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Friday News, June 7

Jury Finds Levin Guilty of Murdering His Mother

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Jurors have returned a guilty verdict in the trial of a northwest Iowa man accused of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman.
A Webster County jury on Thursday convicted 21-year-old Kirk Levin of first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Marilyn Schmitt. He also was found guilty of third-degree kidnapping in the
case of Jessica Vega, a woman he met online.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours. Sentencing is scheduled for July.
Charles Kenville, Levin's attorney, had argued the state failed to prove Schmitt's death was premeditated. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Doug Hammerand said it was an intentional act.
Levin's trial began Tuesday, and included testimony from Vega and a law enforcement official who later found Schmitt's body.

 

Sam Clovis Considers Senate Bid

(Sioux City) -- Conservative radio talk show host and Morningside College Professor of Business and Economics, Sam Clovis has scheduled a news conference for Monday evening in Sioux City to discuss his political future.  Clovis, a retired colonel with the U-S Air Force, is expected to announce his candidacy for the U-S Senate seat, held by current Senator Tom Harkin.  Harkin has announced he will not seek a re-election bid.  Clovis, a republican, will make his announcement during his "Coffee with Sam" session at the Holiday Inn in Sioux City.  Clovis says he has done his due diligence in both prayer and counseling
with friends and family and he believes it's time to step up and announce his decision on his intentions for the United States Senate seat.  At least two other republican candidates have announced their candidacy for the upcoming vacant seat.

 

Le Mars Girl Scouts Erect Ice Cream Cone

(Le Mars) -- Just in time for next week's Ice Cream Days, another painted fiberglass ice cream cone will be erected in front of the Pizza Ranch restaurant today.  The cone is being donated by the Le Mars Girl Scouts and is painted to the theme of Girl Scouts, which is honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts organization held last year.  The artist is Jean Weiner.  Next Friday, at 6:30 p.m. the local Girl Scouts organization will hold a small ceremony dedicating the ice cream cone.  Le Mars has more than 50 of the fiber glass ice cream cones located at various points through out the community.


John Deere To Lay Off 65 Employees

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A John Deere plant in Dubuque has laid off 65 employees in its manufacturing section.
Waterloo television station KWWL reports the employees at John Deere Dubuque Works were notified Thursday. The layoffs are effective June 24th.
John Deere spokesman Ken Golden says despite recent strong earnings, the decision is based on sales and demand in its construction and forestry division. That equipment is manufactured
at the Dubuque plant.
Golden says the layoffs were according to seniority. Employees will receive compensation through the union and unemployment benefits.

 

Johnson County Worried About Potential Weekend Flooding

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - As flood waters start to recede in eastern Iowa, officials say they are nervously monitoring heavy rains that are forecast this weekend.
Johnson County officials said Thursday they're expecting a "widespread rain event" to begin Saturday night and produce up to an inch of rain.
They say the rain could last until Monday, and there could be stronger storms next week. The National Weather Service has warned the system appears to be strengthening.
Iowa City is experiencing some flooding of streets, parks and homes, but has avoided more serious damage because water hasn't topped the spillway at Coralville Lake.
The University of Iowa announced Thursday that the Iowa Summer Rep, its long-running theatre program, will perform in alternate locations because the Theatre Building has been closed due to
potential flooding.

 

Firefighter Faces Arson Charges

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - A volunteer firefighter in central Iowa faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced next month for arson.
A court filing on Thursday said Brett Graham, of Kelley, was convicted of second-degree arson in Boone County. Authorities say Graham admitted starting four fires in Story and Boone counties
over several months. A dozen horses died in one of the Boone County fires.
The 19-year-old was a volunteer firefighter for the Kelley Fire Department.
Graham is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19 in Boone County District Court. His Story County trial is scheduled to begin four days later.


Altoona Police Find House Growing Marijuana

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) - Police in central Iowa say they've uncovered a home-growing marijuana operation with 200 plants.
Altoona Police Chief Jody Matherly says officers executed a search warrant at a house Wednesday night and found an intricate system for watering, heating and growing plants. They also found
cultivated and packaged marijuana.
Police arrested 30-year-old Jacob Willis. He faces charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and tax stamp violation.
Matherly says it appeared the entire home was involved in the operation.
Court records do not list an attorney for Willis.

