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Monday Afternoon News, September 10

Newly Constructed Halfway Houses Sit Empty

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Corrections officials say five newly built or expanded halfway houses are sitting empty because there is no money for workers.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports  that a $6 million, 45-bed center in Waterloo was completed more than a year ago but remains empty due to no staff.
The halfway houses are intended ease the overflow of people waiting to serve sentences at other correctional sites.
Corrections officials thought there would be money available to staff the new center when it was completed in April 2011, but the state Corrections Department had a tight budget and opted against
funding the Waterloo center or others in correctional service districts in Davenport, Ames, Sioux City and Ottumwa.
On Friday, corrections officials will consider a proposal to fund the Waterloo center.
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Christmas Trees Hurt By The Drought

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Christmas trees in Iowa and other Midwestern states could become the newest victims of this year's drought.
The hot and dry summer took a harsh toll on tree seedlings. When the newly planted trees are ready for harvest by 2019, the selection could be sickly and sagging. Growers have also reported
losses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Boone County tree farmer Jesse Randall says the supply will tighten in upcoming years. But growers and foresters say this year's crop, planted in 2005, will be as diverse as usual.
Randall says the drought was especially hard on fir trees, which are popular among buyers because of their silvery evergreen hues and rich aromas.
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Des Moines Coach Gets Support For Disciplining a Student

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Supporters are rallying behind a Des Moines high school football coach who was suspended after he allegedly punished a sophomore who posted a negative comment about
the team on Twitter.
Athletes and other community members filled the Lincoln Rails practice field Sunday to show support for head coach Tom Mihalovich.
Mihalovich is under investigation for allegedly making sophomore Daunte Campero run until he threw up, after Campero posted a negative tweet about the team.
The rally drew dozens of supporters, including players from the Lincoln football team. They claim the punishment wasn't severe, and Campero never got ill. Campero no longer plays on the team and now goes to a different school.
A high school representative did not return calls for comment.
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Nursing Home Administrator On Probation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State regulators have placed an Ames nursing home administrator on probation for two years, after one resident in her facility's care went missing for hours and others
engaged in sexual activity.
The Iowa Board of Nursing Home Administrators announced Monday that it had settled its case against Cynthia Gentz. Gentz had overseen the Abington on Grand facility.
Regulators say one resident left the facility once in August 2010, and again in November 2010. The resident was treated for hypothermia and frostbite in November after spending hours in the
cold. Board members say neither incident was reported.
Board members say three other residents engaged in sexual activity with one another throughout 2010. Staff believed some of the contact was consensual, but the facility had no policies to address resident-on-resident sexual abuse.

 

 

   

Monday News, September 10

King and Vilsack Square Off At Spencer

(Spencer) -- The two candidates seeking the position of Iowa's 4th District Congressional seat met for the second time, but first time in front of a live audience during a debate held Saturday at the Clay County Fair at Spencer.  The tone of the debate between Republican Steve King and Democrat Christie Vilsack was at times candid, pointed, and tense.  Vilsack continued her critical comments of King by saying he is an embarrassment to Iowa. King shot back by saying that Vilsack and the liberal left, continue to distort his comments, and take a small comment and make it a headline of lies.  Vilsack began by telling the crowd of more than 500 why she is seeking the position of Congresswoman.  Vilsack says she wants to protect Iowa's small towns.

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Vilsack was unable to finish her comment as she was interrupted by the debate's moderator for going beyond her allowable time.


King, informed the group how he and his wife built a earth moving construction company and that it is time to "Restore the American Dream, together."

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The first question had to deal with the Affordable Health Care Act, sometimes referred to as "Obamacare."  The candidates were asked if they were to write a healthcare bill, what three things would they include for healthcare?  Vilsack responded by saying she would want to see children remain on their parent's insurance plan until they were of the age 26.  She also advocated a plan in which the patient would pay for healthcare results instead of services.

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King says he would first repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.  He told the crowd that one way health care costs could be reduced was to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines, which would allow for more competition.

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A sharp contrast was noted when the candidates were asked about the farm bill legislation.  Democrat Vilsack says the pending farm bill is the "Most Important Legislation for Iowans" and she was critical of King for failing on his leadership to get the farm bill passed in the House of Representatives.  The two candidates differed on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the food stamp program.

