Home News Thursday News, December 20th

Thursday News, December 20th


Two Vehicle Accident Leaves Three Injured

(Le Mars) — A two vehicle accident happened Wednesday evening at about 4:45 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 75 and County Road C-38 near the NIPCO electrical cooperative facility, about two miles south of Le Mars. The accident left three people injured. Two were in a silver 4-door car and another in a white pickup truck. The silver 4-door car sustained damage to
the passenger side door area and the pickup had heavy front-end damage. The victims were transported to the Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City by the Le Mars Ambulance. The names of the victims and their conditions have not been released as of yet. Responding to the accident scene were the Le Mars Fire
and Rescue Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Merrill Fire Department, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the Le Mars Police Department. The accident remains under investigation by the Le
Mars Police Department.



Bank Robbery Suspects To Have Preliminary Hearing Today

(Le Mars) — A preliminary hearing is scheduled for this morning for the two suspects accused of robbing the Iowa State Bank of Le Mars. 32-year old Patrick White and 35-year old Karen Merrick, both of Sioux City, are to appear in Plymouth County District Court at 9:00 a.m. The two suspects have been charged with robbery and theft, along with eluding. The two suspects
used a U-Haul truck immediately following the bank robbery. Law enforcement officials spotted the U-Haul and began chasing the suspects. Stop sticks were used to stop the get-a-way vehicle, and the two were arrested within minutes of the robbery.



Le Mars Police Department Issues Quarterly Report

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Police Department has issued its 4th Quarter report. Calls for service had a slight decrease from the 3rd Quarter as there were 3,295 calls in the 4th quarter compared to the 3,498 from the 3rd quarter of 2018. However,the number of calls were significantly higher from
the report of a year ago, when the Le Mars Police Department responded to 2,916 calls. The number of complaints investigated saw a decline. During the 4th Quarter the police officers investigated 292 complaints. Last year that number was at 315 complaints, and last quarter the police investigated 336 complaints. The police had written nearly three times the number of parking tickets during the 4th Quarter, 153 compared to last quarter’s 51 parking tickets. A year ago there were 173 parking tickets issued. Traffic accidents remained nearly steady from a year ago with 63 this quarter compared to 60 accidents reported from last year during this same quarter.
Arrests had a slight decline from the third quarter with 133 arrests reported during the 4th Quarter, and 149 during the 3rd Quarter. A year ago, the police department had made 86 arrests. Police Chief Keven Vande Vegte reports the total activity is up five percent from the third quarter of 2018, and it is up 75 percent from the total activity from 2017.




Northwest Bank To Begin Offering Insurance Services

SPENCER, IA – Northwest Bank is adding Insurance services to their product and services selection. On January 7, 2019 Northwest Bank will be launching Northwest Insurance Services. This new service will enable Northwest Bank to offer their retail and small business customers a comprehensive suite of
insurance products.

Northwest Bank will be using a national platform to offer Insurance products through a technology rich environment. They will be connecting customers and members of the community to over 40 insurance carriers competing for your business. Northwest Insurance will ensure that customers are able to
obtain the right insurance coverage, at the right price. Customers and members of the community will have an opportunity to choose home owners’, car, commercial, life, renters insurance and other specialty insurance through Northwest Insurance Services.



Le Mars Community Students Learn About Politics By Participating In Mock Political Campaigns

(Le Mars) — Students at Le Mars Community are learning more about how our government, political leaders, and political campaigns operate by doing it themselves. Michael Bahr is a social studies teacher, and this week his students are engaged in politics.

Bahr says he got the idea when he was a student and his teacher set up the political campaign curriculum. Bahr believes by allowing the students to have their own political campaigns, they have a better appreciation and understanding of the political process.

On Tuesday, three students were selected to be candidates representing their respective political party, and engaged in a debate of the issues. The students were asked for their comments and positions on issues that actual political candidates would address such as immigration, gun rights, and
abortion. Bahr served as the debate moderator, and says the students handled themselves well.

The Le Mars Community teacher says he groups the students into the political party based on how they responded to questions, but the student candidates were selected by the students themselves.

Bahr says time will tell whether the classroom activity will prompt any of the students to pursue a career in politics and public service later in life.



Cedar Rapids Police Arrest Murder Suspect 39 Years After Murder Was Committed 

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Cedar Rapids police say they have charged a man with murder, 39 years to the day after the killing of a high school student.
Police announced the arrest Wednesday night in the Dec. 19, 1979, stabbing death of 18-year-old Michelle Martinko.
Police arrested 64-year-old Jerry Lynn Burns on Wednesday morning in Manchester and charged him with first-degree murder. He’s being held in the Linn County jail in Cedar Rapids and will appear in district court Thursday morning.
Police say they matched a blood sample from the crime scene with a sample taken from the suspect.
Martinko’s body was found just after 4 a.m. Dec. 20 inside her
family’s car parked at a shopping mall. She had stab wounds to the face and chest.
She had driven to the mall to shop for a coat after leaving a school banquet.



Cedar Rapids Woman Sentenced For Stealing From Fiance

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa woman has been given seven years in prison for stealing more than $192,000 from her now-dead fiance and his elderly mother.
Robin Ann Bertelli, of Cedar Rapids, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. She pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft.
Prosecutors say the 61-year-old Bertelli stole checks from July 2013 through September 2016 that belonged to former Navy SEAL Ken Martin Jr. and Martin’s mother and wrote them payable to herself, forging their signatures.
Prosecutors say Bertelli started a relationship with Martin around
2013 and moved in with him and his mother. Martin died in February 2016 while on vacation with Bertelli in Puerto Rico from what Bertelli said was an accidental drowning after hitting his head on a rock.



Records Show Several Suspects Were Considered In The Molly Tibbetts Murder

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Before they arrested a farmhand in the death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, investigators scrutinized four other potential suspects during their five-week search.
Newly unsealed search warrants show they included a neighbor seen washing his SUV hours after Tibbetts vanished, a Nebraska man who ditched his vehicle in Iowa days later and an acquaintance who told police he’d recently “wiped” his cellphone data.
Of perhaps most interest was a farmer with a history of stalking
women. He lived 200 yards (182 meters) from where Tibbetts’ cellphone dropped off the network.
All have been eliminated as suspects.
The documents provide details about how Tibbetts’ July 18
disappearance stumped agents for weeks. The suspect charged didn’t come on their radar until shortly before he allegedly led them to her body in a cornfield.



Farmer Charged With Fraud By Marketing Non-organic Crops As Being Organic

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Missouri farmer is accused of marketing $140 million worth of non-organic corn, soybeans and wheat as organic over a 7 1/2 year period.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, charged Randy
Constant with fraud on Wednesday. The Chillicothe, Missouri, man is expected to appear in court Thursday.
Constant owned and operated two companies that grew and sold
organics. He’s accused of saying his grains were certified organic because some of them came from organic farms he operated in Nebraska and Missouri.
But prosecutors say more than 90 percent of his product was non-organic grain purchased from other farmers.
The charging document alleges the scheme resulted in $142.4 million of sales to 10 customers nationwide from 2010 to mid-2017.
Three Nebraska farmers have pleaded guilty in the alleged scheme.