 

"Bridges Of Madison County" Going To Broadway

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some extra Iowa marketing may precede the arrival of "The Bridges of Madison County" on Broadway.
Robert Waller's best-selling book about two people who met at one of Iowa's famed covered bridges has been turned into a musical.  It first was turned in to a 1995 movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.
Producers said Thursday the show will debut in August at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. It will then open in January at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York.
Madison County Chamber of Commerce executive director Heather
Riley says that she's been corresponding with a marketing representative from the musical's production company about promoting the musical during the Covered Bridge Festival in October.
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Thursday Afternoon News, June 6

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Hears Penn National's Appeal

(Osceola) -- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission today refused to reconsider it's April 18th approval of a land-based casino license for Sioux City. Penn Gaming, the company which operates the current casino boat in Sioux City, lost its bid for the land-based license and the company's attorney, Mark Weinhardt, addressed the commission at it's meeting in Osceola.

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Weinhardt says the Argosy Riverboat should have had the first opportunity to get a land-based license and giving the license to another company deprived the company of due process.

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Weinhardt says the winner of the land-based license, Sioux City Entertainment, was allowed to change its proposal, while the others who sought the license were not. He also listed several other concerns about the license process. Penn Gaming has filed a lawsuit to try and reverse the awarding of the land-based license, and Weinhardt asked the commission to resolve the situation by reconsidering their decision.

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Weinhardt's arguments failed to sway the commission, as there was no response when commission chair Jeff Lamberti asked if there were any motions on the issue.

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Lamberti commented on the issue after the meeting.

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The plans for the new land-based casino will continue to move ahead barring any court rulings that would say otherwise.

 

Attorneys Present Closing Arguments In Levin Trial

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Closing arguments have begun in the case of a northwest Iowa man accused of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman.
The Messenger in Fort Dodge reports (http://bit.ly/11uUG92 ) attorneys gave closing arguments Thursday in Webster County. Both sides finished presenting evidence Wednesday.
Kirk Levin, of Early, is charged with first-degree murder in the January death of Marilyn Schmitt. He also faces third-degree kidnapping for allegedly abducting 21-year-old Jessica Vega, a
woman he met online.
Jurors have heard testimony for several days, including from Vega and a law enforcement official who later found Schmitt's body.
On Wednesday, prosecutors showed two videotaped interviews where Levin confessed to killing his mother and kidnapping Vega but also denied it.
Levin declined to testify on his own behalf.
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Public Safety Department Does Not Pay Psychics

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Public Safety wants to make it clear: it doesn't pay psychics to help solve cases.
Spokesman Rob Hansen said Thursday that Commissioner Brian London did ask investigators whether they'd tracked down any tips from psychics related to the kidnapping and slaying of two cousins.
Hansen said London made the inquiry in December, the day the bodies of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were found in a wooded area in northeast Iowa. Since then, he says London's faced questions at one meeting about whether the department pays for psychics and "corrected the record" that it does not.
Hansen said investigators should follow every lead, including those from psychics, particularly when other leads dry up. But he says the department isn't using psychics "as some sort of philosophy."

 

Reports Show Klunder Told Parole Board He Was No Longer A Threat To Society

DAYTON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities plan to resume their search by river for a teenager in central Iowa abducted last month.
Dayton Police Chief Nick Dunbar says the state Department of Natural Resources will deploy boats on the Des Moines River this week to search for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard.
The search will include new and old areas in the investigation.
Authorities halted their search for Kathlynn last week, which included more than 250 square miles in the Dayton area. Flooding also affected their efforts.
Police suspect Michael Klunder abducted Kathlynn and her 12-year-old friend on May 20 in Dayton. The younger girl was able to escape. Klunder was later found dead.  Klunder told the state Parole Board in his three bids
for release that his treatment in prison had made him worthy of parole.
Michael Klunder argued in his appeals that he no longer was dangerous and that parole would help him adjust back into society more than being released without supervision.
He eventually was released in 2011 under provisions of the state's time-served law.
Some of Kathlynn's blood has been found, dampening hopes of finding her alive.

 

Des Moines Police Investigate Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Homicide investigators are on the scene of a shooting in Des Moines.
The shooting occurred just after 2 a.m. Thursday at a business park on the north side of the city.
Police say a woman had reported a man being assaulted. Officers who responded found a man's body. It had a gunshot wound to the chest.
Police spokesman Jason Halifax says the woman is being interviewed.
The names of those involved haven't been released.

 




 

 

 

 

   

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