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Wednesday News, March 25

Neunaber To Have Hearing On Friday To Suppress Evidence

(Le Mars) -- A court hearing will be held Friday in the case of an Akron, Iowa man charged with first degree murder in the death of his mother.  A hearing in the case of 45 year old Jonathon Neunaber will be held Friday Plymouth County District Court.  Court documents filed Neunaber's attorney claim that the suspect did not have legal counsel when he was arrested and interviewed by authorities in Wisconsin last year.  Neunaber's attorney wants statements made and evidence taken in Wisconsin thrown out of the case.  A hearing on the motion to suppress will take place at 11:15 a.m. in Le Mars before Judge Steven Andreasen.

 

Traffic Stop Results In Arrest For Possession of Marijuana

(Le Mars) -- A traffic stop on South Ridge Road Saturday afternoon has resulted in a man being charged with possession of marijuana.  32 year old Charles Gordon of Sioux City was placed under arrest for a second offense.  He was transported to the Plymouth County jail.

 

Linseed Oil Soaked Rags Responsible For Orange City House Fire

(Orange City) -- More information is now known relating to the Orange City home that caught on fire Saturday evening.  The fire was determined to be accidential in origin.  Fire officials believe the most probable cause of the fire was the result of spontaeeous combustion due to unattended linseed oil rags left in a bucket near the rear of the residence.  The fire then spread from the rags, igniting the back of the home, up toward the roof area.  The ranch style home located at 303 Kentucky Avenue Northwest sustained an estimated $150,000 in damages.

 

Sioux City Apartment Complex Is Reg-tagged Forcing Residents To Seek Other Housing

(Sioux City) -- 22 people are temporarily homeless in Sioux City after the city red tagged the Jackson Manor Apartments located at 1700 Jackson Street.   A statement from the city says the building was deemed unsafe for occupancy following an inspection by the fire department.  Major Von Vandiver of the Salvation Army says residents had complained about safety issues with the building.

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Twelve of the 40 apartments in the building were occupied by 19 adults and three children.  Major Vandiver says the Salvation Army is assisting those residents.

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Those options include the Gospel Mission and other similar agencies in town.

Three Arrested In Tire Theft

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police say three men have been arrested in connection with an attempted theft of three dozen truck tires from a Sioux City tire store.
Thirty-year-old Raleigh Davis and 31-year-old Cody Parry, both of Sioux City, and 45-year-old David Linton, of Jefferson, South Dakota, were arrested on charges of first-degree theft, third-degree burglary and possession of burglar's tools. They are accused of trying to steal $11,275 worth of tires from Graham Tire in Sioux City.
Police responded around 1 a.m. Sunday to find the men leaving the area in a white van. Officers found a walkie-talkie inside the vehicle and discovered a cut fence and 36 semitrailer tires stacked nearby.
All three men are scheduled to appear in court April 1.

Senate Approves Townsend For Workforce Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has confirmed Beth Townsend's appointment as director of Iowa Workforce Development.
The Senate backed Gov. Terry Branstad's nominee in a 48-0 vote Tuesday.
Branstad announced the appointment last month. Townsend had been serving in the role in an interim capacity since the previous director retired in January.
Townsend previously served as executive director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
Former director Teresa Wahlert was accused last year of mismanaging the department and creating a hostile work environment. A former chief judge said he was fired because he stood up to Wahlert.
Wahlert later defended her work in front of lawmakers investigating the agency.

House Wants Schools To Start After August 23rd

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved a bill that would give the state control over when school districts can start their calendar year, a move that reverses course from legislation approved in the Senate and sets up conflict over what may happen next.
The House voted 71-29 Tuesday in support of a bill that would require school districts in Iowa to start classes no earlier than Aug. 23. The House bill changes legislation passed in the Senate, which would give school districts local control over when to start.
The House bill, which now heads back to the Senate, also adds language that would exempt some school districts with year-round calendars.
The Senate is expected to oppose the revamped bill, which may force lawmakers to debate the issue in a special committee.

Senate Committee Declines Health Department Nominee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate committee has declined to endorse the governor's pick to lead the state Department of Human Services.
The Human Resources Committee on Tuesday advanced the nomination of DHS Director Chuck Palmer without recommendation. Members expressed concerns about communication with lawmakers over plans like closing two mental health institutions. But many praised Palmer and noted he held a challenging position.
Palmer's nomination now goes to the full Senate, where he needs approval from two-thirds of the members. Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum, from Dubuque, said she was not sure if there were enough votes for approval.
Palmer took over DHS in 2011 after Gov. Terry Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.
Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said the governor was optimistic Palmer would win confirmation.

