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Friday News, December 12

Borchers Arrested For Burglary

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have arrested 34 year old Justin Borchers of Le Mars on warrants for burglary in the third degree, a class D felony, and failure to appear on a charge of domestic assault, a simple misdemeanor.  Borchers is being held on a $5,500 bond.


Langel Clarifies Theater Purchase And Explains "Quality Of Life" Projects

(Le Mars) -- Last week the Le Mars City Council gave approval for the purchase of the Royal 3 Theater in Le Mars.  City Administrator Scott Langel says the theater is identified as one of this community's "quality of life" projects.  He says the city is overseeing the potential transaction, but it is not using taxpayer dollars to make the purchase.  Rather, the city is using private donations for the potential purchase. 

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The city official says the burden to raise the funds falls on the shoulders of the Community Betterment Project Leadership Committee.

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Some of the community projects that have been funded and were also identified as providing quality of life for Le Mars includes the recreational trail, the Community Wellness Center, also known as the YMCA, including both the indoor and the outdoor Aquatic swimming pools, and even the skate board park.  Langel says the committee has since identified some future projects that include the expansion of the Olson Cultural Events Center, a dog park, a skate park, and even a BMX course, and the city municipal park.

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Grassley Opposes The Release Of CIA Report

(Washington) -- Reactions are mixed in Washington D.C. concerning the release of the Central Intelligence Agency report on torture and interrogation.  Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he believes any report relating to the nation's intelligence should have been bi-partisian.  However, the Senate report on the CIA was presented only by the Democrats.

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Grassley fears the report may jeopardize the lives of Americans, and especially those people that work with the CIA.  He says the report was issued without even conducting any interviews.

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Finance Authority Releases Grants For Local Housing Agencies

(DES MOINES) – The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors today approved a total of more than $7.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives, which will assist 2,336 Iowa families. The funding is provided from the State Housing Trust Fund’s Local Housing Trust Fund program.
The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs.
The State Housing Trust Fund was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2003. Since its inception, the program has provided $49.8 million in affordable housing assistance that has benefited more than 15,200 Iowa families. This funding has leveraged another $152.4 million in other funds or $3.06 for every dollar of State Housing Trust Fund investment.  The Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund, serving Buena Vista, Emmet, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola and Sioux Counties will receive $339,392.  The Western Iowa Community Improvement Regional Housing Trust fund that serves Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Woodbury and Plymouth counties will receive $280,673.


World War II Weapon On Display At Camp Dodge Museum

  JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - The National Guard will install a World War Two era howitzer outside a military museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston.
     Members of the Iowa National Guard's Field Maintenance Camp Dodge shop on Friday will bring the 155 mm artillery piece to its new location on the north side of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.
     The public is welcome to attend the relocation at 10 a.m. today.
     The weapon, built in 1944, was acquired from the U.S. Army Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, George in 2013. It was refurbished by the Camp Dodge field maintenance soldiers.
     The 15-ton howitzer could be moved and set up quickly. It fired a 95-pound projectile up to 15 miles at a rate of 40 rounds an hour.


University Of Iowa Athletic Administrator Re-assigned

   IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former University of Iowa athletic administrator has been reassigned to the school's construction staff amid potential litigation brought by her partner.
     The school said Thursday that Jane Meyer, a senior associate athletic director since 2001, will start in the facilities management office next week.
     Athletic director Gary Barta announced last week that Meyer would be reassigned because the school faces a likely lawsuit by her partner, fired field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum.
     Barta says that keeping Meyer in the department's leadership presented challenges and the reassignment came at the advice of legal counsel.
     Griesbaum's attorney has said the reassignment, which doesn't affect Meyer's $173,000 annual salary, smacks of retaliation.
     The move does not affect Meyer's $173,000 annual salary.
     Paula Jantz will replace Meyer as the department's senior woman administrator.


Bodies Found In Coralville Motel Have Been Identified

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Police in Coralville, Iowa, have identified the bodies of two people found in an extended stay hotel as Florida residents in town for a construction project.
     Police Chief Barry W. Bedford announced Thursday that the bodies found Tuesday evening at a Suburban Inn hotel were 44-year-old Penny L. Herman and 41-year-old John J. Tromba. Both were from Port St. Lucie, Florida.
     Hotel staff found the bodies in a hotel room and called police.
     Investigators determined Herman and Tromba had been staying in Coralville for several months for work related to a construction project.
     An autopsy done Wednesday showed no trauma and the deaths appeared unintentional. It could take several weeks before toxicology reports can determine why they died.


Iowa City Man Poses As Victoria Secret Representative

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City man has been arrested after police say he posed online as a Victoria's Secret representative to trick women into sending him pictures of them in lingerie. 
     Twenty-nine-year-old Sean Boies was booked and released Thursday at the Johnson County Jail. He is charged with unauthorized computer access and two counts of identity theft.
     University of Iowa police say Boies created surveys between December 2013 and May 2014. They say he offered to invite aspiring models to a Miami photo shoot in a January survey. Two women submitted photos. 
     Police say he used stolen university IDs and passwords from two students to create the surveys. It's unclear if Boies is a student.
     It wasn't immediately clear if Boies has an attorney.



