Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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Friday News, July 24

Ethanol Storage Facility To Be Constructed In Le Mars Industrial Area

(Le Mars) -- An ethanol trans-load storage facility, capable of holding up to 300,000 gallons will be constructed in the Le Mars Industrial Area.  Mayor Dick Kirchoff says the facility may be in operation by late 2015.  In order to have this facility, the city council made a five-year agreement with Le Mars Public Storage in order to have an easement to Lot number 4 within the Industrial park area.  Kirchoff says the new project will mean good news to Le Mars.

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Kirchoff says the storage and loading facility will be operated by Plymouth Energy of Merrill.  The Le Mars mayor says the new facility will allow the Plymouth Energy to market ethanol through another rail service.

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Kirchoff says city leaders have been meeting and planning for this new venture for the last two and a half years.  He says a lot of attention was devoted to the safety of the fuel storage and trans-loading facility.

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The Le Mars mayor says the new industry would not have been possible if not for the city making an earlier agreement last April with Burlington Junction Short Line Rail Road.  Kirchoff says because of the city's commitment to having its own rail line, it will ultimately mean additional industries and businesses settling in Le Mars.  Kirchoff says the Burlington Junction Short Line has been very busy since it started last May.

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Plymouth County Fair Begins On Wednesday

(Le Mars) -- Wednesday begins the "Best Five Days of Summer" otherwise known as the Plymouth County Fair.  The fair will continue through Sunday, August 2nd.  Fair board president, Tony Schroeder says attendees of this year's fair will see a new building for commercial exhibits.  Schroeder says the old "Hall of 76" was deemed too cost prohibitive to remodel, so the fair board decided to build a new structure.

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Advance tickets to the fair will go on sale on Saturday.

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Appeals Court Rules Alcohol Consumption Allowed In Parked Car

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa court says people can drink alcohol in their cars as long as they're parked on private property.
The Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday a state law banning open alcohol containers in vehicles doesn't apply to people parked in private lots or driveways.
The ruling followed the August 2013 arrest of 24-year-old Lacey Rose Brown for marijuana possession. She was arrested after Des Moines police spotted an open alcohol container in her car, which was parked in a private lot. Officers searched her car without a warrant and found marijuana.
Her lawyer sought to toss out the evidence, arguing the alcohol didn't violate the law.
A judge disagreed and Brown was convicted.
In an appeal, justices found Iowa's open-container applies only to roads.





Dubuque Woman Says She Can't Administer Cannabis Oil To Son With Epilepsy

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque woman says she has a state cannabis card allowing her to give an oil extracted from marijuana to her son, but she's not allowed to do so in his care center.
Instead, Jennifer McFadden says she gives the oil to her 12-year-old son, who has severe epilepsy, twice a day in the facility's parking lot.
She tells the Des Moines Register that the agency which operates the center says it can't allow the oil into the facility. She says the agency told her that federal authorities still consider it a strictly controlled marijuana product.
The company that sends McFadden the oil says it has a large amount of the chemical, cannabidiol, which many families believe can reduce epileptic seizures.





Organizations Combine Efforts To Oppose Oil Pipeline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group of organizations from Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota are speaking out as a unified coalition against the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline project.
The organizations include environmental groups Food and Water Watch and Shawnee Forest Sentinels and social action groups Dakota Rural Action and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
They want each state's utility regulators to consider testimony and evidence from the other affected states and to look at the financial status of Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company behind the pipeline project. The coalition points out that the company self-insures against accidents and declares in its recent annual report it may not have adequate reserves to cover all future liabilities including known contamination.
A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners did not immediately respond to messages.




Paddle Boat Catches On Fire

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - About 100 people were evacuated safely when a fire broke out on a paddle wheel boat on Clear Lake.
The fire was reported Thursday morning, just after the Lady of the Lake cruise ship had docked.
About 100 people, including 27 from a care center, were evacuated safety to shore.
Passengers say they saw flames and smoke near the back of the boat as it docked.
The Clear Lake Fire Department says the fire was sparked by exhaust from a generator that ignited a wood column. A crew member put out the fire.
Jon Berhow, the boat's co-owner, says it's unclear when the boat will resume its regular schedule.



Thursday News, July 23

EPA Officials Conducting Tests For P-C-E In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- City council members heard a brief update Tuesday from Environmental Protection Agency officials who are in town conducting research and testing on the pollutant, P-C-E found in the downtown area of Le Mars.  The EPA officials are trying to determine if the pollutant P-C-E that was located more than a year ago in the soil near the railroad tracks and other locations within downtown, has spread.  Susan Fisher is an onsite coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Fisher says EPA officials have tested about 20 downtown properties.  She says testing has also occurred in buildings that had small amounts of P-C-E detected nearly a year ago.

