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Friday Afternoon News, April 17

Gries Arrested For Possession Of Controlled Substance

(Le Mars) -- An off-duty Sheriff's Deputy happened to notice a vehicle with a driver that he suspected was smoking marijuana.  The incident happened on Wednesday evening at about 5:15 p.m. at the 900 block of 4th Avenue Southeast. After speaking with the driver it was determined that in fact he was smoking marijuana from a small glass pipe while driving in Le Mars.  19 year old Skyler Gries was arrested for possession of marijuana and for possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was also charged with an OWI on the first offense (drug induced intoxication).  He was later released after posting bond.

 

 

 

Buena Vista County Authorities Investigate Child's Death

(Storm Lake) -- Buena Vista County Sheriff, Kory Elston, is reporting an investigation has begun after the Communications Center received a 9-1-1 phone call concerning an unconscious and unresponsive infant at an Albert City residence.  The Buena Vista County Sheriff's Office, Rembrandt First Responders and the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Ambulance were dispatched to the residence where CPR and other lifesaving measures wee administered.  The infant, a five month old boy, was later pronounced dead at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.  The infant's name is being withheld pending notification of extended family.  The cause of the death is being investigated by the Buena Vista Couinty Sheriff's Office and the Buena Vista Couinty Medical Examiner's Office.

 

 

Gehlen Catholic To Hold "Fire And Ice" Fundraising Ball

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic will hold its annual Gehlen Ball on Saturday at the Le Mars Convention Center.  This year's theme is Fire and Ice.  Co-chair Lori Schuck  says the theme was chosen in part because of the two parishes coming together to form one parish.

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Schuck offers a glimpse of how the convention center will be decorated.

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The Gehlen Ball is the major fundraiser event for the Gehlen Schools, and according to Schuck the event will feature many silent auction items.

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The Gehlen Ball co-chair says the silent auction will also feature many trips, vacations, and excursions for people to place a bid.  She says in the past the Gehlen Ball has generated more than $230,000 and the money raised has helped each class and activity at Gehlen Catholic.  Schuck says doors will open at 5:45 p.m. with the dinner to be served between 6:15 and 7:30 p.m.  The silent auction will conclude at 8:15 p.m.  One of the highlights of the annual event is the announcement of the Spirit of Peter J. Gehlen Award which is presented to a long-time supporter of the Gehlen Catholic Schools.

Dry March

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Weather experts say Nebraska and Iowa experienced a near-record dry March this year.
Regional and national climatologists and meteorologists announced their findings Thursday. They said the state had its second-driest March on record, while Iowa had its third-driest March, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Central Nebraska experienced its driest March in 121 years of record-keeping.
Weather experts say dry conditions have contributed to a brisk fire season, a slow start to tornado season and lower headwaters for the Platte and Missouri rivers. However, the National Weather Service expects the two states to get rain this month.
The National Drought Mitigation Center, housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, reports that nearly 38 percent of the continental United States is in drought.
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Body Found In Lake

JEWELL, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have found a man dead in Little Wall Lake in Iowa's Hamilton County.
Sheriff Dennis Hagenson tells KCCI-TV (http://bit.ly/1Eaeu7e ) that a dive team had been searching for a missing man Friday in the lake, located just south of Jewell. He was found dead around 12:30 p.m. and was recovered from the lake. His identity has not yet been released.
A man reported he found keys, sunglasses and a vehicle Thursday evening. He tells KCCI that he called the park ranger when he discovered the items still at the lake Friday morning.
Authorities say the case isn't considered suspicious at this time, though it remains under investigation.
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Branstad Signs 18 Bills Into Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Bills ranging from the illumination of rear vehicle registration plates to deer and wild turkey harvest reporting requirements have become law.
Gov. Terry Branstad signed 18 bills into law Friday. They will go into effect this year.
The bills include a measure to increase penalties for someone convicted of cheating on a gambling game and another to prohibit peace officers from engaging in sexual misconduct with offenders and juveniles.
One bill will require certain vehicles to illuminate the rear registration plate and another will update rules for hunters tagging deer and wild turkey.
The bills required a majority vote in the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate.

Tractor Accident Kills One

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man was killed and his passenger critically injured following a crash between a pickup truck and a John Deere tractor northeast of Council Bluffs.
The Iowa State Patrol says 42-year-old Kurt Sulzman, of Polk City, died in the collision Thursday.
24-year-old Caleb Deist, of Grimes, was taken to Audubon County Memorial Hospital and transferred to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. His condition hasn't been released.
Troopers say the driver of the tractor, 45-year-old Cory Handlos, of Audubon, was taken to the Audubon hospital. The extent of his injuries wasn't immediately available.
Authorities say Sulzman was northbound on U.S. Highway 71 when the collision occurred at an intersection. The pickup, tractor and seed planter it was pulling ended up in a ditch.

Grain Bin Fatality

AUDUBON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a western Iowa man has died from injuries sustained after he became trapped in a grain bin.
The Audubon County Sheriff's Office responded a little before 1 p.m. Thursday to a report of someone submerged in grain. The Audubon County Medical Examiner pronounced 62-year-old Gary Fancher, of Audubon, dead at the scene after he was removed from the bin. It's unclear how long he was trapped.
The sheriff's office says Fancher had entered the grain bin to break corn loose from above as he unloaded it.
Fire departments from nearby Exira, Harlan and Atlantic assisted the Fancher's extrication. No further information has been released.

