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Monday Afternoon News, October 29

Investigators Look At Possible Voter Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State criminal investigators are looking into reports of possible problems with absentee ballots in Muscatine and Floyd counties.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation spokeswoman Chari Paulson says complaints involve absentee ballots.
The investigations, first reported Monday in The Des Moines Register, appear to center on voters receiving ballots without having signed a request form.
A man in Muscatine County says a Democratic campaign worker allowed his mother to sign a ballot request form for him when he wasn't home. It is a felony in Iowa to falsify a signature on a
ballot request form.
In Floyd County, the DCI is investigating three reports of someone filling out ballot requests without the voter's knowledge.
More than 624,000 absentee ballots have been mailed to Iowa voters and more than 470,000 returned.


Clinton To Campaign For Obama In Midwest

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton is headed for the Midwest this week to campaign for Democratic President Barack Obama in a swing that will take him to Minnesota, Iowa and
The Clinton campaign events will partially fill a void for Obama, who has taken himself off the road temporarily to deal with Hurricane Sandy.
Clinton's travel itinerary will also take him to Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire.
Minnesota has been getting increasing attention as both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney launch late TV commercials.  But Obama is still favored to collect the 10 electoral college
votes. Clinton was expected to hold two rallies in the state Tuesday.
All of the other states have been hotly contested throughout the presidential campaign.


Des Moines House Explodes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Fire officials say no one was injured when a lit cigarette and an oxygen tank caused an explosion that blew out windows and caused a fire at a house in Des Moines.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/Ph3gUv ) says the blast happened Monday morning.
Fire Inspector Brian O'Keefe says the homeowner sleeps with oxygen and left the tank on when she got up. She lit a cigarette, and the oxygen in the room caught fire and burned back toward the
tank, causing an explosion.
The woman, her grandson and a family dog escaped before the explosion.   Damage to the home is estimated between $50,000 and $70,000.

Businessman Admits To Fraud

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Indiana businessman has pleaded guilty to ripping off an Iowa company and duping investors in separate fraud schemes totaling $2.3 million.
Lowell Hancher of Sheridan, Ind., pleaded guilty Friday to one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. He's been released from custody pending sentencing, where he'll face a
maximum prison term of 45 years.
In a plea agreement, Hancher acknowledged he defrauded investors in a Colorado construction company of $1.8 million between 2005 and 2010. Some investors lived in northern Iowa and were told their money would be used for a public stock offering.
Separately, Hancher said that he abused his position on the board of Spencer-based manufacturing company Cycle Country to misappropriate more than $500,000 for himself under a phony stock
buyback program.

Blind Trumpet Player Marches In Band

SOLON, Iowa (AP) - A trumpet player from Solon in eastern Iowa is marching with the high school band, thanks to some help from his bandmates.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says 14-year-old freshman Jalen Howsare (HOWS'-uhr) has been blind since he was toddler. His eyes were removed because of tumors, an illness called bilateral retinoblastoma. He has prosthetic eyes and is cancer free.
Howsare marched with the band for the first time during competitions in September.
During performances, his bandmates figure out where he's supposed to go and guide him during each song. Whoever is closest puts a hand on his shoulder and leads him to the next spot.
Band director Desmond Cervantez says Howsare is "fearless," and having him in the band builds upon its mission of giving back.






Monday News, October 29

Remsen Man Killed During A Skid Loader Accident

(Remsen) -- A skid loader accident on Saturday cost the life of a Remsen man.  19 year old Alex Renken was pronounced dead at the scene.  The investigation of the accident shows Renken was assisting Andrew Vaske, who was operating the skid loader.  The two were putting fence posts into the ground.  Renken was holding the posts while Vaske would push the posts into the ground with the skid loader.  Vaske had put dirt into the bucket for added weight in pushing the posts.  As Renken was holding a post, the skid loader began to tip forward, the weight in the bucket causing the skid loader to tip all the way forward.  The skid loader bucket struck and pinned Renken.  Renken's body was transported to Floyd Valley Hospital for examination.  The investigation was conducted by the Plymouth County Sheriff's office.  Assisting at the scene were the Remsen Fire Department, Remsen Ambulance, Mercy Air Care, and the Plymouth County Medical Examiner.

