Wednesday Afternoon News, March 27
Gehlen Catholic Mourns Death of Teacher
(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic schools are mourning the death of a physical education teacher. Steve Shea passed away on Tuesday evening from heart complications. Shea also had suffered from melanoma for the past several years. Shea joined the Gehlen faculty in 1983, and last year, Shea was bestowed the Bishop's Excellence in Education Award for his faith-filled teachings. Gehlen Catholic has set up a crisis team of counselors to visit with students and faculty.
Supervisors Establish Cellular Phone Policy
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Supervisors established a cellular phone policy and
reimbursement plan for those county employees who on occasion need to use their personal cell phone for county business. The policy was adopted on a 4-1 vote during Tuesday meeting. Department heads and elected officials can use their discretion as to whether an employee should be compensated, but the county governing board approved a rate of $30 per month for county employees that utilize a non-data phone, and a rate of $60 per month will be offered to county employees that use a smart phone. Supervisor Jack Guenther voted against the provision, but added he is not opposed to the idea. Guenther believes the county should compensate county employees at a higher rate.
Le Mars Mainstreet Being Evaluated
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet program as part of the Area Chamber of Commerce is to be evaluated today. State officials are in town visiting with various business and community leaders inquiring about the different programs organized by the Le Mars Mainstreet. Mary Reynolds, coordinator of the Mainstreet program, explains why the annual evaluation is needed.
Reynolds says the state officials will offer their comments to city leaders today at 1:30 p.m.
Deputy Makes Arrest Following Wanted Individual Provides False Name
(Le Mars) -- While on duty in Merrill on Tuesday, a Plymouth County deputy sheriff thought he recognized a person that was wanted by Plymouth County. After questioning, a name and date of birth was given that the deputy thought was false. After further investigation, it was found that the persons real name was Benjamin Alvar Chul Humbert, age 29. Humbert was in fact wanted by Plymouth County for Theft in the 2nd degree, a class D Felony, and Forgery, also a class D Felony. Bond on the two charges was $5,000.00. Humbert of Le Mars was arrested on the warrants. He was also charged by the deputy with Providing False Information to a Police Officer, a simple misdemeanor for providing a false name.
While trying to determine the identity of Humbert, the deputy also questioned the occupant of the residence in Merrill. Thomas Joseph Edward Evanoski, age 32, had also provided a false name for Humbert in an attempt to hide his identity. Evanoski was also arrested and charged with Providing False Information to a Police Officer.
Sioux County Make Arrest After Burglary
(Orange City) -- Sioux County authorities investigated a burglary that had taken place on Saturday at an Alton residence. As a result of the investigation, deputies arrested Charles Aulenbach, age 38, of Granville, Iowa. Aulenbach was charged with criminal mischief, trespassing, and theft. Additionally, 53 year old Timothy Schmidt of Granville was also cited for trespassing and criminal mischief.
Woodbury County Sheriff Considers Suing Board of Supervisors Over Policy
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County sheriff is considering suing the county board of supervisors over a disputed policy that prevents off-duty deputies working community events
from wearing their uniforms and driving county cars.
Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew wants to reverse a policy adopted in 2010 by the board that prohibits county employees from using county equipment for things like private security at community events. The board said at the time it was a liability issue.
Opponents argued people are more likely to respect uniformed officers.
Drew, who was elected in November, says elected officials should have leeway to set their own policies. He told the board Tuesday that he would allow some time for them to work out a compromise
before filing a lawsuit.
House Approves Cross Bow Hunting For Deer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved a measure that would allow expanded crossbow hunting of deer.
Lawmakers unanimously passed the bill Wednesday and it now moves to the Senate.
The measure would let residents hunt deer using a crossbow during the late hunting season, from Dec. 17 to Jan. 10. They would not be required to purchase a separate crossbow hunting license.
Under current law, only muzzleloader and archery hunters can hunt deer during that season. But a physically disabled person incapable of shooting a bow and arrow can get a special crossbow
license to hunt deer and turkey.
Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins says if the legislation passes he doesn't expect an increase in crossbow hunters to significantly reduce the state's deer population.
New Voting Rules Take Effect
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new rule backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz is taking effect that allows election officials to remove people from voter registration lists if their citizenship is
Schultz, a Republican, says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he's made his key issue since taking office in 2011.
The rule effective Wednesday allows Schultz's office to compare voter registration records against federal immigration lists. Anyone registered to vote flagged as a noncitizen is notified by mail that they may be unlawfully registered and should provide citizenship proof.
Opponents have unsuccessfully fought enactment of the rule. They say it intimidates immigrants who are citizens and may discourage them from voting.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it will continue to fight the rule in court.
Appeals Court Orders New Trial For Inmate
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An appeals court has ordered a new trial for an Iowa inmate convicted of assaulting a prison guard in 2009.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Earl Griffin's trial in Johnson County may have been unfair because he was required to wear leg chains in the courtroom.
The court says a judge failed to show why Griffin presented a security risk that would justify the need for using restraints during trial. Courts have said that shackling a defendant in front
of jurors should be avoided because it signals the defendant is dangerous and may prevent him from freely participating in his defense.
Griffin acknowledged he assaulted a correctional officer at the prison in Oakdale. He claimed a necessity defense, saying he needed to appear tough among other inmates.