Sunday, March 29, 2015
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Monday News, March 2

National Pheasants Forever President Visits Plyimouth County 

(Le Mars) -- More than $32,000 was raised during the auction held Saturday evening during the 30th annual Plymouth County Pheasants Forever banquet.  The evening proved again to be fun and beneficial with several raffles and auction items.  Plymouth County Pheasants Forever was fortunate to have the National President and CEO of Pheasants Forever organization, Howard Vincent, attend the festivities.  Vincent praised the leadership of Plymouth County Pheasants Forever saying the Plymouth County chapter is nationally ranked in many areas, including the number of sponsors.  Vincent asked each of the Plymouth County Pheasants Forever board of directors to join him on stage to be recognized by the crowd.  Victoria De Vos was honored by the Plmouth County Pheasants Forever for the "Service To Youth" award.  Logan Crees of Hinton was given the Pheasants Forever Scholarship Award.  Crees is a graduate of Hinton Community High School where he was involved heavily in the community through extracurricular activities including Student Council President.  Throughout his high school career, he maintained a GPA of 3.6.  Crees is currently attending Iowa State University majoring in Environmental Science.  His passion for nature has been avid since he was a young boy.  His love for nature all started because of his parents, as they would take him and his brother on camping trips throughout the summer as young boys.  The Service to Wildlife Award was presented to Hank Tritz. 


Remsen Fire Department Responds To Hog Barn Fire

(Remsen) -- The Remsen Fire Department was called to a hog barn fire Saturday afternoon at about 12:15 p.m.  The fire was reported at 18284 on county road L-12, about a mile and a half south of Remsen.  The fire was located on the same farm and it was the same barn that fire fighters responded to earlier in the week.  Remsen Assistant Fire Chief, Chris Frederes believes the cause was again the ignition of methane gas that had built up causing another flash fire.  Only this time, according to Frederes there was more damage.

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Frederes says there were no injuries and no hogs had been burned or killed.


Le Mars Fire Department Issues Monthly Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a total of 32 calls in February, according to its monthly report.  Eight times the Le Mars Fire Department was called for fires, three rescue calls, 12 times for investigations or accidents, twice the Le Mars Fire Department offered Mutual aid to the Merrill Fire Department, and seven times the local fire department provided requests for services. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper reports that six classes were taught to outside agencies or businesses during February, reaching over 140 people.


Ames Apartment Fire

    AMES, Iowa (AP) - Two people were treated at a hospital after a fire at an Ames apartment.
    Firetrucks were sent to the apartment around 1 a.m. Sunday. Tenants used a fire extinguisher to keep the blaze from spreading to more apartments, and firefighters doused the rest of the flames.
     Fire officials blamed the fire on a candle that was placed too near combustible material.


Fuel Tax Increase Discussed During Legislative Forums

(Des Moines) --Fuel tax increase and education funding were the common topics discussed Saturday morning during the legislative forums held around the county.  State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg met with approximately 15 people in Hinton and a dozen others in Brunsville.  At each legislative forum, the local lawmakers defended their votes on the fuel tax increase.  State Senator Bill Anderson voted for the measure and State Represenative Soderberg voted against the fuel tax increase.  At both Hinton and Brunsville, Plymouth County supervisors Don Kass and Craig Anderson displayed a map of Plymouth County showing how many bridges located in the county are needing repairs.  Kass told the gathering at both forums that Plymouth County ranks fifth in the nation for the most bridges located in one county.  The map had more than 97 red circles indicating those bridges that are of priority status needing immediate repairs, and perhaps another 125 bridges that would be needing to be replaced or repaired within the next five years.  Kass and Craig Anderson say they were pleased to see the legislature pass the increase, as it will mean nearly an additional million dollars coming to Plymouth County for road and bridge repairs.


State And County Officials Looking Forward To Additional Funds From Fuel Tax

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With a fuel tax increase taking effect, how quickly can Iowa drivers expect to see road improvements on their daily commutes?
     State and county officials say there will be additional road work underway later this year, but it's too soon to talk specifics. The 10-cent a gallon increase starts at the pump March 1 and is expected to generate over $200 million annually for Iowa's bridges and roads, many of which are considered deteriorating or deficient.
     Lyle Brehm, county engineer for Tama and Poweshiek counties, says he has a "very long list of repairs."
     The Legislature approved the tax increase several days ago in a bipartisan deal. Governor Terry Branstad quickly signed it into law.
     The tax was last raised in 1989.


New Psychiatric Hospital For Children Being Built In Sioux City

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A new facility offering psychiatric care and substance abuse treatment to children and teens in northwest Iowa is expected to address an important need in the region when it opens this spring.
     The new Jackson Recovery Centers Child and Adolescent Recovery Hospital is expected to open in May.
     Right now the closest child psychiatric crisis centers are either about 60 miles away in Cherokee, or about 90 miles away in Council Bluffs.
     The $10.5 million project has been under construction in Sioux City since August. It will have 72 inpatient beds and a 12-bed psychiatric stabilization unit.


Woman's Body Found In Des Moines Alley

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police are investigating after finding a woman's body in an alley in Des Moines.
     Sergeant Jason Halifax says the body was reported shortly before 8:45 a.m. Sunday in an alley near 14th Street and 14th Place.
     Halifax said the woman was 35-years-old. Her name wasn't immediately released Sunday.
     Police are trying to determine how the woman died, but they are treating the death as suspicious.


