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Friday Afternoon News, November 21

Iowa Supreme Court Dismisses Teen Harrassment Case

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court says charges against a northeast Iowa girl found guilty in juvenile court of harassing another girl must be dismissed because prosecutors failed to prove harassment.
     The case centers on a February 2013 confrontation in New Albin as two 15-year-old girls exited a school bus. One girl, identified as D.S. shouted obscenities which the other girl, identified as T.B., thought were directed at her. T.B. testified that D.S. had bullied her in the past and she felt intimidated.
     A juvenile court found D.S. delinquent for committing third-degree harassment. The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed that decision and prosecutors appealed.
     The Iowa Supreme Court says it doesn't condone the behavior but the girl's actions are not harassment because she didn't purposefully create an encounter to threaten or intimidate.


Council Bluffs To Restore Park

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs officials are planning a nearly $1 million restoration of the historic Fairmount Park with the help of $100,000 from a Rotary club.
     Mayor Matt Walsh announced the project Thursday. The 90-acre park features a greenhouse, ice skating, sledding, a petting zoo and an old bell tower. But the Daily Nonpareil reports the park's forest is overgrown and its facilities need renovation.
     Officials say the project will restore the woodlands and establish new trails to improve pedestrian access from nearby neighborhoods. The project also calls for a plaza on the site of the former Fairmount Lodge.
     Mick McKinley, the former president of the Rotary Club of Council Bluffs, says the group was looking for a service project to help fund to commemorate its 100-year anniversary.


Janitor Destroys Library Computer

  CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa public library janitor has been arrested after police say he stole a computer from work and destroyed it.
     43-year-old Billy Matiyabo was arrested Thursday and charged with third-degree theft. He tells police he stole the computer from the Coralville Public Library after he used it to view inappropriate material in October following his shift. Police say he returned to work, stole the computer and then burned it.
     The computer was valued at about $700. Police didn't say what Matiyabo used the computer to view.
     Online jail records didn't indicate an attorney for Matiyabo.


Iowa Family Packs Food For Students To Take Home

   BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa family has begun a program that provides food for students on Fridays to ensure they have something to eat over the weekend.
     The Hawk Eye reports Josh and J.J. Caston started Homeplate Iowa, a nonprofit, to feed elementary students at several schools. They are Corse, North Hill, Sunnyside, Grimes and West Burlington elementary schools.
     Students receive meals twice a month. Six meals and two snacks are sent home in a bag with students. Each bag costs about $3 to stock.
     Homeplate Iowa started three years ago, feeding 40 children a month at Corse Elementary School. It's grown to about 270 kids twice a month, or 544 monthly bags.
     The Castons find students in need of food for the weekend with the help of school counselors.


Iowa Cyclist Dies From Accident

 FERTILE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 62-year-old cyclist in northern Iowa has died after colliding with a flatbed truck. 
     A  Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa spokesman says 62-year-old Sally Bell of Clear Lake died from injuries in the Thursday crash. 
     The Iowa State Patrol says Bell and the truck crashed in an intersection near Fertile in Worth County. 
     No other injuries were reported.
     No charges have been reported. Troopers are investigating.






Friday News, November 21

Museum Ready For Holiday Season

(Le Mars) -- Christmas spirit will fill the Plymouth County Historical Museum, beginning the day after Thanksgiving.
“The Museum Manger,” a display of hundreds of nativities in the Study Hall, will open Friday, Nov. 28, and continue to be open through Epiphany on Jan. 6.  Hours will be 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Corresponding with Christmas shopping hours, the display also will be open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17.
Sue Becker of Le Mars will provide Christmas music on her violin while strolling through the Museum hallways on Friday afternoons.
The Museum will host a Le Mars Area Chamber Coffee from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 4. Becker will play Christmas music from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the Loess Hills Hall.
Wrapping up the December events for the Museum will be a Christmas Open House on Sunday, Dec. 7. Featured will be “The Museum Manger” exhibit in the Study Hall, with sounds of the season by the piano students of Inez Hoogeveen.
Another highlight will be new wildlife displayed in the Loess Hills Hall. Lois Pausch of Le Mars has donated the wildlife, which was a part of her late husband, Harry’s, collection.
Tying in with Pearl Harbor Day, Garry R. Pape of Le Mars will be autographing his new book, The Bats: the History of Iowa’s Air National Guard 174th Squadron – from Fighter to Tanker.


