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Thursday Afternoon News, Aug. 9

Le Mars City Council and Plymouth County Supervisors At Odds Over Economic Development

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council and the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are at
odds over the membership dues of an economic development group.  Northwest Iowa Development
consists of six counties in northwest Iowa, and as a group, the organization works to attract new businesses, or to help established businesses grow. The county's dues are based in part on the population of the county, and each community is also asked to contribute to the membership dues.  Plymouth County has paid $13,893 of the total, or 75 percent of the dues, with Le Mars asked to pick up the remaining 25 percent of the dues.  Le Mars has already paid $2737, but the county has asked Le Mars to pay an additional remaining balance of $1893.  

Council woman Delana Ihrke questioned why the county decided to ask the city of Le Mars to
pick up the bill?

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Ihrke says she doesn't see a discount for the city of Le Mars.

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Ihrke says she contacted three other communities within Plymouth County asking if they are participating in the Northwest Iowa Development.

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Ihrke says Akron officials told her they were not aware of the program, and Remsen had heard from Supervisor Don Kass, but action to contribute funds to the economic development group was never brought up during Remsen council meetings, although they did appoint a representative to the economic development group.  Supervisor chairman Jim Henrich says at present time, the other communities within Plymouth County do not contribute to the Northwest Iowa Development.

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Henrich explains why the county is asking Le Mars to fund the remainder portion of the dues.

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Mayor Dick Kirchoff has high praise for the Northwest Iowa Development group saying everyone benefits.

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Some supervisors have questioned whether the money invested in the program have offered returns to the community. 
At the urging of City Administrator Scott Langel, the city voted to approve paying the remainder fee.  Langel told the council that the city administration would try to work with the county for next year to resolve the differences, and perhaps, the city may consider being a member on its own, without ties to the county.

 

 

Iowa Workforce Unemployment Kiosks Criticized

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal report has criticized the self-help computer kiosks set up to replace three dozen Iowa unemployment offices.
An unreleased U.S. Labor Department report that says the kiosks do not provide adequate service access to people looking for jobs.
A federal review of the kiosk program this spring found the kiosks have only descriptions of services and do not aid self-help or staff-assisted services that an unemployed person might need.
Iowa Workforce Development Deputy Director Ed Wallace describes the report as a preliminary draft and says federal reviewers probably didn't fully understand the project.
Gov. Terry Branstad closed nearly two-thirds of Iowa Workforce Development field offices last year in an effort to save money.
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Iowa's Nuclear Plant To Dredge River

PALO, Iowa (AP) - Owners of Iowa's only nuclear power plant plan to dredge a section of the Cedar River to ensure access to its water.
The river flow and level have dropped during this year's drought, and Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo needs 6,000 gallons a minute to cool steam that turns the electrical turbine generators.
Plant officials say they don't intend to tap the nearby Pleasant Creek Reservoir for its water. The 410-acre reservoir was built upstream of the plant so water could be discharged into the Cedar River to increase its flow in an emergency.
Plant spokeswoman Renee Nelson says the plant has operated near capacity almost all summer.
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New Interstate 380 Rest Area To Open


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials have decided to open a new Interstate 380 rest area building and picnic area without all the artwork meant to honor artist Grant Wood.
Iowa Transportation Department rest area administrator Steve McMenamin says that the building is complete and ready to be used.
The rest area on northbound I-380 south of Cedar Rapids will feature visual references to the work of Wood, an eastern Iowa artist and educator who is best known for painting "American Gothic."
Officials expect the final pieces of artwork will be installed by Aug. 29. The old rest area building will be torn down so there will be space for a picnic pavilion.
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Drought Worsens For Iowa and Nebraska

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The latest U.S. drought map shows conditions getting worse in Iowa and Nebraska.
The area of Iowa in extreme or exceptional drought -- the two worst categories -- has more than doubled, from about 31 percent last week to more than 69 percent as of Tuesday. More than 91
percent of Nebraska is in the two worst categories.
The weekly map shows the amount of the contiguous U.S. mired in drought conditions dropped a little more than 1 percentage point, to just over 78 percent. But the area in the worst drought
classifications has risen nearly 2 percentage points to more than 24 percent.
That's because key farm states didn't get as much benefit from rains as elsewhere on the heels of hot July temperatures that federal scientists say broke a record set during the Dust Bowl of
the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

   

Thursday News, August 9

Three People Injured In Accident

(Hinton) -- Three people were injured in an accident that happened late Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of 280th Street and Key Avenue.  The vehicles involved a pick up truck driven by Jacob Reinert of Le Mars and a passenger car driven by Michael Robinson of Sioux City.  The vehicles collided at an uncontrolled intersection that did not have either stop signs or yield signs.  Injured in the accident were 24 year old Jacob Reinert and 42 year old Matthew Feller.  Both were transported to Mercy Medical Center by the Le Mars Ambulance.  Also injured was 36 year old Michael Robinson who also was transported to Mercy Medical Center by way of the Hinton Ambulance.

