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Sunday News, January 25

Iowa Freedom Summit Draws Several Potential Presidential Candidates 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Protesters have heckled Republican presidential prospects Rick Perry and Chris Christie over immigration policies during a conservative political forum in Iowa.
     The former governor of Texas was interrupted during his speech to the Iowa Freedom Forum by six people chanting, "If you become president, will you deport our families?"
     The six young adults claimed to be children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Police escorted them from the auditorium.
     Perry opposes offering legal status to people in the U.S. illegally. He praised the U.S. as a place "to be able to stand up and tell our government what we want them to do."
     Another protester began the same chant during Christie's speech. The governor asked the audience, "Don't they know I'm from New Jersey?"


Chris Christie

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is trying to connect with Iowa conservatives by assuring them that "you'll always know who I am" if he runs for president.
     While still undeclared, Christie left few doubts Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit that he is primed to enter the 2016 GOP race.
     Christie told the Republican voters in the leadoff state in the nomination battle that they shouldn't let his blunt style turn them off. For those not enamored with all aspects of Christie's record, he says "you'll always know what I believe and you'll always know where I stand."
     He spoke at length about his anti-abortion views, which tends to resonate with Iowa's social conservative caucus-goers.
     It was Christie's 11th visit to Iowa in the past five years.


Rick Perry

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is holding up his home state as a model for economic revival in an Iowa speech with echoes from his 2012 run for president.
     Perry is preparing for another presidential bid, telling Iowa Republicans at a forum Saturday that jobs gained on his watch and state-based efforts to control the southern U.S. border are concrete examples of his leadership.
     His full-throated remarks to the conservative Iowa Freedom Summit are reminiscent of past campaign speeches. He called for a firmer line of defense against new terror threats and eased environmental regulation.
     Perry left office this month after 14 years, the longest-serving governor in Texas history.


Ted Cruz

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Texas' junior senator is challenging early caucus state voters to back only presidential candidates with a proven conservative track record.
     Senator Ted Cruz tells conservatives gathered at the Iowa Freedom Summit that the standard should be, "Don't talk, show me."
     The Republican was among several would-be presidential candidates appearing Saturday at the forum. Cruz received thunderous applause with calls to repeal fully President Barack Obama's health care law, lock down of the southern border, handcuff environmental regulators and abolish the IRS.
     Cruz used his remarks to gather details on activists by having them text message the word 'Constitution' to a number he gave out.
     Cruz isn't the only Texan giving thought to a run. So is former Governor Rick Perry.


Scott Walker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is holding up his "go big and go bold" attitude as something Republicans need to emulate in Washington.
     In a speech to Iowa conservatives Saturday, Walker ran through a litany of changes he's implemented that curtailed union power, relaxed teacher tenure laws, strengthened gun rights and restricted abortions. All resonated with a Freedom Summit crowd sizing up potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates like him.
     Walker shared stories of staring down union interests in the face of mass protests, constant jeering and even death threats to him and his family. He fought off a recall attempt and then won re-election last fall.
     The neighboring state governor drew connections to the leadoff caucus state, noting how he attended elementary school in Iowa until his family moved.


Rick Santorum

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The winner of Iowa's 2012 Republican presidential caucuses says his party needs to do a better job convincing working Americans that the GOP is on their side.
     Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum returned to the state Saturday to warn that the GOP doesn't win the presidency "because too many people think we don't care about them." As he mulls a second campaign, Santorum told a conservative forum that GOP candidates need to do more than criticize President Barack Obama.
     Santorum says that means promoting lower taxes, less regulation and stronger family values. But he says the message has to empathize with the plight of middle-class Americans.
     After visiting all 99 counties last time, Santorum beat eventual nominee Mitt Romney in Iowa though he wasn't declared the winner until weeks later.


Carly Fiorina

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Businesswoman Carly Fiorina is introducing herself to Iowa's Republican voters by drawing contrast with the top prospective candidate on the Democratic side.
     Fiorina went hard at Hillary Rodham Clinton in a speech Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit. Fiorina cast the former secretary of state as a disappointment on the world stage who failed to defuse serious foreign policy threats.
     The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive says she has her own experience dealing with foreign dignitaries and dangers.
     As one of the least-known potential candidates, Fiorina devoted ample time to a biographical introduction, including her distinction as a breast cancer survivor.
     While presenting herself as a political outsider, it wouldn't be her first run. Fiorina lost an expensive Senate race in California in 2010. She now lives in Virginia.


