Thursday News, December 5
Soderberg Announces Re-election Bid
(Le Mars) -- Republican State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars formally announced his intention to seek a sixth term in the state house. Soderberg, made the announcement in front of a crowd of community leaders attending the Chamber sponsored legislative luncheon. Soderberg says it is an honor to serve the people of Iowa's 5th state house district, and he looks forward to focusing on maintaining fiscal accountability of the state government, reducing the tax and regulatory burdens placed on Iowans. Soderberg says he wants to expand economic opportunities for northwest Iowa, and to enhance our high quality education system. Soderberg currently serves as chairman of the State House Appropriations Committee. He is employed as the Vice President of Planning and Legislative Services for Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative.
Soderberg and Anderson Speak At Legislative Luncheon
(Le Mars) -- Community leaders representing the Le Mars business and industries, Le Mars Community School District, the city of Le Mars, and Plymouth County, listened to State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson list the priorities for the upcoming legislative session during the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce sponsored Legislative Luncheon. The luncheon was held Wednesday. Both government elected officials briefly mentioned the accomplishments from last year's session including property tax credits, and school funding. For the upcoming session, Soderberg says much of the time during this session may be spent on the budget, and funding the programs. The two legislators also spoke about whether there would be an increase in fuel tax sales to help finance a deteriorating infrastructure system. Both Anderson and Soderberg don't believe there will be a bill passed to increase fuel taxes, simply because of the political ramifications.
The legislators were also asked about tax incremental financing programs, funding of mental health programs, as well as funding for appropriate housing for mental health patients, gun carry laws, co-pay for physical therapy, and even medicinal marijuana. State Senator Bolkem of Iowa City has said he wants to again introduce a bill that would allow medicinal marijuana use in Iowa, but both Anderson and Soderberg say there isn't enough support from either party or either chamber for the bill to advance.
Flatbed Truck Has Roll-over Accident
(Le Mars) -- A flatbed truck hauling stacks of drywall sheetrock, insulation, and other building supplies was involved in a one-vehicle roll-over accident Wednesday afternoon. The accident occured just before 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 60 and 120th Street, north of Le Mars. The truck is owned by the Jarco Building Company from Sioux City. It was northbound on Highway 60 when apparently the driver lost control, and the truck left the highway entering the east ditch and rolled. The driver was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars, then on to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. Responding to the accident were the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, Iowa Highway Patrol and the Iowa Department of Transportation. The identity of the injured driver has not been released.
Judge Rose Testifies At Trial
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former U.S. attorney who is now a federal judge testified a fired prosecutor had committed "hundreds" of infractions.
U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose testified Wednesday that the 63 infractions against Martha Fagg were chosen by employment attorneys advising the U.S. Attorney's Office.
But the Sioux City Journal reports Rose added, "They are 63 among hundreds, hundreds, hundreds."
Rose ultimately fired Fagg, who now accuses her of discriminating against her because of her mental and physical conditions. She also alleged Rose discriminated against older employees.
Rose testified more than six hours in U.S. District Court in Sioux City.
Senior U.S. District Judge Donald E. O'Brien also testified, saying Fagg had represented 177 cases before him.
He calls her a good lawyer who was always well-prepared.
One Year Later Since The Discovery Of Missing Cousins And Investigators Still Receiving Tips
EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Investigators are still getting calls regarding two Iowa cousins whose bodies were found a year ago about 25 miles from where they were last seen.
Gerald Meyers of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says that investigators have had more than 1,100 leads.
The bodies of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were found Dec. 5, 2012, at Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they vanished while bike riding in Evansdale.
Officials continue to search for any link to Michael Klunder, who police say abducted two girls from Dayton in May and killed one before killing himself.
Meyers says no evidence linking Klunder to the Evansdale case has been found, but investigators haven't ruled him out either.
Former State Senator Has Computers Confiscated
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Federal agents recently searched the home of a former state senator and seized computers and other materials.
Agents from the FBI searched Kent Sorenson's home on November 20th. Sorenson's attorney Theodore Sporer says computers were confiscated.
Sporer says he has not been notified that Sorenson is the target of any investigation.
Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, resigned his Senate seat after an independent investigator concluded he likely broke ethics rules in receiving money from presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's political action committee and presidential campaign.
Sorenson has said his resignation wasn't an admission of wrongdoing.
FEMA Will Not Require U Of I To Purchase Additional Flood Insurance
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa says the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not require the school to purchase additional flood insurance after all.
UI vice president of finance and operations Doug True said Wednesday the news "is a very big deal and will save us millions of dollars."
The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1eX67fa ) reports that True shared the news during a meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents. He says more details will follow after the university analyzes FEMA's decision.
FEMA had told the university that it would not accept its blanket, $250 million flood insurance policy as proof of insurance on buildings being rebuilt with federal aid after the 2008 flood, and might require higher limits.
Iowa's insurance commissioner asked FEMA for a waiver, saying the school had ample insurance.