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Friday Afternoon News, February 6

Soderberg Says Budget Still Main Priority For Legislators

(Le Mars) -- The state legislature has been at work for a month, and according to State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars several bills are moving their way from the sub-committee level to full committee, and to the House floor for debate.  Soderberg says the budget still is the priority for the state lawmakers.

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Medicaid funding is also creating some headaches for the legislators.

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The Le Mars legislator says education was given considerable attention, both with the school funding, as well as with the school start date.

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Soderberg believes the House will allow local school districts the option as to when should be the start date for the school academic year.


Sioux City Man Convicted Of Murder Of South Sioux City Woman

    DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) - A 23-year-old Iowa man has been given life in prison for killing a northeast Nebraska woman.
     Raymond Gonzales Jr. had been convicted of first-degree murder and a weapons crime. He was sentenced on Thursday in Dakota County District Court.
     Police say Gonzales shot 28-year-old Bonnie Baker 16 times in her South Sioux City home on Dec. 15, 2013. His attorney, Todd Lancaster, of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, says he will appeal the verdict. 
     Lancaster had argued during the trial that police focused only on evidence that pointed toward Gonzales.


Sioux City Looking At Apps For Parking Meters

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - People might be able to plug Sioux City parking meters with their smartphones instead of coins by summertime.
     Assistant City Manager Mike Collett told the City Council on Thursday that he hopes the system will be installed by June 30. He says the system will pay for itself through credit and debit card fees to use the app.
     Collett says that, ideally, the user would receive a text alert when the meter was near expiration.
     The city is waiting for proposals from software companies.


Farmers Continue To Sign Up For Lawsuit Against Syngenta

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge in Kansas City coordinates the cases so they can proceed.
     The dispute centers around Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, a corn seed genetically modified to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs. China hadn't approved it for import, and boycotted U.S. corn once Viptera was detected in its grain shipments in 2013.
     Farmers who did not plant the seed, grain handlers and exporters claim the boycott cost them money.
     Syngenta says it plans to seek dismissal because there's no legal authority barring the introduction of a U.S. government-approved product simply because it wasn't approved for sale in a foreign country. 
     China approved Viptera in December.


Supreme Court Throws Out Kidnapping Conviction

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is dismissing the first-degree kidnapping conviction of a man who sexually assaulted a woman in his Dubuque apartment.
     The court ruled Friday that the crime committed by Scott Robinson didn't meet the elements of kidnapping.
     The ruling is a victory for the 37-year-old Robinson, who'd been serving life without the possibility for parole in the 2011 assault.
     The court says prosecutors now have two options. They can try Robinson for second-degree sexual abuse, which would carry a maximum sentence of 25 years.
     Or they can ask a judge to sentence Robinson for third-degree sexual abuse, which carries up to 10 years. The jury's verdict means he's guilty of that charge.
     Prosecutors say Robinson locked the woman in his apartment against her will, and sexually assaulted her.


Man Uses Gaming App For Nude Photos Of Minor Girls

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say a Des Moines man used a gaming app to persuade a 12-year-old girl into sending nude photos of herself.
     47-year-old Luther Gerald St. Clair has been arrested and charged with enticing away a child.
     Officers say the child's mother found multiple texts from him on her daughter's cellphone. They say St. Clair and the girl met through a random game on the app Words With Friends. St. Clair asked the girl for her number and the two began texting.
     The girl told police she met St. Clair only once while taking her dog for a walk, and that they made no physical contact.
     St. Clair is being held in jail on a $10,000 bond.





Friday News, February 6

Woodbury County Authorities Make An Arrest On Sloan Man Murder

(Sioux City) -- A charge of first degree murder has been filed in the January 9th death of a Sloan, Iowa man.  29 year old Timothy Rodger Schroeder has been chargedin the shooting death of Dustin Taylor Wilder.  The 29 year old Wilder's body was found in his home in sloan by a dog sitter on the morning of January 9th.  Court documents state that Schroeder, and his wife Amanda, accompanied Wilder to his home after leaving a bar in Sloan.  The affidavit states that Amanda Schroeder told investigators that she and another man, Dustin Duncan, overheard her husband state he wanted to commit a robbery and do something big or kill someone before the homicide.  Sheriff Dave Drew says investigators are still hoping to find an important piece of evidence in the case.     

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Schroeder is also charged withi going armed with intent and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Drew says Schroeder, who has been previously twice convicted of felonies, was arrested later on January 9th and has been in custody since then on a parole violation charge.     

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No one else has been charged in the case at this time.  Schroeder is being held in the Woodbury County Jail on a $320,000 bond.


