Friday Afternoon News, February 13
Water Line Insurance: Is It Worth The Money?
(Le Mars) -- Several Le Mars residents have been solicited to purchase water line insurance. Sioux City recently approved the program, with more than 1500 residents making the purchase for insurance against water line breaks. Waterline Coverage Plus also known as Home Serve has been contacting residents encouraging them to purchase the insurance. Le Mars City Water Superintendent Gayle Sitzmann says he has heard of many people being contacted. sitzmann says whether a home owner decides to purchase the water line insurance is entirely up to the home owner. The city water department superintendent explains what is the city's responsibility and what is the home owner's responsibility when a water line should break.
Sitzmann says he has been contacted by several Le Mars residents asking questions about the water line insurance program.
Sitzmann says people need to weigh the risks versus the benefits, if and when, they decide to purchase water line insurance. He sees older homes may need the insurance while newer homes would not necessarily need the additional coverage. He says the program is like an extended warranty.
The city of Sioux City has endorsed a program offering water line insurance, but according to City Code Enforcement Officer, Jason Vacera, the city of Le Mars has not given any endorsement. Residents may wonder if thier home owners insurance policy would cover water line breaks and repairs. Rob Bixenman of Bixenman Insurance says probably not.
Bixenman says he does not offer any water line coverage insurance, but is aware of some companies that do. He says people should first do research before investing money into water line insurance.
Gayle Sitzmann says there were 15 water main breaks last winter, and this winter only two breaks have occurred, and none since December 18th. He says last year he was aware of seven total residential water line breaks resulting from frozen pipes, and this year he has not heard of any water service line breaks.
Ankeny Plastics Company To Expand
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Officials have announced the expansion of a high-tech plastics manufacturing plant located in Ankeny.
Roger Hargens is the president and CEO of Accumold, a company that designs, develops and produces micro-sized plastic parts, and he said Friday that a $10 million expansion of Accumold's plant is expected to begin this spring.
Hargens says the expansion will add more than 200 jobs over the next three years. Accumold currently employs 221 people.
According to a news release, the planned expansion reflects a $7 million project in 2010. But Hargen says the latest addition is meant to strengthen the facility to be "capable of withstanding an F-5 tornado."
Founded in 1985, Accumold manufactures miniscule parts found in surgical tools, hearing aids, antennas and other devices.
John Deere Hires Additional Employees For Dubuque Plant
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - John Deere has recently laid off hundreds of workers in the Midwest, but it has added jobs at its factory in Dubuque, where the company manufactures huge vehicles for construction and forestry.
Last month, the company announced the layoff of 910 workers at five locations in Iowa and Illinois, citing reduced demand for farming equipment as the reason. But John Deer Dubuque Works has added more than 100 jobs since late 2014.
General Manager Byron Taylor says this addition brings the total number of people working at the Dubuque site to 2,500.
Taylor says the rollout of new bulldozer models and forestry machines, which hit the market in January, have contributed to the company's strong growth in a new customer segment.
Clive Gynecologist Fined By Iowa Medical Board
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Documents from the Iowa Board of Medicine show a Clive gynecologist has agreed to pay $7,500 to settle accusations he acted inappropriately with patients.
Frederic Sager also has agreed to have a female chaperone present during patient appointments.
The 64-year-old will undergo "professional boundaries" training and psychotherapy. His work will be overseen by another doctor, and he'll serve five years of professional probation.
The licensing board says Sager had obstetrical patients stay at his Florida vacation home while he was there. It also says he prescribed medications to a woman displaying "drug-seeking behavior."
The board says he treated a woman after hours when no one was present at his clinic.
Group Drops Funding For Popular Des Moines Shuttle Service
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The future of a popular downtown shuttle in Des Moines is in doubt after an organization decided to stop contributing to the program.
Operation Downtown won't make its annual contribution of $72,000 to the shuttle, operated by the Des Moines Area Regional Transportation Authority. Operation Downtown also plans to stop funding a number of other programs.
When the shuttles began several years ago, the city and state also contributed to the program, but that funding has stopped. The transportation authority covered those costs, but it's unclear if they cover the latest expense. The total cost is $400,000.
City Council Member Bob Mahaffey notes the shuttles are popular with people at the state Capitol as well as many downtown workers.
Storm Lake Man Given Probation After Robbery Charges
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old who'd been charged with robbery after a lockdown at Iowa Central Community College has been given probation.
Garhoth Dak, of Storm Lake, was sentenced on Monday to two years of probation and five years in prison, suspended. Dak pleaded guilty last month to one count of extortion.
Prosecutors say Dak admitted threatening someone at an Iowa Central apartment on Nov. 10. College officials placed the school on lockdown when the student reported that men were in her room. Dak surrendered to Fort Dodge police the day after the incident.
Robbery charges against three others arrested in the case have been dropped. The three are Joseph Odir and Molong Deng, of Des Moines; and Juma Deng, of Urbandale.
Man Saved After Falling Into Chemical Tank
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the 28-year-old man who fell into a large tank filled with chemical cleaning solution.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Friday that Eric L. Woollard, of Des Moines, remains at Mercy Hospital following his fall into a vat of chemical cleaner at Chemorse, Ltd. Information on his condition has not been released.
Officials say Woollard's coworkers were able to help him out of the tank with a safety rope Thursday before rescue crews arrived at the Des Moines facility. They say Woollard was rinsed off before being transported to the hospital.
Authorities say they're unsure how the man ended up in the cleaning solution.
Chemorse, Ltd. is a producer of pesticide enhancers and a distributor of industrial chemicals.
Forest City Man Given Probation After Embezzeling From Pension Fund
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A Forest City business owner has been sentenced to two years of probation for embezzling funds from an employee benefit plan.
Owner Anthony Bartleson of Bartleson Masonry also was ordered in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to pay nearly $19,500 in restitution for lost income and tax liabilities.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that amount is on top of the nearly $42,000 he's already paid to the federal government.
Court documents state Bartleson didn't deposit money from his employees into their retirement accounts. He also didn't pay the employer matching contribution.
Bartleson admitted to using the money for himself.
Baseball League Overbilled
CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Clive plans to repay a youth baseball league nearly $69,000 because the league's been overbilled for water.
The Walnut Creek Baseball league has been double billed since 2005. City Manager Dennis Henderson says a billing error was discovered during discussions with league officials about league plans. League games are played along the Greenbelt Trail at the Brownell Sports Complex.
City officials say a meter was improperly set and was overstating the number of gallons used for irrigation and other reasons.