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Saturday News, December 8

Harkin Staff To Appear In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Legislative staff from Senator Tom Harkin is scheduled to be in Le Mars on Monday, December 17th to listen to constituents' views on a wide variety of issues.  Residents can express their opinion about current legislative issues or seek assistance if they have concerns with a federal agency.  Harkin's staff member will be at the Le Mars Community Library at the meeting room between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 17th.

18th Street SW To Be Closed For Rail Crane Installation

(Le Mars) -- Wells Enterprises will be installing a new crane rail which will mean the closure of 18th Street SW on Monday.  The street will be closed between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon to accommodate the installation of a new crane rail at the high rise freezer.  18th Street SW will be closed between 6th Avenue SW and 12th Avenue SW.

Maurice Reform Church To Feature Traveling Nativity

(Maurice) -- Folks in the small town of Maurice will host its annual Traveling Nativity this weekend. Coordinator of the event is Justin Schrock.  He tells how the idea started nearly twenty years ago.

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Schrock says each year the event attracts several hundred people to the small Northwest Iowa community.  He says people will gather at the Maurice Reform Church and select a number and while waiting for their turn on the traveling nativity, they enjoy refreshments.  Schrock says the tour involves about a 15 minute hay rack ride pulled by a team of horses, and visitors are taken to seven different sites where the story of the birth of Christ is shared with a narrator and live scenes involving people and animals.
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Schrock says it takes more than 200 volunteers to put on the Traveling Nativity, and he says the tour utilizes both a portion of the town, as well as the country.

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There is no admission to the traveling nativity, simply a free will donation with the proceeds to help the youth group help finance a mission trip to Guatemala.  The hours of the traveling nativity are Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.


ISU President To Visit Sioux City

(Ames) -- Iowa State University President Steven Leath is scheduled to appear Monday at the Sioux City Downtown Rotary Club, held at the Convention Center.  Leath is expected to address the civic organization about getting acquainted with Iowans and his priorities for Iowa State University.


U of I President Sets Goals

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa President Sally Mason's top goal is to improve the university's public relations, but she has many other lofty challenges she'll be measured on as well.
The university released a document Friday showing Mason's performance goals this year, which were agreed on with the Iowa Board of Regents. Mason says the regents want her to improve
communication with the public and legislators, and that is at the top.
The other goals show how wide ranging and challenging the job of university president can be.
They call on Mason to make progress in the university's $1.5 billion fundraising drive and keep the university competitive for federal funding. They ask her to draw up plans to implement President Barack Obama's health care law at university hospital and to increase in-state enrollment.


U of I Officials Directed Documents To Be Destroyed

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Faculty at the University of Iowa say two high-ranking officials ordered the destruction of records showing dissatisfaction with a school dean.
Two faculty members allege in a letter that Provost P. Barry Butler and university general counsel Carroll Reasoner ordered documents destroyed. The documents were part of a faculty survey. Some comments expressed dissatisfaction with Margaret Crocco, the dean of the College of Education.
The faculty says Butler and Reasoner asked them to turn over all hard copies of the survey's comments. The pair also says officials told them the university would withdraw legal protection.
Messages left for Butler, Reasoner, Crocco and a human resources official were not immediately returned Friday.
Crocco has been dean of the College of Education since March 2011.

Stacyville Woman Sentenced To Prison For Embezzlement

(Cedar Rapids) -- A woman who worked as a claims accountant for a family owned company in Northern Iowa was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for embezzling more than $175,000 from her employer.  34 year old Patricia Freebury from Stacyville, Iowa received the prison term after pleading guilty to bank fraud and possession of firearms as a felon.  Freebury was previously convicted in March of 2007 in the Iowa District Court of Cerro Gordo County of the felony crime of first degree theft for embezzling approximately $25,000 from a former employer.  In a plea agreement and at the sentencing hearing, Freebury admitted that over a two year period, she carried out a fraudulent scheme to steal money from her employer.  Using her position as a claims accountant, Freebury wrote more 200 company checks made payable to herself in amounts ranging from $250 to over $900 and forged the owner's signature on the checks.  To conceal the embezzlement, Freebury falsified company records to make it appear that the checks were made payable to various venders.  Freebury used the proceeds of her crime to buy vehicles and other personal property.


Burlington Men Charged With Boating Deaths

BURLINGTON (AP) - Two Burlington men have been charged with felonies after authorities allege they were driving boats while drunk which caused a collision on the Mississippi River in May that killed four people.
Twenty-one-year old Joseph Schier Junior and 22-year-old Douglas Metcalf were charged Friday with boating while intoxicated causing a death and four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Authorities say the men were shuttling partiers from an island sandbar to shore in the early morning hours of May 19th when their boats crashed in the dark.
Killed were Matthew House, Jacob Boyd, Caitlyn Atchley, and Blake Eakins. All were in their early 20s and from Burlington.
No trial date has been scheduled. The cases are not yet listed in online court records.


Two Attorneys Prohibited To Practice Law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa attorneys are prohibited from practicing law for at least six months after their involvement in separate unlawful real estate deals.
Former Clarke County Attorney Ronald Wheeler falsified information on a home loan application to help a client. He pleaded guilty last year and was given probation and ordered to pay more
than $800,000 restitution.
Paul Bieber, a Davenport attorney, pleaded guilty last year to a felony for his role in overstating the value of a home in a transaction. He also was given probation and ordered restitution.
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday suspended their licenses for six months.
Justice David Wiggins, in a strongly worded dissent, says their licenses should be revoked because a person who uses a law license to steal is unfit to practice law.


