Saturday, April 25, 2015
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Wednesday News, April 15

Fire Department Responds To 2 Grass Fires And 2 Accidents

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has had a busy day on Tuesday responding to four calls... two separate grass fires, and two separate auto accidents.  The first grass fire occurred at about 11:05 a.m. near 130th Street and Highway 60.  The second fire happened at about 12:35 p.m. along the railroad tracks between county road C-16 and 130th street, parallel to Lake Avenue.   Fire Chief Dave Schipper says a discarded cigarette was to blame for the first grass ditch fire.


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Schipper says the second fire was caused by a passing train, and it was located in an isolated area.


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The Le Mars Fire Department was on the scene of the second fire for nearly an hour and a half.  While the Le Mars Fire Department was busy with their second grass fire, both Hinton and Merrill Fire Departments responded to a grass fire located near 260th Street and Iris Avenue.  Around 4:30 p.m. the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Highway 60 and 160th Street where a car was traveling on Madison Avenue and started to fishtail on the gravel road and losing control.  The car left the roadway and ended in a steep ditch.  Three people were in the vehicle and suffered minor injuries, although one person was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital.  The second auto accident happened at about 8:20 p.m. near 9th Avenue Southwest and 3rd Street Southwest.  A single vehicle lost control and slammed into a tree causing extensive damage to the vehicle.  The driver, suffered head injuries and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital with what was thought to be non-life threatening injuries.


Car Hits Tree

(Le Mars) -- A one vehicle accident happened Tuesday evening, involving a car hitting a tree near the city's Little League Ball parks on 9th Avenue southwest and 3rd Street southwest.  The one vehicle accident caused the driver to sustain injuries and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital.  The accident occurred at about 8:20 p.m.  Apparently, the driver had left the parking lot area near the West Floyd Park and turned onto 9th Avenue southwest when he lost control. The car then struck a tree causing extensive damage to the vehicle. Officials at the scene indicated the vehicle may have been speeding which lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle.  Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, the Le Mars Ambulance, and the Le Mars Police Department.




County Engineer Shares Plan For Road Construction Projects

(Le Mars) -- The warm weather is a sure sign of road construction is about to begin.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe reviewed for the county supervisors today the road and bridge repair projects scheduled for this spring and summer. Rohe says there are no paving projects scheduled for this year, the county is planning to do some re-surfacing projects.


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Rohe says most of the work this summer will focus on either bridge replacement with culverts or with bridge repairs.


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The county engineer says Plymouth county secondary road department employees will replace eleven of the bridge projects, with the remainder to be bid out to contractors.



Anderson Honored As Chamber's "Boss Of The Quarter"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its "Boss of the Quarter" during its Chamber coffee event Tuesday morning.  Todd Anderson, co-owner of the Le Mars Beauty College and Mantrap hair salon was presented the honor.  In the nomination of Todd Anderson, it says Todd leads by example.  When you are in his presence, you can’t help but enjoy the moment. His positive disposition is contagious. He brings a level of excellence to his work that seems so effortless. He raises everyone’s standards. His kind and generous nature, coupled with a sense of humor, adds depth to his skills as a leader.

Todd has the fortunate opportunity to impact not only his employees, but also hundreds of students, as well as all of their well-groomed customers. For over twenty-five years as the owner of the Mantrap Salon, he has created an environment for his employees to thrive, entrusting them to run their own business within the business and allowing flexibility to set their own schedule, balancing work and family life. He places People first.

Our congratulations go to Todd Anderson for being honored as the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce "Boss of the Quarter".




"Teacher Of The Year" To Be Named Today

(Le Mars) -- Later today, we will learn who has been selected as the Le Mars Community School District's "Teacher of the Year".  The honored candidate will be awarded the Crystal Bell of Excellence during the School Foundation and Distinguished Alumni Banquet scheduled for April 29th.  School officials will make the announcement this afternoon at a ceremony at the Kluckhohn Elementary School.



Historic Preservation Commission Announces "Tour Of Homes"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce that the Tour of Homes will be held on Saturday, May 9.   Each year the commission features four homes showcasing a diverse mix of architectural styles during National Historic Preservation month.   You’ll be able to tour these private homes and view the preserved character. The four Le Mars homes that will be on the tour are:   Paul and Denise Gengler - 701 Central Ave SW, Ryan and Tiffany Wright - 500 Central Ave SE, Dave and Patty Hill - 427 Central Ave SW and Bob and Marge Dull - 531 1st Ave SE.

Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission President Linda Mayrose says the Historical Commission is delighted to have these four historic homes on the tour,” She says,  “The architectural styles provide an excellent overview of Le Mars’ architectural history.


The Tour of Homes will be held on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00am to 4:00pm.   The tour will begin in the Museum’s Old Central gym lobby.  Tickets for the tour are $10.00 each.   Tickets may be purchased prior to the event by calling  Linda Mayrose 712-548-6889 or purchased the day of the event at the museum.  Tours will proceed rain or shine.


Every year the Le Mars Historic Preservation Tour of Homes alternates donating the profits between the Plymouth County Museum and the Le Mars Arts Center.   In 2015, the Museum will receive the proceeds.



State Senate Submits Budget Proposal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders in the Democratic majority Senate are offering their overall budget outline, which includes a proposed state employee early retirement program.

Senate Democrats released their budget targets Tuesday. Their overall spending goal is similar a proposal by Gov. Terry Branstad, at roughly $7.3 billion.

But some of the details are different. Democrats want more K-12 education spending than Branstad has proposed. And they have suggested an early retirement incentive program, which they say could generate savings.

Republican House Appropriations Chairman Chuck Soderberg, of Le Mars, says in a statement that the proposal spends more than the state can afford. Leaders in the Republican-majority House have not released their spending numbers. A spokeswoman for House Republicans declined to comment on the early retirement proposal, saying they needed to review the idea.




Senate Approves Palmer As DHS Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has confirmed the governor's pick to lead the state Department of Human Services.

The Senate endorsed Chuck Palmer in a 39-11 vote Tuesday. During a brief debate, some lawmaker raised concerns about Palmer's leadership. Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg, of Cedar Rapids, criticized Palmer and Gov. Terry Branstad over closing a juvenile home last year and for seeking to shutter two mental health institutions this year.

But Republican Sen. David Johnson, of Ocheyden, said Palmer has been a stable leader for the department.

Palmer took over DHS in 2011 after Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.




Bird Flu Hits Iowa Turkey Farm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bird-flu strain that has already hit numerous turkey farms in the Midwest has been found in a turkey flock in northwest Iowa.

An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says Tuesday the H5N2 strain of bird flu virus has been confirmed in a barn on a farm housing 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County. The disease was suspected when turkeys began dying in the barn.

An Iowa Poultry Association spokesman says the farm is under quarantine and the turkeys will be euthanized.

Animal health officials have long said the virus is dangerous to all commercial poultry. Iowa has 130 turkey farms raising 11 million turkeys a year. The state also is the nation's leading egg producer with 59.6 million egg layers. No chicken flocks in Iowa have been infected.




Tuesday News, April 14

School Board Approves Budget And School Calendar

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board approved its 2015-2016 budget during its regular meeting held last evening.  The school board approved the total operating fund spending authority for the district at $25,015,959.  The recommended budget for the operating fund equals $21,713,776.  The operating fund balance is projected to be approximately $3,302,183. The school board also approved the school calendar for the next school year.  Classes will begin on Thursday, August 27th and are scheduled to conclude on May 27th.



Supervisors To Meet Today

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet today, and on their agenda the supervisors will discuss whether they want to help offer financial support for litigation expense for Sac, Calhoun, and Buena Vista counties as they defend themselves against a lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works.  The supervisors are expected to appoint Curt Moodie to the Veteran Affairs Commission.  Moodie will replace Don Beitelspacher who recently passed away.  The supervisors will also review and approve Cost Advisory Services Administrative Expense reimbursement for Department of Human Services expenses and indirect costs analysis.  Plymouth County Recorder JoLynn Goodchild will present the quarterly report to the county supervisors, and Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe will present the budget of the secondary road program.



Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees To Discuss Annual Audit

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening. The hospital trustees will hear a medical report, a financial report, including approval of the hospital's annual audit as performed by the Denman and Company.  Hospital administrator Mike Donlin will offer the trustees an update on the north addition expansion project.  The hospital trustees will also review and expected to approve capital acquisitions.



Farmers Co-op Society To Construct New Feed Mill

(Boyden) -- Farmers Coop Society’s board of directors has announced the approval of constructing a new feed mill in Boyden.  The $14.75 million project will help FCS meet the needs of their customers both now and in the future. The new mill will include many technological features that will improve the all-around efficiency of the mill as well as the time it takes to load and unload semis. This new feed mill will have the ability to manufacture a total of 3000 tons per day with 1000 of those tons being in pellets. When the mill is fully operational it will require 45 semi loads of ingredients, up to 70 loads of corn, and produce 115 semi loads of complete feed per day. FCS’s feed business continues to grow and they have been anticipating the need for an additional mill for the last year and a half. The feed team and management are excited about the opportunity to grow their business in northwest Iowa and the surrounding area.



