Thursday News, December 13
Le Mars Police Investigate Taco John's Burglary
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police are investigating a burglary that occurred on Saturday morning at about 3:00 a.m. The burglary was at the Taco John's Restaurant located on Business Highway 75. Entry was gained to the business by forcing the rear door open. Once entry was made, an undetermined amount of cash was removed. This burglary is similiar to a rash of burglaries in other communities reported in the last couple of months. The case is under investigation.
Three Vehicle Collision On Highway 75 Near Sioux Center
(Sioux Center) -- A personal injury collision occurred on Highway 75 Wednesday afternoon at
about 5:30 p.m. about two and a half miles south of Sioux Center. The Iowa State Patrol reports a chain reaction accident happened when 69 year old Linda VanBerkum of Antonito, Colorado was traveling southbound and failed to stop, rear ending 29 year old Erik Wagner of Le Mars, who then rear-ended 63 year old Stanley Oordt of Sioux Center. Oordt was stopped and about to make a left hand turn while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. VanBerkum and Wagner were transported to the Sioux Center hospital by the Sioux Center ambulance, both with non-life threatening injuries. Oordt was transported to the Sioux Center hospital via a private vehicle. All drivers were restrained, saving them from more severe injuries. All vehicles involved were totaled. The Iowa State Patrol is investigating. Assisting at the scene were the Sioux County sheriff's office, Sioux Center Police, and Sioux Center Fire Department.
Rockwell-Collins Lands Navy Communications Contract
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Cedar Rapids-based military contractor Rockwell Collins says it has been awarded a $295 million contract to update communications systems for U.S. Navy aircraft.
Initially, Rockwell Collins will upgrade communications equipment on three Navy E-6B planes under a $54 million contract. The planes are used to convey orders from the president, secretary of defense, and other top commanders to Navy fleets.
The contract includes an option for upgrades on 11 planes for an additional $241 million.
The company says the upgrade includes expanded capability to move data to and from the aircraft and a new secure network for message processing, radio control and monitoring.
The company says the contract signifies the continuation of a 40-year relationship supporting the Navy and the U.S. Strategic Command Airborne Command Post missions.
Electric Groups Look To Modernize Electric Systems
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Electric groups from several states are continuing their visit to Iowa for workshops and training on modernizing the electric power system.
More than thirty rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities from six states will gather Thursday at Iowa State University for the end of a two-day, peer-to-peer workshop. Training on cyber security is scheduled for Friday.
The workshops are co-hosted by the Department of Energy and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The association represents more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives around the country.
Wind Farm Begins Operations
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A company has begun operation of a 60-turbine wind farm in northern Iowa.
Franklin County Wind LLC announced Tuesday it had started operation of the wind farm in Franklin County. The company says its 60 turbines can produce nearly 100 megawatts of energy, which is
enough to power 25,000 homes.
The project cost about $235 million.
Franklin County Wind is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, based in Madison, Wis.
Miller Announces Retirement From Iowa Public Television
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Public Television's top leader has announced he's retiring after 37 years with the statewide television network.
Daniel Miller made the announcement Wednesday during a meeting of the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board. His departure as executive director and general manager will be effective in April.
During his tenure at the helm of the network, he is credited with tripling Iowa Public Television's broadcast offerings.
Miller has served on various boards and committees for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service and other public television organizations.
The Iowa Public Broadcasting Board says it will begin an extensive search for a replacement.
U of I To Change Admissions Applications To Ask About Sexual Orientation
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa has become the nation's first public university to include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on its admissions application.
The university announced Wednesday that its new application asks students whether they identify with the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer community. The application also offers
transgender as a gender option.
University officials say the move sends a strong signal that that they value the diversity that gay and lesbian students bring to campus. They say knowing some students' sexual orientations will allow them to track their enrollment and retention rates and promote programs that might improve their social and academic success.
Elmhurst College became the first U.S. college to include similar questions on its application last year. Elmhurst is a private college in Illinois.
U of I President Sally Mason Under Fire
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she hopes to lead the school for years to come and was moved to tears by support from student, faculty and staff leaders concerned she's on the hot seat.
Mason told reporters Wednesday that she isn't concerned about the Iowa Board of Regents' decision not to extend her employment contract when it expired in August.
She says the board last year gave her deferred compensation benefits that run through 2016, and she still hopes to finish the university's $1.5 billion fundraising campaign and the rebuilding of its flood-damaged music and arts buildings during her presidency.
Key campus leaders issued a statement Wednesday praising Mason's leadership, in response to recent criticism from Regents President Craig Lang and Governor Terry Branstad.
Branstad Says Mental Institutions Need Review
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad says Iowa has some "ancient" mental health institutions that need review.
Branstad says the state should revamp those institutions to deliver services more efficiently. He noted specifically facilities at Cherokee, Clarinda, Independence and Mount Pleasant.
Branstad says any review of those facilities would need to be in coordination with affected communities.
The governor made the comments during a discussion with state health officials about the 2014 budget.
Lawmakers overhauled the state's mental health system last session. New legislation creates a regionalized system that coordinates services statewide.
New Rules For Teachers About To Be Implemented
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa will soon begin implementing its new testing requirements for people seeking to be licensed to teach in the state.
A legislative panel on Tuesday cleared the way for the state Department of Education to begin implementing on January 2nd new rules for teacher preparedness tests.
The rules require candidates to score above the 25th percentile, which means test takers must be in the top 75 percent nationwide.
It's all part of a law that went into effect in July. It's been delayed to accommodate candidates completing student teaching in the fall.
Some critics say they want to delay the changes because it would be unfair to seniors at public and private schools who are just about to finish their training.
Jury Undecided On Sexual Harassment Case Involving Madison County Sheriff
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A second jury has failed to return a verdict in a lawsuit filed against Madison County Sheriff Craig Busch by a former dispatcher alleging sexual harassment.
Kathryn Frank originally filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the county, then-sheriff Paul Welsh, and Busch, who was a deputy.
She alleged Busch made offensive sexual remarks and groped her. The county settled the case, paying Frank $60,000.
After Busch became sheriff in 2009, Frank claims he retaliated against her. She filed a civil rights complaint in August 2009 and later that month was fired. She sued claiming civil rights
A jury trial last December ended in mistrial when jurors deadlocked. A second trial early this month has ended with the same result.
Jurors were dismissed Monday unable to reach a verdict.
Escaped Inmate Captured in Indiana
MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they've captured a man in Indiana who escaped from a county jail in northeast Iowa.
The Delaware County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday that Timothy Reynolds was captured in Lafayette, Indiana. The U.S. Marshal's Service and Indiana authorities arrested the 20-year-old without incident while he was hiding in a basement crawl space.
Reynolds escaped from the Delaware County Jail in Manchester, Iowa on November 18th. Authorities say he assaulted a jailer and stole his sport utility vehicle during the escape.
Reynolds will be held in Indiana pending extradition back to Iowa.