Senate Panel Approves Bill To Track Bed Availability For Mental Patients

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would develop a system for tracking when a bed is available in Iowa for a person needing psychiatric treatment.
Members of a Human Resources subcommittee approved the bill Tuesday. It now heads to a full committee for consideration.
The bill would allow the state Department of Human Services to use $200,000 to develop and implement an electronic tracking system. A state official would then be able to check the availability of an inpatient psychiatric hospital bed and reserve a space for an adult or child.
The bill, which passed in the House earlier this month, would require the bed to remain reserved until the patient arrived.
Representatives with the Iowa Hospital Association expressed concern about the availability of beds in some instances.

Microsoft Suing State Of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Microsoft Corp. has sued the state of Iowa, claiming their application for a software contract was not fairly considered.
The company filed a petition for judicial review last week in Polk County District Court that alleges Iowa officials unfairly approved a competitor's proposal. The petition seeks a reversal of Iowa's $7.5 million contract with Tempus Nova to implement a cloud-based software system for thousands of state employees as part of the deal.
The eight companies issued proposals to the state agency last year. Microsoft claims Iowa officials waived certain requirements for Tempus Nova in accepting its bid, including that it wouldn't have met Iowa's open records laws.
DAS spokesman Caleb Hunter says he can't comment on pending litigation.

Marshalltown Man Wants City To Pay For Damage Following Raid

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - A Marshalltown man says the city should pay for damage to his rental property caused by a police department SWAT team during its search for a murder suspect.
Ron Iole told the Marshalltown City Council Monday that he filed a claim with the city's insurance carrier, reporting approximately $19,000 in damages from the Jan. 20 incident in which a SWAT unit surrounded Iole's building and fired nearly 30 canisters of tear gas inside. But officials denied the claim, saying the city was not responsible.
Iole says he can't afford to remove the tear gas order and other repairs. Council members say they'll look for ways to help.
The incident occurred as authorities sought 19-year-old Jose Enrique Morales, who was wanted for first-degree murder. Morales has since been located and charged.

 


   

Tuesday Afternoon News, March 24

Updated Information Regarding Early Morning Accident

(Le Mars) -- Two vehicles collided with each other this morning resulting in an accident that sent two people to the hospital.  35 year old Lynne Uhl of Le Mars sustained serious injuries when her car t-boned an utility truck being driven by 38 year old Donald Oranian of Omaha, Nebraska.  According to a police investigation report, a semi truck and trailer was making a right hand turn on 24th Street southwest when Oranian pulled alongside the semi.  As the semi truck was making its turn, it was shielding the oncoming vehicle driven by Uhl from Oranian's line of sight. Oranian entered the southbound traffic on Business Highway 75 when Uhl's vehicle struck him.  Uhl had to be extricated from her vehicle by the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department.  Both drivers were transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital by the Le Mars Ambulance services.

 

Neunaber To Have Another Hearing Scheduled For Friday

(Le Mars) -- A court hearing will be held Friday in the case of an Akron, Iowa man charged with first degree murder in the death of his mother.  A hearing in the case of 45 year old Jonathon Neunaber will be held Friday in Plymouth County District court.  Court documents filed by Neunaber's attorney claim that the suspect did not have legal counsel when he was arrested and interviewed by authorities in Wisconsin last year.  Neunaber's attorney wants statements made and evidence taken in Wisconsin thrown out of the case.  A hearing motion to suppress will take place at 11:15 a.m. in Le Mars before Judge Steven Andreasen.

 

Traffic Stop Leads To Arrest

(Le Mars) -- A traffic stop on South Ridge Road Saturday afternoon has resulted in a man being charged with possession of marijuana.  32 year old Charles Gordon of Sioux City was placed under arrest for a second offense.  He was transported to the Plymouth County jail.

 

Rags Soaked With Linseed Oil Determined To Be Cause Of Orange City House Fire

(Orange City) -- More information is now known relating to the Orange City home that caught on fire Saturday evening.  The fire was determined to be accidental in origin.  Fire officials believe the most probable cause of the fire was the result of spontaneous combustion due to unattended linseed oil rags left in a bucket near the rear of the residence.  The fire then spread from the rags, igniting the back of the home, up toward the roof area.  The ranch style home located at 303 Kentucky Avenue Northwest sustained an estimated $150,000 in damages.

