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Thursday News, October 3

Fire Department Responds To Field Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to a field fire last evening near the Park View Terrace.  That call came in at about 9:25 p.m.  Fire crews were on the scene for nearly an hour and a half.

Chamber To Sell Holiday Dollars

(Le Mars) -- It may be early October, but the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce is already thinking Christmas.  The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will sell Holiday dollars at a 15 percent discount.  A total of $185,000 in Chamber Holiday dollars will be sold to help stimulate shopping in Le Mars.  Individuals have the opportunity to purchase up to $1500 of Holiday Chamber dollars.  The Chamber will sell the Holiday Dollars in three separate categories:  The first can be used at Hy-Vee, Fareway, or Wal-Mart.  The second category can purchase food items at participating restaurants, such as 4 Brothers, Archies, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hardees, La Fiesta Charra, Mr. P's Pizza and Sports Grill, Piece of Cake, Pizza Ranch, Subway, and Taco Johns.  The final category is reserved for shopping at Le Mars retail stores including: Bad Habit Boutique, Binneboese Shoes, Cellular Connection, Claussens, Cork-It, Emily's Home Furnishings, Fashionette, Hardware Hank, Hotopp's Jewelry and Gifts, Joba's, Premier Communications, Rust's Western Shed, Sugar n' Spice, Sunshine Foods, and The Education Station.  Holiday dollars will be sold on November 2nd starting at 8:30 a.m and continuing until 10:00 a.m. at the Le Mars Convention Center lower level.


Semi Truck and Tank Trailer Accident Occurs On Highway 60

(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating a truck accident that occurred Tuesday on Highway 60, about a mile south of Hospers.  Luke Scalla, 23, of Scranton was driving a Peterbuilt semi truck and pulling a tanker trailer which was loaded with non-hazardous liquid nitrogen fertilizer.  Skalla was northbound on Highway 60 when he lost control of his vehicle, which entered the median and rolled multiple times.  Skalla refused medical treatment at the scene.  The truck sustained $150,000 worth of damage, and the tanker trailer had sustained $30,000 worth of damage. Skalla
was cited for failure to maintain control.


Osceola County Dairy Farm Has Manure Spill

MELVIN, Iowa (AP) - The estimate of a manure spill from a northwest Iowa dairy producer has jumped from 200,000 gallons to 1 million gallons.
The state Department of Natural Resources says Wednesday that the owner of High Plains Dairy near Melvin increased the estimate for the spill, which occurred Sunday
Dairy workers dammed a dry creek bed to contain the manure and then were working to pump it out and apply it to nearby fields.
The DNR says it advised the dairy owner to pump clean water into the streambed and flush the remaining manure downstream.
Because the creek was dry, no fish have been killed.
A pump failure was blamed for the spill.


Troubles Still Remain With Implementation Of New Healthcare Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Technology snags that kept people from successfully buying insurance in the new exchanges set up by the federal government are continuing into a second day.
Some consumers have turned to insurance companies offering polices for information.
West Des Moines-based CoOportunity Health, which sells policies in Iowa and Nebraska, says it hit a daily high for website hits Tuesday with more than 500 people logging in to get quotes and about 100 people calling the company's toll-free call center.
Cliff Gold, the company's chief operating officer, says people likely turned to insurer websites when they couldn't access the federal government's site.
He says he's been telling people to wait a week or two.
Consumers who want coverage starting January 1st have until December 15th to enroll.


Attorney Challenges Campaign Finance Laws

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An attorney known for challenging campaign finance restrictions wants the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down an Iowa law that bans corporations from giving directly to political candidates.
Indiana attorney Jim Bopp said Wednesday that he's filed the petition on behalf of Iowa Right to Life, which opposes abortion rights.
The group wanted to donate to a Republican candidate for Iowa attorney general in 2010, but says it couldn't under the law.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in June, saying that it prevents political corruption and the appearance of it.
Bopp's petition argues the law is unconstitutional because it allows labor unions to donate to candidates while barring corporations from doing so.
The court hasn't decided whether to take the case.

State Senator Resigns Following Financial Scandal Involving Presidential Candidate

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa state senator has resigned after a special investigator found it likely he violated ethics rules by taking money from political entities connected to former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and then denying he'd done so.
Senator Kent Sorenson told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that he's resigning.
His decision came after attorney Mark Weinhardt said in a report released earlier in the day that it was "manifestly clear" Sorenson negotiated payments in 2011 that eventually reached $7,500 monthly in exchange for his work as Bachmann's Iowa campaign chair.
Weinhardt says Sorsenson received compensation that originated from Bachmann's presidential campaign and her political action committee. He says the payments went to a Colorado company, which then paid Sorenson's Iowa-based firm.
Sorenson says resigning is best for his family.


