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.