Home News Friday Afternoon News, February 7th

Friday Afternoon News, February 7th


Appointed DNR Director Likely To Be Confirmed By State Senate

(Des Moines) — The new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources appears to be on track be confirmed for the job by the Iowa Senate.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Kayla Lyon as D-N-R director last summer. Some criticized the appointment because Lyon has worked as a lobbyist for farmers and agribusiness. Lyon discussed that with lawmakers this week.

Senator Rob Hogg (HOHG, rhymes with “rogue”), a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says while some have raised concerns about Lyon’s previous work, he predicts she’ll be confirmed.

Lyon had served as the governor’s lobbyist at the legislature before she became the first female to lead the Department of Natural Resources in June.
State agency directors must win the votes of at least 34 senators to be confirmed to their jobs.



Sioux City House Fire Claims Second Victim

(Sioux City) — A Thursday morning house fire in Sioux City’s westside has now claimed a second victim.  Sioux City Firefighters responded to the house fire at approximately 7:45 a.m. on Thursday.  Smoke could be seen coming from the structure.  Fire officials found three adults, two men and a woman, in the basement of the structure while it was burning.  The first victim, a man, died a short time after being transported to a Sioux City hospital.   The second victim, a woman, has now died as a result of the fire.  The third victim remains in a hospital with critical injuries.  Television station, KTIV, say the victims of the fire have now been identified.  The two killed were 57-year old Andrew Godberson and 24-year old Jessica Fischer, both of Sioux City.  The third victim is 26-year old Juan Galarza of Sioux City and remains in MercyOne and is listed in critical condition.  Fire officials say the fire started in the basement of the home, and the cause is still under investigation.



Neighbors Complain About Cedar Rapids Homeless Shelter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Staffers at a Cedar Rapids winter homeless shelter are working with police to reduce problems that have led to complaints from neighbors. The Fillmore Center opened in mid-November to offer a warm place to sleep. The Gazette reports that police since then have received 82 calls for service. Those calls include 41 for disturbances and 31 for medical needs, as well as others for theft, a warrant and other issues. Police said there have been 10 arrests, including seven for public intoxication. That led to neighborhood complaints and an effort by staff to take a firmer stance with rule breakers.



Democratic National Chairman Wants To “Recanvass” Iowa Caucus Votes

WASHINGTON (AP) – Will the Iowa caucuses ever wrap up? Now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee is calling for a “recanvass” of the results. Party leader Tom Perez tweeted Thursday that “enough is enough” after three days of technical issues and delays. Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are nearly tied for the lead after the delays. Both candidates have declared themselves victorious in Monday’s contest. The Associated Press said Thursday that it is unable to declare a winner in the contest. The Iowa Democratic Party suggested it may not comply with Perez’s request, issuing a statement that said it would conduct a recanvass if one was requested by one of the candidates.



Man Who Killed Bank Employee Now Changes Plea

(Algona) — The man accused of killing an Algona woman outside a bank in the Kossuth County town of LuVerne late last year changed his plea from not guilty to guilty during a hearing today (Friday).
Thirty-five-year-old Valentino Williams of Coralville, Iowa changed his plea during a hearing in Kossuth County District Court. Williams admitted in court to killing 43-year-old Jessica Weishaar outside the bank in LuVerne on the morning of December 4th, 2019. Williams was arrested following a traffic stop along Interstate 35 in rural Franklin County little more than an hour after the shooting. Law enforcement was able to track down Williams vehicle after he was recorded driving more than 80 miles-an-hour by a D-O-T Enforcement officer south of Belmond. As a part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped the first-degree Robbery charges against Williams. Judge Nancy L. Whittenburg accepted the plea and handed out the mandatory sentence of life without parole.