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Tuesday News, September 3

Roads Department To Close Road For Culvert Repair

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth county Secondary Road Department has announced it will be closing Marble Avenue from County Road C-70 to 320th St. located in the southern portion of the county.  That road closure begins today and is expected to be closed until next Wednesday, September 11th.  The county roads department is replacing a bridge with a culvert.


Autopsy On 5 Year Old Boy Not Released Yet

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - The cause of death of a 5-year-old boy found in a western Iowa ravine
has not yet been released.
An autopsy on the boy's body was completed Monday but the Iowa medical examiner's
office is conducting further laboratory tests before a definitive cause is released.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mitch Mortvedt says an official
release of the boy's name also is not expected until after Monday.
The boy, who was found dead Saturday in a rural Harrison County ravine, has lived with
a foster family near Logan for nearly three weeks.
A 17-year-old boy in the same foster home for nearly three years has been charged with
first-degree murder in the 5-year-old's death.


Sioux City School Superintendent Gets Pay Raise

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A new contract giving the Sioux City school superintendent an
$8,000 raise has boosted his salary to the third highest in the state.
Superintendent Paul Gausman will be paid $212,482 in the current school year. That's
behind the Des Moines superintendent's $260,000 and Cedar Rapids' at $220,972. The state's
third largest district, Davenport, will pay $195,868. The Sioux City district is the fourth
largest in Iowa.
Sioux City school board member Doug Batcheller says the pay raise is meant to keep
Gausman. Batcheller says Gausman has been approached four times about jobs elsewhere.
Batcheller says an increase in student performance, improved graduation rates and
declining dropout rates were key factors in the decision.
Gausman is entering his sixth year in Sioux City.

Ombudsman Says Attorney General Interfering With Her Work

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's ombudsman says Attorney General Tom Miller's staff has been
trying to interfere with her office's authority to investigate complaints about state and
local governments.

Ruth Cooperrider says that state attorneys have taken steps that "strike at the heart of our authority."
Cooperrider also says recent decisions by the attorney general could affect her office's inquiries into whistle-blower complaints.
Miller's spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says some of Cooperrider's concerns were "a reach."
Deputy Attorney General Julie Pottorff says whistle-blowers can go to the ombudsman's
office to air their concerns without the attorney general being involved.
The ombudsman's office has the legal powers to investigate serious disputes and make
recommendations on improving how government works.



Iowa Businesses Will Save On Unemployment Tax

(Des Moines) -- Iowa businesses will save next year on the amount of money they have to pay
in for unemployment benefits. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says
they set the rate based on a tax table each year.

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The table moved to a higher number which actually means the rates are lower.

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She says the average rate paid by businesses will be one-point-six percent in 2014, down from two-percent this year. Koonce says this is the third straight year the tax amount has dropped -- which she says is an indication the economy is improving.

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The rate is in place for one year, and Koonce says there shouldn't be any worry about paying benefits if the unemployment rate should start going back up again.

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Workforce Development information says Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment insurance
rates in the country.


Des Moines Boy Recovering Better Than Expected After Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines boy given little chance to survive after being struck
by a car two weeks ago has defied all odds and is recovering.
Six-year-old Francisco Flores had darted out into the street when he was hit Aug. 20.
He was in intensive care fighting severe head injuries and doctors told his family the
outlook was bleak.
Doctors feared permanent brain injury but he was walking within days and has now returned home.
He has staples in his head which doctors expect to remove soon and they've told his
mother to keep a close eye out for anything unusual but they see no signs of permanent

Newton Police Officer Dies

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - The death of a 48-year-old police lieutenant has stunned his fellow officers in Newton.
Pat Richardson died Sunday at a Des Moines hospital. He'd been flown there after
falling ill during a jog near his home. Richardson's death was blamed on a heart attack.
Officer Randy Camp says he didn't believe the news at first. He says the tragedy is "just unreal."
Newton Police Chief Jeff Hoebelheinrich says that Richardson won't be forgotten because "everybody just loved working with Pat."
Richardson was a 23-year veteran of the department.


