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Wednesday Afternoon News, June 17th

Grassley Wants U-S Attorney to Investigate Police Shooting A Woman

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Chuck Grassley says a federal prosecutor should consider whether to investigate a shooting in which an Iowa officer accidentally killed a woman.
Grassley has forwarded to U.S. Attorney Nick Klinefeldt a complaint by Gina Colbert, the mother of Autumn Steele.
Critics have accused local and state officials of refusing to release details about Steele's killing by Burlington officer Jesse Hill. They're angry Hill wasn't charged and returned to work without discipline.
Hill killed Steele outside her home while responding to a domestic disturbance between Steele and her husband. He meant to shoot the family dog, which investigators say bit him.
In a letter to Colbert, Grassley noted Klinefeldt has the authority to investigate and "may be able to obtain the information that you have not been able to receive."

 

 

 

 

Jeb Bush To Appear In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - In Iowa, Republican Jeb Bush is practically starting from scratch, despite his blue-chip donors and famous political name.
The former Florida governor makes his first visit to Iowa as a declared presidential candidate Wednesday. He has just three employees in Iowa, and made only two visits this year, far less than many of his rivals for the GOP nomination.
Bush's aides say he can make the best use of the seven months until the caucuses by focusing more on populous areas such as swing-voting Cedar Rapids, than on the sparser and more evangelical northwest.
On Wednesday, he has plans to meet activists - and poke at the federal government - in a backyard get-together in Washington, Iowa, and later headline a town hall-style meeting, in Pella, both east of Des Moines.

 

 

 

 

Garwin City Clerk Arrested For Theft

GARWIN, Iowa (AP) - A former city clerk for the eastern Iowa city of Garwin has been charged with theft after a state audit found more than $562,000 in improper and unsupported spending.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says Anna Leytham was arrested on Tuesday at her home in Garwin. She's charged with five counts of theft and one count of ongoing criminal conduct.
Online jail records say Leytham remained in custody Wednesday. Court records don't list the name of an attorney who could be contacted to comment on Leytham's behalf.
The state auditor's office said Tuesday that the improper and unsupported spending included 203 payments traced by credit card statements to Leytham. Officials noted that other improper payments included more than $145,000 that Leytham issued to herself.

 

 

 

Iowa City To Ban E-cigarettes In Public Places

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials in Iowa City have given initial approval to a ban on smoking electronic cigarettes in places where it's illegal to smoke tobacco products.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the proposal, which would treat electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products. Smoking tobacco is banned at most job sites and in public spaces, including bars and restaurants.
Michael Conroy, of Iowa City, urged the council not to approve the ban, saying electronic cigarettes shouldn't be lumped in with tobacco, which produces secondhand smoke.
The proposal will come before the council at least twice more before a ban could be implemented.
Electronic cigarettes are devices that heat liquid and nicotine into a flavored, smokeless vapor.

 

 

 

 

Corwith-Wesley School Board Votes To Demolish School Building

CORWITH, Iowa (AP) - The Corwith-Wesley School Board unanimously has voted to demolish the district's middle and high school building.
The Messenger reports that the board voted Tuesday to tear down the structure. Superintendent Jon Hueser said the decision wasn't easy for the board but it was necessary.
The decision follows years of financial difficulties and a September 2014 vote to dissolve the district.
Elementary students next year will move to the Lu Verne Community School District. Middle and high school students will go to the Algona district.
Some who have had generations of their family attend the Corwith-Wesley district said they didn't want to see the end of the building.

 

 

 

 

Special Needs Camp Opens Despite Having Recent Fire

SHERRILL, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa camp for those with special needs has opened despite a fire last month that caused extensive damage to a main building.
55 campers spent Tuesday participating in a variety of activities, including swimming and playing volleyball, at Camp Albrecht Acres in Sherrill.
Several rooms in the Kehl Center, where the May 13 fire occurred, were in use for campers.
The blaze spread throughout the building, causing more than $200,000 in damage. More than 2,000 pounds of frozen meat also was destroyed. No one was injured in the fire, the cause of which is undetermined.
The camp was founded in 1975 and serves people of all ages with special needs.

 

 

 

Black Bear Killed On Iowa Highway

JESUP, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the carcass of a young black bear that was struck by a vehicle has been found in northeast Iowa.
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office was notified about the carcass around 10:15 p.m. Sunday. It was alongside U.S. Highway 20, near Jesup. It's unclear whether the bear was one of the animals seen last month in the Dubuque area, about 75 miles east. Iowa Natural Resources Department officials think two or three bears have been roaming the region.
Department spokesman Kevin Baskins says the bear was older than a cub, about 5 feet long and weighed about 150 pounds.
Brian Preston is executive director of the Dubuque County Conservation Board, and he says black bears vanished from Iowa years ago but lingered in neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota.

 

 

 

Robber Gets Robbed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines man has been arrested after he told police he was robbed by someone after he had robbed a gas station.
A 24-year-old man was arrested Monday night. Police say they responded to a report of a robbery of a gas station and found a man who matched the description of the suspect while on their way to the scene.
Police say the suspect told them he had robbed the gas station convenience store so he could go drink at a nearby bar. He told police a black car that was in the gas station's parking lot during the robbery followed him to the bar. Once there, the driver of the car told him to hand over the money.
The suspect faces charges of aggravated theft and violation of probation.







