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Saturday News, March 2

Branstad Appoints Local People To Boards and Commissions

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad announced his choices for state boards and commissions on Friday.  Dr. Thomas Jenery of Le Mars has been selected to serve on the Board of Dentistry, Larry Den Herder of Sioux Center will serve on the Board of Economic Development Authority, and Dr. Allison Schoenfelder of Akron has been asked to be on the state board of medicine.

 

Branstad Wants To Appoint His Son To Natural Resources Commission

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad wants his son Marcus Branstad to serve on the state commission that oversees hunting.
Branstad announced dozens of board appointments Friday, including a nomination for his son to serve on the Natural Resources Commission.
The governor's spokesman, Tim Albrecht, calls Marcus Branstad an "avid hunter" and says he "is seeking to use his passion to make his state a better place." Albrecht says Marcus Branstad will go
through the same vetting process as the other nominees, including approval by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
This would be an unpaid volunteer position for Marcus Branstad, who works for the American Chemistry Council.
The Iowa Natural Resources Commission is a seven-member board that sets policy and hears appeals on cases related to fishing, wildlife, conservation and parks.

 

Siouxland Ranks First For Economic Development

(Sioux City) -- The Siouxland metro area ranks first in the nation for economic development for cities with a population of 50,000 to 200,000 residents.  That's according to results announced Friday morning by "Site Selection" magazine.

Ron Starner, Executive Vice President of "Site Selection", made the announcement to around 100 local business leaders and elected officials at a Siouxland Initiative breakfast event:

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It's is the third time in the last six years that the Siouxland region has been recognized with this distinction.  Siouxland Chamber director Chris McGowan says the ranking puts our area out front to companies considering an expansion or relocation:

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The $1.7 billion announcement made by CF Industries, last November, coupled with major expansions at Sabre Industries, Tyson Foods, and Gerkin Windows and Doors contributed to Siouxland's 23 qualifying projects for the calendar year.

 

Bill To Protect Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Fort Dodge lawmaker has introduced a bill that would help victims of domestic violence protect their pets from abuse.
Sen. Daryl Beall proposed the legislation, which got its first hearing last week.
An abuse victim urged Beall to introduce the bill, noting that abusers often try to hurt victims by lashing out at their pets.
The bill would allow domestic abuse victims of domestic violence to include pets under a protective order, making it illegal for an abuser to be in contact with the animal.
Republican Sen. Kent Sorenson, of Milo, says his only concern is to define a pet to ensure protections don't extend to livestock.
If Sorenson supports the bill, it likely will receive a full judiciary committee hearing next week.


Work Continues To Restore Chief Wapello Statue

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Workers are making progress on the restoration of a 119-year-old statue that was ripped from its perch atop the Wapello County Courthouse in Ottumwa during a storm last
summer.
The 11-foot tall statue honoring Fox Indian Chief Wapello was blown down in June after metal supports snapped.
Jensen Conservation Services of Omaha, Neb., is handling the restoration, expected to cost about $20,000. Insurance is paying for the work.
Company director Rob Jensen tells the Ottumwa Courier (http://bit.ly/ZRPFIX) they're replacing the statue's internal armature and straightening out many pieces, including moccasins, hands and the face.
Jensen says repairs are on schedule but he wasn't sure when they would be complete.
After returning from Omaha, county supervisors plan to display the statue for a few weeks, then hoist it atop the courthouse.
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Planned Parenthood To Open Health Clinic

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is opening a health center in downtown Des Moines.
Officials say the facility is open Wednesdays and offers general health care services. That includes treatment for colds and the flu, sore throats and ear aches. The facility also provides birth
control and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
No appointment is needed before a visit. Spokeswoman Shelby Cloke says abortions will not be performed at the center.
The center's opening comes after Planned Parenthood recently announced plans to close two clinics in March. A clinic in Spencer will close and operations at the Fort Madison clinic will be
consolidated with other clinics.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has nearly 30 health centers across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