Iowa Tourism On The Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new study says tourists and travelers spent $7.6 billion in Iowa last year.
That's 5.6 percent more than the previous year.
The U.S. Travel Association did the study for the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Tourism Office.
LuAnn Reinders of the Iowa Tourism Office says that people who are traveling "spend money on restaurants, gasoline and entertainment, and that really adds to the economy."
The national increase last year was 4.4 percent.


Iowa National Guard Furrloughs 1000 People Due To Government Shutdown

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa National Guard says more than 1,000 full-time employees have been furloughed because of the partial government shutdown.
The Guard says most of the furloughed employees are federal technicians that are uniformed members of the Guard. About 45 are civilian federal government employees.
Colonel Greg Hapgood says about 50 employees remain on duty. The shutdown began Tuesday.
The Guard says most drills scheduled through October 10th and community outreach missions have also been canceled.



Wednesday Afternoon News, Oct 2

Le Mars Resident Blames City For Lost Value On Home

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard from a resident Tuesday claiming the city's actions have reduced the value of his home, and he is seeking compensation.  Terrance Frericks owns property located at 301 4th Street Southwest.  Frericks says the home is now being occupied by his daughter and grandchildren.  However, Frericks says the home is full of mold and mildew as a result of water that has been backed up due to earth construction from the city.

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Frericks is asking the city to pay him for the property since, according to him it was the city's fault for the damage occurred since the earth work, and his home has lost its value.

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Frericks says the city's expansion has hurt homeowners, like himself.

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The city will investigate and discuss the situation further and will take it up at a future council meeting.

Unity Point Health Says Patient Records Have Been Jeopardized

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A health system that operates multiple hospitals and clinics in Iowa says someone had unauthorized access to the personal records of about 1,800 patients.
UnityPoint Health said in a news release Wednesday that the unidentified individual may have viewed names, insurance account numbers, as well as Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers.
Letters have been sent to affected patients about the security breach, which occurred between February and August. They will be offered a credit-monitoring service, and law enforcement is investigating the incident.
UnityPoint said the person who viewed the records was employed through a third-party and used other people's passwords to get into the electronic medical record system.
UnityPoint, previously called Iowa Health System, operates in both Iowa and Illinois.


HIV Appeal

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals is upholding the conviction of an Iowa man who didn't tell a sexual partner he was HIV-positive.
The court said Wednesday that there's a factual basis to support Nicholas Rhoades' 2009 guilty plea to criminally transmitting HIV.
Rhoades had intercourse with a man he met online without disclosing his HIV status. His partner contacted police after learning Rhoades had HIV, but later tested negative.
Backed by the gay rights group Lambda Legal, Rhoades is seeking to overturn his conviction. He argued that his lawyer didn't explain that the charge required proof that he intentionally exposed his bodily fluid in a manner that could transmit HIV.
The court says the two had unprotected oral sex, which raised a risk, even if low, of transmitting the virus.


Iowa Ranks Third In Deer-Car Collisions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New data show Iowa remains among the top states for drivers' chances of striking a deer, but the likelihood has dropped.
State Farm Insurance said in rankings released Monday that Iowa ranks No. 3 behind West Virginia and Montana.
The Iowa chances have dropped to a 1-in-73 chance of a collision within the next year. That's down from the 1-in-67 odds last year.
Iowa Natural Resources Department spokesman Kevin Baskins says the reduction reflects a decline in the state deer population. The department says that in 2004, Iowa had an estimated 600,000 deer. That's dropped to an estimated 350,000.
State Farm's projections are based on licensed driver counts from the federal government and State Farm's claims data.


DOT Creating New Regulations For Traffic Cameras

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Transportation is proposing new rules restricting the placement of traffic cameras on state highways.
The department released it new proposal Wednesday.
It would require that before cameras are placed on state highways, officials must have explored and implemented other options for handling traffic issues and that the cameras can't be considered a long-term solution. Cameras could be used only in very limited situations on interstate highways.
Officials also could only place cameras in areas with a history of crashes or in school zones.
The department of transportation is accepting comment on its proposal and will hold a meeting about the matter Oct. 30 in Ankeny.
The Iowa Legislature considered restricting use of traffic cameras in the last session but lawmakers didn't take action.





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