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Monday Afternoon News, May 13

Fire Reported At Amber Inn Motel

(Le Mars) -- A fire was reported Monday morning at about 10:09 a.m. from the Amber Inn Motel located near Business Highway 75.  Le Mars Fire chief Dave Schipper says the motel cleaning staff noticed smoke coming from the ceiling of room 68.  A high wattage light bulb in a recessed ceiling lighting fixture caused some extensive smoke damage to the motel.  The bulb was of higher wattage than what the fixture was designed to hold, causing it to overheat and igniting the ceiling insulation.  Most of the damage was confined to the ceiling insulation.  Flames did not penetrate the roof.  Fire officials entered the motel and pulled down ceiling panels in order to have better access to the fire.  The smoke  traveled through the attic area and was noticeable in several rooms.  Schipper estimates the damage to be about $3000.  There were no injuries from the fire, and the motel guests were able to escape without harm.

McCormick Back On Police Duty

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City police officer Kevin McCormick is back on duty and has already visited the spot where he was wounded during a traffic stop.
McCormick retraced his route on the west side of the city on Sunday, remembering the garbage cans and chain-link fence and the van he saw on April 29. McCormick says he's been replaying the incident in his mind.
He'd pulled over a car for a seat belt violation. As he was preparing to leave his cruiser, a man got out of the car and fired eight rifle shots at the cruiser. A bullet that penetrated the cruiser's windshield struck McCormick above an eye.
Twenty-one-year-old Jamal Dean has been arrested and is being held on a charge of attempted murder.

Two Men Convicted For Child Pornography

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa men who were convicted on child pornography charges have been sentenced to federal prison.
Prosecutors say 26-year-old Edward Robertson, of Spirit lake, was given seven years. Robertson must serve 10 years of supervised release after he leaves custody.
A U.S. District Court jury in Council Bluffs found Robertson guilty of receiving child pornography over the Internet from October 2008 until March 24, 2009.
In a separate case, 59-year-old Danny Hummel, of Essex, was given six months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. He'd pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.


Branstad Names New State Auditor

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad has named CPA Mary Mosiman, as Iowa’s new state auditor, following last month’s announcement by David Vaudt that he was resigning to become the new chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board . His last day was May 3.  Mosiman currently serves as deputy secretary of state under Matt Schultz. Her first day as state auditor begins today May 13.

“I had two major requirements for Iowa’s state auditor: that the individual was a CPA, and that the individual would adhere to the sound budgeting principles followed by David Vaudt,” said Branstad. “In Mary, we found that and more. She is a talented, passionate public servant who will keep a very close watch over Iowa’s tax dollars.”

Prior to serving as the deputy secretary of state, Mosiman served as the Story County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections, from 2001-2010. She is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in accounting.

Compensation For Mentally Handicapped Employees Greatly Reduced

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A landmark $240 million verdict for 32 mentally disabled workers who suffered years of abuse will be reduced to about $1.6 million because of a law capping their
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Henry's Turkey Service agreed in legal briefs filed Friday that each plaintiff can recover $50,000 apiece, plus interest, under federal law, compared
to $7.5 million a jury awarded each May 1.
Each plaintiff will also be entitled to separate back payments averaging about $50,000. U.S. Senior Judge Charles Wolle will enter a final judgment soon.
Jurors found that Henry's Turkey Service discriminated against the men, who they hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The men lived in a filthy bunkhouse and faced verbal and
physical abuse at home and at work.

Kayaking Couple Is Rescued

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - A kayaking couple have been rescued from the Des Moines River near Boone.
Boone County Search and Rescue and the Boone Fire Department responded to a call Sunday afternoon that a man and his wife had been pinned in their kayaks against a pile of logs.
Sheriff's Deputy Brian Pontius says the man's kayak tipped over and was sucked beneath the pile about 30 feet from shore. The man managed to pull himself out of the water and onto the logs. His
wife's kayak was jammed into the pile.
Rescuers threw lines to the couple and pulled them to safety.
The man was treated for signs of hypothermia, but he refused to be hospitalized. No injuries to his wife were reported.


Iowa City Man Robs Boy

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 61-year-old Iowa City man has been accused of robbing a boy who was looking for lawns to mow.
The boy was knocking on doors Sunday to inquire about doing the yard work when he met Kevin Shannon at one house. Police say Shannon gave the boy $10 and told the boy he was an undercover
police officer.
Police say Shannon later got in his vehicle and drove up to the boy, pulled out a gun and demanded the boy return his money. The boy wasn't injured.
Officers arrived soon and arrested Shannon. He faces several charges, including felony theft, driving while intoxicated, and impersonating a public official.
Johnson County Jail records say Shannon remained in custody on Monday. Online court records don't list the name of Shannon's lawyer.