KLEM Expo To Begin Today

(Le Mars) -- Both floors will be filled with more than 70 exhibitors for the KLEM Expo which starts this afternoon at the Le Mars Convention Center.   This year's KLEM Expo will feature financial institutions, insurance companies, home furnishings, home improvement, health and wellness clubs, and so much more.  Enjoy a free Catalanos pizza party on Friday evening, and for Saturday, children can create crafts with the assistance of the Le Mars Arts Center, as well as participate in the Coloring Contest.  Free Blue Bunny ice cream treats will be distributed for both days. The hours of the KLEM Expo are from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. for Friday, February 6th, and from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Saturday, February 7th. Don't forget to register for a free trip to Las Vegas! 


Monsanto To Award Grant To LEEP  

(Le Mars) -- On Friday evening at the Le Mars Community School new gymnasium, between the girls and boys varsity games, officials with the Monsanto agricultural company, along with Julie Bietelspacher of Le Mars, will be making a presentation to school officials.  It's all part of the "America's Farmers Grow Communities" program in which farm families apply for a grant through Monsanto and then direct it to a local cause.  Bietelspacher says Monsanto is doing more to expand their outreach and wanting to give back to local communities.  She explains how she first learned of the grant program.

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Monsanto is awarding a $2,500 grant in each county throughout the midwest growing area.  Bietelspacher completed the application on-line and designated the Le Mars Enhanced Educational Project or LEEP, as the benefactor. Monsanto notified Julie and her husband Wayne, in January, that they are the winning farm family representing Plymouth County. Bietelspacher has had a long relationship with LEEP, serving as a founding board member.  She says many of the school's students will benefit from the grant.

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Bietelspacher says Monsanto requires the applicant to be a farm family and the chosen charity or organization meets the requirements of being a non-profit enity.


Sioux City Tows Vehicles In Order To Clear Snow

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City has towed 15 vehicles that hadn't been moved since last weekend's snowstorm.
     The vehicles were towed Wednesday and owners will have to pay fees of up to $150 to regain their vehicles. The fee could be higher if a tow required extra labor.
     Mayor Bob Scott had said the unmoved vehicles were making it tough for city crews to clear the more than 7 inches of snow from some areas. The city has a policy that all streets have to be plowed within 72 hours after a snowfall ends.  Another ordinance says it's unlawful for a vehicle to be parked in the same area for 24 hours without being moved.


Rock Valley And Rock Rapids To Receive Federal Loans From Flood Damage

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two cities in northwestern Iowa have been granted disaster loans to help recover from severe summer flooding.
     The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management announced Thursday that Rock Rapids and Rock Valley have each been approved for a Community Disaster Loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
     Rock Rapids will receive $513,220, and Rock Valley will receive $939,094.
     The cities were flooded by Rock River in June, resulting in an estimated $15 million in damage to public roads, buildings and bridges. The estimates did not include homes or farmland.
     Patrick Hall, who serves as state coordinating officer for the disaster, says the loans will aid the communities in the aftermath of the flooding. He says the state will also continue to assist both cities as they recover.


Former Congressman Wants Presidential Candidates To Discuss Foreign Policy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Michigan congressman is leading an effort to promote more foreign policy discussion among Republican presidential hopefuls.
     Mike Rogers, who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, is unveiling a plan Thursday to boost foreign policy conversation in advance of the 2016 election. Rogers is leading a group called Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security, which held a kickoff event in Des Moines. The organization aims to build support among Iowa voters and hold candidate events, including a forum in the fall.
     Rogers plans to organize similar programs in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
     Rogers served in the U.S. House for 14 years before retiring at the end of last year. He was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


Regents Approve University Of Iowa Hospitals To Purchase Heart Center

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A request from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to buy the Iowa City Heart Center has been approved.
     The Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday agreed to the $1.17 million purchase, which includes providing academic appointments to four cardiologists and taking on the center's non-physician workforce. It will be funded with UIHC money.
     The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the purchase only involves business assets, not real estate. According to regents documents, UIHC is looking into possibly continuing some service at the center's location in Mercy Medical Plaza. Otherwise, all operations will be fully incorporated into UIHC.
     The board says the purchase and the employment of four cardiologists enhance UIHC and the University of Iowa's opportunities for clinical, research and educational experiences.


AIB Business College Will No Longer Offer Athletic Competition

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - AIB College of Business officials say this spring will be the final season for the school's athletic department.
     The move was announced Thursday just more than a week after the private business college said it would become the University of Iowa's Des Moines campus.
     Officials say no freshmen will be enrolled this fall, and that AIB will graduate its final class in June 2016 before UI takes over the campus in July 2016. They say the school will be renamed the Regional Regents Center.
     AIB Athletic Director Al Dorenkamp says advisers will work with students and athletes to discuss options for continuing involvement with sports and their education.
     Dorenkamp says athletic scholarships will be honored through 2016 for those who choose to stay.





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