Friday Afternoon News, November 20
Heavy Snow Causing Poor Road Conditions
(Le Mars) -- The season's first snowfall has made Iowa's roadways slick. Iowa State Trooper Vince Kurtz says all roads in northwest Iowa are wet and snow covered. He says numerous vehicles have gone into the ditch, and there have been accidents as a result of the heavy snowfall.
Customers Of Local Retail Stores Buying Items To Be Prepared For Snow And Winter
(Le Mars) -- Now that we are getting the season's first snow fall, people are purchasing items related to winter weather. Scott Pageler is the owner of the Hardware Hank store in Le Mars. He says his customers started a couple days ago buying items that they would need in preparation for the snow and the winter.
Pageler says he has not as of yet had many customers inquire about snow blowers and leaf blowers.
Across town at the Bomgaars Supply store, Shawn Squibb explains what items have been purchasing in preparation for the winter.
And what has been the most popular winter related items sold?
City Officials Remind Residents To Follow Snow Parking Ordinance
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city officials want to remind residents that the odd-even parking ordinance is now in effect. Scott Kneip with the city public works department asks residents to remember to park on the correct side of the street. Kneip says the perfect solution to the city's snow removal efforts is not to have any cars along the streets. However, he understands that may not be entirely possible.
Kneip says if everyone cooperates, then the city will have an easier time to clear the streets.
Gehlen Students To Perform At Drake Honor Band Festival
(Le Mars) -- Three Gehlen Catholic students are amongst the 200 finest musicians from Iowa and Nebraska who have been selected for the 2015 Drake Honor Band Festival, December 4th and 5th in Des Moines. They include senior percussionist, Megan Kellen, daughter of Tom and Laurie Kellen of Alton; sophomore clarinet, Jordan Larson, daughter of Steve and Michele Larson of LeMars; and freshman trumpet, Tyler Zenk, son of Pat and Jean Zenk of Alton. This is Megan’s second year, Jordan and Tyler’s first year performing in the Drake Honor Band. Instrumental Music Director, Paul Niebuhr, noted Gehlen Catholic has been fortunate every year to have a number of students selected annually to perform in Drake Honor Band. According to the Drake University Instrumental Music Department, the prestigious festival provides outstanding high school musicians with the opportunity to work with our nation’s finest conductors in large All State type ensembles. The festival also provides musicians an opportunity to improve their skills through master classes for each instrument. The two-day festival begins on Friday and culminates Saturday evening with a concert by the two honor bands at the Harmon Fine Arts Center on the Drake University Campus. The Honors Wind Ensemble is reserved for high school seniors and members of previous Iowa All-State bands. The Honors Concert Band is composed of selected high school musicians. Megan, Jordan, and Tyler will selected for the Honors Concert Band.
Each year, 500 musicians are nominated to the Drake Honor Band Festival from Iowa and Nebraska. In addition to concerts and clinics, the festival featured scholarship auditions for entrance into the music department at Drake.
Sioux City Man Charged With Sexual Abuse Of 7 Year Old Girl
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been charged with attempted sexual abuse and indecent exposure involving a 7-year-old girl.
21-year-old Zachery Williams was charged with assault to commit sexual abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor, and indecent exposure.
He was arrested Nov. 9 in relation to an incident that allegedly occurred Nov. 5.
Court documents say Williams was babysitting a 4-year-old child and a 7-year-old child at their residence when he allegedly took the eldest to the bathroom and exposed himself. He then removed the girl's pants, placed her on his lap and kissed her on the mouth.
Williams was later released from the Woodbury County Jail after he posted a $3,000 bond Nov. 10.
Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops In October
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.5 percent in October.
Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday that the rate was down from 3.6 percent in September.
The October rate compares to 4.3 percent a year ago and an October national rate of 5 percent.
The agency says the number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 60,300 in October from 61,400 in September. The number of Iowa residents with jobs climbed to 1.64 million in October, up about 4,000 from September.
Iowa's unemployment rate ranked sixth lowest in the nation. The rate was higher than the neighboring states of Nebraska and South Dakota but lower than Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.
Privatization Of Medicaid
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say more than 12,000 Medicaid service providers have signed necessary paperwork to offer care under the state's proposed privatization plan.
Governor Terry Branstad's office said Thursday the four private companies scheduled to oversee Medicaid services on January 1st signed the contracts since November 1st.
The Iowa Department of Human Services says there are more than 17,200 active providers available to offer Medicaid services.
Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, said the figure shows low participation. He and other Democrats have been public about seeking a delay of the switch. They question the state's preparedness, while Branstad and other state officials have said Iowa will be ready on time.
Iowa's $4.2 billion Medicaid program provides care to low-income and needy people, including children and disabled individuals.
Former Lottery Security Official Charged With Another Lottery Fraud Scheme
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former lottery security officer in Iowa convicted of rigging a Hot Lotto game to win a $14 million jackpot also allegedly fixed a lottery game in Oklahoma in 2011.
Iowa Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand mentioned the Oklahoma allegation during a hearing Wednesday.
It's the fourth lottery game Eddie Tipton is alleged to have fixed.
Tipton was convicted in July of fraud for a 2010 Iowa Hot Lotto game. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but is appealing.
Last month, Iowa prosecutors filed new criminal conduct and money laundering charges. They said Tipton's brother and friend won lottery jackpots in Colorado and Wisconsin. On Thursday, Sand briefly discussed the Oklahoma drawing during a court hearing on those charges.
Tipton's attorney says he'll continue to fight the charges.
Logan Man Will Not Go To Prison For Pushing Wife Out Of Vehicle
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A Logan man will not go to prison for pushing his wife out of a moving vehicle and leaving her on the side of the road.
39-year-old Shane Vanderlinden pleaded guilty to two amended misdemeanor charges of assault causing injury and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder Aug. 12, days after he pushed Ashlee Anderson out of an SUV moving at 30 mph on Interstate 29 and drove off.
Vanderlinden was given to two two-year sentences, to be served at the same time. He was also sentenced to five years in prison for possession of a firearm in a Harrison County case.
The judge suspended all the prison time and placed Vanderlinden on supervised probation for two years.