Westfield City Clerk Given Probation Following Charges Of Embezzlement
(Le Mars) — A former Westfield city clerk charged with embezzlement of the town’s funds has been given probation. Angela Sorensen, 51, of Akron entered an Alford plea. An Alford plea is when a defendant may not enter a plea of guilt, but realizes circumstances would perhaps mean a guilty verdict.
Sorensen was accused of stealing $70,000 from the city of Westfield. A charge of ongoing criminal conduct was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Sorensen claims she does not recall committing the crime. Sorensen’s physical and mental health issues played a factor in District Judge Jeff Neary’s decision to place Sorensen on probation, rather than sentenced to prison. A ten-year prison sentence was suspended, and Sorensen will be on probation for
a term of five years. A state auditor’s review of the city’s financials found discrepancies from January 1st of 2013 through September 30, of 2017. More than $74,000 in undeposited utility collections and improper payments were noted by the State Auditor’s office. Sorensen was the city clerk from May of 2013 until her resignation in August of 2017. Sorensen will need to pay a restitution costs of $7,781, and complete 50 hours of community service.
Northwest Bank Honored By SBA For PPP Loans
(Spencer) — Northwest Bank is recognized for their economic contributions and efforts with helping small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Iowa District Office has awarded
Northwest Bank with the Impact Award.
Jayne Armstrong, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration, commented, “Northwest Bank played a major role in saving a lot of local small businesses and non-profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is more than
the borrowers. It is about our communities and the employees and families that rely on these small businesses and non-profits for their livelihoods. We are honored to recognize Northwest Bank for their hard work and commitment during these trying times.”
Northwest Bank is recognized for being the second largest producer of PPP loans in the state of Iowa. Over 1800 PPP loans were successfully processed, resulting in nearing $193 million dollars to assist small businesses retain staff and keep their businesses open.
Joe Conover, President of Northwest Bank commented, “Without a doubt, this year has had its share of challenges for many small business owners. Our relationship with the SBA gives us the ability to act quickly and provide the needed support for our customers. I am incredibly proud of our organization’s
bankers and our investment in technology which gives us the power to serve so many small businesses within the communities we serve in Iowa and Nebraska.”
Northwest Bank is a $2.0 billion community bank that offers a full line of business, agriculture, mortgage, consumer deposit and lending services as well as wealth management services. Northwest Bank has offices located in Le Mars, as well as Algona, Ames, Ankeny, Arnolds Park, Estherville, Fort Dodge, Humboldt, Milford, Sioux Center, Sioux City, Spencer, Spirit Lake, West Des Moines and Omaha and La Vista, NE.
Floyd Valley Healthcare To Hold Clinics To Vaccinate Tier 1-A Health Workers
(Le Mars) — Floyd Valley Healthcare will begin its clinics today to vaccinate Tier 1-A front-line workers. Tier 1-A workers as determined by the Iowa Department of Public Health are healthcare providers with direct patient contact, and who are unable to work from home or on a remote basis. It includes those healthcare workers in in-patient, out-patient, or community settings. They provide services to patients, family members, or who handle infectious materials. The list includes: CNAs, LPNs, RNs, Chiropractors, Dental Workers, Dieticians, EMS personnel, Massage Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Pharmacist,
Physician Assistants, Physicians, Podiatrists, Psychologists, Radiological Techs, Respiratory Care Practitioners and Social Workers. The list also includes home healthcare workers working in residential care or long-term care facilities, and skilled nursing facility residents. The clinics, as mentioned, begin today and continue on Thursday and Friday with the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. both today and Thursday, and Friday’s clinic hours are
from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Appointments are required, and healthcare workers need to call (712) 546-3646 to set an appointment.
1813 New COVID Cases in Iowa, 7 Additional Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) –– The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting is one-thousand-813 new positive COVID-19 tests, increasing the state’s total to 286-thousand-679 cases. Seven more Iowans have died of coronavirus complications which brings the death toll to three-thousand-999. Five-hundred-82 people are hospitalized with COVID. 115 of those patients are in intensive care and 53 are on ventilators. There are currently
100 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Iowa. Forty-four Iowa counties have a two-week average positive rate of at least 15 percent. Just under four-thousand tests contributed to Tuesday numbers.
