Tuesday News, May 8th
Accident Victims Identified
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has now released the details along with the names of that auto accident that occured Friday evening. That two-vehicle accident happened at about 10:00 p.m. on Lincoln Street South West near the intersection with 6th Avenue SW. 19 year old Brady Jenn of Le Mars was traveling southwest on Lincoln Street in a 1998 Chevy Prism, which was owned by the Pizza Ranch restaurant. 16 year old Colton Switalski of Le Mars was traveling northeast on Lincoln Street in a 2004 Saab, at which time the vehicles collided head on. Both drivers, along with Cody Waskow, a passenger in the Switalski vehicle were injured and transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital by the Le Mars Ambulance for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The police continuing its investigation.
Wrestling Coach Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Exploitation
AKRON, Iowa (AP) - A former wrestling coach at Akron-WestfieldHigh School accused of having sexual contact with a student has pleaded not guilty to sexual exploitation charges.
30-year-old Chad Utesch, of Ireton, has entered a written plea to one felony count and five misdemeanors counts in Plymouth County District Court. A trial date wasn't immediately set.
Utesch was arrested in April. He's suspected of having inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old female student in 2011.
The school board terminated Utesch's contract last month.
LBIC Issues Economic Development Report
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County and the city of Le Mars is in a good position to add to the current labor force, according to an economic development report issued by Neil Adler, executive director of the Le Mars Business Inititative Corporation, or LBIC. Adler submitted a report to both the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and the Le Mars City Council last week. He says twice as many people commute to Le Mars to work as there are that travel away from Le Mars for work.
Adler says Le Mars ranks well when compared to other communities across the state.
Adler says although more workers are coming to Le Mars for employment, the data shows that those workers are aging.
The LBIC executive says when you look at the six county region compensation, it does show that worker's wages are lower at about $35,000 compared to the state's average of $42,000. However, he says Plymouth county ranks high with the average employee compensation. Adler also notes that cost of living expenses are generally lower in northwest Iowa.
Iowa House Passes Property Tax Reform Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has passed a property tax reform bill and sent it to the Senate.
In evening debate working to push through budget bills, the House also took up the controversial bill that has failed for years.
A priority of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, the bill is designed to reduce property taxes on businesses. It allows commercial and industrial property owners to pay taxes on declining
value until they are paying taxes on 90 percent in the fifth year.
The bill also creates a business property tax credit similar to a credit for residential property.
The state will set up a fund to help replace reduced local city, county and school revenue beginning at $28 million in 2015 and growing to $140 million a year by 2019 and beyond.
Teens Warned About Dangers of Synthetic Drugs
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials have launched a public education campaign to warn teenagers and their parents about the growing problem of synthetic drugs.
Officials representing law enforcement, public health and drug control policy unveiled the campaign on Monday in Des Moines.
The Speak Out Against Synthetic Drugs campaign will provide public-service messages that could help adults talk to children about synthetic drugs and the dangers they pose.
On Monday the state Senate passed a bill aimed at making it tough for manufacturers of the illegal, synthetic drugs to alter ingredients to get around Iowa laws.
Last year the Legislature passed a law making several chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana and "bath salts" illegal, but manufacturers keep altering the recipes with different chemicals to
stay ahead of state bans.
More Time Requested for Death Penalty for Woman
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Prosecutors want more time to determine whether to continue seeking the death penalty against a woman convicted in the 1993 slayings of five Iowans.
The Department of Justice has asked for 30 extra days to determine whether to withdraw its request for the death penalty against Angela Johnson or to ask jurors to return the sentence
during a new trial to determine her punishment.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett in March threw out Johnson's death sentences, ruling her lawyers failed to present evidence about her mental state that could've convinced jurors to let her
The decision does not affect her conviction. If prosecutors drop the death penalty request, Bennett says he'll change Johnson's sentence to life in prison.
Johnson had been one of two women on federal death row.