Home News Thursday News, December 27

Thursday News, December 27

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Authorities in Sioux Falls have identified a couple killed when a small plane crashed in a residential neighborhood of the South Dakota city.  The Minnehaha County coroner positively identified the victims as Vaughn and JoAnn Meyer of Sioux Falls. Both were 68 years old.  Sioux Falls Police Capt. Loren McManus says authorities don’t know who was piloting the plane, which crashed between four homes on Tuesday.  No one on the ground was hurt.  The Argus Leader reports that the Meyers were known for their philanthropy.    Sioux Falls Lutheran School announced earlier this year it was naming a new chapel and performing arts center after the couple after they donated more than $1 million to the project.  Police say the National Transportation Safety Board has contracted a company which will be in Sioux Falls on Wednesday to start the investigation into the crash.

Iowa farmland values have dropped four of the last five years in
the Iowa State University survey — but some farmland owners are still optimistic that will change in the new year. KLEM’s Dennis Morrice tells us more with this report.

 

ORGANIC FRAUD-CHARGES

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Prosecutors say thousands of individuals and businesses were victims of a large-scale scheme in which ordinary corn and soybeans were fraudulently marketed nationwide as “certified organic.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said in a filing Wednesday that potentially “tens of thousands” were defrauded by Randy Constant and his associates into paying a premium for products that they didn’t want.
Constant, of Chillicothe, Missouri, and three others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Constant, who owned an Iowa grain brokerage, acknowledged that he sold $142 million worth of corn, soybeans and wheat over a 7 1/2 year period that wasn’t organic despite his representations.
Constant was aware that most of his product was grown using non-organic methods. The buyers included companies who processed the grain into other products that were marketed as organic.

ELECTION 2020-CALIFORNIA

California is trying to matter in the 2020 presidential election.
The nation’s biggest state has moved up its primary in the hopes of getting some love from candidates along with the traditional quartet of early-voting states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
There’s no guarantee it will work. California is expensive to campaign in, and that will limit who can compete there. It may also increase the importance of the early states because only a win there may generate the cash and publicity to pierce the California electorate.
California is home to several Democratic presidential aspirants. But it’s unclear they will have an edge. Just ask Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who lost the 2016 Republican presidential primary in his home state to Donald Trump.

UNIVERSITY POLICE-LAWSUITS

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Three former managers at the University of Iowa police department have filed lawsuits claiming that their jobs were eliminated as part of a “culture of discrimination” against older workers.
The lawsuits were filed by former UI Department of Public Safety associate director William Searls, Capt. Ian Scott and Capt. Loren Noska.
The three were notified on April 20, 2017 that their jobs were being cut by Director Scott Beckner, who cited “an organizational realignment” as the reason.
All three men are in their 50s. Their lawsuits claim that their duties were given to two employees who were less qualified, had less experience with the department and were about 20 years younger.
They also claim Beckner blocked them from consideration for a sergeant’s position that was later advertised even though they were qualified and that he gave the job to a less experienced 32-year-old.

STUDENT DISARMED

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – A judge has issued restrictions for media coverage of the trial of a 12-year-old eastern Iowa boy accused of trying to shoot a junior high school teacher.
The Quad-City Times reported Wednesday that the Scott County District Court judge ruled the media can’t name the boy or take identifiable photographs of him or witnesses younger than 18.
The boy will be arraigned Jan. 17. He’s charged with attempted murder, carrying weapons on school grounds and assault while displaying a dangerous weapon.
Court documents allege the boy was armed with a loaded .22-caliber gun in August when he entered a classroom at North Scott Junior High in Eldridge, about 10 miles north of Davenport.
He allegedly pointed the gun at a teacher’s face and pulled the trigger, but the safety was engaged and the gun didn’t fire. The teacher took the gun from the boy.

BURLINGTON SLAYING

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) – A judge has granted a trial delay for an Illinois resident accused of killing a man in southeast Iowa last year.
Des Moines County court records say 29-year-old Antoine Spann, of Dalton, Illinois, was scheduled to go on trial Jan. 8 . He’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony for the death of 26-year-old Demarcus “Peanut” Chew. Chew was shot to death Sept. 10, 2017, in a car outside the home of his mother in Burlington.
The Hawk Eye reports the delay was granted last week. Spann’s attorneys had said more time was needed to obtain depositions from the more than 70 witnesses who might testify. The new trial starting date will be set after the judge and lawyers confer with the case coordinator.

PIONEER CEMETERIES

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) – Commissions that oversee some of Iowa’s oldest pioneer cemeteries are struggling to accommodate requests for new burials.
To qualify as a pioneer cemetery, there must be fewer than 12 burials in the past 50 years. That limit and other factors can make it hard to approve requests for new burials.
The Telegraph Herald reports the Jackson County Pioneer Cemetery Commission has been working to establish rules allowing residents to be buried in the old cemeteries.
Allen and Marjorie Fowler have been waiting for three years for Jackson County to establish rules that would let them be buried in the Union Center Cemetery, near their family farm east of Maquoketa.
JoAnn Caven, a member of the commission, said the panel hopes to establish rules in 2019.

DEPENDENT ADULT ABUSE-MOM

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a man stole nearly $37,000 from his mother while they lived in a smelly Dubuque residence filled with trash.
Dubuque County court records say 35-year-old Michael Woods is charged with dependent adult abuse. The records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for him. Woods’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.
The Telegraph Herald reports that police say Woods and his 75-year-old mother, Barbara Gebhardt, had been living as squatters in the lower level of a residence that had been owned by a woman who died in February 2017.
Officers sent to check the residence found Gebhardt in a room that was filled with trash and junk and smelled of “mold, rotting garbage, feces and urine.” She was taken to a hospital.

AP-WF-12-27-18 0320GMT