Racing Commission To Distribute $72 Million To Grey Hound Industry

 DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa racing officials are reviewing a recommended plan to distribute $72 million settlement related to the end of greyhound racing in Council Bluffs.
     The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission plans to review the report Thursday.
     Half of the money would support the Iowa Greyhound Association's operation of the Dubuque track, which plans to run races from April 29th to October 25th on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
     Most of the rest of the money would go to Iowa breeders based on their past performance.
     Dubuque's Mystique Casino and Bluffs Run Greyhound Park in Council Bluffs agreed to pay the settlement in exchange for ending subsidized racing.
     About $1.2 million would be set aside for closing expenses at Bluffs Run and no-kill greyhound adoption centers.





Saturday News, February 28

Fire Department Responds To Chimney Fire

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a chimney fire at about 8:00 p.m. Friday evening.  The alarm was at 139 5th Avenue Southwest, the home of Le Mars City Councilman Ken Nelson. According to fire officials, there was very little damage to the home, or the roof, as a result of the fire.  Fire fighters were on the scene for a little more than an hour. 


Two People Arrested For Various Drug Charges

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police and Plymouth County Sheriff's Deputies conducted a joint drug task force search warrant Friday morning at 401 6th Avenue Southeast in Le Mars.  Officers located numerous prescription pills that were packaged for sale, a small amount of marijuana and methamphetamine, scales and packaging materials.  As a result of the search, two arrests have been made.  Arrested were 20 year old Brenden Arens of Le Mars and 24 year old Dionicio Hernandez also of Le Mars.  Arens was charged with possession with intent to deliver Vyvance a schedule II controlled substance, a class C felony.  He was also charged with possession with intent to deliver Focalin, a schedule II controlled substance a class C felony. Hernandez was charged with conspiracy to deliver Vyvance, and Focalin both a schedule II controlled substance, and both are a class C felony. Hernandez was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.  The investigation is continuing and more charges are expected.  


Lawmakers To Hold Legislative Forums

(Des Moines) -- Republicans State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg will be visiting Plymouth County communities on Saturday for legislative forums.  The lawmakers will begin their day at the Hinton Elementary School at 8:30 a.m. Their next stop will be at the Le Mars Community Education Center to meet with school officials at 9:30 a.m.  At 10:30 a.m. Anderson and Soderberg will be at the American Legion Hall in Brunsville for a legislative forum.  Their last stop is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. at the Westfield Community Center.  The legislative forums are open to the public and constituents are encourged to discuss any issues relating to the Iowa Legislative Session.


Pheasants Forever Banquet Scheduled For This Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its annual banquet raffle and auction this evening.  Chris Anderson, the president of Plymouth County Pheasants Forever says this year marks the 30th anniversary for the event.

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The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever banquet has attracted more than 500 people in the past, and Anderson expects similar results for this year's banquet.  He says a wide variety of people take an active interest in the local chapter.

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Anderson says the local Pheasants Forever chapter is consistently an active chapter participating in many different events.

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Again, this year the annual banquet will feature several shotguns, and travel excursions which will be raffled or auctioned.

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The Pheasants Forever president says a labordor retrever hunting dog will be auctioned as well as several pheasant forever themed artwork and prints.  The event will be held at the Le Mars Convention Center on February 28th beginning at 5:00 p.m.


Water Quality Discussed At Commodity Classic

(Phoenix) -- Farmers from across the nation have gathered this week in the sunbelt city of Phoenix, Arizona to discuss market prices, planting intentions,  the new farm bill, and even environmental and other issues as they relate to agriculture.  Cleghorn, Iowa farmer Tom Oswald serves as the president of the Iowa Soybean Association.  He says water quality has been discussed in great detail at the annual Commodity Classic, and other states are turning to Iowa's leadership involving water quality issues.

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Oswald says farmers have no other choice, but to show results of reduced nitrates and phosphorus, otherwise, other entities such as enviromental groups will demand more regulations and mandatory actions.

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The soybean leader says the Iowa Soybean Association is working with its membership and offering several educational seminars to assure farmers are taking the appropriate steps to reduce nitrates and to improve water quality.

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Commodity Classic concludes on Saturday.


Body Found Near Grimes

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) - Police say they have discovered a body in the area where a car had earlier been found in an icy Iowa creek.
     Authorities say the car was found Friday morning just north of Grimes with no one inside. The body was later discovered nearby. The identity of the body has not yet been released.
     Officials say it wasn't immediately clear how long the car had been in the water, but that snow on top suggests it had been there since earlier this week. The car sustained severe damage to the rear.
     The car belongs to a woman who was reported missing on Monday.


Arbritrator To Decide Contract For State Employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An arbitrator will decide new contract terms for state workers after union leaders could not reach a deal with Governor Terry Branstad.
     Both sides presented their final proposals to a neutral arbitrator Thursday for a two-year contract for about 19,000 workers. A final decision must be made by March 15th.
     The two sides are at odds over health insurance. According to data supplied by the Branstad administration, the union has offered to have members pay a fixed monthly premium, which would be a first for many members. But the administration wants workers to pay a larger portion of their health care costs.
     Danny Homan, president of the Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, would not comment. A spokesman for Branstad also declined.


Authorities Investigate Threats Against Ames Mosque

 AMES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're investigating a letter left at an Ames mosque that contained anti-Muslim messages and threats.
     Ames Police spokesman Jason Tuttle says officers responded around 4 p.m. Thursday to a report that the note had been left on the door of Darul Arqum Islamic Center. Tuttle said Friday that authorities have since begun working with leaders at the mosque to implement a safety plan and provide extra patrol in the area.
     Scrawled on the envelope was an anti-Muslim slur. Inside were three short notes, including a vague threat to the Muslim population.
     Tuttle says there doesn't appear to be any immediate threat to the mosque, but that the comments in the letter are "concerning" to the department.
     Investigation into who left the letter is ongoing.


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