Wednesday Afternoon News, February 3
Iowa Department Of Transportation Still Trying To Open Highway 3
(Le Mars) -- People are trying to dig themselves out of the 13 inch snow that fell on Le Mars on Groundhog's Day. State and county road crews have been clearing the highways, and Le Mars Public Works city crews were removing the snow and hauling it away from Plymouth Street this morning. Several schools, including Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic, decided to take a second day of snow vacation, as many streets and rural roads had not yet been cleared at the time classes were to begin. As of 11:00 a.m. this morning, the Iowa Department of Transportation is still classifying State Highway 3 between Le Mars and Akron as being impassable. The Iowa D-O-T is still saying the stretch of highway is having a critical disruption. The Iowa transportation department has dispatched a large snow blower to the area. Plymouth County Sheriff's deputy Paul Bettsworth was on Highway 3 and describes the scene.
Bettsworth anticipates it will be awhile before D-O-T road crews have the entire highway cleared.
As for the county roads, Bettsworth says crews from the Plymouth County Secondary Road Department are busy doing their best to clear the roads as quickly as possible.
Tow bands continue to be in effect for Plymouth, Sioux, Lyon, Osceola, and O'Brien counties. Highways 3, 60, 12, 75, 20, 59, 71, 18 and 9 are still covered with snow and ice.
Highway Patrol Troopers Comment On Area Road Conditions
(Le Mars) -- Iowa Highway Patrol officials are reporting Highway 20 and Sioux City is the dividing line in terms of good winter road conditions, and highways that are still covered with snow and ice and considered a bit trecherous. Trooper John Farley says from Sioux City heading south, roads and highways are improving, but highways extending north of Sioux City are still creating some concerns for motorists.
The Iowa Highway Patrol trooper says very few vehicles were in the ditch and stranded from yesterday's storms, however, now that roads are beginning to be cleared, he has noticed more stranded motorists.
Farley says within his patroling area, the winds have decreased offering motorists better visibility. Looking to the northern regions, Iowa Highway Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz has been traveling in the Sioux and O'Brien County areas. He says road conditions are still not good.
Kurtz advises to delay your travels, if possible, to allow state and county snow plows the opportunity to clear the roads and highways. He says there are still several abandoned vehicles in the ditches, and even on the roads.
Kurtz says the winds are not as strong as they were yesterday, but he cautions thereare still times when motorists may encounter white-out conditions.
Holz And Anderson Schedule Legislative Forums
(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars has announced that he and State Senator Bill Anderson of Pierson will host four legislative forums through out the county this coming Saturday, February 6th. Holz and Anderson will begin their day at Kingsley at the Kingsley Community Center. The forum is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Merrill will be the second legislative forum will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be held at the Merrill City Hall. From 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. the two state lawmakers will visit with constituents at the Wells Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars. Akron will be the final stop for the legislative forums. The meeting is slated to start at 12:15 p.m. at Akron Jo's located at 150 Reed Street.
Storm Lake Man Pleads Not Guilty To Kidnapping Conspiracy
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A May trial has been scheduled for a Storm Lake man accused of keeping the Iowa Human Services Department from taking custody of his children.
Scott Banks entered written pleas of not guilty Monday in Buena Vista County District Court to two counts of kidnapping conspiracy and one count of perjury. His trial is set to begin May 17.
Court documents say Banks kept the two children from department employees on Dec. 14 and lied while under oath at a court hearing that same day. The children were found later at the home of a relative who wasn't aware of a court order regarding the children.
The children's grandmother, Dionne Pamon, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges.
Police Identify Killed Pedestrian
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police have identified pedestrian who was killed while crossing a street in West Des Moines.
Police announced Wednesday that 69-year-old Richard Carstensen, of West Des Moines, was struck and killed Monday night while crossing Ashworth Road.
Carstensen was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no traffic control devices or crosswalks at the site of the crash.
Police say the driver of the vehicle was not hurt. He was identified as 55-year-old Robert Irving, of Urbandale. Police say a preliminary investigation shows Irving did not violate traffic laws.
Jackpot Rigging Scandal
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It was one of those feel-good moments that lotteries love to promote when "Lucky Larry" Dawson claimed a $9 million jackpot, surrounded by his kids and grandkids.
But five years later, the Iowa man could become a key player in litigation that threatens to cost state lotteries tens of millions of dollars in damages in an insider jackpot-rigging scandal.
A Des Moines law firm filed a lawsuit Wednesday on Dawson's behalf seeking to declare that his Hot Lotto jackpot in May 2011 should have been nearly three times as big, had the previous one not been fixed.
It's the first in what could be several lawsuits filed by players who claim they were ripped off by games allegedly rigged by Eddie Tipton, former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Woman Makes Deal On Sex With Teen Charge
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 27-year-old woman has been given two years of probation after taking a plea deal in an Iowa sex-with-a-teen case.
Court records say Jessica Pritchard was sentenced Monday in Pottawattamie County District Court. She'd pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a minor. Prosecutors had lowered the charges in return for her pleas.
Pritchard was given a deferred judgment, which means her two convictions will be removed from her record if she successfully completes probation.
She must register for 10 years as a sex offender.
Authorities say Pritchard now lives across the Missouri River in suburban Omaha, Nebraska. She was arrested in July in Alliance, Nebraska.
Simpson Students Submit Petition Against Shooting Club
INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa college is receiving pushback for its plan to hire a full-time coach for its shooting sports club.
The petition for a weapons-free Simpson College garnered more than130 signatures by Wednesday morning. It calls on the college's board of trustees to reverse a decision to hire a coach and to stop letting students store firearms in a locked safe on campus.
Petition supporters argue that the college should fund academic programs instead of a firearms club in an era of mass shootings that have left campuses broken and students dead.