August 5, 2015

Sioux City police test body cameras

BODY-CAMERA-The Sioux City Police Department is the latest to test body cameras. Police Chief Doug Young says the cameras could soon become part of their regular equipment.

“We’ve already started the testing process, we’ve got a vendor in right now that we’re testing. I’ve got a couple of officers who’re wearing the body camera right now and we’re going through the IT part of it and how that works,” Young says. “But I anticipate having a couple of other vendors come in with their product and then we will make a decision at that time.”

Chief Young says they are also working on a plan for using the cameras. “If we go to body cameras, we’ve got to develop policy on when they are going to be on, when they are going to be off. How we are going to disseminate the information that those body cameras capture. There’s a lot of things that have to be done before we actually implement,” Young says.

He says there is no set timetable for deciding on using the cameras — but says that day is coming sooner than later. Young says he knows as soon as he decides to go ahead with the cameras something will come out that is cheaper and better. “But it’s a move that we’ve got to make,” Young says. Some police departments are now also using aerial drones, but Young says there are no plans for his department to start using them.

(Story by Woody Gottburg,KSCJ, Sioux City)


Woman faces attempted murder charge after Story County shooting

Candace Mosley

Candace Mosley

A central Iowa woman is facing charges after police say she shot her uncle. Story County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to a rural Maxwell home Monday afternoon and found 66-year-old Dwight Carpenter Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound to the ankle.

Investigators believe his niece, 33-year-old Candace Mosley, shot Carpenter with a 410 shotgun and then fled on a motorcycle. Carpenter was taken to a Des Moines hospital.

Mosley was arrested overnight and booked in the Story County Jail. She’s now facing a charge of attempted murder.

Iowans paid 6.4 percent more in income taxes to state in July

Revenue-DeptIowans paid over a quarter of a billion dollars in personal income taxes to the State of Iowa last month.

There are a record number of Iowans in the workforce now and that $251 million in personal income taxes paid to the state last month was 6.4 percent more than Iowans paid in July of last year.

Many Iowans have their income taxes withheld from their paychecks. There was a four percent increase in withholding payments in July, along with a big surge of nearly 21 percent in estimated income tax payments to the state. Estimated payments come from farmers, retirees and self-employed Iowans who do not have a regular paycheck and must estimate their annual income and the income taxes they’ll owe the state.

The monthly report from the Legislative Services Agency also shows corporate income tax payments to the state were down this July compared to July of 2014. Sales tax collections were up about two percent. A panel of experts has predicted corporate income taxes will not be as robust this year, but the panel is predicting a five percent increase in sales tax collections for the entire 12-month fiscal year.

Senator Grassley unsure if votes are there to kill Iran deal

Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Chuck Grassley

Republicans in the U.S. House say they do have the 218 votes needed to reject the nuclear agreement with Iran, but Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says that doesn’t mean the deal is dead.

“It takes both houses to get it done and it takes the approval of the president if it’s going to be killed,” Grassley says. “I think we have a majority vote in the United States Senate. I even believe that we’ll have 60 votes in the United States Senate to do what is called a resolution of disapproval.”

In May, members of Congress had to okay a special law that meant the multinational agreement with Iran would come before them for a vote, as it’s not technically a treaty. “If we get 60-some votes for a letter of disapproval under the special legislation, the president has to approve of it,” Grassley says, “and he obviously will disapprove of the disapproval amendment.”

The proposed deal would curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanction relief, an agreement President Obama favors. Grassley, a Republican, says the president will most certainly veto any effort from Congress to derail the Iran deal. “The question isn’t whether or not the House has 218 votes,” Grassley says, “but will they have 291 votes to override the veto and will the Senate have 67 votes to override a veto? The jury’s still out on that.”

The president is working to secure the support of Democrats who are critical to making sure the deal goes forward. A vote is expected in Congress in September.


Employees at casinos get training during Responsible Gaming Education Week

Slot machines at the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City.

Slot machines at the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City.

The state’s 19 state-regulated casinos are holding events for Responsible Gaming Education Week. Iowa Gaming Association president, Wes Ehrecke says it is a cooperative effort.

“A theme that we have this year is partnering with a treatment provider. Most of the people who can go to a casino — probably well over 98 percent — can go for the fun and entertainment that it is intended to be,” Ehercke says. “But for those who might be experiencing compulsive behavior or problem gambling –we want to heighten awareness and know where they can go for help.”

He says workers in the casinos learn how to handle problem gambling issues. “Staff will have training from the treatment providers to know what the warning signs are and the intervention skills to use to speak with a person if they might be experiencing problems,” Ehrecke says. Ehrecke says people can sometimes try to use gambling to try and escape other issues in their lives and that’s something the treatment providers are teaching casino workers.

“We want to be able to recognize that to be able to get them to help. We don’t want folks who are experiencing problems to come to our casino, that’s not what it is intended to be,” according to Ehrecke. He says while the initiatives to heighten awareness will take place at the casino properties throughout the week, the casinos try to promote responsible gaming throughout the year. “We want people to come to the casino for the fun and entertainment that it is intended to be, to bet with their head, not over it. To have a budget, to be responsible, not (to spend) their dollars earmarked for food, clothing, shelter and the like, but really their discretionary dollars earmarked for entertainment,” Ehrecke says.

Ehrecke says the state has great treatment programs and the casinos will do the best they can to help those who need their services to get help.


University of Iowa remains near top of ‘party schools’ list

Ui-logoThe University of Iowa remains one of the country’s “top party schools.” The Princeton Review’s 2016 edition of the “The Best 380 Colleges” lists the University of Iowa second on the “top party schools” list, just behind the University of Illinois.

Two years ago, the publication selected Iowa as the nation’s top party school. University of Iowa officials have, for years, tried to change the school’s image.

Iowa City has made it harder for those under 21 to get into bars and police have patrolled neighborhoods to break up parties involving underage drinking.


Ernst’s bill to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood fails to clear Senate hurdle

Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst’s bill to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed on procedural grounds Monday evening. Fifty-three senators voted to bring the bill up for consideration, but that was seven votes short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster by Democrats. Ernst said the undercover videos that sparked the effort are not going away.

“We are standing up and shining a light on what is really happening,” Ernst said during a speech on the Senate floor. “This is human life and Planned Parenthood, nation’s single largest provider of abortion services, is harvesting baby body parts.”

Republicans are now discussing the idea of trying again this fall and they may attach the Planned Parenthood “defunding” issue to a must-pass government spending bill.

“The American taxpayer should not be asked to fund an organization like Planned Parenthood that has shown a sheer disdain for human dignity and complete disregard for women and their babies,” Ernst said during remarks on the Senate floor.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid vows to block the effort

“Senate Democrats will fight vigorously this and any other attempt from Republicans to deprive American women of health care,” Reid said.

Republicans in congress unsuccessfully tried four years ago to end federal funding for the reproductive health exams and birth control Planned Parenthood provides to low-income women. This summer the organization has been exposed to new scrutiny after an anti-abortion group released a series of undercover videos and accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood denies the charge. Planned Parenthood’s president said the American people have “zero appetite” for a GOP proposal that would “deny health care, including birth control,” to millions of women.