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Friday News, January 24

Sioux City Man Convicted Of Kidnapping

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 20-year-old Sioux City man has been convicted of two charges and acquitted of two more in a drug deal kidnapping last year.
     Federal prosecutors say Trey Boykin was found guilty Thursday of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and kidnapping. He was found not guilty of two weapons charges. 
     Prosecutors say Boykin and Garry Patterson lured a Briar Cliff University student into Boykin's car last February on the pretense of selling him marijuana. Prosecutors say the two drove the student away from campus, held him against his will and robbed him. 
     Patterson has already pleaded guilty to kidnapping and weapons charges.


Missouri Woman Sentenced For Bank Robbery

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 40-year-old Missouri woman has been sentenced for stealing from an Iowa bank while working there as a teller.
     Prosecutors say Tiffany Stanley, of Tarkio, Mo., was sentenced Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Council Bluffs. She'd been living in Shenandoah, Iowa, while working at Great Western Bank of Riverton.
     The judge gave Stanley four months in prison and four months of home confinement. Stanley also was ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution to the bank.
     Stanley had pleaded guilty.
     Prosecutors say that on Nov. 17, 2012, Stanley told Fremont County deputies that she was forced to give money to a male robber. A subsequent investigation showed that Stanley reported the robbery to cover her theft of bank money.


Renovation Of Arnolds Park Roller Coaster On Schedule

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (AP) - Officials at Arnolds Park Amusement Park in northwest Iowa say two renovation projects remain on schedule.
     Renovation on The Legend, one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world, is set to be complete by the time the park reopens in May.  The nearly $1 million project included replacing much of the structure's tracks.
     The Majestic Pavilion, once known as the Majestic Roller Rink, is under the first phase of its renovation. It includes updates to the building's front, renovations to restrooms and work on a new kitchen. The second phase will continue next fall.
     The park is closed for the season. It is scheduled to reopen on May 17.


Military Pension Bill Moves Through Senate Committees 

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation that would exempt military pensions from state income tax is moving rapidly through the Iowa Senate.
     A Senate committee approved the legislation during a brief hearing Thursday. It is expected to soon move to the full Senate for a vote.
     Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says the bill honors veterans and may attract more military retirees to the state.
     The military pension exemption is a top priority for Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who has made support for veterans a key part of his budget plan this year.
     According to the Branstad administration, the pension exemption would cost the state a projected $10 million in lost annual revenue.


Lawmakers Seeking Tougher Kidnapping Penalties

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are seeking to enact tougher kidnapping penalties following the kidnapping and killing of a teenage girl last year.
     A House subcommittee on Thursday granted preliminary approval to a bill that would increase the punishment for kidnapping if the victim is 15 or younger.
     The legislation raises the sentence for such crimes to 25 years and blocks those convicted of certain crimes from the ability to reduce a sentence.
     The legislation responds to the death of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is believed to have been killed by registered sex offender Michael Klunder.
     Klunder's 41-year prison term was cut in half under Iowa law, which shaves sentences by an additional 1.2 days for every day served. He killed himself after the incident.


Life Insurance Company Moves To Des Moines

 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Life insurance and annuities provider Athene USA is closing its 200-employee Topeka office and moving the operation to Iowa.
     The announcement Thursday comes after Athene Holding Limited, a life insurance company owned primarily by private equity fund Apollo Global Management, acquired West Des Moines-based AvivaUSA last year.
     Athene public relations manager Steve Carlson says that consolidating work in West Des Moines would allow the company to more effectively serve distribution partners, agents and clients.
     Carlson says most of the employees in the Topeka office will be given the choice of relocating to Iowa. The other employees will be given 60-days' notice and a severance package.




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