Tuesday Afternoon News, December 9
Supervisors Hear About County Wellness Program
(Le Mars) -- During Tuesday's Plymouth County Board of Supervisor meeting, Jessica Trobough reported to the supervisors the county was able to save $78,000 through the county employee's participation of a wellness program.
Trobough informed the county supervisors, that in 2015, Wellmark, the insurance company that insures the county employees, are asking county employees for more involvment in the wellness program.
The county attorney's office employee says Plymouth County employees are given additional incentives, besides lower premium insurance payments, when they think about wellness and implement ways to remain healthy.
Plymouth County has more than 100 employees.
Compensation Board Representatives Tell Supervisors They Have Good Employees
(Le Mars) -- Representatives of the Plymouth County Compensation Board met with the county supervisors this morning to offer their recommendations for salary increases for elected county officials, and for the supervisors. John Koley reminded the supervisors that Plymouth County is fortunate to have good employees, and in many cases, the people would be able to receive more money if they chose to pursue a similar position in the private sector.
Larry Petersen, another county compensation board member echoed Koley's sentiments.
Governor Christie To Make Another Iowa Visit
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will attend a conservative summit in Iowa next month.
Jeff Marschner, a spokesman for the conservative group Citizens United, said Monday that Christie will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24 in Des Moines. The event is being sponsored by Citizens United and Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
Christie is weighing a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He made several visits to the early voting state during the midterm election cycle, including a stop at a King fundraiser.
Other confirmed guests for the summit include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
Body Found At At Spirit Lake Apartment Fire
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a body has been found following a large fire at a Spirit Lake apartment complex.
The Spirit Lake Community Fire Department says fire crews recovered the body in the debris after the Sunday afternoon fire at Hill Avenue Apartments. Additional information was not released.
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 American Red Cross is also helping affected residents.
Officials Apprehend Escaped Inmate
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials have apprehended a man accused of escaping from a work release facility in Iowa.
The state Department of Corrections says 29-year-old Justin Lee Miller was back in custody Monday. He is being held at the Polk County Jail.
Officials say Miller was placed on escape status from a Sioux City work release program in August, after an unexcused absence.
Additional information about Miller's return is not available. He is serving time for convictions of willful injury, assault and escape. He was transferred to the work release program in June.
Woman Wants Death Penalty Re-trial To Be Moved Out Of State
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa woman convicted of helping her drug-dealing partner kill five people in 1993 wants her death penalty retrial moved out of state.
Angela Johnson's lawyers are asking a federal judge to move the retrial to Minnesota or out of western and central Iowa.
U.S. district judge who found flaws in Johnson's defense ordered a new sentencing trial but upheld the convictions. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that jurors must first decide whether Johnson is eligible for the death penalty, and then whether that should be imposed on each count.
Johnson and her then-boyfriend, methamphetamine kingpin Dustin Honken, were convicted of killing two former drug dealers who were cooperating with a federal investigation, one of the former dealer's girlfriends and her two kids.
University of Iowa Students Protest Art Display
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Black students and employees say the outrage over an art display depicting a Ku Klux Klan costume should be a catalyst to make the University of Iowa more welcoming to minorities.
Many blacks say they were traumatized by the 7-foot-tall KKK robe displayed without permission Friday by a visiting art professor, and upset with the university's response.
About 20 students, faculty and staff discussed the incident Tuesday during a meeting of the UI African American Council, an advocacy group for employees.
Council President Michael Hill, an associate professor of English and African American studies, says the incident is tied to "broader issues" for blacks on campus. He says he's concerned the university isn't putting enough efforts into recruiting black students and faculty members.