   

Wednesday News, June 17

Le Mars City Council Approves BoDeans Financial Request For Expansion

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave its approval for financial assistance to BoDean's Cone Company for its expansion plans.  Neil Adler serves as the executive Director for the Le Mars Business and Industry Corporation and says its always good news when a current Le Mars industry wants to expand.

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Adler says he isn't certain as to how many jobs BoDean's plan to add under the program, but in order to qualify for the state tax abatement program, he says they will be good paying positions.

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In other action taken by the city council, they approved a contract agreement with the YMCA, and appointed Wayne Schipper and re-appointed Jan Wagner to a five-year term for the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The city council also appointed Dr. Mark Stelzer and Allan Gates to a four year term serving on the Le Mars Library Board of Trustees.  The city council also approved a supplemental pay agreement of $4,038 to Bill Cole as Acting City Administrator, and they approved a salary of $105,000 for Bill Cole, beginning in fiscal year 2016.

 

 

 

 

Sheriff Van Otterloo Appears Before Supervisors To Clarify Merit Pay Request

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo appeared before the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to offer an explanation regarding the request for an increase of salary pay for the Sheriff's deputies.  Last week, the issue was on the agenda, but supervisors chose to table the discussion, especially since the sheriff was unable to attend last week's supervisor meeting.  At issue was the merit pay increase that was proposed by Sheriff Van Otterloo for his deputies.  However, the supervisors mentioned an earlier agreement that was made with the sheriff's office that said the present deputies would forgo a merit pay raise for this year, if the supervisors would agree to hire another deputy to be placed on staff for the new fiscal year.  That request was made earlier this year.  Today, Sheriff Van Otterloo informed the supervisors that they were correct with the earlier terms of the agreement.

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Van Otterloo informed the supervisors the merit increase would generally be between  one and two percent, or about $300 per year for each deputy, and he offers an explanation as to why he was asking for the merit increase.

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The supervisors did approve a general across the board raise of two and a half percent for the salaries of all sheriff's deputies and county attorney deputies.

 

 

 

 

Local Law Enforcement To Hold Tactical Weapons Training On Wednesday

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department, Plymouth County Sheriff's Office and the Sioux County Sheriff's Office will hold a tactical weapons training session scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at a home located near 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street southeast.  Stuart Dekkenga, Le Mars Police Chief says the training session will begin at about 1:00 p.m. and will last through the afternoon.

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Dekkenga says since the property is scheduled for demolition, the facility will prove even more valuable to the the tactical unit.

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Fire Department To Train For Grain Rescue

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department will be conducting a training seminar tonight simulating a person caught in a flowing grain accident.  The training will take place at the Le Mars Agri-Center grain elevator facilities located at 201 1st Avenue southwest.  A company from Minnesota will assist with the training session.   A semi-trailer will be filled with corn and a person submerged so that training can be conducted with grain bin rescue equipment.   This equipment will then be donated to the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department by this group from Minnesota.

 

 

 

Ice Cream Days - Day One

(Le Mars) -- Today marks the start of the four-day festival known as "Ice Cream Days".  Brad Pick, who serves on the Ice Cream Days organizing committee with the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce offers a listing of the events scheduled for today.

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Later in the afternoon, the cars from the 50's, 60's and 70's will roll into Bob's Drive Inn as part of the Tri-state Crusiser show.

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The Le Mars Public Library will be hosting Dan Kaercher, who some may recognize from Iowa Public Television, or even from the popular magazine "Midwest Living".  Kaercher will be discussing Iowa's Hidden Treasures.

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State Government Hires Firm To Monitor Family Leave

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's state government is hiring a company to track employees' medical absences at a cost of $32,000 per month.
State officials say the goal is to improve the state's inconsistent implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and curb any abuse.
But many state employees are questioning the cost and motivation behind the contract with the Reed Group, Ltd. The president of the state's largest employees union said Tuesday he's considering a legal challenge to the program, which takes effect July 1.
Under the change, state human resources employees will no longer be involved in determining when employees qualify for FMLA. Instead, those decisions will be made by the Colorado-based contractor.
The contract covers 21,500 state employees, who will have to report most medical absences to the Reed Group.

 

 

 

 

Sioux City Man Refuses Plea Deal For Baby's Death

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A prosecutor says a 27-year-old Sioux City man has rejected another plea offer and will proceed to trial for the death of his 2-month-old son.
Michael Williams is charged with three counts of neglect of a dependent person, a count of child endangerment resulting in death and one of child endangerment resulting in injury. His trial is scheduled to begin July 7.
County Attorney Patrick Jennings declined to discuss details of the plea deal. Williams also rejected a deal in October.
Authorities have said little Leonard Williams was taken to an emergency room on April 29 last year. An autopsy later showed he died of malnutrition and dehydration.
The trial of his mother, 24-year-old Rebekah Williams-McCarthy, is scheduled to begin Aug. 4.


   

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