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Saturday News, April 5

Soderberg And Anderson To Hold Final Legislative Forums

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg along with State Senator Bill Anderson will hold their final legislative forums today.  The Republican lawmakers will be at the Le Mars Public Library beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Following their Le Mars visit, the two legislators will be in Struble at 11:00 a.m.; Remsen at the Mid-Sioux Opportunity office at noon, Moville Fire Station at 1:15 and Pierson at the Community Center at 2:15 p.m.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.  The lawmakers will give an update as to the legislative session and listen to issues of concern by constituents.

 

Soderberg Speaks About Budget Progress And "Secret Settlements"

(Le Mars) -- Representative Soderberg believes the Iowa legislature will end its general session within the next couple of weeks, but before the law makers ajourn, they must first agree upon specific department budgets. 

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Despite the waiting game, Soderberg says he is generally pleased with the progress the legislature is making with the budget.

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This past week a lot of attention was focused on the so-called "secret settlements" in which the Branstad administration paid fired state employees money to remain silent about their dismissal.  Soderberg says the issue caught the attention of lawmakers from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle.

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The Le Mars state representative says a joint government oversight committee has been busy this week investigating the allegations.

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Le Mars Public Library To Decide If It Participates With County Library Contract

(Le Mars) -- The Board of Trustees for the Le Mars Public Library is scheduled to meet Monday, and at that time, the directors will decide whether or not to participate in the county contract as established by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors.  Officials with the library say they can't afford to have county residents use the library services without requesting an additional fee from the county residents.  Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond offered an opinion that stated the Le Mars Public Library would not be allowed to charge county residents an additional fee, as long as the Le Mars Public Library was a member of the county library association which accepts funding from the county.  

 

Lawmakers Work On Internet Access Bill 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill intended to expand broadband access to rural Iowans also includes language that could limit the ability of local governments to regulate the placement of cell towers.
     Both the state Senate and House are wrangling with details on the so-called Connect Every Iowan Act. In an effort to increase cellular and wireless coverage as well, the House has included provisions to streamline the cell tower siting application process across the state. 
     This has prompted opposition from some city officials who argue they are being stripped of their authority in tower placement decisions.
     Lawmakers say it's not their intention to remove local authority, and that they will work to find common ground for all parties involved.
     Subcommittees in both chambers plan to meet to discuss the legislation next week.

 

Supreme Court Rules Woman Isn't Eligible For Compensation For Wrongful Imprisonment

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a woman who spent years in prison before her child endangerment conviction was overturned isn't eligible for compensation under a wrongful imprisonment law.
     The court ruled Friday that Tammy Smith didn't meet the law's "very high burden" of proving that she's actually innocent. The ruling means Smith is ineligible for reimbursement for lost wages and other damages under the law.
     Smith was convicted of child endangerment resulting in serious injury in 2007 after her young, non-communicative son ended up with a severely broken arm in their Humboldt home. She received a 10-year term.
     In 2011, an appeals court overturned her conviction after the boy learned to talk and said his arm was broken after getting caught in the washing machine. A prosecutor dismissed the case.
 

 

Prosecutors Want Change Of Venue For Doctor Trial

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - State prosecutors have requested a change of venue for the trial of a Council Bluffs doctor charged with sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl. 
     Officials say in a motion filed Wednesday that it would be "difficult, if not impossible" to find a fair or impartial jury in Pottawattamie County because of Dennis Jones' ties to the community. They also cited extensive media coverage of the case.
     The  Attorney General's Office is handling the case because Jones served as an expert witness for the Pottawattamie County Attorney's Office.
     Jones is accused of inappropriately touching a girl outside of his pediatrics practice and faces a second-degree sexual abuse charge. Court documents show authorities found child pornography during a search of Jones' home. His attorneys maintain their client's innocence.
 

American Gothic Statutes To Be At State Fair

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The iconic figures in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic" have taken up temporary residence at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
     The 25-foot-tall replica of the farmer and his daughter will remain at the fairgrounds in east Des Moines for the next six months.
     Peter Cownie, executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, says his father, Jim Cownie, and central Iowa businessman Bill Knapp paid $30,000 to lease the sculpture.
     The artwork by Seward Johnson was completed in 2007 and has been displayed in several locations, including Chicago, Dubuque and most recently at Simpson College in Indianola.
     Iowa artist Grant Wood painted "American Gothic" in 1930, and it was first displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
    
 
 

   

Friday Afternoon News, April 4

Snow Storm Causes Fatal Accident Near Salix

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A spring storm that brought a mix of rain, sleet and snow is being blamed for numerous crashes and one traffic death in Woodbury County.
     The fatal crash happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 29 near Salix, when a northbound vehicle towing a flatbed trailer crossed the median and hit a southbound vehicle. The crash killed a passenger in the northbound vehicle and sent the driver to a Sioux City hospital. Authorities have not released their names.
     Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says the biggest contributing factors in Thursday's crashes were accumulated slush on roads and vehicles going too fast for road conditions.

