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Tuesday Afternoon News, June 30

New Laws To Start On Wednesday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A number of new Iowa laws take effect Wednesday, though the governor has not yet acted on some key parts of the state budget. 
One new law would allow grocery stores and liquor stores with the proper permit to sell craft beer in refillable containers, known as "growlers." Another would likely allow sledding in more public parks next winter by protecting cities from liability if people are injured. 
Some key legislation did not have a July 1 start date. A bill to raise the state fuel tax already took effect. 
Gov. Terry Branstad still must act on several key pieces of the state budget, including a one-time funding bill for K-12 education. He has until Monday to decide if he will approve budget bills.

 

 

 

 

Statewide Radio Communications Requested By Public Safety

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders from various law enforcement agencies in Iowa say the state's radio system for communicating in emergencies is outdated, and they're urging Gov. Terry Branstad to sign a bill into law that they say will change that.
Authorities from multiple departments spoke at a press conference Tuesday and encouraged Branstad to sign legislation that would allocate funding to upgrade the radio system. They say the current radio system is unreliable.
A Branstad spokesman says the governor is still reviewing the bill.
Sgt. Thomas Lampe with the state Department of Public Safety says a contract for the work would cost $68 million. 
Lampe says if legislation is approved, vendor Motorola has agreed to launch the system in about two years. Motorola was selected amid criticism over the bidding process.

 

 

 

 

 

Audit Shows West Des Moines School Principal Charged With Improper Spending

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state audit has found that a former West Des Moines elementary school principal improperly used school purchasing cards.
The audit released Tuesday says Beth Thornton improperly used the procurement cards, which work like credit cards, to the tune of nearly $10,000. That included nearly $3,500 for airline tickets and hotel rooms for her family, which she reimbursed. It also included more than $5,000 for gift cards reportedly given to families in need. District rules prohibit using procurement cards to buy gift cards.
Thornton resigned in April.
Her attorney, Guy Cook, says Thornton denies "any intentional wrongdoing whatsoever." Cook says no school money is missing and that Thornton resigned to pursue other opportunities.
The report has been sent to the Polk County Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office.

 

 

 

 

State Supreme Court Says More Warrants Needed To Search Vehicles

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A divided Iowa Supreme Court is concluding its term with a ruling that will require police to obtain warrants more often before searching inside suspects' vehicles.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court ruled Tuesday the Iowa Constitution generally requires officers to obtain warrants before they can search vehicles during traffic stops.
The court said a Davenport officer violated a drug suspect's privacy rights when he searched a locked safe found in his van. The search uncovered a loaded revolver and several baggies of marijuana.
The court's majority says that evidence should be suppressed. Its new rule says warrantless searches inside vehicles are justified only when safety concerns are at issue.
Dissenting justices say the rule will be a challenge for arresting officers to implement and goes against prior precedent.

 

 

 

 

Branstad Appoints New Director For Law Enforcement Academy

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is appointing former Des Moines police chief Judy Bradshaw as the new director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Bradshaw has been the academy's assistant director since retiring from the Des Moines Police Department last year.
She will replace director Arlen Ciechanowski, who has decided to retire after his appointment to a four-year term wasn't approved by the Iowa Senate. Branstad withdrew Ciechanowski's appointment after Democrats raised questions about his management and whether the academy had a welcoming environment for female cadets.
Branstad says the 56-year-old Bradshaw has the "leadership, knowledge, temperament and communications skills" necessary to lead the academy.
Bradshaw says she looks forward to helping teach future police officers "best practices to effectively serve their communities." Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation next spring.

 

 

 

Smoke From Canadian Forest Fires Creates Hazy Skies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A haze is blanketing much of the Midwest as strong winds carry smoke from forest fires in Canada thousands of miles to the south.
National Weather Service forecasters say Tuesday that smoke from wildfires in northern Saskatchewan is blowing as far south as Tennessee. A thick band of smoke extends through much of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
The smoke prompted health warnings in Iowa and Nebraska. The haze also has slightly cooled temperatures.
Bill Borghoff, a weather service forecaster in Chanhassen, Minnesota, says the smoky skies should remain through Wednesday but then shift to the east.
The haze could extend as far as New England later this week, but Borghoff says the smoke shouldn't be as thick as it travels east.

