Saturday Afternoon News, May 31
Branstad Comments On South Dakota Supreme Court Ruling Regarding BPI
(Le Mars) -- Last week the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Beef Products, Inc. of Dakota Dunes could proceed with a multi-million dollar lawsuit against ABC News for defamation resulting in the news network characterization of finely textured beef. BPI claims the news network reference to the product as "pink slime" caused consumers to believe the product was not safe to eat, and resulted in the shutdown of four processing plants and the layoffs of more than 700 employees. ABC News had asked the courts to throw out the case.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has long said ABC News used a "smear" campaign against BPI. While visiting Le Mars on Thursday, Branstad was asked about his thoughts regarding the South Dakota Supreme Court decision.
Branstad says he's pleased to see the lawsuit can now proceed.
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry accompanied Branstad on his campaign tour last week, and like Iowa, Texas also had a plant shut down after the "pink slime" allegation.
Branstad Cuts Many Spending Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has vetoed tens of millions of dollars in state spending that legislators had approved, with some of the biggest cuts targeting environmental protection and recreation projects.
Branstad trimmed state money for the Resource Enhancement and Protection fund, which helps pay for trails, parks and other outdoor recreation, to $16 million. The Legislature had approved $25 million.
Branstad also cut $18.6 million for construction at Iowa State University's agricultural and biosystems engineering complex, $14 million for routine maintenance or major repairs of state buildings and $8 million for renovation of the University of Iowa's dental science building. He also cut another $10 million for projects ranging from university buildings to radon testing at schools.
Federal Funds For Road Repairs May Dry Up
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Summer is peak road construction time in Iowa and work is underway on dozens of projects, but questions about whether federal money will continue to flow has state officials concerned.
The federal highway fund gets most of its money from federal fuel taxes but revenue has fallen in recent years as motorists drive less and cars become more efficient, reducing the amount of fuel needed.
Congress in recent years has transferred billions of dollars from the general fund to keep road projects going. The highway fund needs a $10 billion infusion to remain solvent this year and $8 billion to get it through next year. Money is needed by July or federal reimbursements to states will be cut back, forcing states to come up with money or curtail construction projects.
Sioux City Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Kidnapping And Drugs
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for his role in a drug kidnapping case.
25-year-old Gerry Patterson was sentenced Friday to 134 months in prison for kidnapping and four weapons counts. Patterson had pleaded guilty in October.
Prosecutors say Patterson and Trey Boykin lured a Briar Cliff University student into Boykin's car in February 2013 on the pretense of selling him marijuana. Prosecutors say the two drove the student away from campus, held the student against his will and robbed him.
Boykin, also of Sioux City, was found guilty in January of kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He was sentenced Thursday to more than 12 years in prison.
Red Oak Shooting
RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - State police say a shooting in southwest Iowa has left a man fighting for his life, while another man has been charged with attempted murder.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says the shooting took place in a Red Oak residence just after midnight Saturday.
When officers arrived, they found 36-year-old Clyde Everett Zeigler shot multiple times. Zeigler was flown to an Omaha hospital and remains in critical condition.
Another man, 31-year-old Rafael Bautista, was arrested around 9 a.m. Saturday and charged with attempted murder and other counts. Police say Bautista has a self-inflicted gunshot wound and is being treated at an Omaha hospital.
Bautista has been ordered held on $50,000 bond. Police say once he is released from the hospital, he will be taken to the Montgomery County Jail.
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Students, faculty and staff at Johnston High School are mourning the death of a 16-year-old student killed this week in a skateboarding crash.
Henry Evans died from injuries suffered in the crash on Thursday.
More than 300 people gathered at a Johnston church Friday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Evans. Hundreds of Evans' classmates wrote messages on notecards and posters for his parents.
The boy's family members say he was a registered organ donor and that eight people were helped because of Evans' donations.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Counselors will be at Johnston High School on Monday to help grieving students and teachers.
Fire Destroys Rental Complex --11 People Now Homeless
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Fire has destroyed a Des Moines home that included four rental units, displacing at least 11 people.
Firefighters were called to the home just east of Drake University on Friday afternoon.
No one was injured, but officials say the building is likely a total loss.
American Red Cross workers are helping 11 people, including one child, left homeless by the fire.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
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