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Monday News, May 19

Speeding Car Hits Houses

(Orange City) -- A speeding car Sunday morning,in Sioux County ended up striking two houses.  Shortly after 2:05 a.m. a Sioux County deputy on patrol met a motor vehicle which was traveling eastbound on Highway 10 and then turned northbound on to Jay Avenue, just west of Orange City.  The vehicle was traveling at a very high rate of speed.  The deputy turned around to attempt a traffic stop, but was never able to catch the vehicle. Upon further investigation the deputy discovered the vehicle had entered the Orange City going westbound on 2nd Street Southeast, at a high rate of speed.  The vehicle apparently lost control in the 400 block of 2nd Street where it left the roadway, went airborne and struck two houses.  It came to rest embedded in a house located at 402 2nd Street Southeast.  The driver of the vehicle had to be extricated from the vehicle.  A gas line was severed in the course of the accident, creating a very dangerous situation.  The deputy immediately evacuated the nearby residences.  The Orange City Fire Department was later able to control the gas leak.  Officers determined that 21 year old Rafael Maldonado of Orange City was the driver of the speeding car which was a 2008 Honda Civic.  Maldonado was first transported by the Orange City Ambulance to the Orange City hospital, then later flown to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City for further treatment of his injuries.  There were no injuries to the occupants of the houses.  The vehicle was completely distroyed and there is extensive damage to the two houses that were struck.  Alcohol is believed to be a factor.  The accident remains under investigation.


Sioux Center Couple Arrested In Akron For Possession Of Controlled Substance

(Akron) -- Two Sioux Center residents have been arrested in Akron for possession of a controled substance following a traffic stop.  The incident happened on Highway 12 near Norka Drive.  The two people are 23 year old Aaron Tucker and 24 year old Kara Jackson.  In addition to the possession charge, Tucker was also cited for driving with a suspended license.  Both individuals were transported to the Plymouth County jail.

Branstad Yet To Sign Nearly 40 Bills 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has about 40 bills awaiting a decision, a hefty stack of policy and spending measures lawmakers sent him in a flurry as the Legislature adjourned earlier this month.
     He has about two more weeks to decide whether to sign bills, which include measures regulating the use of unmanned aerial drones, allowing some people with epilepsy to take a marijuana oil derivative, and ending dog racing at Council Bluffs but letting it continue in Dubuque.
     About 10 of the bills Branstad must consider are spending measures that make up large portions of the state's $6.97 billion budget.
     The governor has 30 days from adjournment to consider bills sent to him at the end of the session.
     Branstad has signed just over 100 bills into law.

Secret Settlements 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa agreed to help conceal why at least 55 state workers had been fired by allowing them to voluntarily resign or retire. 
     In some cases the state even removed all evidence of past wrongdoing from personnel records.
     That means future employers might not know about an individual's troubled past before considering hiring them.
     State Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, says this practice is improper because it means Iowa is giving out false information about former employees.
     But Matt Glasson, who teaches at the University of Iowa Labor Center, says the practice might not be that unusual. He says governments and private companies routinely make deals with disciplined employees.


Decline In Federal Funding May Hurt Drug Task Force

 MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - The future of a successful Iowa drug task force is in doubt because of dwindling federal grant funding.
     The North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force has successfully seized more than 260 pounds of methamphetamine and over 4,400 pounds of marijuana in the past 23 years.
     Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals says the task force has had a significant impact on the drug problem in its nine-county area. But Pals says the task force won't have the resources to respond if federal funding continues to decline.
     Currently, the take force is expecting to see a 42 percent drop in funding, but that decision won't be final until early June.


Iowa City Restaurant Destroyed By Fire

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An overnight fire caused roughly $30,000 damage to a well-known Iowa City restaurant.
     The fire that started in the basement of Hamburg Inn Number 2 was reported shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday.
     Smoke billowed out of the building during the fire, but it appears that firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the basement. No injuries were reported.
     The cause is still under investigation, but restaurant owner Dave Panther says he was told an overheating soft drink machine appears to have started the fire.
     Panther says employees noticed the machine was warm before closing and unplugged it.
     Panther says he hopes key parts of the restaurant and its memorabilia from politicians' visits in the past survived the fire.


Group Asking Des Moines City Council To Approve Having Pianos On Sidewalks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group is expected to ask the City Council on Monday for permission to place pianos outdoors on sidewalks and plazas in downtown Des Moines.
     City Sounds co-organizer Larry James says that the purpose "is to generate life on the street and generate activity." James says the pianos have been a real boon to business wherever it's been done "because it gets people out on the street."
     In Iowa City, for example, pianos have become a staple downtown through the city's Tickle My Keys program.
     The pianos in Des Moines would be bolted to the ground and would be covered and locked overnight and during rainstorms. They would be taken indoors during winter.
     The program would rely on pianos donated through West Music of Urbandale.


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