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Tuesday Afternoon News, August 6

Branstad Appoints New Education Director

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has named the superintendent of a small Polk County school district as director of the Iowa Department of Education.
Branstad announced Tuesday that he'd appointed 44-year-old Brad Buck to head the department.
He will replace Jason Glass, who left the position in June to take a job with a Colorado school district.
Buck has worked as superintendent of the 1,300-student Saydel school district since July 2011. He previously was an administrator in the Waukee, Hudson and North Mahaska school districts.
He began his education career in 1992 as a middle school science teacher in Ankeny.
Branstad says Buck has the skills to implement education reforms approved by the 2013 Legislature, including a teacher leadership program that will be phased in over several years.


Trucking Company Fined For Sexual Harassment

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay an Iowa trucking company $4.7 million in legal costs for bringing frivolous claims during a six-year sexual harassment lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade's judgment for CRST Van Expedited is believed to be the largest-ever fee sanction against EEOC.
EEOC spokeswoman Christine Nazer said Tuesday the agency is "deeply disappointed" in last week's ruling and considering an appeal.
EEOC sued Cedar Rapids-based CRST in 2007 on behalf of female employees who had allegedly suffered sexual harassment by male drivers and trainers.
CRST paid $50,000 to settle one woman's claim, but more than 250 others were dismissed. Reade says EEOC brought 153 "unreasonable or groundless" claims and made an unsupported allegation that CRST had a practice of tolerating harassment.


Des Moines Construction Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A construction worker from Marshalltown has been seriously injured after being run over by an excavator on Interstate 80/35, just north of Des Moines.
The Iowa State Patrol says 50-year-old Trinidad Banderas was hurt Monday night in a construction zone in the interstate's westbound lanes.
Excavator driver Jason Uhlenhopp, of Allison, didn't see Banderas as he walked in front of the equipment, which then ran over the worker with its front tires.
Banderas was taken to a Des Moines hospital.
The state patrol says charges against the 41-year-old driver aren't expected.


Suspect Caught In Woman's Death

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they have captured a possible suspect in the death of a woman who was found injured Monday at a northern Iowa park.
Division of Criminal Investigation agent Mike Krapfl said Tuesday an autopsy is being conducted to determine the woman's cause of death, which appears to be foul play.
Krapfl said 39-year-old Tyrone Washington Jr. is considered a possible suspect in the death. He's being held in Scott County on traffic charges.
The woman called 911 seeking help before noon Monday at Swensrud Park in Northwood. She was found by deputies suffering injuries, and later died at a hospital.
Washington was captured four hours later near Walcott in eastern Iowa after a pursuit with a state trooper. Authorities say Washington was driving the victim's 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix.


Court Rules Inmates Don't Need To Be Compensated

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled the state doesn't have to compensate inmates who were held beyond their proper release date.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mahaska County sex offender Richard Scott and other inmates.
They argued they were held too long under a 2011 Iowa Supreme Court decision dealing with credit for time served when probation has been revoked.
The ruling prompted officials to release 551 inmates and recalculate release dates for 2,588 others.
The class action lawsuit was filed against Corrections Department Director John Baldwin, seeking compensatory damages.
The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday Baldwin was protected from liability, ending the case because government entities can't be defendants in federal lawsuits.
Scott's attorney, Jeff Lipman, couldn't be reached for comment.






Tuesday News, August 6

Local Options Sales Tax Vote Scheduled For Today

(Le Mars) -- Voters in Plymouth County will have the opportunity to go to the polls today and cast their vote on the Local Options Sales Tax issue.  Originally, the local options sales tax was voted upon by Plymouth County voters in 2002 to help finance the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center.  However,each Plymouth County community has been able to benefit from the funds generated from the one percent tax.  The current local options sales tax is set to expire at the end of 2016.

Le Mars Residents Will Also Vote On Hotel/Motel Tax

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars residents will also have the opportunity to vote on the continuation of the Hotel/Motel tax.  Assistant City Administrator, Bill Cole says the city of Le Mars earns approximately $120,000 from the hotel/motel tax, which is paid by visitors to the city.  The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors issued a release asking the people of Le Mars to vote yes on both measures. The news release says in addition to financing the Plymouth County Jail, these tax dollars have been used to benefit the LeMars Fire Department, the Plymouth County Museum, the Good Samaritan Alzheimer’s Unit, the Dialysis Center, the Downtown Streetscape Project, the Veterans’ Memorial Park, the Community Theatre, the Community Betterment Projects and various other quality of life projects.

If approved again, one of the uses of the Local Option Sales Tax will be assisting with the Floyd Valley Hospital expansion and renovation. Another benefit will be to provide matching dollars for the Community Development Block Grant for historic renovation in the downtown.  Without these tax dollars, LeMars will not have the matching dollars to capture the $500,000 of Federal funds awarded for downtown restoration work.


Le Mars Police Encourage Residents To Celebrate "National Night Out"

(Le Mars) -- This evening, the Le Mars Police Department, along with police departments throughout the nation are encouraging people to fight crime on the National Night Out. 
This marks the 30th annual National Night Out.  It is designed o heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.   The Le Mars Police Department would like to invite residents to once again host a block party in their neighborhood.  Block parties are an excellent opportunity for residents of the neighborhood to meet and get to know each other.


Cool Temperatures Slow Down Crop Development

(Le Mars) -- The cool temperatures that we have been enjoying for the past couple of weeks may be a blessing for you and me, but for the crops, it is a mixed blessing.  Paul Kassel, Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist for Northern Iowa says the cooler temperatures have reduced the stress on the corn, but it has also slowed down the growth and development of the crops.

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Kassel says the corn that is growing around Le Mars is behind on its growing degree days, or the amount of heat that is required to help develop the corn into maturity.

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The latest crop condition report shows eighty-eight percent of the corn crop has tasseled, trailing the five-year average of 96 percent. Seventy-two percent of the corn crop was silking, well behind last year’s 99 percent and the normal 89 percent. Nineteen percent of the corn crop has reached the milk stage, and some of the earliest planted corn has reached the dough stage. Corn condition declined slightly from the previous week, and was rated at 5 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 41 percent good and 10 percent excellent.

Congressman King Opposes Closing Embassies

(Washington) --  Iowa Congressman Steve King says he's disappointed by the decision to close 19 U.S. embassies in North Africa and the Middle East.  The decision was made by the Obama Administration amid fears a major terrorist attack is in the works

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The 4th District Republican says terrorists can strike anywhere, not just at overseas embassies, and questions if this type of response will occur whenever someone makes a threat against the United States.

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King says President Obama is giving too much information to our enemies by telling them which embassies are being closed.

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The Congressman says if any embassy is taken over by hostile forces, the United States should go in and bring justice to those responsible.

Two Women Have Filed Lawsuits Against Sioux City & Cedar Rapids Olive Garden

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Women from Iowa and Nebraska have filed lawsuits against the company that owns Olive Garden restaurants, saying they became sick after eating at the business.
Federal court documents show Kelly Kunc of Hiawatha, Iowa and Joyce Nendza of Holt County, Nebraska filed the lawsuits.
Minneapolis lawyer Ryan Osterholm, who filed the suits, says Kunc ate an Olive Garden in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He says Nendza ate at a Sioux City, Iowa, Olive Garden.
The suits were filed again Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, which owns both Olive
Garden and Red Lobster restaurants.
The Food and Drug Administration blamed an outbreak of severe stomach illnesses in
Iowa and Nebraska on salad served at the restaurants and supplied by a Mexican farm.
A Darden spokesman declined to comment.


Authorities Release Name Of Woman Found In Cornfield

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a woman whose body was
found in a southwest Iowa cornfield.
The Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office identified her as 31-year-old Maggie Weaver.
Authorities say a crime isn't suspected in Weaver's death. Toxicology reports are expected in four to six weeks.
The body was found Saturday in a field west of Lenox in Taylor County. Weaver had
been missing for several days.


Gun Control Bus Tour Schedules Stop In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A national bus tour calling for tougher gun laws is coming to Des Moines.
The "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence tour will make a stop
Wednesday morning in the city's Union Park as part of a 25-state tour.
The event will include Carlee Soto, whose sister was killed at the Newtown, Conn.,
school where 20 children and six educators died.
Pat Maisch also will attend. He survived a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., where former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was injured.
They will be joined by local officials, including Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.


Reynolds Returns Home From Africa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is set to return to Iowa after participating
in a mission trip to South Africa.
Reynolds was scheduled to return home Tuesday. She departed on July 25. The trip was
organized by Blessman Ministries, an organization based in Urbandale that works to help
children in South Africa.
Reynolds and her husband both went on the trip, which they will pay for using personal funds. They planned to participate in service projects, including outreach with children.


Iowa Launches Website To Help Teachers Find Jobs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has launched a website that lists all the public school job
openings in the state.
The education package passed by lawmakers this spring required schools to post their vacancies on the site. The site,, already has hundreds of listings.
Candidates can apply online and post personal profiles for employers to see.  Applicants also can sign up for electronic notification of openings.
All hiring decisions will continue to be made locally.




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