Thursday Afternoon News, December 11

Argosy Casino Appeals To Supreme Court

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The former operator of the Argosy riverboat casino in Sioux City has filed another appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
     The  former Argosy operator, Belle of Sioux City, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Co., is appealing a Nov. 7 ruling by Judge Eliza Ovrom. She ruled that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission acted within its authority in granting a license for what has become the land-based Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Argosy says Ovrom should not have ruled that Argosy failed to prove that the commission erred or abused its powers.
     Argosy attorneys also filed a motion to combine the case with another appeal before the court. That appeal challenges the judge's order to shut down the Argosy.


Ernst Says She Wants Armed Forces And Agriculture Committees

WASHINGTON (AP) - The campaign may be over, but Senator-elect Joni Ernst says she is just getting started.
     The recently elected Republican was in Washington this week. She's meeting her future colleagues, hiring staffers and seeking advice from longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. 
     She's also planning to visit every county in Iowa next year. 
     Ernst scored a decisive victory in November, helping the GOP take control of the Senate. She started the race as a relatively unknown state senator but soared to national stardom, promoting her farm upbringing and military background. 
     Looking ahead, Ernst says she hopes to serve on either the armed services or agriculture committees. She plans to focus on issues she addressed during the campaign, like changes to the tax code.


Beverly Hillbillies TV Star Upset Over Name Of Des Moines Restaurant

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The actor who played Jethro in the 1960s TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies" has filed a lawsuit against CBS, arguing the broadcaster made inappropriate deals with a Des Moines restaurant chain. 
     Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro Bodine on the show, filed the lawsuit Tuesday.  Baer had reached a deal with CBS that gave him rights to use the TV character to establish a chain of restaurants, hotels and casinos.
     The suit says Baer's rights to the character have been undermined by the Jethro's BBQ restaurant chain. Baer has declined to comment.
     Jethro's owner says it's currently not named as a defendant and that customers have nothing to be concerned about. 
     A CBS spokeswoman said in a statement the company will aim to amicably resolve the issue with Baer.


Judge Rules Branstad's Lawyers Not In Conflict With Lawsuit Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge says a law firm can continue to defend Gov. Terry Branstad, several aides and the state against a discrimination lawsuit brought by a gay former state official.
     Judge Brad McCall rejected a request Monday to remove attorney George LaMarca and two associates from the lawsuit by former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.
     Godfrey's attorney Roxanne Conlin had sought their disqualification, arguing they had a conflict of interest because each defendant has a different legal interest. 
     McCall says that he sees no "significant risk" right now that conflicts exist that would justify the firm's removal. He noted that Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and four aides being sued each attested that there was no conflict.
     McCall says Godfrey can seek their disqualification later if he "discovers facts establishing" conflicts.


Task Force Studying Felon Voting May Disband

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A task force created to study errors in Iowa's database of ineligible felon voters is expected to disband without finding a permanent solution to the problem.
     Secretary of State Matt Schultz formed the group after finding 12 cases in which mistakes in the list's 50,000 entries resulted in the rejection of ballots from eligible voters. Schultz said that the group would develop a "long-term solution to fix" the database's inaccuracies.
     Records obtained by The Associated Press show it took until Aug. 29 for the group to hold its first and only meeting.
     Former Secretary of State general counsel Charlie Smithson coordinated the group and defended its work. He says the meeting got government agencies talking to each other about the problem and led to incremental progress on short-term solutions.


Man Charged With Killing One Year Old Girl

 CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - A 25-year-old man has been accused of killing a 1-year-old girl in Clive.
     Police in the Des Moines suburb say Joe Lopez was arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. He remained in custody on Thursday, pending $1 million bail. Online court records don't list his attorney in the case.
     Police say officers were sent to Blank Children's Hospital on Nov. 29 to investigate injuries to 20-month-old Ruby Alvarez. Doctors say she had several injuries, including a skull fracture and broken ribs.
     Police say Lopez and Ruby's mother reported that the little girl had fallen in their apartment.


Marshalltown Man Charged With Slaying A Tama Man

  MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old man has been charged in the slaying of a Tama man in Marshalltown.
     The Marshalltown Police Department said in a news release that James Head was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony. Head's attorney in the conspiracy case didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
     The body of 32-year-old Adam Garrett was found inside a Marshalltown residence on Saturday night. Authorities haven't publicly said how Garrett was killed.


Mason City Restaurant Owners Told To Demolish Building

  MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Mason City officials are demanding that the owners of a once-popular restaurant tear down their building.
     The  city is demanding that the former Kansas City Steakhouse be demolished. The building has been vacant for many years.
     City code enforcement officer Kyle Peterson says much of the building's roof has collapsed and there have been many reports of vandals and looters at the site.
     Owners of the building must begin demolition within 30 days and complete the work within 45 days. If not, the city will move to demolish the building.



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