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The EPA official says P-C-E is a cancer causing agent that is similar to radon, and was used many decades ago in dry-cleaning operations.

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Fisher says her studies are not conclusive, but she believes the P-C-E has been confined to the contamination area with in downtown.

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Fisher will again report back to the city leaders when her findings are conclusive.





Branstad Authorizes National Guard To Arm Personnel At Facilities


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is authorizing the Iowa National Guard to increase security and arm additional personnel at facilities, including recruiting stations. 
Branstad said Wednesday he was authorizing Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr to strengthen security, but would leave the decisions to Orr's discretion. Earlier this week, Branstad asked Orr to review the current security measures at National Guard sites.
The Republican governor also plans to ask the federal government to review the protections at all military facilities. He'll make that request during a meeting this week in Washington for a group of governors who advise federal officials on security matters.
Last Thursday, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at a military recruiting office and a Navy-Marine operations center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four Marines. A sailor wounded in the attack died Saturday.





Branstad Asks For Federal Disaster Assistance For 19 Counties


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is asking President Barack Obama to issue a presidential disaster declaration for 19 Iowa counties to aid recovery from damaging storms in June.
Branstad announced Wednesday he was sending a letter to Obama that seeks the declaration for Allamakee, Appanoose, Butler, Clayton, Dallas, Davis, Des Moines, Guthrie, Howard, Jefferson, Lee, Lucas, Marion, Mitchell, Monroe, Warren, Wayne, Winneshiek and Wright counties.
They were damaged by winds, tornadoes, heavy rain, hail and thunderstorms from June 20 to 25.
A preliminary damage assessment found the weather caused $5.1 million in damage that would be eligible for aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program.
That program aids the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, including roads, bridges and public facilities. It also covers the cost of debris removal.






Scientists Develop Vaccine For Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Scientists have developed a vaccine strain that is 100 percent effective in protecting chickens from bird flu and testing is underway to see if it protects turkeys 
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee at a hearing on Wednesday that the agency plans to quickly license it for widespread production if it is effective for turkeys. The USDA is seeking federal funding to stockpile vaccine nationally.
The vaccine targets the H5N2 virus that killed 48 million birds in 15 states this spring. Development is part of the USDA's preparation for a possible outbreak recurrence.
Scientists believe the virus was spread by droppings of wild birds migrating north this spring. They're concerned it could return this fall when birds fly south for the winter or again next spring.





Road Rage Incident Results In Arrest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines authorities say a man suspected of firing gunshots during a road rage incident has been arrested. 
Police say 21-year-old Jamar Wooten was arrested by Des Moines detectives on Wednesday afternoon. His attorney didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Thursday.
The allegations of intimidation with a dangerous weapon stems from an incident July 9. A man and woman were returning home with their children in a sport utility vehicle when another driver cut them off. After exchanging shouts, the other driver began following the SUV.
The SUV driver parked, and the other man demanded that they fight. The SUV driver says he saw the other driver get a handgun from his vehicle and shoot at the SUV driver, striking the SUV.






Road Crews Use Snow Plows To Remove Insects From Bridge

SABULA, Iowa (AP) - Iowa highway crews had to plow a bridge crossing the Mississippi River because of ankle-deep mayflies that swarmed the span.
The  insects on Saturday night swarmed to the Savannah-Sabula bridge, connecting Iowa and Illinois.
The bugs covered the bridge so thickly, and caused such slick conditions, that crews plowed the bugs off the lanes and then applied sand for traction.
Officials plan to keep bridge lights turned off for the next few weeks in hopes that the insects will be less attracted to the structure.
Mayflies, also known as fishflies and shadflies, emerge from freshwater and spend lives as short as 24 hours flying around and reproducing.





Johnson County Proposes Increasing Minimum Wage

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour by 2017.
The proposal would raise the current minimum of $7.25 by 95 cents a year for three years, starting in November. 
Supervisor Janelle Rettig said Wednesday during a board work session that, for people's basic human needs, $10.10 an hour "is not aggressive at all."
County Attorney Janet Lyness says her office is reviewing whether the county could withstand any lawsuit brought against the new wage. Cities inside the county would have the option of passing an ordinance exempting them from the new wage rule, were it to be passed by the supervisors.




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