Ben Carson

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Dr. Ben Carson is appealing to Iowa conservatives with messages about securing the country's borders and cracking down on employers who hire immigrants illegally.
     The retired neurosurgeon called for a harder tack on immigration, expanded school choice and less government spending in his speech Saturday to an Iowa gathering showcasing potential 2016 White House candidates. Carson spoke extemporaneously as he roamed the stage.
     Carson is a former physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and author who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination. He has a following among conservatives for his harsh critiques of President Barack Obama's health insurance law.
     He told the crowd that he's vehemently against the federal government diving further into health care. "Even if it worked," he said, he would oppose it.


Mike Huckabee 

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Prior Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee is reacquainting himself with activists who could help decide the next Republican nominee.
     Huckabee appeared before the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday to deliver a biting assessment of President Barack Obama's policies and make a pitch for his potential candidacy. He recently left a cable news show and is on a book tour.
     The former Arkansas governor mocked Obama's elevation of climate change as a critical issue. Huckabee says a greater threat is violent radical elements stoking fear around the world. He says America hasn't done enough to strike those terror groups.
     Huckabee also says Democrats are misguided by focusing on raising the minimum wage instead of cultivating better-paying jobs.
     Huckabee has re-emerged as a possible presidential candidate seven years after his last bid.


Ernst Pledges To Continue To Fight Against "Executive Overreach"

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has followed up a national turn in the spotlight with a speech to home-state conservatives that stressed a need to rein in "executive overreach."
     The freshman Republican appeared Saturday at a daylong forum attended by several potential 2016 White House contenders. The Freedom Summit was billed at the start of the Iowa presidential caucus chase.
     Ernst has enjoyed celebrity status within GOP circles since winning a long-held Democratic seat in November. Just this week, she delivered the party's televised response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
     Ernst revisited themes from that speech, including calls to fight Obama's executive orders on issues like immigration and pass Keystone XL oil pipeline legislation that the president has vowed to veto.


Crash Into House Causes Fire

  COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Police are still looking for a man involved in a crash that caused a Council Bluffs house fire.
     The Daily Nonpareil reports that a man was driving a 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup just after 2 a.m. Friday when he crashed into the home's porch. Witnesses told police the driver fled on foot. No injuries were reported.
     Council Bluffs police say the truck caught fire after the wreck and was engulfed in flames by the time officers arrived. The fire spread to the porch, but the house was not damaged.
     Assistant Fire Chief Matt Thomas says the wreck caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.
     Police Sergeant Jason Bailey says the department hasn't been able to contact the pickup's registered owner.








Saturday News, January 24

Soderberg And Anderson Answer Questions About Legislative Issues

(Le Mars) -- State lawmakers Chuck Soderberg and Bill Anderson appeared before a gathering of 25 people Friday answering questions relating to the state's budget, transportation and the fuel tax, education funding and the start of school, and mental health funding and the closing of two of Iowa's mental health institutions.  Soderberg informed the group that Governor Branstad has proposed a budget of $346.7 million more than in fiscal year 2015.  Soderberg says that means $146.4 million of one-time money would be used to fund ongoing expenses, which he says is not consistent with the budget principles the legislature has supported over the last four years.  Soderberg says there are three areas that make up 90 percent of the state's budget.  They include education funding at 55 percent. human services that take up 26 percent, and the justice system receives 9 percent of the state's revenue.  Soderberg says the one thing the legislature must do is pass a balanced budget.

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Soderberg says with new programs approved during last session, there simply is not enough money to be able to finance every program.

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Soderberg says the legislature will need to make some cuts in order to balance the state's budget.

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Le Mars City Council To Hold Special Meeting To Review Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the city hall council chambers.  The purpose of the meeting is to review the proposed city budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 


Le Mars Community School Board To Hold Retreat

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to hold its special retreat on Monday.  The school board will learn more about the technology intergration in the elementary grades, and they will also examine the Iowa Core Unpacking Standards, and they will have TLC updates.


