Home News Friday Afternoon News, March 3rd

Friday Afternoon News, March 3rd


Grasz Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison

(Le Mars) — The Craig man who plead guilty on four counts of invasion of privacy and sexual exploitation has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Judge Jeff Neary handed down the sentence to 66 year old James Grasz this morning at the Plymouth County District Court. The episode stems back to April of last year
when neigbors had found out that Grasz had been secretly video taping people while they were dressing and undressing. Grasz took the opportunity to address the court prior to his sentencing.

Grasz, James

Plymouth County Attorney Darrin Raymond had read the statements of several of the victims, but identified them only as Jane Doe #1…Jane Doe#2…and so on. Each of the victims’ testimonies indicated how they were shocked, embarrassed, and even ashamed from learning of the secret video recordings that had been made by the defendant James Grasz during the course of several years. Grasz’ defense attorney had asked for probation for his client, saying he had never had any previous criminal history, and that upon his arrest, Grasz had been cooperative with authorities. Defense attorney David Gill also cited Grasz was an Air Force veteran, and should be given consideration for his service to this nation. Judge Neary said he considered all factors prior to pronouncing the sentence.


Judge Neary then sentenced Grasz the maximum amount of time, but said that all four felony charges and the one misdemeanor charge will be served concurrently, meaning Grasz will be placed in prison for ten years.

Judge Neary continued with his sentencing of Grasz.

Upon his release, Grasz has been ordered to register as a sexual offender for the remaining years of his life.


Orange City Prepares For RAGBRAI

(Orange City) — Orange City is beginning to make plans for the upcoming RAGBRAI ride as the first overnight town for the 20,000 plus bicycle riders. Committees
are in place to manage everything from camping and housing, to vendors, entertainment, and safety. The executive committee has released Orange City’s official mission statement as a host town: “Together as a community, Orange City will provide a fulfilling experience to all 2017 RAGBRAI participants. We will
have a safe and inviting environment that entertains our guests. We will showcase our small town charm and thriving businesses, all while community members welcome, engage, and serve our guests.” Orange City’s RAGBRAI theme and visual identity logo will be launched during a community meeting and press event
scheduled for mid April.


Legislature Committee Passes Worker’s Compensation Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Legislation making big changes to Iowa’s workers’ compensation system is moving through the Legislature despite arguments that the new rules would penalize employees who work in physically demanding conditions.
Committees in the House and Senate approved the bill Thursday and it’s expected to come up for votes in the full chambers soon.
Opponents have been especially critical of the bill’s move to cut
compensation off at age 67 for fully disabled people, minimize late fees for employers, reduce coverage for shoulder injuries and decrease coverage for injuries tied to a pre-existing condition.
Sen. Bill Dix, the Senate majority leader, said Republicans hope that by changing the law they will spur more jobs and retain businesses in the state.


Judge Sides With Former County Auditor On Lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A judge has sided with former Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett in his lawsuit against a state ethics board, saying the board was wrong
to reprimand him in 2012.
The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board had reprimanded Slockett for making campaign phone calls from his personal cellphone from his county office.
The board argued that was an illegal used public resources for his political purposes.
Slockett, with the help of American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, appealed, saying the reprimanded ignored his free speech rights.
On Friday, the ACLU said a Polk County District Judge agreed and overturned the board’s reprimand on Tuesday.
Slockett lost his Democratic primary re-election bid in 2012 after he was reprimanded.


Teacher Arrested After Sending Obscene Photos

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Collins-Maxwell School District middle school social studies teacher has been arrested after federal authorities allege he sent obscene photos to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl in an internet chatroom and attempted to entice her for sex.
The person he was chatting with was actually a federal Homeland Security agent.
Court documents filed Thursday in federal court in Des Moines say Luke Stephen Crouse remains in custody. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
He’s charged with attempted transfer of obscene materials to a minor and enticement of a child. Chats leading to his arrest were as recent as Tuesday and Wednesday.
The district is 30 miles northeast of Des Moines.


Former Le Mars Native and Pork Industry Executive Honored

(Atlanta) — A former Le Mars resident was honored at the National Pork Forum for his long tenure of leadership within the pork industry. Rich Degner was honored as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. Degner is the former chief
executive officer of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. At the pork industry’s annual meeting, the award is given to an outstanding leader to recognize his lifelong contribution to the pork industry. Degner grew up on a farm near Le Mars. Following graduation, he was a vocational agriculture instructor at Rock
Valley School, then went to Ankeny in the same role. In 1980 he joined the Iowa Pork Producers Association.