Wednesday Afternoon News, December 31
Hillview Sledding Hill To Open On New Year's Day
(Hinton) -- Although more snow would make for better conditions, the Plymouth County Conservation Board will open the tubing hill located at Hillview Park, west of Hinton, for New Year's Day. Conservation Board Executive Director Nick Beeck explains.
Beeck says the fee to go tubing is just $5.
Beeck says the Conservation Board will provide the inflated inner tube for the winter fun. He says sleds and toboggons are prohibited on the hill.
Area Venues To Celebrate New Year's Eve
(Le Mars) -- If you are looking for an activity to help ring in the new year, there are several local area options. The town of Merrill has lined up a dinner and a dance. Bruce Norgaard is a volunteer for the Merrill New Year's Eve celebration.
Norgaard says the featured band, The Embers, are known through out the region, as they play a variety of popular tunes.
If you prefer to sing by yourself, you may want to check out the Le Mars Eagles Club. Lori Maddox explains.
Maddox says the Eagles Club is open to the public. Gary Kunz says the Le Mars American Legion Wasmer Post #241 will also hold its monthly steak dinner this evening.
Law Enforcement To Watch For Intoxicated Drivers
(Le Mars) -- As you might imagine, law enforcement agencies will be watching for intoxicated drivers this evening who may have celebrated too much. Vince Kurtz of the Iowa State Patrol.
Because of the extreme cold weather, Kurtz says the Iowa Highway Patrol will also be on the look out for stranded motorists.
Kurtz says New Year's Eve ranks high for alcholol-related traffic accidents.
The Highway Patrol trooper cautions people as they celebrate tonight. He says even one drink can prove to be dangerous.
Kurtz says it depends upon a person's metabulism, weight, time span, and other factors, but he says generally after three drinks, a person is over the legal limit and is considered intoxicated. Kurtz also reminds people to buckel-up each and everytime they are in a vehicle.
Basin Electric To Purchase Power From Wind Farms
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Basin Electric Power Cooperative has signed deals to buy power from two new wind farms in North Dakota.
The Bismarck-based utility says the combined generating capacity is 300 megawatts, enough to power about 300,000 homes. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources is developing the Dickinson Wind Energy Center near Richardton, and Kansas-based Tradewind Energy will be developing the Lindahl Wind Project near Tioga. Both wind farms will be in western North Dakota.
Basin Electric supplies electricity to 137 member rural electric systems, through out nine midwest states including Le Mars based NIPCO. Those member systems distribute electricity to about 2.8 million consumers.
Nurse Arrested For Patient Abuse
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former nurse at an Iowa City rehabilitation center has been arrested on suspicion of abusing a patient in April.
Online court records show 44-year-old Ann M. Hobbs, of Belle Plaine, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a felony charge of dependent adult abuse. Other court filings spell her first name as Anne.
Hobbs was a temporary nurse at an Iowa City rehabilitation center in April. A police complaint says a patient said Hobbs beat her. The patient reported bruising and nail scratches on her body.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports Hobbs remains at the Johnson County Jail on $10,000 bond. Court records do not list an attorney.
Trial Scheduled For Boone Man Accused Of Killing Wife
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An April trial has been scheduled for a former Boone man charged with killing his wife in 2012.
Online court records show 40-year-old Alexander Fazzino's trial will begin April 15 at the Winneshiek County Courthouse in Decorah. The Des Moines Register reports the trial has been delayed multiple times.
Fazzino is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Emily Fazzino. She was found dead on a bathroom floor at the couple's Boone home in January 2012.
Authorities say Fazzino killed his wife because she wanted to divorce him. His attorneys said in pretrial motions that she drowned in the bathtub after having a seizure brought on by alcohol withdrawal.
Fazzino has pleaded not guilty. He is currently free on bond.
Teen Central To Be At Council Bluffs
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - The Council Bluffs Library is celebrating the upcoming fifth anniversary of Teen Central, a place where youths can study and socialize.
A library worker tells The Daily Nonpareil that Teen Central has increased how many programs it offers since opening in 2010. She says Teen Central began hosting between three and four programs a year. It now holds about four a week.
Teen Central is housed on the library's second floor. The Teen Services manager says it was created to fill a needed gap in providing an educational area specifically for teenagers.
The center is open seven days a week and officials say about 60 youths visit daily during the school year. Around 500 teens participate each month in the weekly programs.
Energy Policy Director Fired From Job
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A top energy policy official in Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's administration has been abruptly fired without official explanation.
The termination of Paritosh Kasotia, the team lead in the state energy office, stunned colleagues who call her a well-respected and committed energy expert.
Iowa Economic Development Authority spokeswoman Tina Hoffman said Wednesday that Kasotia was informed of the decision Dec. 8 and given two weeks' pay.
Hoffman says she can't comment on the reason for the change, but that the agency is re-evaluating the position and planning to post it soon.
Former state colleague Bob Mulqueen says he's "sorely disappointed" in the move, saying Kasotia was very capable.
Gary Steinke called Kasotia a "national leader in alternative energy." He served with her on the advisory council of the Iowa Energy Center.