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Avera Sacred Heart Hospital brings you this webpage and its updates.


While this page is primarily used for regional school closings, use the link below to send information about events that you have to postpone or cancel and we'll get them posted!

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Local News

December 20, 2014
Daugaard Announces Investments In South Dakota Railroad Infrastructure, Daugaard To Push For More Drug Courts
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December 19, 2014
Public Utilities Commission To Hold Dakota Access Pipeline Meetings, Protest Permit Granted In Rapid City
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December 19, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 18, 2014
Sanford And South Dakota Team For Scholarships, Rapid City Protest March Denied
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December 18, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 17, 2014
Local Contractors Seek Yankton County Jobs, South Dakota Gas Prices
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December 17, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 16, 2014
Vermillion City Engineer Jose Dominguez Reports On Intersection Of Main, Center And Court Streets; South Dakota Democratic Party Has New Leadership
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December 16, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 15, 2014
Vermillion City Council Preview, South Dakota Magazine Releases New Book
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December 15, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 13, 2014
Mike Johanns Gives Senate Floor Farewell, Health Insurance Coverage Deadline Approaching
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December 12, 2014
Tim Johnson Gives Senate Floor Farewell, Mike Rounds Names Staff Members
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December 12, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 11, 2014
Thune Comments On EPA And 2016 Election, Sacred Heart Hospital Named Top Performer
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December 11, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 10, 2014
Yankton County Commission Delays Fleeg's Bridge Work, Greg Ibach Retained As Nebraska Director Of Agriculture, South Dakota National Guard Medal For Valor Presented
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December 10, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 9, 2014
Mike Stevens and Bernie Hunhoff Address Yankton School Board, Payday Lending To Be A Focus In Legislature
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December 9, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 8, 2014
Yankton City Commission Meeting Preview, Yankton Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
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December 8, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 6, 2014
Elijah Wergin Eagle Scout Project, South Dakota State Oral Interpretation Contest
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December 5, 2014
South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce President Randy Owen, South Dakota Justice Department Revenue
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December 5, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 4, 2014
Power River Training Complex Close To Expansion, South Dakota Joins Immigration Lawsuit, South Dakotans Comment To The EPA
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December 4, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 3, 2014
Yankton County Commission Hears From State Auditor And County Highway Department
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December 3, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 2, 2014
Vermillion City Council Discusses Liquor Licenses And Surplus Property, Nebraska State Patrol Enforcement Statistics
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December 2, 2014 - Pier's Points


December 1, 2014
Sanford Tree Of Lights And Wreath Auction, Wagner Fatal Crash, Bo Pelini Fired
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November 29, 2014
South Dakota Governor Daugaard Holiday Wishes, Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns Holiday Wishes
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November 28, 2014
Downtown Parking Debate In Yankton, Proposed Iowa Oil Pipeline, South Dakota Rail Traffic
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November 28, 2014 - Pier's Points


November 26, 2014
Iowa State Scientist Visits Yankton and Tyndall, South Dakota Gas Prices
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November 26, 2014 - Pier's Points


November 25, 2014
Naming Rights To Yankton Baseball Field, Yankton School Resource Officer
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November 25, 2014 - Pier's Points


You can hear news on Classic Hits 106.3 each day starting with "Pier's Points" at 6:30 a.m. News updates run each half-hour until 9 a.m., as well as at noon, 4 and 5 p.m. We also provide news for ESPN Radio 1570 AM at 5, 6, 7 and 8 a.m., at noon and at 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Thanks for listening and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Community Calendar

ADD YOUR EVENT to our Community Calendar today!


• HOLIDAY HOURS - The Yankton Community Library will close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 23, and reopen on Friday, December 26, at 9 a.m. The library will close on Wednesday, December 31, at 5 p.m. and reopen on Friday, January 2, at 9 a.m. The library board and staff wishes everyone a happy holiday season. For further information, call the library at (605) 668-5276.

• The Christmas Tree collection site in Vermillion is open from December 12th to January 18th and accepts real trees. The site is located on the south side of Broadway Street just west of Dakota Street. Please remove any plastic that you might wrap the tree in for transporting.

