National Weather Services Confirm EF2 Tornado Hit Sioux Falls
(Sioux Falls) — The National Weather Service is confirming that at least one tornado hit the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, overnight.
The weather service confirmed an EF-2 tornado with winds of about 125 mph hit a portion of the city. They were examining a second area where a hospital complex suffered heavy damage to see if that also was a tornado or simply straight-line winds.
Mayor Paul TenHaken says officials have still received no reports of deaths or serious injury from the storm that hit around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
He says the city is fortunate. City officials are reporting at least 37 structures suffered damage. Power was out for much of the city overnight, but now utility crews have been able to restore power to all but a couple thousand customers.
Among the stories emerging from the damage is the scramble to protect patients in several Avera Health hospitals. David Flicek, the head of Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, says staff in one building had “10 minutes to wake up 102 residents” and move them to safety.
He says seven people had minor injuries from falling debris.
Accused Suspect Assisting With Bank Robbery Changes Plea
(Le Mars) — The woman charged with assisting with a Le Mars bank robbery of December of last year has changed her plea. Karen Merrick is accused of assisting to rob the Iowa State Bank. She originally offered a plea of not guilty in federal court back in February, but now she has pleaded guilty to the charged crime. Merrick assisted the other bank robbery suspect, Phillip White by driving a U-Haul truck as the get-away vehicle. Both suspects were arrested within minutes following the robbery. Merrick could see up to ten years in prison, and a fine of up to $125,000. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Back in June, White had pleaded guilty to robbing the Iowa State Bank.
Orange City Says No To Wellness Center
(Orange City) — Orange City residents have turned thumbs down on a proposed wellness center, estimated to cost $5 million dollars. The bond measure was voted on Tuesday. The proposal required a “super-majority” which is at least 60 percent voting for the affirmative. The measure failed with 963 people voting no, and 748 people voting for the wellness center. The “yes”
votes represented 43.74 percent while those voting no were at 56.26 percent.
No New School Building For Sergeant Bluff
(Sergeant Bluff) — Sergeant Bluff has again voted no to a proposed bond calling for a new elementary school building for pre-kindergarten through second grade. The school’s projected estimate was $33 million dollars.
Voters needed to get a 60 percent approval for passage of the bond issue.
The vote tally had 981 people voting no, and 638 people voting yes. It is the third time within a couple of years Sergeant Bluff voters have rejected a school bond issue.
Besides the new elementary school, the bond also called for a new athletic complex and improvements at existing facilities.
Cedar Rapids Man Charged With Murder Following Shooting Incident From December
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – A Cedar Rapids man has been charged with first-degree murder following the death of a man who was shot in December.
The Gazette reports that Ezekiel Phillips Jr. is accused of shooting 27-year-old Tyrice Douglas and 19-year-old Mone Dotson on Dec. 19. Court records show Douglas died May 6.
A trial scheduled for later this month will be rescheduled because of the new charge. Phillips had pleaded not guilty to the charges filed before Douglas died: attempted murder, willful injury and going armed with intent.
The 31-year-old Phillips remains in Linn County Jail, pending $1
million cash-only bail.