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Friday Afternoon News, January 2

Meis Assumes Duties Of County Supervisor

(Le Mars) -- The newest director of the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors began his duties today.  Judge Jeff Neary conducted the swearing in ceremonies of the oath of office for John Meis.

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Plymouth County Treasurer Shelly Sitzman also was sworn into office.

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The county Board of Supervisors re-elected Jim Henrich of Akron as its board chairman, and they re-elected Don Kass of Remsen as the vice chairman.  The supervisors then assigned themselves to various committees pertaining to county business.  Once the supervisors were able to initiate the formal agenda items that are required at the start of each year, the supervisors met with Todd Schuver of L.G. Everist Company of Sioux Falls.  Discussion was focused on the transaction of business between Higman Sand and Gravel of Akron and the L.G. Everist Co.  A number of years ago the county entered a long-term agreement with Higman Sand and Gravel to provide gravel, rock, sand, and other particulate material for the county to use.  The supervisors wanted to make certain the original terms of the contract would still be applicable now that the L.G. Everist Company is proposing to purchase the Higman Sand and Gravel company.  Schuver re-assured the supervisors that L.G. Everist would abide by the original terms of the contract between Plymouth County and Higman Sand and Gravel.  However, Schuver indicated to the County governing board the agreed upon price in the contract is too low, compared to today's cost of gravel.  The supervisors did vote to approve the contract agreement between the county and L.G. Everist Company. 


Former Lt. Governor Art Neu Dies

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa lawyer who served as a state senator and as lieutenant governor for much of the 1970s has died.
     Jay Woodhouse, with Dahn & Woodhouse Funeral Homes in Carroll, says Arthur Neu died Friday at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines at age 81.
     Neu, a Republican, was an Iowa senator from 1967 to 1972 and served as Gov. Robert Ray's lieutenant governor from 1973 through 1979.
     He served as mayor of Carroll, his hometown, from 1982 to 1985 and on various state boards.
     Gov. Terry Branstad, who succeeded Neu as lieutenant governor after Neu chose not to seek re-election in 1978, says Iowa has lost a dedicated public servant who had a passion for his community.


Council Bluffs Fire Claims Life 

 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - One person has been killed and one injured in a Council Bluffs house fire. 
     The fire began a little after 7:15 a.m. Friday, and arriving firefighters found two people who already had escaped. Fire Chief Justin James says a disabled man was rescued from the main floor and taken to a hospital. Another person's body was found in the basement. 
     The names of those involved haven't been released.
     James says the fire likely started in the basement. The cause is being investigated.


Groups Asking Supreme Court To Uphold Decision Regarding Sexual Misconduct 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Groups representing rape victims and college administrators are asking a court to uphold Iowa State's decision to kick a basketball player off the team for alleged sexual misconduct.
     The Victim Rights Law Center and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education say the case of former Cyclone guard Bubu Palo has national significance.
     Iowa State is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse an August ruling that found there wasn't evidence that Palo violated its sexual misconduct policy.
     In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Monday, the national groups say the case could impact students and colleges in Iowa and across the country.
     They say universities must be able to use internal disciplinary hearings to enforce stricter standards of sexual misconduct than criminal law allows.


Supreme Court Overturns Conviction Of Inmate Caught With Marijuana

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is overturning the conviction of an inmate caught with marijuana while living at a halfway house.
     The court ruled Friday that 49-year-old Curtis V. Halvorson will be acquitted of a charge of possession of contraband at a correctional facility.
     Halvorson was convicted of the felony and sentenced to prison after officers found a partially smoked joint in his room at the Burlington Residential Correctional Facility.
     Justice David Wiggins says the contraband law applies only to institutions controlled by the Department of Corrections and not halfway houses managed by local judicial districts. He says Halvorson's attorney should have argued that point at trial.
     The Iowa Department of Corrections says Halvorson is currently serving time at the Iowa State Penitentiary and is due out in July.








Friday News, January 2

Sioux City Man Involved With Fatal Auto Accident

(Sioux City) -- A Sioux City man died from an auto accident Thursday morning when his vehicle left the road.  The accident was reported at about 10:50 a.m. near Moville on Highway 20.  27 year old Joshua Worrell was traveling eastbound on Highway 20 when his vehicle entered the south ditch and rolled.  Woodbury County authorities say the cause and time of the crash has not yet been determined.  The accident remains under investigation.


Supervisors To Meet Today - Oath Of Office To Be Administered - Committee Appointments

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet today as the first meeting for the new year.  Judge Jeff Neary will conduct the oath of office for Plymouth County Treasurer Shelly Sitzmann and for the newest member of the County governing board, John Meis.  The board will elect its officers and assign committee memberships.  The supervisors will then appoint the official county newspaper per Iowa Code.  The Board of Supervisors will re-appoint all current members to the County Compensation Commission.  It is expected the Board will re-appoint Brenda Miller to the County Veterans Affairs Board for a three-year term.  Two people, Wanda Delperdang and Lorraine Sacino Murphy are expected to be re-appointed to the County Board of Health for a three year term.  Other expected appointments include: Don Matthews for a five-year term to the County Board of Adjustment, Gregg Roepke to the County Zoning Board for a five-year term, and David Klohs to the Conservation Board for another five-year term.