Remsen-Union And M-M-C Will Not Have Class Sharing

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - The Remsen-Union and the Marcus-Merriden-Cleghorn school districts have decided not to share grades in the upcoming school year. 
     The decision means both school districts will have to make big budget cuts. Together, they face budget cuts totaling about $600,000.
      Remsen-Union will have to make about $400,000 worth of reductions in general fund expenditures to not face a budget shortfall. The MMC district will have to make about $200,000 worth of budget cuts.
     The decision was made at an MMC school board meeting Monday. Remsen-Union school board members also were in attendance. 
     Both school boards had to approve a whole grade sharing plan before February. Grade sharing would have meant sending students in grades five through eight to one district and those in grades nine through 12 to another.


Cherokee Man Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Relating To Stand-off

CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) - A Cherokee man has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection to a lengthy standoff with police.
     Thirty-five-year-old Joshua Allender entered his written plea Wednesday in Cherokee County District Court. He faces charges of attempted murder, possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by a domestic violence offender, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, assault while participating in a felony and assault on a police officer.
     Police responded to a call on Oct. 30 about a suicidal person. Allendar is accused of refusing to come out when officers arrived and firing a gun from an upstairs window. 
     After six hours, a tactical unit fired tear gas into the home and Allender was arrested.


Storm Lake Turkey Plant Back In Production After Fire

(Storm Lake) -- The Sioux City Journal is reporting the Hillshire Brand turkey processing plant based in Storm Lake is back in full operation following a devastating fire last March.  Investigators report a welding accident was responsible for the fire which caused more than $30 million in damages.  The company kept the more than 600 employees on the payroll while the plant was being rebuilt.


Spencer Teenager Charged With Bomb Threats

 SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A 16-year-old has been arrested in connection to a bomb threat made at the Spencer, Iowa high school.
     Spencer police say the teenager was arrested Thursday morning. He has been released into his parents' custody.
     Police say the teenager is suspected of writing a bomb threat at Spencer High School that was discovered Wednesday morning on a bathroom wall. Students were evacuated and later released after authorities declared the school safe.
     The teenager faces charges of terrorism and arson threats. A search of his home did not uncover any bomb-making materials.


Carroll Resigns From Board Of Regents

 URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Board of Regents member Nicole Carroll says she has resigned from the group that governs the state's three public universities.
     Carroll says in a news release that the resignation is due to her family's move out of Iowa. She says the decision is effective Thursday.
     Carroll says she wanted to make the announcement ahead of the board's next meeting. She was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011.


Branstad To Hold Budget Hearings 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will hold a series of budget hearings as he readies the next state financial plan.
     Department heads and elected officials are set to present information to Branstad and staff starting Friday. More than 40 hearings will be held, concluding in mid-December.
     Branstad will present his next proposed budget to the Legislature in early 2015.
     Department of Management Director David Roederer said Thursday that the state must be cautious as it drafts a plan, because revenue growth has slowed.  That's due in part to the falling corn and soybean prices paid to farmers.
     The state's current general fund budget includes nearly $7 billion in spending.  While state revenues have grown compared to the previous year, the gains have been more modest than originally anticipated.


Grassley Says President Obama Is Breaking The Law With Immigration Policy

(Washington) --  Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says President Obama is breaking the law with his plans for an executive order to provide legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.  President Obama made the announcement last evening during an address to the nation.

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Grassley says he would advise the President to work with Congress first on issues of mutual interest and agreement, before submitting a proposal that is widely controversial.  Grassley says President Obama needs to look at the example set by President Clinton.

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The Iowa Republican Senator offers several examples where President Clinton worked with the Republican-controlled House and Senate to pass legislation.

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Grassley says President Obama may face some serious consequences, if he offers a blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants.

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Rural Economic Outlook Made Slight Improvements In November

 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West improved in November, but the monthly survey of bankers doesn't suggest much growth.
     Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says low grain and energy prices continue to limit the economy in rural areas.
     The overall economic index for the region improved for the first time since May, but it only reached the neutral score of 50. That's up from 43.4 in October.
     The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in that factor in the months ahead.
     Bankers from rural areas of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas and Minnesota were surveyed.








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