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Thursday Afternoon News, November 15

Jandreau Trial - Day 2

(Le Mars) -- Day two of the Matthew Jandreau trial had the state call upon its star witness, the testimony of that of an 11 year old female juvenile.  Jandreau is accused of assaulting the young female, with the intent of sexual abuse.  The young girl told the court that on March 2nd, she was home from school as she was feeling ill. She said her grandpa, that being Walter Hesselink was at breakfast.  Earlier testimony indicated Hesselink saw the defendant at the J & J Cafe Truck Stop and noted the defendant was "acting strange."  The female juvenile said she was watching television, then decided to play games on her computer when she heard someone "banging or pounding" on the front door to the house.  She testified saying she first thought it may be her grandfather or mother returning to the home and thought they may have forgotten their keys.  She said when she looked at the door, the front door then flew opened.  She said a man walked inside the home, and she identified that intruder as being the defendant, Matthew Jandreau.  The eleven year old then told of her terrifying experience.  The eleven year old testified saying the man was carrying a purse.  She said she asked if he needed any help?  She said he responded by saying "No."  She again asked if he needed the hospital or the police, saying she thought he had medical issues.  Again, Jandreau responded by saying "no."  The female juvenile then went for the cordless phone near the computer desk and started dialing 9-1-1.  She said Jandreau knocked the phone out from her hands, and then approached her.  The eleven year old said she was scared and kept screaming as loud as she could.  She said in court testimony that she wasn't certain if she had actually dialed all the numbers to the police emergency.  She then said she was shoved by the defendant, causing her to fall backwards and hitting her head on a flower pot.  She said she continued to scream, and the defendant began hitting her with his fists on her face and other parts of her body.  The eleven year old then said the defendant took off her pajama bottoms and underwear and he attempted to put first in a dishwasher, and later attempted to place her in a broom closet.  Each time the young girl said she was able to kick the door shut preventing her from being placed in either the dish washer or the broom closet.  The young girl then said the defendant threw her down the stairs and held her in a headlock.  She said the defendant continued to hit her and told her to remain quiet.  She said she had heard footsteps upstairs and thought it to be "more bad people."  She said she screamed even louder, than a few seconds later she saw officers with flashlights.  Still frighten after the episode, she said that Fire Chief Dave Schipper showed her the police cars to calm her down.  The young female testified as a result of the episode she suffered a separated shoulder and many bruises, scratches and contusions.  Other witnesses today included Le Mars Police office Dan Plueger and retired Le Mars Police Captain Dennis Folkema.  The trial will continue on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Le Mars Downtown Gets Designation For National Historic Registry

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Mainstreet Coordinator Mary Reynolds has informed KLEM news that the city of Le Mars and the downtown district has been accepted as part of the National registry for Historic Preservation.  We'll learn more on Friday.

Council Bluffs Casino Will Move To A Hotel

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Gambling will shift from the Missouri River to a Council Bluffs hotel under a plan approved by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
The Des Moines Register reports ( ) the commission backed the plan Thursday at a meeting in Johnston.
The new casino will move from a riverboat to the first floor of Harrah's Hotel, replacing a convention center. It will have 600 slot machines and 20 casino tables.
The boat will be put up for sale.
KCCI-TV reports ( ) the commission also approved an $8.5 million expansion at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in the Des Moines suburb of Altoona.


Iowa Soldier Remembered at Shenandoah

SHENANDOAH, Iowa (AP) - A U.S. Army soldier from Shenandoah who was killed in Afghanistan is being remembered for his infectious smile and his dream of being a soldier.
Nineteen-year-old Pfc. Brandon Buttry died Nov. 5 while serving in the Kandahar province.
Hundreds of flags lined the streets of Shenandoah for his funeral on Thursday while the community honored Buttry and supported his family.
Buttry was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. He was deployed to Afghanistan in August. He was one of Don and Pam Buttry's 14 children.
Among the mourners were Darian Slater and Ashley Hummel, students in nearby Sidney. One of their teacher's is Buttry's older brother. The girls say it's important to show the family they care
and "honor the sacrifice" that Brandon made.

Serial Arsonist Sentenced to 20 Years

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A serial arsonist who set fire to homes and buildings in northeastern Iowa has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
A federal judge Thursday also ordered 40-year-old Shawn Gant to pay $418,000 in restitution to victims of three fires he started.
Gant was convicted of setting fires to two rental homes in 2009, including one in Fayette where his ex-girlfriend and child lived.  He was also convicted of setting fire to his Oelwein apartment in
2010, which spread because of wind and destroyed his building and the one next door. A firefighter suffered minor injuries fighting that blaze.
Gant was earlier convicted of arson in 2002, and prosecutors say he is linked to more than a dozen other fires in cars, apartments and homes dating back to the 1990s.