Le Mars Held As Model For Historic Preservation

(Des Moines) -- No other state has as many local governments participating in a program run by the National Park Service that helps communities with historical preservation, and Le Mars is being showcased as a model to the nation. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs director Mary Cownie says over 100 cities and counties in Iowa have received the "certified local government" designation from the Park Service.

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 According to the National Park Service website, the goal of the program is to "save the irreplaceable historic character of places." Once an area receives "Certified Local Government" status, it gets technical assistance from state and federal experts, plus it's eligible for government grants. Cownie cites the experience of Le Mars that received a state grant two years ago.

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 The Commercial District in downtown Le Mars was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. The community now has gotten a half a million dollar federal grant to help renovate the store fronts of about three dozen businesses, so they'll look like they did when the structures were first built. The building owners will finance about 25 percent of the project. The federal grant money along with funds from the City of Le Mars will cover the rest of the cost.   According to the National Park Service, studies show historic districts maintain higher property values, have less population decline and foster "a greater sense of community" among residents.


Sargeant Bluff Man Faces Trial For Child Endangerment 

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A February trial has been scheduled for a Sergeant Bluff man accused of head-butting his teenage son.
     47-year-old Bradley Graff entered a written plea of not guilty on Monday in Woodbury County District Court. The charge is child endangerment causing injury. His trial is scheduled to begin February 3rd.
     Court documents say the incident occurred while Graff was practicing wrestling with his 11- and 13-year-old sons at his business, Wall of Fame. The documents say the older boy asked to stop practicing, but Graff threw him onto a mat several times and head-butted him. The documents also say Graff later stomped his son's head onto the mat, giving the boy a bloody nose.


Sioux City Man Accused Of Sexual Abuse

   SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of fondling an 8-year-old girl has pleaded not guilty.
     45-year-old David Winne entered his plea Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court to one count of indecent contact with a child.
     Winne is accused of touching the girl over her clothes while she was sitting on his lap at his home last year. A complaint in the case says Winne also asked the girl to touch herself.
     Court documents say Winne told authorities he did not remember the incident.


Survey Shows Midwest To See Increased Economic Growth

 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly report shows an improved economic outlook over the next three to six months for nine Midwestern and Plains states.
     A survey report issued Friday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index jumped to 54.4 in December from 51.3 in November. 
     The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
     Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says drops in grain and fuel prices have helped companies with close ties to consumers.


University Of Northern Iowa Employees Wait For Pay Checks

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The University of Northern Iowa has been scrambling to pay about 2,400 employees after a computer problem caused a delay in direct deposits to their bank accounts.
     A university vice president, Michael Hager, wrote in an email to the employees on Wednesday that paper checks would be delivered to "as many of our employees' financial institutions as possible" before the end of business on Wednesday.
     But he acknowledged that some people wouldn't get their paychecks until Friday. Direct deposits normally are made on the last day of each month.
     Several employees contacted the university's financial services department Wednesday when they noticed their paychecks had not been deposited as scheduled.
     The cause of the computer problem is unclear.


Des Moines Man Will Not Be Charged For Fatal Stabbing

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a Des Moines man who fatally stabbed an intruder likely won't be prosecuted.
     Police Sergeant Jason Halifax says 35-year-old Christopher Bear killed 34-year-old Jahron Parker after Parker attacked Bear at a house on Amos Avenue early Wednesday morning. Halifax says Parker was stabbed by Bear after Parker pulled a knife.
     Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says Bear's self-defense actions were legal and that "there's no basis to bring any charge at this time."
     Parker had been visiting a resident in the basement of the house when he went upstairs and pounded on the door of the enclosed porch. Police say Bear, who was a guest of the upstairs resident, answered the door and soon was attacked by Parker.


Audio Recording Devices Found In Woman's Bedroom

 RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - A southwest Iowa man accused of planting audio recording devices in a woman's home now faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of firearms.
     38-year-old Aaron Johnson was arrested Monday at his Red Oak home on a federal warrant. He'd been freed on bond. He's pleaded not guilty to state charges of eavesdropping and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
     Johnson originally was arrested November 3rd on the state charges. The woman reported finding one of the audio bugs, and then authorities found another in her bedroom. She says the only person granted access to her residence was a pest control technician, Johnson.


ATM Machine Stolen From Bar

VAN METER, Iowa (AP) - Thieves have emptied an ATM they yanked out of a bar in Van Meter.
      The owner of Legends Field House discovered the crime on Wednesday morning when he found a broken window, glass on the floor and an empty space where the ATM had stood.
     Police say an item had been thrown through the window so two men could get inside. A security recording showed them hooking a tow strap to the ATM before it was pulled off its mounts and out a door.
     The empty ATM was found Wednesday afternoon near the spillway at Saylorville Lake. 






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