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Monday News, June 10

Le Mars Community Board Of Education To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening.  The board will hear a report from Tracy Wingert regarding the process used to select geometry textbooks.  The board will also review its insurance policies.  The school board will review the present salary and benefits of the superintendent's position.  The local board of education will go over the revisions to the student handbooks, and they will act upon the milk and bread contracts for the upcoming school year.


"Prairie Fever" To Be Discussed At Museum

(Le Mars) -- Prairie Fever, a program about the English in America will kick off "Ice Cream Days" week at the Plymouth County Historical Museum.  Tonight at 7:00 p.m. Peter Pagnamenta of London, England will be at the Museum's Music Room to speak about his new book, "Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West, 1830-1890.  The book contains several references to the settling of the English in Plymouth County.

 

Clovis Expected To Run For U-S Senate

(Sioux City) -- Conservative radio talk show host and Morningside College Professor of Business and Economics, Sam Clovis has scheduled a news conference for this evening in Sioux City to discuss his political future.  Clovis, a retired colonel with the U-S Air Force, is expected to announce his candidacy for the U-S Senate seat, held by current Senator Tom Harkin.  Harkin has announced he will not seek a re-election bid.  Clovis, a republican, will make his announcement during his "Coffee with Sam" session at the Holiday Inn in Sioux City.  Clovis says he has done his due diligence in both prayer and counseling with friends and family and he believes it's time to step up and announce his decision on his intentions for the United States Senate seat.  At least two other republican candidates have announced their candidacy for the upcoming vacant seat.

 

Body Identified As Missing 15 Year Old Girl

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities have identified a body found in a river as that of a 15-year-old girl who was abducted with another girl after getting off a school bus last month.
Officials announced Sunday morning an autopsy confirms the body found Friday night in the Des Moines River under a bridge near Boone is Kathlynn Shepard's.
Chief State Medical Examiner Dr. Julia Goodin says Kathlynn died of "multiple sharp and blunt forced injuries."
Investigators expressed confidence the body was Kathlynn's hours after a fisherman discovered it.
Clothes on it matched what Kathlynn was wearing when she and a 12-year-old friend were taken on May 20 in Dayton, about 60 miles north of Des Moines.
Authorities say Michael Klunder kidnapped the girls and committed suicide after the younger girl got away.


Family of Abducted Teen Gives Statement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The family of an abducted Iowa teenager has released a statement after authorities confirmed the 15-year-old's death.
Kathlynn Shepard's father said Sunday that the teen's family has "lost part of its soul," but that Kathylnn is now in a better place and safe from predators. Kathylnn was described as an innocent, caring and fun-loving child.
The State Medical Examiner and Department of Criminal Investigation said Sunday that had an autopsy had confirmed that a body found Friday night in Boone County was Kathylnn's.
Kathylnn was found dead in the Des Moines River weeks after she was abducted while walking home with a 12-year-old friend.
Authorities say Michael Klunder abducted the girls and took them to a hog confinement facility, where the 12-year-old escaped.

 

Fundraiser Set For Shooting Victims

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Friends of an Iowa mother and toddler who were shot multiple times are holding a fundraiser to help cover their medical costs.
The fundraiser is set for Saturday at Regal Lanes in Council Bluffs. Organizers are hosting the event in honor of 23-year-old Heather Wilson and her 2-year-old son, Tyson, who are both still recovering
from the February shooting.
Authorities have charged 31-year-old Ronald Farr with attempted murder, willful injury and going armed with intent.
The "Strike Back Against Violence" fundraiser will feature bowling, food, a raffle and a silent auction.
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Branstad Wants To Stop Bullying

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill designed to crack down on cyberbullying failed to advance in the Legislature this year, but Gov. Terry Branstad says he plans to keep working to toughen Iowa's
anti-bullying laws.
Branstad promised Thursday that he would hold another state summit on bullying, as he did last fall, and will work to get a bill passed next year.
Branstad says he "wants kids to feel safe."
The bullying bill offered by Branstad this year would have updated state guidelines for school districts to include bullying that occurs outside school on social media websites like Facebook.
It received subcommittee approval in the state House, but never moved forward.
Matt Carver, of the group School Administrators of Iowa, says he thinks the Legislature will approve the bill once lawmakers have more information.