• AAA South Dakota will offer its Tipsy Tow community service for year-end holiday partiers this year. The innovative program gives intoxicated drivers an option to getting behind the wheel and taking a chance on the road. Anyone, AAA member or not, can call for a free Tipsy Tow ride for themselves and their vehicle from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 to 4 a.m. Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Tipsy Tow is available in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell and Yankton at no charge, no questions asked.
Confidential local ride within a 15-mile radius from point of pick-up,
AAA’s service vehicle will take the driver and up to one more person, and their car, home,
Free and available to both AAA members and nonmembers,
South Dakota motorists should call 800-AAA-HELP (800-222-4357) and make sure they ask for Tipsy Tow.

• HOLIDAY HOURS - The Summit Activities Center extended swim and holiday hours are as follows:
December 24
5 a.m. – 2 p.m.
No Fitness Classes
December 25
CLOSED – Merry Christmas!
December 26
8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
No School Special 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
No Fitness Classes
December 29
No School Special 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
December 30
No School Special 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
December 31
5 a.m. – 5 p.m.
No School Special 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
No Fitness Classes
January 1
12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
No School Special 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
No Fitness Classes
January 2
Free Optimists Swim & Gym 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

• The Summit Activities Center will be offering American Red Cross Swimming Lessons this winter. The classes will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings and will run from Tuesday, January 20 through Thursday, February 19, 2015. Swim lessons will include Aqua Tots, Preschool, and Red Cross Level 1 through Level 4. Registration for current Summit Activities Center members will begin Monday, January 5, 2015 during normal business hours. Registration for the general public and online registration will begin Tuesday, January 6 at 11:00 a.m. Online registration is available through the City of Yankton website at
5:15 – 5:50 p.m. Aqua Tots, Preschool, Level II, Level III
6:00 – 6:35 p.m. Aqua Tots, Preschool, Level I, Level II
6:45 – 7:20 p.m. Preschool, Level I, Level III, Level IV
7:30 – 8:05 p.m. Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
For further information, please call 668-5234 or visit the Summit Activities Center at 1801 Summit Street, Yankton, SD. Don’t forget to follow the Yankton Parks and Recreation on our Facebook page.

• The Board of City Commissioners is seeking City of Yankton residents to serve on a Downtown Parking Advisory Committee. Interested citizens will work with members of the City Commission and City staff to analyze downtown parking regulation in the City of Yankton. Recommendations from the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee will be made to the City Commission to consider next steps. Anyone who is interested in serving on this committee should submit a letter of interest to the City Manager’s Office. The deadline for these inquiries is Monday, January 5, 2015.

City Manager’s Office
P.O. Box 176
Yankton, SD 57078

• Volunteer members of the South Dakota National Guard are organizing a winter clothing drive through the month of December to benefit needy individuals located in the communities in which they serve. New or gently used coats, gloves, hats, scarves or blankets for adults and children are being donated by Guard members to help the most impoverished individuals who are in need of warm clothing this winter season. The clothing drive is not limited to only volunteer members of the Guard, but is intended as a community activity. Members of the public who would like to help donate items are encouraged to bring winter clothing items to any Army National Guard armory throughout the state or to the Air National Guard base in Sioux Falls by Dec. 31. Collected items will be delivered to a variety of local social service organizations in January for distribution to those in need. The all-volunteer effort to collect winter clothing items, while not an official function of the National Guard, is a welcome adjunct activity showcasing volunteers commitment to serve some of South Dakotas most needy people. See below for a complete list of armory locations to donate winter clothing items. For more information, please contact the local National Guard in your community.

Vermillion Armory
603 Princeton Street
Vermillion, SD 57069-0434

Yankton Armory
204 West 31st Street
Yankton, SD 57078-0071

• The Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) provides a variety of workforce training services for both youth and adult job seekers. “The workforce training program is an important element in developing and growing South Dakota’s workforce,” said state Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman. “Proper training leads to better jobs, which helps our state’s workforce and economy.” DLR workforce experts can help job seekers by offering career exploration, on-the-job training and tuition assistance. This opens up opportunities for career advancement and improved quality of life. The workforce training program also helps individuals improve their basic math and reading skills through preparation for GED® testing and the National Career Readiness Certificate. “We strive to help both youth and adults with career planning and guidance, and to understand the expectations of employers,” said Secretary Hultman. In the last program year, more than 300 individuals used the workforce training program to help cover class tuition for accounting, bio-medical, diesel technology, financial services, surgical technician and many other occupations. A list of local office locations and contact information can be found at

• The Summit Activities Center is offering a Tiny Tots Play Club through the winter months Monday through Friday mornings from 9 a.m. -11 a.m. Join them for a place where preschool children and their grown-ups can shake off those cooped-up blues in the gym area with toys and equipment that will promote physical activity and most importantly FUN. Cost for play time in the gym is $1 per preschooler. Members of the Summit Activities Center are free. For further information, please stop by the Summit Activities Center at 1801 Summit in Yankton or call (605) 668-5234. Remember to follow the Yankton Parks and Recreation on their Facebook page.

