Feenstra To Challenge King For U-S Congressional Seat
(Hull) — (AP) – A three-term Republican state senator says he
plans to run against U.S. Rep. Steve King in 2020, likely setting up a heated primary battle for the state’s 4th Congressional District seat.
Randy Feenstra, a Sioux County Republican from Hull, and the assistant Republican leader in the State Senate, announced Wednesday he intends to run for the seat and has opened a federal campaign committee, the first step in preparing for a congressional campaign.
Feenstra said the northwest Iowa district doesn’t have a voice in
Washington “because our current representative’s caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table.” He added Iowans don’t need more “sideshows or distractions.”
King is known for hardline views on immigration, abortion and gun rights. His sometimes blunt comments frequently draw criticism from Democrats and occasionally from fellow Republicans.
He narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent in November, a change from his typically easy victories in the overwhelmingly Republican district.
King’s campaign office says Feenstra promised in December he would not run and referred to his announcement as “misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers…”
Feenstra says Iowa’s 4th District needs a leader.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann says the party will remain neutral in the primary race.
Christmas Acres Donates To Christian Needs Center
(Le Mars) — A donation of $14,266 was recently presented to the Christian Needs Center of Le Mars by Rob Scheitler of Christmas Acres. Each year, for the last 22 years, beginning at Thanksgiving running through Christmas, including the New Year’s Holiday and Epiphany, the Scheitler family displays
hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and decorations at their farm that attracts visitors from a wide area. Christmas Acres is located west of Le Mars on Highway 3 and then a quarter of a mile south on Impala Avenue. Rob Scheitler says of the money collected “this is an amazing amount of money
which helps so many people in need.” Scheitler says this year was the most amount of money collected. He says he had talked with several people that traveled several hours from Omaha, Nebraska; to Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and even Minneapolis, Minnesota; to come see the lighted display. The Scheitler’s began contributing donations to the Christian Needs Center in 2012.
Brandon South Dakota Woman Sentenced In Sioux County
(Orange City) — Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle announced that Artis Kattenberg, age 51, of Brandon, South Dakota, was sentenced in Sioux County District Court for the crimes of Criminal Mischief as well as Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. On January 7, 2019, Kattenberg was also sentenced in Lyon County District Court for the separate crimes of Criminal Mischief and Aiding and Abetting the Reckless Use of a Firearm. Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle, and Lyon County Attorney Shayne Mayer, prosecuted the cases on behalf of the State of Iowa.
The cases began on December 24, 2017, after which damage was done to a residence by a gun being fired toward and into a Sioux County residence.
The home was not occupied at the time of the shooting, but a separate investigation revealed a second shooting was also done to a Lyon County residence. Multiple agencies, coordinating their investigative efforts, revealed increasingly bizarre behavior from Kattenberg and her son, which included stockpiling firearms and threatening comments. Kattenberg was taken into South Dakota custody on December 27, 2017, where she spent 293 days in
the Minnehaha County jail, and received a 7-year suspended prison sentence for Abuse or Cruelty to a Minor, with the condition she comply with all recommendations for mental health treatment. Coordinating law enforcement agencies appear to have prevented an incident with multiple victims of firearm-related violence.
In Iowa, Kattenberg received a second 7-year suspended prison
sentence, where she is prohibited from having any contact with the Netherlands Reformed Church in Rock Valley and the victims. She must also comply with any mental health recommendations. As a result of her felony convictions in South Dakota and Iowa, Kattenberg is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Judge Rules Iowa’s “Ag-Gag” Law Unconstitutional
(Des Moines) — A federal court has ruled Iowa’s so-called “ag gag” law is unconstitutional. The law set up a penalty for people who get a job on a farm or in a livestock confinement in order to go undercover to release details of the operation or free the animals. Rita Bettis Austen of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says the law violated First Amendment rights.
Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He says the court mentioned the value of undercover investigations.
Matthew Liebman (LEEB-man), an attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, says the law stifled investigations his clients might have conducted.
Governor Terry Branstad signed the law in 2012, saying it’s wrong for people to try to disrupt farming operations. Others who supported the law say people who enter livestock barns under false pretenses can expose the animals to diseases. Federal courts have struck down laws in Idaho, Utah
and Wyoming that were — like Iowa’s law — intended to discourage animal rights groups from videotaping inside livestock confinements.
Immigrant Detained Too Long
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Palestinian immigrant who was jailed in Iowa for two years while awaiting deportation has been released after a federal judge ruled he had been held for too long without a reasonable expectation of being repatriated soon.
Hasan Salama Dibai Ghithan was released last week.
Advocates for immigrants’ rights say Ghithan’s case is not unusual and that far too many immigrants awaiting deportation are jailed indefinitely because they don’t know how to navigate the U.S. legal system.
Ghithan is 33 and was born in Ramallah in the West Bank. He says he was jailed in January 2017, as he tried to renew his green card, after immigration officials discovered he had been convicted on a drug charge in Texas.
Authorities Identify Woman’s Body Found Near Highway
MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have released the name of a woman whose body was found alongside a highway near Muscatine in eastern Iowa.
The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman as 20-year-old Lea Renae Ponce, who lived in Fairfield.
The sheriff’s office received a call around 1 a.m. Tuesday that
reported a woman lying on a side of Iowa Highway 38. Arriving deputies found the body.
Officials are awaiting autopsy results.
Des Moines Fire Send Two To Hospital With Injuries
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say two occupants were hospitalized after a fire at their Des Moines home.
Firetrucks were dispatched around 10 p.m. Wednesday, and firefighters found the two outside the home when they arrived. Their names haven’t been released.
The front of the home was heavily damaged. The fire cause is being investigated.
Democratic Billionaire and Activist Says He Will Not Run For President
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer will not run for president in 2020.
Steyer, who has paid for television ads calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, said Wednesday at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, that “the impeachment question” had reached “an inflection point,” and he planned to focus on that.
The decision comes as a surprise, given Steyer had been traveling the country promoting the political platform he released after November’s midterm elections.
Although Steyer opted against a presidential run, the constellation of political organizations that he has built is likely to have an impact on the presidential race and on key congressional races across the country.
Several prominent Democrats have also declined to run in 2020,
including former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and lawyer Michael Avenatti.