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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 3

Iowa Department Of Transportation Still Trying To Open Highway 3

(Le Mars) -- People are trying to dig themselves out of the 13 inch snow that fell on Le Mars on Groundhog's Day. State and county road crews have been clearing the highways, and Le Mars Public Works city crews were removing the snow and hauling it away from Plymouth Street this morning.  Several schools, including Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic, decided to take a second day of snow vacation, as many streets and rural roads had not yet been cleared at the time classes were to begin.  As of 11:00 a.m. this morning, the Iowa Department of Transportation is still classifying State Highway 3 between Le Mars and Akron as being impassable. The Iowa D-O-T is still saying the stretch of highway is having a critical disruption. The Iowa transportation department has dispatched a large snow blower to the area.  Plymouth County Sheriff's deputy Paul Bettsworth was on Highway 3 and describes the scene.

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Bettsworth anticipates it will be awhile before D-O-T road crews have the entire highway cleared.

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As for the county roads, Bettsworth says crews from the Plymouth County Secondary Road Department are busy doing their best to clear the roads as quickly as possible.

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Tow bands continue to be in effect for Plymouth, Sioux, Lyon, Osceola, and O'Brien counties. Highways 3, 60, 12, 75, 20, 59, 71, 18 and 9 are still covered with snow and ice.

 

 

 

 

Highway Patrol Troopers Comment On Area Road Conditions

(Le Mars) -- Iowa Highway Patrol officials are reporting Highway 20 and Sioux City is the dividing line in terms of good winter road conditions, and highways that are still covered with snow and ice and considered a bit trecherous.  Trooper John Farley says from Sioux City heading south, roads and highways are improving, but highways extending north of Sioux City are still creating some concerns for motorists.

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The Iowa Highway Patrol trooper says very few vehicles were in the ditch and stranded from yesterday's storms, however, now that roads are beginning to be cleared, he has noticed more stranded motorists.

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Farley says within his patroling area, the winds have decreased offering motorists better visibility. Looking to the northern regions, Iowa Highway Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz has been traveling in the Sioux and O'Brien County areas.  He says road conditions are still not good.

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Kurtz advises to delay your travels, if possible, to allow state and county snow plows the opportunity to clear the roads and highways.  He says there are still several abandoned vehicles in the ditches, and even on the roads.

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Kurtz says the winds are not as strong as they were yesterday, but he cautions thereare still times when motorists may encounter white-out conditions.

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Holz And Anderson Schedule Legislative Forums

(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars has announced that he and State Senator Bill Anderson of Pierson will host four legislative forums through out the county this coming Saturday, February 6th.  Holz and Anderson will begin their day at Kingsley at the Kingsley Community Center.  The forum is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.  Merrill will be the second legislative forum will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be held at the Merrill City Hall.  From 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. the two state lawmakers will visit with constituents at the Wells Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars.  Akron will be the final stop for the legislative forums.  The meeting is slated to start at 12:15 p.m. at Akron Jo's located at 150 Reed Street.

 

 

 

 

Storm Lake Man Pleads Not Guilty To Kidnapping Conspiracy

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A May trial has been scheduled for a Storm Lake man accused of keeping the Iowa Human Services Department from taking custody of his children.
Scott Banks entered written pleas of not guilty Monday in Buena Vista County District Court to two counts of kidnapping conspiracy and one count of perjury. His trial is set to begin May 17.
Court documents say Banks kept the two children from department employees on Dec. 14 and lied while under oath at a court hearing that same day. The children were found later at the home of a relative who wasn't aware of a court order regarding the children.
The children's grandmother, Dionne Pamon, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges.
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Police Identify Killed Pedestrian

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have identified pedestrian who was killed while crossing a street in West Des Moines. 
Police announced Wednesday that 69-year-old Richard Carstensen, of West Des Moines, was struck and killed Monday night while crossing Ashworth Road. 
Carstensen was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no traffic control devices or crosswalks at the site of the crash. 
Police say the driver of the vehicle was not hurt. He was identified as 55-year-old Robert Irving, of Urbandale. Police say a preliminary investigation shows Irving did not violate traffic laws.

 

 

 

 

Jackpot Rigging Scandal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It was one of those feel-good moments that lotteries love to promote when "Lucky Larry" Dawson claimed a $9 million jackpot, surrounded by his kids and grandkids.
But five years later, the Iowa man could become a key player in litigation that threatens to cost state lotteries tens of millions of dollars in damages in an insider jackpot-rigging scandal.
A Des Moines law firm filed a lawsuit Wednesday on Dawson's behalf seeking to declare that his Hot Lotto jackpot in May 2011 should have been nearly three times as big, had the previous one not been fixed.
It's the first in what could be several lawsuits filed by players who claim they were ripped off by games allegedly rigged by Eddie Tipton, former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.

 

 

 

 

Woman Makes Deal On  Sex With Teen Charge

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 27-year-old woman has been given two years of probation after taking a plea deal in an Iowa sex-with-a-teen case.
Court records say Jessica Pritchard was sentenced Monday in Pottawattamie County District Court. She'd pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a minor. Prosecutors had lowered the charges in return for her pleas.
Pritchard was given a deferred judgment, which means her two convictions will be removed from her record if she successfully completes probation.
She must register for 10 years as a sex offender.
Authorities say Pritchard now lives across the Missouri River in suburban Omaha, Nebraska. She was arrested in July in Alliance, Nebraska.

