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Thursday News, January 15

Life Skills Training Center Told It Will Need To Change Its Focus

(Le Mars) -- Earlier this week the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard a report from Shelly Thomson of Life Skills Training Center.  Thomson explained to the county governing board the funding of Life Skills has changed drastically within the last five years, and its focus will also be changing. 

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Thompson says Life Skills provides a secure work environment in both laundry and janitorial services for up to 70 mentally challenged adults.  Thomson informed the county supervisors the federal government is mandating a change as to how the Life Skills Training Center will operate in the future.

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Thomson explains what those changes will ultimately mean to the Life Skills clients, and to the community.

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The Life Skills official says the agency will need the support from the entire county in order to make for a successful transition.

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Chamber Of Commerce Schedules Annual Awards Banquet

(Le Mars) -- Reservations can now be made for the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Awards program.  This annual event recognizes the 2014 "Employees of the Month", and "Bosses of the Quarter" along with the "Citizen of the Year" and the "Le Mars Business of the Year" is scheduled for Saturday, January 31st to be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  The Le Mars Community High School Show Choir, "Crimson and Black" will provide some entertainment with their dance and musical tunes routine.  Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner to start at 7:00 p.m.  Again, this year, the event will prove to be fun as satarical comedic videos featuring many of the community's leaders will be shown.  Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased at the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce office.

 

Authorities Call Suspicious Death As Homicide

(Sioux City) -- Woodbury County authorities are now calling the suspicious death of a Sloan man as a homicide.  Last week, law enforcement officials went to Sloan to investigate an incident.  When they arrived, they found 29 year old Dustin Taylor dead at the scene.  The Woodbury County Sheriff's office has developed a person of interest in the homicide.  The investigation is continuing.

 

Man Gets 30 Years For Robberies

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting to breaking into and stealing from two residences.
     25-year-old Dewayne Hendershot pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree burglary. Hendershot must serve a minimum of seven years in prison to become eligible for parole, as outlined in his plea agreement
     Hendershot confessed to breaking into a home and robbing a resident at gunpoint in Dec. 2013. He also admitted to breaking into a home in November 2013 and stealing guns. Charges from another robbery were dropped as part of Hendershot's plea agreement.

 

Branstad Proposes To Close Two Mental Health Institutions

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed the closure of two of the state's four mental health institutions.
     Amy Lorentzen McCoy, an Iowa Department of Human Services spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Branstad didn't include funding for the Clarinda and Mount Pleasant facilities in his budget proposal released this week. Money to the facilities will be cut off July 1.
     The institutions have experienced a population decline for decades, with only 24 residents currently at Clarinda facility and 47 in Mount Pleasant.
     McCoy says a 2009 taskforce previously recommended closure under Gov. Chet Culver, but the proposal was dropped. Branstad also discussed consolidating mental health services last month, but said there were no immediate plans to do so.
     Facilities in Cherokee and Independence will remain open.
     ---

 

Iowa To Receive Federal Money For Conservation Programs

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is slated to receive federal money to support conservation projects in the state.
     The U.S. government announced Wednesday that Iowa will receive $3.5 million and Cedar Rapids will receive $2.1 million as part of $370 million in federal funding for a national conservation program. The 115 proposed projects across the country are expected to garner $400 million in partner contributions.
     Money allocated to the state will go toward the reducing nitrogen contaminants in state rivers. The money granted directly to Cedar Rapids will fund an initiative among farmers and landowners to improve water and soil quality and aid with flood prevention.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the projects are meant to improve national water supplies and the environment.

 

House Votes To Deny Money For Obama's Immigration Policy

(Washington) -- The U.S. House has passed legislation to overturn President Barack Obama's immigration actions and remove protections for immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. The measures were part of a $39.7 billion spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 236-191.

    Iowa's 4th District Republican Congressman Steve King voted for the measure:

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     The legislation faces tough prospects in the Senate and a veto threat from the president, but King says Republicans had to act against what he calls an unconstitutional overreach by Obama:

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     The legislation would roll back executive actions Obama announced in November to extend temporary stays of deportation to around 4 million immigrants in the country illegally.    It also would undo an earlier program that provided work permits and deportation protections to more than 600,000 immigrants who arrived illegally in the country as children.

 
 
 
     

 
    

   

Wednesday Afternoon, January 14

Sioux City Police Investigate Stabbing

(Sioux City) -- Police officers were dispatched to the eastside of Sioux City Wednesday morning for a report of a stabbling.  Upon their arrival, they found the victim, 28 year old Craig Downing with a single stab wound to the chest.  The wound appeared minor and Downing was transported to Mercy Medical Center.  The suspect is currently in custody though no charges have been filed yet.  The knife has been recovered.  Downing and the suspect are acquaintances.  Details of the circumstances leading up to the incident are not being released.

 

Chief Justice Cady Says Iowa Courthouses Need More Security

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's chief justice says the state's court system needs more security at courthouses and better ways of addressing racial disparities in its criminal justice system.
     Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court made the comments Wednesday in the annual "state of the judiciary" address to a joint session of the Legislature.
     Cady says the judicial branch is completing surveys on security levels at each courthouse. He says some training has been implemented, but he did not elaborate.
     The comments come after a man opened fire at the Jackson County Courthouse in September. He was killed after a scuffle with a county supervisor.
     Cady also says the justice system now offers staff training to recognize implicit biases that could contribute to racial disparities in its criminal justice system.

 

Ernst To Start Iowa Tour

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Joni Ernst says she'll start her 2015 tour of all 99 Iowa counties this weekend.
     During a call with news reporters Wednesday, Ernst said she'll be in her home town of Red Oak on Saturday. The appearance will mark the beginning of an annual effort to visit all the counties in Iowa every year.
     Other Iowa politicians that make this effort each year include Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Terry Branstad. 
     The Republican Ernst was recently sworn in for her first term in the Senate.

 

Appeals Court Upholds Attorney Fees On Civil Lawsuit

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A split Iowa Court of Appeals panel has upheld a $7 million fee for three attorneys who won a class-action lawsuit against the city of Des Moines for charging improper franchise fees.
     The attorneys appealed a Polk County judge's decision awarding them less than half of the $15 million they sought from the $40 million the city must refund citizens for charging unlawful fees on utility bills.
     The lawyers say they took significant risk in the case for which they have spent more than 10,000 hours over 10 years.
     Appeals Judge Gayle Vogel is the dissenting opinion in the 2-1 decision released Wednesday. She says the work expended and the result achieved for Des Moines citizens justifies a bigger paycheck.
     The attorneys will seek an Iowa Supreme Court review.

 

University Of Iowa Hospitals To Pay $250,000 To Suicide Victim's Family

   IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Five years after a patient committed suicide while given a pass to temporarily leave, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has agreed to pay $250,000 and apologize to his relatives.
     Kenneth "Dean" Cabbage of North Liberty jumped from a hospital parking ramp in 2009 after being allowed to leave for an outing with his wife.
     The payment and apology letter settle a lawsuit brought by the 67-year-old's family that challenged the hospital's practice of granting unsupervised leaves allowing some psychiatric patients to go out for a few hours at a time.
     Hospital officials contend the leaves are therapeutic, helping patients get better by enjoying life.
     But an attorney for Cabbage's family argued the leaves have not been shown to help patients and are risky for those who could be suicidal.
 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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