Cedar Falls Looks At Establishing A Part-time Mayor Position

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Officials in Cedar Falls will discuss a proposal to shift to a part-time mayor.
A task force has recommended the change as the city tries to prevent a budget shortfall.
The salary for a part-time mayor could run between $6,500 and $30,000. Current Mayor Jon Crews is paid about $118,000 a year.
Crews has outlined a plan to create a city administrator position but also keep a full-time mayor.
The City Council Committee of the Whole will meet Monday night and discuss the matter.
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Keokuk Woman Named "Miss Iowa"

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A Keokuk woman has been chosen as Miss Iowa and will compete in the Miss America Pageant this fall.
22-year-old Nicole Kelly won Saturday after a three-day competition in Davenport.
Kelly is majoring in directing and theater management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
She is the 72nd woman to hold the title of Miss Iowa.
The first runner-up was 24-year-old Isabella Blaine, of West Des Moines.
The Miss America Pageant will be Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J.
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Saturday News, June 8

Authorities Find Body Of Missing 15 Year Old Girl

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have found the body believed to be a 15-year-old Iowa girl who was kidnapped by a registered sex offender while walking home from school.
Officials said early Saturday that a body believed to be that of Kathlynn Shepard was found by fishermen in an Iowa waterway Friday night. The high school freshman has been missing since May 20. She and a 12-year-old friend were lured into a truck that police say was driven by Michael Klunder. Police said Klunder took the girls from Dayton to a hog confinement where he worked.
The 12-year-old escaped. Klunder later committed suicide.
Hundreds of people searched for Kathlynn. Hopes of finding her alive were dampened when testing confirmed that blood found on Klunder's truck and at the hog building was Kathlynn's.

 

Officials Investigating If Klunder Was Responsible For Missing Cousins Deaths

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're still investigating whether there's any connection between Michael Klunder, a sex offender who committed suicide, and the disappearance last year of two slain Evansdale cousins.
The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office says investigators are still tracking the actions and whereabouts of Michael Klunder around the time that Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook went missing.
Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they rode their bikes in July and disappeared. Their bodies were discovered in December.
But authorities add that Klunder isn't their sole focus and they continue to follow up on other leads.

 

Plymouth County Well Represented For Governor's Environmental Awards

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County will be well represented for the upcoming Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Awards. The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation along with the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency will be honored with special recognition in Waste Management, and the Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will receive special recognition for Water Quality.  The awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, June 27th at Des Moines.  The city of Le Mars, Van's Sanitation and Recycling and the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency have partnered together with the goal of making Le Mars the recycling capital of Iowa.  In 2012, Le Mars city council voted to require every commercial business to recycle.  850 totes were purchased for area businesses.  A former landfill has been converted to a recycling center.  Wood is sold to an ethanol plant, concrete is ground and used on roads, shingles are ground and reused for road projects and metals are separated and sold for scrap.  Van's purchases recyclables, then bales and markets the materials.  The collaboration and leadership by the three entities has resulted in the county exceeding the 25 percent diversion goal by nearly four percent and can serve as a model to other planning areas.

The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever will also be honored at the same ceremony for providing $15,000 in seed, labor, and equipment for an innovative way to treat the city of Remsen's drinking water.  For years, the nitrate levels in the water had been increasing. The water from eight wells on 90 acres of farmland needed to be blended before being safe to drink.  Remsen had three choices: purchase drinking water from an outside source, build a multi-million dollar filtration plant, or take a risk and try planting native prairie on the well land to naturally treat the water.  Remsen received grants and low-interest loans to purchas the land and Pheasants Forever handled the planting of native grasses.  Since the planting in 2009, the community has seen a decrease in the nitrate levels and the water is now safe to drink without being blended.  The site is also being used as an outdoor classroom and the community can use the mowed walking paths to view the grasses, wildflowers, songbirds and other prairie animals.  No other community in the state or nation has used this solution to treat groundwater and the land will now remain a native prairie.

