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Thursday Afternoon News, December 11

Argosy Casino Appeals To Supreme Court

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The former operator of the Argosy riverboat casino in Sioux City has filed another appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
     The  former Argosy operator, Belle of Sioux City, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Co., is appealing a Nov. 7 ruling by Judge Eliza Ovrom. She ruled that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission acted within its authority in granting a license for what has become the land-based Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Argosy says Ovrom should not have ruled that Argosy failed to prove that the commission erred or abused its powers.
     Argosy attorneys also filed a motion to combine the case with another appeal before the court. That appeal challenges the judge's order to shut down the Argosy.


Ernst Says She Wants Armed Forces And Agriculture Committees

WASHINGTON (AP) - The campaign may be over, but Senator-elect Joni Ernst says she is just getting started.
     The recently elected Republican was in Washington this week. She's meeting her future colleagues, hiring staffers and seeking advice from longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. 
     She's also planning to visit every county in Iowa next year. 
     Ernst scored a decisive victory in November, helping the GOP take control of the Senate. She started the race as a relatively unknown state senator but soared to national stardom, promoting her farm upbringing and military background. 
     Looking ahead, Ernst says she hopes to serve on either the armed services or agriculture committees. She plans to focus on issues she addressed during the campaign, like changes to the tax code.


Beverly Hillbillies TV Star Upset Over Name Of Des Moines Restaurant

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The actor who played Jethro in the 1960s TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies" has filed a lawsuit against CBS, arguing the broadcaster made inappropriate deals with a Des Moines restaurant chain. 
     Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro Bodine on the show, filed the lawsuit Tuesday.  Baer had reached a deal with CBS that gave him rights to use the TV character to establish a chain of restaurants, hotels and casinos.
     The suit says Baer's rights to the character have been undermined by the Jethro's BBQ restaurant chain. Baer has declined to comment.
     Jethro's owner says it's currently not named as a defendant and that customers have nothing to be concerned about. 
     A CBS spokeswoman said in a statement the company will aim to amicably resolve the issue with Baer.


Judge Rules Branstad's Lawyers Not In Conflict With Lawsuit Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge says a law firm can continue to defend Gov. Terry Branstad, several aides and the state against a discrimination lawsuit brought by a gay former state official.
     Judge Brad McCall rejected a request Monday to remove attorney George LaMarca and two associates from the lawsuit by former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.
     Godfrey's attorney Roxanne Conlin had sought their disqualification, arguing they had a conflict of interest because each defendant has a different legal interest. 
     McCall says that he sees no "significant risk" right now that conflicts exist that would justify the firm's removal. He noted that Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and four aides being sued each attested that there was no conflict.
     McCall says Godfrey can seek their disqualification later if he "discovers facts establishing" conflicts.


Task Force Studying Felon Voting May Disband

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A task force created to study errors in Iowa's database of ineligible felon voters is expected to disband without finding a permanent solution to the problem.
     Secretary of State Matt Schultz formed the group after finding 12 cases in which mistakes in the list's 50,000 entries resulted in the rejection of ballots from eligible voters. Schultz said that the group would develop a "long-term solution to fix" the database's inaccuracies.
     Records obtained by The Associated Press show it took until Aug. 29 for the group to hold its first and only meeting.
     Former Secretary of State general counsel Charlie Smithson coordinated the group and defended its work. He says the meeting got government agencies talking to each other about the problem and led to incremental progress on short-term solutions.


Man Charged With Killing One Year Old Girl

 CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - A 25-year-old man has been accused of killing a 1-year-old girl in Clive.
     Police in the Des Moines suburb say Joe Lopez was arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. He remained in custody on Thursday, pending $1 million bail. Online court records don't list his attorney in the case.
     Police say officers were sent to Blank Children's Hospital on Nov. 29 to investigate injuries to 20-month-old Ruby Alvarez. Doctors say she had several injuries, including a skull fracture and broken ribs.
     Police say Lopez and Ruby's mother reported that the little girl had fallen in their apartment.


