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Thursday Afternoon News, April 23

Semi Truck Loaded With Hay Rolls Over

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's office is investigating a semi-truck and trailer accident that happened at the 24000 block of Jade Avenue near Merrill.  The accident happened Wednesday morning at about 8:30.  The semi truck was hauling a load of hay, and was the second of two semi-trailers.  According to the traffic accident report, the semi truck loaded with hay, and being driven by 21 year old Ty Egly of Blunt, South Dakota was moving toward the shoulder of the gravel road allowing the second semi truck to pass.  Apparently, the semi-truck and trailer was on loose gravel when the rig rolled on its side and dumping the hay into the ditch.  Egly sustained minor injuries, but refused to seek treatment.





Plymouth County Deputies Arrest Woman For Meth Charges

(Le Mars) -- On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after 3:00 p.m. the Plymouth County Sheriff's office made a traffic stop.  Deputies stopped a tan 2006 Honda Accord for a speeding violation in the 3000 block of Highway 75 in Hinton, Iowa.  After further investigation, the Plymouth County deputy arrested 57 year old Bounmy Bounmy of Sioux City, a passenger in the vehicle.  Bounmy was charged with 2 counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, a class B felony, 2 counts of failure to affix drug tax stamp, a class D felony, introducing a controlled substance into a correctional facility, a class D felony, and possession of paraphernalia, a serious misdemeanor.  Bond for Bounmy was set at $25,000 and she is currently being held at the Plymouth County Jail.




FBI Catches Lawyer Wanted For Fraud Charges

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A disbarred Iowa lawyer's long run from the law is over.

Investigators have captured former Coralville lawyer Dennis Bjorklund, one of the FBI's most wanted white-collar criminals, in Colorado several years after he vanished.

Authorities said Wednesday that Bjorklund was arrested without incident April 15 in Pueblo, Colorado by the FBI and the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office. They say he is being transferred back to Iowa to face federal charges of mail and tax fraud.

An indictment returned in 2010 accuses Bjorklund of defrauding clients in drunken-driving cases by recommending they make contributions to a phony charity he established. He told clients the donations would reflect well on their character and likely lead to lighter sentences.

The Iowa Supreme Court disbarred him in 2006, saying Bjorklund "lies with reckless abandon."



Trial Set For Teacher Accused Of Sexual Abuse

UNDERWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A June trial has been scheduled for a western Iowa teacher accused of sexually abusing a former student.

Forty-six-year-old Barret Glasnapp entered written not guilty pleas in Pottawattamie County District Court last week to four felony counts of sexual abuse, a felony count of sexual exploitation by a school employee and six misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. His trial is set to begin June 2.

Authorities say Glasnapp's sexual interaction with the girl began in 2011 when the student was 14, and continued until October. She was a student of Glasnapp from 2009 until 2012.

According to a court affidavit, an investigator assigned to follow up on a report of a sexual assault at Underwood Middle School in December found that Glasnapp had quit in November.




Roommate Pleas Guilty To Abusing Kittens

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 21-year-old West Liberty man is scheduled to be sentenced next month for abusing his roommate's kitten.

Court documents say Leo Nopoulos pleaded guilty on Tuesday. He'd been charged with one count of animal torture and two of animal abuse. His sentencing is set for May 18.

Nopoulos' roommate, 23-year-old Nathan Schloss, had set up a laptop to record video of his 8-week-old cat, Fritz. But police say video showed Nopoulos punching, kicking and throwing objects at the kitten for more than three hours.

Police say they also found on Schloss' laptop hard drive video of Schloss having sex with incapacitated women. He's charged with 18 counts of sexual abuse and 22 counts of invasion of privacy. He's pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled to begin May 5.




Court Overturns Des Moines Man's Conviction In Fatal Beating

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of a man who was sent to prison for the beating death of another man near Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kent Tyler III was convicted of second-degree murder in the Aug. 24, 2013, slaying of 40-year-old Richard Daughenbaugh. Witnesses testified that Tyler punched Daughenbaugh once after Daughenbaugh drove his pickup into a parking lot where dozens of young people were partying. Several people then attacked Daughenbaugh, but there was no evidence Tyler joined in.

The Des Moines Register reports that the 20-year-old Tyler has been serving his 50-year sentence at Anamosa State Penitentiary.





Red Oak To Get Facelift

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - A facade project to give Red Oak's downtown square a face-lift is set to begin.

The Daily Nonpareil reports residents gathered in Fountain Square Park Wednesday for the project's groundbreaking ceremony. Paul Griffen, the executive director for the Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association, said the gathering was a celebration of updates that are needed.

The project, which will be done in two phases, will give new awnings, paint and more to 30 buildings in the downtown square area. Both phases are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

According to Griffen, the facade project will have a price tag of more than $900,000 by the time it is done. The city has received funds for the project from a Community Development Block Grant, as well as money from Downtown Urban Renewal and building owner contributions.





