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Monday Afternoon News, Oct. 1

Sheldon Man Sentenced To Prison For ID Theft

(Orange City) -- A Sheldon man was sentenced on Friday in Sioux County District court for identity theft, a class D felony; and three counts of Forgery, Class D felonies.  39 year old Juan Ozuna-Contreras, will serve at least five years in prison.  The case arose on January 24th when a special agent with the U-S Immigration and Customs Enforcement went to Golden Crisp in Sioux Center to investigate a tip that a person was working under an assumed name using fraudulent or fictitious documents.  Ozuna-Contreras is a native of Mexico, and is not legally authorized to be employed in the United States.  The case was prosecuted by Sioux county attorney, Coleman McAllister.

Le Mars Community School District Sets 2012-2013 Goals

(Le Mars) -- With one month of school already in the books, school officials presented their goals for the 2012-2013 school year during the last Board of Education meeting.  Le Mars Middle School goals was presented by Middle School principal Steve Shanks.  Shanks says the Middle School teachers are implementing was is referred to as SMART goals as part of their teaching assessment.
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Shanks says the Middle School teachers will focus specifically on reading, mathematics, and science proficiency. Larry Johnson serves as the high school principal.  He says the high school's faculty goals are to work on the student's inferences.

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Floyd Athay spelled out the goals for the elementary schools.

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District wide, school officials indicate that Le Mars is in better shape than many Iowa schools, but more emphasis will be to encourage students to become efficient in the three core areas of reading, math, and science.

Highway 20 New Four-Lane Segment May Open By Thanksgiving

(Sac City) -- The latest stretch of four-lane Highway 20 in northwest Iowa is expected to open this fall, likely in November. Shirley Phillips, president of the Highway 20 Corridor Association, says it's taken more than two decades to get the east-west thoroughfare to this stage.

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Phillips says the latest 26-mile stretch of road should be open in time for Thanksgiving travelers.

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Phillips details how many miles will be needed to finish the four-lane project.

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Phillips says the goal is to have the entire four-lane project finished within five years. Phillips has been involved with the Highway 20 project for the past 24 years.

Sioux City Teen Asks Date For Homecoming Using Billboard Sign

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City student has found a unique way to ask someone to Saturday's homecoming dance. He put his invitation to Maria Flores on a billboard in downtown Sioux City.
Sam Avery, a senior at North High School, told the Sioux City Journal ( ) that teddy bears, roses or balloons just wouldn't do. He needed something bigger and better.
Avery says he thought about asking a girl to the dance via a billboard for some time especially since his father owns a sign company.
Avery and Flores, also a senior at North High, first met in eighth grade. She moved to Texas two years ago and returned to Sioux City this summer.
Avery surprised Flores with the billboard a few weeks ago - and she said yes.

Des Moines Ordered To Refund Money To Utility Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Des Moines must refund millions of dollars to utility customers after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal request in a lawsuit involving the
collection of fees on gas and electricity utility bills.
The court's decision announced Monday upheld the Iowa Supreme Court, which in turn upheld lower court decisions that declared the collection of between $30 million and $40 million an illegal tax.
Iowa courts have ordered the city to repay the money.
The city appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in July.
The decision means the case returns to Polk County District Court, where an exact refund will be determined for 100,000 Des Moines utility customers.
The case is about permissible use of franchise fees intended to maintain city right of ways used by utilities.

Supreme Court Rejects Meatpacker's Appeal

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a 27-year prison term issued to a former kosher slaughterhouse executive convicted of financial fraud following a
huge immigration raid at the Iowa plant.
The Supreme Court declined Monday to consider an appeal filed by former Agriprocessors Inc. vice president Sholom Rubashkin.
He was convicted of a scheme to cheat the Postville plant's lender out of $27 million by submitting fake invoices that made its finances appear healthier than they were. His arrest came after immigration authorities raided the plant and arrested 389 illegal immigrants.
Rubashkin had argued that U.S. District Judge Linda Reade could not be impartial because she met with investigators to plan the immigration raid. He also argued his prison term was too long for a
first-time, nonviolent offender.


Woman Wants Native Prairie Grass - City Claims It To Be Weeds

BUFFALO, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa woman is fighting with city officials to retain prairie grass the she says has taken her a decade to grow.
KWQC-TV reports ( ) Jeanne Hedges of Buffalo says she's worked hard to grow the native grass because she "wanted to recreate a small prairie of my own."
But a city inspector told her had had to cut the grass. Hedges says the inspector called it a bunch of weeds and noted the city code required grass to be cut when it grows over 10 inches high.
Mayor Doug Anderson says the city isn't trying to bully the woman, but it must enforce the city laws. He says the City Council will decide if prairie grass is a nuisance or a garden.
A meeting is set for Monday.