 

Branstad Denies Inmate's Request For Sentence Commuted

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad has denied an Iowa inmate's request to have his life prison sentence commuted.
Branstad says Friday he denied 78-year-old Harry Sisco's commutation request. The former Rock Island man was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Audrey St. Clair of Milan in
April 1991.
The Quad-City Times reports Sisco was accused of wrapping St. Clair's body in garbage bags and dumping it in rural, nearby Muscatine County.
Sisco told the Iowa Parole Board at a hearing last year that St. Clair was a good friend, and the death was an accident. The board later voted against his commutation request.
Sisco is imprisoned at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. A message left at the facility was not immediately returned Friday.

 

State Supreme Court Orders New Trial For Sexual Offender

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has ordered a new trial to determine whether a sex offender should remain locked up for treatment after his prison term expires.
The court ruled Friday that prosecutors improperly told jurors that a careful state review process determined Jonathan Stenzel met the criteria for a sexually violent predator. Justices say those
statements may have unfairly persuaded jurors to keep him locked
up.
Prosecutors are trying to keep Stenzel civilly committed, arguing he's at high risk to reoffend if released.
Stenzel was convicted of sexually abusing a store clerk at knifepoint in 1986, as well as arson and burglary. He says he's gotten treatment, no longer presents a risk to women and should be
released from prison. But a jury sided with prosecutors at a 2011 trial.

 

   

Friday Afternoon News, March 1

Bicycle Helmet Presentation Postponed Until March 15

(Le Mars) -- Opportunities Unlimited was originally scheduled to present bicycle helmets to Gehlen Catholic's second graders this afternoon, but Gehlen officials have notified us to say that presentation will now occur on March 15th.  Apparently, Bishop Walker Nicklass of the Sioux City Diocese is visiting the Opportunities Unlimited facilities this afternoon.

 

New Le Mars Stores Open For Business

(Le Mars) -- Two new businesses have open their doors today in downtown Le Mars. Bad Habit Boutique, which is a women's boutique and Sugar and Spice, a children's clothing store.  Both stores are located on the 100 block of Plymouth Street SW.

 

Le Mars Fire Department Issues February Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has released its February monthly report.  Last month, the Le Mars Fire Department had a total of 31 calls.  There were seven fire calls, four rescue calls, and seven investigation.  The Le Mars Fire Department was asked to offer mutual aid once during February, and the fire department had 12 requests for services.


Le Mars To Utilize Mobile Warning Siren To Help Locate Future Siren Sites

(Le Mars) -- It won't be long before we will be looking to the skies in anticipation of severe weather, and city officials are wanting to make certain Le Mars citizens will always be given proper warning in advance of any pending storm.  Next Wednesday, a mobile unit equipped with a weather siren will be in Le Mars to help city officials determine the precise location for future warning sirens.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper explains.

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With Fedder's Marine and RV already positioned at the junction of Highways 60 and 75, there is speculation that the city will continue to expand on the north side.  Schipper says the mobile siren unit will move around to different locations focusing its attention to  the residents and businesses located  the north side of town.

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He says the warning sirens are primarily designed to alert people who are participating in outdoor activities.

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In addition to the city's expanded growth, Schipper says there are plenty of outdoor activities on the north side that need to have the early warning system including the golf course, the municipal park, the hiking trails, and even the Plymouth County Fair.  Schipper says sometimes when people hear the siren sound twice, they are confused believing the second siren is an "all clear" signal.  The fire chief says that is not the case for Le Mars.

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Branstad Selects Local People For State Boards and Commissions

(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad announced his choices for state boards and commissions today.  Dr. Thomas Jenery of Le Mars has been selected to serve on the Board of Dentistry, Larry Den Herder of Sioux Center will serve on the Board of Economic Development Authority, and Dr. Allison Schoenfelder of Akron has been asked to be on the state board of medicine.