 

Merrill Man Found Dead In Yard

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m. of a male subject that was unresponsive and not breathing at a residence in the 2500 block of K-30.
After arrival and investigation at the scene, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Plymouth County Medical Examiner determined that Richard O. Kalas, age 83, of Merrill IA, had been mowing grass at his residence on a farm tractor.  Due to unknown reasons, Mr. Kalas had fallen off of the tractor and was found lying in the yard by a family member later in the day.  Mr. Kalas was pronounced dead at the scene by the Plymouth County Medical Examiner.
The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Plymouth County Medical Examiner were assisted at the scene by the Hinton Ambulance and Fire Department.

 

Branstad Declares Five More Counties As Disaster

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster emergency proclamation for five more counties affected by recent storms and flooding.
The governor made the announcement Friday for Appanoose, Lee, Muscatine, Wayne and Webster counties. It's in addition to other counties affected by storms and flooding that began May 19.
The declaration helps counties access state resources in response to the damage.
Branstad also activated an assistance program for Fayette and Muscatine counties. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 for home or car repairs, clothing or food replacements and temporary
housing expenses.

 

Supreme Court Says Stiffer Penalties Cannot Be Given For Invoking 5th Amendment Right

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says criminal defendants cannot be punished with stiffer sentences for invoking their right to remain silent to avoid answering questions about
whether they're using drugs.
Justices ruled 5-2 on Friday that a Polk County judge unfairly penalized Kenneth R. Washington III when he ordered him to complete five times as much community service than had been envisioned under a plea deal for possessing marijuana.
Washington had invoked his right against self-incrimination after Judge William Price asked whether his urine would be positive for drug use if it was tested that day.
Price ordered Washington to serve 250 hours of community service rather than the 50 hours that had been recommended by prosecutors and the defense. Justices said that was retaliation for exercising a constitutional right.

 

Branstad Will Need To Give Approval For Medicaid Funded Abortions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - If approved by Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa would likely be the first state to require the governor to personally approve reimbursement for every abortion for Medicaid
recipients.
Iowa's Medicaid program covers a small number of abortions each year due to rape, incest, fetal deformity or to protect a mother's life. If Branstad approves this measure, he will have to sign off
on these reimbursement dollars on a regular basis.
The Roman Catholic, anti-abortion Republican said he is likely to approve the legislation, which effects reimbursements after the abortions, not authorizing the procedures ahead of time.
Abortion rights advocates say Iowa would be the first state to set such a policy.

 

Northey To Travel To Turkey On Agricultural Trade Mission

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Nebraska Agricultural Trade Representative Stan Garbacz are packing for Turkey to accompany officials from four other
states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a trade mission to promote exports.
Officials from Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Pennsylvania also have reserved space for the trip to be led by Acting USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse next
week.
Representatives from 20 U.S. companies will also travel with the group including from Iowa: Hagie Manufacturing from Clarion, Sukup Manufacturing from Sheffield, and Tri-States Grain Conditioning
from Spirit Lake.
Also included are representatives from the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission and Kelly Bean Co. of Scottsbluff, Neb.
Northey says Turkey's growing middle class provides opportunities for expanded agricultural exports.

 

Des Moines Police Identify Homicide Victim

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police have identified a man killed in a shooting in an industrial area.
The Des Moines police identified the man as 35-year-old Steven Allen Harmon, of
Des Moines.
He was found fatally shot early Thursday in a parking lot where trailers are stored.
Police say Harmon had a trailer at the site, but investigators are still trying to learn why he was at the location Thursday morning.
The killing was Des Moines' fifth homicide this year and the sixth in Polk County.
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