Thursday News, Janaury 1
Kingsley Fire Department Responds To Garage Fire
(Kingsley) -- At about the same time people were celbrating the arrival of the new year, the Kingsley Fire Department was called to respond to a garage fire. Fire fighters went to 414 Dover Street at about 11:20 p.m. They were able to bring the fire under control within a few minutes. No indication as of yet as to what may have been the cause of the fire, or as to how much damage the garage and it contents suffered as a result of the fire. Fire fighters were on the scene for approximately two hours.
Frozen Hydrants Hamper Sioux City's Efforts To Fight Fire
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two frozen hydrants hampered efforts to extinguish flames that destroyed a mobile home in Sioux City.
Firetrucks were sent to the mobile home park around 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Sioux City Deputy Fire Marshal Frank Fulton says firefighters couldn't tap into the two frozen hydrants, so they had go to a third hydrant farther away to get water. Fulton says the problem may have cost the residents more property than they would have lost otherwise.
The three adults and three children who lived in the home escaped safely.
Conservation Board To Open Tubing Hill
(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.
Plymouth County Supervisors To Hold Meeting On Friday
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet on Friday 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.
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.
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.
Man Dies From Roll-over Accident
STUART, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State Patrol says a man has died in a rollover crash near Stuart.
A report says 64-year-old Andrew Gail Soroka, of Dexter, was traveling at a high speed Tuesday night when his vehicle drove straight off a curve. The car went into a ditch and eventually rolled down a hill.
Soroka was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The crash remains under investigation.
Energy Policy Director Fired
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.
Des Moines Names New Public Works Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Des Moines has named a new public works director.
Officials on Wednesday named 39-year-old Jonathan Gano as its new leader for the department. He is expected to begin on Jan. 26 with an annual salary of $145,000.
Gano is currently the interim co-director at the public works department in Springfield, Missouri. He replaces Pat Kozitza, who retired Wednesday after 38 years with the city.
The appointment comes as the city searches for a new police chief. The city selected a new city manager in September.
Jeb Bush Turns Down Invitation To Iowa Freedom Summit
MIAMI (AP) - Separating himself from much of the emerging Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush has declined an invitation to speak at a political event organized by one of Congress' most strident immigration critics.
A Bush aide said Wednesday that the former Florida governor appreciated the invite from Republican congressman Steve King but would not be able to attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24 because of a scheduling conflict.
More than a half-dozen potential Republican presidential contenders are set to appear, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Bush's absence is notable because of King's status as a conservative power broker in Iowa, home of the nation's first presidential caucuses.
Bush is one of the GOP's most vocal advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. King generally opposes such efforts.
Rehab 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 Set 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.
Council Bluffs Library Celebrates Teen Central
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.