• The first snowfall of the year is a good reminder that many members of our community rely on clear sidewalks to get to and from school and work. If you have public sidewalks at your home or business please make arrangements for snow and ice removal within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Snow removed from driveways, sidewalks or parking lots should not be placed in the street. Contact the City of Yankton at (605) 668-5251 for more information.

• The Salvation Army in Yankton will soon be ringing bells at local businesses in Yankton. 90% of all funds raised locally are used to provide temporary, emergency assistance to local residents and transients in Yankton. YOU can make a difference in the lives of those in need either by donating when you see a “Red Kettle” or by volunteering to staff a Kettle at a Walmart or Hyvee. We are looking for individuals, Families, Service Clubs, Church Groups, Youth Groups who would be willing to help a couple of hours during this holiday season. If you are interested in bell ringing or have questions about the Salvation Army in Yankton, call Carol at (605) 661-5153.

• Check Into Cash located at 2007 Broadway Suite D is now accepting donations for River city Domestic Violence Center. You can drop off at any time non-perishable foods, new pillows, diaper/wipes, cleaning supplies, shampoo/conditioner/body wash, paper products and disposable zip-lock containers. Store hours are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

• Mentors needed - Vermillion now has 7 children seeking mentors. Volunteers spend 2 hours/week with their match, and the program benefits both adults and youth. There are boys and girls in a wide age range, and no extra skills are needed, just a caring attitude. Please contact John Gille at (605) 421-5050, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or apply online at to be a mentor. More information is also on the website. Year-end donations to the program , which are fully tax deductible, may be mailed to P.O. Box 665, Elk Point, SD 57025.

• OSHA reminds workers and employers of the need for common sense and care when it comes to safety. Get information on how to report unsafe workplaces. Call the OSHA hotline at (800) 321-6742.

• Traveling but concerned about road conditions? Use this link to get information or call 511 (in South Dakota).

• Are you planning an event, conference or local sports tournament in the Yankton area? Add it to the Yankton area web calendar for 2014. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Online submissions.

• Want to help others as a volunteer? This one-stop spot from United Way of Vermillion can help you find opportunities.

• 211 is an information and crisis helpline that provides resource information on non-profit, social service, and government programs, along with providing crisis intervention services. It is available anytime, day or night, from anywhere in Yankton or Bon Homme counties. More information available at



Tuesday, December 2 – Tuesday, December 23
A stunning Fontanini Bethlehem Village consisting of over 400 pieces that was donated to Mount Marty College will be on display beginning December 2 throughout the Advent season. The village can be viewed in the MMC Boardroom, located in the Scholastica Learning Center (SLC), Tuesday, December 2 through Thursday, December 4 and then Monday, December 8th through Tuesday December 23 from 2-6 PM. Special weekend viewings will also be available December 13-14 and 20-21 from 1-4 PM. The public is welcomed to view the village at no cost.

Thursday, December 18 – Tuesday, December 23
Crimson Door Holiday Show – G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery; 508 Douglas Avenue; Yankton. For more information, call (605) 665-9754.

Friday, December 19
South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Job Search Assistance Program – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; 1024 W Cherry St.; Vermillion. Interested parties should register by calling (605) 677-6900 before 5 p.m., Wednesday, December 17.

Early Dismissal at Vermillion Public Schools for Christmas Break – 2 p.m. Classes resume Tuesday, January 6.

Regular Yankton City Commission meeting – 12 p.m.; City Hall Meeting Room A; Yankton.

Open Skate – 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Kiwanis/4-H Ice Arena; 709 Whiting Drive; Yankton.

White Christmas Sing A Long – 7:30 p.m.; Dakota Theatre; 328 Walnut St; Yankton.