Farmers Prepare Fields For Crop Production

(Le Mars) -- Farmers have been taking advantage of the warm weather by preparing their fields for crop production.  Iowa State University Extension Crop Specialist for Northwest Iowa, Joel DeJong says so far, farmers are off to a good start.

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Soil temperatures have been rising according to DeJong, but still a bit cooler than desired for crop production.

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As for sub-soil moisture levels, and despite some reports indicating drought-like conditions, the crops specialist says for most of Northwest Iowa the levels are sufficient.

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Most Iowa farmers will probably plant this year's corn crop between April 20th and May 10th.



Fire Hydrant Flushing To Continue Today

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Water officials hope to resume the fire hydrant flushing today, following last week's water main break which caused a delay. City water superintendent Gayle Sitzmann explains the water flushing schedule.

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DeCosters Sentenced To Three Months In Prison For Contaminated Eggs

(Sioux City) -- The two former operators of an egg production facility in Wright County were each sentenced Monday to three months in prison and fined 100-thousand dollars in connection with a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010. Eighty-one-year-old Jack DeCoster of Turner, Maine was the owner of Quality Egg, and his 51-year-old son Peter of Clarion, Iowa, was the chief operating officer. Jack and Peter DeCoster each pleaded guilty to one count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Their former company, Quality Egg, pled guilty to one count of bribery of a public official, one count of introducing a misbranded food into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and one count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The company was sentenced to pay a fine of six-point-79 million dollars and placed on probation for three years. Court records show the company knew of salmonella in their egg laying plant, but mislead customers and tried to bribe inspectors to conceal the positive salmonella tests prior to the disease outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control says the outbreak likely caused nearly two-thousand people to become sick.



Cherokee Man Sentenced After Police Standoff

CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) - A Cherokee man has been sentenced in connection to a lengthy standoff with police.

36-year-old Joshua Allender was sentenced Monday to up to 10 years in prison. He took a plea deal in March to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and assault on a peace officer, dropping attempted murder, assault and weapons charges.

Police responded to a call on Oct. 30 about a suicidal person in Cherokee County. Officers say Allender refused to leave the home and fired a gun from an upstairs window.

Over six hours later, officers fired tear gas inside, and Allender was soon in custody.

Allender must serve at least five years of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.





Two Top Drake University Officials Resign

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The vice president and provost of Drake University have submitted their resignations as the Des Moines private college prepares for a new president to assume office this summer.

Outgoing president David Maxwell notified faculty and staff about the resignations in a letter last week.

Vice President and Treasurer Debbie Newsom's resignation will become effective June 30. Provost Deneese Jones will be stepping down effective May 30.

The letter says Jones' resignation as provost will allow Drake's incoming president, Earl F. "Marty" Martin, to develop his own team. A national search for the provost position won't begin until Martin takes office in July.

The school's board of trustees in January picked Martin as president.

Maxwell has served for 16 years as the college's president.





Woman And Boyfriend Arrested After Toddler Tests Positive For Meth

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - Newton police have arrested a 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend after a toddler tested positive for methamphetamine.

Court documents say test results for the 1-year-old boy who the woman cared for showed he had five times more meth in his system than the woman did.

The woman's 27-year-old boyfriend was arrested for child endangerment.

The Newton interim police chief says he credits neighbors and an apartment property manager for alerting authorities to the child's welfare.




Second Doctor Testifies In Legislator's Sexual Assault Trial

GARNER, Iowa (AP) - Another doctor has testified in the trial of a former Iowa lawmaker accused of sexually abusing his wife, saying the woman's mental capacity deteriorated rapidly in the months before the alleged incident.

Dr. John Brady, medical director of Garner's Concord Care Center, testified Monday in the third-degree sexual abuse case against 78-year-old Henry Rayhons.

Prosecutors allege Rayhons had sex with his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, in May at the nursing home after being told his wife was no longer mentally capable of consenting. She died in August.

Rayhons' defense attorney says there's no forensic evidence proving his client had sex with his wife on the day alleged by prosecutors.

Brady says Donna Lou Rayhons might have responded positively to interactions with her husband, but those reactions don't equate consent.







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