Friday Afternoon News, February 6
Soderberg Says Budget Still Main Priority For Legislators
(Le Mars) -- The state legislature has been at work for a month, and according to State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars several bills are moving their way from the sub-committee level to full committee, and to the House floor for debate. Soderberg says the budget still is the priority for the state lawmakers.
Medicaid funding is also creating some headaches for the legislators.
The Le Mars legislator says education was given considerable attention, both with the school funding, as well as with the school start date.
Soderberg believes the House will allow local school districts the option as to when should be the start date for the school academic year.
Sioux City Man Convicted Of Murder Of South Sioux City Woman
DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) - A 23-year-old Iowa man has been given life in prison for killing a northeast Nebraska woman.
Raymond Gonzales Jr. had been convicted of first-degree murder and a weapons crime. He was sentenced on Thursday in Dakota County District Court.
Police say Gonzales shot 28-year-old Bonnie Baker 16 times in her South Sioux City home on Dec. 15, 2013. His attorney, Todd Lancaster, of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, says he will appeal the verdict.
Lancaster had argued during the trial that police focused only on evidence that pointed toward Gonzales.
Sioux City Looking At Apps For Parking Meters
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - People might be able to plug Sioux City parking meters with their smartphones instead of coins by summertime.
Assistant City Manager Mike Collett told the City Council on Thursday that he hopes the system will be installed by June 30. He says the system will pay for itself through credit and debit card fees to use the app.
Collett says that, ideally, the user would receive a text alert when the meter was near expiration.
The city is waiting for proposals from software companies.
Farmers Continue To Sign Up For Lawsuit Against Syngenta
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge in Kansas City coordinates the cases so they can proceed.
The dispute centers around Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, a corn seed genetically modified to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs. China hadn't approved it for import, and boycotted U.S. corn once Viptera was detected in its grain shipments in 2013.
Farmers who did not plant the seed, grain handlers and exporters claim the boycott cost them money.
Syngenta says it plans to seek dismissal because there's no legal authority barring the introduction of a U.S. government-approved product simply because it wasn't approved for sale in a foreign country.
China approved Viptera in December.
Supreme Court Throws Out Kidnapping Conviction
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is dismissing the first-degree kidnapping conviction of a man who sexually assaulted a woman in his Dubuque apartment.
The court ruled Friday that the crime committed by Scott Robinson didn't meet the elements of kidnapping.
The ruling is a victory for the 37-year-old Robinson, who'd been serving life without the possibility for parole in the 2011 assault.
The court says prosecutors now have two options. They can try Robinson for second-degree sexual abuse, which would carry a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Or they can ask a judge to sentence Robinson for third-degree sexual abuse, which carries up to 10 years. The jury's verdict means he's guilty of that charge.
Prosecutors say Robinson locked the woman in his apartment against her will, and sexually assaulted her.
Man Uses Gaming App For Nude Photos Of Minor Girls
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say a Des Moines man used a gaming app to persuade a 12-year-old girl into sending nude photos of herself.
47-year-old Luther Gerald St. Clair has been arrested and charged with enticing away a child.
Officers say the child's mother found multiple texts from him on her daughter's cellphone. They say St. Clair and the girl met through a random game on the app Words With Friends. St. Clair asked the girl for her number and the two began texting.
The girl told police she met St. Clair only once while taking her dog for a walk, and that they made no physical contact.
St. Clair is being held in jail on a $10,000 bond.