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Monday Afternoon News, August 25

School Board To Discuss District Goals

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening.  The local board of education will review the goals for the school district as defined by the District Learning and Instructional Impact Team.  The school board will be introduced to the new teachers and administrators on Monday, September 8th during an evening program.  The school board will consider bidding procedures and specifications for the purchase of two new school buses. 


Sioux City Inmate Escapes Work Release

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An inmate has escaped from a work release facility in Sioux City.
      The state Department of Corrections says 22-year-old Melvin William Spencer III was placed on escape status Sunday after he failed to return from a furlough. Additional information about the furlough was not released.
     Spencer was serving a seven-year sentence for convictions of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and carrying weapons. He began his sentence in 2012 and was transferred to work release in June.


Two Teens Die From Weekend Accident

WALL LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Two teenagers have died and another hospitalized after a collision in western Iowa's Sac County.
     The accident occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday at a rural intersection about four miles south-southeast of Wall Lake. 
     Authorities say a car driven by 16-year-old Bailey Jacobsen collided with a pickup driven by 17-year-old Trevor Feauto. Jacobsen was pronounced dead at the scene, as was a passenger in her car, 16-year-old Lindsey Quirk. Both teens were from Wall Lake. Feauto was taken to a hospital.
     The collision is being investigated.


Employers To Pay Less Unemployment Taxes

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa employers will pay less in unemployment taxes in 2015.
     Branstad announced Monday the average unemployment tax rate will drop from 1.6 percent this year to 1.2 percent next year. That means thousands of employers will save money.
     Branstad credited a growing economy and job creation efforts. He says less people are seeking unemployment benefits.
     The Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee will meet this week to review the management of the state's workforce agency, which oversees unemployment benefits. Internal agency emails provided to the committee show that earlier this year, the agency provided unemployment benefits to some people who didn't seek them and staff was urged to stay quiet about what had happened. 
     Branstad says Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert has his full support.


Emerald Ash Borer Found In Story County

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the destructive emerald ash borer has been confirmed in central Iowa's Story County.
     The state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Monday that the latest infestation means 13 counties have confirmed cases of the insect, which destroys the ash tree species over a period of years. 
     Officials say two of the beetle's larvae were found by a homeowner in Story City. 
     A statewide quarantine was issued in early February. It restricts the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into nonquarantined areas of other states.


Clarinda Academy Fails To Educate Special Needs Students

 CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say Clarinda Academy has continually failed to provide adequate schooling to its special education students.
     The Iowa Department of Education says the private academy for troubled youths uses a "cut-and-paste, one-size-fits-all" approach to treatment and teaching of special education students.
     The state has ordered the academy to make improvements and offer additional educational services to children who were ill-served by its practices within the past 14 months.
     The department investigated and issued a report last week, following a complaint filed in June by Disability Rights Iowa.
     The academy didn't respond to attempts to seek comment.


Motorcycle Crashes Following High Speed Chase

  READLYN, Iowa (AP) - A motorcyclist in northeast Iowa faces several charges in connection to a speeding pursuit that ended with a damaged squad car.
     The Bremer County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 20-year-old Alexander Carl Buss, of Tripoli, has been charged with several counts including eluding police, excessive speed and driving on the wrong side of the highway. Court records do not list an attorney.
     Authorities say a deputy tried to stop Buss on Friday as he rode his motorcycle near the community of Readlyn. The motorcycle was clocked at 82 mph in a 55 zone.
     Buss is accused of accelerating his motorcycle to excess speeds of 130 mph. It eventually crashed into a squad car owned by Tripoli police.
     Buss was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.


Clive Man Charged With Murder

  CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - A Clive man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 21-year-old whose body was found near a recreational trail.
     Police say 49-year-old Stephen Jonas was arrested Sunday night following a second interview about the death of Zachary Michael Paulsen. Paulsen's body was found Saturday morning near the Clive Greenbelt Trail, lying against a fence.
     Clive Police Chief Michael Venema said in a news release that Jonas told authorities he had a physical altercation with Paulsen. Police say Jonas told them he caused Paulsen's death.
     Jonas is being held at the Polk County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Court records do not list an attorney.
     An autopsy will be performed on Paulsen to determine his cause of death.


Oelwein Mayor Resigns Amid Sexual Allegations

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa mayor, charged with sexually abusing two young girls, has resigned.
     The Oelwein city attorney says Mayor Jason Manus resigned Friday effective immediately.
     City Attorney Ron Vanveldhuizen says the City Council is expected to accept the resignation Monday night.
     Mayor Pro-tem Peggy Sherrets will conduct the meeting.
     Manus, who is 36, is accused of sexually abusing two girls, ages 9 and 14, in 2010. He faces five counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He was arrested on Aug. 11, posted bond on Wednesday and was released from jail.
     The City Council may call a special election or could fill the vacancy by appointment which gives the public an opportunity to petition for a special election under Iowa law.
     Manus did not immediately return a call.