 

North West Rural Electric Cooperative Holds District Meeting

(Le Mars) -- Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative held its district meeting last evening at Le Mars.  CEO for the electrical cooperative, Lyle Korver, told the members the local power utility cooperative is doing well.

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Korver says additional environmental regulations placed on electrical utility companies and cooperatives have forced rates to go higher.  Korver says nearly half of the power generated for the Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative is from coal burning generation plants.

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The utility power executive says regulations and general upgrade maintenance have forced the rural electric cooperative to pass along an increase of rates to its membership.  He says they were able to maintain a rate stability for the past 26 years.

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Korver informed the membership the cooperative is expanding to include several commercial and industrial customers, as part of its commitment to economic development.  He says Northwest REC supplies power to four ethanol facilities, many large-scale livestock operations, and to other factories and production plants.

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At last evening's district meeting, the membership re-elected Shirley Benson to the board of directors. Northwest REC serves Sioux, O'Brien, Ida, and Plymouth Counties.


Lawmakers Shocked By Cost of Women's Prison

MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The cost of expanding and renovating the state women's prison at Mitchellville has now reached a projected $122 million.
Some lawmakers were surprised by the new price tag, which is up from the initial estimate of $68 million when the project was approved by former Gov. Chet Culver.
Democrats Sen. Robert Dvorsky, chairman of the Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Matt McCoy, chairman of a state infrastructure budget subcommittee, both said Monday that they were unaware of the project's dramatic increase in cost. The lawmakers said they were informed that the prison would cost about $100 million.
Deputy Corrections Director Brad Hier said funding for the project was approved by the Iowa legislature so the cost, which includes $94.5 million for construction, should not be a surprise.


House Passes Bill To Start School After August 23rd

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved a bill that would give the state control over when school districts can start their calendar year, a move that reverses course from legislation approved in the Senate and sets up conflict over what may happen next.
The House voted 71-29 Tuesday in support of a bill that would require school districts in Iowa to start classes no earlier than Aug. 23. The House bill changes legislation passed in the Senate, which would give school districts local control over when to start.
The House bill, which now heads back to the Senate, also adds language that would exempt some school districts with year-round calendars.
The Senate is expected to oppose the revamped bill, which may force lawmakers to debate the issue in a special committee.


Senate Has Doubts About DHS Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate committee has declined to endorse the governor's pick to lead the state Department of Human Services.
The Human Resources Committee on Tuesday advanced the nomination of DHS Director Chuck Palmer without recommendation. Members expressed concerns about communication with lawmakers over plans like closing two mental health institutions. But many praised Palmer and noted he held a challenging position.
Palmer's nomination now goes to the full Senate, where he needs approval from two-thirds of the members. Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum, from Dubuque, said she was not sure if there were enough votes for approval.
Palmer took over DHS in 2011 after Gov. Terry Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.
Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said the governor was optimistic Palmer would win confirmation.

Branstad Defends Use Of Blackberry For News Updates

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's office is defending the use of his privately-owned BlackBerry to read news clips and his official schedules.
Branstad testified in a deposition made public last week that he doesn't use a personal or official email account or send text messages. But he raised eyebrows when he later claimed that he had an "app" on his BlackBerry that allowed him to read emails.
In a statement Wednesday, Branstad's office said the governor was referring to the inbox on his personal BlackBerry. The office said the governor uses the device to read news clips that are distributed by aides and his schedule.
The statement says Branstad doesn't use the device to conduct state business. He has sent two emails from the BlackBerry, which both appear to be "pocket replies."

Webmaster Claims Iowa Workforce It Project Thwarted

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A webmaster claims that Iowa Workforce Development managers intentionally thwarted progress on a $795,000 plan for an electronic filing system for Iowa workers' compensation cases.
Former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey contends in a lawsuit that managers withheld support and took other steps to delay a system he'd sought to save time and money in filing, processing, mailing and storing documents. Godfrey claims the agency under then-director Teresa Wahlert was trying to make him look bad after he defied Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's requests to resign.
Godfrey's claim has gotten a boost from agency webmaster Mark French, who recently testified in a deposition that he was ordered by a supervisor to stop helping Godfrey with the project in June 2011.
State officials reject that allegation, blaming the contractor for delays.

 

   

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