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Tuesday News, July 29

Supervisors Will Not Hold Weekly Meeting

(Le Mars) -- There will be no Plymouth County Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for today.  The Supervisors will meet again next week at the County Courthouse Boardroom.


Orange City To Host Community Conversation On Cultural Affairs

DES MOINES – Orange City residents are invited to a “Community Conversation” this week presented by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. This conversation will help shape the future of arts, history and culture in Iowa in conjunction with revitalization plans being developed for the State Historical Building of Iowa.
The Community Conversation in Orange City will be 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at Northwestern College. More information is available at or 515-281-5111. The meeting is free and open to the public and will include a brief introduction from DCA followed by an active discussion facilitated by its Master Planning consultant, Lord Cultural Resources.
Department of Cultural Affairs Director,Mary Cownie says “Since the State Historical Building is the hub for the Department of Cultural Affairs, it serves as the heart and soul of our statewide outreach.  As part of our revitalization planning, we are hosting Community Conversations to listen to Iowans and gather input about the visitor experience at the State Historical Building, the department and how we can better serve the state.


Sioux City Man Accused Of Robbing Motels And Holstein Bank

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of stealing money from a bank has also been accused of robbing two motels.
     21-year-old Michael Dutcher faces at least two counts of felony first-degree robbery in connection to motel robberies in May and June. Dutcher is accused of using a gun at one motel and a knife at the other business.
     Dutcher also faces robbery and theft charges in connection to a recent bank robbery in Holstein. Authorities say he took about $82,000 from the bank and threatened tellers with a gun.


Branstad To Send Workforce Staff To Cherokee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says a team of state workers from Iowa Workforce Development will head to Cherokee to help hundreds of workers losing their jobs when the Tyson Foods chicken processing plant closes in September.
     Tyson announced Friday it would close the plant resulting in a loss of 450 jobs.
     Branstad, at his weekly news conference Monday, said the plant closing is a disappointment. 
     He says the state has a special team that helps workers in mass layoffs assess retraining possibilities and search for other work.
     Branstad says the Iowa Economic Development Authority will help Cherokee recruit potential employers to replace the jobs being lost.
     His Democratic challenger, Sen. Jack Hatch, says Branstad should reopen the workforce development office he closed in Cherokee and 35 other locations in 2011.


Crops Ahead Of Schedule For Development

(Des Moines) -- The latest corn and soybean condition report shows both crops with the majority rated as good to excellent condition. The state's corn crop is listed as 78 percent good to excellent, while the soybean crop is rated as 74 percent in good to excellent condition.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the moderate temperature has reduced stress for the crops and the livestock.  85 percent of the state's corn crop was at or beyond the silking stage, just over two weeks ahead of the previous year and almost a week ahead of the five-year average.  14 percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, seven points ahead of normal.  Soybean progress advanced to 82 percent blooming or beyond, ten days ahead of last year and just ahead of average.  41 percent of the state's soybean crop was setting pods, well ahead of last year's 12 percent.


Northey Pushes For Water Quality Initiative 

(Le Mars) -- Speaking about Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, he made a stop in Le Mars last week to visit the Plymouth County Fair.  Water quality is an initiative Northey has been pushing.  The state has funded 13 projects, of which two are located in Plymouth and Sioux counties.  Northey says its very important that Iowans have clean water and to reduce the nitrate levels found in our ground water.

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Northey says it speaks well of northwest Iowa, and specifically Plymouth and Sioux counties to have been granted the money for the water quality initiative projects.

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The Iowa Agriculture Secretary met with representatives of the Plymouth County Soil and Water Conservation Services to discuss the recently funded water quality inititative project.


Former Securities Agent Charged In Theft Of Investment Money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa securities agent has been extradited from Texas to face charges of stealing investment money.
     The Iowa attorney general's office said Monday that 55-year-old David William Johnson, of Keller, Texas, faces four counts of felony first-degree theft and one count of felony ongoing criminal conduct. An arrest warrant was issued July 3 and he arrived in Iowa on Sunday.
     Johnson is accused of misappropriating investment funds belonging to four Iowa residents. Documents say he engaged in theft for financial gain on a continuing basis, and each person lost more than $10,000.
     Johnson is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond. Court records do not list an attorney.

