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Friday Afternoon News, October 10

Soybean Harvest Progressing In Plymouth County

(Kingsley) -- Harvest is now underway in Plymouth County, and according to Chris Pedersen who manages the Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Kingsley, it is still early for corn, but the soybean harvest has had good yield results.

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Pedersen says the farmers around the southeast corner of Plymouth County were not adversely affected by an early season frost of nearly ten days ago.

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This year's crop has been slow to mature, and the grain merchandiser says he has seen a slower start to the harvest.

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Pedersen says this year's harvest volume should be close to last year's, however, he says farmers are concerned about the drop of commodity prices.

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Sioux City Officials Trying To Decide What To Do With Riverfront Property

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Now that the former Argosy riverboat casino is being removed, Sioux City officials are beginning to consider options for the soon-to-be vacant riverfront space.
     The riverboat pulled away from its dock earlier this week. City officials say some ideas, such as a fishing pier or retail shops, have been tossed around for the site, but that nothing's final yet. They say they're in no hurry to immediately pick a new use for the site leased to the former casino operator for the past 21 years.
     Mayor Bob Scott says a final decision likely won't come until next year.
     Two barges that housed casino offices still remain on the Sioux City riverfront. The vessels' owner says workers have been putting in 11-hour days in dismantling the barges.


Insurance Commissioner Says Few People Will Be Affected From Insurance Rates Rising

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state regulator says less than 2 percent of Iowans will be hit by state-approved health insurance rate increases.
     The Iowa Insurance Division said Wednesday that it had approved 2015 increases averaging 8.7 percent to 19 percent for Iowans who bought individual policies from Coventry Healthcare, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and CoOportunity Health.
     The department says the increases were justified, in part by costs associated with the federal Affordable Care Act.
     Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says that Iowa's overall health insurance climate is stable, with most premium increases being relatively small.


MidAmerican To Expand Wind Farms

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Company says it plans to develop a wind farm in southwest Iowa and expand another operation in northwest Iowa.
     The Des Moines-based company announced Friday it plans to build the wind farm in Adams County and expand an existing farm in O'Brien County.
     MidAmerican estimates the developments would cost up to $280 million and result in 67 new turbines.
     If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the utility expects construction could begin next summer and be completed in 2015.
     The turbine blades will be manufactured at a Siemens Energy plant in Fort Madison.
     MidAmerican says the projects will generate more than $40 million in property tax revenue over the next 30 years plus payments to landowners.
     MidAmerican also has projects underway in Grundy, Madison, O'Brien and Webster counties.


Ernst Adds $6 Million To Campaign Bank Account

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has over $3 million in the bank going into the final stretch of the competitive campaign.
     Ernst announced Friday that she raised $6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Of that, $302,000 went to pay off debt from her primary campaign. She concluded the financial quarter with $3.2 million in cash. 
     Ernst is locked in a tight race against Democrat Bruce Braley. She substantially outraised him in the latest quarter. Braley's campaign said last week he had raised $2.8 million in the same time period. Braley's campaign declined to say how much cash he has left. 
     Full campaign finance reports are due to federal authorities on Oct. 15.





Friday News, October 10

Conflicting Reports On Ironshells Status

(Sioux City) -- There seems to be conflicting information regarding the status of Noah Ironshell.  Sioux City Police issued a release and are reporting the man responsible for shooting officer Jill Ohm has died as a result of his self-inflicted gunshot wounds.  Police say 27 year old Noah Ironshell of Sioux City passed away on Thursday while hospitalized at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  However, the Sioux City Journal is reporting that family members claim Ironshell is alive, but "clinically unresponsive".  According to an Associated Press article, Jenny Nowatzke, a spokeswoman at the Nebraska Medical Center, says Noah Ironshell was listed in critical condition as of 5:50 p.m. Thursday.
     Authorities say Noah Ironshell shot Officer Jill Ohm on Friday as she responded to a Sioux City house about a disturbance and a person who might be suicidal. He is accused of shooting her in the chin.  There is no additional information regarding Officer Ohm's condition.


Gehlen Catholic To Celebrate Homecoming

(Le Mars) -- Today, is Gehlen Catholic's Homecoming Celebration.  The crowning of the royalty will happen at 12:00 noon at the LeRoy Kellen Memorial Gym.  KLEM will rebroadcast the ceremony at 1:00 p.m. and the Homecoming parade is scheduled to begin on the north end of Central Avenue at 1:45 p.m.  KLEM's own Denny Callahan will broadcast live the parade entries.  The football game will take place this evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Jim Lorenzen field when the Gehlen Jays will play Sioux Central.


Museum To Host "Harvest Quilt Show"

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Historical Museum will be holding a quilt exhibit in its Study Hall room.  The "Harvest Quilt Show" will open Saturday, October 18th and run for a week through October 26.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday, October 19th.  Museum volunteer, Margaret Henrich is overseeing the quilt show, which will feature more than 75 quilts crreated area residents. In addition to the quilt show, the museum is ready to show two new rooms of exhibits.  The Service Club room, a room showcasing many of the Plymouth County Civic Service organizations is now ready for viewing, as is the new County Fair and Township Room.  Both are located on the second floor.  Henrich recently completed the exhibits in the County Fair/Township Room.  The room features historical artifacts relating to the Plymouth County Fair.


