Home News Thursday Afternoon News, September 5th

Thursday Afternoon News, September 5th


Akron Woman Offers Alford Plea On Death Of Her Husband

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – An Akron woman accused of lying about killing her husband has entered a plea.
Plymouth County District Court records say 35-year-old Becky Hebert, of rural Akron, entered a written Alford plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of interference with official acts. In an Alford plea, a person doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction. Her sentencing has not been scheduled.
She’d originally been charged with second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2017, shooting death of 40-year-old Jeremy Hebert. The charge was dismissed just weeks later. Deputies reported that she said numerous times that she’d shot her husband – statements that they later concluded were lies.
No other arrests for the slaying have been reported.



Myers Ask City Council To Consider Constructing An “Inclusion Park”

(Le Mars) — During the Le Mars city council meeting held earlier this week, Beth Myers of Josh’s Ride addressed the city council urging them to consider installing an “inclusion park” when they begin the renovation process on Cleveland Park. Myers says an “inclusion park” is specially equipped to offer handicapped individuals the same opportunity to explore and play on a

The city has announced plans to dismantle the Castle playground structure sometime later this autumn.



Northwestern College President Comments On Record Student Enrollment

(Orange City) — Northwestern College of Orange City is announcing its largest enrollment is school history. This year, 1,414 students are enrolled in the fall semester, which is up 107 students from last year. The college’s previous record was at 1,342 set in 2006. Northwestern’s enrollment includes the largest freshman class since 2014. Craig Christie is the president of Northwestern College. He credits Northwestern’s
academic programs, along with its respected faculty, for the increase in enrollment.

Christie says a vast majority of the students attending Northwestern College are from within a 100-mile radius of Orange City.

Northwestern College is going against the trend seen at the state public universities which have reported a drop in enrollment numbers. Christie says the combination of the campus’s new facilities, and its people, are contributing factors for the increase in student enrollment.

Christie says Northwestern’s athletic program consisting of nationally ranked football, basketball, and volleyball have helped give Northwestern College additional exposure that attracts both athletes and non-athletes.



Dordt University Nationally Ranked For Student Engagement

(Sioux Center) — For the fourth year in a row, Dordt University of Sioux Center, has been named the number one college in the nation for student engagement, according to The Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education.
The rankings examine questions such as: Do the classes at Dordt challenge students? Are students engaged in critical thinking and learning?
The rankings examined data from a variety of sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) from the U.S. government, the College Scorecard, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). They also considered more than 170,000 student survey responses from surveys such as
the Times Higher Education U.S. Student Survey.



Reynolds Names New Human Services Director

(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds is looking out of state for the new State Director of Human Services. Reynolds announced Thursday she will appoint Kelly Kennedy Garcia, currently deputy executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, as director of the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS). Garcia will be relocating from Austin, Texas and begins her new role on Nov. 1.

Reynolds says, “Kelly Garcia is an experienced social service leader and team builder with a passion for helping people and leading change. For so many Iowans, DHS provides the critical services, protection and support they need to live and thrive. Kelly brings a depth of experience in a large-scale, high-impact government agency and will serve Iowa’s families and communities well in this vital role.”

In her current role, Garcia oversees the Health, Developmental and Independence Services (HDIS) department in Texas, which spans more than 40 client service programs and support functions with more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget. She served in a number of other senior level
human services roles, including deputy chief for the Office of Programs and Services, which includes oversight of Medicaid, eligibility operations, behavioral and mental health.



Sand Says State Should Not Pay For Lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s auditor says a state panel should stop paying appeal costs in a lawsuit filed against former Gov. Terry Branstad, who was found by a jury to have discriminated against a former state official.
Auditor Rob Sand says in a letter given Friday to the Iowa Executive Council that he will vote against any appeal costs in the lawsuit filed by former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey against Branstad.
A jury awarded Godfrey $1.5 million in July after finding Branstad and a staffer discriminated against Godfrey in 2011 because he’s gay and retaliated against him.
Attorney costs to taxpayers could reach $6 million and are climbing as Branstad’s attorneys continue to file motions attempting to overturn the verdict.
Sand is a member of the Executive Council, which is responsible for authorizing the state’s litigation expenses. Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, also a council member, has voted recently not to pay legal bills in the case.
Both are Democrats. Branstad is a Republican.
Council members Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of State Paul Pate and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, all Republicans, didn’t immediately respond to messages.



Pilot Suffers Minor Injuries After Plane Crash

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a pilot suffered minor injuries when his airplane crashed in a south-central Iowa cornfield.
The Adair County Sheriff’s Office says a 911 caller reported around 7:10 a.m. Wednesday that a man had walked to the caller’s home and said the small plane he’d been flying had gone down nearby. First responders found the single-engine plane lying on its top in the field about a mile (1.6 kilometers) northwest of Greenfield.  The pilot was taken to a hospital and soon released. He’s been identified as 59-year-old Eric Chrystal, of Jefferson.
The crash cause is being investigated.



Authorities Identify Marshalltown Woman That Died Following Police Chase

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have released the name of a Marshalltown woman who died after her minivan crashed during a police chase in south-central Iowa.
She was identified Wednesday as 40-year-old Erin Weers.
Knoxville police say an officer tried to pull over a woman later
identified as Weers for speeding Tuesday afternoon in front of Knoxville Middle School. She accelerated away and eventually turned north on Iowa Highway 14.
Police say the chase speeds exceeded 90 mph (144.8 kph) before her minivan ran into a roadside ditch north of Knoxville, hit an obstacle and then went airborne before crashing and catching fire.
Police say Weers was pronounced dead at the scene.