Wednesday News, May 25th
State Auditor To Investigate Boyden City Clerk
(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation into improper money disbursements by former Boyden City Clerk, Beth Sipma. The Sioux County Attorney, Thomas Kunstle, was contacted by the Iowa State Auditor's Office concerning the case. The Sioux County Attorney has asked the Sheriff's Office to investigate, along with the state auditor's office. In the report from State Auditor, Mary Moisman it states a special investigation was requested by Boyden city officials to cover a time period from July 1, 2013 to April 30, 2015. Moisman reported the special investigation identified $36,227.60 of improper and unsupported disbursements. The $34,659.27 of improper disbursements identified includes $30,735.42 of payments made to, or, for Sipma, including payroll and reimbursements. Moisman also reported the improper disbursements identified includes $3,059.82 of purchases made with the city's credit cards, including $1,321.10 for airline tickets from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Aberdeen, Scotland; a $506.46 personal cell phone bill; and $428.82 of personal purchases from IKEA. The report says the improper disbursements identified also include late fees and interest incurred by the city for late credit card payments and contributions not remitted in a timely manner to the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System or IPERS.
Sheriff's Office Investigates Illegal Dumping Of Used Tires
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance with an illegal dumping investigation. On Tuesday, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office was called to the area of 130th St. and Juniper Ave north of Brunsville for multiple used tires dumped in the ditch. Approximately 30 used tires were dumped in the ditch and on the roadway. The Plymouth County Roads Department also located two other dumping locations a few miles away near 120th St and Hickory Ave. Approximately 75 more tires were found at those locations. If anyone has any information or seen any suspicious activity in that area, please contact the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office at (712) 546-8191. Crime Stoppers may pay a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction for any felony crime.
Sheriff's Deputies Locate Stolen Vehicle
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies have recovered a stolen vehicle and made an arrest relating to that incident. Last Thursday, at approximately 2:00 a.m. deputies stopped a silver colored Honda van that was being driven 19 year old Deamber Wilburn of Omaha for traffic violations. After further investigation, Wilburn was in possession of and driving a stolen vehicle. Wilburn was arrested and transported to the Plymouth County jail where she was charged with operating a vehicle without the owner's consent, providing false information, and operating a vehicle without a valid license. Wilburn was initially stopped for speeding and running through a stop sign.
Two Sioux City Banks' ATM Machines Affected By Skimmers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City police say the credit and debit card information from a "significant" number of customers at two local banks has been stolen by devices known as skimmers.
Police said Tuesday that they are cooperating with the FBI to locate anyone connected with the skimmers, which were installed on the exterior of an ATM at an Iowa-Nebraska State Bank branch and an ATM at a Pinnacle Bank branch.
Detective Jeff Harstad says the skimmers were found May 14 and May 21. Sgt. Chris Groves said some of the stolen card numbers were used to make fraudulent charges, but most of the charges were made outside of Siouxland.
Authorities have not disclosed the exact number of customers who have been affected.
Fort Dodge Agrees To Pay Environmental Protection Agency Penalty
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Fort Dodge has agreed to pay the Environmental Protection Agency a $20,000 penalty and build a new $200,000 road to its water treatment plant for emergency access to settle a complaint it violated federal regulations requiring a risk management plan.
A settlement agreement was signed May 10.
The city was notified in January 2015 it violated federal Clean Water Act regulations requiring a plan for hazardous chemicals handling including chlorine gas.
The treatment plant uses it for water treatment. Chlorine gas if released can be severely corrosive to the eyes, skin and lungs and exposure to high concentrations can be fatal.
The risk management plan also is designed to aid fire, police and emergency response personnel prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies.
Development Group Wants To Build A Des Moines Skyscraper Building
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A development group wants to build a 29-story high-rise in downtown Des Moines.
Blackbird Investments, a Des Moines-based developer, wants to build the proposed $60 million tower on an empty lot where half of the former Younkers department store was destroyed in a 2014 fire.
Blackbird Investments bought the property after the fire and is renovating the surviving half of the building into 60 apartments.
The high-rise plan calls for 220 condos or apartments, roughly 150 hotel rooms and ground-level storefronts. If the tower was built, it would be one of the tallest structures in downtown Des Moines.
Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson says the group has not yet presented its plans to the City Council.
Council Bluffs Man Faces Hit And Run Charges
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An Omaha man is facing charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run on the Interstate 480 bridge between Iowa and Nebraska.
Police say 44-year-old Tracy Peniska turned himself in to the Pottawattamie County Jail Monday and was officially charged Tuesday with leaving the scene of a fatality accident and obstructing prosecution.
Council Bluffs police say Peniska was driving his car March 9 and hit a pedestrian, 29-year-old Brett Jensen. Jensen died from his injuries.
Police say they believe Peniska and 25-year-old William Jones both hit Jensen that night, but Peniska hit him first and caused the fatal injuries.
Jones was charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident. He was cited and released.
An attorney hasn't yet been assigned for Peniska. The public defender's office didn't wish to comment.
World Pork Expo To Feature Educational Seminars Regarding Antibiotics For Swine
(Des Moines) -- In a matter of a couple of weeks, 20,000 pork producers from around the globe will convene at the Iowa State Fairgrounds to attend the World Pork Expo. The World Pork Expo is an annual event that features an industry trade show, junior hog judging contests, and educational seminars. Cindy Cunningham serves as the Assistant Vice President of the National Pork Board. She says World Pork Expo is an excellent opportunity for pork producers to gather and network with industry officials and other pork producers to discuss common issues impacting the pork industry.
Cunningham says this year's World Pork Expo will cover some of the new regulations that are soon coming that deal with antibiotics vaccinations and medications.
The pork board official says World Pork Expo offers many organizations and companies the chance to host a hospitality tent. She says pork producers are welcomed to attend the National Pork Board's hospitality tent for some great tasting bacon products, and to learn and discuss issues with other producers.
This year's World Pork Expo is scheduled for June 8th, 9th, and 10th.
Despite Wet Fields, Corn Planting Is Ahead Of Normal Pace
(Des Moines) -- The latest weekly crop condition report from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship shows 96 percent of the state's corn crop has been planted, which is two days ahead of last year, and six days ahead of the five-year average. 75 percent of that planted corn has emerged, which is on pace from last year, but four days ahead of normal. As for soybean planting, the report shows 74 percent of the soybean crop has been planted with nearly 21 percent having already emerged. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says "many farmers were able to make good progress last week, but now may be again a bit delayed with additional wet weather across the entire state." Northey says farmers will be anxious to finish their planting. As for the condition of the crop, four percent of the corn is listed as poor to very poor. 23 percent of the corn crop is in fair condition, 62 percent is good, and 11 percent of the corn crop is listed as being in excellent condition.