Home News Tuesday Afternoon News, September 24th

Tuesday Afternoon News, September 24th


Le Mars Woman Given Probation For Her Role In Burglary and Robbery

(Le Mars)— A judge has given probation to a Le Mars woman who was originally charged with assisting with a robbery and an asault. District Judge Todd Dak has accepted the guilty plea by 28 year old Ashley Scarlett for criminal mischief in exchange for a plea agreement with original charges of second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary. Scarlett was suspended from a two-year prison sentence and placed on probation for two years, along with a fine of $625. Court documents stated that Scarlett and Chase Kounkel called the victim on September 29th of last year to tell him they were coming to his Le Mars home. After arriving at the victim’s home, Kunkel apparently punched the victim and he and Scarlett took several items from the victim’s home. They then forced the victim to get in his vehicle and drive Kounkel to another residence while Scarlett followed in her
vehicle. While at the second residence, Kounkel again assaulted the victim, and Scarlett broke three windows to the victim’s vehicle. Kounkel, age 34 of Mount Pleasant, Iowa has pleaded not guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, third-degree kidnapping and assault while participating in a felony. Kounkel’s trial is scheduled to begin on October 15th.



Curriculum Director Explains New Assessment Testing To School Board

(Le Mars) — At last evening’s Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting, Curriculum Director Rachel Leavitt shared with the school board a new assessment program that has been adopted by the state. Leavitt informed the board that the school has not yet received the testing scores from the assessment conducted from last spring, but did indicate to expect the scores
by October 22nd. Leavitt says the new test will be more compatible to the Iowa Core Education Standards.

Leavitt says she believes when the test scores are returned to Le Mars Community School District the students’ scores will be acceptable.

Leavitt told the board, the students will take the assessment test, only once a year, as opposed to former testing which required the students to complete the assessment tests twice a year. In other action, the school board approved the superintendent’s goals and implementation of programs to
accomplish those goals.



Premier Communications Wants To Install Fiber Optic Network At Rural AkronĀ 

(Le Mars) — Premier Communications is wanting to expand its fiber optic network to include the rural area of Akron and Hawarden. Scott TeStroete, Premier Communications Sales and Marketing Officer appeared before the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to inform the county board of its plan and to gain the board’s support for a state grant.

TeStroete says the fiber optic installation would involve just the rural area surrounding Akron and Hawarden.

The Premier Communications official says it would mean fiber optic network service to a potential 1000 customers, or touch points.

TeStroete says the goal is to complete the fiber optic installation within a year. He says the state grant, if awarded, could be around a million dollars. TeStroete say regardless whether Premier Communications is awarded the grant, the Sioux Center-based communications company plans to move ahead on the $12 million dollar project. Over the last ten years, Premier Communications has invested more than $125 million dollars into
installing fiber optic network. The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors did approve supporting Premier Communications on their project, as well as the pursuit of the state grant.



Grassley Now Doubtful On Trump’s Verbal Agreement With Ethanol

(Washington) — More than a week ago, U-S Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse and South Dakota Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds met with President
Donald Trump and members of the Trump Administration to discuss the recent action by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant waivers to 31 oil refineries to not include ethanol as required in the Renewable Fuels Standard. At the time of the meeting, Grassley and the others had a verbal agreement by Trump and his administration to help the ethanol industry.
However, since no announcement of the agreement has been made, Grassley told reporters during his weekly news conference, that he now has some doubts as to whether or not President Trump will live up to the agreement of having 15 billion gallons of grain-based ethanol included in the nation’s fuel needs.

Grassley says he will keep close observation on the Environmental Protection Agency, so they don’t “water” down the agreement.



Appeals Judge Files Lawsuit Against Governor Reynolds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines lawyer is suing Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state officials, claiming a new law that gave the governor more power over the commission that selects supreme court and appeals court judges is unconstitutional.
It’s the second such lawsuit filed in state court challenging the
change that Reynolds signed into law in May.
The new case was filed Sept. 11 by Thomas Duff, a trial lawyer for 30 years who interviewed to be an Iowa Court of Appeals judge but wasn’t chosen as a finalist by the State Judicial Nominating Commission.
He alleges the law is unconstitutional in part because it violates the separation of powers article of the state constitution.
The first lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic legislators and a
member of the commission was dismissed in June. That decision is on appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
The attorney general’s office had no comment and a spokesman for Reynolds didn’t respond to a message.



Sports Betting Shut Down Temporary At Prairie Meadows

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) – Sports betting kiosks at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona have been shut down while a vendor figures out why they came on in the middle of the night when they were supposed to have been turned off.
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko says surveillance video shows no one at the machines when they powered up overnight recently but William Hill, the company providing sports betting at the casino, has chosen to keep them off until the glitch can be resolved.
Sports bets can still be placed through casino personnel at betting windows and on a mobile app, but the self-service kiosks at the casino sports book area are off for now. The casino’s sports betting area closes at midnight except on Friday and Saturday when it closes at 1 a.m.
Ohorilko says sports betting in Iowa, which began Aug. 15, has gone smoothly otherwise.
Prairie Meadows reports total amount wagered in August was $3.4 million, the highest of the 13 casinos now taking bets. Sports wagers for all the casinos last month totaled $8.5 million.