Thursday Afternoon News, April 17
State Gaming Commission Denies Argosy's License Renewal
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has rejected a Sioux City riverboat casino's challenge to renew its gaming license, and has set July 1 as the deadline for the gambling boat to shut down.
Penn National Gaming, the parent company of the Argosy riverboat casino, had challenged the commission's decision last year to reject a one-year license renewal. The commission said it had issue with the Argosy's dissolving partnership with a nonprofit group. Iowa's casino gambling laws require casino operators to partner with licensed nonprofit groups that hold the license. Argosy's operating agreement with its long-standing nonprofit, Missouri River Historical Development, expired in July 2012.
Following the commission's decision Thursday, Penn National officials released a statement saying they were "beyond dismayed" by the decision.
Chamber, Mainstreet, And LIBC Submit Quarterly Reports
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, Le Mars Main Street Organization, the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation, have submitted their quarterly reports to city officials. Mainstreet cordinator Mary Reynolds reports the Le Mars Mainstreet organization has been coordinating the Alley Art Public Art project, continuing to work on the historic tax credit application for the Le Mars Beauty College. The Mainstreet organization is continuing to work on developing second floor housing in downtown Le Mars. The Chamber continues to recruit new businesses as members of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce. Hosting Chamber coffees and After 5 events, coordinate the newcomers welcome basket program, and have started work on a new Le Mars Chamber Visitor's Guide. The Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation reports they have begun participation in "comprehensive development strategies for the region. The LBIC also indicated they hosted Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham for a day visit to Le Mars. Durham was given a tour to the industrial park region that included IML Iowa, SmithCo, and Gus Pech. The LBIC discussed future expansion of rail service, and the grant of authority to establish foreign trade zones with Le Mars as being a "magnet site". The LBIC also worked with four small business entities offering assistance that included building information, business plans and demographic information.
Convention and Visitors Bureau Gives Annual Report
(Le Mars) -- During the recent Le Mars City Council meeting, Jessica Brownmiller submitted the annual Convention and Visitor's Bureau annual report. She indicated some of the highlights from this past year include the Girl Scouts "Cow to Wow" conference which had attracted nearly 100 people to Le Mars. Brownmiller also informed the city council about Le Mars hosting the WHO radio Iowa Tractor Tour which had 557 participants and served 802 meals.
Brownmiller also reported the Hotel/motel sales tax grant had received 15 applications requesting $55,594 and awarded $35,000.
Public Health Department Says No To Sioux Center Birthing Center
(Sioux Center) -- This week the Iowa Department of Public Health denied the request made by Promise Community Health Clinic of Sioux Center for a birthing center that would have been operated by a mid-wife. The vote was 4 to 1 against the clinic from establishing a birthing center. Nancy Dykstra serves as the executive director for the Sioux Center clinic. She says the Public Health's Department decision was disappointing.
Dykstra says the Promise Community Health Clinic already provides pre-natal care for expecting mothers. She says there is a need in northwest Iowa for the mid-wife services.
Dykstra says the clinic contracted with the Sioux Center Community Hospital to provide a hospital mid-wife employee to provide services to the under priviledged at the Promise health clinic. Dykstra says business grew, but the hospital did not want to share employees anymore.
The health clinic executive director says a second mid-wife was added to the clinic's staff. She says as the popularity of the clinic was increasing, so was the tension between the local hospital and the clinic.
Many local community hospitals went on record with the state's public health department opposing the clinic's request for a birthing center.
17 Year Old Declared "Mentally Competent" To Stand Trial For Murder
LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - Two psychiatric experts say an 18-year-old suspect is competent to stand trial on a charge that he killed his 5-year-old foster brother in western Iowa's Harrison County.
The two University of Iowa experts testified Wednesday that Cody Metzker-Madsen was extremely immature but said his "brain works very well."
Metzker-Madsen has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the slaying of Dominic Elkins on Aug. 31 last year. Authorities say the little boy died of head injuries and drowning. His body was found at the bottom of a rural ravine north of Logan.
Metzker-Madsen was 17 at the time.
The final decision rests with Judge Kathleen Kilnoski, who did not say Wednesday when she would rule on the defendant's competence for a murder trial.
Law Enforcement Academy Official To Resign
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The assistant director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy will retire after facing months of criticism for making inappropriate sexual and threatening remarks to female cadets and colleagues.
A letter released Thursday to The Associated Press shows 71-year-old Michael Quinn will retire June 30.
The move comes after Senate Democrats held him up as an example of personnel mismanagement by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.
Quinn was the subject of reports by the AP last year showing that he was allowed to keep his job despite a state investigation that found he violated anti-discrimination and violence-free workplace policies.
The investigation found that he made remarks to cadets and employees about his testicles and his sex life and told one subordinate that he would "slit your throat" if she acted up.
Group To Study If VEISHEA Celebration Should Continue In Future
AMES, Iowa (AP) - A task force has been formed to determine if an annual celebration at Iowa State University should continue in the future following a large crowd disturbance near campus.
University President Steven Leath announced the 20-member group Thursday. Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, will lead it.
The group includes student leaders and staff, as well as the mayor of Ames and the police chief.
Plans for the task force were announced shortly after a crowd disturbance this month near campus. People gathered during the multi-day Veishea celebration are accused of overturning cars and toppling light poles. One student was injured.
The disturbance led to Veishea's suspension this school year. The group will study the celebration's history and offer recommendations to Leath before the end of June.