Tuesday Afternoon News, April 8
County Supervisors Proclaim April As Sexual Abuse Awareness Month
(Le Mars) -- April is recognized as domestic violence and sexual abuse awareness month, and today the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors proclaimed April as Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness month for Plymouth County. Haley Meis and Cathy VanMaanen appeared before the county supervisors and presented a report about the alarming statistics involving sexual abuse.
Meis informed the Board of Supervisors that April 23rd is designated as Denim Day for sexual abuse awareness. She told the supervisors how denim became significant to the prevention of sexual abuse.
JoLynn Goodchild, the county recorder, presented the Recorder's quarterly report to the county supervisors. The supervisors also approved the five-year road construction plan as submitted by County engineer Tom Rohe.
Judge Releases Man Suspected Of Shooting Exchange Student
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has released from state custody a 25-year-old man suspected of shooting a foreign exchange student outside a Sioux City bar in 2012.
Solomon Harris left jail on Monday. Judge Mary Sokolovske had said the state has no authority to civilly commit Harris, so it can't keep holding him although it's been determined that he's a threat to public safety.
Last year Harris was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the shooting of 20-year-old Natacha Butera, who is from Rwanda. Police say Harris fired the gun while arguing with another man on Nov. 18, 2012.
Sokolovske says the U.S. Supreme Court has said that mentally incompetent defendants who aren't expected to regain competency must be released if they cannot be committed civilly.
Senate Passes School Radon Testing Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate is sending to Gov. Terry Branstad a bill that will survey schools in Iowa to determine whether they're testing for the presence of radon gas. The bill requires districts to report by the end of this year to the Iowa Department of Education and the agency to file a report with the Legislature by January.
Sen. Matt McCoy, a Des Moines Democrat, who introduced the measure, says the House "gutted" his bill but a report will at least bring public attention to the issue.
McCoy's version, which passed the Senate, would have required schools to test and fix problems if radon had been detected at dangerous levels.
Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl says gathering information is the right path for now.
Lawmaker Decides To Go Home Rather Than Remain In Session
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A southwest Iowa lawmaker who has stopped joining in legislative action at the Capitol is still receiving his salary and daily expense payments.
Secretary of the Senate Michael Marshall told The Des Moines Register on Monday that Sen. Hubert Houser was receiving his $144 daily expense payments and his $25,000 annual salary, though he hasn't voted on a measure since March 4.
Houser told the Register earlier he was too busy with work on his farm to join in legislative business, adding that as a Republican in the Democratic-controlled Senate, he had little to do.
On Monday, Houser told the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil he's willing to return his legislative pay to the state if anyone requested he do so.
Houser, a Republican, has served 22 years in the Legislature.
Law Enforcement Academy Removes Facebook Posting
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy has removed a post from its Facebook page that falsely claimed its firearms instructor was selling guns to recruits' family members.
The March 7 post showed a picture of firearms instructor John Metzger making a presentation on Family Day for its current class of recruits. The post said that Metzger was "selling guns at the 255th Basic Family Day!" and received more than 50 likes.
But academy director Arlen Ciechanowski told The Associated Press on Tuesday that post was inaccurate and created by an employee who didn't understand Metzger's presentation. He says Metzger was speaking about guns officers carry on and off duty and the academy doesn't sell guns.
The academy changed the post to read that Metzger was "explaining firearms safety in the home."
Swine Virus Affects Pork Prices
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says a pound of bacon averaged $5.46 in February. That's 13 percent more than a year ago. Ham and chops have gone up too, although not as much.
Scientists believe porcine epidemic diarrhea came from China, but they don't know how it got into the United States.
Agricultural economist Steve Meyer estimates the virus has killed nearly 6.8 million pigs in 27 states since last May. Meyer says Americans expect cheap food, but PED has shown how much an outbreak can cost and how important disease prevention is to the food supply.