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Friday News, March 15

Plymouth County Sheriff Identified Hit and Run Driver

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Sheriff's Office has been able to locate the driver of the hit and run accident that occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Highway 140 and County Road C-60, near Kingsley.  68 year old John Jongma of Hawarden was driving a Mack semi truck and grain trailer heading westbound when he failed to make a stop at a stop sign.  Jongma's trailer struck a vehicle driven by 45 year old Mark Bremer of Ocheyedan.  Both Bremer and his passenger, Donald Bremer, age 83, also of Ocheyedan were injured and were transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.  The Bremer vehicle was unable to stop on the snow and ice and it hit the grain trailer near the left rear duals causing damage to  the grain trailer, meanwhile totaling the pickup truck they were driving.  Jongma stated he did not realize there had been an accident until he reached his destination.  He then contacted the Sheriff's office to provide his information.  Jongma has been cited into court for failure to obey a stop sign and leaving the scene of an injury accident.  The Kingsley Fire and Ambulance Department assisted at the scene.


Le Mars Ambulance Responding To More Calls

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Ambulance Service has been busy during the past year, although the number of service runs for the quarter between December 1st and February 28th has held steady.  The Le Mars Ambulance has responded to 228 calls compared to 235 from a year earlier.  Year to date figures do show an increase of 21 percent in the number of service calls.  From February 28 of 2012 to February 28th of 2013, the local ambulance responded to 940 calls compared to 775 during the same period a year earlier.


Relay For Life Plans Organizational Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Relay for Life of Plymouth County is having an organizational meeting scheduled for this evening.  That meeting will take place at the Sweet Sixteen bowling.  Shelly Clay, serves as the Team Chair for the cancer awareness program.
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Clay says the Relay For Life is moving back to Le Mars this summer, and will be held on July 19th.  During the last few years, the event had taken place in Remsen.  Clay says everyone knows of someone who has been affected by cancer, and she says that is a reason to get involved with Relay For Life.
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Branstad Congratulates China's President

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa is fortunate to have strong ties to the new president of China, which could create business opportunities.
Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday congratulated Xi Jinping on assuming the presidency of the world's most populous country. Branstad says Xi will be "someone who is very good to work with" and he looks forward to visiting him soon.
Branstad's ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad's first stint as governor. Branstad visited with Xi on a trade mission in 2011.
Xi returned to Iowa last year during a trip as vice president, stopping in Muscatine to meet with those who hosted him in 1985 and in Des Moines to meet with state leaders.


Altoona Man Lied About Military Record Sent To Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Altoona man who lied about his Army record has been given prison for health care fraud.
Federal prosecutors say 53-year-old Jeffrey Kepler, of Altoona, was sentenced Thursday to a year and a day. He'd pleaded guilty in September.
Prosecutors say Kepler had submitted a falsified discharge form to the Veterans Affairs medical center in Des Moines in August 2007. The form said Kepler had served between January 1977 and
August 1979 and received medals for valor, including a Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Prosecutors say Kepler received more than $100,000 in health benefits as a result of his deception. He also filed for disability benefits but was caught.
Prosecutors say Kepler served only 27 days in the Army in 1986 and was discharged for not meeting medical fitness standards.


Surgeon Disciplined For Disruptive Behavior

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Regulators have filed a disciplinary complaint against a former University of Iowa surgeon accused of pushing another doctor during a procedure.
The Iowa Board of Medicine announced its complaint Thursday against Domenico Calcaterra, who now practices at an Indiana University surgery clinic in Indianapolis.
The complaint says Calcaterra was suspended by Iowa after he allegedly shoved another doctor in the chest during a cardiac crisis in the operating room in November 2010.
The complaint accuses Calcaterra of engaging in a pattern of disruptive behavior and unprofessional conduct, which includes allegations dating to 2003 and 2007 during residency and fellowship
programs elsewhere.
Calcaterra's attorney, Steven Ballard, said his client will contest the complaint and looks forward to presenting his side of the story. He says the complaint includes years-old allegations.


