SIOUX COUNTY SLAYING SUSPECT TO USE DEFENSE OF DIMINISHED CAPACITY
ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) – A northwest Iowa man accused of stabbing to death his 84-year-old grandfather plans to use a defense of diminished capacity.
The attorney for 20-year-old Santos Rodriguez Jr. filed the notice Tuesday in Sioux County District Court. Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and arson. He’s accused of stabbing Luis Luevanos in his Rock Valley home on Oct. 29 and setting the man’s house on fire.
Police say Rodriguez was later arrested in Utah. Iowa investigators say Rodriguez admitted during a police interview to stabbing his grandfather and setting the fire.
Rodriguez’s trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 18 in an Orange City courtroom.
SENATE PANEL VOTES TO EXPAND IOWA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW
A committee in the Iowa Senate has voted to expand Iowa’s medical marijuana law, but the move faces firm opposition in the Iowa House. Critics say current state restrictions make it difficult for the companies that won state licenses to make AND sell cannabis oil, creams and pills to stay in business.
The bill that cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday afternoon would get rid of a limit on the amount of the “T-H-C” chemical allowed in cannabis products.
Dane Schumann, a lobbyist for MedPharm Iowa, says the change is “crucial” for the success of the company.
Peter Komendowski of the Partnership for a Drug-free Iowa opposes the idea of increasing T-H-C levels in cannabis products.
Last year legislators voted to set up a state-licensed system for growing, producing and selling cannabis products in Iowa, but the cannabis may only be used as treatment for 15 specific medical conditions.
Bruce Beeston represents the Veterans National Recovery Center and he says most veterans would like to see the cannabis oil, pills and cream available as treatment for post traumatic stress.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer has made it clear this year that she opposes expanding Iowa’s medical marijuana law.
Upmeyer says lawmakers should wait for a panel of experts that will review the law starting in May and report their findings to the legislature.
IOWA MADE MOTORCYCLES PART OF RECALL DUE TO SELF-STARTING ISSUE
Some motorcycles made in northwest Iowa are being recalled. Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis reports.
Polaris Industries, which owns Indian, says it has no reports of carbon monoxide exposure or injuries.
Indian motorcycles are manufactured in Spirit Lake.
photo from: indianmotorcycle.com
WOODBURY COUNTY PARKS SET TO OPEN ON MAY 1ST
Campgrounds, cabins, restrooms and shelters at Woodbury County’s parks will open Tuesday, May 1st, for public use. Parks opening that day will include Snyder Bend Park and Brown’s Lake-Bigelow Park near Salix, Southwood Conservation Area and Fowler Forest Preserve near Smithland, and Little Sioux Park near Correctionville.
To greet the camping season, the Woodbury County Conservation Department will hold a “Camping Kickoff Weekend” event May 4th through 6th.
On a first-come, first-served basis, campers will register and pay fees for each night of camping and will receive promotional items, including a coupon for one night of free camping later during the 2018 season at any of the county’s four campgrounds.
For more information contact the conservation board office at 712-258-0838 or online at www.woodburyparks.org.
SOUTH DAKOTA TEACHERS NO LONGER LOWEST PAID IN US
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A report says South Dakota no longer has the lowest-paid teachers in the U.S. after holding the ranking for more than three decades.
The National Education Association released its annual report on Monday. The report shows that salary increases pushed South Dakota from 51st to 48th in the country, including the District of Columbia. A half-cent sales tax increase in 2016 brought millions of dollars into the state’s school districts.
The report says the state’s average teacher salaries rose nearly 12 percent to almost $47,000.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard credits the increase to the Blue Ribbon Task Force, which recommended the tax increase.
South Dakota still lags behind the annual teacher salary across the U.S. by more than $12,000.
Salaries haven’t met the $48,500 average target lawmakers set two years ago.