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Tuesday Afternoon News, October 22

County Hears Insurance Review

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County will see a small increase in premiums regarding its insurance
coverage, for the upcoming year, that according to Rob Bixenman of Bixenman Insurance.  The
insurance representative delivered a report Tuesday morning to the Plymouth County Board of
Supervisors.  Bixenman says the county will see less than a half percentage point increase
on premiums for property valued over $28 million dollars. He refers to the increase versus
coverage ratio as " pretty exceptional".   The county increased its insurance value more
than $800,000 for additional acquired property.  Plymouth County is a member of the Iowa
Community Assurance Pool that insures municipalities and counties.  There are 874 members
within the state.  Bixenman says Plymouth County had very few claims during this past year,
and he anticipates the county will qualify for a dividend refund, that probably will be paid
to the county sometime in December.


Le Mars City Crews Ready For Snow

(Le Mars) -- The weather forecast is calling for some snow flurries but without too much
accumulation.  However, Steve Hansen, superintendent for the Le Mars City Public Works and
Street Department says if it should snow, the city work crews are ready.

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As the temperatures drop, and as we get additional rain and snow that may freeze, Hansen has a word of caution for drivers.

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Dordt College Receives Grant For Research

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) - Dordt College in Sioux Center has been awarded about $250,000 in grant money for research purposes.
The College  will use the money from the National Science Foundation for undergraduate and high school summer research and learning.
It's half of a collaborative grant with Hope College in Michigan that's worth about $600,000.
Dordt College will host undergraduate students for eight to 10 weeks in the summer. The work will focus on the regulation of metabolic processes across a wide range of bacteria.
The grant money will also support opportunities for high school students to participate
in an academic camp.


Authorities Looking For Man Suspected Of Setting Woodbine Fire

WOODBINE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are asking the public to help identify a person that may
be connected to a building fire in the western Iowa city of Woodbine.
The State Fire Marshal's Office says investigators have obtained surveillance video
from Sept. 26 that shows a man walking along the alley behind the building that housed the
Everything Ellen Flower shop.
The video shows the man behind the building minutes before the fire was reported.
Authorities say it's likely the fire was set to the west wall of the flower shop.
The fire destroyed the building and caused structural damage to an adjoining building.
Other buildings had water and smoke damage. Authorities believe the fire may have been
caused by arson.
Reward money is available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.


Arnold's Park Banker To Head American Banking Association

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (AP) - The president of a northwest Iowa bank has been elected chairman of the American Bankers Association, a trade group that represents most of the nation's banks.
Jeff Plagge, president and CEO of Northwest Financial Corp., in Arnolds Park, will serve as chairman of the ABA for the next year.
Plagge replaces outgoing Chairman Matt Williams, president and chairman of Gothenburg State Bank, in Gothenburg, Neb.
Another Iowa banker, Charles Funk, the president and CEO of MidWestOne Bank in Iowa City is a newly elected board member of the ABA.
The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation's $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees.


Judge Declines To Dismiss Charges Against Doctor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has declined to dismiss charges against a Des Moines doctor accused of prescribing painkillers to patients who allegedly died of overdoses.
Polk County District Associate Judge Gregory Brandt said in a ruling Monday that there's enough evidence to move ahead with the case against Dr. Daniel Baldi, who faces 10 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors say Baldi prescribed large amounts of narcotic painkillers to patients including Paul Gray, founder of the band Slipknot, who died in 2010.
Baldi's attorneys argued some patients had no medication prescribed by Baldi in their systems when they died. They say others had amounts of the drugs at or below therapeutic levels, while others failed to use them as prescribed.
The trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.


Quintuplets Return Home At Sioux City

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The last of the quintuplets born July 25 in Omaha has gone home to Sioux City.
Rosalyn Garcia left Methodist Women's Hospital on Monday. She's been there since she
and her siblings were delivered via cesarean section. Her sister Jimena went home Sunday,
joining their sisters Marah and Arleth and brother, Christobal.
Their mother and father, Bianca and Jose Garcia, also have two older sons: 9-year-old Jose and 7-year-old Abrahan.
Bianca Garcia was on bed rest for more than 10 weeks before the babies were born at 28
weeks, or about three months premature. A team of 35 doctors and nurses delivered the
babies, who weighed a little more than 10 pounds total at birth.

Lewis And Clark Water System To Vote Whether To Expand To LuVerne, Minnesota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System's board is voting Thursday on whether to borrow $16 million from members to extend the system to the Minnesota city of Luverne. But it might be a tough sell.
The Argus Leader reports that Sioux Falls' representative on the board will vote no, and the Madison Daily Leader reports that city's representative also will vote against the plan.
The water system was supposed to be distributing potable Missouri River water to 20 member communities in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa by 2005, but reductions in federal funding have slowed the project.

Nine of the 20 members still are without service, even though all members and the three states have prepaid their share of the cost. Now they're being asked to pay more.

In Iowa, the membership includes: Hull, Sioux Center, Sheldon, Sibley, and Rock Rapids.


Tuesday News, October 22

Akron Fire Department Responds To Baler Fire

(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department responded to a baler that caught fire yesterday afternoon.  The call came in shortly after 4:00 p.m. Fire crews were dispatched to a corn field a half mile east of Fir Avenue north of highway 3.  The Akron Fire Department was on the scene for an hour.


Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees To Hold Special Meeting

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital's Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Wednesday morning to review, and possibly approve, a resolution accepting bids and setting a date to take further action on the hospital's north addition expansion.  Floyd Valley Hospital had three contractors that submitted bids for the expansion project.


