Friday News, November 29
Holiday Candle Safety Promoted
(Le Mars) -- Now that Thanksgiving is over, our attention now will turn to Christmas, and many people enjoy having candles, whether they be decorative or scented. Candles was the number one cause for home fires two years ago, and Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says people need to constantly think safetey when using candles. Schipper says there have been numerous times when window curtains or bath towels would come in contact with a burning candle causing fires. He also says candles placed on a night stand may start a fire when a blanket is tossed aside.
Barn Fire Near Harlan
HARLAN, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters from several departments were called in to fight a barn fire east of Harlan.
Atlantic radio station KJAN says (http://bit.ly/180T2zR ) firefighters from Defiance, Harlan, Irwin, Kimballton and Kirkman were summoned to the scene just before 6 a.m. Friday.
A Shelby County Sheriff's Office dispatcher says the fire had broken out in a hoop barn. No other details are available yet. No injuries have been reported.
Electronic Court Filling System Seems To Be Working Well
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's court system is nearly halfway through its transition to electronic records filing, and most people agree it has been a good change.
43 of Iowa's 99 counties will be using electronic court records by the end of the year. The switch began in 2010.
Associate Judge John Nelson says he believes the positives of electronic records outweigh the bad aspects.
The new system makes it possible to file documents at all hours and lets several people read the same file at once.
But the electronic filing system can be cumbersome, especially for people who don't use it every day.
Sioux City landlord Brad Bergstrom says it was easier tohand a form to a clerk when he had to file small-claims cases against tenants.
Jamal Dean Pleads Not Guilty To Robbery Charges
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old man convicted of shooting a Sioux City police officer has pleaded not guilty to federal robbery charges in a separate case.
Jamal Dean entered his pleas on Wednesday to robbery, conspiracy and other charges.
Authorities say Dean, his brother, Levon Dean, and Sarah Berg, of Sioux City, were involved in the gunpoint robbery at a Sioux City home in April.
A few days later Dean shot Sioux City Officer Kevin McCormick during a traffic stop. McCormick returned to work two weeks later. Dean was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison
Levon Dean and Berg also have pleaded not guilty. The trial for all three is scheduled to begin February 3rd.
Pick Up Truck Rams Police Cruiser
DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A pickup driver has escaped from a Dyersville officer after ramming into the officer's police cruiser.
The Iowa State Patrol says the incident began a little before 10 a.m. Thursday when the officer tried to pull over the pickup. The pickup driver didn't halt the vehicle but instead went into an intersection and hit a car. The patrol says the pickup driver then backed into the officer's vehicle, disabling it.
The driver soon drove away in his damaged pickup.
Convicted Sex Offender Loses Unemployment
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A convicted Iowa sex offender has lost his bid for unemployment pay after being fired by a veterans hospital in Des Moines.
The Des Moines Register says (http://dmreg.co/1ewmI94 ) an administrative law judge told 46-year-old Stanley McGinity that it was his responsibility to tell his employer of restrictions that barred him from working at the hospital. McGinity says he plans to appeal the decision.
McGinity, who has two convictions for lascivious acts with a child dating back to 2007, had worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital since 2010. He says he listed his convictions on the VA's job application form. He was hired as a housekeeping aide.
The hospital personnel director says he didn't learn until this summer that sex offenders couldn't work at care facilities for dependent adults.
Teenage Girl Charged With Murder Has Bond Increased
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge increased a teenage girl's bond to $500,000 after her murder case was moved to adult court.
KCRG reports (http://bit.ly/1bZvFoa ) the 16-year-old girl's bond was increased on Wednesday. Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden the change was warranted because of the severity of the crime.
The Associated Press typically doesn't identify juveniles charged with crimes. The girl and her 19-year-old boyfriend, D. Anthony Ray Curd, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Ronald Kunkle.
Prosecutors say Kunkle was stabbed nearly 30 times during a robbery on May 18. His body was found in his apartment on June 10.
Iowa City Schools To Implement ID Scanning System For Visitors
(Iowa City) -- Iowa City schools soon will begin using a new scanning system to check the identification of visitors.
The City Press-Citizen says the Iowa City Community School District has spent about $600 at each school to install the Raptor visitor management system.
District chief operating officer David Dude says the district will require visitors to show one of several forms of ID at front offices on their first visits to schools after winter break. Office personnel would scan the IDs, saving the photos, birth dates and names that appear on them, and check the data against sex offender databases.
Office personnel will give visitors ID badge stickers to wear and ask visitors to turn them in when they leave.