Marshalltown Man Charged With Slaying A Tama Man

  MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old man has been charged in the slaying of a Tama man in Marshalltown.
     The Marshalltown Police Department said in a news release that James Head was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony. Head's attorney in the conspiracy case didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
     The body of 32-year-old Adam Garrett was found inside a Marshalltown residence on Saturday night. Authorities haven't publicly said how Garrett was killed.


Mason City Restaurant Owners Told To Demolish Building

  MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Mason City officials are demanding that the owners of a once-popular restaurant tear down their building.
     The  city is demanding that the former Kansas City Steakhouse be demolished. The building has been vacant for many years.
     City code enforcement officer Kyle Peterson says much of the building's roof has collapsed and there have been many reports of vandals and looters at the site.
     Owners of the building must begin demolition within 30 days and complete the work within 45 days. If not, the city will move to demolish the building.



Thursday News, December 11

Le Mars Chamber Offers "Smart Card"

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars residents will soon be able to take advantage of special discounts at their favorite restaurant or retail store.  The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce is unveiling the Le Mars Smart Card.  Mary Reynolds with the Le Mars Chamber explains its purpose.

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Reynolds says the smart card is the same size as credit cards.  She says the smart cards can be used at any Chamber member business, which numbers 97 businesses.  Reynolds says it was the Mainstreet Promotions Committee that created the idea of a smart card. The Chamber official says the smart card should stimulate additional business traffic to Le Mars stores.

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Reynolds says obtaining the smart card will be a one time fee of five dollars.  People will not need to worry about the card having an expiration date.

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Reynolds says the Le Mars Smart Cards are now available from several community businesses.

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Chamber Reminds People To Use Holiday Dollars Before Deadline

(Le Mars) -- With Christmas just two weeks away, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce wants to remind people to be sure to use your Chamber Holiday Dollars before they expire on December 24th. 

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All of the Chamber Holiday dollars have been sold and distributed.  There are three categories: including Retail, Restaurant, and HyVee, Fareway, and Walmart.


Guenthner Honored As "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce honored its December "Employee of the Month" on Wednesday during the Chamber coffee held at the Northwest Bank.  Jack Guenthner, was nominated by his fellow employees at Northwest Bank.  Jack started his banking career in 1977 where he held various lending positions to include commercial and Ag business development in Iowa, South Dakota and Georgia.  In 2000, Jack joined Northwest Bank in Le Mars, formerly known as First National Bank. In addition, Jack has shared his knowledge and expertise within our community by helping to raise monies for various community activities as well as serving on the Le Mars School Foundation Board for the past 8 years, and serving as President in 2012, 2013 & 2014.  He has served on the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors as a 4 year member, and has been involved in the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Sertoma Club and the local Lodge.  Jack was a proud member of the National Guard and Army Reserves for over 30 years.  He retired from the Reserves in 2000 after he obtained the rank of Colonel.  After retirement, Jack and his wife,Ernestine, will be moving to the Nashville, Tennessee area to be closer to his children and grandchildren.  Our congratulations go to Jack Guenthner for being named the December "Employee of the Month."


Wasmer Post #241 To Participate In "Wreaths Across America"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars American Legion Wasmer Post #241 has volunteered to conduct the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Plymouth County Veterans Memorial Park located at 10th Street and 3rd Avenue southeast.  The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, December 13th, starting at 11:00 a.m.  Post Commander Wayne Schipper says seven wreaths will be placed to remember those who served, honor their sacrifices, and teach our younger generations about the high cost of our freedoms. 
Specially designed wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and the POW/MIA will be placed at the memorial during a ceremony that will be coordinated simultaneously at over 400 participating locations all across the country. 
Schipper says this marks the 23rd anniversary of wreaths originating from Maine, being donated to be placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.  2014 is also the seventh year of the national wreath sponsorship campaign under the guidance of the non-profit Wreaths Across America organization.  In addition to these ceremonial wreaths, a number of civic groups around the country have joined with Wreaths Across America to promote sponsored wreaths to be placed on veteran's graves in designated sections of participating cemeteries.  It is projected more than 100,000 volunteers nationwide will take part of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach.  Congress has unamimously decreed the second Saturday of December as National Wreaths Across America day. 


