Wednesday Afternoon News, November 25
Sioux County Attorney Doesn't Challenge Reduced Sentence For Daycare Provider
ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) - A county attorney in northwest Iowa says he won't appeal a judge's decision to cut in half a 100-year prison sentence for a woman accused of killing a 3-year-old girl in her care.
Sioux County Attorney Thomas G. Kunstle says in a news release Wednesday there appears to be no authority to vacate District Judge Edward Jacobson's reconsideration in October of Rochelle Sapp's sentence.
Sapp pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges in the 2013 death of Autumn Elgersma. The plea deal dropped a first-degree murder charge and Sapp agreed to back-to-back 50-year sentences.
Iowa law allowed Jacobson to reconsider the sentence within one year. Kunstle says Autumn's family has agreed to accept the decision, and they plan to attend all of Sapp's future parole hearings.
Federal Lawsuit Filed For Racial Profiling
(Orange City) -- A highway stop in which Iowa police officers pointed weapons at an innocent dark-skinned man and his 6-year-old son has prompted a federal lawsuit and racial profiling claims.
Details of the September 2014 incident in northwest Iowa have emerged in a lawsuit filed by the driver, 32-year-old Levi Wilson of Orange City. He alleges the stop and search were illegal.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says officers acted appropriately because they were searching for Wilson's brother, David Wilson, a sex offender who was wanted on outstanding warrants. Officers say the brothers sometimes drove the same truck. Levi Wilson denies that.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett refused to dismiss the case this month, ruling that claims of unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force and invasion of privacy could proceed.
Thanksgiving Weekend A Deadly Time For Motorists
(Des Moines) -- Thanksgiving weekend, which according to the Governor's Traffic and Safety Bureau and the Department of Public Safety, begins on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and will continue through Monday at 6:00 a.m. The extended holiday weekend is the busiest travel time of the year for American motorists. Unfortunately, more motorists on the roads increase the likelihood of traffic accidents. Officials with the Department of Public Safety remind motorists to always wear their seatbelts. Wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective way to prevent injuries or death during an accident. Statistics indicate the risk of a fatal injury goes down by 45 percent when seatbelts are used in a passenger car, and 60 percent when in a light truck. During 2013, the last year in which information is available, Thanksgiving weekend had 301 people nationwide, who lost their lives on roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. A staggering 58 percent were not wearing seat belts. Iowa had two fatalities during the 2013, and three in 2014 during the Thanksgiving holiday. Iowa has one of the highest seat belt compliance rates in the nation at nearly 93 percent, but the unbuckled seven percent represents 46 percent of the fatalities.
Rejoice Community Church To Serve Thanksgiving Meal
Le Mars) -- Tomorrow is of course Thanksgiving, and while many people will join their families for the annual feast, there are some that won't have that opportunity. This marks the 11th year the Rejoice Community Church of Le Mars is offering its Thanksgiving meal for the general public. Coordinator Adri Ruisch (Rice-sh) says the community meal has grown since its humble beginnings.
Ruisch says the banquet's hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and in recent years, Ruisch says the community Thanksgiving banquet has served more than 600 people.
The meal is free of charge to everyone that participates. Ruisch says the banquet would not be possible if not for the generosity of volunteers and local companies.
Ruisch says volunteers have prepared 42 turkeys with each turkey weighing about 25 pounds which equates to over 800 pounds of turkey, or 20 roasters of turkey meat. In addition, the community Thanksgiving banquet will serve 100 pies. She talks about what are the other food items that will be available during the community banquet.
Ruisch says the community Thanksgiving banquet is a way to express the appreciation to the people of Le Mars.
Area Colleges Help International Students Find A Home To Celebrate Thanksgiving
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Several northwest Iowa colleges have turned to their communities to find families offering seats at their dinner tables for international students who can't make it home for the holidays.
Students are frequently able to find a home away from home through a host-family program, a campus-sponsored dinner or local students offering a seat at their own table.
Briar Cliff University has offered the "Friend Family" program, which matches international students with a local family. Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, also offers a host family program, so students can stay overnight with families while the university is closed for the holidays.
Some students, including those who are not international students, stay on campus, organize their own festivities and share customs and cuisines.