 

 

 

 

Simpson Students Submit Petition Against Shooting Club

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa college is receiving pushback for its plan to hire a full-time coach for its shooting sports club.
The petition for a weapons-free Simpson College garnered more than130 signatures by Wednesday morning. It calls on the college's board of trustees to reverse a decision to hire a coach and to stop letting students store firearms in a locked safe on campus.
Petition supporters argue that the college should fund academic programs instead of a firearms club in an era of mass shootings that have left campuses broken and students dead.






 


 


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Wednesday News, February 3

Blizzard Conditions Continue To Hamper Northwest Iowa

(Le Mars) -- Winter blizzard conditions continue to occur for northwest Iowa, and Plymouth County causing many schools to either be closed, or try for a late start.  Because of that blowing snow, road crews are finding it difficult to keep roads open.  The latest road condition report from the Iowa Department of Transportation still shows all roads in northwest Iowa are covered with snow and ice and travel is not recommended. Interstate 29 northbound from Sioux City to Sioux Falls remains closed.  Highways 3, 60, 75, 20, 59, 71, 18 and 9 are all covered with snow and ice, and according to the Iowa D-O-T visibility is low with white out conditions happening throughout the area.  In addition to Interstate 29 being closed, I-35 northbound near Ames and I-80 westbound near Omaha are both closed due to jackknifed semi trucks and trailers.  Highway 3 between Le Mars and Akron continues to have blockage.  Yesterday, a state snowplow had gotten stuck, and two Plymouth County sheriff's vehicles were also stuck in the deep snow.  Late Tuesday afternoon, Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo had declared that no traffic, other than for emergencies, was to travel westbound on Highway 3.  Highway 3 still remains blocked and impassable for both directions.  Plymouth County Sheriff's office confirmed a tow ban is still in effect for this area, meaning tow trucks are being advised not to rescue any stranded motorist until such time visibility improves.

 

 

 

 

Two Wisconsin Men Arrested In Storm Lake On Murder Charges

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Two Wisconsin men are facing homicide charges after police and FBI officers arrested them in Storm Lake.  
23-year-old Sergio Ortiz-Raygoza and 22-year-old Eric Salazar-Mota, both of Beloit, Wisconsin, were arrested Sunday on homicide warrants in connection to the January shooting death of a 5-year-old in Beloit.
Police say the boy was shot by people targeting his father, who was driving a vehicle.
Salazar-Mota also had multiple warrants out of Wisconsin, including a federal warrant for flight to avoid prosecution. 
Officers and FBI officials arrested the two suspects late Sunday. Both remained Tuesday in Buena Vista County Jail pending extradition. 
Wisconsin court records show both men were charged with first-degree intentional homicide Monday. Records didn't list attorneys who could be reached for comment.
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Buena Vista Authorities Warn Public Of Telephone Scams

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office wants to warn the public of more telephone scams that have been recently reported.  The Sheriff's Office received a complaint that an Alta resident had been scammed out of nearly $2,000.  The caller reported that he represented a collection agency and that the man's wife owed money to the State of Iowa, and if he did not pay, a warrant would be issued for his wife's arrest.  Sheriff Kory Elston wants the public to know that if anyone calls and demands a payment and threatens that a warrant will be issued for someone's arrest, it is a scam.  Authorities say they have reports of people claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service and have threatened to have arrest warrants issued.  Sheriff Elston says this is not the way that the State of Iowa or the IRS conducts business. Elston says if you have these types of calls please take their information and then report it to law enforcement.

 

 

 

Democratic Party Being Criticized For Handling Of Caucus Reporting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Four years after the Iowa Republican Party was criticized for mishandling an extremely close caucus, Democratic Party leaders are facing scrutiny over how they ran the state's signature event.
The tight contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on Monday has highlighted the complicated process Democrats use to determine the winner and the bumpy road they take to get there.
Organizers reported overcrowded meeting rooms and delays caused by long lines of people registering to vote. Some precinct chairs initially failed to report results due to errors or technological glitches, leaving the nation waiting for a winner to be declared until Tuesday.
Clinton was named the winner Tuesday after winning by less than four "state delegate equivalents" out of 1,405, the measurement the party uses to calculate caucus-goers' preferences.

 

 

 

 

Supply Managers Show Slight Improvement To Midwest Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - January results from a survey of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states suggest some improvement in the regional economy but not enough to generate optimism.
A report issued Monday says the Mid-American Business Conditions Index jumped to 48.3 in January from 39.5 in December - the first increase in six months.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says falling agriculture and energy commodity prices and global economic uncertainty continue "to restrain supply managers' expectations of future economic conditions."
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth. A score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

 

 

 

 

Cattle Producers Concerned Over Volatile Futures Trading

(Rock Valley) -- Last week cattle producers from across the nation gathered in San Diego, California for the National Cattlemens Beef Association convention and annual meeting.  One of the issues that was discussed at great length was the recent action of volatility market prices in the cattle futures.  Kent Pruismann, a cattle producer from Rock Valley, and a former president of the Iowa Cattlemen Association attended the San Diego conference and he says officials of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were invited to explain to cattle producers why the markets were acting like a yo-yo.

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Pruismann says once the CME officials shared data from the trading activity within the time period in question, many producers had a different opinion.

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The Sioux County cattle producer says the volatile trading happened during the last three months of 2015 and with the markets moving limit up and limit down, sometimes within the same day, it created a scenario making it difficult for cattle producers to utilize futures trading as an effective risk management tool.

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