Home News Friday Afternoon News, July 17th

Friday Afternoon News, July 17th


First Degree Murder Charges Filed Against Knapp

(Le Mars) — Additional charges of first degree murder have now been assessed to 82-year old Thomas Knapp of rural Merrill. You may recall law enforcement authorities were called to the Knapp residence at 20139 Echo Road on May 11th for a report of a shooting incident. That shooting incident resulted in the
death of 51-year old Kevin LeRoy Juzek. At that time, Knapp was charged with domestic abuse assault while displaying or use of a weapon. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and County Attorney’s Office have continued their investigation into the death. Recently, the final autopsy was received by the Iowa State Medical Examiner. That report confirmed the preliminary
findings of determining the manner of death to Juzek as homicide and the cause of death were gunshot wounds to the abdomen and upper torso of the victim. The investigation showed that on May 11th, Knapp willfully and deliberately and with premeditation did kill Juzek. According to the investigation report, Knapp fired a 20-gauge shotgun through a bedroom door
striking Juzek. Juzek then made it to a living room area where Knapp fired a second shot to the chest of Juzek. Knapp was taken into custody on May 11th and remains incarcerated. Judge Vakulskas issued a warrant for Knapp. He is still being held without bond at the Plymouth County Jail.

82-year old Thomas Knapp



Kellen’s Pondersosa To Offer Camp Grounds

(Le Mars) — Earlier this week, the Plymouth County Board of Adjustment gave approval to the Kellen family to expand the current “Ponderosa” swimming area to now include a camping site to be set up directly to the west of the recreation area. Alan Lucken is the Administrator for Plymouth County Zoning
and Planning. He says the request was for a ten lot camper and RV camp ground site. Lucken says the Board of Adjustment had concerns for safety, especially for people crossing county road K-49 from the campgrounds to the recreational pond. One of the conditions included that County Engineer Tom Rohe and County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo would need to be notified by the
Kellen family to work up a plan to address safety issues. Lucken says the Kellens also proposed that fireworks be banned from the proposed camp ground site, also there is not to be any live entertainment, and all pets would need to be on a six-foot lease. Campers would need to be quiet after 10:00 p.m.
Lucken says the agreement is for only one year. Following the year, the Kellens would need to re-apply with the county Board of Adjustment. Lucken says the camp sites will have electrical hookups. The camp ground site will be operational for the 2021 summer between June and August.




Reynolds Says Students Need To Return To Schools This Fall

DES MOINES – Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new proclamation today continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency and taking a number of actions to advance Iowa’s Return to Learn strategy.

The proclamation directs all state agencies, school districts, and local governments to focus on preparing to safely welcome back students and teachers to school in-person in the fall.

It also provides clarity for when a school may move to primarily remote learning, authorizing it when:

Parents select remote learning as the best option for their family; The Iowa Department of Education in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health approves a temporary move to online learning for an entire building or district in response to public health conditions; A school, in consultation with state and local public health officials, determines that individual students or classrooms must be temporarily moved
to online learning; or A school chooses to temporarily move to online learning because of severe weather instead of taking a snow day.
Finally, it provides regulatory relief to address our education workforce, including removing limitations on how often and long substitutes teachers can teach and expanding the pool of Iowans who are eligible to serve as substitute teachers.

Gov. Reynolds discussed the new proclamation at her press conference.




Iowa Unemployment Rate Falls to 8 Percent in June

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa’s unemployment rate is no longer in the double digits. The state’s jobless rate fell from ten percent in May to eight percent in June. Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend said the decline by two percentage points is welcome news after several months of historically high rates of unemployment. Total non-farm employment grew by
50-thousand-200 jobs last month. The number of unemployed Iowans declined to 131-thousand-200 in June from 173-thousand in May, but is still 84-thousand higher than June 2019. The U-S unemployment rate was 11-point-one percent in June.




4 Charged in Connection With Drowning of Missing Teen in Coralville

(Coralville, IA) — Four people are facing charges in connection with the drowning of a missing teen from Tiffin. Fifteen-year-old Noah Herring was found in the Coralville Reservoir April 11th after his disappearance was reported a few days earlier. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says it interviewed several witnesses and the information they provided was inconsistent and that no one called 9-1-1 for help at the time. Forty-seven year-old Scott Harshman is charged with fifth-degree theft while three juveniles face charges including fifth-degree theft, criminal mischief in the third-degree after the fact, and prohibited actions. Herring’s death is still under investigation.




Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Settles Lawsuit With Former Employee

(Rockwell City, IA) — Calhoun County has settled a lawsuit with a former employee who claims she was sexually harassed while working for the sheriff’s office. The county agreed Thursday to pay Tamara Swank 900-thousand dollars.
Swank also worked with former Sheriff Scott Anderson, who’s accused of abusing his wife and assaulting a Manson police officer.



Nevada, Story County Officers Cleared In Suspect Death After Taser

(Nevada, IA) — All Nevada police officers and Story County sheriff’s deputies are cleared of any wrong doing after a man they used a Taser on died in the hospital. A review by the Story County attorney and Iowa Attorney General’s Office found the officers acted lawfully in the June 22nd arrest of 51-year-old Jason Kruzic. Authorities were called to a Nevada trailer court
for a man armed with a sword knocking on door and trying to break into cars.
Officers repeatedly asked Kruzic to drop the sword before he was Tased and taken into custody. Kruzic then suffered a medical emergency and was taken to the hospital where he died. Autopsy results are still pending.