Monday News, May 13

Fire Department Responds to House Arson Fire

(Le Mars) -- Fire officials responded to a house fire last evening at 36 3rd Avenue Northeast.  The alarm was reported shortly after 9:00 p.m.  When fire officials arrived on the scene, smoke could be seen coming from the building.  Five different people were renting and living at the home at the time.  Each were able to escape the house fire with no injuries.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says fire crews were able to contain the fire within a few minutes.

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The fire did an estimated $10,000 worth of damage.  The origin of the fire was confined to a small bathroom located on the main floor.  However, the fire chief says the cause of the fire was determined to be arson.

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The Le Mars Police have charged 29 year old Sarah Smith with first degree arson, a class B felony.  Smith was arrested Sunday evening and taken to the Plymouth County jail. Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars Police Department, Le Mars Ambulance, MidAmerican Energy and the American Red Cross.


Hinton Fire Department Fights Grass Fire

(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department was called to fight a grass fire on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. That fire was reported at 32278 Indigo Road.  Officials were on the scene for about a half an hour.


Oyens Fire Department Battles Grass/Field Fire

(Oyens) -- Oyens fire officials also were called on Sunday to fight a grass fire located at the range.  The fire was reported at about 12:30 p.m.  Fire officials were able to contain the fire within a half an hour.


Akron Fire and Rescue Unit Helps Auto Accident

(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department was called upon Sunday to assist with an auto accident that occurred at the intersection of County road C-16 and Diamond Avenue.  The accident involved one vehicle and it happened at about 9:30 p.m.  No other details are known at this time about that accident.

Le Mars School Board To Discuss Affordable Health Care Program

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening at the Education Service Center.  The local school board is expected to discuss the upcoming senior awards night, commencement, and the employee recognition coffees.  Superintendent of schools Dr. Todd Wendt will also discuss with the board information regarding the implications of the Affordable Health Care Act and how the district can comply with the requirements.  The board is expected to act upon three resignation requests.  The school board will hear from Assistant Superintendent Steve Webner and two faculty members discuss a professional development class and its component of the district's comprehensive professional development plan.


Galva Man Tries To Evade Police On Chase

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man is facing charges after trying to evade police at speeds up to 120 mph.
The chase happened on Friday afternoon when the Ida County Sheriff's Department tried to stop 28-year-old Barry Young of Galva.
Authorities say Young fled south on Highway 175 and drove erratically while as many as six police cars pursued him. Young is suspected of stealing packages off the front porches of homes.
The Iowa State Patrol says Young drove across a farm field and through a fence surrounding a cell phone tower during the chase.
Young was arrested a few miles east of Onawa.
Young faces a felony charge of eluding arrest, several drug charges and numerous traffic violations.


Morningside College Plans Expansion

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Morningside College in Sioux City is investing $13 million in a new classroom building.
The project will be the first new academic building on its Sioux City campus since the early 1970s.
Morningside is also planning to renovate the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center on campus. The work is scheduled to be ready by the fall of 2014.
The projects are part of a $50 million campaign of upgrades at Morningside. School officials say they have already raised $30 million.
Morningside Chairman Mike Bennett says the rest of the money will support the library portion of the school's planned academic village.


Lawmakers Say School Bus Inspections Need To Change

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Most Iowa lawmakers agree that changes need to be made to the state's system for inspecting school buses, but it's unlikely a bill will pass this year because lawmakers can't agree on what should be done.
A bill that would help close loopholes in the inspection system by requiring buses with serious problems to be re-inspected before returning to service passed the Iowa Senate on a 46-2 vote.
Some lawmakers now want to shift bus inspections out of the Education Department and into the state Transportation Department.
Republican Rep. Kevin Koester, of Ankeny, says school buses should get the same inspections commercial vehicles receive.
But former lawmaker Mike Cormack, who works for the Education Department, says moving the inspections would only delay needed improvements.

Spencer Man Found Guilty Of Beating

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A 21-year-old Spencer man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for fatally beating another man during a burglary in northwest Iowa.
Sioux City television station KTIV reports that Christopher Fitzpatrick was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, first-degree robbery and conspiracy to deliver
Police say they found 59-year old Edward Kitto badly beaten in the backyard of a Spencer home on Aug. 27. Kitto died at a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital on Sept. 8.
Fitzpatrick had been charged with first-degree murder and had faced life in prison before taking a deal from prosecutors. As part of the deal, Fitzpatrick admitted in court to hitting Kitto and
stealing money from the man's wallet.
A second suspect, 21-year old Cody Millard of Spencer, is awaiting trial.


MidAmerican Energy Wants To Raise Rates

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Co. is seeking permission from the Iowa Utilities Board to increase electricity rates, saying it's the first base-rate increase the utility has sought since 1995.
If approved, the rate would go into effect in August. MidAmerican says the increase would cost the average residential customer an additional $2.73 a month in 2013 and continue to rise over the next few years. By 2016, the average residential customer would be paying about $8 more a month than the current rate.
MidAmerican spokeswoman Tina Potthoff says the rate increase request is not related to the utility's announcement Wednesday of a $1.9 billion wind energy project.


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