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Thursday Afternoon News, April 30

Jan Wagner Real Estate To Consolidate With Spirit Lake Realitor

(Le Mars) -- A Le Mars real estate agency will soon be known by a different name. Jan Wagner of the Jan Wagner Real Estate Agency made the announcement Thursday during a special Chamber coffee event that its Le Mars services will consolidate with the Carlson-Sanderson Real Estate Agency of Spirit Lake.

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Wagner explains Le Mars will retain an office.

 

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Wagner says the consolidation will be complete by June 1st.  The Jan Wagner Real Estate office has been dong business in Le Mars for the last eight years. Wagner says there will not be any changes with her staff, other than some expansion may take place.  She says  Exit Real Estate is a national based company with a good reputation.

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Brad Sanderson says he has been impressed with Jan Wagner, her staff, and her business, and he says those factors contributed to the merger of the two real estate companies.

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Sanderson says he is hopeful to expand the new real estate business to other communities within northwest Iowa.  Both Wagner and Sanderson indicated the housing market is showing signs of improvement.

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Wall Lake Couple To Have Trial For Drug Charges And Child Endangerment

WALL LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Two Wall Lake residents have been scheduled for trial in June on allegations of marijuana sales and child endangerment.

37-year-old Laura Lawler pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a felony conspiracy charge involving marijuana sales, four misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and one misdemeanor count of gathering where controlled substances are used.

On Tuesday 37-year-old Jason Ransom pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

The two were arrested March 22 after police searched their home. Officers say they found several bags of marijuana locked in rooms and two measuring scales. Court documents say Lawler told officers that she sold marijuana from the home, where the couple's four children also lived.

 

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Jury Finds Sioux City Man Guilty Of Stabbing

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Jurors have found a Sioux City man guilty in a stabbing outside a bar.

27-year-old James Harris was convicted Wednesday of going armed with intent and assault with intent to cause serious injury. He is accused of stabbing a man multiple times in the back of the head in September 2013.

Police say the two were in an argument while playing pool before the stabbing occurred. The man sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

An attorney for Harris declined to comment on the conviction. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 21.

 

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Nebraska Man Pleas Not Guilty To Strangling His Wife

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Nebraska man has pleaded not guilty to an Iowa charge of first-degree murder in the strangulation of his estranged wife.

27-year-old Rogelio Pablo-Morales, of Hubbard, Nebraska, entered a written plea Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court. A trial date has not been set.

Pablo-Morales is accused of killing 21-year-old Margarita Morales, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, on April 19 near a Sioux City residence where some of his relatives live. Court documents say Pablo-Morales told investigators a fight broke out when his wife told him she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him. He said he wrapped his hands around her neck and that his next memory was his wife not breathing.

 

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Des Moines Woman Accused Of Flashing LawnWorkers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 56-year-old woman has been accused of flashing workers mowing grass in Des Moines and dropping her pants in the middle of her lawn.

The Des Moines Police Department responded Wednesday afternoon to a residential Des Moines neighborhood following reports that a woman was exposing herself to lawn care employees from her porch and yard.

Tamara Harvey was arrested on a charge of indecent exposure. Online court records show she pleaded guilty Thursday and was given a fine.

A police report says Harvey told officers she lifted her shirt and dropped her pants, but that she was wearing underwear. Neighbors allege she had exposed.

Police say Harvey was intoxicated at the time, but reports don't indicate breathalyzer test results.

 

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Three Iowa State Patrol Officers On Leave Amid Inquiry

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Public Safety says three high-ranking employees are on leave as it investigates questions about the state's new contract for handguns.
Commissioner Roxann Ryan told employees in an email obtained by The Associated Press that Maj. Todd Misel, Maj. Michael Winter and Lt. Richard Pierce are off pending completion of the review.
She says all three individuals have "long and distinguished careers" with the Iowa State Patrol and employees should withhold judgment.
Ryan says the department is reviewing the process that led the state last year to contract with Smith & Wesson to supply handguns to officers.
Ryan said the patrol's leader, Col. David Garrison, also asked Thursday to be reassigned to his previous position as a lieutenant but the move isn't related to the pending investigation.
Ex-Lawmaker Visits State Capitol After Being Acquitted For Sexual Abuse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A longtime state lawmaker who was recently acquitted of charges he abused his dementia-stricken wife visited the Iowa Capitol.
Henry Rayhons said Thursday that he wanted to visit former co-workers who had supported him throughout his trial, which drew international attention. Last week, a jury found Rayhons not guilty of third-degree sexual abuse of his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, who died in August. He was accused of having sex with her at a nursing home in May after being told by staff that she was no longer capable of consenting due to dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.
Rayhons said he has received letters of support from people around the world, adding that he hoped others would not go through the same kind of prosecution.