City Water Crews To Flush Hydrants

(Le Mars) -- City water department crews will be flushing hydrants located in the southwest
portion of town beginning Tuesday morning and continuing through Thursday.  Officials say
discolored water may be  experienced in these areas as well as any part of the city because
of flow changes.  When discolored water is noticed, do not run hot water if you can help it.
Run the outside hose bib and when this water is clear then you should be ready to flush
inside the house or business to clear up the water.


Supervisors To Get Insurance Update

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a light agenda for its weekly
meeting.  The county governing board will meet with Rob Bixemann of Bixemann Insurance to
hear an update on the various insurance policies covering the county and its employees.  The
Supervisors will also hear a request from Adam Schmidt to approve a minor subdivision
located in Grant township.


Iowa State Bank Request For Merger of Charters

(Orange City) -- The Iowa State Bank of Hull is requesting a formal merger with the Iowa
State Bank of Remsen.  Although the Iowa State Bank of Hull acquired the financial services
of what used to be known as the Farmers Savings Bank of Remsen a few years ago, and now
known as and operating as the Iowa State Bank of Remsen, the two banks have been conducting
business under two different charters.  However, according to LeRoy Van Kekerix, president
and C.E.O of the Iowa State Bank, a formal request has been submitted to the State Banking
Commission to merge the two financial charters into one. 

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Iowa State Bank has seven other locations with Orange City serving as the hub.  Van Kekerix
says the other seven banks under the Iowa State Bank name are presently operating under one
charter.  He says it will make business operations go a lot smoother.

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The banking official says Remsen customers will be able to enjoy additional benefits, not presently being offered to them.

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The Iowa Banking Commission has accepted the application, and is now receiving public comments about the merger.  Van Kekerix believes the merger application will be approved, and the official merger will take place before December 31st.


Branstad Defends Public Health Department Certifying EMT With Criminal Record

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is defending his administration's oversight of
Iowa's emergency medical system, which has certified an emergency medical technician who has
an extensive criminal record.
Branstad says that he doesn't want to micromanage the state Public Health Department. He says he respects the department managers' "decision to allocate their priorities in the way they think is appropriate."
The department's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services certified Patrick Birgess, who volunteers as a firefighter in Hawarden.
Between 1988 and 2004 Birgess was convicted of drug possession, forgery, receiving
stolen property, disorderly conduct and other crimes.
Public Health Department spokesman Ken Sharp says Birgess has had no criminal
convictions in nine years.


First Of Many Discrimination Law Suits To Be Heard

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Jury selection is scheduled Tuesday for the first of what could be
several trials in claims brought by black employees and job applicants who allege racial
discrimination cost them jobs and promotions in Iowa's executive branch.
The cases stem from a class-action lawsuit in which up to 6,000 blacks passed over for
state jobs alleged a pattern of discrimination. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last year and
the Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether to reinstate it.
Meanwhile, some individual cases will be tried after years of litigation.
The first trial features former Iowa Workforce Development clerk Dorothea Polk, who
contends that she was fired in 2006 after filing a discrimination complaint with the Iowa
Civil Rights Commission. Three other trials are scheduled in coming weeks.

Bullying Summitt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The registration for a Nov. 4 bullying prevention summit in Des Moines has been extended through Wednesday.
Gov. Terry Branstad says additional demand for tickets is driving the extension. The
original deadline for registration was Friday.
The Governor's Bullying Prevention Summit registration is online at:
This year's theme is "Mission Possible: Stepping Up the Response," and is a follow-up
to last year's summit which drew about 1,100 people.
The summit's keynote speaker is Emily Bazelon, author of the book "Sticks and Stones:
Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy."
The summit will include sessions on how students and adults can make a difference.
Participants will explore good legal policy and support schools may need to better deal with

Farmers Making Progress On Harvest, Although Behind Normal Schedule

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says 70 percent of soybeans
and 35 percent of corn has been harvested in the state as favorable weather allowed farmers
to getting into their fields.
The state Agriculture Department says the corn harvest was 15 percentage points behind
normal and the soybean harvest was 11 percentage points behind normal.
Kevin Fischer of Hinton was wrapping up his soybean harvest a few days ago when I spoke with
him.  He says he was somewhat surprised at his yields, as they have been the best he has ever seen.  Fischer summarizes his soybean harvest.

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Pasture conditions also have improved, with 52 percent rated as fair, good or excellent.
Statewide, the weather allowed fieldwork on 5.4 days last week.
The state based its estimates off statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Counterfeit Money Used To Buy Pumpkins

RUTHVEN, Iowa (AP) - Police say someone used counterfeit bills to buy pumpkins from an unmanned stand in northwest Iowa.
Someone took pumpkins from the Rohan's Firewood/Pumpkin Stand near Ruthven on Oct. 13 and left two fake $20 bills.
The Clay County Sheriff's Office is investigating and has notified the Secret Service.


Mountain Lion Seen In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a mountain lion
sighting in Madison County.
A farmer's game camera caught an image of the mountain lion Oct. 13, about 10 miles north of Winterset.
DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the animal appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male.
It's the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Iowa since last October, when Des Moines police killed one in a city neighborhood.
The DNR says there have been 16 confirmed mountain lion sightings since 1994.
Those sightings will likely become even less common in the future because South Dakota, where many mountain lions apparently originate, is issuing more hunting permits to reduce the population of the animals.




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