Saturday, December 20
South Dakota Chorale Concert – 7:30 p.m.; Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel; Mount Marty College; Yankton. Tickets are $15 for general admission. Mount Marty College students get in free with their student ID. Tickets are available at Pages Bookstore on the Mount Marty College campus, in the Sacred Heart Monastery gift shop, and online at

Overeaters Anonymous – 9 a.m.; Newman Center- USD Campus; 320 E Cherry.

Vermillion Area Farmers Holiday Market – 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Clay County Extension/4-H Building; 515 High St; Vermillion.

Christmas Candy & Goodie Bake Sale hosted by the Eagles Auxiliary – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Eagles Club; 114 W Main St; Vermillion.

Photos With Santa – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Yankton Mall; 2101 Broadway Avenue; Yankton.

New York City Senior Showcase – 7 p.m.; Dakota Theatre; 328 Walnut Street; Yankton.

Live Nativity – 5:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.; First United Methodist Church; 207 W 11th St; Yankton.

Sunday, December 21
Open Skate – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Kiwanis/4-H Ice Arena; 709 Whiting Drive; Yankton.

Photos With Santa – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Yankton Mall; 2101 Broadway Avenue; Yankton.

Monday, December 22
Yankton Community Blood Drive – 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.; JoDean’s Steakhouse; 2809 Broadway; Yankton. Schedule a blood donation appointment online at or call (800) 287-4903.

Al-Anon meeting – 7:30 p.m.; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Vermillion. For more information, call (605) 624-9764.

Tuesday, December 23
Yankton Community Blood Drive – 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Avera Sacred Heart Hospital – Benedictine Center; 501 Summit; Yankton. Schedule a blood donation appointment online at or call (800) 287-4903.

Wednesday, December 24
1 Million Cups – 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.; Avera Professional Office Pavilion; 409 Summit Street; Yankton.

Saturday, December 27
Overeaters Anonymous – 9 a.m.; Newman Center- USD Campus; 320 E Cherry.

Monday, December 29 – Wednesday, December 31
Activities at the Yankton Community Library – Frozen on Monday, December 29 at 1 p.m. On Tuesday, December 30, 1 p.m., enjoy Maleficent. On Wednesday, December 31, we’ll bring out the LEGO’s. You can build in teams or as individuals. Families are especially welcome. Preschool children must be accompanied by an adult.

Wednesday, December 31
New Year’s Eve Party – 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.; The Center; 900 Whiting Drive; Yankton. For more information call (605) 665-4685.

1 Million Cups – 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.; Avera Professional Office Pavilion; 409 Summit Street; Yankton.


Monday, January 5
Yankton Community Library Teen Advisory Board Meeting – 7 p.m. New members for the TAB are always welcome, but you don’t have to be on the teen board to participate in teen programs. If you have any questions about the TAB or teen activities, please contact Joyce Moore at the library at (605) 668-5276 or by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Tuesday, January 6 – Thursday, January 8
32nd Annual Dakota Farm Show – DakotaDome; Vermillion. Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday. Free admission and parking. For more information please go to For vendor information please call Penny Swank at (507) 437-7969.

Thursday, January 8
Deadline to donate to Cinderella’s Closet. Cinderella’s Closet is looking for your help, so prom dreams can come true. Please check your closets and donate prom dresses, also accessories, to this great cause. Drop off is at Riverview Reformed Church, 1700 Burleigh, Yankton, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, contact Deb at (605) 665-5507.

Saturday, January 10
Governor’s Inaugural Celebration – Lincoln. For more information visit

Monday, January 12
The Divorced, Widowed and Separated Support Group will be starting again on January 12, 2015. The Divorced, Separated and Widowed group is a process designed to help those who have experienced any of these life change moments and would like some help processing those changes. The group is faith based, but non-sectarian and is open and available to anyone who has experienced one of these life changing moments. The group meets at the Riverview Reformed Church building at 1700 Burleigh Street Yankton, on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM, and will meet for nine weeks. If you would like more information or to register, please call the Family Education and Counseling Center (605) 260-9284, or look on our website at

Tuesday, January 13
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer

Saturday, January 24
Friends of the Library’s 7th Annual Gourmet Guys – Yankton Community Library; 515 Walnut; Yankton. For more information contact Library Director Kathy Wibbels at (605) 668-5276.