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King says the farm bill did pass through the Agricultural Committee which he is a member.  He informed the crowd that there have been several documented cases of fraud involving the nutritional food assistance program, and he says that needs to stop.

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During the debate, the candidates were also asked questions regarding Social Security, government regulations, Immigration, and Education.


Le Mars School Board To Elect Officer Positions

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening.  The board will be voting for their president and vice president positions, as well as appointing the secretary and treasurer positions.  The Board will conduct a public hearing regarding the purchase of two buses.  Received bids will be open and the board is expected to take action.  The board will hear a report from Assistant Superintendent Webner regarding the change to the focus of the district's annual student achievement goal resulting from the transition from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Iowa Tests of Educational Development to the new Iowa Assessments.


Sioux City Man Sentenced To Prison For Bank Robbery

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man with an extensive criminal history has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison for robbing a Sioux City bank.
Prosecutors say 53-year-old Stephan Hall of Sioux City, Iowa was sentenced to 125 months in prison for robbing the First National Bank on February 13th.
Authorities say he entered the bank and changed $2 into coins. He then re-entered the bank and handed the same teller a note and fled with money.
Prosecutors say Hall was arrested after authorities quickly identified the robber and discovered his planned escape route, which included a flight out of Omaha, Nebraska.
Hall spent some of his childhood at a state facility for juvenile delinquents. Later he was convicted of robbery, assault, burglary, escape, domestic abuse and gun possession.

 

Salmonella Detected At Iowa Egg Farm

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa egg producer diverted eggs from the food supply after a recent inspection discovered salmonella in two of its barns.
Centrum Valley Farms told The Associated Press the FDA found the strain called salmonella heidelberg in two of six poultry houses tested at its Clarion facility in May.
The company said the finding didn't mean eggs were tainted. But it withheld them until they tested negative and were approved for sale by the FDA.
The plant's under strict oversight because it was implicated in the 2010 salmonella outbreak, which caused a recall of 550 million eggs and sickened hundreds. Centrum Valley took over management
afterward, vowing to improve operations.
In an August 14th letter, the FDA said it was concerned about the presence of salmonella and ordered corrective action.


Des Moines Man Found In Knoxville Waters

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - An autopsy is planned, but authorities don't suspect foul play in the drowning death of a Des Moines man.
The Marion County Sheriff's office says the body of Dean Hoganson was found in the water Saturday evening.
Someone called 911 after seeing Hoganson's body and an unattended boat floating about 100 yards offshore in Roberts Creek Saturday evening.
Paramedics tried to revive Hoganson after he was brought to shore, but they were unsuccessful. Hoganson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Drake University spokesman Jarad Bernstein says Hoganson was a professor emeritus of biology at Drake.

 

14 People Charged With Heroin Distribution

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged 14 people with helping distribute heroin near Waterloo, Iowa, between 2007 and 2012.
The indictments in the case were just recently unsealed. Prosecutors say the people involved helped distribute at least 1,000 grams of heroin.
The Waterloo residents charged were: 57-year-old Lusta Johnson, 54-year-old Catherine Johnson, 39-year-old Dominick Watts, 50-year-old Conny Miles, 42-year-old Leroy Baylor, 54-year-old Bryant Olive, 37-year-old Antoine Williams, 57-year-old Barbara Brooks, 53-year-old Raydell Talbert, 44-year-old Frank Nelson, 56-year-old Fred Olive, 57-year-old Veronica Kelly, and 46-year-old April Tillman.
Prosecutors also charged 45-year-old Mavia Walker of Chicago.
If convicted, each of the individuals involved could be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.

 

University of Iowa Police Investigate Sexual Assault Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa police are investigating a report by a woman who says she was grabbed from behind and sexually assaulted while walking on the campus grounds.
The woman told police the attack happened Thursday night near the university's Biological Sciences Library.
The woman said she was walking alone when she was pulled from behind into the alley and sexually assaulted. She sustained minor physical injuries in the attack.
Police are searching for a suspect in the attack and are asking people on campus to walk in groups, if possible.
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