Thursday Afternoon News, June 4
Texas Man Accused Of Aiding Lottery Official With Scam
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Texas man accused of helping a lottery security official try to claim a rigged $14 million jackpot is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.
Robert Rhodes is expected to contest his extradition to Iowa during the hearing in Texas.
The Sugar Land businessman was arrested in March and is free on bond. Prosecutors say he worked with an Iowa friend, Eddie Tipton, and others in an attempt to claim the Hot Lotto jackpot that Tipton had rigged.
Tipton was security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates Powerball.
Prosecutors allege that Tipton inserted a software program into the random number generator for Hot Lotto that allowed him to manipulate the winning combination. They say Tipton purchased the winning ticket and later passed it on to Rhodes and others.
Christie To Speak About Education During Iowa Visit
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Chris Christie is set to give a speech on education when he comes to Iowa next week.
Samantha Smith, a spokeswoman for Christie's political action committee, said Wednesday that the Republican New Jersey governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate will give the speech in Ames on June 11.
Christie is slated to speak at the Polk County Republicans' spring dinner that night. His trip will also likely include a town hall meeting.
The trip will be Christie's fifth to Iowa this year. He was last here in early March for a candidate forum and has two paid staffers in the state.
Christie is trying to demonstrate that he remains a top 2016 prospect in an increasingly crowded field.
Sioux City Officials Discuss Municipal Swimming Pools
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Declining use of several swimming pools in Sioux City has prompted officials to start discussions on how they should address the facilities that are operating at a loss.
A study, which analyzed the city's pools, recommended closing some to alleviate further financial losses. A city committee will begin discussions next month to form a recommendation on the poorly attended pools.
According to Kansas-based Waters Edge Aquatic Design, only around 1.3 percent of the city's population visits the pools.
A city council member that while closures could happen, the savings could pay for splash pads and renovations at other pools.
Mason City Man Accused Of Beating Dog With A Hammer
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 62-year-old Mason City man has been accused of using a hammer to beat his dog.
Police say George Harrington is charged with animal torture and other misdemeanor violations. Harrington didn't immediately return a message Thursday from The Associated Press. Online court records don't list the name of an attorney who could be contacted to comment on Harrington's behalf.
Mason City police say officers checking a report about an injured dog at Harrington's residence found an injured boxer mix. Police say the dog was taken to a veterinarian, who euthanized it because of head injuries that the vet said were caused by a hammer.
Judge Rules For Continued Sentence For Man Who Threaten School Children
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has refused to change the five-year sentence given to a Charles City man who made threatening statements against schoolchildren.
Forty-nine-year-old Loren Saxon pleaded guilty last year to charges of intimidation and public intoxication. Officers reported in August that Saxon said he was a member of the al-Qaida terrorist organization and that he would shoot as many children as he could. He was not armed at the time.
Saxon's attorney, Nellie O'Mara, said in her motion for reconsideration of Saxon's sentence that he wasn't convicted of a forcible felony and has a job and support available if he were to be placed on probation.
Judge Peter Newell said Wednesday that "the sentence previously imposed was appropriate."
Utilities Chair To Vote On Proposed Pipeline
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The new Iowa Utilities Board chairwoman will vote on whether to build a major oil pipeline even though her family law firm represented a landowner trying to block it.
Board officials say Geri Huser doesn't have a conflict that requires disqualification because her brother, attorney Brad Skinner, has withdrawn from the case.
Board spokesman Don Tormey says Huser doesn't plan to formally disclose the connection, arguing there's no reason to do so.
Huser's decision means all three members will decide whether to approve a $3.8 billion pipeline that would transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil daily across Iowa. The plan has generated intense opposition from farmers, environmentalists and supporters of private property rights.
Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Huser in a March board shakeup that removed one member and demoted another.
Woman Sent To Federal Prison For Embezzling From Bank
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A 55-year-old woman has been given 21 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $120,000 from a bank where she'd worked.
Federal prosecutors said in a news release Thursday that Ann Sperfslage, of Manchester, had pleaded guilty to embezzlement by a bank employee. She admitted at her plea hearing that, between May 2008 and August 2010, she'd created false loan documents at First State Bank and withdrawn money based on the documents.
Sperfslage also was fined $5,000.