Thursday Afternoon News, Oct. 25
Plymouth County Crime Stoppers Investigating Two Burglaries
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Crime Stoppers are investigating two separate burglaries that occurred in Le Mars on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. At about 1:00 p.m. the resident at 49 Oak Street in Le Mars reported a robbery to her residence. An unknown male knocked on the door, displaying a handgun and demanding money. The victim gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash and he fled the area. The offender was described as a white male in his early twenties wearing a white shirt with ripped jeans. The second burglary was reported this morning at 9:00 a.m. when someone apparently had broken into the Monterrey's Restaurant on Busines Highway 75. Sometime during the night-time hours an
unknown suspect used force to gain entry into the business. Once inside, an undisclosed amount of cash was taken. Similar burglaries were reported in Cherokee during this same time span. Anyone with information regarding either of the crimes is encouraged to call the Le Mars Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (712) 548-4968.
Judge To Rule On Sioux City Casino Next Week
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge says he expects to rule early next week on a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving a casino in Sioux City.
Judge Robert Hanson heard arguments Wednesday afternoon in Polk County. They came from lawyers for Penn National Gaming, whose subsidiary operates the Argosy riverboat casino, and Missouri River Historical Development, the nonprofit group that holds the state gambling license.
Penn National's attorneys say the historical development group has violated a contract signed in June. The group says the contract hasn't been approved by state regulators and isn't valid.
Penn National wants a temporary injunction to keep the group from partnering with another casino operator that would run a land-based casino in Sioux City.
Sioux City Man Pleads Not Guilty To Robbing Bank
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) - An Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that he robbed a bank in northeast Nebraska.
The Sioux City Journal says (http://bit.ly/WozpKb) 67-year-old Max Lafferty, of Sioux City, Iowa, made his plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha.
Lafferty is accused of robbing a Bank of the West branch in South Sioux City on Sept. 11. Police say he flashed a steak knife when he demanded cash from a bank worker and left the building with
about $1,500. He was arrested about a block away.
Lafferty originally was charged in Dakota County Court, but the state case was dismissed after the federal charge was filed.
Pheasant Hunting Season Starts Saturday
(Boone) -- Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say pheasant hunters should see an increase of birds this year. Pheasant hunting begins on Saturday, and according to Todd Bogenschutz, Game Biologist with the DNR, pheasant numbers are up about 16 percent.
Bogenschutz says some habitat may have been jeopardized due to landowners making hay from grasslands because of the summer drought, but he says the best pheasant hunting will likely be located in northwestern and northern Iowa.
The DNR Biologist says new this year is the I-HAP program.
Bogenschutz says hunters can view the DNR website to locate the I-HAP acres. Hunting regulations are the same, with shooting hours between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and a bag limit of three roosters.
Missouri River Flooding Will Cost Council Bluffs $4.5 Million
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs officials say the Missouri River flooding last year will cost the city about $4.5 million.
Finance director Art Hill told The Daily Nonpareil that the city's total estimated cost for dealing with the 2011 flooding is expected to be $19.4 million.
The city's portion includes its required 15 percent share of costs eligible for federal assistance, as well as $1.9 million in costs that were not eligible for assistance. The state and federal governments are paying the rest of the bills.
The costs include infrastructure repairs, debris removal and the purchase and demolition of structures damaged by high water.
Hill says Council Bluffs won't have to raise taxes to pay flood bills, because the money will come from what he says is the city's healthy general fund.
State Audit Critical Of U of I Medical Clinics
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A state audit has criticized financial controls at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics because of alleged misuse of more than $272,000 by an employee.
The audit says 35-year-old Jennifer Whitmore-Meier, an information technology support specialist, got irregular reimbursements for purchases and travel. The audit also says that between December 2002 and January 2012, Whitmore-Meier used department money to buy equipment that she resold.
The audit says her department wasn't managed "in a fiscally responsible manner."
The audit says the university put Whitmore-Meier on paid leave in November 2011 pending the investigation. She left for good two months later. A home phone listing for her could not be found.
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness says her office is reviewing the audit to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Regents Considering "Freezing" Tuition Costs
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Members of the board that governs Iowa's three public universities are supporting a proposal to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduate students next year.
The Iowa Board of Regents discussed plans Thursday in Iowa City to keep tuition at $6,678 at the University of Iowa and $6,648 at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
Final approval is expected in December, and regents said they could later impose a tuition hike if lawmakers do not approve their request for a 2.6 percent increase in funding.
The board also approved a plan that would allow universities to phase out the controversial practice of using tuition revenue to provide grants and scholarships to students.
The plan requires universities to raise more private money and lawmakers to create a new financial aid program.
Traffic Cameras Being Studied At Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines officials say they need more data to determine whether the traffic cameras at five intersections have made motoring safer in the city.
The cameras were installed 16 months ago, and the officials say that they need four more years of data to reach conclusions on the cameras' safety effectiveness and whether more intersections should be similarly equipped.
Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw has said the cameras would be a worthwhile investment if driver behavior were to change.
The newspaper says two of the intersections have had a substantial drop in the number of tickets issued during the cameras' first year of operation. At the three other intersections,
changes in driver behavior were negligible.