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News for Thursday, October 27

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INJURY ACCIDENT

A sideswipe accident between an auto and a semi-trailer yesterday morning resulted in non-life-threatening injury to one of the drivers. The Plymouth County Sheriffs Department responded to the call of an accident 1.5 miles southeast of Akron on Iowa Highway 3. The crash occurred around 11 am Wednesday. The driver of the auto, Alisha Meyers, 37, of Jacksonville, Florida, veered across the highway just as a semi-trailer truck was approaching. The auto struck the truck in the step area of the cab, then struck the forward of the trailer duals. The auto was totaled. The truck was disabled. Meyers was taken to Mercy Hospital by Akron ambulance for treatment of her injuries, which were not considered life-threatening. The driver of the semi, Jason Avshalom, 43, of Sioux Falls, was not injured. The truck was owned by Silverado Crude Trucking of Backus, Minnesota. Assisting the Sheriffs Department were Akron Fire and Ambulance and Stockton Towing.

CLEAN BUSES

13 Iowa school districts, including the West Sioux School Disrtict in Sioux County, will receive a total of 11.1 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program. The funds will help the Iowa school districts purchase 30 clean school buses.
West Sioux will receive 790-thousand dollars for the purchase of two electric buses.
EPA has chosen 389 applications so far, from school districts around the country. They will spend a total of 965 million dollars for the purchase of nearly 2500 buses, 95% of which will be electric. The school districts chosen have been identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural and/or tribal students.
These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

HOMICIDE SUSPECT JAILED

The suspect in a quadruple homicide that occurred in Laurel, Nebraska, on August 4th has now been discharged from a Lincoln hospital and is lodged in jail. 42-year-old Jason Jones of Laurel was discharged from St. Elizabeth’s in Lincoln Wednesday morning.
Jones is accused of killing 53-year-old Michele Ebeling, 86-year-old Gene Twiford, 85-year-old Janet Twiford and 55-year-old Dana Twiford in the early morning hours of August 5th.
Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol SWAT Team found Jones with significant burns while they were serving a warrant at his home in Laurel.
Jones was transported to the St. Elizabeth Burn Center where he has been receiving treatment ever since. Following discharge, Jones was transported to the Nebraska Department of Corrections Reception and Treatment Center in Lincoln.

 

STOLEN MEAT

Three men from Miami are under arrest, accused of stealing nine milllion dollars worth of frozen beef and pork from meatpacking plants in Iowa and five other states. Terry Wagner, the sheriff in Lancaster County, Nebraska, says his department started connecting the dots after finding empty semi trailers that had been stolen from a Grand Island beef packer.

Investigators from the Lancaster County, Nebraska sheriff’s office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have identified 45 thefts so far.

It was a highly sophisticated organized criminal enterprise according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Nebraska sheriff says in many instances it appears the men drove into an area in a semi tractor and hooked it up to a trailer that had been loaded with frozen meat.

The sheriff told reporters in Lincoln, Nebraska that federal investigators used electronic surveillance to track three semi tractor trailers with more than half a million dollars worth of stolen meat to Florida last Thursday.

On September 1st, 100-thousand dollars worth of pork was stolen from the J-B-S plant in Ottumwa, but there’s been no official confirmation that case is among the 45 meat thefts identified by the Nebraska sheriff.

 

BENEFITS MISTAKES

A report from State Auditor Rob Sand shows about 240-thousand dollars worth of state unemployment checks were written to prisoners and dead people in the early months of the pandemic. Iowa Workforce Development officials say the agency saw an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims between March and June of 2020 and had to process nearly five times as many claims as it normally did. Sand says hiring more staff to process those claims would have helped.

Sand’s review found the agency shifted investigators over to answering phones and helping Iowans file unemployment claims — and that led to a delay in cross-checking some death records. The review found that in the spring of 2020, Iowa Workforce Development issued unemployment benefits for six people who were dead.

Sand says the Iowa Workforce Development agency did not cross-check the Social Security numbers on unemployment claims with a list of prison inmates and wound up cutting unemployment checks for eight prisoners. Starting in February of 2021, the agency began doing those cross-checks monthly.

 

TRUMP RALLY

Former President Donald Trump will come to Sioux City next week for a political rally.  The rally will be at Sioux Gateway Airport next Thursday, November 3, at 7 PM.  Trump’s political action committee says Trump will endorse candidates Kim Reynolds for Governor and Chuck Grassley for the US Senate.

Mike Franken, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, says Trump’s appearance shows Republicans are in panic mode about the race. Gates to the event will be open at 2 pm, and guest speakers will begin at 4 pm.  President Trump is to speak at 7 pm.  Tickets to the event can be found at events.donald j trump.com.

 

TERRORIST THREATS

A Granville man was arrested yesterday and charged with making terroristic threats, a felony.  Ryan Betcke, 60, of Granville, was arrested by the Sioux County Sheriffs Department.  The arrest comes after an alleged incident in which Betcke called Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, and threatened to shoot employees with an AK47 rifle.  Because of the threats, Sanford Sioux Falls and Orange City Health were locked down until Betcke was arrested.  Betcke is held in the Sioux County Jail.

Ryan Betcke

 

FEENSTRA VISIT

4th District US Congressman Randy Feenstra received the endorsement of the US Chamber of Commerce in Sioux City Wednesday.  The Chamber’s John Kirchner says Feenstra understands the major economic issues facing America today.

Feenstra spoke on some of these issues, including the President’s move to sell from the Strategic Oil Reserve in order to reduce gasoline prices.

Feenstra says the Biden administration is depending too much on foreign oil while downgrading our domestic petroleum base in favor of electric cars:

He says using our domestic oil reserves is a short term fix, because OPEC has said they will reduce production:

Feenstra’s comments were made at Sioux City’s Guarantee Roofing, a local company impacted by supply chain issues, inflation and a workforce shortage.

 

STUDENT STRAW POLL

More than 16,000 students across Iowa participated in Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Iowa Youth Straw Poll Tuesday. Students in K-12 schools voted for their preferred candidates in Iowa’s congressional and gubernatorial races. The purpose of the poll is to serve as a fun learning activity to engage young people in civics. The results indicate incumbents won by margins of roughly 2 to 1 over their opponents.  Most of the incumbants are Republicans, including Governor Kim Reynolds, US Senator Chuck Grassley, and Congressmen Randy Feenstra, Askley Hinson, and Marionette Miller-Meeks.  Democrat Congressman Cindy Axne won in her race in the student poll.  Traditionally, the Iowa Youth Straw Poll has served as a good indicator of how the actual elections will shape up.

 

APPEALS COURT APPOINTMENT

Gov. Kim Reynolds Wednesday appointed Tyler Buller as a judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals. Buller, of Johnston, Iowa, currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Department of Justice. Buller received his undergraduate degree from Drake University and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge David May to the Iowa Supreme Court.

 

AG PROCESSOR BANKRUPTCY

A business based in north central Iowa that has been processing organic soybeans is filing for bankruptcy. Two and a half weeks ago, the Iowa Department of Agriculture suspended the grain dealer and warehouse licenses for Global Processing, Incorporated, which is based in Kanawha. According to a news release, the business didn’t have sufficient funds to cover checks written to producers delivering food-grade organic soybeans. The Des Moines Register cites court documents indicating the company owes between 10 and 50 million dollars to somewhere between 100 and 200 creditors. State officials say producers who haven’t been paid may file written claims with an indemnity fund managed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture.