Wednesday Afternoon News, August 21
Hinton House Fire (Updated)
(Hinton) -- A house in Hinton was destroyed by fire last evening. At about 10:19 p.m. several 9-1-1 emergency calls were received at the Plymouth County Communications Center advising of a house on fire located at 1520 Mercury Drive in Hinton. Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck describes the scene.
The house was fully engulfed when fire officials arrived at the scene.
Beck says four adults, and two children under the age of five, were in the home when the fire started, but fortunately, all were able to escape the blaze. Beck says there were no injuries to any of the family members or to the fire fighters. Both the Hinton and Merrill Fire Departments responded to the house fire and battled the blaze until nearly 5:00 a.m. this morning. Beck says the State Fire Marshall arrived to investigate the fire. It has been determined the fire was accidental in nature, but the cause is still undetermined. The house was a total loss and Beck estimates the damage at $215,000.
Le Mars Beauty School Ask City For Consideration Of CDBG Grant
(Le Mars) -- Representatives of the Le Mars Beauty School College met before the city council on Tuesday to formally request assistance for the cosmetology school be included as part of the Community Development Block Grant. Stacy Anderson says the school has done a lot of recent renovation and hopes to one day have the building designated as part of the National Historic Registry.
Anderson says with the renovations, the building can still serve today's needed functions in terms of both the beauty school and the dance studio.
In addition to the restoration efforts, the Le Mars Beauty School College recently had a transfer of ownership. Rod and Sheila Anderson have sold the business to their son Todd Anderson.
Anderson says the school is expanding its services to include skin care and products, as well as, nail care services and products.
Report Shows Governor Did Not Play A Role In Agent's Firing
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A review commissioned by Gov. Terry Branstad has concluded that the
governor's office played no role in the firing of a criminal investigator who had complained about the governor's speeding SUV.
Former Chief Justice Louis Lavorato said in a report released Wednesday that Branstad
took a "hands off approach" toward the investigation and termination of former Division of
Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund.
Lavorato says he found no direct evidence that Hedlund's superiors retaliated against
Hedlund in putting him on administrative leave in April, days after Hedlund warned the governor's speeding was a safety risk.
But Lavorato says he reaches no conclusion on whether there was retaliation or whether Hedlund's firing is justified. He says retaliation is seldom established directly and "in most cases must depend on circumstantial evidence."
Dean Returns To Iowa
ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) - Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says Democrats must focus on winning legislative seats and called on union members to knock on doors frequently and get to know voters personally.
He says in a speech Wednesday to the Iowa Federation of Labor's annual convention in Altoona that statehouse campaigns need to run as if every legislative candidate were running for president.
He says it's important as Democrats counter Republican efforts to change voting rules and other measures.
Dean encouraged union members to recruit strong candidates now and volunteer to knock on doors so frequently that they get to know voters personally.
If Democrats do that well, Dean predicted the party would do well in the 2014 election.
Court Rules In Favor Of Iowa State University Whistle blower
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An appeals court says a former Iowa State University employee was the victim of an outrageous and vicious harassment campaign by his superiors, but he failed to prove that it was because he reported his boss for financial misconduct.
The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a jury's finding that former ISU College of Engineering marketing employee Dennis Smith was the victim of whistleblower retaliation, and threw out a judge's landmark $784,000 damage award in his favor.
But the court says Iowa State did intentionally inflict emotional distress on Smith through the actions of his superiors, which included repeated false accusations that Smith was a security threat and unfair attempts to force him out. The court is upholding the jury's $500,000 award for Smith on that violation.