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Thursday Afternoon News, October 16

Day Care Provider Is Sentenced To 100 Years For Death Of 3 Year Old Girl

(Orange City) -- The daycare provider accused of killing a three year old girl that was in her care has been sentenced to 100 years.  34 year old Rochelle Sapp was given the sentence Thursday morning at the Sioux County District Court.  Sapp was originally charged with willful injury and child endangerment following an incident that occured last year of October 2013.  Three year old Autumn Elsgerma was originally taken to the Orange City hospital, then transferred to Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  She was diagnosed with severe brain injuries resulting from Sapp admitting to authorities that she threw the 3 year old girl to the floor.  Two days later, the child passed away as a result of the injuries.  Sioux County authorities dropped the willful injury and child endangerment charges and instead filed murder in the first degree charges.  A plea agreement was reached with Sapp agreeing to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a second count of child endangerment resulting in death, and a third count of child endangerment with multiple acts.


Le Mars Mainstreet Organization Receives State Grant For Historical Restoration

(Des Moines) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization was given good news Wednesday when it had learned that it was one of 13 Iowa communities to receive funding through a state grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  Known as the Iowa Mainstreet Challenge, Le Mars mainstreet will receive $75,000 which will be used to help with historical restoration of the Le Mars Beauty College.
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.  Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $5 million in state and federal funds has leveraged over $34 million in private reinvestment in 97 projects in 42 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state.

Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young says Ohm was released from Mercy Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.


Sioux City Police Officer Jill Ohm released from hospital

Officer Jill Ohm was shot in the chin by Noah Ironshell while she responded to a disturbance call on the city's west side on October 3rd.  Ironshell shot himself in the head and died last Thursday.  Chief Young says there is no timetable for Ohm's return to duty.

Many residents in Sioux City and Le Mars where Ohm has family and friends have supported the officer's recovery by displaying blue light bulbs on their porches and in windows.

Chief Young says the department appreciates all of the support given the officer during her recovery.


"Celebrate My Drive" Voting Has Begun

(Le Mars) -- Voting has already begun for the "Celebrate My Drive", a driving awareness program sponsored by State Farm Insurance.  Lisa Whitehead is assisting with the local coordination efforts of "Celebrate My Drive."

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Whitehead says this is the second year Gehlen Catholic Schools are participating in the program.  Last year, the local catholic school was one of the chosen schools to be awarded a $25,000 grant from the auto insurance company.

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Whitehead explains about the voting process and how everyone can participate in the program to help Gehlen Catholic Schools, and to know how to be more aware of potential driving dangers and distractions.

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The local "Celebrate My Drive" coordinator says people have the opportunity to vote everyday, using each of their email addresses.

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She says, this year, not only will the program possibly benefit Gehlen Catholic, but Floyd Valley Hospital can also benefit from the program.

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People can go online to cast their vote.  Whitehead says the voting period will continue through Friday, October 24th.  Remsen St. Mary's is another school participating in the "Celebrate My Drive" campaign.


Senate Campaign Fundraising

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Joni Ernst has three times as much cash as Democrat Bruce Braley going in to the final days of the competitive Iowa Senate race.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Ernst raised $6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 and ended that period with $3.6 million in cash. Braley raised $2.8 million during that time and ended the financial quarter with $1.2 million.
Braley, a four-term congressman from Waterloo, and Ernst, a state lawmaker and officer in the Iowa National Guard from Red Oak, are locked in one of the nation's closest races. They are vying for the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Republicans hope to win in Iowa in their drive for the six-seat gain they need for a Senate majority.


Fired Senate Staffer Files Lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former staffer for Iowa Senate Republicans has filed a lawsuit detailing her claims of sexual harassment and boorish behavior by male aides and lawmakers.
Kirsten Anderson, ex-communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, alleges she was fired after complaining about an environment "that allowed ordinary sexism and fraternity behavior to flourish."
The lawsuit alleges one male senator repeatedly talked about women's breasts and which lobbyists were the biggest flirts. Another, it claims, repeatedly commented on which of Anderson's shoes and hairstyles he preferred.
The lawsuit focuses largely on a policy analyst, who's accused of gossiping about the sexual history of a female senator and other inappropriate behavior.
Anderson says her supervisors started nitpicking her work after her complaints, then fired her. Republicans say she was fired for performance.


Sioux City To Create Rail Maintenance Facility

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A state agency says a Texas company plans to build a rail car maintenance and repair facility in Sioux City that would create 250 jobs.
Dallas-based TrinityRail Maintenance Services has requested $1.9 million in tax incentives for the proposed $29.5 million project. Plans call for a 150,000 square-foot complex.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority will consider the request at a meeting Friday in Des Moines.
To qualify for the incentives, the facility would need to pay workers at least $16.36 per hour.


Man Charged With Fake AIDS Research Ask For Delay In Trial

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Iowa State University researcher charged with falsifying data to make a developmental AIDS vaccine appear promising is seeking the third trial delay is as many months. 
The attorney for Dong-Pyou Han says in court documents filed Thursday he's reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents that must be translated into Korean.
Public Defender Joseph Herrold adds his client needs time to consider a plea agreement prosecutors have offered that could avert a trial.
He is asking a judge to set a trial date for February that gives him more time to consider and negotiate a potential plea deal. 
Han, who is free on bond, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports.


Sierra Leone Official Says Ebola Virus Killing Youth

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The president of Sierra Leone says the Ebola virus is killing more youth than any other age group which he says is reversing economic gains the West African nation has made.
Ernest Bai Koroma, speaking via a satellite link to the World Food Prize Foundation symposium in Des Moines Thursday, says youth, many of whom work on farms are instrumental in economic growth. He says since Ebola is striking the youth population "gains have been reversed, the economy is slowing down and nurses, the overwhelming majority of whom are youth, are dying." 
Koroma says the international community is helping but the country must "sprint very fast to get ahead of the virus and stop it."
He was to fly to Des Moines but decided to stay home as Ebola escalates.







