Diamond Vogel Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony For Warehouse Expansion
(Orange City) — An Orange City company that makes paint and stains is celebrating a ribbon-cutting on a warehouse expansion project that doubles its existing space. Diamond Vogel (VOE-gul) has been in Orange City for 93 years. Drew Vogel, a third-generation family member, C-E-O and chairman of the board, says the expansion of the Old Masters warehouse is evidence the
division is doing well in the marketplace.
Vogel’s grandfather, Andrew Vogel, was a Dutch immigrant who started the company in 1926. He says the company’s longevity and success over the years is due to meeting a basic need.
Diamond Vogel president Jeff Powell says the company is strong and expanding.
Powell says Diamond Vogel Paint and its subsidiary, Old Masters, are planning additional expansions over the next five years.
Le Mars YMCA Expands Programs And Sees Increased Attendance
(Le Mars) — Earlier this week, the Le Mars city council heard from Todd Lancaster, executive director with the Le Mars YMCA and Community Wellness Center, as he presented the 2018 annual report. Lancaster says the indoor aquatic center had nearly a thousand more people use the swimming facilities
in 2018 than the previous year.
Lancaster says the number of people using the indoor aquatic center remained fairly stable through the autumn and winter months.
The YMCA executive says the outdoor pool also had steady usage through the summer months.
Lancaster says the YMCA is offering additional programs for all ages, which has also helped increase the attendance. He says the local YMCA has become more than just a “swim and gym” facility.
According to Lancaster, the summer Y camp has seen a big boost in attendance.
Lancaster says the YMCA now offers a tutoring program with three tutors and up to as many as 30 students a day. But the YMCA executive says perhaps the program with the most interest and growing attendance is youth soccer.
The Le Mars YMCA and Community Wellness Center is now preparing for a facility expansion as identified as part of the Community Betterment Program.
Jeneary and Carlin To Hold Town Hall Meetings
(Des Moines) — Republican state lawmakers Dr. Tom Jeneary and Jim Carlin have announced they will hold two town hall meetings scheduled for Saturday morning. The legislators will be at the Kissinger Community Hall in Merrill beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the second town hall meeting will be at 11:00
a.m. at 3 Sisters Bistro at Remsen. The town hall meetings are open to the public. The legislators will discuss the issues and bills facing the state legislature.
Senate Committee Narrowly Passes Death Penalty Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Senate committee has narrowly passed a death penalty bill making it eligible for debate this year, the first time since the mid-1990s the issue will make it that far if it’s debated.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill out on an 8-7 vote Thursday. Two Republicans joined the committee’s five Democrats to oppose the bill including Sen. Kevin Kinney, a former sheriff’s deputy who investigated the death of 10-year-old Jetseta Gage. She was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender near Iowa City in 2005. Kinney says
he’s come to realize life in prison is more severe than the death penalty.
A similar bill last year failed to get through the committee
process. Its chances of survival remain uncertain.
The most recent full debate was in March 1995 when the Senate
rejected a bill the Iowa House had approved just days before.
The bill would make it a capital offense to kidnap, rape and murder a minor, crimes Republican Sen. Jason Schultz says are so heinous they justify death.
Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965.
Iowa’s Ban On Voting By Convicted Felons Face Consequences
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A review by The Associated Press shows that ex-offenders who violate Iowa’s strict ban on voting by convicted felons face severe legal consequences, even when it’s unclear whether they knowingly broke the law.
The review found that felons can be arrested, jailed, ordered to pay fines and even imprisoned after trying to cast ballots. In all, 10 have been charged with felony election misconduct for voting since 2017.
A man who is disabled from a brain injury was prosecuted after he mistakenly believed poll workers would alert him if there was a problem with his eligibility. A man who cast a provisional ballot after disputing that he was ineligible still owes $2,300 in court costs. The mayor of one town was forced to resign and prosecuted for illegally voting after a judge revoked his deferred judgment in a drug case.
Defendants and their supporters argue that the consequences are draconian. Prosecutors say they are enforcing laws intended to safeguard elections from participation by ineligible voters.
State Senate Committee Passes Bill Dealing With Voting Hours
(Des Moines) — Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee have approved a wide-ranging bill that sets 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m as closing time for voting in all Iowa elections. Senator Roby (ROB-ee) Smith, a Republican from Davenport, says county auditors asked for the change.
“You have a number of people that are retired that have to be
there all day long,” Smith says. “Sometimes they open up the polls or they’re getting ready at 6 or 6:30 in the morning…and they have to stay there past 9 p.m., sometimes 9:30 and 10 o’clock at night.” Senator Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, objects.
“If the auditors, for example, that nobody but maybe one person votes between the hours 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., I’d personally be against closing the polls early,” Taylor said. “…You disenfranchise one voter, it’s too many.” The bill approved by the Senate State Government Committee would require all early votes cast by absentee ballot to be in the county
auditor’s office by Election Day. Smith, the committee’s chairman, says that meets the goal of uniformity.
“There’s checks and balances that we have in this so that every vote counts, every legal vote counts and not one one more vote counts that’s illegal,” Smith says. The bill forbids early voting sites on the three public university campuses. It also would require graduating students at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I to sign a form indicating if they plan to move out of state so their names can be taken off Iowa voter registration rolls.
Senator Pam Jochum (YOH-kum) of Dubuque says several provisions in the bill would likely spark lawsuits.
“We’re treating groups of students very differently depending on whether they go to a private or a public school,” Jochum said. Jochum and the other Democrats on the committee voted against the bill. It is now eligible for debate in the full Senate. A bipartisan effort is underway in the Iowa House to address absentee voting. It would require all county
auditors to use a Postal Service tracking system to determine if ballots are mailed before Election Day.
Judge Allows Witness That Lied To Testify For New Trial
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa judge says she sees no legal problem with testimony from a key witness in a 1990 murder case who has misleadingly told three juries that he didn’t receive any benefit from prosecutors.
Judge Marlita Greve denied motions Thursday filed by lawyers for
Stanley Liggins that sought to delay his fourth trial in the death of 9-year-old Jennifer Lewis, to recuse prosecutors or to dismiss the case altogether. She said trial would begin Monday in Waterloo.
At issue was information discovered by Liggins’ defense that showed Antonio Holmes was given a generous plea deal that specifically required him to testify at Liggins’ 1993 trial. At that trial and two others, including one last year, Holmes testified he received no benefit for his cooperation.
Greve says the fact that he had a plea agreement has been known. She noted that Holmes came forward shortly after the crime to say he saw a man who could be Liggins at a liquor store with Lewis before she was kidnapped.
Webster County Attorney Clears Officers In Fatal Shooting Incident
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – The Webster County attorney has cleared two officers who killed a man during an exchange of gunfire.
Forty-five-year-old Matthew Hurley, of Wall Lake, died Dec. 31 after engaging in a gunfight while driving away from officers who had been called to a disturbance just outside Fort Dodge. Hurley’s vehicle eventually stopped in a field, and he was found dead inside.
The review released Thursday says each officer was “justified in the use of reasonable force, including deadly force, in that each reasonably believed that such force was necessary to defend himself or another from an actual or imminent use of unlawful force by Matthew Thomas Hurley.”