Jamal Dean Sentenced To Life In Prison

(Sioux City) --  Two Sioux City brothers who were found guilty on federal robbery and weapons charges last August were sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court.  It's life in prison for 23 year old Jamal Dean.  Judge Mark Bennett sentenced Dean for two counts of robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence and one count each of conspiracy to committ robbery, carjacking, and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the April, 2013 robberies of two drug dealers.   In handing down the sentence, Judge Bennett told Jamal Dean that he was an incredible menace to society based on his actions.   Jamal Dean is already serving 25 years in prison for attempted murder in the shooting of Sioux City Police Officer, Kevin McCormick during a traffic stop in April, 2013.  McCormick read an emotional victim's statement at the hearing, telling the judge how his life and family had been affected since the shooting.   The Sioux City police officer was one of ten witnesses called at the sentencing.   Federal prosecutor Forde Fairchild presented evidence that Jamal Dean had shot two people, Jamie Espinoza and Sergio-Soto Gomez, in gang related crimes that he had never been prosecuted for.  A South Sioux Citiy woman also testified about how Jamal Dean had sexually assaulted her in the past.  In handing down the sentence, Judge Bennett weighed those factors plus the fact that Jamal Dean had been in jail four times and prison three other times by the age of 23, and had been returned behind bars in five months or less each time he was released.  Fairchild says Dean proved by those actions that he could not be rehabilitated.

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Bennett said Dean ranked only behind Dustin Honken, as far as being the most dangerous person he had ever sentenced in 20 years on the bench.  The judge also reccomended that Dean be sent to the supermax prison in Colorado, because he considered that Dean would be a menace to other inmates.  After the hearing, Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young said the streets of the city will be safer for citizens. 

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His brother, 25 year old LeVon Dean, was sentenced to 400 months in prison.  LeVon Dean was sentenced for two counts of robbery, two counts of possessing a firearm in furthering a crime of violence and on count each of conspiracy to commit robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm.


Grassley Opposes Obama's Idea For Free Community College

(Washington) -- During his State of the Union address, President Obama referred to the nation's community colleges and hinted that the federal government may want to consider offering free tuition, and additional aid to those students wanting to attend community colleges.  Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the president's plan would apply to liberal arts and humanities students and not to vocational trade students.  Grassley says that would be unfair, and he doesn't want to see the federal government involved with community colleges.

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Grassley says the other consideration is the financial burden it would place on the federal government's already growing debt.

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Lottery Official Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa lottery worker has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges following accusations that he illegally played the lottery, won a multimillion-dollar jackpot in 2010 and asked others to help him claim it.
     51-year-old Eddie Raymond Tipton, of Norwalk, Iowa, entered the plea Friday. Tipton was arrested and charged Jan. 15 on two counts of fraud.
     Officials had been trying to identify the winner of the $14.3 million Hot Lotto ticket since a New York lawyer tried to claim the prize just before the one-year deadline in 2011. As director of information security at the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa, Tipton is not allowed to buy tickets or win prizes.


Wisconsin Governor Prepares Fro Iowa Visit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is fine-tuning his message heading into a busy weekend where he will rub shoulders with other potential 2016 presidential candidates. Walker plans to speak to conservatives in Iowa and at a Koch brothers sponsored event in California.
     Walker has been crafting his image on the national political stage as a fresh-faced reformer and a proven winner who can offer a stark contrast to what he brands as dysfunction in Washington.
     Walker said Friday he will talk to Iowa Republicans about his record in Wisconsin and make the argument that the GOP presidential nominee needs to be someone who is a proven winner and outside of the Washington establishment.
     Republican Iowa activist Susan Geddes says Walker needs to make himself known to Iowa voters, but he is "something new and fresh."


Insurance Commissioner Asks Court To Liquidate CoOportunity Health

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's top insurance official has asked a court to end a consumer-owned cooperative that was selling health insurance to residents in Iowa and Nebraska.
     Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said Friday he would seek liquidation of CoOportunity Health. He expects the process to be complete by late February.
     CoOportunity is a federally funded nonprofit aimed at providing more health care options in Iowa and Nebraska. State regulators took over CoOportunity late last year after the organization's available funds were depleted.
     Gerhart says he chose liquidation after determining that the cooperative's medical claims would exceed its cash on hand. He recommends people find other health insurance coverage by March 1st.
      CoOportunity insures about 120,000 people in Iowa and Nebraska.





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