Thursday News, April 23

Governor Branstad Visits Plymouth County Farm To See Conservation Measures

(Le Mars) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad stopped at a Plymouth County Farm to view how one local farmer is making a difference in reducing nitrate levels for ground water, and at the same time protecting the soil from eroding.  Wednesday was recognized as "Earth Day" and Branstad signed a proclamation designating April 29th through May 6 as Soil and Water conservation Week. While signing the official document, behind Branstad, and serving as a backdrop, was an area with several terraces and grass waterways.  Branstad says efforts that he witnessed Wednesday involving the Deep Creek watershed project where farmers have implemented grass waterways, buffer filter strips, terraces, and other conservation measures have proven to effectively reduce nitrate levels. The governor says he is disappointed in the Des Moines Water Works for filing a lawsuit against three northwest Iowa counties because of high nitrate levels. He says it only leads to hard feelings, and he says there is a better way.

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Branstad believes it is best to ask farmers to volunteer to implement conservation measures rather than to make the practice mandatory.

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Branstad says he is impressed with the conservation measures that Bob Puetz has implemented as part of his farming operation.  Branstad explains he was in northwest Iowa for various other engagements, and was invited to see the various conservation measures which is why he chose Plymouth County to make the proclamation.  More than a year ago Branstad held his annual Governor's Pheasant Hunt in Plymouth County.  At that time, Branstad and Bob Puetz hunted pheasants together. They share a common interest in preserving wildife habitat and pheasant hunting.

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Deep Creek Watershed District To Implement Methods To Reduce Nitrate Run-off

(Le Mars) -- While visiting Plymouth County, the Iowa governor saw first hand the area known as Deep Creek, a watershed district that is one of only 16 within the state to receive state funding to implement conservation techniques to reduce nitrate run-off.  Beeca Meerdink is the watershed coordinator and explains the goals for the Deep Creek watershed.

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Meerdink says the state has allocated $70,000 a year for the next three years for the watershed district, to be used for education and the implementation of conservation practices.

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The watershed coordinator says farmers' attitudes have been supportive towards the goal of reducing nitrates and protecting the soil.

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Meerdink explains some the challenges she faces with the water quality initiative.

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Nearly 30 people attended the proclamation signing ceremony held Wednesday afternoon.





Family of Fallen Police Officer Buys Police Dog

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The grieving family of an officer has bought his police dog from the Sioux City Police Department.

Sgt. Jay Fleckenstein died Friday of natural causes at his home. He was 39.

The department bought the dog, a Belgian Malinois (MAL'-ehn-wah) named Eik, from Fleckenstein in 2009. The officer had raised and trained Eik since he was a puppy. A police news release says the purchase agreement included an option that Fleckenstein's family would be able to buy back Eik if Fleckenstein were to leave the department for any reason.

Eik had nearly six years on duty with Fleckenstein. The dog would have been required to be recertified before returning to service with another officer.




Sioux City Man Granted New Trial For Daughter's Death

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man granted a new trial in the death of his daughter has pleaded not guilty to a child endangerment charge brought against him six years ago.

25-year-old Paul Hill also waived his right to a speedy trial Wednesday. He is accused of child endangerment causing death for the February 2009 death of 4-month-old Tryniti Jo Hill.

Hill was granted a new trial in January after the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that statements Hill made to police used during his original trial were obtained in violation of his right to remain silent. He had been found guilty in June 2010 and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

His new trial date has not yet been scheduled.



Senate Passes Health Bill That Includes Funding For Mental Health Institutions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate lawmakers say their proposed budget for health services has funding for two state mental health facilities slated to close this year, but it's unclear if it will have enough support in the House.

Democratic Senator Amanda Ragan, vice chairwoman of the Senate Human Resources Committee, says there is about $11 million in a proposed health and human services budget to keep the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant open.

Governor Terry Branstad's budget proposal removes funding for the facilities. He says affected patients will be able to seek adequate treatment elsewhere.

Representative David Heaton, a Republican who will be involved with advancing the budget, says he wants to work with both Branstad and the Senate to save the facilities.

Employees from the facilities spoke to lawmakers Wednesday.



Rayhorn Found Not Guilty Of Sexually Abusing His Wife With Dementia

GARNER, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa lawmaker has been acquitted of sexually abusing his wife who suffered from dementia, in a case that centered on questions about when a person is no longer mentally capable of consenting to sex.

Jurors on Wednesday found 78-year-old Henry Rayhons not guilty of abusing his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons. He was accused of having sex with her at her nursing home on May 23rd, after being told she was no longer mentally capable of consenting due to her Alzheimer's disease.

She died in August.

Jurors weighed testimony from family members, doctors and investigators throughout the trial. In closing arguments, Rayhons' defense attorney said a guilty verdict could have widespread implications, but prosecutors countered that a not guilty verdict would put others with dementia at risk.





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