Wednesday Afternoon News, Feb. 20
Police See Only Slight Increase In Number of Incidents
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga submitted the Police Department's annual report to the city council on Tuesday. Dekkenga says there was a slight increase with the number of incidents reported to the city's police force. Dekkenga says burglaries have increased, not only for Le Mars, but around the region as well.
The Le Mars Police Chief says with all the other categories the numbers were close to a year ago numbers. He mentioned to the city council that the police have responded to more calls for assistance, simply because the calls for the ambulance are higher.
With regards to arrests made by the Le Mars Police Department, Dekkenga says there haven't been much change for the last five years.
The Le Mars Police issued 471 arrests in 2012, slightly higher than the 432 of 2011. However, the number of arrests for the previous three years were all above 500.
Family Concerned Over Early Parole of Murderer
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A woman is trying to prevent the man who killed her sister in northwest Iowa from being released five years early.
Beth Williams has written to Gov. Terry Branstad and local officials in an effort to keep Brian Davis in prison. The three-member Iowa Board of Parole recently granted Davis parole under certain conditions.
Davis was convicted in 1995 of second-degree murder in the death of Williams' sister, Julie Baack. He was scheduled to be released in 2018.
As part of his parole, Davis must live with family in Olathe, Kan., and have no contact with the victim's family.
Williams says she understands that overpopulation may have led to Davis' early release. But she's concerned he's being defined as a low-risk prisoner.
House Passes Education Reform and Funding Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House lawmakers have approved a plan to water down Gov. Terry Branstad's education proposals.
In a 52-44 vote, legislators approved the bill Wednesday. Republicans in the House education committee last week scaled back Branstad's education plan, which aims to improve Iowa schools by
boosting minimum teacher pay and offering bonuses to senior teachers who take on tasks like mentoring. Under the revisions, school districts could opt-out of the reform.
Lawmakers also approved an amendment to the legislation Tuesday that would provide 2 percent increases to general school funding in the next two school years.
Military Personnel Can Make Up Classes At UNI
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The University of Northern Iowa Faculty Senate has approved a new policy that would let military personnel and veterans can carry out their duties or receive medical treatment without worrying about missing class.
The Faculty Senate OK'd the policy proposal on Monday. The proposal goes next to the university's Policy Review Committee before going to the administration for final approval.
The issue arose last fall when Iowa Army National Guard Spc. James Roethler filed a grievance with the university after a teacher wouldn't let him make up an exam that he missed while on National Guard training. He later reached an agreement with the university that the missed test wouldn't affect his grade.
Artifacts Found At Proposed Fertilizer Site
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The state archaeologist says Native American artifacts have been found on the southeastern Iowa
farmland where an Egyptian company hopes to invest $1.4 billion to build a fertilizer plant.
John Doershuk said Wednesday that pottery and stone tools likely 1,000 years old have been found in clusters on the site near Burlington where Orascom Construction Industries hopes to start
building this spring.
Doershuk says a consultant is studying whether any of those areas may qualify for federal protection. If they do, he says Orascom would be required to pay for a "full-blown excavation"
before construction begins on them.
Doershuk says pottery and tools by themselves aren't particularly significant. But he says that if there's a lot of material and it's preserved, it could tell researchers a lot about the culture.