More Parents Refuse To Have Children Vaccinated

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are concerned over the increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
     Parents received vaccination exemptions in the 2012-13 school year for nearly 8,000 children. That's more than triple the number from 12 years ago.
     While the figure represents less than 2 percent of all Iowa children, health leaders say they're worried about the rise in unvaccinated children.
     Polk County's public health director Rick Kozin says some parents might not realize that unvaccinated children could lead to a disease outbreak in schools.
     Iowa laws allow two kinds of exemptions for medical or religions reasons. Some children have to avoid vaccinations for medical reasons such as allergies.





Monday news, August 25

Branstad Opposes An Increase Of Fuel Taxes

(Le Mars) -- Governor Branstad was in Le Mars on Friday afternoon making a campaign stop for both himself, and for State Senator Bill Anderson.  Branstad was questioned about a possible fuel tax to help finance the state's deteroriating infrastructure system.  Branstad is opposed to an increase in the fuel tax, but believes there are other ways to help with the state's roads and bridges.  He says he has been visiting with State Transportation Director Paul Trombino for ideas.

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Branstad says many low to middle income families are concerned about a fuel tax hike, indicating a rise in the fuel tax would make it more expensive for their daily commute to work.  Branstad's opponet, State Senator Jack Hatch would like to see a three cent increase each year for the next five years.  Branstad says that idea will not provide enough funding to repair the roads.

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Branstad Wants Broadband Internet To Reach All Of Iowa

(Le Mars) -- One of Governor Branstad's goals is to have fast-speed broadband internet services in all parts of the state.  The legislature was not able to agree on a bill during the last legislative session, and consequently, the bill failed. 

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Legislation seeking to expand Internet access in underserved parts of Iowa suffered a surprising defeat in the Republican-majority state House last session. The bill was designed to entice telecommunications companies to increase broadband service through income and property tax credits.
     Some lawmakers thought the bill offered too many tax breaks to telecommunications companies without enough specific requirements.


Old Time Country Music Festival Begins

(Le Mars) -- Today is the start of the National Old Time Country, Bluegrass, and Folk Music Festival which is being held at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds. The music festival will continue through the weekend and will offer ten stages.  More than 640 performers from around the world are expected for the week-long festival. Music festival spokesman Jack Hughes explains what will occur at the music festival.

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Sioux City Police Respond To Kidnapping Incident

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police responded to a report of kidnapping Saturday evening at the 2000 block of Summit Street.  Officers learned that Angel Gomez of Sioux City threatened his fiance with a gun and forced her into a car.  Gomez then struck another vehicle that was not involved while fleeing the area. Gomez drove to War Eagle park where he threatened another subject with the gun, and stole that person's vehicle.  The owner of the car that was stolen was not injured in this incident.  Gomez's finance was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries as a result of being assaulted by him during the incident.  Angel Gomez, age 22, was arrested Sunday morning at his residence.  He was taken into custody and transported to the Woodbury County Jail with charges of Domestic Assault, False Imprisonment, Robbery, and other charges related to the incident.


Sunday Apartment Fire At Sioux City

(Sioux City) -- Fire caused major damage to an apartment building on Sioux City's westside Sunday morning. Firefighters found flames coming from the building in the 900 block of West 6th street near Hamilton Boulevard when they arrived around 4:30am.
Flames burned through the roof of the structure. No injuries were reported. . The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Denison Manufacturing Company Making Cement Security Barriers

   DENISON, Iowa (AP) - A northwest Iowa firm is prospering by creating concrete security barriers for government buildings and other projects. 
     Petersen Manufacturing's custom-made concrete planters and benches help keep office buildings and theme parks nationwide safe.
     The company began nearly 101 years ago when founder L.T. Petersen invented an automatic livestock watering appliance that was popular with farmers and feedlots. 
     During the farm crisis of the 1980s, the company developed more picnic tables, benches and planters. Those products helped make the company a preferred supplier of concrete security products after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
     Sales manager Paul Schumacher says the company has developed ways to make the concrete barriers more attractive. And in recent years, there has been renewed interest in the company's livestock waterers.


Man Dies At Red Rock Lake

 KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 63-year-old man has died while boating at Lake Red Rock in southern Iowa.
     The Marion County Sheriff's Office says emergency personnel were sent to Whitebreast Bay at the lake around 3 p.m. Sunday. They met other boaters who had stopped to help the man and his wife.
     The Sheriff's Office says Michael Nicholson likely had a heart attack that caused him to capsize the boat. His wife held onto his body until the other boaters arrived. Nicholson, of Bondurant, was pronounced dead at the scene.


Escaped Inmate Back In Custody

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A Webster County inmate is back in custody after escaping with another while doing laundry at the jail in Fort Dodge.
     43-year-old Jason Sullivan was arrested in Fort Dodge on Saturday evening. Sullivan and 32-year-old George Johnson escaped Thursday night. Johnson was injured during the escape and taken back into custody at a hospital.
     Documents say a 37-year-old Fort Dodge woman, Sarah Ritter, 37, is charged with felony aiding and abetting the escape and several aggravated misdemeanors for helping Johnson. Ritter is alleged to have been an accessory after the fact.
     Online court records don't list the name of her attorney.








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