Thursday News, October 16

City To Clean Sewers

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Waste Water officials are announcing the city will be conducting its annual sewer cleaning.  Ron Kayser, Superintendent for the City's Waste Water Department says the routine and necessary maintenance reduces the likelihood of sewer lines plugging.  The Le Mars Waste Water Department has hired an outside contractor to do the annual sewer cleaning, beginning today (Thursday).  Kayser says the process could take up to six weeks to complete.  The area designated for sewer cleaning includes all the area west of 4th Avenue Northwest and Southwest extending from 6th Street Northwest to 14th Street Southwest, and the entire area south and west of Central Avenue to 14th Street Southwest.  Kayser says it may be possible that residents experience some minor sewer problems and/or traffic congestion in these areas.  If you have questions regarding the sewer cleaning, you are urged to contact the Waste Water Treatment Facility at 546-5003 during normal business hours.


Brenda Gengler Honored As Chamber "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce honored its latest "Employee of the Month" Wednesday morning during a chamber coffee event held at Northwest Iowa Credit Union.  Brendqa Gengler has been selected as this month's "Employee of the Month."  Brenda was nominated by Steve De Boer CEO of Northwest Iowa Credit Union.  Brenda has been an assistant manager and loan manager for the past 28 years at NW Iowa Credit Union in Le Mars.  She is a dedicated employee who has faithfully served the members of the NW Iowa Credit Union for 28 years.  She knows every job function in the workplace and willingly performs any and all duties as needed.  Members always get great attention and care when they deal with Brenda.  Co-workers respect and appreciate the examples she sets.  She is trully worthy of the recognition as Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Month.  Our congratulations to Brenda Gengler of the Northwest Iowa Credit Union for being honored as the Chamber's "October Employee of the Month."


Woodbury County Supervisors Settle Lawsuit

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Woodbury County Board has agreed to settle a woman's lawsuit over what she said was mistreatment at the county jail.
     The board approved the settlement on Tuesday. The county will pay Nicole Clay $15,000, and Sioux City will pay her $7,500.
     Clay said in her lawsuit that corrections officers tore off her top and bra and banged her head against a wall when she was being booked into the jail on Aug. 12, 2011, for public intoxication. Clay also says the arresting officer who searched her purse and looked through photos on her cellphone didn't have a warrant.
     Attorney Tom Verhulst, who represented the county, says the county "maintains no liability but decided to pay the settlement and move on."


Iowa Supreme Court Hears Arguments On "Speeding Cameras" Case

(Storm Lake) -- The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday evening on a Sioux City case involving traffic cameras. Michael Jacobsma, a lawyer from Sioux Center, sued the city after receiving a speed camera ticket for going 67 miles-an-hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone. Jacobsma represented himself before the justices, saying he was denied due process because the ticket was mailed to him after the photo was taken without an actual officer confirming he was driving.

(sot) Jacobsma


74 Year Old Man Charged With Stabbing Woman To Death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a 74-year-old man has been charged in the fatal stabbing of a woman in Des Moines.
     Officers were sent around 3:10 p.m. Wednesday to check a report of a fight at an apartment building office. They found the 54-year-old woman suffering from stab wounds. Police say she died later at a hospital. Her name won't be released until relatives are notified about her death.
     Police say 74-year-old Norman Wadsworth had blood on him and was found near the crime scene. He was interviewed, jailed and charged with first-degree murder. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney in the case.


African Leaders Say Food Is In Jeopardy Due To Ebola Outbreak

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Agriculture ministers from West African nations at the center of the Ebola epidemic say only money and global coordination will keep the health care crisis from becoming a food emergency.
     In Sierra Leone, where thousands are infected and more than 900 have died, 40 percent of the nation's farmers have abandoned their fields. Agriculture Minister Joseph Sam Sesay says annual economic growth of more than 11 percent has dropped to an expected 3 percent.
     Liberia Agriculture Minister Florence Chenoweth says billions of dollars of outside agricultural investment is gone as farming has been decimated.
     The officials spoke Wednesday at the World Food Prize Foundation annual meeting in Des Moines where government, academic, corporate, nonprofit agriculture and food experts gather to discuss issues of hunger and boosting agricultural productivity.


Ammonia Released In Water Tributary

VILLISCA, Iowa (AP) - An unknown amount of ammonia has entered a small unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River in southwest Iowa.
     The state Department of Natural Resources says the anhydrous ammonia was released from the United Farmers Mercantile Co-op in Villisca between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. It went into a city storm sewer before entering the tributary.
     DNR officials detected high concentrations of ammonia throughout the tributary to the river, but no fish kill has been reported.
     Co-op employees are pumping contaminated water out of the tributary. They are also pumping contaminated water from an on-site pit.
     The case remains under investigation.


Democrats Try To Tarnish Ernst Image

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - As time runs short in the competitive Iowa Senate race, Democrats are trying to tarnish the centerpiece of Republican Joni Ernst's successful Senate campaign - her appealing image as a down-to-earth farm girl.
     In recent weeks, Democrats have promoted stories about a dispute Ernst's husband had with a house painter, construction contracts awarded to her father when she was Montgomery County Auditor and local political conflicts during her time in county office.
     Ernst supporters say the attacks won't change their opinions. Ernst, a state lawmaker and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, is running against Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley.
     Recent polls have shown a close race. The candidates and outside groups are spending millions on television advertising and bringing in big-name surrogates to boost enthusiasm.





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