 

Le Mars Man Charged For Burglary And Theft

(Orange City) -- Sioux County authorities have charged a Le Mars man with burglary and theft stemming from an incident that occurred on March 7th near Alton.  Chad Braun, age 36, was charged with third degree burglary and fourth degree theft.  An investigation revealed that Braun was found to be in possession of stolen property taken from the residence.  Braun is currently being detained in the Plymouth County jail on other charges including burglary, theft, and possession of a controlled substance.  The charges are a result of a joint investigation between the Sioux, Plymouth, and Buena Vista County Sheriff's offices.

 

Merrill Man Arrested For Assault With Dangerous Weapon

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County law authorities on Wednesday arrested 22 year old Zachery Port of Merrill.  A warrant was issued for Port for assault while displaying a dangerous weapon.  He is being held in the Plymouth County jail on a $2,000 bond.

 

Remsen Holds "Then Feed Just One" Meal Packaging Program

(Remsen) --  Students from Remsen St. Mary's, Remsen-Union, and other volunteers from the Remsen community are packing meals today for the "Then Feed Just One" program.  Tom Kockler is coordinating the event.  Kockler says this marks the first time Remsen has hosted the meal packaging program and he says more than 500 volunteers are helping package the meals, making it a true "community event."

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Kockler says Remsen stepped up to the open opportunity after Granville Spalding and Gehlen had merged their high schools.

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The "Then Feed Just One" coodinator says Remsen has set a goal for 120,000 meals to be packaged today.  He says the snow and the late start for the schools did not interrupt the process or the goal.

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The packaged meals consist of rice, dried vegetables, dried soy protein, and minerals and vitamins.  When water is added to the mixture, each packet can feed up to nine people.  The meals will go to Honduras and other foreign nations.  Norine Harvey serves as the public relations director for the Remsen "then feed just one" program.  She says she is pleased at the volunteer turnout.

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Harvey says most of the Remsen community were already familiar with the "Then Feed Just One" program which made volunteer recruitment easier.

 

Floyd Valley Hospital Auxillary to Host Omlet Breakfast

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Auxillary will hold their annual omlet breakfast brunch Sunday at the Knights of Columbus hall.  Terry Pauling is coordinating the event. 

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Nancy Augustine, also with Floyd Valley Auxillary, says more than 75 people from the community are volunteering to prepare the omlets with noteable community leaders breaking the eggs.

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Augustine explains the money raised from the Sunday omlet brunch will help finance scholarships.

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Terry Pauling says Floyd Valley Hospital has more than 195 auxillary members, all of who volunteer their time for the local hospital, including operating the gift shop.

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On Wednesday, Floyd Valley Hospital will honor their many voluntees with a luncheon to be held at Willow Creek country club. 

 

Vilsack Expects Agricultural Economy To Remain Strong

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says he's confident the agricultural economy will remain strong despite an expected drop in farm income next year as corn prices lag and a pig virus reduces herds.
     Vilsack, in an interview Friday for "Iowa Press," the Iowa Public Television program, says this year's farm income is expected to be slightly under last year's record but significantly above the 10-year average.
     He says another record year of exports for beef, poultry and pork products will help keep the farm economy strong. 
     Challenges include the pig virus, which can be deadly for new-born pigs. Vilsack says it is worrisome but efforts are underway to come up with a vaccine, and the department is working with farmers to minimize losses through herd management.

 

Vilsack Says There Were No Secret Settlements While He Was Governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack says there was no money paid to anyone during his administration to keep quiet and he's unconvinced there were confidential settlements with workers.
     Vilsack, now U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, told reporters Friday after being interviewed for "Iowa Press," the Iowa Public Television program, he knows of no secret agreements despite testimony this week by Iowa Department of Administrative Services administrators that they've found five.
     Vilsack says he'd be happy to review documents but people he's talked with from his administration say they're unaware of such agreements.
     The issue has embroiled Gov. Terry Branstad's administration in controversy over $500,000 paid in settlement agreements with state employees, some who say they were offered money to keep quiet about the agreements.

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

   

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