Law Enforcement Officials Watching For Impaired Drivers During The Holidays
(Le Mars) — The holiday season is known for celebrations and traditions, but it is also known as being the deadliest season when it comes to impaired driving. Iowa law enforcement across the state will partner with the U-S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
to remove impaired drivers from the roads and help save lives. According to statistics provided by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, back in 2018, 27 percent of all accidents involved alcohol-impaired driving. 839 people lost their lives nationally in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December in 2018. John Farley with the Iowa State Patrol says law enforcement officials will be watching for impaired drivers.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau reports that during the Christmas through New Year’s Day holiday in 2018, there were more drunk driving related fatalities, 285 nationally, than during any other holiday period that year.
In 2018, 85 lives were taken by alcohol-impaired traffic accidents in Iowa.
Officials with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau reminds drivers to have a plan. Have a designated driver, or call a taxi, friend, or Uber or Lift.
Sioux County Authorities Searching For Stolen Pickup Truck
(Orange City) — Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of a stolen vehicle that occurred from
a farm property on Eagle Avenue, seven miles west of Sioux Center, IA. The theft occurred on Thursday, December 24, at 3:59 p.m.
Upon further investigation, deputies discovered someone stole a green 1999 Ford F-250 super duty pickup that was was stolen while it was parked on the property. The Ford has Iowa license plates IBL217, had a fuel barrel in the box and is believed to have been stolen sometime within the past month.
If you have any information about this vehicle or its whereabouts you are asked to call the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.
Hawarden Man Arrested After Killing Neighbor’s Dog
(Orange City) — A Hawarden man was arrested on Wednesday following an incident in which the man killed the neighbor’s dog. 20-year old Jacob Koenen was arrested and charged with animal abuse. The incident apparently happened at 6:57 a.m. Wednesday morning. The arrest stemmed from a report from someone claiming their dog was missing from their residence northeast of Hawarden. Upon further investigation, deputies discovered that Koenen went to the neighbor’s property and shot and killed their dog.
Weather Officials Are Concerned About Dry Conditions
(Des Moines) — Weather officials say that 2018 and 2019 were among the state’s wettest years with the flooding that occurred. However, in many parts of the state, 2020 was a particularly dry season, especially for west central Iowa. Now as we are about to enter 2021, weather officials say they are concerned. Justin Glisan is the state’s climatologist and he says Wednesday’s snowfall may be welcomed when you consider that many parts of
Iowa are below average with subsoil moisture levels.
The state’s climatologist says he has some concerns about the dry conditions going forward into 2021.
Glistan says the outlook for the winter months is showing a mixed message.
Glistan says we will know more about the predicted weather patterns in mid-January. The weather climatologist says we could see wet spring.
Glisan says another storm system may enter Iowa on Tuesday of this next week.
Feenstra Says Meat Packing Industry Needs To Be Investigated
(Des Moines) — Congressman-elect Randy Feenstra says it’s time for the U.S. Department of Justice to address allegations of price fixing in the livestock industry.
Four companies — J-B-S, Smithfield, Cargill, and Tyson — control more than 80 percent of the beef packing industry. And while beef consumption and consumer prices soared during the early months of the pandemic, profits did not trickle down to producers. The prices for cattle sold at market fell. Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says his in-laws raise livestock, so the financial reality hits close to home.
Boxed beef is the wholesale price of cuts of meat. Feenstra, who hopes to become a member of the U.S. House Ag Committee when he’s sworn into office on January 3rd, says it’s time for congress to examine the Packers and Stockyards Act. The law was drafted to assure fair competition and fair trade practices in the livestock industry.
The law was originally passed in 1921. A major update in 1976 gave the U-S-D-A authority to issue fines for anti-competitive practices in the meat packing industry. Feenstra made his comments during a recent appearance on the Iowa Press program on Iowa P-B-S.
Man Convicted Of Brutal 1994 Murder Granted Work Release
(Marshalltown, IA) — One of the four teenagers who brutally murdered Rebecca Hauser in 1994 has been granted work release by the Iowa Department of Corrections. Hauser’s son says the family feels “more victimized” by the process that means 41-year-old Jayson Speaks will be allowed to work outside prison walls. Speaks and three accomplices were 15 years old when they stopped Hauser on a rural Marshall County road to rob her. She was shot, brutally beaten, and stabbed more than 30 times. Speaks was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but the U-S Supreme Court
found such sentences were unconstitutional four years ago.
Group Urges City Of Burlington To Quit Doing Business With Bank
(Burlington, IA) — A racial equity group called the Black Leadership Council is urging the city of Burlington to quit doing business with a local bank. The group is outraged that the city is still connected to Farmers and Merchants Bank and Trust even after bank Vice President Lisa Walsh used a racial slur to criticize Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Walsh has been
placed on indefinite administrative leave and the bank has apologized. The Walsh family owns more than half of the interest in the bank.
Urbandale Firefighters Beaten To The Scene By One Of Their Own
(Urbandale, IA) — The Urbandale Fire Department responded to a fire call last weekend only to find a department employee already there. Fire Medic Brad Crookshank was at home Saturday when he heard the fire call. He grabbed his shoes and a fire extinguisher and headed to the burning structure on the
same block. He had knocked down the flames by the time firefighters arrived, keeping the family from being forced out of its home less than a week before Christmas. Crookshank says he was just “being neighborly.”
Lawmakers Not Ready To Take Tax Stand Yet
(Des Moines, IA) — Key legislators say the financial toll of the pandemic on Iowa isn’t fully known and it’s best to be prudent when it comes to any state tax changes. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Republican Representative Lee Hein of Monticello says he is in a “wait and see mode.” Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled a plan last February
to cut state income taxes by 10 percent and raise the sales tax to find more money for mental health programs and water quality initiatives. Republican Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs, the new chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, says legislators are waiting for a signal from Reynolds on how she wants to proceed. Iowa’s current sales tax is six percent, but Dawson notes many Iowa jurisdictions collect a one percent local option sales tax, too.
DOT Change Rules For Vanity Plates
(Ames, IA) — A change in Department of Transportation rules for specialty plates pushed by ham radio enthusiasts is moving forward. The director of the D-O-T Motor Vehicle Division, Melissa Gillett, says they will now allow the number zero to be used on the plates for those who wanted to put their call
letters on a blackout plate. Police historically have not wanted the use of zero because they there felt there would be confusion between the letter ‘O’ and zero. But now because there is a slash through the zero — police believe they will be able to easily distinguish between the two.