Friday Afternoon News, November 1
Branstad Denies Women Commutation Sentences
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has denied the commutation requests of several
women serving time in Iowa corrections facilities.
Branstad made the announcement in a news release Friday. He did not include additional information about his decision.
The eight applications include women serving time for convictions of first-degree murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. Their age range is from 28 to 70. At least one inmate was younger than 18 when she committed a crime.
Their sentences also vary. One inmate is serving a life sentence, while another is
serving 25 years. At least one is serving a 100-year sentence. Many of the sentences carry
mandatory time served before they can be considered for release. It's unclear if these inmates had reached that time.
Georgia Man Wanted For Murder Arrested In Southwest Iowa
GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - An armed 25-year-old man wanted on a murder arrest warrant from
Georgia has been captured in western Iowa.
Iowa State Patrol troopers say they took 25-year-old Courtney Thomas into custody
without incident around 5 p.m. Thursday. His vehicle had been stopped about four miles north
of the Glenwood exit on Interstate 29. Georgia authorities who were tracking Thomas'
cellphone signal alerted the Iowa patrol when his vehicle crossed from Missouri into Iowa.
A handgun was found in the car.
Georgia authorities say Thomas, of Hapeville, is suspected in the slaying of
23-year-old Shevonta Hardwick. Her body was found Thursday morning at an apartment in
Hapeville, an Atlanta suburb.
A Mills County jailer said Thomas remained in custody on Friday, pending a hearing on
his return to Georgia.
Cedar Rapids Man Sentenced For Fraud Of A Million Dollars
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced to more than four years in
prison after pleading guilty to defrauding investors of more than $1 million as part of a
The U.S. Attorney's Office says U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade sentenced
58-year-old Jeffrey J. Kinseth to four years and three months in federal prison, followed by
three years of supervised release. Kinseth must pay restitution to his victims of $1.1
Kinseth earlier acknowledged he used his company to solicit money from 11 investors in
2008 and 2009, promising substantial returns.
Instead, he used most of their money to pay back other investors and for other uses,
while suffering losses in the investments he did make. To disguise his fraud, he issued
phony account statements showing investments were growing.
Des Moines Mayor Asked To Be On Climate Change Task Force
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has been named by President Barack Obama to a task force that will make recommendations on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities dealing with the impact of climate change.
Cownie is among 16 city and county officials named to the group along with eight governors and two tribal officials.
Obama says in a statement released Friday that local leaders are contending with more frequent or severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods by updating building codes, adjusting management of natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure, and planning for rapid recovery.
The task force will recommend to the president ways to modernize federal grant and loan programs and develop information and tools needed to prepare.
Dead Body Found At Algona School
ALGONA, Iowa (AP) - A body was found on school property in Algona, prompting officials to cancel classes while police investigate.
Algona Superintendent Marty Fonley told the Mason City Globe Gazette the body was reported to police about 1:30 a.m. Friday on school property.
Fonley declined to name the school where the body was found. He says no students, staff or teachers were involved.
Police say no foul play is suspected, and an autopsy is planned.
Police wouldn't identify the body until relatives could be notified.
Fonley says district officials decided to cancel classes Friday to allow police to investigate the matter.
Agency That Coordinates Women, Infant, and Children Subsidies To Receive Grant
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa agency that oversees the federal Women, Infants, and Children food program has been awarded a $5.3 million grant to convert from delivering paper checks to participants to providing electronic money transfers with plastic cards similar to debit cards.
The Iowa Department of Public Health says in a statement Friday it has received the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The money is to be used within two years to hire a contractor to set up the system.
The program provides money for purchase of supplemental food at approved local grocery stores for low-income nutritionally at-risk women, infants, and children. It also provides nutrition education and counseling.
The Iowa program served more than 69,000 participants each month last year.
Coaches Top State Salary Listing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Athletic coaches and academics are among the top earners on the state payroll in Iowa.
Data released by the state Friday shows the football and men's basketball coaches at two state universities received some of the highest overall compensation in the state during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz took home roughly $3.8 million during that period and Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads received about $2 million.
The athletic programs at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are self-sustaining and do not receive state dollars.
University of Iowa President Sally Mason received about $973,000. That's about twice her earnings in the previous year because she received a substantial one-time deferred compensation payment.
Gov. Terry Branstad earned $130,000.
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