Thursday Afternoon News, March 14

Julie Baack's Murderer Released From Prison On Parole

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man who served 17 years of a 50-year murder sentence has left prison on parole.
Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta says Brian Davis was released on Wednesday. Under the terms of Davis' parole, he must stay with relatives in Olathe, Kan., obey all laws
and get a job. His parole will be supervised by Kansas officials.
Davis was convicted of second-degree murder for killing Julie Baack. The 23-year-old Baack disappeared from her Le Mars apartment in 1992. Her remains were found east of Onawa three years later.
Davis and Baack were dating at the time of her death.
Davis originally was scheduled to be released on parole in 2018, but in January the Iowa Parole Board granted Davis an early release.  Baack's sister, Beth Baack-Williams, had asked the parole board, as well as
Governor Branstad to deny the parole of Davis claiming he should serve his entire sentence. 
Williams says Iowa needs to re-instate the death penalty for those convicted of murder.


Le Mars High School To Offer Seminar On College Planning

(Le Mars) -- High school juniors and seniors and their parents can learn about planning for college during a free presentation offered by the Le Mars community High School and the Iowa College Access Network.  Barry Borchers is a Guidance Counselor for Le Mars Community High School.  He says the seminar is open to area students and parents who have questions about college.
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The seminar is scheduled for Monday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. and it will be held at the Le Mars High School Cafeteria.   Borchers says interested parents and students don't need to bring anything special to the seminar.
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Johnson Wins Morningside's Siouxland Alumni Teacher of the Year Award

(Le Mars) -- Morningside College of Sioux City through its Morningside Educator Recognition for Inspired Teaching or (MERIT) has awarded its Siouxland Alumni Teacher of the Year Award to Kelley Johnson, a fourth grade teacher at the Le Mars Kluckhohn elementary.  Johnson, a 1991 Morningside graduate, has served over the past 16 years in several leadership roles in her building and with the Le Mars Community School District.  She has served as staff liaison to the elementary parent teacher organization and also served as a member of the elementary school improvement team and the district advisory committee.  Johnson has been a leader in implementing various professional development initiatives such as Every Student Counts, Guided Reading, and the Daily 5/Daily CAFÉ educational programs.


Soderberg Comments On House Flat Tax Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House.
The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote.
The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits, however, would not be available to those paying the flat tax.  State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars hopes the Senate will pass the measure.
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Soderberg believes the measure will help Iowa remain competitive against other states.
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Soderberg says those against the bill don't like it because it reduces Iowa's generated revenue by nearly $400 million.


Rural Iowa Losing Its Population Base

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nearly two-thirds of Iowa's counties lost population between 2011 and 2012 even as the state gained 10,089 overall.
The latest U.S. Census estimates show that Iowa had 3,074,186 residents last year, but the population of 65 of the state's 99 counties declined between 2011 and 2012.
Many of the population declines were in rural areas where aging populations are dying off while younger residents move to urban areas in search of work. Fifty-five Iowa counties had more deaths
than births in 2012.
The biggest population gains in the state were reported in Polk, Johnson, Dallas, Scott and Linn counties, which are home to Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids.


Senate Democrats Push For Expanded Medicaid Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats are proposing a Medicaid expansion with an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels change.
Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum says Thursday that the plan would address concerns from Gov. Terry Branstad that the federal government can't fulfill funding promises for a Medicaid
Democrats argue that expanding Medicaid would provide better coverage to more low-income Iowa residents. Branstad says the cost is unsustainable for the federal government and questions the
long-term cost to states.
Branstad has offered an alternate plan called Healthy Iowa. This plan revamps an existing health program for low-income residents and would use state and federal funds to provide coverage.
A spokesman for Branstad says he will work with Democrats, but continues to oppose an expansion.


Missing Woman's Body Found

HAMILTON, Ill. (AP) - The body of a missing Iowa woman has been found floating in the Mississippi River near the western Illinois city of Hamilton.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that 44-year-old Teresa Bruegge of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was found Wednesday. She was found about 3 1/2 miles north of Hamilton in Hancock County. Mount Pleasant is about 50 miles north of where Bruegge's body was found.
Hancock County Sheriff Scott Bentzinger said an autopsy was planned Thursday. Police in Henry County in Iowa have been looking for Bruegge for four weeks. She went missing Feb. 14.







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