Thursday News, November 1
Explosion At Smithland Kills A Man
(Smithland) -- An explosion at Smithland claimed the life of 76 year old Robert Jones of Smithland. Fire broke out at the explosion site and was contained to the one structure. Upon arrival, the structure was fully engulfed. Fire departments from Smithland, Salix, and Oto responded to the explosion site. The building was a former service station, but no but no longer sold any gasoline, but was converted to be an automobile mechanical repair shop. Jones was the owner of the business. The explosion occurred at about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday morning. The cause of the explosion and fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's office and the Woodbury County Sheriff's Sheriff's office.
Senator Thune Visits Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- South Dakota Republican Senator, John Thune was in Le Mars on Wednesday afternoon offering some motivation to area republicans to make certain they vote on next Tuesday's election, and to encourage all of their friends, neighbors, and relatives to also vote. Thune, told the crowd of fifty-three supporters that Iowa could come down to just a few thousand, or even a few hundred votes. Thune was critical of President Obama's record, and he says changes need to be made.
Thune offered specific examples of how the President's policies have hurt the national economy, as well as an individual's pocketbook.
After his speech, Thune greeted the crowd, and then took a moment to visit with KLEM news. Much attention has been devoted to the presidential race between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, but would the republicans be able to accomplish their goals if the Senate was to remain under the control of the Democrats?
Thune, has been a long-time supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, going back to the Iowa caucus. The South Dakota Senator spoke for about 20 minutes.
Civil Rights Trial To Begin
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Opening statements are scheduled at a Des Moines civil rights trial at which two black men will argue they were framed for the 1977 killing of a white, retired Iowa
The lawyers for Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee are expected to make their statements in a Des Moines courtroom on Thursday.
Harrington and McGhee, originally from Omaha, Neb., served 25 years in prison after they were convicted of killing John Schweer in neighboring Council Bluffs. They were freed in 2003 when the
Iowa Supreme Court found that prosecutors committed misconduct.
Lawyers will argue that Council Bluffs detectives used threats against a group of young car theft suspects to trump up evidence against Harrington and McGhee because of their race and the
pressure to solve the retired captain's killing.
Community College Enrollment Drops
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - In what may be a sign of an improving state economy, Iowa officials say community college enrollment has dropped for the second year in a row.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/RuJJwn) that this fall's enrollment hit just over 100,500 students, a drop of 5 percent from a year ago. Last year's drop was less than 1 percent.
The Department of Education says enrollment rose nearly 6 percent to peak at more than 106,000 students in 2010. It rose more than 14 percent in 2009.
M.J. Dolan is executive director of the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, and he says that "when the economy improves, people that were going to school go back to work. When
the economy declines, people come to community college to hone their skills."
U of I Faculty Senate Approves Background Checks
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Faculty Senate at the University of Iowa has approved expanding the school's current background check policy to include all faculty members and staff.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen says the Senate voted Tuesday to expand the policy, which was implemented in 2005.
Under the current policy, background checks are required for those positions deemed "security sensitive," such as finance or medical personnel. The change expands background checks to all
faculty member and staff.
Temporary staff, fixed-term faculty or student staff positions aren't affected by the change, which needs Staff Council approval before taking effect.
Officials say the change brings Iowa in line with other universities, including several Big Ten schools and Iowa State and Northern Iowa.
Sioux City Man Sentenced For Altering Postal Money Orders
(Sioux City) -- A man who falsely altered U-S postal money orders was sentenced to ten months of federal prison. 54 year old Larry Walters of Sioux City, received the sentence after pleading guilty to altering money orders. Walters admitted he worked in the print shop/mail room facilities at Morningside College. Walters operated the postage meter machine which was used to place postage fees on college mailings. Walters intentionally generated errant postage fees on envelopes and returned those envelopes to the post office claiming they were mistakes. Walters applied for and received Postal Money Orders as refunds for postage errors. After receiving the money orders, Walters would materially alter them by inserting his name in the payee area of the money order and convert the funds to his own use. Postal records showed a total of 156 refunds of postage were requested for Morningside College. The total amount of postage refunds altered by Walters was $65,940.
Ida Grove Man Sentenced For Possessing A Firearm After Being Convicted of Felony Crimes
(Sioux City) -- An Ida Grove Man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for possessing a firearm after having been convicted twice for felony crimes. Nicholas Siemering, 28 years old, was convicted of burglary in the second degree in 2003, and burglary in the third degree in 2003.