Mid-Sioux Opportunity To Sell "Mittens" To Help Needy

(Remsen) -- Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is hosting their fourth annual mitten fundraiser by partnering with local businesses in five counties to provide assistance to needy families.  Proceeds go towards meeting the needs of families in Lyon, Sioux, Plymouth, Cherokee and Ida Counties.  All of the funds raised will be used for direct services to families. The public can help by purchasing a mitten at any of the participating businesses for one dollar.  Assistance may be in the form of clothing items, food, rental assistance, or utility assistance.  In Le Mars, mittens can be purchased at the Pizza Ranch.  Mittens at Remsen can be purchased at Mrs B's convenience store, American Bank, Iowa State Bank and at Mid-Sioux Opportunity.  The Sioux-Per Center is selling the mittens at Sioux Center, and at Granville, mittens can be obtained at the Granville Short Stop.  Mid-Sioux Opportunity is a community action agency that fights poverty on the local level serving five counties within northwest Iowa.

Assistance Available For Low Income Families To Pay Heating Bills

(Des Moines) -- The return of cold weather to the state is a reminder that you won't be able to keep your heater turned off all winter. Iowa Utilities Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available to those who may struggle to pay that heating bill.

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Another benefit of being eligible for LIHEAP , is you are then protected on the utility shut off moratorium.

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He says you should check as soon as possible to see if you might be eligible for the program.  Hillesland says the best thing to do is to contact your local community action agency, and if you don't know how to reach that agency, you can get information from the Iowa Department of Human Rights. The Human Rights Department has information available on its website at: www.dcaa.iowa.gov, or by calling 5-1-5-2-8-1-0-8-5-9. Applications for LIHEAP and the westernization program are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Hospers Man Arrested For Aggravated Assault

(Hospers) -- Sioux County law enforcement officers have arrested a Hospers man following an incident that occurred on Sunday at about 3:22 a.m.  23 year old Gary Hovey was taken into custody after he allegedly had assaulted a person at the residence while a two year old child was present.  The child was unharmed.  When people came to the aid of the assaulted victim to assist her in leaving the residence, Hovey displayed a shotgun to threaten the people outside in attempt to make them leave.  Hovey was arrested for domestic assault, a serious misdemeanor, assault with a firearm, an aggravated misdemeanor and child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.


Fire Damages Sioux City Home

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say the residents weren't home when a fire broke out at a house in Sioux City.
Fire crews were dispatched to the house around 7:45 p.m. Sunday.  Arriving firefighters found flames coming from the front door of the two-store house.
No injuries to firefighters were reported.
The fire cause is being investigated.


Grinnell Man Suffers Wounds From A Hunting Accident

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 78-year-old Iowa man suffered minor wounds when he was struck in the face by two shotgun pellets.
The Iowa Natural Resources Department says Darrell Lamb, of Grinnell, was wounded Saturday morning while hunting pheasants in Poweshiek (POW'-shihk) County.
The department says a pheasant flushed between Lamb and three other members of his hunting party. They couldn't see him because of the topography and the height of the vegetation.
Lamb was treated at Grinnell Regional Medical Center and released.

Nursing Home Fined $8,000

CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) - State regulators have fined a nursing home in Centerville $8,000 after a woman who couldn't breathe died in front of family members.
Regulators were concerned about the circumstances of Barbara Logsdon's death on June 22nd.
The 64-year-old woman was under a doctor's order to have her airway suctioned periodically to clear phlegm, but regulators say the Golden Age Nursing and Rehabilitation Center failed to do that
before her death.
And because two of Logsdon's family members work at the home, they were present for her death.
Michael Hamm, who runs the nursing home company that owns the Centerville facility, declined to comment on Logsdon's death.

Two Men Hope To Clear Their Name in Trial

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two men wrongly convicted in the 1977 murder of a retired Iowa police officer hope to prove that detectives framed them to solve a high-profile case.
During a trial that starts Wednesday in Des Moines, Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee will argue that Council Bluffs officers coerced witnesses into fabricating testimony that framed
them for killing John Schweer.
Schweer was shot while working as night watchman at a car dealership. Harrington and McGhee were black teenagers from neighboring Omaha. They were convicted based on testimony from
witnesses, who later said they were coerced into lying.
Harrington and McGhee were in prison until 2003, when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors committed misconduct in concealing reports about a troubled white suspect seen near the
crime scene with a shotgun.


Romeny To Visit Iowa Again

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to visit Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio today. But his aides are predicting some scheduling changes for the GOP
nominee. Romney canceled three Virginia events yesterday as Hurricane Sandy pushed toward the East Coast.


Biden To Return To Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The campaign for Democratic President Barack Obama says Vice President Joe Biden will visit Iowa again later this week.
The campaign said Sunday that Biden will visit Fort Dodge, Iowa on Thursday, but details of his visit weren't immediately available.
Biden also plans to campaign in Florida on Wednesday and in Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Iowa is one of nine key states that Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are focusing on in the closing days of the campaign.
In addition to Biden's visit, first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to campaign in Iowa City and Sioux City on Monday.





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