Lang Retained As Chairman of Regents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is appointing Board of Regents President Craig Lang to another 6-year term on the board that governs Iowa's public universities.
Branstad announced Friday that he wants Lang, a Brooklyn dairy farmer and former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, to stay on the board when his term expires April 30.
Branstad also appointed Grimes businessman and Republican activist Robert Cramer and Webster City doctor Subhash Sahai to the board. They'll replace David Miles and Jack Evans.
The appointments need confirmation from the Democratic-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have accused Lang and President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter of exerting too much influence.
Lang acknowledged Friday he needs "to do some work" to shore up his support. He says he wants to continue efforts to make education valuable and affordable.

 

Iowa Improves On Its Healthiest State Status

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has jumped to ninth in a national health ranking of states.
Officials say the state jumped seven spots last year in the yearly Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
The state ranked 16th last year, 19th in 2010 and fifth in 2009.
Gov. Terry Branstad launched the Healthiest State Initiative in 2011 in an effort to make Iowa the nation's healthiest state by 2016.
On Thursday Branstad hailed Iowa's progress and says the ranking "proves our efforts are working."  However, Democrats are critical of Branstad's decision not to expand Medicaid.  In a release, the state democratic party believe Iowa's new position as being the ninth healthiest state in the nation is in jeopardy, unless Branstad expands the Medicaid program. Democrats note of the top ten healthiest states, only two have not expanded the Medicaid program.  Branstad says the expansion of the healthcare program would be too costly for the state's finances.  He, instead advocates the continuation of IowaCare.

 

Milk No Longer Tested For Aflatoxin

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa agriculture officials are no longer requiring that milk received in the state be tested for a poison-producing fungus.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says milk will not be screened or tested for aflatoxin beginning Friday.
Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. They occur more frequently in hot, dry summer conditions.
The milk began being tested at the end of August. Since then, four loads of milk tested positive for aflatoxin. The last load tested positive in November.
The agency has been monitoring the prevalence of aflatoxin through a corn sampling program. It also blends aflatoxin with some corn for animal feed.

 

Former Investment Broker Sent To High Security Federal Prison

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa investment broker convicted of orchestrating a $200 million fraud scandal has been moved to a high-security federal prison in Indiana.
Authorities say Russell Wasendorf Sr. was transferred Wednesday to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute. His release date is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2056.
Wasendorf has been in the Linn County Jail since he was arrested in July. He pleaded guilty in September to misspending investor funds over a 20-year period at his former Cedar
Falls-based brokerage, Peregrine Financial Group Inc.
Wasendorf was sentenced in January to 50 years in federal prison.
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Lawyer Suspended For Using Crack Cocaine

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended the law license of a Cedar Rapids attorney for 60 days in the wake of his conviction for possessing crack cocaine.
The court on Friday suspended defense attorney Stanley Roush, who was sentenced to 15 days in prison last year.
Agents found drugs in Roush's car during a sting in November 2011, which came after one of Roush's clients told investigators that the attorney routinely smoked crack with a female
acquaintance.
Roush said his drug use was tied to his alcoholism, and that he's getting treatment. He says he always remained competent to practice law.
The court says Roush demonstrated a pattern of drug use since a 2003 marijuana possession conviction, and his behavior -- quote -- "shows disrespect for the rule of law."

 

Des Moines Burglary Suspect Blames Snow Pants For Capture

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say a burglary suspect thinks there's a good reason he was caught: His bulky snow pants slowed him down.
Police arrested Martin Thicklen Thursday following a car and foot chase. A woman had earlier reported that Thicklen burglarized her house.
Police reports say the woman confronted Thicklen outside the house before he rammed his truck past her car and fled. His car later hit a power pole and Thicklen was arrested on foot.
Police say the 49-year-old Thicklen later told them he would have run faster if he wasn't wearing his thick snow pants.
Thicklen's charges include second-degree burglary, driving while suspended and reckless
driving. He remains in the Polk County Jail.
Online records do not list an attorney for him.



 

   

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