Tuesday Afternoon News, November 11
(Le Mars) -- Today is Veteran's Day, and at the Gehlen Catholic Special Prayer service for veterans, former Gehlen alum Kimberly Kuhn spoke to the gathering about how today's military represents less than one percent of the nation's population. Kuhn recently retired from the U-S Army as a colonel. She entered the Army following college, and has been at various locations around the world.
Kuhn made a career with the Army with an emphasis as a Military Police and Criminal Investigation Division. She says it was a joy to work with young people who shared a similar committment to the military.
The retired Army Colonel says in today's world it is different than the days of World War 2, in the fact that communities are not asked to make sacrifices, as they once did.
Kuhn says sometimes people tend to forget about the active duty military, and the fact they are deployed around the world to help maintain the peace.
The 1985 Gehlen Alum has a concern that society, in time, may forget about the veterans, especially the disabled veterans.
Railroad Tie Catches On Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a fire at about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon located along the railroad tracks south of county road C-38 along Highway 75. Apparently, a railroad tie had caught on fire, presumably from a passing railroad train. Fire fighter crews were able to extinguish the fire in short time. The railroad company has been notified to inspect the burned railroad tie.
Des Moines Pharmacist Has Charges Dismissed
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A misdemeanor drug charge has been dismissed against a Des Moines pharmacy owner convicted of illegally selling painkillers.
A Polk County district judge on Monday dismissed a charge of illegal possession of prescription drugs against Mark Graziano.
The charge was filed in August after an expired bottle of antacid pills was found in a car Graziano was driving. The county attorney's office, which filed the charge, asked that it be dismissed.
Graziano pleaded guilty on Thursday to two federal felony counts of drug conspiracy and tax evasion, after he admitted to illegally selling about 700,000 hydrocodone pills. Sixteen other charges were dropped.
Graziano and another man convicted in the case will be sentenced in February.
Arbitrator Rules Against Wahlert
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An arbitrator has ruled Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert overstepped her bounds when she promoted a judge who had been removed from the position following complaints of a hostile work environment.
The decision filed Friday is another setback for Wahlert, the embattled head of the agency that oversees benefits for unemployed workers.
Arbitrator Sharon Dendurent says Wahlert didn't have the authority to overturn a previous settlement in a grievance case that prohibited administrative law judge Teresa Hillary from managing other employees.
Dendurent says the conflict raises questions about IWD management.
Sen. Janet Petersen, Democratic leader of the Government Oversight Committee, investigated similar complaints earlier this year and says she doubts Wahlert could get through Senate confirmation if she's nominated for the job again.
Wahlert didn't respond to a message.
Iowa Has Fewer West Nile Virus Cases
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the number of human cases of West Nile virus in Iowa is down compared to last year.
Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the state had 15 human cases of the mosquito-borne disease as of Oct. 31. There were a total of 44 human cases in the state in 2013.
Quinlisk says the drop is connected to the weather. Total rainfall numbers were below average in May and July and just above average in June, August and September.
Of the cases this year, eight people were hospitalized. There were no reported deaths.
Eastern Iowa Airport Reports Data Breach
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids is revealing a data breach that may compromise the credit card information of customers who paid to park there.
The airport said Tuesday that customers who used credit and debit cards to pay for public parking between Sept. 29 and Oct. 29 are at risk and should closely monitor their accounts.
Customers who notice fraudulent activity should notify their bank and the airport's public safety department.
The airport says it recently learned of the breach, and took steps to isolate the affected server and stop the further compromise of data. The airport says the breach didn't affect any other concessions.
The breach is being investigated by law enforcement officials and forensic experts.
Union Wants To Remove Ban On Political Pins
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An employee union is asking a court to overturn a ruling that bans state workers from wearing pins critical of Gov. Terry Branstad.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently filed a motion asking the Polk County District Court to intervene in a ruling issued by the Public Employment Relations Board.
The board ruled in October that the pins worn by employees at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center represent "special circumstances" that interfere with prison decorum. It reversed a ruling by an administrative law judge that AFSCME workers could display the pins on their uniforms or clothes.
The pins depict a black and white photograph of Branstad's face bisected by a red diagonal slash with the words, "NOTHING HAS CHANGED."