Wednesday News, April 20
Le Mars Community Betterment Foundation Announce Kroese And Kroese As Donors
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard from Le Mars Area Betterment Foundation president Mike Donlin during the start of the Tuesday city council meeting. Donlin informed the city council of another major donation to the Le Mars Community Betterment Project.
Kroese and Kroese joins the Le Mars banks as being the latest donor to contribute funding to match the $2.5 million dollar challenge set by Well's Enterprises. In other action by the city council, they approved the 2015 fiscal year comprehensive annual financial report.
Graham Forbes with Williams and Company performed the audit and reviewed the financial status of the city. He says, overall, the city of Le Mars financials are in good shape. Although, he does mention that the city's overall general fund is reduced from last year.
One reason for the lower number of days of financial survival is the city made an early payment on the new fire truck that was acquired nearly a year ago. Forbes says the 68 days is fine, but he would like to see a longer time for financial expenditures.
In action items, the city council followed the suggestion of the Planning and Zoning commission by approving the Dogwood Second Addition, as well as the G.A. Addition. The city council also approved the request from Nor-Am Cold Storage to change the zoning of a parcel from Residential R-1 to General Business B-2. The city council has set the date of May 12th as the day contracts are to be submitted to the city's attention for bid letting on asphalt overlays for 23 blocks of city streets, as well as the date for contracts for the water main improvement projects. The city council hopes to award the contracts for those projects on May 17th during its regularly scheduled council meeting.
Judge Neary Comments On The Decision To Grant Probation Or Sentencing
(Le Mars) -- We continue our visit today with Judge Jeff Neary of the Iowa 3rd Judicial District. Neary was recently a featured speaker at the Lunch and Learn session. Neary says often times the decision to offer probation versus sentencing the person to jail or prison is a difficult decision for any judge. He says people don't always realize a presiding judge does not have the flexibility to modify sentences.
Judge Neary offers an example where the law dictates to him what the sentencing must include.
Judge Neary says a presiding judge must take many factors into consideration, before ruling either the subject is given probation, or should be sentenced.
The Third District Judge says before judgment is rendered, a judge will look at each individual separately.
Neary says, sometimes, even though the subject had a clean record prior to the committed crime, and all indications show the individual had been an outstanding citizen, he must still choose prison as the punishment. Neary points to a recent case involving two young females who together staged a robbery of the Security National Bank located within the Sioux City Hamilton Blvd. Hy-Vee store. The two females were sentenced to second degree theft. Neary says it is difficult to send young people to prison, but he felt the circumstances warranted the punishment. He says the two collaborated on the scheme. He says the two females had intended to steal up to $50,000 in cash, but the teller's cash machine would only dispense $10,000 and that is why the two were charged of second degree theft, as opposed to first degree theft.
Neary says he still has some options available. He says district judges have up to one year to reduce the sentencing time table.
Sioux City Council Passes Snow Removal Ordinance
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City Council members have approved a measure to penalize Sioux City property owners an extra 25 percent on unpaid city fees for removing snow from sidewalks.
The penalties were approved Monday and will be levied on the unpaid fees added to the parcels' property taxes.
City code requires owners to clear sidewalks within 12 hours after snow or ice has stopped falling. Noncompliance can result in a civil citation. If a sidewalk isn't cleared after a 24-hour shovel notice is posted, a city contractor clears the sidewalk and the city bills the property owner for those costs.
Contractors shoveled 94 residential sidewalks this winter, resulting in $17,195 in fees. There were 62 property owners who failed to pay those fees.
Hinton School Children Incorporate Sphero Technology Into Classroom
(Sioux City) -- Hinton Elementary School students incorporated Sphero technology into a fun lesson for some local business people Tuesday at the United Center in downtown Sioux City.
Sphero is a robot in the shape of a ball that students control by programming code and it has several applications that help teach science, technology and math.
Chad Sussex is the Hinton Schools Tech coach, and started the Sphero program in November to teach coding and teamwork skills to 3rd through 8th graders;
Hinton teacher Kate Ortegren brought her third graders to show off their skills to employees from United Real Estate Solutions, Cannon Moss Brygger Architects and Robert W. Baird & Company in a friendly game of robotic miniature golf:
Kayley Baker was one of the 24 3rd graders who taught the business people how to maneuver Sphero through virtual sand traps and water hazards in the lobby of the United Center:
At the end of the presentation, the businesses surprised the students and their teachers by presenting a $1200 check to the Hinton School District to purchase more Sphero technology.
Motorcyclist Dies After Fleeing From Council Bluffs Police
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a fleeing motorcyclist has died after a Council Bluffs crash.
Police say an Iowa Transportation Department officer was trying to pull over two motorcyclists around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday near the Pottawattamie County Jail when they sped away.
One soon went out of control. It struck a curb and then a fence, ejecting the driver. The other motorcyclist raced away.
Police say the injured motorcyclist died later at a Council Bluffs hospital. He hasn't been identified.
Police say the motorcycle was stolen.
U-S Cellular Employee Accused Of Stealing $30,000
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A former U.S. Cellular employee has been accused of stealing nearly $30,000 in merchandise from the company in Council Bluffs.
Iowa online court records say 21-year-old Sayeg Moreno Padilla, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, is charged with felony theft and ongoing criminal conduct. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 9.
Prosecutors say Moreno Padilla opened fraudulent accounts and stole 44 cellphones and $1,500 in gift cards between May 6 and June 16 last year.