Le Mars Ambulance Files Quarterly Report  

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Ambulance Service has filed its quarterly report to the city.  During the time period from September 1st to November 30th, the Le Mars Ambulance responded to a total of 201 calls, which was 38 calls fewer than the same period from last year.  For the last 12 months, the call volume has dropped by 30 calls.  In 2013 the Le Mars Ambulance responded to 938 calls, this past year they had 908 calls.  The Le Mars Ambulance has added another crew member since last quarter.  Lisa Eickholt joined the staff as of December 1st, allowing the Le Mars Ambulance Service to have 26 members.  


Man Missing From Monona County

(Onawa) -- Monona County authorities are searching for a missing Soldier, Iowa man.  66 year old Walter Harold Ordway was last heard from on November 16th when he left to attend a funeral in Pennslvania.  Ordway's pickup truck was discovered Sunday at the Oldham Recreational Area near Soldier.  A search by Monona county authorities found several items belonging to Ordway near the truck and in the park.  The drowned body of Ordway's dog was discovered in the lake at the recreational area. That lake has been partly frozen over.    The recreation area has been closed while the investigation continues.  Anyone with information about Ordway should contact the Monona County Sheriff at (800) 859-1414.     


Sioux City Man Placed On Probation After Shooting Through Apartment Wall 

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man has been sentenced to probation after shooting through his apartment wall and striking a woman in the head. 
    43-year-old Phuoc Nguyen of Sioux City received two years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of reckless use of a firearm. Sioux City police say 54-year-old Hang Duong only suffered minor injuries in the March accident. 
     They say Nguyen fired multiple shots though the walls but didn't release a motive. 
     He was originally charged with felony counts of reckless use of a firearm and assault while participating in a felony.


Spirit Lake Man Identified After Apartment Fire

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities have identified a man killed in an apartment fire. 
     The Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office says 48-year-old Edwin Dowd of Spirit Lake died in the Sunday fire at the Lakes Apartments. 
     The Spirit Lake Community Fire Department recovered his body in the debris on Monday. Officials say a kitchen fire at the apartment complex led to the large blaze, which destroyed the structure.
     Two residents were treated for smoke inhalation. 
     The state fire marshal is investigating.


Public Safety Commissioner To Retire 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble is retiring from the job a second time.
     Noble told employees in an email this week that he will step down January 9th, about 16 months after he returned to lead the agency amid turmoil.
     Noble had served in the position from 2011 until retiring in 2012. But Governor Terry Branstad asked him to return after a series of problems during the brief tenure of his replacement, K. Brian London, who was asked to resign.
     Noble told employees that he is proud of the department, which includes the Iowa State Patrol and the Division of Criminal Investigation. He says, "Knowing that you are such great people that do great things is what makes it so much easier for me to once again retire."


Former Resident Of Juvenile Home Files Lawsuit

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former resident of the Iowa Juvenile Home has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was continually placed in solitary confinement.
     18-year-old JaQuan Bradford and his attorneys filed the civil rights complaint Tuesday. It names eight defendants, including the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.
     Bradford was 12 when he arrived at the facility in Toledo. He claims his time in isolation affected his development into adulthood. The lawsuit also says Bradford was the victim of "cruel and unusual punishment" during his two years at the center because of the confinement.
     DHS spokeswoman Amy Lorentzen McCoy says the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.
     The Iowa Juvenile Home was closed earlier this year after questions were raised about the treatment of teenagers.


Legal Aid Wants Lawyers To Contribute More Money 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Legal Aid wants the state's lawyers to be required to contribute $100 annually to the charity, which represents people with low incomes.
     Some lawyers say it's wrong to require such contributions, even to a valuable organization that provides legal services in civil cases.
     The group's executive director says the number of people eligible for services has increased by almost 40 percent between 2000 and 2010.
     According to a report from Supreme Court staff, the money the nonprofit receives from two big donors has declined.
     The mandatory fee could raise $903,400 of about $1.8 million needed to increase the number of staff attorneys.
     Eight other states currently require attorneys to pay similar fees.


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