Ernst Back On Campaign Trail Following Military Training

  URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - Senate GOP candidate Joni Ernst has returned from two weeks of training with the Iowa National Guard to a contest against Democrat Bruce Braley that has become one of the nation's closely watched in the run-up to the midterm elections.
     The Republican state senator spoke with veterans at a restaurant in the Des Moines suburbs Monday. She made brief remarks about her passion for public service and commitment to military veterans.
     This was the first campaign appearance for Ernst since she departed for the annual training in Wisconsin.
     Ernst and Braley are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who has held it for 30 years.


Hatch Critizes Branstad Over Number Of Debates

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic candidate for governor Jack Hatch is criticizing Gov. Terry Branstad for refusing to negotiate the number, location, and details for a series of debates.
     Hatch, a Democratic state senator from Des Moines, says Branstad has said he'll do three debates with Hatch and won't negotiate further.
     Hatch says the take-it-or-leave-it attitude cheats Iowans opportunities to see the candidates face to face.
     The scheduled debates are Aug. 14 in Des Moines, Sept. 20 in Burlington and Oct. 14 in Sioux City.
     Hatch says he's hoping to arrange additional debates.
     Branstad's campaign spokesman Tommy Schultz says the campaign is excited to participate in three debates - the same number held in 2010 - and we will not respond further to Hatch, which he says is desperate and struggling.


Authorities Find More Than 50 Animals In Home

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Fort Dodge authorities have found a total of 50 to 60 animals inside two homes that stank of urine and feces.
     Officers who responded to a nearby residence on Saturday were told about the animals. Officers then found eight dogs and between 40 and 50 cats in the two homes.
     Police Chief Tim Carmody says the 61-year-old owner of the homes has cooperated with officers and has not been charged with anything.
     Firefighters wore hazardous-materials suits and breathing gear to enter the homes and handle the animals. 
     The dogs were impounded. Webster County animal control and volunteers from Almost Home, the Humane Society of North Central Iowa, were seeking space at rescue shelters for the cats, which were temporarily left in the two homes.





Monday news, July 28

Fair Attendance Passes 100,000 Visitors

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Fair, known as the best five days of the summer, is now over.  Good weather and a variety of entertainment are being credited by fair officials for the good attendance levels.  Rich Benson, vice president of the Plymouth County Fair, talks about the fair's success.

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Benson says fair board directors heard several good comments regarding this year's fair.

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The Plymouth County Fair Vice President says plans for next year's fair have already started.

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Fair Auction Raises $25,525

(Le Mars) --  The annual fair auction did not set any records, but never-the-less was able to raise $25,575 through the sale of belt buckles, toy trucks, a quilt, and chainsaw wood carvings produced by AJ Lutter and his associates.  The quilt made by Geri Dreckman brought for $4600 and was purchased by Greg and Pam Wells.  Some of the other top selling items included a wolf head chainsaw sculpture sold for $2600, a standing bear sold for $2500, and an eagle with the Case tractor company logo sold for $3500.


Chainsaw Artist Given Fair Hall Of Fame Award 

(Le Mars) -- Chainsaw artist A.J. Lutter was honored by the Plymouth County Fair as this year's recipient of the Plymouth County Fair Hall of Fame.  Lutter has been a featured attraction at the Plymouth County Fair for the past 25 years, producing numerous chainsaw sculpture pieces that have been sold at the annual auction, raising several hundred thousand dollars for the fair. Fair president Tony Schroeder made the presentation.

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Cherokee Prepares For Plant Shutdown

CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) - The town of Cherokee is preparing to deal with the loss of 450 jobs this fall when the Tyson Foods plant in Cherokee closes, and business owners are worrying about what it will mean.
     The Tyson plant is the second-largest employer in Cherokee.
     Cherokee Mayor Mark Murphy says he was surprised by Friday's announcement of the plant closing, and the city will try to help plant workers find other jobs in the area.
     Linda McClaren says she knows her American Theater will be affected because going to the movies is something people do when they have extra money to spend.


Ankeny Looks To Profit From New Census

 ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Ankeny expects to profit from paying about $865,000 for a special census 
     The Des Moines Register says ( ) the special count this year is expected to show Ankeny has grown to at least 53,000 residents, well beyond its official 2010 count of nearly 45,600. City Manager David Jones says the higher population can translate to an extra $3 million to $4 million a year in road use tax revenue each year until the 2020 census is conducted.
     Federal law lets cities and counties request a special census once every decade. The U.S. Census Bureau says 28 Iowa cities have made such a request in the past decade. Ankeny did so in 1975, 1985, 1994, 2005 and now 2014.
     The road use tax fund is money from a tax on fuel.








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