 

 

 

 

 

New Trial Ordered For Woman Charged With Drowning New Born Baby In Motel

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering a new trial for a woman charged with drowning her newborn baby in a hotel room.
The court ruled Tuesday that Hillary Tyler's second-degree murder conviction was tainted by improper expert testimony.
Tyler gave birth in a Fort Dodge hotel, where workers found a deceased baby the next day in a trash can. She later allegedly confessed that she drowned the baby in the bathtub. A jury found Tyler guilty of second-degree murder, and she was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The court ruled that jurors shouldn't have heard testimony from a state medical examiner, who ruled the baby drowned based on Tyler's alleged confession and not on any scientific findings.
Tyler's defense argues the baby was stillborn and died immediately after birth.

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran Funding Has Been Cut

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Funding has been pulled for adult day care for veterans in Omaha and western Iowa due to a $2.5 billion shortfall in the Department of Veterans of Affair's health care budget.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System will no longer cover adult day care and other forms of non-skilled nursing care after July 31.
VA spokesman Will Ackerman says that officials understand that it's an inconvenience to veterans and their families but that they must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Ackerman says the VA will work with veterans' families to ease the transition.


 

 




   

Tuesday News, June 30

Plymouth County Board of Supervisors To Hear Report From County Attorney

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the county courthouse board room.  The supervisors are expected to name Wayne Schipper to the Veteran's Affairs Commission to replace Cecil Lang.  The county board is also expected to approve three fireworks display applications.  The supervisors will also name Connie Barrett as Plymouth County Mental Health advocate.  The county board of supervisors will hold a public hearing on a budget amendment.  Jeremy Sitzmann is scheduled to appear before the county board to request approval for a minor subdivision. County Attorney Darin Raymond will speak before the supervisors to discuss legislation affecting the debt collection processes and the revenue for counties and approve a letter seeking line item veto.  County engineer Tom Rohe will also appear before the county board to have several permits approved.

 

 

 

 

County To Resurface C-16 And K-13 County Roads

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department have several road construction projects underway, or about to begin.  A portion of County road C-16 is closed.  C-16 is scheduled to be resurfaced, and next week, crews will begin on county road K-13.  Plymouth County engineer Tom Rohe discusses those resurfacing projects.

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Rohe says the work crews will  conduct work on both highways simultaneously.

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The county engineer says the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of July, if weather permits.

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Rohe says a total of 13 miles will be re-surfaced this year, using an asphalt overlay.  While the roads are being resurfaced, crews are also staying busy with bridge and culvert repairs throughout the county.  Rohe says Fawn Avenue between 190th and 200th streets is scheduled to close today for a culvert to replace an old wooden bridge.

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Currently, the county is working on two separate bridge projects that started in April.

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Rohe says the additional revenue designated for road and bridge repair work, as generated by the increase in the state fuels tax, as approved by the state legislature, is just now starting to be made available in Plymouth County funds.

 

 

 

 

Branstad Extends Disaster Proclamation For Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has extended a state of disaster emergency through July 31 in response to the bird flu outbreak in the state. 
The declaration Monday was the second extension of the original disaster proclamation. It otherwise would have expired Wednesday. 
The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation.
Branstad's declaration activates disaster response programs, allows the use of state supplies and makes other efforts to speed response efforts. The governor has also sought a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama for the four counties most impacted by the virus.