Davenport Man Mistakenly Released From Custody

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A man mistakenly released on bond after he was convicted of making
methamphetamine in a Davenport child daycare center, is back in custody.
Dale Sammy Blumer was returned to jail Saturday.
Blumer, who is 35, shouldn't have been released while awaiting an appeal of his
Judge Nancy Tabor had sentenced him on Thursday morning to 25 years in prison after he
entered a plea agreement. That afternoon he posted bond and was released.
Later Thursday, Tabor amended her sentencing order revoking bond on a charge of child
endangerment/meth exposure, a felony for which no bond is allowed on appeal.
Blumer's attorney is appealing his conviction saying Blumer was not told at his plea
hearing the possible maximum penalties he would face.




Monday News, September 2

Le Mars Fire Department Issues Monthly Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department has released its monthly report.  During August, the local fire and rescue squad had a total of 41 calls.  There were 13 fire calls, four rescues, 11 investigations, and 13 requests for services.  The Le Mars Fire Department reports that eight towns participated in the annual water application drill contest and over 200 people attended.  All fire pumps on trucks were tested by an outside agency this month for their annual certification and inspection with each truck passing.  The
certification is required to maintain the outstanding insurance rating.


Kiron House Fire Causes Fatality

KIRON, Iowa (AP) - Investigators say a fatal house fire in the Iowa town of Kiron was an accident.
The fire was reported about 9 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters put out the blaze, then found the body of 50-year-old Tina Reed.
Kiron is a town of about 280 that sits about 15 miles northeast of Denison.


Public Buildings Closed For Labor Day Holiday

(Le Mars) -- All public buildings including City Hall, the city public library, and the county courthouse, many banks and the postal service will all be closed today in observance of the Labor Day Holiday.  In addition, the county Board of Supervisors will not have their weekly meeting tomorrow.  The next Plymouth county supervisor meeting will be next Tuesday, September 10th.

17 Year Old Charged With 5 Year Old's Death

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - A 17-year-old has been arrested in connection with the death of a 5-year-old boy whose body was found in a western Iowa ravine.
The Harrison County Sheriff's office says the teen has been charged with first-degree
murder in the death that was reported Saturday evening.
The boy's caregivers found his body in a ravine in rural Harrison County near Logan, Saturday.
The teen was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond on Sunday. The Associated Press
doesn't generally identify juveniles charged with crimes.
Authorities say the teen and the 5-year-old had been living together in the same
foster home since early August.
Authorities did not immediately release the child's name.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Monday morning.

Sioux City Police Investigate Hit And Run Motorcycle Fatality

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating a hit and run accident that fatally wounded a motorcyclist and seriously injuring a female passenger.  The accident happened on Friday at the junction of Hamilton Blvd. and 17th Street.  A southbound motorcycle was struck by what was described as a white full size pickup truck that had left the scene.  The male operator and the female passenger were transported to a Sioux City hospital with critical injuries.  The motorcycle driver was pronounced dead at the hospital.  Names of the deceased and injured are not being released at this time.  Officers made contact with a white 2007 Chevrolet pick up truck shortly after the accident occurred.  The vehicle is owned by Miguel Munoz of Sioux City and was determined to be the truck that was involved in the accident.  Following the initial investigation, Munoz was arrested on charges of
leaving the scene of a fatal accident, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury, and a stop sign violation.  The investigation continues.


Woodbury County To Enforce Seatbelt Violations

(Sioux City) -- Seat belts save lives, and the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau conducted a seatbelt survey on Monday. Of the 234 front seat drivers and passengers, 217 of them were observed wearing a seatbelt with a compliance rate of 92.7 percent.  So far this year, there have been 189 fatalities in Iowa with nearly a third of them, 63 of those fatalities not wearing a seatbelt. Officials say your chances of surviving a crash are up to 70 percent better if you are wearing a seatbelt. The Woodbury County Sheriff's office will be working seatbelt and OWI enforcement over the Labor Day weekend.


Glenwood Man Dies In Auto Accident

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities are investigating a one-vehicle crash that killed a 24-year-old man near Glenwood.
The Iowa State Patrol says Jack Champ died after the crash around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.
Champ was driving northbound on 221st Street north of Glenwood when he lost control of
his vehicle and drove down a steep embankment.
Champ's vehicle struck several trees and rolled before landing on its roof. He died at the scene of the accident.


