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Thursday Afternoon News, March 14

Julie Baack's Murderer Released From Prison On Parole

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man who served 17 years of a 50-year murder sentence has left prison on parole.
Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta says Brian Davis was released on Wednesday. Under the terms of Davis' parole, he must stay with relatives in Olathe, Kan., obey all laws
and get a job. His parole will be supervised by Kansas officials.
Davis was convicted of second-degree murder for killing Julie Baack. The 23-year-old Baack disappeared from her Le Mars apartment in 1992. Her remains were found east of Onawa three years later.
Davis and Baack were dating at the time of her death.
Davis originally was scheduled to be released on parole in 2018, but in January the Iowa Parole Board granted Davis an early release.  Baack's sister, Beth Baack-Williams, had asked the parole board, as well as
Governor Branstad to deny the parole of Davis claiming he should serve his entire sentence. 
Williams says Iowa needs to re-instate the death penalty for those convicted of murder.

 

Le Mars High School To Offer Seminar On College Planning

(Le Mars) -- High school juniors and seniors and their parents can learn about planning for college during a free presentation offered by the Le Mars community High School and the Iowa College Access Network.  Barry Borchers is a Guidance Counselor for Le Mars Community High School.  He says the seminar is open to area students and parents who have questions about college.
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The seminar is scheduled for Monday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. and it will be held at the Le Mars High School Cafeteria.   Borchers says interested parents and students don't need to bring anything special to the seminar.
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Johnson Wins Morningside's Siouxland Alumni Teacher of the Year Award

(Le Mars) -- Morningside College of Sioux City through its Morningside Educator Recognition for Inspired Teaching or (MERIT) has awarded its Siouxland Alumni Teacher of the Year Award to Kelley Johnson, a fourth grade teacher at the Le Mars Kluckhohn elementary.  Johnson, a 1991 Morningside graduate, has served over the past 16 years in several leadership roles in her building and with the Le Mars Community School District.  She has served as staff liaison to the elementary parent teacher organization and also served as a member of the elementary school improvement team and the district advisory committee.  Johnson has been a leader in implementing various professional development initiatives such as Every Student Counts, Guided Reading, and the Daily 5/Daily CAFÉ educational programs.

 

Soderberg Comments On House Flat Tax Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House.
The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote.
The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits, however, would not be available to those paying the flat tax.  State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars hopes the Senate will pass the measure.
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Soderberg believes the measure will help Iowa remain competitive against other states.
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Soderberg says those against the bill don't like it because it reduces Iowa's generated revenue by nearly $400 million.

 

Rural Iowa Losing Its Population Base

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nearly two-thirds of Iowa's counties lost population between 2011 and 2012 even as the state gained 10,089 overall.
The latest U.S. Census estimates show that Iowa had 3,074,186 residents last year, but the population of 65 of the state's 99 counties declined between 2011 and 2012.
Many of the population declines were in rural areas where aging populations are dying off while younger residents move to urban areas in search of work. Fifty-five Iowa counties had more deaths
than births in 2012.
The biggest population gains in the state were reported in Polk, Johnson, Dallas, Scott and Linn counties, which are home to Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids.

 

Senate Democrats Push For Expanded Medicaid Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats are proposing a Medicaid expansion with an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels change.
Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum says Thursday that the plan would address concerns from Gov. Terry Branstad that the federal government can't fulfill funding promises for a Medicaid
expansion.
Democrats argue that expanding Medicaid would provide better coverage to more low-income Iowa residents. Branstad says the cost is unsustainable for the federal government and questions the
long-term cost to states.
Branstad has offered an alternate plan called Healthy Iowa. This plan revamps an existing health program for low-income residents and would use state and federal funds to provide coverage.
A spokesman for Branstad says he will work with Democrats, but continues to oppose an expansion.

 

Missing Woman's Body Found

HAMILTON, Ill. (AP) - The body of a missing Iowa woman has been found floating in the Mississippi River near the western Illinois city of Hamilton.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that 44-year-old Teresa Bruegge of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was found Wednesday. She was found about 3 1/2 miles north of Hamilton in Hancock County. Mount Pleasant is about 50 miles north of where Bruegge's body was found.
Hancock County Sheriff Scott Bentzinger said an autopsy was planned Thursday. Police in Henry County in Iowa have been looking for Bruegge for four weeks. She went missing Feb. 14.

 



 

 

 

 



   

Thursday News, March 14

Catholics Delighted Over The Selection of New Pope

(Sioux City) -- Catholics around the world are celebrating after the Vatican announced the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy - making him the first pontiff from the Americas.
The new Pope selected the name Francis the first, which Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese says shows his "humbleness":

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Bishop Nickless says the Hispanic members of the Catholic Church are overjoyed with Bergoglio's selection as the new pontiff:

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Bishop Nickless believes caring for the poor will be a  high priority for the new pope:

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The Bishop says he is looking forward to meeting the 76 year old Pope Francis for the first time.
Nickless says he was a little surprised by the age of the new pontiff, but after watching him address the gathered masses, he believes the right man was selected.