 

   

Thursday News, April 30

West Side Home Catches On Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a structure fire located on the west side of town last evening.  The alarm came in at about 7:30 p.m. at 312 7th Avenue southwest.  When fire officials arrived on the scene, the backside of the home was engulfed.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper.

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When fire officials arrived on the scene, the doors were locked and a vehicle was parked in the driveway, and fire fighters were not certain if anyone was home at the time of the blaze.

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Fire officials searched the interior of the home and determined that no one was home at the time of the fire, and that the inside of the home had suffered only light smoke damage.  Schipper says since fire fighters were already at the fire station for their weekly training session, the response time was short.

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Schipper estimates nearly $3000 of damage occurred to the home.  He says several neighbors were using garden hoses and spraying water on the fire prior to the fire department's arrival, helping to fight the fire.

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Schipper says the cause of the fire looks to be accidental, with the most probable cause for the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials. Cigarette butts in a plastic bucket located on the back deck of the home burnt through the plastic bucket and through the wood deck and landed on the ground below.  The Le Mars Fire Chief says debris consisting of dried leaves and twigs beneath the wood deck had ignited, causing the fire to spread quickly to the underside of the deck and up the rear of the home, burning the vinyl siding on the backside of the home.  Fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour.

 

 

 

Le Mars Community School Foundation Honors Teachers, Staff, And Students

(Le Mars) -- Last evening the Le Mars Community School Foundation and Alumni Association honored teachers, alumni, and current students at the awards banquet. Faculty and staff that were selected as "Employees of the Month" were officially recognized.  They included Kluckhohn Kindergarten teacher Rachel Harris, Middle School Math Instructor Bill Magnussen, Alternative High School teacher Julie Theisen, Clark Teacher Associate Gretchen Utesch, Alternative High School Teacher Associate Michele Berkenpas, High School Teacher Associate Jennifer Hauser, High School Special Education teacher Emily Klingbeil, High School Custodian Brian Orban, Retired Director of Maintenance Duane Schettler, Middle School Administrative Assistant Amy Bergquist, and Franklin Fourth Grade teacher Jan Hansen.  Also honored during last evening's award ceremony were those faculty and staff that have devoted 25 years to the Le Mars Community School District.  They included: Lyn Candor, Michelle Gaes, Debra Richarz, Verle Matzdorff, and Julie Theisen.  Nine students of the Class of 2015 were recognized as being the academic top five percent.  They include Emily Ahlers, David Barker, Jayme Kelly, Brett Marek, Ellen Meis, Peter Meis, Allison Perera, Dayton Rand, and Michael Scheitler.  The Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell was presented to this year's "Teacher of the Year", Kim Rohrs a Transitional Kindergarten teacher at Kluckhohn Elementary.  In her acceptance speech, Rohrs thanked the school for the honor and echoed Hillary Clinton by saying it takes a village to educate students.  The Distinguished Alumnus was awarded to Dr. Tom Starzl from the Class of 1944, but unfortunately due to health concerns, Dr. Starzl was unable to attend the awards banquet.

 

 

 

Driver Falls Asleep Causes Two Vehicle Accident

(Hinton) -- A driver who apparently fell asleep at the wheel was the cause of a two vehicle  accident that was reported at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near Hinton. 54 year old Bradley Holder of Hinton says he fell asleep when he was traveling on county road K-22 heading north when his vehicle left the road and struck the bridge approach.  He then re-entered traffic spinning around and going backwards into traffic.  The second vehicle, which was being driven by 22 year old Jessica Lueck of Sioux City, was heading southbound on county road K-22 entering the bridge when Holder's vehicle entered the path.  Lueck struck the rear of Holder's vehicle and both cars came to rest on the bridge blocking the roadway.  The Hinton Fire and Ambulance service and the Iowa State Patrol assisted with the scene.