Racing And Gaming Commission Approves Development For Bettendorf Casino

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved development plans for the Isle of Capri casino's move to Bettendorf.
The  commission unanimously approved the plan Thursday. An 82,000-square-foot, land-based casino will be built between two existing hotel towers on Isle of Capri's riverfront property.
Construction is expected to cost about $30 million.
The chief development officer for the casino said the company expects to use money from operations to fund the construction and does not expect to need third-party financing for the project.
The president of the holder of the casino's gaming license says the nonprofit expects a revenue increase that will help fund programs and projects in the community.
Construction is expected to begin in early May and last 12-14 months.

Texas Man Charged In The Mystery Millionaire Scandal

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Texas businessman charged with helping a lottery official try to claim a rigged $14 million jackpot has been released from jail while he fights extradition to Iowa.
Robert Rhodes of Sugar Land, Texas was released under electronic monitoring after posting $10,000 bond last week. An extradition hearing is set for May 7.
Rhodes is disputing charges that he worked with a friend, 52-year-old Eddie Tipton, to try to claim the Hot Lotto jackpot. Tipton was security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, an Iowa-based group that operates Powerball and Hot Lotto for state lotteries.
Prosecutors say Tipton may have inserted a software program that manipulated the random number generator for Hot Lotto. They say Tipton bought the winning ticket, and Rhodes and others later tried to claim it.


 

 

 

   

Friday News, April 17

Kim Rohr Reflects On Her 27 Years Of Teaching

(Le Mars) -- On Wednesday, Le Mars Community School District had named Kim Rohrs as the recipient of the "Teacher of the Year" award.  Rohrs has been teaching in the Le Mars Community Schools for 27 years.  She says she entered the field of education because she loves working with children and knew it was what she wanted to do. When Rohr's talks about her students, a bright smile comes across her face.  Rohr's explains her philosophy for teaching.

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Rohrs says teaching at the Transitional Kindergarten level offers its own set of challenges and rewards.

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Rohrs explains what she expects her Transitional Kindergarten students should be able to learn while attending her class.

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As for her thoughts about the Le Mars Community School District, Rohrs again smiles broadly and  has many words of praise for her employer.

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Hard Rock Fined For Violation For Allowing Banned Gambler To Gamble

(Sioux City) -- The Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City agreed to a five-thousand dollar fine Thursday from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for its second gambling violation in as many months. Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko says the violation again involved a person who had agreed to a self ban from casinos.

 

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This fine was an increase over the one issued on the casino’s first violation.

 

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This violation comes just one month after the casino was fined $3000 at the commission’s March meeting for the Hard Rock’s first self-banned gambler violation.

The casino has been open since last August and Ohorilko says management has been retraining staff following the violations.

 

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The person in the first violation was able to gamble and wasn't discovered until he cashed in the jackpot and his name turned up on the self-banned list.

 

 

 

Sioux City Wants To Keep Traffic Cameras

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City wants to keep operating five traffic cameras while appealing a state order to remove them.

The city filed Thursday for a judge's order to protect the cameras' operation, and a hearing on the request is scheduled on Tuesday.

Assistant City Attorney Justin Vondrak said in the filing that city officials think the cameras improve safety on Interstate 29 and other locations.

The city intends to file an appeal by Friday that will ask the Iowa Transportation Department to reconsider its order to turn off the cameras. Vondrak says the cameras likely will be turned off Friday, but the city hopes to gain the injunction Tuesday and turn the cameras back on.

The city's six other traffic cameras are on city streets and not subject to the department guidelines.

 

 

 

 

Google To Expand Council Bluffs Facility

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month.

Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March's 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining.

The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March's 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50.

Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

 

 

Operators Of Elderly Group Home Charged With Neglect

MARION, Iowa (AP) - The former operators of a closed elder group home in Marion have been convicted on three charges, including neglect.

Online court records say that 67-year-old Peggy Berns and 71-year-old Donald Berns on Wednesday also were convicted of conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and of possession of a controlled substance. Their sentence hearing is scheduled for June 5 in Linn County District Court.

In August the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals revoked the license of the Bernses' facility, Park Setting Elder Group Home. Documents released by the agency indicate employees used a board to block a tenant's door after state officials told them not to lock the room at night. The agency says employees were not properly trained and failed to secure medication and hazardous chemicals.

 

 

 

Midwest Economy Still Sluggish

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month.

Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March's 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining.

The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March's 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50.

Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

 

 

 

New York Mayor To Visit Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling income disparity a "profound challenge facing our country."

De Blasio appeared Thursday at Drake University in Iowa the invitation of former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. He spoke before about 50 people. Among his proposals to address income inequality were raising the minimum wage and offering paid sick leave to all workers.

De Blasio is seeking to be a voice for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, alongside U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts. His efforts to raise his national profile include making a play for the 2016 Democratic National Convention and hosting a meeting of liberals at the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, this month.

The first-term mayor took heat this week for not immediately endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

 

 

 


 

 


   

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