the farmer or landowner paying the remaining 25 percent. He explains the details of the cost-share program.

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Dowlinger says a properly planted windbreak will offer many benefits.  He says windbreaks have proven to help reduce odors emitting from livestock production facilities.

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Dowlinger says windbreaks can also add value to your farm.

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The N-R-C-S technician says other benefits to planting a windbreak include: added beauty to the home or farm, reduces the weathering effect on buildings, and provides food and shelter for wildlife.




State Officials Learn No One Has Interest In Former Mental Health Building

CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) - The 128-year-old former mental health institute in the small southwest Iowa city of Clarinda isn't your typical real estate opportunity, and so far no one is rushing to move in.
More than seven months after the state closed the Clarinda Mental Health Institute, much of the sprawling building remains empty, including entire floors that haven't been used in decades. With its gothic architecture set amid lawns and tree-lined paths, the former institute is impressive, but it's also a site that Iowa's governor labeled as outdated and inefficient.
Community members have been working to find occupants for the former hospital but the process hasn't proved to be an easy one as unclaimed inventory piles up and a historic part of the town remains largely empty.





Sanford Band Bill To Be Buried In The Senate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that sought to punish Stanford University for its band's Rose Bowl halftime show mocking Iowa has been all but buried in the Iowa Senate.
Majority Leader Michael Gronstal told reporters Thursday that he wouldn't schedule the measure for floor debate.
Stanford's band is known for irreverent shows. It poked fun at Iowa in Pasadena on New Year's Day, employing among other things a dancing cow and a frowning farmer formation. The Cardinal beat the Hawkeyes 45-16 in the game.
The bill by Ottumwa Sen. Mark Chelgren would ban collaboration between Iowa's state universities and Stanford until Stanford officials apologize for the band's behavior.
The Des Moines Register reports that Gronstal told reporters "it would probably be good if senators from southern Iowa had a sense of humor."




EATON To Layoff 250 Workers At Shenandoah Facility

SHENANDOAH, Iowa (AP) - Company officials say 250 hourly and salaried positions will be eliminated at the Eaton Vehicle Group plant in the southwestern Iowa city of Shenandoah.
Officials said Thursday the company is moving some of the work to plants in Mexico or Kings Mountain, North Carolina. About 85 Shenandoah positions will be retained to support manufacturing of components for the final assembly of transmissions.
Company officials say the people losing their jobs will receive full severance packages, outplacement services and will be encouraged to seek jobs at other Eaton plants. The company's two other Iowa plants are in Belmond and Spencer.
In October the company said it would eliminate the Eaton plant's third shift, cutting 71 workers' jobs.


Friday News, February 5

Le Mars Super Expo Scheduled For This Weekend

(Le Mars) -- With over 70 different booths on display, the Le Mars Super Expo will feature something for nearly everyone.  The annual trade show runs for two days, and it gets under way this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center, and it will continue until 8:00 p.m. this evening. On Saturday, the hours will be between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. This year, the Le Mars Super Expo will have a football theme in recognition of the big game featured on Sunday. The trade show will feature exhibitors from financial institutions, insurance, home improvement, flooring, home furnishings and appliances, communications, healthcare and exercise, and new this year in the board meeting room, will be several home-based businesses marketing their products.  Tonight, enjoy the taste of free brats during the tailgate activity scheduled at 6:00 p.m. There will also be free Blue Bunny ice cream treats available for both days.  On Saturday, the Le Mars Arts Council is offering children's craft activities starting at 10:30 a.m.  Admission is free to attend the Le Mars Super Expo.




Kroll Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse Of Child

(Le Mars) -- A Westfield man has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12 year old girl.  63 year old Dennis Kroll submitted his pleas earlier this week in Plymouth County District Court.  He was charged with three counts of lascivious acts with a child.  Kroll will face sentencing on March 28th.  Kroll was accused of committing sex acts with the young girl between July of 2009 through July of 2012. A school guidance counselor reported the incident that led to his arrest.



Holz and Anderson To Hold Legislative Forums


(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars has announced that he and State Senator Bill Anderson of Pierson will host four legislative forums through out the county this coming Saturday, February 6th.  Holz and Anderson will begin their day at Kingsley at the Kingsley Community Center.  The forum is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.  Merrill will be the second legislative forum will will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be held at the Merrill City Hall.  From 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. the two state lawmakers will visit with constituents at the Wells Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars.  Akron will be the final stop for the legislative forums.  The meeting is slated to start at 12:15 p.m. at Akron Jo's located at 150 Reed Street.





Grassley Introduces Legislation To Help Rural Hospitals

(Washington) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley has recently introduced legislation that would help protect smaller rural community hospitals. The bill is called the Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital Act or REACH. Grassley says the bill would provide a voluntary path forward for rural hospitals to eliminate their underutilized inpatient services and ensure patients access to emergency medical care.  Grassley says over the last couple of years more than 80 hospitals have closed.  Grassley says its important to continue to provide some type of healthcare to rural residents.

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Grassley says it's important to provide some type of healthcare for trauma cases within the first hour.

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Democrats Hope To Stop Privatization Of Medicaid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democrats in the Iowa Senate plan on passing a bill next week that would halt Gov. Terry Branstad's plans to turn over management of the state's Medicaid program to three private companies. 
The bill introduced in a subcommittee Wednesday directs the Iowa Department of Human Services to give a 30-day notice of contract termination to the three companies with which the state has contracted for private management of Medicaid. It also directs the agency to continue previous efforts to improve patient outcomes, increase access to care and make the public management of Medicaid more efficient.
Senate leaders said Thursday they plan to pass the bill out of committees on Monday making it eligible for debate next Thursday.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says the bill has no chance in the House.





House Republicans Introduce Immigration Policy Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill proposed by House Republicans would require local police and county sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials by disclosing when they have in custody immigrants living in the country without legal permission.
The measure would prevent local governments from adopting policies or procedures that limit or restrict the enforcement of any federal immigration law.
Iowa is among about a dozen states considering measures against so-called sanctuary cities, locations where local authorities refuse to keep immigrants living in the country illegally beyond their court-ordered detention.
Often local law enforcement agencies are asked by federal immigration officers to hold people living in the U.S. without legal permission until immigration officers can arrive to pick them up.  In about 350 cities and counties nationwide local officials have refused saying it's unconstitutional.




Pollster Tells University Of Iowa It Needs To Change Its Image

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A pollster warned the University of Iowa last year that its public standing was suffering from an image as a heavy-drinking school where sexual assault was too common.
In a report obtained by The Associated Press, Washington-based pollster Chris Perkins tells university leaders that those perceptions mean the school "loses credibility as a serious academic institution." He recommends specific messages for a communications strategy to combat the image.
The university has refused to release the December 2014 poll and others conducted by Perkins, who received the work under a no-bid contract. The AP obtained the report from a university employee who requested anonymity because the school didn't authorize its disclosure.
University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said Wednesday the polling helped inform its communications and marketing strategies.

Nevada Man Found Dead In Home After Fire

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man who was found dead after a suspicious fire was likely killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A Nevada (nuh-VAYE'-duh) police news release announced Thursday that preliminary autopsy results show 36-year-old Adam Blazek died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a fire extensively damaged his home in the Story County city of Nevada
The fire was reported about 3:20 a.m. Thursday. Firefighters say the house was engulfed in flames.
The man's body was found inside.
Officials described the fire as suspicious. It's under investigation.



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