Le Mars Police Officer Placed On Administrative Leave Due To Social Media Posts
(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegt released an announcement Sunday morning saying, in the morning hours of September 13, 2020, the Le Mars Police Department was made aware of concerning social media posts involving a Le Mars Police Officer. Upon receiving this information the Officer involved was immediately placed on administrative leave per department policy. An investigation into the matter has been initiated.
Iowa Supreme Court Denies Thomas Bibler Appeal
(Des Moines) — The Iowa Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a Le Mars, man convicted of second degree murder in the June, 2016 stabbing death of his sister.
The high court denied a request for further review in the case of
Thomas Bibler, who was convicted of killing Shannon Bogh, and then sentenced to up to 50 years in prison in February of 2019.
The 37-year-old Bibler was determined to have been under the
influence of a sleeping aid when he stabbed the 27-year-old Bogh to death outside her home in Le Mars.
Bibler must serve a minimum of 70 percent of his 50 year sentence.
Branstad To Leave His Post As Ambassador To China
(Washington) — Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is leaving his diplomatic post. President Trump spoke by phone with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst Saturday on another topic. As Ernst held the phone out so volunteers at G-O-P campaign
headquarters could hear Trump, the president concluded by mentioning Branstad, who has been Ambassador to China, as well as the former governor’s son, Eric, who is a senior advisor to Trump’s reelection campaign in Iowa.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted overnight, shortly before midnight Iowa time, thanking Branstad for his service in China. During a campaign rally in Sioux City just before the 2016 election, Trump said Branstad would make a good ambassador.
Trump held a rally in Des Moines in December of 2016, shortly after announcing he’d appoint Branstad as ambassador to China.
In May of 2017 Branstad resigned as governor after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an ambassador. Pompeo, on Twitter, said Branstad had contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results- oriented, reciprocal and fair. Pompeo AND Branstad visited Des Moines in March of last year. Branstad told reporters then he could not talk about US.
politics as a U.S. Ambassador. Branstad, who is 73, is a native of Lake Mills, Iowa. His wife, daughter and his daughter’s family accompanied him to China in 2017, but Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters earlier this year that Branstad’s family returned to Iowa due to the coronavirus.
Trump Makes Announcement On Ethanol Blends
(Washington) — President Trump made an ethanol announcement via twitter this weekend. Trump indicated E-P-A rules will be changed so states may choose to let gas pumps dispense a 15 percent blend of ethanol — called E15 — from pumps currently used for E10. Trump called Iowa Senator Joni Ernst Saturday as she was meeting with campaign volunteers.
Farm groups said the news will help promote consumer acceptance of the higher blend of ethanol and suggested it will increase demand for corn and corn prices. Critics called Trump’s announcement an election year gambit that depends upon state approval and faulted Trump for failing to deny waivers the oil industry seeks to get out of the requirement that ethanol be blended into gasoline.
Democrats Hold Drive-In Fundraiser
(Des Moines, IA) — Vehicles lined up on a grassy field in a Des Moines park this weekend for the first-ever drive-in Polk County Democrats Steak Fry.
Polk County Democratic Party chairman Sean Bagniewski said 900 people were served dinner in their vehicle by a corps of volunteers on golf carts, “making this one of the biggest Democratic events in America this year.” Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris recorded a video message for the event and said “Let’s keep up the pressure, let’s roll up our sleeves and let’s bring this race home.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recorded a video for the event, too. Congresswoman Cindy Axne and Theresa Greenfield, the Democratic Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke to the crowd in person. A spokeswoman
for the Republican National Committee said it was “shameful” that Harris and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden didn’t show up in person for Saturday’s event and a signal the Biden-Harris campaign is “ignoring Iowans.”
President Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., is due to campaign in Treynor, Iowa later today (Monday).
Jury Trials To Resume
(Undated) — Jury trials resume this week in Iowa after a couple of pilot trials to try out social distancing and COVID-19 prevention measures.
Supreme Court Justice Matthew McDermott co-chaired the committee which reviewed and made recommendations on the issue — and says the survey of the judges in the pilot trials showed there were not as many issues as they thought there might be. There was a concern that more jurors would not show
up because of the pandemic — but McDermott says that was not the case.
McDermott says they will watch for outbreaks in particular counties as part of the monitoring as the jury trials resume. He says the judges in each trial will make the decisions on proceeding.
Ottumwa Woman Will Be Retried For Allegedly Causing Daughter’s Death
(Ottumwa, IA) — The Wapello County attorney says he will retry an Ottumwa mother for allegedly causing her five-year-old daughter’s death. Kelsie Thomas was arrested in 2008 when the girl’s body was found in the family home. A jury acquitted Thomas on a child endangerment charge last March, but
its members deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge. Thomas’ retrial has been scheduled for October. Her attorney filed a motion for dismissal last week, but it was denied. Thomas will remain in the Wapello County Jail as she awaits her second trial.