Saturday News, December 22
Former Wrestling Coach Has Sexual Exploitation Charges Dropped
(Le Mars) -- Sexual exploitation charges in Plymouth County have been dropped against a former Akron-Westfield wrestling coach. Chad Utesch was charged with one felony count and five misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. Utesch was an assistant wrestling coach at Akron-Westfield and was charged with committing the offenses with a female student between February and December of 2011. In his decision to approve the defense motion to dismiss the charges, Judge Jeff Neary ruled that since Utesch's coaching certificate had expired in January of 2010, he did not meet the definition of a school employee, and could not be charged as such.
Akron Fire Department Battles Barn Fire
(Akron) -- Akron's Fire Department responded to a barn fire Friday morning. Fire officials were on the scene of that barn fire for nearly two and a half hours located at 30795 Dove Avenue. The call came in shortly after 10:00 a.m. There is no report as to how much damage was sustained, or the cause of that fire.
Hinton and Merrill Fire Departments Respond To Early Morning Structure Fire
(Hinton) -- Both the Hinton and Merrill Fire Departments were called to a structure house and garage fire Saturday morning at about 6:45 a.m. That fire is located at 32278 Indigo Road. Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck describes the scene.
Fire officials were still at the scene at the time of this posting. Beck says the house is a total loss.
Auditions For "Arsenic and Old Lace" Announced
(Le Mars) -- Auditions for the next Le Mars Community Play are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on January 7th and 8th. This time around the Postal Playhouse will feature the comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace". The story features two elderly sisters who are famous in their Brooklyn neighborhood for their numerous acts of charity. Unfortunately, however, their charity includes poisoning lonely old men who come to their home looking for lodging. The two women are assisted in their crimes by their mentally challenged nephew who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. A second nephew is a theater critic who discovers the murders and a third nephew appears after having just escaped from a mental institution. The play will be directed by Margaret Britton and scripts can be checked out prior to the auditions.
Gehlen Students Speak About Holiday Bowl Trip
(Le Mars) -- As we mentioned yesterday, Gehlen Catholic High School and Junior High Band are preparing to perform at San Diego next week for the Holiday Bowl festivities. The students will leave Le Mars on Christmas evening for a 32 hour long direct bus ride to the west coast. This is not the first time Gehlen Catholic has been invited to perform at Bowl game activities. In recent years, Gehlen traveled to Orlando, Florida to perform at the Champ's Florida Citrus Bowl and at the Alamo Bowl held at San Antonio, Texas.
Shelby Puhl (Pool) is a senior at Gehlen and plays the trombone. This trip will mark her third time to perform at a bowl game and she says she is looking forward to the parade.
Puhl says the parade route isn't that long, and she says she is anxious to see the helium-filled balloons.
Another Gehlen senior, Ashley Kellen, is experienced with bowl performances. Like Shelby Puhl, this will mark Ashley's third time. Kellen says she has never visited California and is looking forward to the experience.
No doubt the Gehlen band students will face a hectic schedule once they leave Le Mars, but they will have time to relax and Kellen explains what sight seeing opportunities she wants to see.
Two other Gehlen seniors will also be making the trip to San Diego are Kellen Nilles and foreign exchange student Luis Moreno. For Nilles, in addition to playing the clarinet, she also serves as the drum majorette. She talks about the challenges of keeping the band in step and on beat.
Luis Moreno plays the piano and keyboards but during the marching parades, he will take up the sticks and play the snare drum set. He talks about what he is most anxious to see on the trip.
And there is one other thing that Moreno hopes to see while in California.
You can watch the Gehlen Catholic Band march in the Holiday Bowl Parade which will be seen on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. local time on USA network, and the Gehlen Band will also perform during the halftime festivities of the Holiday Bowl which can be seen on ESPN, Thursday evening at about 8:30 p.m. local time.
Des Moines School District Against Armed Guards In Schools
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's largest public school district is questioning the National Rifle Association's call for armed police in every school across the country.
Des Moines Public Schools spokesman Phil Roeder says the proposal Friday doesn't offer details about funding or staffing concerns. He also says it's going to be state and federal policy
makers that will make any changes.
The Iowa State Education Association also has expressed some opinion on the issue, which stems after a school shooting in Connecticut last week killed 20 children and six educators. The group says they adamantly oppose educators bringing weapons to school. They also say they support efforts to increase mental health awareness.
Pregnant Woman Was Fatal Victim In I-35 Multiple Car Crash
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities say one of the victims of a 25-car pileup caused by a major snow storm was pregnant with twins.
The Iowa State Patrol says Colby Duckett Bostick of Clear Lake was killed in the massive wreck Thursday morning on Interstate Highway 35 in northern Iowa.
Iowa State Patrol spokesman Sergeant Scott Bright says the 27-year-old Bostick was struck by a vehicle after she got out of her car to check on another child.
The newspaper reports Bostick announced her pregnancy in November.
Officials also say 43-year-old Sheila Blood of Arkansas was killed. Seven others were injured.
Authorities say poor visibility caused the chain reaction of crashes when drivers were unable to see vehicles that had slowed or stopped.
Iowa's Population Growing At A Fast Rate
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Iowa is growing more quickly as the current decade begins than it did during the first couple years of the previous decade.
The Quad-City Times reports that U.S. Census Bureau figures show Iowa's population grew by 10,089 people between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012.
In the two years between 2000 and 2002, the population grew by 5,167 people.
Iowa's growth was largely driving by births outnumbering deaths and more people moving to the state from other countries.
Even as the population increased, more people moved from Iowa to other states than moved from other states to Iowa.
As of July 1, Iowa's population was 3,074,186.
Business Litigation Court Created
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A court that specializes in handling complex business litigation will be created under a three-year pilot program meant to improve the efficiency of the Iowa judicial
The Iowa Supreme Court issued an order Friday establishing the Iowa Business Specialty Court, which will handle disputes in cases involving intellectual property rights, business contracts,
commercial property and more.
The supreme court will select three judges to join the court based on their prior experience handling such cases. They will be tasked with adopting case management practices that help resolve
high-stakes business cases quickly and fairly.
Participation will be voluntary, and all parties must agree to opt in. Only cases in which damages totaling $200,000 or more are alleged, or those seeking injunctive or declaratory relief will be
eligible for the docket.
Dentist's Firing Of Assistant Is Upheld In Supreme Court
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says a dentist did not commit gender discrimination when he fired an attractive female assistant he viewed as a threat to his marriage.
The court ruled Friday that a boss can fire an employee he considers an "irresistible attraction," even if the employee has done nothing wrong.
The decision is the first in Iowa, but in line with rulings elsewhere.
Justices rejected a discrimination lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson, who was fired by Fort Dodge dentist James Knight in 2010.
Nelson had worked in Knight's office for 10 years. She and Knight eventually started texting outside work about personal matters. Knight's wife, who also worked at the office, found out and demanded Nelson's firing.
Knight's lawyer says the court's decision is "in favor of family values."
Supreme Court Allows For New Trial For Muscatine Man
MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has granted a Muscatine man a new trial on charges of sexually abusing a child.
The high court decided Friday that Robert Howard will get a new trial because a detective gave the 22-year-old an improper promise of leniency for his confession.
Howard confessed in 2010 to sexually abusing his girlfriend's 17-month-old son. A jury later found him guilty of second-degree sexual abuse and child endangerment. An appeals court later affirmed the conviction and 25-year prison sentence.
A district court denied Howard's motion to have the confession suppressed during his trial. The court's ruling now says the detective's actions made the confession inadmissible.