Mowrer To Visit Northwest Iowa

(Le Mars) -- 4th District Democratic Congressional candidate Jim Mowrer will make a campaign swing through northwest Iowa on Friday.  Mowrer, a former Iraqi war veteran and Pentagon staffer from Boone, will host a coffee hour at the Old Factory Coffee Shop in Orange City at 10:30 a.m.  Over the lunch hour, Mowrer will be at the Prairie Queen Bakery in Sheldon.  Mowrer will conclude his northwest Iowa tour with a coffee hour at the Daily Grind Market and Bakery in Sioux City.  That event will begin at 4:00 p.m.  Recent polls show Mowrer is closing the gap between himself and incumbent Republican candidate Steve King.  Mowrer is within the margin of error with King at 46 percent and 43 percent for Mowrer.


First Lady Michelle Obama To Visit Iowa

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Michelle Obama is headed to Des Moines to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley.
     The first lady will attend a rally Friday afternoon at Drake University. The event will stress the importance of early voting in the competitive Iowa Senate race.
     Braley, a four-term congressman from Waterloo, is locked in a tight race against Republican Joni Ernst, a state lawmaker from Red Oak and officer in the Iowa National Guard. They are vying for the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
     Republicans are hoping to win in Iowa in their drive for the six-seat gain they need for the Senate majority.
     Obama has been stumping for Democrats in a number of tight races. She is scheduled to appear in Michigan earlier Friday.


Iowa's Tax Revenue May Show Modest Growth

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A panel of state budget experts predicts modest growth in Iowa's tax revenue during the current fiscal year.
     The Revenue Estimating Conference met Thursday to project state revenue. The three-member panel includes the governor's top budget adviser, the financial adviser to the Legislature and an independent member, Mason City economist David Underwood.
     The group predicts net state revenue - made up of taxes and other sources - will come in at just over $6.7 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. That represents a 6.7 percent increase over the previous year and the growth is expected to continue.
     The panel will meet again in December to set the revenue projection that the governor must use to craft the next budget.


Defense Attorney Says DeCoster Should Not Be Jailed  

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A defense attorney says disgraced egg producer Austin "Jack" DeCoster should be kept out of jail when he's sentenced for food safety violations linked to a 2010 salmonella outbreak.
     Attorney Frank Volpe filed a motion this week arguing that it would be unconstitutional for DeCoster to receive jail or home confinement. He says the only appropriate sentence is a fine and probation.
     DeCoster and his son, Peter, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They face up to a year in jail.
     Their company, Quality Egg, pleaded guilty to bribing a federal inspector, selling misbranded food and introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
     Volpe argues DeCoster is being held responsible because he was a corporate officer and had no criminal intent. Sentencing hasn't been scheduled.


Law Enforcement Academy Instructor Abruptly Retires Amid Investigation 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 30-year instructor at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy who abruptly retired during a state investigation says he's wants to spend more time with his dogs.
     Instructor Mark Edmund retired Monday from the academy in Johnston, where he taught physical fitness to officers-in-training and other subjects.
     The retirement came after the Department of Administrative Services had launched an investigation into a complaint at the academy.
     Reached on his cell phone Thursday by The Associated Press, Edmund snapped that it was "none of your business" whether he had been on leave and wouldn't speak about the investigation.
     Instead, he repeatedly said that he decided to retire because he recently "bought two golden retriever puppies" and wanted to spend time with them.
     Edmund's departure marks the latest personnel problem at the academy.


Female Prison Guard Suing State For Sexual Harassment



Council Bluffs Men Accused Of Stealing Tractor

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two Council Bluffs men are suspected of stealing a tractor and abandoning it when it became stuck in the mud.
     The Fremont County Sheriff's Office says 55-year-old James Sarver and 46-year-old Leroy Tichota were arrested Monday night. They each face a charge of first-degree theft in connection to the disappearance of a 1967 John Deere tractor from a farm in Hamburg.
     Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says he was following a suspicious vehicle Monday which led to a brief pursuit. During that time, Aistrope located the tractor stuck in the mud. Additional information about the circumstances was not available.
     The fleeing vehicle was eventually stopped. Sarver and Tichota, who were in the car, were arrested. Messages left for their attorneys were not immediately returned.





   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A lawyer for a female prison guard suing Iowa for sexual harassment says the Department of Corrections practice of allowing violent inmates to watch sexually graphic movies encouraged prisoners to harass and threaten her.
     Kristine Sink's attorney, Paige Fiedler, told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that Sink tolerated threats of rape and murder. She is seeking up to $4.5 million for emotional distress.
     Sink says supervisors at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison allowed harassment by inmates and co-workers.
     Assistant Iowa Attorney General Tyler Smith, representing the state, says showing the movies was wrong but officials dealt appropriately with Sink's issues, which he called no worse than those other guards faced.
     A jury of four men and four women heard testimony over nearly three weeks and has begun deliberating.


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