Home News Monday News, December 3rd

Monday News, December 3rd


Winter Storm Dumps Nearly 6 Inches Of Snow On NW Iowa

(Le Mars) — Northwest Iowa is still digging out from the weekend winter storm that dumped nearly six inches of snow. Many events were cancelled, including the Le Mars Christmas Lighted Parade and the Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland, which will be held this coming Saturday, December 8th.
Several schools within the area are beginning classes two hours late, including Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic. Denny Callahan will update all the late starts and closings, or you can click on the Weather Cancellations Box.



Vakulskas Named As New Associate Judge

(Le Mars) — The Judges of Iowa’s Third District have announced their selection for the position of Associate Judge for Plymouth and Sioux Counties. The position became vacant after Associate Judge Robert Dull announced his retirement. Duane Hoffmeyer, the chief Justice for the Third District says the judges were faced with several qualified people applying for the position. A total of ten people initially applied for the position, then it was narrowed to three finalists. Hoffmeyer told reporters on Friday the selection was awarded to Dan Vakulskas.

Hoffmeyer says eight District Court Judges were involved in the selection process.

Hoffmeyer says Vakulskas will begin as the Associate Judge at the start of January.

Hoffmeyer says the new Associate Justice comes from a long line of family of attorneys as his father, brother, and sister are all attorneys.



Prominent Community Leaders Retire

(Le Mars) — Two prominent Le Mars leaders retired from their long-standing careers on Friday. Associate Judge Robert Dull and Floyd Valley Healthcare’s Administrator Mike Donlin were greeted by friends during retirement ceremonies. Judge Jeff Neary along with Court Reporter Mark Sturgeon offered comments about working along side of Robert Dull.
Meanwhile, Mayor Dick Kirchoff proclaimed November 30th to be officially known as “Mike Donlin Day” during Donlin’s retirement reception.



Midwest Economy Expanding But Economist Is Concerned

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – An economist says a monthly survey suggests the economy continued to expand in nine Midwest and Plains states last month but was hampered by shortages of skilled workers.
A survey report issued Monday says the Mid-America Business
Conditions Index dropped to 54.1 in November from 54.9 in October. The September reading was 57.5.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says that in addition to the hiring problems, the supply managers who responded report mounting harm from tariffs and trade disagreements.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.
A score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.



Murder Trial Moved From Fort Dodge To Mason City

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – The trial of an Indiana man accused of killing a Fort Dodge woman has been moved to Mason City.
The Des Moines Register reports that a judge on Friday approved the move for 26-year-old Phillip Williams’ trial for first-degree murder in the August 2017 death of 26-year-old Jessica Gomez. Williams’ attorney requested the change of venue, citing pretrial publicity. Earlier in the week, Williams’ co-defendant in the case, Mackenzie Knigge, also had her trial moved out of Webster County.
Knigge and Gomez, who were once described as friends, were publicly reported missing on Aug. 9, 2017. Knigge was arrested with Williams on Aug. 10 in Lafayette, Indiana. Gomez’s burned body was found in a ditch near Clare on Aug. 12.
Williams’ trial is scheduled to begin on March 4.



Sex Offender Accused Of Additional Sex Assaults

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) – A January sentencing is scheduled for a registered sex offender in Iowa who prosecutors say has sexually abused more children.
Story County court records say 30-year-old Michael Ferguson entered Alford pleas Thursday to five counts of lascivious acts with a child. In an Alford plea, a person doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction.
Prosecutors committed to dropping a sex abuse charge in exchange for Ferguson’s pleas. His sentencing is set for Jan. 14 at the courthouse in Nevada (nuh-VAYE’-duh). The crimes occurred during a camping trip in Colo, Iowa.
Ferguson was convicted of assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse of a teenage boy in 2008.



Woman Given Probation After Being Charged With Child Endangerment

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – An eastern Iowa woman accused letting seven children live surrounded by garbage, rotten food and feces has been given probation.
Dubuque County court records say 35-year-old Tiesha Martin pleaded guilty last month to seven counts of child endangerment. She was given two years of probation and deferred judgments. Deferred judgments allow Martin’s
convictions in the case to be removed from court records if she fulfills her probation terms.
The records say police and a social worker checking on the children at Martin’s Dubuque residence Jan. 2 found the squalid conditions and say the children were sharing just one bedroom and bed.
Jermaine Watson is the father of Martin’s youngest child, and he
pleaded guilty to child endangerment and two drug counts. He’s been given two years of probation.