(LE MARS)–Local governments are starting to see a payback for piles of paperwork they filled out to get disaster help for a Christmas week storm.
Both Governor Culver and President Obama declared the county a disaster area due to severe winter weather.
Assistant city administrator Bill Cole says the city’s first check was the FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, share of more than 35-thousand dollars in extraordinary winter weather expenses. The city got nearly 27-thousand dollars in FEMA funds for the labor, equipment, salt and administration expenses from the severe winter storm. Cole reports the FEMA share, 75 percent, was received June 15th. The state dollars for the state’s 10 percent share have not been received. yet. The city shoulder’s 15 percent of the expenses.
The second part of the city’s request for disaster assistance involved damage to the roof on the downtown Fire Station on First Avenue Southwest. Cole explains the total claim was about 61-hundred dollars. Seventy-five percent of the claim is to be federally funded and 10 percent is state money.
Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says all the necessary paperwork for reimbursement was completed when one FEMA and one state staffer stopped at the engineer’s office about two weeks ago.
Rohe says they did not give any exact date for reimbursement monies, but it appears that a good timetable may be late this month (July) or early next month (August).
County Emergency Management Director Gary Junge predicts delays in funneling the funding back to local governments due to the large number of disasters that have occurred in the last couple of years.
Passport fees increase Tuesday
(LE MARS)–Travelers who need a passport will pay more starting Tuesday (July 13).
The Plymouth County Recorder’s office handled 519 passport requests in the last budget year.
Recorder Jolynn Goodchild says the county fee to apply for a passport the first time will still be $25. However, Goodchild says the fee paid to the Department of State for a passport book goes up.
Travelers who choose a passport card for land and sea borders will also pay more starting Tuesday.
Goodchild says there’s also information at the web site www.travel.state.gov
The Recorder’s office handled 519 passport requests in the last budget year.
Fire destroys rural farm house in Sioux County
(ROCK VALLEY)–The State Fire Marshall will assist Sioux County authoriities in a fire investigation.
A large fire was reported five and a half miles southwest of Rock Valley Wednesday morning.
Firefighters from Rock Valley responded to the fire at a rural farm house at 3651 Eagle Avenue, Rock Valley. The house was fully engulfed in flames when law enforcement first responded to the fire. The structure is believed to be a total loss. Other buildings were not damaged.
According to the property owners, no one was living at the residence. An investigation into the fire cause is underway.
Harmonica-driven blues sounds in Windmill Park Thursday night
(ORANGE CITY) The Rockin’ Jake Band will perform in Orange City’s Windmill Park tonight (Thursday). Their style is harmonica-driven blues. Rockin’ Jake says you’ll hear music with a lot of different influences.
Rockin’ Jake grew up in the New England states and says that the jazz scene there in the 70’s was a great place to be. He also spent almost 20 years in New Orleans which really helped him understand what it meant to be a performer.
The passion Rockin’ Jake has for playing the harmonica makes him want to teach others how to play. He does so through workshops.
Jake will host a harmonica workshop at 4pm today (Thursday) before the show in Orange City, and there’s still space to participate if you’re interested…call Janine at 712-707-4885.
Then, The Rockin’ Jake Band takes the stage at Windmill Park at 8pm as part of the Onstage Orange City Summer Concert series. Visit www.orangecityarts.net for details. (News report by Angela Drake)
Railroad work detours Sioux Center area traffic
(ASHTON)–A railroad project is detouring traffic on Highway 75, near Sioux Center.
Tom Jungers of the Iowa Department of Transportation says Highway 75 is closed about seven miles north of Sioux Center.
The area is between the north junction of U-S Highway 18 and Lyon County Road A-52.
The repair work is at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad crossing.
A detour using Highway 18, Sioux/Lyon County Road K-52 through the city of Hull and Lyon County Road A-52 is expected to be in place through Friday (July 9).
Jaywalker sentenced for drug conspiracy in Sioux City
(SIOUX CITY)–Jaywalking in Sioux City led to an eight-year federal prison sentence for a Minnesota man.
According to the U-S Attorney’s office, 22-year-old Eben Valdez of St. Paul was sentenced for pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession of the drug within one-thousand feet of a public school or playground.
Prosecutors say Valdez had six grams of crack cocaine when he was arrested for jaywalking near a Sioux City Park in June of last year.
As part of a plea agreement, he admitted that from about 2008 through June 3, 2009 he was involved in a conspiracy that distributed more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.
Valdez was sentenced Wednesday (July 6) to 97 months in prison.
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Flood forces relocation of Dewar post office
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Heavy thunderstorms that swept across central and eastern Iowa has caused more than 12 inches of water to flood the Dewar Post Office.
Postal officials say no mail was damaged by the flooding Wednesday. However, Postmaster Janet Sharp has moved mail for Dewar’s 75 post office box holders to the Gilbertville Post Office. That office is located eight miles south of Dewar.
Officials say the mail collection box located in front of the Dewar Post Office has been temporarily sealed while the damage to the facility is assessed.
Iowa audit finds misspent school lunch money
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A state audit has found $55,000 in undeposited collections and improper spending in the Springville school district.
Auditor David Vaudt released a report Wednesday from a review of spending in the district’s food service department from 2005 to 2009.
It found nearly $49,000 in undeposited school lunch fee collections. It also found $6,400 in improper spending for hams, turkeys, pies, crab cakes, shrimp scampi and chicken wings. It also showed money was spent on candy, pretzels and cake pans.
The audit said it appeared the items were bought for personal use by a former food service director, identified by the auditor’s office as Maajal Houdeshell. It says Houdeshell also operated a catering business and bar.
No charges have been filed.
A telephone message left for Houdeshell wasn’t immediately returned.
Producer of child porn sentenced to prison
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) An Iowa City man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for producing child pornography.
Arthur Neal pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Linda Reade.
The 47-year-old Neal was accused of producing pornography involving a girl he baby-sat for several years. He was sentenced to the maximum sentence based on sadistic or masochistic conduct, his repeated sexual abuse of the child and a lengthy criminal history.
Reade ruled the abuse and the sadistic and violent nature of the photographs also showed Neal poses a “significant danger to children.”
The victim, who is in a residential treatment program, telephoned into court during the sentencing to give a victim’s impact statement. She told the court she started using drugs because she can’t deal with the sexual abuse she went through.
Wright accused of inmate assault
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A man convicted of manslaughter in a stabbing death has been charged with assaulting an inmate while being held in the Dubuque County Jail.
Nineteen-year-old Jerel Wright of Dubuque was found guilty in May of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of 24-year-old Jemaris West. Wright also was found guilty of attempted murder for stabbing 24-year-old Derrick Tye of Dubuque.
According to court documents, Wright on Monday allegedly assaulted Shawn Kass of Dubuque, causing injury. The documents indicate a videotape shows Wright allegedly striking Kass 13 to 15 times with a fist.
Kass was taken to Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, where he was treated and released.
Wright is being held in the Dubuque County Jail awaiting sentencing July 19.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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