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IOWA NEWS Disaster proclamation issued for Sioux County after storm


Disaster proclamation issued for Sioux County after storm

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for Sioux County following recent severe weather.

Branstad said in a news release Monday the proclamation will allow state officials to better assist the northwest Iowa county, which was affected by a winter storm that began Saturday.

Issues in the area included the explosion of an electrical distribution transformer box, a water main break and other electrical failures. It resulted in damage to public property and power outages throughout the city of Sioux Center.

Iowa judge: Man in abduction case is not competent for trial

DUBUQUE (AP) — A judge says a man accused of trying to abduct a girl in Dubuque this year is not competent to stand trial.

Iowa District Court Judge Thomas Bitter made the comments Monday about 20-year-old Robert L. Robbins. Bitter said he based his assessment on a report from the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Another report this year also determined Robbins was incompetent.

The Telegraph Herald reports the judge is expected to rule on whether Robbins should continue restorative treatment at the center or if the case should be sent to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

Authorities say Robbins grabbed an 11-year-old girl in March in an attempt to sexually assault her. The girl was able to escape.

Robbins has pleaded not guilty to third-degree kidnapping.

Reward increased in search for Iowa man missing since 2013

HAMPTON (AP) — A reward in the search for a northern Iowa man missing since 2013 has been increased to $100,000.

A $20,000 reward had been renewed in 2014 in the search for Ethan Kazmerzak. Des Moines television station KCCI reports it was increased recently to $100,000 by a group of anonymous donors.

Kazmerzak, of Hampton, was last seen at a party in rural Franklin County on Sept. 15, 2013. He was 22 at the time. Police are also searching for his vehicle.

The reward is available for anyone who has relevant information that leads to the location or return of Kazmerzak.

Branstad pardons 2 turkeys as part of Thanksgiving tradition

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has pardoned two turkeys as part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition in Iowa.

Branstad issued the special proclamation Monday outside Terrace Hill in Des Moines for two turkeys named Zoey and Spike.

Branstad noted during brief remarks that the birds had survived bird flu this year. The disease killed more than 1.1 million turkeys in the state. Branstad says he’s encouraged by producers going back to work.

The Des Moines Register reports Branstad’s grandchildren were present during the pardon. They chased the birds through the snow.

Pennsylvania company will build plant in northeast Iowa

OELWEIN (AP) — A Pennsylvania company will be bringing 350 new jobs to a northeast Iowa community.

East Penn Manufacturing Co., of Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, plans to begin construction next spring on a nearly 219,000-square-foot plant in Oelwein and finish it by summer 2018.

The company plans to invest more than $64 million on the plant. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has authorized East Penn to receive more than $3 million in tax credits, plus $1.75 million in direct financial assistance.

Officials say the facility will “fill, form, finish” and distribute automotive batteries in support of East Penn’s battery division.

The company already employs 83 workers at a distribution center in Oelwein and has another Iowa plant in Corydon.

Burlington facility to produce bulldozers for 3rd time

BURLINGTON (AP) — Burlington’s Case New Holland plant is once again manufacturing bulldozers after production shifted from a Georgia plant.

The Hawk Eye reports that a ceremony was held Wednesday to celebrate the addition of bulldozers to the Burlington facility’s product line, which also includes backhoe loaders and combine headers.

This marks the third time that the facility, which has 700 employees, has produced bulldozers in its history.

“We are now the caretakers of the bulldozer business,” said plant manager Steve Van Zant.

According to Van Zant, the quality of bulldozers, of which some will be shipped to other countries, was improved during the transfer from the Georgia plant.

Bulldozers had been manufactured in Calhoun, Georgia, before production ended Aug. 31. The company spent $8 million to transfer the product line to Burlington, including preparation of the assembly line and the inclusion of new equipment like a new robotic system.

Davenport, Iowa, official to be city manager in California

SEASIDE, Calif. (AP) — The former city administrator of Davenport, Iowa has been chosen as city manager of a California coastal town.

The Monterey Herald says Craig Malin has been selected for the job in Seaside, a city of about 35,000. It’s located on the Monterey Peninsula about 90 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The City Council is expected to approve Malin next month to replace John Dunn, who’s retiring. He’ll start the $212,000-a-year job in January.

Malin was Davenport’s city administrator for 14 years, ending in June. He has 27 years of experience in local government, the last 16 as a chief administrative official.

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