Lyon County Manure Run-off Reaches Streams and Ponds

INWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Environmental officials are monitoring a northwest Iowa stream after cattle manure flowed into it last week.
The manure flowed into a tributary of the Rock River near Inwood after it was
improperly applied to a corn field.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating the situation.
The manure came from a 4,000-head cattle facility. After it was applied to the field, the manure flowed into a creek and a neighbor's pond.
The high levels of ammonia from manure can kill fish and other aquatic life.
Officials did not find any dead fish in the creek on Thursday and Friday, but they plan to continue monitoring it.


Iowa DNR Adds More Public Hunting Grounds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials have added eight new sites to Iowa's walk-in public hunting access program.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the additions increase available hunting land by 600 acres for a total of nearly 7,600 acres on 48 sites.
The hunting access program allows hunters to use a portion of private land. Landowners enroll their property in exchange for habitat improvement on that land.
The new sites are located in north central Iowa, in a part of the state with the least amount of public hunting access.
The DNR has site maps available online. Walk-in public hunting through the program began Sunday and runs through May 31st.


UNI Monitoring Food Waste

(Cedar Falls) -- A University of Northern Iowa program targets ways to stop wasting food. A recent Iowa Department of Natural Resources study found almost 14-percent of all trash dumped in the state's landfills is food waste, or about 350-thousand tons a year. Dan Nickey is the senior program manager for the Iowa Waste Reduction Center at U-N-I.

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The problem is getting worse, as the study found the amount of food waste being chucked in Iowa landfills has risen 62-percent in the past 13 years. Iowa has 46 municipal solid waste landfills but only four of them offer a food waste composting program. He says one possible solution would be for restaurants to offer smaller portions -- at corresponding smaller menu prices. Eateries could also start a composting program or another effort to reduce waste.

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He says restaurants and institutions like hospitals and colleges should assess what's being thrown out and track the results.

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Nationwide, 40-percent of all food produced ends up in landfills. Learn more at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center website: www.iwrc.org

Water Works Park To Be Renovated

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Organizers behind an expansive renovation of the century-old Water
Works Park in Des Moines say they want to focus on the urban land's relationship to water.
The park is owned by Des Moines Water Works, the municipal water utility serving the
city. While the park offers recreational amenities, organizers say the expansive space is underused and needs an overhaul.
The 1,500 acres near downtown is in the beginning stages of its renovation, which formally began in 2011 through a nationwide design competition. A Massachusetts firm is now leading the effort.
Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works, says a September 10th
open house will give the public a chance to see what the design team is working on, as well
as a chance to suggest ideas.


ISU President Flies To Many Destinations

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University President Steven Leath is a private pilot who sometimes flies himself to events around the state,
Leath says that flying is cheaper than driving on some trips because his salary makes his time a valuable commodity. He's paid almost $467,000 a year.
Other times he flies because it's the only way to attend one day's events in different parts of the state.
Leath says there's no university policy or budget restriction that governs whether he should hit the highways or the airways.
Leath flew or was a passenger in a private plane at least 25 times over a 17-month period.

Iowa Civil War Veterans Being Honored With Grave Stones

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - The Civil War service of Iowa veterans is slowly being recognized with new gravestones.
The Marshalltown Times-Republican reports (http://bit.ly/15p8F5d ) that several Marshall County residents spent Friday morning installing a gravestone for William O. Woodard.
Marshalltown historian Jay McCann was there to assist and to see some of the fruits of his efforts. McCann has been researching old records to make sure all of Marshall County's Civil War veterans are recognized.
Cemetery manager Danielle Plaehn helped search ancient records for details of Woodard's grave.
The Veterans Administration provided a grave marker free of charge after McCann shared
his research.
Woodard served in Company D of the 5th Iowa Infantry. He was wounded at the battle of Iuka, Miss., and he lived in pain for several months before dying Jan. 25, 1863.


Construction Crews Dig Up Pioneer Graves

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Construction of a new gas station in Waterloo was delayed after workers unearthed two pioneer graves from the 1860s.
The  remains of an infant brother and sister were removed for reburial elsewhere, so construction of the Hy-Vee gas station will continue.
Leah Rogers with Tallgrass Historians says experts were able to recover the remains of one individual, two gravestones and parts of a coffin.
Rogers says the gravestones contained enough information to locate the descendants of
the people buried in the graves. The family is making plans to rebury them elsewhere.
Rogers declined to identify the family.



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