 

 

 

30 Law Enforcement Agencies Participate In "Operation Blue Fog" - 73 Arrested

(Sioux City) -- During the month of April, members of the Tri-State Drug Task Force, in conjunction with over 30 other law enforcement entities participated in Operation Blue Fog.  The crackdown resulted in the arrest of 73 individuals and the issuance of 19 citations to others in connection with street level drug crimes.  The agencies involved consisted of local, county, state, and federal officials from the tri-state area, including officials from the Winnebago and Omaha Nations.  The project concentrated its efforts in the tri-state region and focused on the counties of Woodbury, Dakota, Union, Plymouth, Sioux, and Monona, as well as the tribal lands of the Omaha and Winnebago Nations.  Numerous operations were conducted including seven search warrants.  A significant amount of illegal and other items were seized as evidence.  Included in the seizure were over nine pounds of marijuana, 4.75 ounce of crystal methamphetamines, prescription medications including narcotics and anti-depressants, THC edibles and a wide array of drug paraphernalia.  Numerous additional arrests are pending. Due to the nature of these types of investigations, no further details will be released on individual cases.

 

 

 

 

More Iowa Poultry Farms Infected By Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State agriculture officials say the deadly bird flu virus is suspected on two more Iowa chicken farms and two more turkey operations.

Officials say initial tests indicate the virus on two turkey farms in Buena Vista County. One has 50,000 birds and the count on the other farm is still pending. A chicken farm in that county with 63,000 laying hens also tested positive.

Tests also returned positive on a chicken breeder farm with 19,000 birds in Kossuth County.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Ames will run additional tests to confirm.

That lab Wednesday confirmed the virus on farms in Sioux, O'Brien and Osceola counties with nearly 6 million chickens.

The new cases bring to 10 million the Iowa birds that have either been or will be euthanized.

 

 

 

Water Fowl Deaths Reported Near Mississippi River

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say bird flu isn't suspected in the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl collected in the Mississippi River near northeastern Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that four types of waterfowl are being tested to determine cause of death, but that officials don't suspect the virus is to blame.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awaits the test results from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin after the waterfowl were collected in the Upper Mississippi River last week.

A DNR news release says the majority of birds were American coot and lesser scaup. Bluewing teal and canvasbacks were also found.

The DNR says this is the sixth time since 2001 that waterfowl have died in droves. Trematodes, a parasitic flatworm, were responsible each time prior.

 

 

 

DNR Investigates Pollution Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say bird flu isn't suspected in the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl collected in the Mississippi River near northeastern Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that four types of waterfowl are being tested to determine cause of death, but that officials don't suspect the virus is to blame.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awaits the test results from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin after the waterfowl were collected in the Upper Mississippi River last week.

A DNR news release says the majority of birds were American coot and lesser scaup. Bluewing teal and canvasbacks were also found.

The DNR says this is the sixth time since 2001 that waterfowl have died in droves. Trematodes, a parasitic flatworm, were responsible each time prior.

 

 

 

Senate Passes Budget Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic-majority Senate has approved a series of spending bills, including a plan that would provide more higher education funding than desired by the Republican-controlled House.

In a 26-24 vote Wednesday, the Senate backed an education budget bill that would spend about $1 billion on state universities, community colleges and other programs, like early childhood education. Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a similar spending level.

Senator Brian Schoenjahn, an Arlington Democrat, says the funding would support a third year of public university tuition freezes.

The Senate bill allocates about $48 million more than House Republicans say they want to spend. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, contends schools could still freeze tuition if it was a priority.

By midweek, most budget bills had started moving through the Legislature.

 

 

 

Woman Ordered To Pay Back Money To Girl Scouts

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) - A judge in Mitchell County has ordered a 38-year-old Osage woman to pay back the more than $1,400 she stole from her Girl Scout troop.

Jennifer Nilges was sentenced earlier this month for theft. In addition to the order for restitution, Nilges was fined $625 and sentenced to 10 days in jail. She was given credit for time already served.

Nilges pleaded guilty after prosecutors lowered the charge and dropped another. Prosecutors say Nilges stole the money from the troop's account from the end of January through the first week of February.

 

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