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Monday Afternoon News, October 20

Le Mars Police Arrest Two For Vehicle Burglaries

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department along with the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department have arrested two individuals for what they believe to be responsible for several burglaries of motor vehicles and buildings.  Search warrants were issued at 576 12th Street Southeast, apartment 3 where stolen property was recovered.  Arrested were 19 year old Brandon Sjaarda of Orange City and 19 year old Nicholes Madsen of Le Mars.  Both individuals were charged with seven counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, aggravated misdemeanors, and one count of burglary in the third degree, a class D felony.  Both subjects are being held in the Plymouth County jail on a $5000 bond.  The Le Mars Police have been investigating the burglaries since mid-September.  They say the investigation is continuing, and they expect to make additional arrests.  The Le Mars Police encourages anyone that is missing items from their vehicles or garages to report it to the police department.


Fire Department Reminds Residents Not To Burn Leaves

(Le Mars) -- With the fall season upon us, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department wants to remind Le Mars residents that burning of yard waste and leaves is not allowed within the city limits of Le Mars.  The city does provide a tree, limb, and leaf disposal site located on West Highway 3 near the Gehlen baseball and softball complex.  The disposal site is free to the public and is open on Wednesday between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and also on Saturday's between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.


Plymouth County Auditor's Office Will Be Open On Saturday

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Auditor’s Office will be open Saturday, October 25th from 8 am until 5 pm for the purpose of registering to vote and voting an absentee ballot in the November 4th General Election.  Please enter through the north lower level entrance of the Courthouse at 215 4th Ave. SE, Le Mars if you plan to vote on Saturday, October 25th.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Plymouth County Auditor’s Office at 712-546-6100. Stacey Feldman is the Auditor and Commissioner of Election and Cheri Nitzschke is the Election Deputy.


Branstad Wants To Improve Quality Of Life For Iowans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he wants to make sure Iowa has great parks and cultural offerings for residents.
     The incumbent Republican governor, who is running for a sixth non-consecutive term, released a plan Monday he says would better organize the state's recreation and cultural resources. He calls it a quality of life effort.
     Under the plan, the state would create an oversight board to coordinate the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Economic Development Authority, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation.  That board would oversee quality of life efforts, as well as come up with a long-term plan for new investments. 
     Branstad would also set up a new fund to pay for such projects, using existing state dollars and private money. 


UNI President Sends Email To Say Comments Were Not From University

 CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Some posts to an anonymous social media app have prompted the University of Northern Iowa's acting president to send a campus-wide email to explain the comments weren't representative of the university.
     The Des Moines Register reports ( ) acting UNI President Michael Licari sent the email Friday after someone posted racist comments at the app Yik Yak. Among the comments were, "I chose uni because I didn't see a single black person on my visit day."
     Licari urged those posting the comments to "understand the impact of your actions and stop."
     Licari added that the comments hurt the UNI community but "your thoughtless attempts to undermine the very fabric of our community when you speak hate under the cloak of anonymity will fail."
     Faculty, administrators and students are discussing other responses.


Fort Dodge Teen Charged With Attacking Two Women On Hiking Trail

   FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A teenager has been accused of separate attacks on two women along a park trail in Fort Dodge.
     The boy was arrested Saturday shortly after officers talked to a woman who'd been stabbed on the Snell-Crawford Park Trail. She suffered neck and arm injuries and was taken to a hospital.
     Assistant Fort Dodge Police Chief Roger Porter told the newspaper that information gained during Saturday's investigation led officers to believe the boy also was involved in an August attack in the same area.
     The boy is charged with attempted murder and going armed with intent in Saturday's attack. He is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the attempted abduction of a woman on the trail on Aug. 5.




Monday News, October 20

Tragic Combine Accident Claims Life Of Le Mars Farmer

(Le Mars) -- A deadly accident happened Friday evening when a combine harvester was traveling on 220th Street near Impala Avenue southwest of Le Mars, towing a soybean head on a trailer, when apparently, the trailer broke loose and struck the left rear of the combine.  The impact forced the combine into a ditch and caused the farmer to be thrown from the cab.   The operator of the combine was 55 year old Gene Sitzmann of Le Mars.  Sitzmann was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City where he died as a result of injuries suffered in the accident.


