Thursday Afternoon News, October 16
Day Care Provider Is Sentenced To 100 Years For Death Of 3 Year Old Girl
(Orange City) -- The daycare provider accused of killing a three year old girl that was in her care has been sentenced to 100 years. 34 year old Rochelle Sapp was given the sentence Thursday morning at the Sioux County District Court. Sapp was originally charged with willful injury and child endangerment following an incident that occured last year of October 2013. Three year old Autumn Elsgerma was originally taken to the Orange City hospital, then transferred to Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was diagnosed with severe brain injuries resulting from Sapp admitting to authorities that she threw the 3 year old girl to the floor. Two days later, the child passed away as a result of the injuries. Sioux County authorities dropped the willful injury and child endangerment charges and instead filed murder in the first degree charges. A plea agreement was reached with Sapp agreeing to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a second count of child endangerment resulting in death, and a third count of child endangerment with multiple acts.
Le Mars Mainstreet Organization Receives State Grant For Historical Restoration
(Des Moines) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization was given good news Wednesday when it had learned that it was one of 13 Iowa communities to receive funding through a state grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Known as the Iowa Mainstreet Challenge, Le Mars mainstreet will receive $75,000 which will be used to help with historical restoration of the Le Mars Beauty College.
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $5 million in state and federal funds has leveraged over $34 million in private reinvestment in 97 projects in 42 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state.
Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young says Ohm was released from Mercy Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.
Sioux City Police Officer Jill Ohm released from hospital
Officer Jill Ohm was shot in the chin by Noah Ironshell while she responded to a disturbance call on the city's west side on October 3rd. Ironshell shot himself in the head and died last Thursday. Chief Young says there is no timetable for Ohm's return to duty.
Many residents in Sioux City and Le Mars where Ohm has family and friends have supported the officer's recovery by displaying blue light bulbs on their porches and in windows.
Chief Young says the department appreciates all of the support given the officer during her recovery.
"Celebrate My Drive" Voting Has Begun
(Le Mars) -- Voting has already begun for the "Celebrate My Drive", a driving awareness program sponsored by State Farm Insurance. Lisa Whitehead is assisting with the local coordination efforts of "Celebrate My Drive."
Whitehead says this is the second year Gehlen Catholic Schools are participating in the program. Last year, the local catholic school was one of the chosen schools to be awarded a $25,000 grant from the auto insurance company.
Whitehead explains about the voting process and how everyone can participate in the program to help Gehlen Catholic Schools, and to know how to be more aware of potential driving dangers and distractions.
The local "Celebrate My Drive" coordinator says people have the opportunity to vote everyday, using each of their email addresses.
She says, this year, not only will the program possibly benefit Gehlen Catholic, but Floyd Valley Hospital can also benefit from the program.
People can go online to cast their vote. Whitehead says the voting period will continue through Friday, October 24th. Remsen St. Mary's is another school participating in the "Celebrate My Drive" campaign.
Senate Campaign Fundraising
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Joni Ernst has three times as much cash as Democrat Bruce Braley going in to the final days of the competitive Iowa Senate race.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Ernst raised $6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 and ended that period with $3.6 million in cash. Braley raised $2.8 million during that time and ended the financial quarter with $1.2 million.
Braley, a four-term congressman from Waterloo, and Ernst, a state lawmaker and officer in the Iowa National Guard from Red Oak, are locked in one of the nation's closest races. They are vying for the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Republicans hope to win in Iowa in their drive for the six-seat gain they need for a Senate majority.
Fired Senate Staffer Files Lawsuit
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former staffer for Iowa Senate Republicans has filed a lawsuit detailing her claims of sexual harassment and boorish behavior by male aides and lawmakers.
Kirsten Anderson, ex-communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, alleges she was fired after complaining about an environment "that allowed ordinary sexism and fraternity behavior to flourish."
The lawsuit alleges one male senator repeatedly talked about women's breasts and which lobbyists were the biggest flirts. Another, it claims, repeatedly commented on which of Anderson's shoes and hairstyles he preferred.
The lawsuit focuses largely on a policy analyst, who's accused of gossiping about the sexual history of a female senator and other inappropriate behavior.
Anderson says her supervisors started nitpicking her work after her complaints, then fired her. Republicans say she was fired for performance.
Sioux City To Create Rail Maintenance Facility
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A state agency says a Texas company plans to build a rail car maintenance and repair facility in Sioux City that would create 250 jobs.
Dallas-based TrinityRail Maintenance Services has requested $1.9 million in tax incentives for the proposed $29.5 million project. Plans call for a 150,000 square-foot complex.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority will consider the request at a meeting Friday in Des Moines.
To qualify for the incentives, the facility would need to pay workers at least $16.36 per hour.
Man Charged With Fake AIDS Research Ask For Delay In Trial
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa State University researcher charged with falsifying data to make a developmental AIDS vaccine appear promising is seeking the third trial delay is as many months.
The attorney for Dong-Pyou Han says in court documents filed Thursday he's reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents that must be translated into Korean.
Public Defender Joseph Herrold adds his client needs time to consider a plea agreement prosecutors have offered that could avert a trial.
He is asking a judge to set a trial date for February that gives him more time to consider and negotiate a potential plea deal.
Han, who is free on bond, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports.
Sierra Leone Official Says Ebola Virus Killing Youth
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The president of Sierra Leone says the Ebola virus is killing more youth than any other age group which he says is reversing economic gains the West African nation has made.
Ernest Bai Koroma, speaking via a satellite link to the World Food Prize Foundation symposium in Des Moines Thursday, says youth, many of whom work on farms are instrumental in economic growth. He says since Ebola is striking the youth population "gains have been reversed, the economy is slowing down and nurses, the overwhelming majority of whom are youth, are dying."
Koroma says the international community is helping but the country must "sprint very fast to get ahead of the virus and stop it."
He was to fly to Des Moines but decided to stay home as Ebola escalates.