Friday, January 30
2015 Business Educators Expo – 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.; Riverfront Event Center. The deadline to reserve a booth is January 13th. You can reserve your booth online by going to or contact the Chamber at (605) 665-3636.

Saturday, January 31
Dancing With The Stars - River City Domestic Violence Center and River City Family Connections Fundraiser – Minerva’s Bar and Grill. 7 p.m. cocktails and dessert, 8 p.m. show. Individual ticket $30, couple $50. For tickets call (605) 665-4811

Legislative Cracker Barrel

Saturday, February 7
Registration deadline for Yankton Department of Parks and Recreation “Just for Fun” Basketball program. Registration is available online at and at the Summit Activities Center.

Tuesday, February 10
Yankton Day in Pierre

Thursday, February 19 – Sunday, February 22
"Stand Off at HWY #37", University of South Dakota Department of Theatre. Wayne S. Knutson Theatre; Vermillion. For more information call (605) 677-5400 or

Saturday, February 21
Legislative Cracker Barrel

Tuesday, February 24
Mobile Apps For Business

Tuesday, March 10
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer

Friday, March 27
Blue and Gold Campus Visit Day - Mount Marty College. The admissions Office at Mount Marty college will be holding Blue and Gold Campus Visit Day events for prospective students to learn about the college and academic majors, visit campus, and meet with faculty. For more information on Blue and Gold Campus Visit Days, or to register,

Tuesday, April 14
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer – ABS

Thursday, April 16 – Monday, April 27
"Seussical", University of South Dakota Department of Theatre. Wayne S. Knutson Theatre; Vermillion. For more information call (605) 677-5400 or visit

Saturday, June 27
Blue and Gold Campus Visit Day - Mount Marty College. The admissions Office at Mount Marty college will be holding Blue and Gold Campus Visit Day events for prospective students to learn about the college and academic majors, visit campus, and meet with faculty. For more information on Blue and Gold Campus Visit Days, or to register,

Saturday, July 11
The Fort to Field 50 Paddle Battle, a 50-mile race for kayaks and canoes on the Missouri National Recreational River. Learn more.

Tuesday, September 8
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer

Tuesday, October 13
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer

Tuesday, December 8
Yankton Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer

Iowa News

New report offers economic development strategies
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new report says Iowa should invest more in business development, education and infrastructure to boost the state's economy. State officials released the report from the nonprofit Battelle Memorial Institute Thursday. It was commissioned last year by an economic advisory board co-chaired by Gov. Terry Branstad. Overall, the report said the state has seen job growth and wages increases. Still, there is room for improvement. As of 2013, Iowa ranked 23rd nationally for per capita income. Recommendations in the report included simplifying the state tax code and providing more funding to programs that offer support to businesses. It suggests increasing educational opportunities to develop more skilled workers. The report also cites Iowa's infrastructure needs, stressing the need for more funding for roads and better broadband infrastructure across the state.

Plea hearing set for ex-manager in halal food case
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company's exporting and marketing practices. The conspiracy charges filed Thursday against 50-year-old Philip G. Payne are the latest involving the Midamar Corporation of Cedar Rapids. The founder and two directors, the company and its halal certification organization have been indicted. Prosecutors contend that workers conspired to mislead regulators and customers about the source and nature of beef products, how cattle were slaughtered and the level of adherence to halal standards the companies promised. Midamar denies the allegations, contending prosecutors are overreaching by trying to regulate religion. A plea hearing for Payne is scheduled for January 5th. He worked as the company's operations manager from 2008 to 2012.

Officials: Iowa man faces charges in house fire, car crash
NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — A Nevada, Iowa man faces charges in connection to a house fire and a car crash at a convenience store. The Nevada Public Safety Department says authorities were called to a house Thursday morning that was fully engulfed in flames. They late responded to a convenience store where witnesses said a vehicle intentionally backed up into the building, destroying the entrance and almost hitting people inside. Authorities later pursued the vehicle and the driver, identified as 38-year-old Matthew William Henrich. He is accused of leading authorities on a high-speed chase. He was captured a short time later. Henrich faces multiple charges including arson, assault, criminal mischief and theft. Court records do not list an attorney.

