Saturday News, September 13
Plymouth County Authorities Arrest Two Men On Drug Charges
(Le Mars) -- On Thursday, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office arrested two people on dvarious drug charges. Arrested were Armondo Negron, age 18, from Sioux City for Possession of Paraphernalia, and Marquel Denson, age 27, of Sioux City for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Paraphernalia, and Operating While Intoxicated, and was also cited for failure to prove security against liability. The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle driven by Denson at Wren Road and Hwy 75 north of Hinton for traffic violations. During the traffic stop a Deputy became suspicious of criminal activity. A search of the vehicle was conducted. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found inside the car resulting in the arrest of Denson and Negron. Denson and Negron were then transported to the Plymouth County Jail. The LeMars Police Department assisted the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office in this case.
Charter Bus Involved In Accident
(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Sheriff's Office is investigating an accident involving a charter bus that happened on Friday afternoon. The accident occurred on Highway 10, about one mile west of Granville.
Harold Flavell, age 57, of Johnston, IA was driving a charter bus transporting 39 passengers westbound on Highway 10 when he apparently experienced a medical condition, lost control of the bus, entered the north ditch, struck afence and came to a stop in a soybean field.
Flavell was transported by the Granville Ambulance to Orange City for treatment of minor injuries. None of the passengers reported any injuries. The bus sustained approximately $7,500 in damages. The fence and soybean field sustained an estimated $500 in damages.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Granville Fire Department, Granville Ambulance and the Spalding Catholic School in Granville who provided a school bus to transport the passengers to another charter bus.
Body Found In Council Bluffs Golf Course Pond
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in Council Bluffs on Friday said they were investigating the discovery of a body at a golf course.
Police said they were called to the Council Bluffs Country Club after a person on the golf course reported seeing a body in a pond. Authorities later removed the body.
The body appeared to be decomposed, Additional information has not been released.
Some Northwest Iowa Communities Short On Water
(Des Moines) -- Continued rains in September are adding to a wet August and have all but a portion of the state with good soil moisture levels. Tim Hall tracks the water situation for the Iowa D-N-R, and says the state is running four inches ahead of normal this year and one foot ahead of the drought year in 2012.
But he can't say the entire state has enough groundwater.
Hall says the water companies haven't had a break.
Hall says the situation is not always apparent when you look at just the rainfall numbers.
Hall says it gets tougher and tougher for the dry area to fill up the aquifers as the calendar changes.
For more on Iowa’s water resource trends, go to: www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
Former Staffers Of Senator Harkin Hold Reunion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - For generations of Democrats, a popular first job in politics has been with Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, whose campaigns have served as a kind of training school for a generation of up-and-comers, a place where you got lessons on how to charm a voter, where to place a bumper sticker or even how to stand up for issues you believe in.
As Harkin gets ready to retire after four decades in Congress, his current and former aides have gathered in Iowa to commemorate their time on his political team.
More than 200 are expected to attend an informal reunion in Des Moines on Saturday, and then on Sunday they'll hit Harkin's final "Steak Fry" fundraiser. Many said working with Harkin prepared them for jobs in Washington and on campaigns around the country.
Former staffer, David Plouffe says "You never really leave Tom Harkin. That's part of your identity. I'm a Harkinista," He says that working for Harkin in the early 1990s schooled him in grassroots organizing principles that he carried to his position of manager of President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.
Notable Harkin alumni include Plouffe, as well as Larry Grisolano and Jeff Link, both veterans of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. Teresa Vilmain, who worked for Harkin in his 1984 Senate campaign, has held a long list of political jobs, including serving as Iowa State Director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.
Parents File Lawsuit Over Food Bidding
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 20,000 claims have been filed by parents seeking part of a $1.9 million class-action lawsuit settlement over food bidding at hundreds of Iowa schools, according to attorneys handling the case.
The claims filed since the settlement was announced Sept. 2 cover more than 47,000 students, said Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney for parents who sued Martin Brothers Distributing Company, the Iowa Educators Corporation and the Iowa Association for Educational Purchasing.
Fegan called the surge in numbers within a two-week period, "exciting."
The Cedar Falls-based Martin Brothers was accused of conspiring with IEC and IAEP for years to monopolize the business of selling food at schools across Iowa. The lawsuit, filed in 2011, said the result was students being overcharged because there wasn't healthy competition in the market to keep prices down.
The defendants maintain they did nothing wrong and that the process was fair. They reached the settlement to avoid costly litigation, according to one of their attorneys.
"There was no admission of liability or wrongdoing," said Deb Tharnish, an attorney representing Martin Brothers. "It made economic sense to get the case resolved."
Attorneys for IEC said they had no comment because the case is still pending. IAEP representatives did not immediately respond to a message left Friday
Parents and others have until the end of September to file a claim to receive up to $3.50 per student per year. A judge is expected to finalize the settlement in early November.
School Officials Violate Open Meetings Law
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There is probable cause that a southwest Iowa school district violated the state's open meetings law when it met privately to discuss the firing of a principal, according to a state investigation.
The Iowa Public Information Board said the five-member board of the Red Oak Community School District failed to properly vote to close an April 10 meeting and broke the law on April 14th when it failed to appropriately apprise the public of an agenda item.
Each board member could face fines of up to $2,500 per violation, The Des Moines Register reports. The Iowa Public Information Board will make a decision on the issue when it meets on September 18th.
The school board voted earlier this year to consider terminating Red Oak High School principal Jedd Sherman's contract. Sherman said at the time the board was trying to fire him in retaliation for his reporting of two cases of student bullying.
The school district later agreed to pay Sherman $100,000 in exchange for him resigning.
Legislative Committee Approves Re-classification For Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee narrowly recommended allowing medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Iowa to help people with epilepsy.
The 10-member committee was formed to look at problems with a new law that was supposed to allow some epilepsy patients to get marijuana extract. On Thursday, the committee also backed changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it would be easier to get as medication.
In May, lawmakers vote to allow people to possess marijuana extract, an oil that doesn't contain the chemical that makes people high, to treat seizures if it's prescribed by an Iowa neurologist. But the law didn't provide any way for people to make or distribute the extract in Iowa.
Parents who pushed for the bill have said in the months since that it's basically unworkable. Most states where medical marijuana is legal don't allow people from other states to buy it. And people from Iowa would have to break the law to bring it back home.
State Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said he saw the original law as a giant step for families, but now it's clear that it needs to be fixed.
He and five other lawmakers voted to recommend the closely regulated production and distribution of medical marijuana for approved patients. It did not say what type of marijuana but did say it should not be taxed.
Four of five Republicans on the committee voted against the motion. The tie-breaking vote came from state Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and retired state trooper who said the state needs to find a way to help people with severe epilepsy. He said he opposes expanding the law to let people possess marijuana for other conditions such as cancer or Crohn's disease. The committee voted against recommending such an expansion.
The committee voted 9-1 on a measure to recommend reclassifying marijuana in a way that would be a step toward making it legal for medical purposes.
Parents said Thursday that they're frustrated with how long it is taking to register people for the new program. Administrators said identification cards won't be available until at least Jan. 30.
"These families are going through living hell," Dotzler told an official from the Iowa Department of Public Health, saying state workers should be able to move more quickly. The official said administrators are moving as fast as they can under the law.