Friends Help With Fallen Farmer's Harvest

(Le Mars) -- Within hours of that tragic and deadly accident involving Plymouth County farmer, Gene Sitzmann, nearly 40 fellow farmers, neighbors, and friends appeared at a soybean field about a mile east of Merrill to organize a harvest bee.  Chuck Kellen of Le Mars helped organize the harvest bee.

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The gathering was able to harvest 200 acres of soybeans within three hours.  Kellen explains how the harvest bee was able to be organized in such a short time period following Friday night's accident.

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Kellen says the soybeans were delivered to the Le Mars Agri Center.  Kellen says everyone was a friend to the fatally wounded farmer, Gene Sitzmann.

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The harvest bee organizer says a similar effort may occur within the next few weeks when the gathering of friends help the family with the corn harvest.


Le Mars Water Department To Flush Water Mains

(Le Mars) -- The City of Le Mars water department will be flushing the SE part of town starting today at 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Flushing will continue the rest of the week from 8:00 AM – 3:30. If customers experience discolored water please refrain from using hot water and washing cloths until cleared. Check the outside hose bib or cold hard water tap to monitor for clarity.
Depending on progress and startup of the new booster station, flushing will happen in the booster area after the new booster station is put on line. Notice will be given after this date is known. This area consists mainly of homes south of 12th street and east of 1st Ave. SE.


Secondary Roads Department To Close 260th Street

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced they will be closing 260th Streert from Noble Avenue to Omega Avenue beginning today and continuing through November 17th.  The purpose of the road closure is to replace an old bridge with a culvert pipe.


Woodbury County Fugitive Re-captured

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa fugitive has been apprehended in northeast Nebraska's Dakota County.
     Iowa prisons spokesman Fred Scaletta said Monday that 42-year-old Cletus Armell already has been transferred to Woodbury County Jail in northwest Iowa.
     Armell was listed as escaped on July 14 after he didn't return to the Sioux City work release facility from an appointment. 
     Records show Armell escaped from a residential work release center in Sioux City in 2012. He was captured a short time later and was returned to prison. 
     In November 2013 he was again transferred to work release. His original sentence was 15 years for armed robbery.


Iowa Hospitals Prepare For Ebola

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hospitals and doctors' offices in Iowa are preparing for the unlikely possibility of a case of Ebola in the state.
     The Des Moines Register reports clinics have started asking whether patients have visited the countries where the Ebola outbreak is based West Africa.
     And area hospitals are practicing using protective equipment that would be needed to treat an Ebola patient.
     Doctor Daniel Gervich with Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines says the risk of an Ebola patient here is extremely low, but it's important to have a plan in place.
     Hospitals will have to be ready to isolate patients with symptoms consistent with Ebola - such as vomiting, fever and diarrhea - while testing is done.


Senator Warren Campaigns For Braley In Iowa

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senator Elizabeth Warren focused on stumping for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley during a campaign stop in Iowa Sunday, but some liberal activists in the state that holds the first presidential caucus of 2016 made it clear they want her to run for the White House.
     Warren, a popular Democratic campaign surrogate who focuses on economic inequality, campaigned for Braley in Iowa City and Des Moines. Her vigorous speech drew huge applause from several hundred supporters gathered at the Hotel Fort Des Moines Sunday afternoon.
     Braley, a four-term congressman from Waterloo, is in a tight race against Republican Joni Ernst, a state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. The seat is viewed as crucial as Republicans seek to gain six seats and achieve a Senate majority.


Efforts Underway To Have Unified Stun Gun Policies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Law enforcement policies on the use of stun guns vary greatly across Iowa's 99 counties, and civil rights experts who recently reviewed the policies say many of them are inadequate.
     The Des Moines Register obtained a new report that identifies several deficiencies in the stun gun policies.
     The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the University of Iowa College of Law Clinic conducted the study after questions were raised about stun gun use in lawsuits and previous stories.
     Last year, two people died after being stunned by officers during confrontations.
     State lawmakers considered requiring stun gun training and policies on their use but failed to pass a law.


Des Moines Woman Charged For Hit-And-Run Accident

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines police sergeant says a woman charged in a fatal hit-and-run panicked when she left the scene of the accident. 
     Sgt. Jason Halifax says that 20-year-old Ashley Brown is remorseful about the Saturday death of 55-year-old Kenneth Wallace. She has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and not having insurance.
     Wallace had been walking and was found dead in the road. 
     Halifax says Brown turned herself in after a witness identified her to police. Authorities are examining surveillance videos from businesses near the scene of the crash.




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