Thursday News, November 13
Three People Convicted For Helping Felon
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Three people have pleaded guilty to helping a convicted Iowa felon escape the state in 2012.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Mark Hill, Brandon Hinesly and Janelle Zoch pleaded guilty recently to conspiracy to obstruct justice. The convicted felon, Darwin Zoch, also pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Hill, Hinesly and Janelle Zoch were accused of helping Darwin Zoch flee the area in February 2012 while he awaited sentencing on a federal firearms charge. Darwin Zoch was eventually arrested in Texas.
Hill was placed on probation for three months. Hinesly was sentenced to three months in prison. Janelle Zoch was sentenced to more than 2 years in prison. Darwin Zoch was given an additional 28 months to his 15-year sentence on the firearms charge.
Prosecutor Amends Charges Against Couple For Death Of Son
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A prosecutor has amended charges against a Sioux City couple for the death of their 2-month-old son.
27-year-old Michael Williams and 24-year-old Rebekah Williams-McCarthy now are both charged with child endangerment resulting in the death of a child, child endangerment resulting in bodily injury of a child and three counts of neglect of a dependent person. The baby, Leonard Williams, was taken to an emergency room on April 29. An autopsy showed that he died of malnutrition and dehydration.
His father originally was charged only with neglect and had pleaded not guilty. The charge of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury is new for Rebekah Williams-McCarthy. She, too, has pleaded not guilty.
Former State Senator Tested Positive For Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A probation officer says former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson has now tested positive three times for marijuana in his system while awaiting sentencing in a campaign money case.
Federal court documents filed Wednesday reveal that two urine samples from Sorensen tested positive for the presence of marijuana on October 7th and 21st. An earlier test on September 30th also found the drug in his system.
Probation officer Priscilla Davidson writes that a toxicologist with an outside laboratory believes the most recent tests were from fresh drug use, which Sorenson has denied.
Sorenson pleaded guilty in August to concealing payments he received to work for Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign. He also kept quiet a $25,000 check and additional payments he negotiated to switch allegiances to Ron Paul's campaign.
New Jersey Governor Listens To Advice From Iowa Pork Producers
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - There are not that many pigs in his home state. But there are millions in the early presidential voting state of Iowa. And that's making for a tough decision for Chris Christie, both New Jersey's governor and a potential presidential candidate.
Christie has until early December to decide whether to sign a bill that would ban pig farmers in the state from using devices called gestation crates.
The bill has the support of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers in New Jersey. But it is opposed by the pork lobby, which is based in Iowa, a state that's home to millions of pigs. And that could cause problems for Christie if he decides to run for president in 2016.
Bill Tentinger, a Plymouth County pork producer, and a past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association addressed this very issue with Governor Christie during a recent pheasant hunt fundraiser event held at the Hole In The Wall hunting preserve near Akron, and sponsored by Iowa Congressman Steve King. Tentinger says Christie has vetoed the measure in the past.
Tentinger says Governor Christie has consulted with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad regarding the issue, and he realizes the movement is being pushed by the United States Humane Society.
Tentinger says pork producers hope to be successful from having the New Jersey state legislature over-ride Christie's veto.
Vermont Senator Sanders To Again Visit Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will headline a liberal advocacy group event in Iowa next month.
Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic says Sanders will give the keynote address Dec. 16 at the group's holiday party in Altoona.
Sanders, an independent who is supported largely by Democrats, says in a press release provided to The Associated Press that he is excited to speak with a group that is a "strong voice in the fight for America's middle class."
Sanders has made several visits to Iowa in recent months, prompting speculation about his presidential ambitions for 2016.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is widely expected to run in 2016, but that hasn't stopped other Democratic prospects from visiting the state.
Carroll Residents Resist Corn-Crib Gazebo
CARROLL, Iowa (AP) - Some residents of Carroll are annoyed when they look into a neighbor's backyard and see a corncrib that's been turned into a gazebo.
Allen Nieland lives near the property, and he says the corncrib would look nice on an acreage or a farm, but it just doesn't fit the character of his subdivision. The corncrib is the see-through type with a metal roof.
Nieland says he's started a petition to have the corncrib removed. But city officials say the corncrib meets zoning and building codes and is legal because it's being used for outdoor entertainment, not to store or dry corn.
Another neighbor, Brad Kirsch, says the corncrib is better to look at "than junk cars or an old boat."
Autopsy Complete On Missing Iowa State University Student
AMES, Iowa (AP) - A medical examiner's office says an autopsy report has been completed on an Iowa State University student found dead in her car in September.
Mike Hensch, administrator of the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department, says an autopsy report on the body of 20-year-old Tong Shao was submitted October 31st to the Iowa City Police Department and the Johnson County Attorney's Office.
Hensch says his office is complying with a request by the Iowa City Police Department to not release information about the cause of death.
Shao's body was found on September 26th in the trunk of her car. Authorities say they're looking for 23-year-old Xiangnan Li (zi-ON'-nan Lee), a friend of Shao's. Authorities say he may have information about the circumstance surrounding her death.