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News for Tuesday, October 25

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ESCAPEE RECAPTURED

A woman who was involved in an armed robbery in Le Mars in 2019, and who escaped federal custody earlier this year in Sioux City, has been arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

KTIV, Sioux City, says Karen Rose Merrick was arrested. She was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to a bank robbery.

The original report with the Le Mars Police department indicates the robbery took place at Iowa State Bank in 2019. The bank was robbed by Phillip White. Merrick drove a getaway vehicle, a U-Haul truck. Assistant Chief Justin Daale says the vehicle was quickly spotted heading toward the US 75 bypass west of Le Mars. Stop sticks were used to stop the vehicle and the suspects were arrested. Merrick was sentenced to 30 months in prison, She began a term of supervised release just over a year later in Sioux City. Merrick left for work in July, but never returned to the re-entry center.
White, was sentenced to over ten years in prison.

 

HEAD-ON CRASH

A head on collission near Denison, Iowa, early Sunday morning, resulted in injury to the eight occupants of the two SUV’s involved. All were taken to Crawford County Hospital for treatment.
The Iowa State Patrol says the cars colided on US Highway 30. A Honda Pilot driven by a 17 year old from Storm Lake was driving on the wrong side of the road, and crashed into an oncoming GMC Acadia driven by 50 year old Cari Segebart of Defiance, Iowa. There were four 17 year olds in the first vehicle, all from Storm Lake, and two 16 year olds and an 8 year old in the Segebart vehicle, all from Defiance. The patrols’ report says all 8 were not wearing seat belts when the accident occurred around 2 am Sunday.

 

OIL RESERVES

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he is not too worried about the country’s oil reserves being depleted by President Biden’s efforts to slow the rising price of gasoline.

Grassley is upset about the need to even tap into those reserves.

Grassley says in two years, America has gone from being energy independence to dependence.

Grassley made his remarks during his weekly interview with Iowa reporters.

 

POLICE GRANTS

The Le Mars Police Department is one of four Iowa law enforcement agencies that will split $750,000 in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire six new law enforcement officers.  Le Mars will receive 250-thousand dollars to hire two more police officers.  This is Police Chief Vande Vegte.

Now that they have the grant, they can begin creating a plan to make the best use of it.

The grant will be helpful to expand the Police Department as the city of Le Mars expands.

Vande Vegte will begin discussions with the city to determine in what areas the department may grow.

The funding comes from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring Program.  The competitive award program provides grant dollars directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers and deputies to advance community policing and crime prevention efforts.

180 agencies in all fifty states were awarded grants.

 

FRANKEN NUCLEAR POWER

Michael Franken, the Democrat running against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, says American ingenuity is the answer to the country’s energy challenges. Franken, a retired admiral, says his experience in the Navy indicates nuclear power can be an option.

Franken says a small nuclear reactor, about the size of a house, with a core-life of 30 years could be managed by a very small staff and used to power small to medium sized cities. Franken says Iowa could make more use of solar power as well.

Franken says other countries, like Portugal, get a good share of their electricity from solar power.

Franken made his comments this past weekend while campaigning in Sioux Center, which is about 10 miles east of his birthplace in the small Sioux County town of Lebanon.

 

STRAW POLL

Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Fall 2022 Iowa Youth Straw Poll takes place today.
Thousands of students across Iowa will cast ballots for their preferred candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and Iowa Governor.
More than 190 schools have registered to participate.
The Iowa Youth Straw Poll is open to any k-12 school in the state, as well as civic organizations and youth groups.
Area schools taking part include Remsen St Mary’s, Marcus-Meriden/Cleghorn/Remsen-Union, Orange City Christian, Lawton Bronson, Wwestwood, and Holy Cross-Blessed Sacrament Center in Sioux City.

 

INMATE DIES

A Sioux City man serving a life sentence for first degree murder has died in prison.

The Iowa Department of Corrections says 66-year-old Simon Curtis Tunstall was pronounced dead due to natural causes last Friday night at 11:14 p.m.

Tunstall had been in hospice care at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center where he had been housed due to chronic illness.

Tunstall had been serving his life sentence since March 31st of 1987 for the shooting death of Jeffrey Jones in Jones’s apartment on August 31st of 1986.

Tunstall and two co-defendants, Steven Frasier and james Simpson, were each charged with first degree murder and first degree burglary in the case.

 

ARMED ROBBERY

Sioux City police are searching for an armed suspect who robbed the Check into Cash business at 1760 Hamilton Boulevard this (Monday) morning.
Police say the male suspect wearing a mask and dressed in black clothing entered the business around 10am, pointed a gun at the two employees and demanded cash.
He then fled the store on foot with a white trashbag containing the money.
Police have searched the Perry Creek and Gilman Tterrace area for the robber.
They are also checking surveillance video from nearby businesses.

 

HARVEST LAGS

The latest U-S-D-A crop report shows the northeast and south-central regions of Iowa both are under 40 percent when it comes to the corn harvest — while 82 percent of the corn has already been harvested  in northwest Iowa. The overall corn harvest is 59 percent complete — which is one day ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the five-year average.  The report says the soybean harvest reached 88 percent complete — which is 11 days ahead of the average.