Tuesday Afternoon News, August 20
Le Mars City Council Considers Removing Stop Signs
(Le Mars) -- The topic of stop signs, and the possible removal of some stop signs was again discussed at the Le Mars City Council meeting on Tuesday. The Le Mars city council has asked city officials to identify potential stop signs within the city limits that could possibly be eliminated.
The city has identified a total of 23 intersections where they believe stop signs could be removed. City councilman Rex Knapp has advocated the action of removing identified stop signs for a number of years, and explains his reasons.
Many people wonder about the safety of the intersections if the stop signs were to be removed. Knapp says he wants to know if the traffic signs are absolutely necessary.
Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga spoke before the council members and says there is a
reason for each stop sign.
The police chief says he can see only one stop sign that could be removed and not pose a safety risk.
The council decided to allow the city's Public Safety Committee evaluate the proposal and
gather public comments and to report back to the city council with its recommendations.
IDOT To Close County Road C-44 & Hwy 75 Junction At Merrill
(Sioux City) -- The Iowa Department of Transportation is announcing that pavement replacement work will require closing Plymouth County Road C-44 and the junction of U-S Highway 75 into the Main Street of Merrill. The work is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 21st with weather permitting. The closure is expected to last for three weeks. Motorists are encouraged to follow the signed detour routes.
Le Mars Man Sentenced To 25 Years For Death Of Motorcyclist
(SIOUX CITY) -- A Le Mars, Iowa, man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday in
connection with the death of a motorcyclist.
Todd Ross, 50, pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to vehicular homicide and
possession of a controlled substance -- third offense as a habitual offender for a May 17
accident in which he ran a stop sign and collided with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven
by Jerry Graves and drove away.
Graves, 69, of Sioux City, died May 27 from the injuries suffered in the collision. No
family members were present at Monday's sentencing.
As part of a plea agreement, another drug possession charge, as well as fleeing the scene
of an accident and numerous misdemeanor traffic violations were dismissed. Ross must pay
$150,000 in restitution to Graves' estate.
Ross admitted he was in possession of methamphetamine at the time of the accident. Court
documents said that when police located Ross after the accident, he crashed his car into a
tree and failed field sobriety tests. He had two prior felony drug convictions, which led
to the habitual offender enhancement on his drug possession charge.
Crop Condition Deteriorates Slightly
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Another dry week has caused the condition of Iowa's corn and
soybean crops to slip backward. Both crops have showed some deterioration with development behind normal.
Northwest Iowa may have the best looking crops in the state, however, as Joel DeJong, Iowa
State University extension crops specialist says there have been a lot of "hits and misses" in terms of precipitation.
DeJong says the corn is entering the "dough" stage which means it is still at least a month
away from full maturity.
The crops specialist says soybean development within the area has been making some nice progress.
Statewide average precipitation was less than half an inch while normal for the week is
nearly an inch. It was the sixth week of the past seven to bring less than normal rainfall.
Escaped Inmate Killed After Invading Home
BEDFORD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an escaped inmate suspected of shooting a southwest
Iowa sheriff's deputy has been killed by a homeowner who said the armed man broke into his
The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced that Rodney Long was shot to death early
Tuesday. No one else was seriously injured in the shooting in Bedford.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mitch Mortveldt says 71-year-old
Jerome Mauderly shot Long with a shotgun in the kitchen of the home he shares with his
wife, Karen. Long broke into their home around 10:15 p.m. Monday. Shortly after 2 a.m. Karen Mauderly called 911 to tell authorities her husband had shot Long.
Authorities had been searching for Long since Sunday night, when the fugitive shot and
wounded a deputy.
Judge Stephanie Rose Comes Under Fire
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — When she was the top federal prosecutor in northern Iowa, U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose secretly monitored the whereabouts of employees, removed the office's civil division chief because she believed he was a poor manager and fired an attorney whom she called "flighty."
Rose is now the nation's youngest federal judge. She made the comments during a May
deposition in a lawsuit brought by former assistant U.S. Attorney Martha Fagg, a civil prosecutor fired in 2011.
Fagg says Rose and Rose's top aide retaliated against her for raising concerns about age
The Department of Justice released excerpts of depositions and other documents last week
with a court filing arguing that Fagg's lawsuit should be dismissed. In her deposition,
Rose testified bluntly about the performance of her former subordinate employees.
Branstad Wants To Improve Juvenile Home
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has signed an executive order designed to
improve the care of children at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo where the use of physical
restraints and isolation rooms has been criticized.
Branstad's order, signed Tuesday, also establishes a five-member task force charged with
recommending additional improvements and assisting in implementation.
The group is to recommend a plan for eliminating seclusion rooms and transferring the
home's education plan to management by the local area education agency instead of the Iowa
Department of Human Services.
The task force report is due Oct. 15
Branstad's spokesman says in a statement the increased standards will lead to greater
safety, transparency and oversight at the state-run juvenile home.
Found Woman Skull -- 200 Years Old
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a skull found on a Skunk River sandbar in Ames was that
of a woman of American Indian ancestry who died more than 200 years ago.
Experts say the woman likely was 25 to 40 years old when she died. The experts have not
determined the cause of her death.
Ames police say a person walking along the river found the skull on July 2. Officials said
heavy rains may have washed the skull down the river.
The skull and another bone fragment will be turned over to the Office of the State