Living Last Supper Offered In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Experience the Lenten season in a new and meaningful way this year when the Presbyterian United Church of Christ hosts the living last supper drama "Lord is it I?"  The presentation is being made by a group of men from Sheldon United Methodist Church as part of their outreach ministry.  The cast members recreate the scene from Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Last Supper painting, then listen to Jesus' statement that one of them, his closest friends, will betray him.  In turn they each think aloud of who it could be, ultimately focusing on themselves and asking the dreadful question, "Lord, is it I?"  The event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17th at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ, at 858 7th Avenue, in Le Mars.  Communion for the congregation is incorporated into the presentation, which also includes music by the Circuit Riders, a men's quartet from the Sheldon United Methodist Church.  Sheldon's Living Last Supper ministry marks its 28th consecutive year in 2013.


College Planning Seminar Scheduled For Monday

(Le Mars) -- High school juniors and their parents can learn about planning for college during a free presentation offered by Le Mars Community High School and Iowa College Access Network (ICAN).  The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18 in the high school cafeteria of Le Mars High School.  During the presentation, students and parents will receive answers to questions on topics including the admission process and requirements, college selection, and campus visits, the application process, understanding costs and cost of attendance, scholarships and making successful transitions to college.  Jessica Schultz, ICAN senior outreach representative says "this presentation is very helpful to juniors and parents who are unsure exactly what steps they need to take to get ready for college."  She says, "as students get closer to graduation, they and their families often find the entire process confusing.  This information clears up that confusion so families know what to do."  For more information about the presentation, students and parents should contact either Barry Borchers or Nicki Addison at the Le Mars High School by calling (712) 546-7028.

 

Woodbury County Settles Suit Over Strip Search

(Sioux City) -- - Woodbury County officials have decided to settle lawsuits filed over strip searches at the county jail.
Woodbury County Board Chairman Larry Clausen says the board settled rather than risk trial and possibly pay more to complainants and their attorneys.
Three women arrested on misdemeanor charges say they were forced to take off their clothes in view of male jailers during incidents in 2006 and 2007.
In the settlement, Maureen Rattray, of South Sioux City, Neb., was paid $335,000. Lori Mathes received $40,000 and Lisa Lambert $10,000. Dismissal papers were filed Tuesday.
In 2011 a U.S. District Court jury awarded Rattray more than $250,000, but that verdict was overturned and a retrial ordered because of inconsistencies in the verdict form.
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ISAC Conference Being Held In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 700 Iowa county officials are gathering in Des Moines for a conference focused on training and networking.
The Iowa State Association of Counties will meet Thursday and Friday at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for the 70th Spring School of Instruction gathering.
Organizers say presentations will cover health care reform, workers' compensation, government spending and tourism.  Participants also will learn about important legislative issues
concerning county operations and finances.
County officials are expected to review and approve the association's budget for the next fiscal year.  Plymouth County Attorney, Darin Raymond serves as the President of the Iowa State Association of Counties.


House Approves Flat-Tax Option

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House.
The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote.
The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits wouldn't be available to those paying the flat tax.
Supporters argue such a system would simplify the process.  Opponents say a flat tax provides costly breaks to the affluent.
Lawmakers in the House amended the bill to include another proposal to use surplus budget funds to give credits to taxpayers.  The surplus has been estimated at up to $800 million.
The legislation now moves to the Democratic-majority Senate, where it has little chance of support.


State Senate Approves Bill For Additional Mental Health Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators approved a bill that would give some counties a share of $11.6 million to continue treatment of mental health patients as the state transitions to a
regional system.
The Senate approved the measure Wednesday by a 40 to 5 vote with some Republicans and Democrats against the bill, which aids 26 of the 32 counties seeking extra funding to get them through this fiscal year.
The one-time appropriation now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature. Branstad earlier voiced support for $3.8 million, a figure recommended by the Department of Human Services.
Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids spoke in support of the bill Wednesday, saying such a level of funding is needed because the mental health services in the state are approaching a "crisis
situation."


Branstad To Take A Vacation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is taking a little break from budget debates to take a family trip to Arizona.
Spokesman Tim Albrecht says Branstad will leave Friday and return March 23rd.
Albrecht calls the trip an annual spring break vacation for Branstad and his family. Albrecht declined to provide Branstad's exact destination.
Albrecht says Branstad checks in daily with staff when he is out of town.
The Legislature will continue its work while the governor is away.




 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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