Des Moines Police Investigate Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police in Des Moines say a man is in critical condition after being shot at least six times during an overnight shooting.
Rashad Adair has undergone surgery at a Des Moines hospital after being shot at least six times on his nose and both his upper and lower torsos. Police say Adair was sitting in a vehicle late Thursday night when a gunman approached him and fired several shots. The gunman then fled on foot.
Police say two witnesses have been interviewed and released.
Adair is expected to undergo an additional surgery for his injuries.




Friday News, December 7

Orange City Teen Found Guilty of Burglary and Robbery

(Orange City) -- A 16 year old Orange City teen was found guilty by a Sioux County jury of robbery in the first degree, a class B felony, as well as Burglary in the first degree, also a class B felony.  Because of the nature of the charges, under Iowa law, the defendant, Leandro Valdez, was charged in adult court.  Valdez was accused and convicted by the jury of participating in an armed robbery and burglary at a residence in Orange City on August 30th. At the trial, the victim testified that he awoke to find five intruders in his bedroom at approximately 11;30 p.m.  The intruders were dressed in black and were wearing ski masks.  One of the intruders was armed with a handgun and three others were armed with knives.  The victim testified that the intruders demanded money from him, threaten to kill him, and held him at gunpoint as they ransacked his home searching for valuables. The resident testified
that he was able to flee the home by pushing past one of the attackers, when his attention
was diverted, and tumbled down a flight of stairs.  The intruders pursued him, beating and kicking him, but he was able to get to a neighbor's home where the neighbor called 911.  At the trial, the victim testified that he was able to identify only one of the attackers, the defendant, whose face he was able to observe when the defendant's ski mask fell off during the robbery.  Valdez was taken into custody a few hours after the incident.  To date, no one else has been formally charged in the incident.

Plymouth County Realtors To Ring Bell For Salvation Army

(Le Mars) -- Today (Friday) outside of the Le Mars Wal-Mart, some familiar faces will be ringing the bells with the hopes of filling their kettles in support of the Salvation Army.  Shane Sitzmann of Lance Sitzmann Real Estate explains.

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All the brokerage offices in Le Mars will be participating in ringing the bells from 11-6 today (Friday) outside each door.  Sitzmann adds that volunteering to do this is important to him because every coin placed in those kettles adds up.

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According to the Siouxland Salvation Army office, based in Sioux City, money from the kettles is equitably distributed back to the counties where it was raised each year.  They added that volunteers are needed throughout the season to ring the bells here in Le Mars.  Any group, organization, family or individuals wanting to help can contact the Salvation Army office at 712-255-8836 and ask for Janice.


Realtors Donate To Local Charities

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Multiple Listing Service comprised of the Realtors in Plymouth County have teamed up to donate $500 to the Christian Needs Center and $500 to the Le Mars Backpack program this holiday season.  The Christian Needs Center is a food and clothing pantry for the needy in Plymouth County.  The Le Mars Backpack program packages and donates bags of snacks and nutritional items on a weekly basis to 377 children at Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic schools.  The Plymouth County Realtors are proud to donate to these great causes that have such a significant and positive impact on the community.

Snowmobiles and ATV's Need To Be Registered

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Recorder Jolynn Goodchild wants to remind Snowmobile and ATV owners that registrations expire on December 31st.  Renewals can be made at the Plymouth County Recorder's office located at the Plymouth County Courthouse between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Renewals can also be mailed with the appropriate fee.  If you should have questions, you can contact the Recorder's office at 546-4020.

Authorities Believe Found Bodies Are Those Of Missing Cousins

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're "confident" bodies found in an isolated wildlife area are those of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes last summer.
Black Hawk County sheriff's Captain Rick Abben said that's based on evidence at the scene and the preliminary investigation.  However, autopsies are still pending.
Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins vanished while riding bikes in Evansdale in July. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10.
Hunters found the bodies Wednesday in a rural park about 25 miles away.
Local and state police and the FBI joined in a massive search
that continued for months after the girls disappeared. No one has been charged in the case.
Evansdale is about 90 miles northeast of Des Moines.


Flags To Be Lowered For Pearl Harbor Day

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The flags will be half-staff from Friday morning through the afternoon.
Public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state will participate. That includes the State Capitol Building and the Capitol Complex.
Officials are encouraging individuals, businesses, schools and other government subdivisions to fly their flags at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.
Congress has designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941, by Japan on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii pushed the U.S. into
World War II.

Des Moines Man Faces Nine Years In Prison For Robbing Bank

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A 38-year-old Des Moines man has been given more than nine years in federal prison for robbing a bank in Williamsburg.
Federal prosecutors say Ryan Randles was sentenced this week to 115 months. He must serve five years of supervised release after leaving prison and make restitution of nearly $5,700 to Keokuk
County State Bank.
Randles had pleaded guilty in September to charges that he robbed the bank on Oct. 20, 2010, and pointed what appeared to be a firearm at two people during the heist. No injuries were reported.


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