 

 

 

 

Regents Dismiss Long-time Communications Director

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The board that governs Iowa's public universities has let go a 29-year employee who had been its spokeswoman for years.
The Iowa Board of Regents confirmed Monday that communications director Sheila Doyle Koppin's job has been eliminated. Her last day was Friday.
The change comes after the board acknowledged last week it will also soon be cutting ties with Tom Evans, its longtime general counsel.
Earlier this year, the board created a new senior communications director position. Josh Lehman started work June 15 in that role.
Board executive director Bob Donley says officials determined Koppin's job duties could be absorbed by others.
Koppin joined the board in 1986 in the business and finance unit. Since 2006, she handled the board's media and communications responsibilities. She had a salary of $76,000.

 

 

 

 

 

China To Prosecute U of I Student For Homicide

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A former University of Iowa student from China has been charged in China with killing an Iowa State student whose body was found in her car trunk in Iowa City last fall.
An Iowa City police news release issued Monday night says 23-year-old Xiangnan Li was arrested on June 19 in Wenzhou, China, to face a charge of intentional homicide. Li had returned to China following the slaying of 20-year-old Tong Shao, whose body was found Sept. 26. Authorities say she'd been asphyxiated. Shao was reported missing on Sept. 17 in Ames.
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness told The Des Moines Register that Iowa authorities want to bring back Li for trial, but the United States and China don't have an extradition treaty. 
Chinese authorities say they will prosecute Li.

 

 

 

 

Jury Rules Law Dean Did Not Discriminate

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A jury has ruled that the former dean of the University of Iowa law school didn't commit political discrimination when she passed over a conservative lawyer for teaching jobs.
The federal jury in Davenport on Monday rejected Teresa Manning's claims that Dean Carolyn Jones rejected her because of Manning's political beliefs and associations.
The verdict is a victory for the university in a long-running case that has been closely watched in higher education.  It came after a six-day trial, which was the second in the case after an unusual mistrial in 2012.
University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said the school is pleased and "happy to put this case behind us." School officials claimed Manning failed a job interview.
Manning already has a contract to write a book about the lawsuit.

 

 

 

 

Flooding Recedes In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have reopened a major street near downtown Des Moines that was affected by flooding from the nearby Raccoon River.
A portion of Fleur Drive along Gray's Lake Park reopened Monday afternoon. The current level of the Raccoon River along the street continues to recede. The current level of the nearby Des Moines River is also receding.
Fleur Drive and other roads in Des Moines were temporarily closed during the weekend following heavy rains in the area.
Officials for the city of Des Moines say they're looking for volunteers to help clean dirt and debris at Gray's Lake Park, which remains closed.

 

 

 

 

Two Kansas Men Charged With Iowa Man's Death

 

NODAWAY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have charged two Kansas men with first-degree murder in connection with an Iowa man's death.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced the arrest Monday of 41-year-old Jon Rubendall and 39-year-old James Bost, both of Hiawatha, Kansas.
The men were charged in the death of 44-year-old Allen Pafford, of Nodaway, Iowa. Bond for both men was set at $1 million.
An affidavit says authorities found Pafford tied up in a workshop near his mother's home in Nodaway, with a bedsheet wrapped around his head and neck and a bullet wound in the back of his head.
According to the document, Bost told authorities that Pafford owed Rubendall $3,000 for drugs.
Authorities from Iowa and Kansas arrested Bost and Rubendall in Hiawatha.

 

 

 

 

Third Person Charged After Bar Fight

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A third person has been charged in connection with a downtown Cedar Falls assault where the victim lost an eye.
Police arrested 23-year-old Alonzo Jamal Henderson Sunday on a willful injury charge.
Henderson was wanted in connection with a March 1 assault on 47-year-old Brett Weichers outside a bar.
Weichers told police he intervened when he saw a person acting aggressively toward a bar waitress, which led to two people being removed. He says he believes the two later attacked him.
Cedar Falls police arrested 21-year-old Brady Lee Morgan for willful injury in the attack earlier this month. Morgan's girlfriend, 21-year-old Terisa Shea Rowan, was arrested for allegedly giving a false statement to police.



 




   

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