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Monday News, January 7

Hospital Trustees To Meet


(Le Mars)
-- The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet on Tuesday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m.  The trustees will make committee appointments, decide upon what to do with medical surplus equipment, and look at their annual review.

 

Chamber Banquet Date Announced

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Chamber of Commerce officials have announced the date for the annual Chamber banquet.  This year the banquet will be held on Saturday, January 26 at the Upper Level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Social hour will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.  Crimson and Black show choir and the Gehlen Choir will perform. During the banquet, awards and recognitions of the Business of the Year, the Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and the Boss of the Quarter and Employee of the Month will be presented.  Tickets are $40 per person and reservations can be made by calling the Le Mars Chamber office at 546-8821.

 

State Examining Firings of State Employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are re-examining state personnel rules after a newspaper investigation revealed that 33 state employees who were fired returned to work for the state in
the past five years.
The Des Moines Register is examining the records of 328 state employees fired for just-cause in the past five years.
An Iowa conservation officer is still working even after being fired twice for alcohol-related offenses.
One of the rehired employees had been fired for habitual tardiness. But she was later fired again.
David Roederer is the head of Iowa's Department of Management. He says rehiring fired employees shouldn't be happening.
But he says that most of the cases where an employee is rehired involve the state's grievance and arbitration process where the employee appealed the firing.

 

Former Director of U of I International Programs Files Lawsuit

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A lawsuit filed by a former director of the University of Iowa's Study Abroad program says she's a victim of discrimination and retaliation.
Janis Perkins lost her job as assistant dean of International Programs in April following what the university called a "comprehensive reorganization" of International Programs.
Her lawsuit says the reorganization was "a mere pretext" for firing Perkins. In the lawsuit Perkins says she was harassed and discriminated against because of her health disabilities.
Her lawsuit says Perkins was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder diagnosed in 2000. The lawsuit also says the condition required periods of leave for treatment and caused severe
depression.
University spokesman Tom Moore declined to discuss the matter.
---

 

Dead Woman Identified At Early, Iowa Farm

(Early) -- Authorities have identified the dead woman found at an Early, Iowa farm.  She is 45 year old Marilyn Schmitt.  Officials have not indicated how Schmitt died, but they do say the death is "suspicious". Schmitt is the mother of 21 year old Kirk Levin, who currently is in the Sac county jail, for accused kidnapping and assault of a Storm Lake woman.  Levin had been released from prison just two days prior to the incident. Schmitt and had been living at the same address of Levin. While investigating the kidnapping, officers found the dead body of Schmitt.


Prisoners Allowed To Watch Sexually Explicit Movies

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Administrators let offenders at one of Iowa's most dangerous prison units watch violent and sexually explicit movies and TV shows for years, despite repeated complaints
from a female officer who said it encouraged inmates to sexually harass her.
Murderers, sexual predators and others at a unit for mentally ill inmates at the maximum-security state prison in Fort Madison watched movies such as "Deranged," a horror film that includes a
scene in which a woman is beaten, raped, hung upside down and flayed.
Other sexually explicit and violent movies and shows were allowed despite correctional officer Kristine Sink's complaints.  When she turned them off and complained, records show her superiors
accused her of insubordination.
Sink filed a lawsuit November 30th against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace retaliation.

 

Police Officer Stabbed With Screwdriver

WAUKON, Iowa (AP) - A police officer is recovering after being stabbed with a screwdriver while trying to break up an assault in northeast Iowa.
The Allamakee County Sheriff's office says Waukon Police Officer Chad Dugan was hurt late Saturday while responding to an assault report.
Authorities say a 60-year-old man stabbed Dugan with a screwdriver when Dugan entered the home.
After a struggle, the 60-year-old was arrested. He is facing two charges of assaulting an officer, one charge of domestic assault and one charge of interfering with police.
Dugan was treated at a local hospital and released.

 

Fatal Snowmobile Accident

COGGON, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the 21-year-old man who was killed in a snowmobile crash near Cedar Rapids late Friday.
The Linn County Sheriff's Department said Sunday that Aaron Greif of Central City died in the snowmobile crash.
Greif hit a field fence while he was driving the snowmobile just east of the Cedar Rapids suburb of Coggan.
Greif was thrown from the snowmobile after hitting the fence, and he died at the scene.
A second snowmobile traveling alongside Greif's also hit the fence, and injured a 20-year-old man from Central City.

 

Man Charged For Morphine Distribution

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - A 37-year-old Iowa man is facing charges because police believe he sold the morphine that killed another man in October.
The Burlington Hawk Eye reports that Christopher Sereda was charged in court Friday with involuntary manslaughter and delivering a controlled substance.
Prosecutors say Sereda sold morphine pills to Chad Crow on October 8th one day before the 38-year-old was found dead of a drug overdose. An autopsy showed that Crow had several drugs in his
system, but the morphine likely killed him.
Sereda told investigators he had sold painkiller pills to Crow.
Sereda is being held in the Des Moines County Jail in lieu of $55,000 bail. He is a construction worker and father of two.

   

Saturday News, January 5

Chamber Announces Date Of Annual Banquet

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Chamber of Commerce officials have announced the date for the annual Chamber banquet.  This year the banquet will be held on Saturday, January 26 at the Upper Level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Social hour will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.  Crimson and Black show choir and the Gehlen Choir will perform. During the banquet, awards and recognitions of the Business of the Year, the Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and the Boss of the Quarter and Employee of the Month will be presented.  Tickets are $40 per person and reservations can be made by calling the Le Mars Chamber office at 546-8821.

