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Saturday News, December 6

Neunaber To Have Pre-trial Hearing

(Le Mars) -- A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Jonathon Neunaber for Monday at 9:15 a.m.  Neunaber is accused of killing his mother Esther Neunaber last July at a rural Akron farm.  Both his mother and father were found dead inside the home.  It is expected the attorneys and judge will schedule a trial date.


Three People Arrested For Marijuana Possession

(Le Mars) -- Three people have been arrested by Plymouth County authorities for drug charges.  A Plymouth County Sheriff's deputy stopped a vehicle for speeding at Highway 75 and County road C-38, south of Le Mars.  As a result of the traffic stop, Eva Jefferson, age 21, of Peterson, Iowa; 26 year old Jayme Harrington of Spencer, and 24 year old Whitney Werts also of Spencer, Iowa were arrested on drug charges.  Jefferson was charged with possession of marijuana on a second offense which is a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.  Both Harrington and Werts were charged with possession of marijuana on a first offense and bond was set at $1,000 for all three.  The three were taken to the Plymouth County jail.


Christmas Music Featured At Pioneer Village Christmas

(Le Mars) -- Tonight, Pioneer Village will come alive with hundreds of Christmas lights, 53 different decorated Christmas trees, and Christmas music to help put everyone in the Christmas spirit.  Performing this evening inside Century Hall include a group of musicians from Hawarden including Terry Durr on drums, Ramona Ludwigs playing a piano, Don Christy on the lead guitar, Jerry Toff with an accordian and harmonica.  Other performers will include Howard and Judy Craig from Paullina and Jim and Marcia Singer from Merrill with guitars and vocals, Don Thoms playing a harmonica, Richard Kommes with a guitar and vocals, Paul and Colette Burnett will also be providing music using a guitar and vocals.  Tom Mullally will sing tonight inside Century Hall.


Sertoma Club To Offer Prizes For Christmas Lighted Parade

(Le Mars) -- The Christmas Lighted Parade is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. this evening.  Terry Claussen, president of the Le Mars Sertoma Club, who is supervising the parade says the club decided to offer prizes for this year's participants.

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The parade will begin from 8th Street Blvd and will head north on Central Avenue.  Claussen says anyone can participate in the Christmas lighted parade, and there isn't any registration.  Claussen says this marks the 17th year for the Le Mars Christmas Parade.

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New Water Booster Station To Start Operations

(Le Mars) -- City water officials have announced the new water booster station located at the 500 block of 24th Street southwest, will start up on Thursday, December 11th at 10:00 a.m.  The booster station will replace the present booster built in the 1960's.  Gayle Sitzmann, city water superintendent, says since the two booster stations are over a mile a part, it is conceived that some scouring may occur from changing the flow direction in the main feed pipeline.  City water officials will monitor the pressure in several spots in the boosted area, before, during, and after the switch over. Sitzmann says the area most likely to be affected will be south of 12th Street and east of Central Avenue.


Hard Rock Casino Revenue Drops

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Revenue at a new casino in Sioux City is down from when it opened last summer, but an official says the drop was expected and the center is doing well.
     The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City had revenue of $5.8 million in November. That's down from $7.2 million in adjusted gross revenue in August, when the casino opened.
     Revenue in September and October was about $6 million each month.
     The $128 million gambling and entertainment center replaced the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat.
     Mark Monson, the president of a nonprofit group that holds the Hard Rock's state gambling license, says the lower revenue was expected during the winter. He maintains the center is meeting expectations, saying "they're going great guns down there."


Ralston Postal Office Catches On Fire

RALSTON, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service is offering up to $5,000 for information related to an arson fire at a post office in the western Iowa community of Ralston.
     The fire began shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
     Firefighters from Ralston and Glidden put out the fire quickly, but it caused extensive damaged inside the building.
     The U.S. Postal Inspector Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those who set the fire.
     Ralston, a city of less than 100 people, is about 15 miles east of Carroll.


Branstad To Travel To New York To Promote Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will travel to New York City next week to try to convince companies to invest in Iowa.
     Branstad announced Friday that he'll be in the city from Tuesday through Thursday. Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham will also be on the trip, along with Branstad's wife and some staffers.
     Economic Development Authority spokeswoman Tina Hoffman says Branstad will host a luncheon for insurance companies and a dinner for experts who advise businesses on where to locate new facilities. There will also be some private meetings that Hoffman would not detail.
     Hoffman says state dollars will be used to pay the travel costs for Durham, Hoffman and another staffer. Branstad, his wife and another aide will be paid for through a foundation associated with the authority.


Food Company Representatives Charged With Fraud

 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa-based companies that supply and certify food products for observant Muslims and two executives have been indicted on fraud charges.
     Federal prosecutors announced a 92-count indictment Friday against the Midamar Corporation, Islamic Services of America and corporate officers Jalel Aossey and William "Yahya" Aossey.
     Each defendant is charged with making false statements on export applications, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to sell misbranded meat, among others.
     Their father and founder of both Cedar Rapids-based companies, Bill Aossey Junior was indicted in October, accused of shipping beef to Malaysia and Indonesia that didn't meet those countries' import requirements. He's pleaded not guilty.
     Midamar, a leading halal food supplier, ships meat products around the world. Islamic Services of America certifies food processors to ensure halal standards are met.




