Friday April 18, 2014 News
Le Mars Easter Egg Hunt Is On
(Le Mars) -- Young children will want to be at the Cleveland Park Saturday morning for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. This year's Easter egg hunt is being sponsored by The Education Station and Primebank. Two year olds will hunt for eggs inside the rink area, three and four year olds will be on the west end of the park, and Kindergarten and first grade students will look for eggs left by the Easter bunny on the east end of the park. The Easter egg hunt will begin at 11:00 a.m.
Meseum Displaying Historic Painting
(Le Mars) -- Today, is Good Friday, and the Plymouth County Historical Museum is inviting the public to visit the museum's religious heritage room to view a 119 year old painting of mural proportions. The painting depicts the cruc-ifixion of Christ.
Sioux City Man Sentenced To Prison
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man twice convicted of child sex offenses have been given 18 years in prison for possessing child pornography.
Prosecutors say 49-year-old Kevin Ammerman, of Clarion, was sentenced on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. He must serve 15 years of supervised release after he leaves federal custody. Ammerman had pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors say Ammerman was convicted of lascivious acts with a child in Wright County in 1985 and convicted of indecent contact with a child in Wright County in 2000.
Iowa Supreme Court Ruling Should Not Affect Prosecution
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.
Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is" despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election despite having lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.
Critics such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa say such prosecutions are on shaky footing following the ruling in which justices couldn't agree on which felony crimes lead to disenfranchisement.
Three justices ruled that only felonies that raise concerns about elections integrity strip offenders of their rights. Two others said all felonies should.
List Of Disqualified State Workers Released
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state's top human resources officer says the most common reason state workers are excluded from being considered for rehire is for bad behavior or poor performance.
Michelle Minnehan, human resources chief operating officer for the state, told the Senate Government Oversight Committee on Thursday the reasons workers are fired and not eligible for rehire have included abuse of sick leave, falsification of records, urinating on prison inmates' food, and sexual harassment.
Minnehan was responding to questions in a broadening investigation into state hiring and firing practices.
The state released a list last week to The Associated Press containing 975 names of disqualified former workers. State officials had previously said no actual list existed.
Lawmakers report getting calls from former state workers shocked to find they're on the list.
Govenor's Staff Accused Of Pressuring Employment Board
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The chairman of the state's Public Employment Relations Board says aides to Governor Terry Branstad pressured the board to hire a friend of the administration. It's the latest accusation that top Iowa government officials pushed to fill government positions with allies.
Board Chairman Jim Riordan told the Senate Government Oversight Committee Thursday that Branstad's former chief of staff, Jeff Boeyink, and current staff attorney, Brenna Findley, threatened the board with budget cuts if it didn't make the hire. The board hired former Judge Robert Wilson to be an administrative law judge.
Questioned by reporters, Branstad flatly denied the claims and accused Riordan, who hasn't been reappointed by the governor, of making false accusations.
Riordan, a former Democratic state senator, will be replaced by a Republican confirmed Wednesday by the Senate.
Schools Must Report Radon Testing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Governor Terry Branstad has signed into law.
Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.
An original draft of the bill required schools to test for the gas and deal with problems if levels exceed recommendations. The House removed testing requirements, instead opting to gather information and assess how schools handle radon.
Lawmakers plan to use the information collected to create a proposal for testing next year.
The EPA estimates about 21,000 people die nationally each year from lung cancer caused by radon exposure.
Democrats Look To Expand Iowa's Presidential Caucus
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democrats are looking to expand access to Iowa's presidential caucuses to people who are typically unable to attend them. It's a tricky task with these local political meetings that thrive on in-person discussion.
Party leaders said Thursday it's not in response to criticism, but a way to expand access to grass-roots democracy.
Senior Iowa Democratic adviser Norm Sterzenbach said Thursday: "It's an important part of our party to see if there are ways to make it more accessible."
Caucuses are run by parties, and held at night, unlike primaries. Democrat Hillary Clinton said after the 2008 caucuses that they excluded night workers, among others. So far, suggestions include virtual participation and proxy voting.
In 2008, 240,000 Iowa Democrats - 39 percent - participated. That's more than twice as many as the previous record.