Friday News, April 25
Organizers Plan Gehlen Catholic Fundraiser Ball
(Le Mars) -- Go for the Gold. That's the theme for this year's Gehlen Catholic Fundraiser Ball scheduled for Saturday evening at the Le Mars Convention Center. Co-cordinator, Mike Herbst says the idea was formed following the winter olympics.
The decor of the formal ball depicts columns, and statues, which have a feel for the first Olympics held in Greece. Andy Woerdehoff, the other co-chair for the event, wouldn't offer a specific goal as to the total amount of money that is hoped to be raised, only to say attendees of the annual event will have an enjoyable evening, and they fully expect supporters of Gehlen Catholic school will be generous.
Woerdehoff says several items have been donated for this year's auction and silent auction, including vacation destinations, and a quilt made from various Gehlen Catholic t-shirts. He says there are plenty of items to appeal to the sports fan.
Mike Herbst details the evening's agenda and program.
Herbst says Lisa Niebuhr will show a video program highlighting many of Gehlen Catholics achievements from this past school year. Following the auction and the presentation of the money raised, then comes two levels of entertainment.
Moisman Says She Barely Saw Deputy Secretary Of State Perform Any Duties
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former aide says Secretary of State Matt Schultz kept paying his chief deputy a $126,000 annual salary for months while only requiring him to show up four days per week, sometimes very briefly.
State Auditor Mary Mosiman said Thursday that she was present when Schultz directed Jim Gibbons to report to the office four days weekly to help out as needed. At the time, Mosiman was a deputy to Schultz.
She says Gibbons sometimes swiped his badge at the Lucas Building, and stayed briefly before leaving. She says Gibbons consulted with her periodically, but that it wasn't clear what his duties were.
Emails released by Schultz's office show Gibbons conducted virtually no state business by email during his final seven months of employment after learning his job was eliminated.
GOP Senate Candidates Square Off During Television Debate
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - The five Republicans seeking Iowa's U.S. Senate nomination have met to debate at Iowa Public Television's studios near Des Moines.
College professor Sam Clovis of Sioux City, state Senator Joni Ernst of Red Oak, retired business executive Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, businessman Scott Schaben of Urbandale, and former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker of Clive all participated in Thursday night's 90-minute live broadcast.
It's the first statewide televised debate for the candidates, who are vying to win 35 percent of the vote in the June 3rd primary. If no candidate meets the threshold, a party convention will decide the nomination.
The Republican nominee will face U.S. Representative Bruce Braley of Waterloo, the only Democrat seeking the seat held by retiring five-term Democratic Senator Tom Harkin.
State Legislature Passes Biofuels Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill to extend tax credits for renewable fuels has been sent to Governor Terry Branstad.
The bill originally extended renewable fuel tax credits for ethanol and biodiesel in the state to January 2nd, 2020 but the House amended it to 2018. The Senate on Thursday accepted the amendment voting 48-0 to send the bill to the governor.
The bill also increases the tax credit for E15, a fuel with 15 percent corn-based ethanol. This tax credit would go up in the summer from 3 cents per gallon to 10 cents per gallon.
Biobutanol, an advanced biofuel, is added to the definition of renewable fuels.
Senator Robert Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says the bill maintains Iowa as a leader in renewable fuels.
Lawmakers Pass Bill Declaring Coaches As School Employees For Sexual Assault Cases
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Terry Branstad that adds coaches to a state law prohibiting sexual relationships between students and teachers, administrators, and other licensed professionals.
The bill, which passed the House Wednesday and the Senate Thursday, fixes a problem arising from an April 11th Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found school coaches cannot be convicted of sexual exploitation of a school employee because they are not considered school employees under definition of Iowa law.
Branstad called on the Legislature to take quick action.
The court ruling overturned the conviction of a former Bloomfield basketball coach who had sex with a 16-year-old girl on his team.
Democratic Senator Rob Hogg says the bill should send a strong message that coaches can't have sex with students.
Branstad Signs Bill Into Law Dealing With Minors Involved With Prostitution
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that is meant to crack down on prostitution and pimping including minors.
The bill signed into law Thursday removes offenses from the records of anyone previously convicted of prostitution as a minor, and it increases the penalty for pimping involving a minor. The new law establishes an additional fine for offenders of such human trafficking, to go toward a victim fund.
The measure was approved overwhelming in the state House and Senate.
Iowa Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has passed a bill legalizing the use of a form of marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy.
The measure, passed 36 to 12, goes to the House.
It allows the medical use of oil derived from the cannabis plant as a last-resort treatment for seizures caused by a chronic form of epilepsy.
The oil cannot be smoked and doesn't create a high. It would have to be obtained in another state that produces it.
A written recommendation from a neurologist would be required. Patients and caregivers must acquire a registration card through Iowa's Department of Public Health.
Some Senators emotionally credited mothers of children with epilepsy who lobbied lawmakers with changing their minds.