 

Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic Students Selected For Honor Band

(Le Mars) -- Several band students from the Le Mars Community School and Gehlen Catholic School have been selected to perform in the 59th annual Northwest Iowa Honor Band Festival.  The students will perform this evening with about 160 other students from 40 schools across northwest Iowa at the Epley Auditorium at Morningside College campus.  Representing Gehlen Catholic is sophomore, Michaela Bretey, and Representing Le Mars Community are: Cody Hatfield, Justina Schimek, Emily Ahlers  Flute;  Ben Meis Oboe; Yashila Permeswaran, Bassoon; Anna Tonsfeldt, Clarinet; Drew Weiner Alto Saxophone; Spenser Harms, Alexis Looyenga Horn; Zack Kooistra, Miranda Ritts Trumpet; Karter Ewing, Tom Toel Trombone; Peter Meis, Marty Balmer Euphonium; Jacob Pierce, Tuba; Rebecca Luksan, Aimee Luksan, David Barker, Dominic Loutsch on Percussion.  The students will rehearse during the day and hold a concert this evening at 7:00 p.m.  The students were selected from auditions held in November.  The festival will feature two bands of equal size and instrumentation.  The bands will rehearse throughout the day preparing the music selected by the guest conductors.  Conducting this year’s festival will be Dr. Myron Welch of the University of Iowa & Dr. Tim McGarvey of Northwestern College.

 

Dental Assistant Asks Supreme Court To Re-consider Decision

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A dental assistant fired because her boss thought she was too attractive wants the Iowa Supreme Court to reconsider its decision rejecting her discrimination lawsuit.
Melissa Nelson's attorney asked the all-male court Friday to withdraw its Dec. 21 ruling, which she called a "significant blow to gender equality."
The court ruled that Nelson's firing by Fort Dodge dentist James Knight might've been unfair but wasn't illegal. The court ruled that firings of employees who are an "irresistible attraction" to
bosses do not violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they're motivated by emotion, not gender.
Nelson's filing says the court erred because her gender played a role in her termination.
Knight said he fired Nelson because he'd grown too close to her and worried he'd try to start an affair.

 

Trial Set For Man Accused Of Killing 5 Year Old

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Oct. 28 trial date has been scheduled for a man charged in the death of 5-year-old Evelyn Miller.
The trial date was set this week for 33-year-old Casey Frederiksen.  He's charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in the Floyd girl's death in July 2005.
Her body was found in the Cedar River, several days after she went missing.
Frederiksen was serving time in federal prison on child pornography charges when he was charged last September. Frederiksen was the live-in boyfriend of Miller's mother.
A judge will rule later on whether to move the trial to another county because of extensive publicity in Floyd County.

Frederiksen remains in the Bremer County Jail.

---

Dead Woman Identified As Accused Kidnapper's Mother

EARLY, Iowa (AP) - A man arrested in western Iowa on charges of assault and kidnapping had been released from prison just two days earlier.
Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure said his office received a call about 8 a.m. Thursday after someone encountered a 21-year-old Storm Lake woman who claimed she had been kidnapped. After talking with the woman, officers searched the area and found 21-year-old Kirk Riley Levin hiding in a barn.
Levin is in the Sac County Jail on charges of assault and kidnapping.
While investigating the kidnapping, officers found a woman's body at the rural Early farmhouse where Levin lived and are investigating how she died. McClure says her death is suspicious.
The Iowa Department of Corrections says Levin was released from prison on Tuesday after serving a sentence or burglary.  Authorities have identified the dead woman found at Levin's farm.  She is 45 year old Marilyn Schmitt.  Officials have not indicated how Schmitt died, but they do say the death is "suspicious". Schmitt is the mother of Levin and had been living at the same address of Levin.

 

School Bus Safety Study Released

(Des Moines) -- A school bus safety study commissioned by the legislature following the death of northern Iowa girl and a new school bus safety law was released Friday. Steve Gent, the director of the D-O-T's Traffic Safety Office, says the study is encouraging overall.
"One of the things that came out of the study is that school buses are one of the safest vehicles out on the roadway today, so parents should feel good about the safety of their kids riding school buses," Gent says. "So that's really important to know, and it's just an important thing." More specifically, the study examined the use of cameras on school bus stop signs. Gent says 20 districts use the cameras.

"When a school district has the cameras on the bus, it will actually take pictures of a vehicle going around a stopped bus. Those cameras have been found to be effective as long as the school district shares that information, lets people know they are doing it, and certainly when it helps with the conviction," Gent says He says convictions are much easier to get when there is a picture available. The study looked at requiring buses to only stop on the side of the road where a student's home is located. Gent says many districts already try to do that and the study suggest that district continue trying to do that without recommending a requirement for same side stops. Another safety suggestion could help raise awareness without as much cost.

"One of the low-cost safety measures that the study found is adding a second stop sign more near the rear end of the bus. And that really helps for people coming up behind the bus, that stop sign is right there and more visible than the one that is up by the driver," Gent says. The new "Kaydn's Law" on bus safety was named after seven-year-old Kadyn Halverson of Kensett who was killed on May 10th of 2011 as she attempted to get on a school bus. The law increases the minimum fine for people who pass a stopped school bus to 250-dollars. But Gent says the study found an issue with the new fine.

"The study found that there's a pretty high number of judges who actually have imposed lower fines than that 250-dollar fine, and so it's something that certainly the courts need look at and just need to understand and know that there was a law change," according to Gent. The study also mentioned making school bus safety a priority in driver education classes. Gent says overall driver awareness is important.

"People just need to respect school buses, you don't know where the children are coming out --if they are coming across the street or on the right hand side of the bus --- you really don't know, so people just need to be really careful," Gent says.
The full study is available at: www.iowadot.gov/schoolbus/default.html.


 

   

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