Thursday News, November 15

Jurors Hear Opening Statements and Testimony On Jandreau Trial

(Le Mars) -- Jurors for the Matthew Jandreau case heard opening statements from the attorneys, as well as the first three witnesses for the state's case.  Prosecuting attorney Darrin Raymond told jurors he intends to show how the defendant caused a series of criminal events on March 2nd.  The defendant's attorney, Mike Williams, told jurors that his client was intoxicated with alcohol at the time and there was no intent with any of the said charges.  The prosecution brought to the stand three witnesses during the first day of the trial. Jurors heard from Plymouth County Communications supervisor Curt Hadding as he described the multiple 9-1-1 emergency calls that came into the Communications center on the morning in question.  Hadding said it was a "chaotic morning"  The first 9-1-1 call was from a woman that said somebody was trying to break into her home through the back door. Hadding said while he was dispatching officers to the address a second, and even a third 9-1-1 calls were received, all related incidents.  The third call came from the home of 126 2nd Ave. Southwest.  Only screaming from what appeared to be from a juvenile female was heard on the third 9-1-1 call.  Sgt. Rick Singer was the second witness for the prosecution.  Singer reported how he had entered the home and screams led him to the basement to find Matthew Jandreau with a female juvenile.  Singer testified saying the defendant, Jandreau was on his knees with his pants down to his ankles and what appeared that he was holding the juvenile around the waist.  Singer also testified that the female juvenile was screaming and appeared naked from the waist down.  Singer also testified about a van that was parked in the middle of the street. Later it was learned the van had role in the  investigation related to Jandreau.  The third witness was Walter Hesselink who resides at 126 2nd Ave. Southwest.  Hesselink testified he saw the defendant at the J and J Cafe truck stop.  Hesselink says Jandreau appeared was "walking strange and acting strange."  Hesselink said of Jandreau that "he looked like he was talking to himself".  He characterized Jandreau's actions as being "fidgety."  As a twisted part of fate, it would be nearly twenty minutes later that Jandreau would be arrested after having entered Hesselink's home and be seen with Hesselink's eleven year old granddaughter, while the granddaughter was screaming.  The trial continues today beginning at 9:00 a.m.


Branstad Says Iowa Not Ready For Federal Health Care Act

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad plans to tell the federal government Friday that Iowa still doesn't have enough information to move forward with a state-based insurance marketplace that is required under the federal health care law.
The federal government has imposed a Friday deadline for states to confirm whether they will create their own health exchanges for consumers and small businesses. States don't have to provide
specific details about their plan until next month, but those that don't declare their intention by the deadline will have to move forward with a state-federal partnership or a federal takeover - at
least for now.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the federal government has set arbitrary deadlines for the states without answering basic questions that would help Iowa officials choose the best option.


Counterfeit Bills Passed In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say more counterfeit bills have been passed at businesses in the Des Moines area.
The rash of cases began Monday, when two fake $100 bills were passed at a fast-food restaurant.
On Tuesday a bank discovered a counterfeit $50 that had been deposited Monday by a different restaurant. Also Tuesday, someone tried to pass a fake $50 at another restaurant but left after an
employee determined the bill was a counterfeit.
Authorities say there have been a total of five cases in the past four days.
Des Moines Police Department spokesman Jason Halifax says counterfeiting is not unusual in the area, but the occurrences usually are more sporadic than the recent spate.
Investigators aren't sure whether the cases are related.


Investigation Shows Bus Driver Did Nothing Wrong

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines officers have concluded no charges are warranted against a school bus driver accused of shoving students and yelling at them during their ride home.
A group of parents whose kids attend South Union Elementary School filed a police report that said the driver physically assaulted several students on Monday afternoon and used profanities when addressing the children and their parents.
The parents also contacted district officials and asked that the driver be fired. District officials said they investigated the incident and found no merit to the parents' allegations.
Police Sgt. Jason Halifax says that detectives made their determination after reviewing a security video from the bus.

Gay Rights Groups Host Seminar

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gay rights groups are hosting a panel discussion to discuss the future of the LGBT movement in Iowa after they claimed major victories in last week's elections.
One Iowa and Lambda Legal will host the event Thursday at the Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines.
Speakers will discuss the impact of voters' decisions to retain Justice David Wiggins on the Iowa Supreme Court and keep Democrats in control of the Iowa Senate.
Wiggins participated in the 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa, and he defeated an attempt by social conservatives to oust him. Renewed Democratic control of the Senate means that attempts to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage will fail.
Panelists include One Iowa executive director Donna Red Wing and Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky.

Mortgage Broker Convicted of Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal jury has convicted the former president of the Iowa Association of Mortgage Brokers in a fraud scheme that prosecutors say almost cost some homeowners their homes to foreclosure.
The U.S. attorney's office says Paul Kramer, of Granger, was convicted of 18 counts of wire and bank fraud on Wednesday in Des Moines. Kramer owned a mortgage brokerage and closing company.
The jury also convicted Lane Anderson, of Altoona, on two counts of conspiring with Kramer to commit bank and wire fraud.
Kramer and Anderson worked together to obtain $1.5 million in mortgage loans using the name and credit score of a contractor who didn't qualify for the loans. Kramer eventually took funds from the
closing company for his mortgage brokerage. Those funds should have paid off mortgages.







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