Friday News, December 5

Seven Teenagers Arrested On Marijuana Charges

(Le Mars) -- Seven teenagers were arrested Wednesday evening by the Plymouth County Sheriff and Le Mars Police Department drug task force.  All seven of the subjects were charged with conspiracy to deliver marijuana, a class D felony.  Six of the seven were juveniles and were booked at the Plymouth County Jail and released to the custody of their parents.  One was an adult and was booked into the jail.  The seven include: 18 year old Alex Paul, 17 year old Kyle Theisen, 16 year old Tyler Uden, 17 year old Noah Schietler, 16 year old Cameron Buhman, 17 year old Alex Daggett, and 17 year old Andrew Dietrich.  Officials indicate the investigation is continuing.


Today Is Deadline For Nominations For Business And Citizen Of The Year

(Le Mars) -- Today is the deadline to submit nominations for "Citizen of the Year", and for the "Business of the Year".  Nominations need to be at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office, no later than 4:00 p.m.  Winners will be announced during the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards and Banquet scheduled for January.


Pioneer Village Christmas And Lighted Parade Scheduled For Saturday

(Le Mars) -- Saturday can be considered as the unofficial start of the Christmas season for Le Mars.  Christmas at Pioneer Village and the Sertoma Lighted Christmas parade are both scheduled to occur this weekend.  Jackie Schlesser serves as one of the coordinators for the Pioneer Village Christmas.  She explains what this year's event will feature.

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Schlesser says there will be plenty of traditional holiday refreshments that will be available, along with a special visitor from the North Pole.

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Pioneer Village will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the entertainment to begin at 6:45 p.m. following the Sertoma Lighted Christmas parade.  Schlesser says the Pioneer Village will contain decorative lights on the buildings, and hundreds of different Christmas decorations and displays will be featured at the famous Round Barn.

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A brief history of the Christmas at the Pioneer Village, it was the Le Mars Chamber that was the original sponsor, and when it looked as though the Le Mars winter tradition was going to be discontinued, Earl Utesch was able to form a group together to keep it operating. 


Sertoma Club To Cooridinate Christmas Lighted Parade 

(Le Mars) -- Another Le Mars Christmas tradition scheduled for Saturday evening is the annual Christmas Lighted parade.  This year, the Le Mars Sertoma Club have come forward to help coordinate the parade.  Terry Claussen serves as the president of the Sertoma Club and says there is still a great interest from the community regarding the annual lighted parade.

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Claussen says there is no registration with the parade, simply show up.  The parade is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. starting from 8th Street, and heading north on Central Avenue.

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Branstad Orders Flags At Half-staff To Honor Pearl Harbor Attack

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has ordered that flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff to mark Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day weekend.
     Branstad announced Thursday that the flags will be set at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Monday at the State Capitol Complex and other public buildings throughout the state.
     The state is encouraging businesses, schools and other public buildings to also fly the flag at half-staff during that time period.
     Sunday marks the 73rd anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The attack killed about 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers.


Public Employee Pension Fund Is Increasing

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new actuarial report shows that Iowa's largest public pension fund has seen investment gains over the past year.
     The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System says in a Wednesday news release the fund had $28 billion as of the end of June. 
     Actuaries for Cavanaugh MacDonald Consulting say the plan was funded at nearly 83 percent of the present value of future retirement payments, meaning there is an unfunded shortfall of about $5.5 billion. But the shortfall is down from $5.8 billion a year ago.
     The report says the long-term health of the plan depends on investment returns and making expected contributions.  
     The plan has more than 340,000 members, including current, former and retired public sector workers.


Des Moines Water Has High Levels Of Nitrates 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - High nitrate levels in the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers have forced Des Moines Water Works to turn on an expensive nitrate removal system.
     Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says he had no choice but to run the system, which costs about $7,000 a day to operate.
     The system was last used in the spring and summer of 2013. Stowe says it cost about $900,000 in treatment expenses and lost revenue passed on to ratepayers. Water Works serves about 500,000 customers in central Iowa.
     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows nitrate levels of up to 10 parts-per-million in drinking water. The Raccoon River was at 12.6 and the Des Moines river was at 11.6 Thursday.
     Stowe says the finished drinking water after treatment is 8.8 and is safe to drink.


Regulator Says He Was Falsely Fired

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa regulator claims he was fired after industry officials complained about his investigation into whether a convenience store chain falsely advertised some gasoline products.
     In a lawsuit filed Monday, Michael Manahl alleges the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received complaints from Dubuque-based Molo Petroleum and an industry association about his interpretation of the law.
     Molo is the parent of Big 10 Mart Convenience Stores, located in Iowa and Illinois.
     Manahl alleges he was fired after accusing some company stations of charging two different prices for the same gasoline.
     The company and its trade association say they contested Manahl's allegations, saying he unfairly accused Molo of wrongdoing.
     Company President Mark Molo says his reputation was being maligned by someone who "really didn't understand the workings of our industry."







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