 

USDA Declares Plymouth County As Drought Disaster Area

(Washington) -- The U-S Department of Agriculture has added four more Iowa counties to the drought disaster declaration list.  Those counties include: Woodbury, Lyon, Sioux, and Plymouth.  Farmers have the opportunity to qualify for disaster assistance, and low interest loans.

USDA To Issue First Crop Report on Friday

(Ames) -- Due to the severity of the summer drought, all eyes will be focused on the first initial crop production report to be issued Friday morning by the U-S Department of Agriculture.  Farmers and commodity traders alike, are interested in knowing what will be the production yield numbers released by the USDA.  Chad Hart is an agricultural economist with Iowa State University and he serves as the grain marketing specialist.  Hart says analysists are expecting the corn yield to average 127 bushels per acre and the soybean yield to average 35 bushels per acre.  He says any numbers that are not close to that prediction will significantly affect the grain market prices.

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Hart says export markets have been watching the drought very closely.  He says South America may be able to benefit from the high commodity prices and possibly take over some of the United States' markets.

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The ISU ag economist says Friday's report will be gigantic since it is the first official objective look at this year's crop.

Plants and Animals Bred To Resist Drought

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Confronted with the hottest, driest summer in decades, the nation's farmers and crop scientists are looking ahead to the future heat waves and water shortages that are
expected to result from climate change.
They've concluded that it's too late to fight the shifting weather patterns. Instead, they are aiming to adapt with a new generation of hardier animals and plants specially engineered to
survive in intense heat with little rain.
In Texas, a rancher is breeding cattle with genes that trace to animals from Africa and India, where their ancestors developed tolerance to heat and drought.
In seed laboratories, researchers are developing corn with larger roots to gather more water. Someday, the plants may even be able to "resurrect" themselves after a long dry spell, recovering quickly when rain returns.

Le Mars Sets September 10 - 15 As City Clean Up Week


(Le Mars) -- The week of September 10th to the 15th has been declared by the city to be the next fall clean up offering amnesty to Le Mars residents from the landfill disposal cost.  Le Mars residents can "throw away" up to 1000 pounds of household material with the disposal cost being picked up by the city.  Items that can be tossed include furniture...construction and demolition that include scrap lumber...metal...and white goods.  However, there is a $10 demanufacturing charge for each white goods item.  White goods includes: air conditioners, microwaves, washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, fluorescent lights, hot water heaters, furnaces, dishwashers, ranges, ovens, and trash compactors.

 

Civil Rights Groups Act Against Iowa's Secretary of State

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Civil rights activists are seeking to block Iowa's Republican secretary of state from enacting rules to purge ineligible voters from Iowa's voter registration list and make it easier to report fraud.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens filed a petition for injunction Wednesday to block Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz from enacting the rules, quietly issued July 20th.
The first would allow Schultz to remove voters from Iowa's registration database by comparing that list against government databases of foreign nationals. The second would allow persons to
report allegations of voter fraud through e-mail. The ACLU says state law requires a sworn statement.
The groups say Schultz is overstepping his authority and the rules could unfairly suppress voters. Schultz's spokesman had no comment.

 

Des Moines Botanical Gardens Receives Grant For Improvement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state panel has approved nearly $1 million for improvements to the botanical gardens in Des Moines.
The Vision Iowa board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $980,000 grant for the gardens. The money will go toward an $11.6 million renovation of the gardens, located along the Des Moines River near downtown.
A nonprofit group is assuming the botanical center's lease and overseeing plans for new garden features, an improved cafe and changes to its parking lot. That work should be completed in summer
2014.
The group reported in June that it had raised $10.1 million.  Garden President Stephanie Jutila says fundraising will continue for additional improvements.
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Iowa Grown Tomatoes Being Recalled For Salmonella

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa grower is recalling grape tomatoes distributed in stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan because they may contain salmonella.
Menno Beachy of Cresco, Iowa issued a recall on Wednesday for one pint containers of labeled Menno Beachy Certified Organic Grape Tomatoes.
Beachy says he sent tomatoes from his farm and a nearby farm to a food distributor in Minnesota. The distributor sent 15 cases of 12 one-pint containers of the affected tomatoes to stores in the
three states between July 26th and August 6th.
No illnesses have been reported.
Beachy says he became of aware of the health risk after the Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected a sample from the Minnesota distributor that was found to be contaminated.
Consumers should discard the tomatoes or return them to the store.

 

20 Month Old Baby Shot

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 20-month-old child has been wounded in an accidental shooting in Des Moines.
The accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Police say the gun had been taken by someone to a garage at a relative's home. The visitor was showing the home's resident how the gun worked when it went off.
The bullet tore through two walls before hitting the child, who was in the backyard. Police say the child's wound is not considered life-threatening.
No charges have been filed.
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