Friday Afternoon News, June 21
Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped slightly in May to 4.6 percent.
Iowa Workforce Development on Friday released Iowa's unemployment figures, which show a drop from 4.7 percent in April. The rate in May 2012 was 5.3 percent.
The state's figures compare to a national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent in May.
There were an estimated 76,800 unemployed people in Iowa in May. Total employment rose in May to 1,576,800.
Microsoft To Build Data Center In West Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Microsoft is the latest business planning to build a massive data center in Iowa as the state continues to attract some of the biggest technology companies looking for a place to expand their computer processing and storage abilities.
Microsoft is proposing to spend more than $677 million on the West Des Moines data center. The company is receiving $20 million in tax credits to create 29 jobs. The Iowa Economic Development
Authority on Friday approved the incentives.
Already Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have chosen Iowa for data centers. Microsoft's total investment is expected to exceed $1 billion in Iowa with the new project.
Industry consultants say Iowa offers plentiful, inexpensive electricity and policies that alleviate millions of dollars in property and sales taxes.
Supreme Court Rules Schools Are Liable For Sexual Assault
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a school can be held liable for the sexual assault of a special education student who had skipped class.
In a 5-2 decision, the court found that schools may be sued for injuries to students that occur after school hours and off school grounds if negligence by their employees increased the risk.
Dissenting justices called the ruling an "unprecedented expansion of school-district liability for injuries well outside school activities."
The case involves a 14-year-old Cedar Rapids Kennedy student. She skipped her final class and met a 19-year-old senior with whom she had a relationship. The girl was eventually assaulted in a garage while the 19-year-old's friend shot her with BBs.
The court says school officials "acted unreasonably" by doing little to investigate the girl's absence.
Centerville Woman Sues Police Officer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Centerville woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming a Centerville officer maliciously charged her with a crime after she refused to have her daughter examined for possible evidence of sexual abuse.
Heather Dawn Huebner filed the lawsuit in January. A trial is scheduled for July 21, 2014.
Huebner's suit alleges that in 2011, Centerville officer Kenneth Reistroffer suspected her then 12-year-old daughter of being sexually abused and demanded she be examined and evidence collected.
After she denied being assaulted and a doctor told Huebner there wasn't evidence of sexual abuse, Huebner refused.
Police charged Huebner with neglect or abandonment and child endangerment. Those charges were dismissed.
Police Chief Tom Demry disputes the allegations but says he can't comment because of the lawsuit.
Creston Water Works Manager Accused Of Stealing $90,000
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A report from the state auditor says the manager of the Creston Water Works took nearly $90,000 in improper payments.
The report was released Friday. It says that Steve Green took additional pay, retirement contributions, unauthorized vacation payouts and petty cash between 2005 and 2012. He also had a
generator and other equipment at his home that was purchased with Water Works money.
The audit also found some payments without enough documentation to determine propriety.
Green has been on administrative leave since November. A listed number for Green was disconnected. An attorney for the Water Works Board did not immediately return a call for comment.
Messages left with the Union County sheriff's office and Union County attorney were not immediately returned.
FREDERICKSBURG, Iowa (AP) - Officials will dedicate a grave marker for a cavalryman who won the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars in the 1870s.
An Iowa National Guard honor guard and Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Director Robert
King will join for the ceremony Saturday at Rose Hill Cemetery near Fredericksburg.
The ceremony will honor LeRoy H. Vokes. For decades after his death in 1924 there was no marker of his grave in a family plot.
Local genealogist Jeanette Kottke researched Vokes and determined where he was buried.
Vokes and three others received the nation's highest military honor for leading a counterattack against a party of Minneconjou Sioux in Nebraska.
Vokes was a first sergeant with the 3rd U.S. Cavalry and served with William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
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