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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 19

Accident Victim Charged With Stealing Car

(Le Mars) -- The individual responsible for causing a one-vehicle personal injury accident last Saturday evening is being charged by the Le Mars Police Department for stealing a car.  The accident happened at the intersection of 12th Avenue Southwest and 3rd Street Southwest by West Floyd Park at about 11:00 p.m.  The investigation shows the car, a 1996 black Pontiac Sunfire, was stolen.  Police have arrested 37 year old Kyle Pitts of 18 Plymouth Street Southwest.  Pitts was northbound in the 400 block of 12th Avenue Southwest.  The vehicle struck two parked cars that are owned by Joshua Fey of Le Mars.  The vehicle continued north and failed to make the turn onto 3rd Street Southwest and went over the curb, across the grass and striking a tree.  Pitts received non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Floyd Valley Hospital and later transferred to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City.  The Le Mars Police are filing several charges that include: one count of striking an unattended vehicle; one count of failure to maintain control; one count of failure to wear a seatbelt; one count of driving while barred; one count of operating vehicle without owners consent.  The investigation is also continuing to see if the defendant may have been under the influence of a controlled substance.  In addition to the Le Mars Police, both the Le Mars Fire and Rescue and the Le Mars Ambulance responded to that accident.


Appeals Court Upholds Jandreau Conviction But Reduces Sentence

(Des Moines) --THE Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions of a Le Mars man convicted of burglary and assault charges in 2012, but reduced his sentence.   Matthew Jandreau was convicted of 1st degree burglary, 3rd degree kidnapping, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, attempted burglary, operating a motor vehicle without owner's consent and criminal mischief.  He was charged in a series of three incidents at Le Mars residences on March 2nd of 2012 and sentenced to serve 40 years in prison.  During the third incident, Jandreau had broken into a home, assaulted an 11 year old gir, and removed some of her clothing.    The Court of Appeals merged the 1st degree burglary and attempted sexual assault charges, and ordered the five year sentence for the attempted sexual charges, be stricken from his sentence.   That decision reduces his sentence to 35 years in prison.  The Appeals Court also ruled that Jandreau received ineffective assistance for possible post conviction relief proceedings.  


Bill That Allows Online Voter Registration Is Moving Through State Senate

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation that would allow online voter registration is advancing in the Iowa Senate.
      The bill received preliminary approval in a Senate subcommittee Wednesday and was set to go to the full State Government Committee for approval. Under the proposal, the Iowa Secretary of State would oversee an online voter registration system that would be available by 2015.
      Sen. Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, said he wants to make registration more "customer friendly," while still ensuring that the system is secure. Those registering would have to supply identifying information and meet voter eligibility standards.
     The Secretary of State's Office is supportive of the online registration concept, according to Elections Director Sarah Reisetter. She said the office was willing to work with lawmakers on the details of the bill.


Legislators Look At Offering Tax Breaks To Speedways

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A plan to offer a state tax break of up to $2 million to the Knoxville Raceway is moving forward in the Iowa House.
     The proposal received preliminary approval in a House subcommittee Wednesday and will now move on to committee-level review. Under the proposal, the racetrack in Knoxville would get a rebate of state sales taxes to help pay for an expansion. 
     Raceway officials say the rebate would help them build luxury suites for spectators and make other improvements. They expect to break ground by the end of 2016. 
     The legislation would provide up to $2 million or 25 percent of the project costs, whichever is less. Lawmakers say that the rebate would be an economic development boost for south-central Iowa.


Iowa Snowmobiler Dies In Avalanche

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A 26-year-old Iowa man died when an avalanche swept his snowmobile into a tree in northwest Wyoming.
     Teton County Undersheriff Bob Gilliam says Tyler Tourlett, of Osage, Iowa, was buried by the avalanche near the Togwotee (TOH'-goh-tee) Mountain Lodge on Tuesday.
     Gilliam tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that responders, including a doctor flown from Jackson, tried to revive Tourlett for half an hour before the doctor pronounced him dead.
     He says the avalanche occurred when Tourtlett's sled got stuck in the snow and a friend circled behind him to try to help out. The friend was able to avoid the slide.
     The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center had rated Tuesday's avalanche risk as "considerable" for elevations above 7,500 feet.


State Climatologist Concerned About Snow Melt Causing Flooding







 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With snow still on the ground and spring just a month away concerns that snow melt and spring rain could happen all at once causing flooding are increasing.
     State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says Iowa ground remains solidly frozen with frost reaching 33 inches, twice the depth one would expect this time of year. That means any rainfall runs off the ground. He says the later freezing temperatures stay the more likely snowmelt will come as spring rain sets in, which could increase flood chances.
     National Weather Service Hydrologist Jeff Zogg says it doesn't appear all the factors line up for a significant flood event in Iowa, but timing of the spring thaw and rainfall is everything.
     The weather service releases its spring flood outlook on Thursday.

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