19-Year-Old Suspect Charged in Deadly New Year’s Shooting in Sioux City
(Sioux City, IA) — A 19-year-old suspect is under arrest in connection with a deadly New Year’s morning shooting in Sioux City. Christopher Morales is charged with going armed with intent in the death of 18-year-old Mia Kritis (Kree-tis) of Sioux City. Court records say Morales forced a person into a home at gunpoint and he and other gunmen shot into the residence with an assault rifle and handguns. Kritis and at least three others were struck by gunfire. Morales is being held in the Woodbury County Jail on 70-thousand dollars bond. The Sioux City Police Department is asking for witnesses to come forward with more information about the shooting.
Students, Parents, Alumni Want Luther College To Wait Longer For In-Person Classes
(Decorah, IA) — Luther College is getting some pushback from students, parents and alumni after announcing in-person classes would resume this week.
Opponents are asking the Decorah school to wait longer before making the change. Luther student Madeline Lomprey tells Iowa Public Radio the college should allow more time to identify infections among students who were traveling or going out over the holidays. Lomprey says she saw pictures almost every weekend on social media indicating a lot of students did so.
About 13-hundred people have signed a petition calling on the college to keep classes online for the remaining three weeks of the semester.
Fort Dodge Man Accused Of Trying To Set Woman, Home On Fire
(Fort Dodge, IA) — A 40-year-old Fort Dodge man is accused of pouring gasoline on a woman and trying to set a home on fire. First-degree arson charges were filed against Patrick McGuire. Investigators say he douses the woman with gas, trapped her under a mattress, then spread gasoline throughout the home December 17th. They say he then opened a propane tank and filled the home with gas. The woman was able to escape without serious injuries.
McGuire is being held in the Webster County Jail on a bond of 25-thousand dollars.
Iowa DCI Rules Benton County New Year’s Deaths Were Murder-Suicide
(Urbana, IA) — The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has ruled two deaths on New Year’s Day in Benton County were a case of murder-suicide.
Urbana police say they received a 9-1-1 call from 59-year-old Gary Jensen saying he had shot his wife to death. Margaret Jensen was 54. When officers responded to the Urbana home they found the bodies of both of the Jensens.
The State Medical Examiner conducted autopsies and determined Margaret Jensen had been shot to death and Gary Jensen committed suicide.
Iowa Woman Who Pretended To Have Cancer Won’t Have To Go To Prison
(Northwood, IA) — A Northwood woman who pretended to have cancer won’t have to go to prison for defrauding charities. Forty-four-year-old Jennifer Hope Mikesell was given a 25-year suspended sentence Monday. Mikesell will have to pay restitution and continue to be treated by a mental health professional.
She entered a guilty plea in November to felony criminal conduct charges.
Mikesell was arrested a year ago after reaching out to local charities and individuals for donations of money, goods and services. She was accused of forging doctors’ notes from the Mayo Clinic where she claimed she was receiving care.
Waterloo Shooting Victim Was Former Wartburg Basketball Player
(Waterloo, IA) — Authorities say the victim of a recent homicide in Waterloo was a former Wartburg College basketball player. Police say 31-year-old Elijah Hunt died of the injuries he suffered in a December 27th shooting. No arrests have been made in the case. The shooting remains under investigation.
According to the Wartburg men’s basketball record book, Hunt played for the Knights from 2008-2010. The Bollingbrook, Illinois, native formerly lived in Waverly and Waterloo.
Iowa Tourism Office Launches Digital Passport for Scenic Byways
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Tourism Office created a checklist for traveling along Iowa’s 12 scenic byways and the so-called “digital passport” provides some discounts along the way. Communications manager Jessic O’Riley says, “there’s about 100 different locations along the 12 participating byways. Each check-in gets you entered to win a monthly prize package.” The
promotion runs through December 2021, so each month somebody with one of these passports will win a prize package worth about 200 dollars, including an overnight, stay along one of the byways. The 12 scenic byways take travelers to national landmarks, historic sites and local attractions. O’Riley says the
best way to see Iowa is to get off the interstates and explore the backroads and uncover those hidden gems in the small towns.