Monday News, October 1

Authorities Investigate Roll-Over Accident

(Merrill) -- On Saturday evening, at about 9:00 p.m. the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office received a report of a single vehicle roll over accident near the intersection of Highway 75 and Jade Avenue.  Upon arrival, authorities were unable to locate a driver, or any occupants of the vehicle.  After a search was conducted, the driver of the vehicle was located in Merrill on Main Street.  The subject was identified as Darwin Arriaga-Smith, age 32, of Le Mars.  Arriaga-Smith was arrested and taken to the Plymouth County jail.  He was charged with public intoxication and failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.  After additional investigation, it was determined that Arriage-Smith was in the United States illegally.  A hold has been placed on him by Immigration.  The vehicle was totaled in the accident.  Assisting at the scene were the Hinton Ambulance, Hinton Fire and Rescue, Merrill Ambulance, Hinton Police, Merrill Police and the Iowa State Patrol.


Fire Claims Life of Sioux City Man

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters in Sioux City say they have found the body of a man in the basement of burning home.
Fire crews were called to the house on the city's north side around 1:45 a.m. Saturday. Upon arriving, firefighters discovered flames and smoke coming from the home.
Firefighters were able to put out the flames quickly, but discovered the body of a man in the basement.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. Police and the state fire marshal's office are investigating.
Authorities have not yet released the name of the man killed.
It is Sioux City's second fatal fire this year. Police say a man found dead inside a burning home in July died of smoke inhalation.


Motorcycle Accident Claims Life In Northeast Iowa

CALMAR, Iowa (AP) - One person is dead and another injured in a motorcycle crash in northeast Iowa.
The crash happened Friday afternoon on Highway 52 near Calmar.
Police have not identified the person killed in the crash. The Iowa State Patrol says the person injured was a 45-year-old Decorah man who was driving the motorcycle.
Investigators say the crash happened in a construction zone where the road surface is uneven. The accident remains under investigation.

Mom Drives Over 20 month old Daughter

MONTROSE, Iowa (AP) - Lee County Sheriff's officials say a 20-month-old girl is dead after her mother accidentally backed over her with the family car.
Sheriff Jim Sholl tells the Burlington Hawk Eye that Meyah James was pronounced dead at the scene of the Friday accident at the child's home.
The newspaper says the child's 24-year-old mother was backing the car out of the home's driveway while Meyah and her 5-year-old sibling were playing outside. Investigators believe the toddler saw
her mother's car and walked behind it, unbeknownst to the mother.
Sholl says the child's death is "a tragic accident."


Democrats Lead With Absentee Ballots

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The election of 2012 is well under way though election day is still more than a month away.
Democrats have the absentee ballot lead, with voters already returning 8,800 ballots to Republicans' 2,600 as of Friday. However, Republicans have a voter registration advantage and say
they'll have a strong turnout on Election Day.
Early voting began Thursday.
Republicans took the voter registration lead in April, in part due to the 2010 primary for governor and the January caucuses that drew record GOP participation.
Part of the change also is due to a standard cleanup of voter registration rolls that involved confirming current addresses of voters by mailing notices.
The state had 89,000 fewer active voters in August than in January.

Anaylists Believe Obama Will Win The Electoral Vote

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Five weeks to Election Day, President Barack Obama seems within reach of the 270 electoral votes needed to win a second term.
Republican Mitt Romney's path to that magic number is narrowing.
To overtake Obama, Romney would need to quickly gain the upper hand in nearly all of the nine states where he and Obama are competing hardest.
Polls show the president with a steady lead in many of them. But several Republicans say many presidential opinion polls sample Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents at 2008 levels.
Romney is intent on shifting the dynamics of the race, starting with the first presidential debate on Wednesday.
If the election were held today, an Associated Press analysis shows Obama would win at least 271 electoral votes, with Ohio and Iowa now among the states he would carry.


Ryan To Campaign In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will be in Dubuque as he begins a two-day trip to eastern Iowa.
Ryan will hold a rally Monday evening at Loras College, then remain in Iowa on Tuesday for events in Clinton, Muscatine and Burlington.
Ryan's visit comes amid polls that show Democratic President Barack Obama with a small lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney in Iowa.
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden also will be in Iowa. The Obama campaign hasn't released details of that visit.






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