Former Clarke U. employee pleads guilty in school theft case
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A former Clarke University employee has pleaded guilty to charges connected to the theft of more than $300,000 from the school. Clemens Erdahl, an attorney for James Spaulding, says his client entered the plea Thursday on one count of mail fraud and two counts of filing a false tax return. Erdahl says Spaulding requested to start serving prison time immediately, though a sentence hasn't been issued. Spaulding is a former bookstore manager at the eastern Iowa school. Authorities say he submitted invoices to buy books from a company he established in 2011 with a friend. He is accused of issuing checks for several invoices between 2011 and 2012. He would later receive cashier's checks. Clarke University reported the theft in April 2013 after an internal review of vendors.

Man pleads guilty for improper removal of asbestos in Iowa
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City developer accused of improperly removing asbestos from a former YMCA building has pleaded guilty. Records show 54-year-old Larry Wolf of Dakota City, Nebraska entered his plea Wednesday in federal court in Sioux City on one count of violating the work practice standards of the Clean Air Act. Wolf was accused of improperly removing asbestos from an old YMCA building between July 2009 and March 2011. He admitted during his plea hearing to knowing about the asbestos ahead of removing material from the building. Prosecutors say Wolf also removed asbestos-containing material wrappings from metals inside the building then sold the metals. It's unclear when Wolf will be sentenced. He remains free on bond.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

Nebraska News

2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Thursday that the states are seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing a measure that was approved by voters in 2012. Bruning says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also a party to the lawsuit. The complaint alleges that Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law. Washington state also has legalized marijuana, but Bruning says Nebraska isn't suing over that law because it doesn't share a border with Washington. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says in a statement that the lawsuit is without merit. He says his office will vigorously defend the marijuana law in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nativity scene at Nebraska Capitol draws criticism
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Chicago-based group will set up a Nativity scene inside the Nebraska Capitol this week, drawing criticism from those who say such displays amount to an unconstitutional endorsement by the state of a religion. Capitol administrator Bob Ripley tells the Lincoln Journal Star that the Thomas More Society applied and received permission to set up the display in the building's rotunda. The nonprofit's president and chief attorney said in a news release the display in a state building represents constitutionally protected free speech and expression of religious faith by residents in a public forum. State Sen. Ernie Chambers said he thinks the display pushes a particular religious view. The Thomas More Society has provided legal counsel for placing Nativity scenes in public places in 21 states.

Omaha company proposes vegetable oil plant in Iowa
SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — An Omaha, Nebraska soybean processing company plans to build a $90 million vegetable oil refinery in western Iowa. The Sioux City Journal reports that Ag Processing Incorporated plans to build the refinery at its complex near Sergeant Bluff, creating at least 20 new jobs. The information comes from documents by Ag Processing seeking nearly $1 million in Iowa loans and tax breaks released by the state Wednesday. The company's complex in Woodbury County currently includes a soybean processing plant, biodiesel plant and grain storage facilities. The vegetable oil refinery proposed for the same 85-acre site would be designed for 30 rail tank cars per day. Estimated project costs include $2.5 million for site preparation, $14.5 million for construction and $71.5 million for new machinery and equipment..

Hastings officials push for inmate treatment center
HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — Officials in Hastings are pushing for a proposed Behavioral Health Treatment Center — intended to transition prison inmates back into society — to be built in their central Nebraska city. The Hastings Tribune reports that state Senator Les Seiler of Hastings, and Mayor Vern Powers held a news conference Wednesday to lobby for the center's placement in Hastings. Architects, engineers and others visited the Hastings Regional Center in October to examine the property and see if some of its existing buildings could be renovated to house the center. A study released Tuesday said the buildings would likely not be suitable for the 200-bed facility that would treat male inmates for behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The study instead recommends building a new facility.

Nebraska jury finds man not guilty of vehicular homicide
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A jury has found a man not guilty of motor vehicle homicide in a fatal April car crash in Lancaster County. The Lincoln Journal Star reports jurors deliberated for more than four hours Tuesday before returning the verdict in the case of John Norbert. Norbert was driving a Jeep Cherokee in April when the vehicle slid out of control and crashed into a ditch. A woman in the car, 27-year-old Jessica Lyons, was thrown from the vehicle and later died. Her husband, another passenger in the car, survived. Norbert said the car spun out of control because of ice on the road.

Lincoln woman gets probation for embezzlement
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln woman has been given probation for stealing money from employees at her family restoration business. A federal judge sentenced Karen Gagner on Tuesday to five years' probation on charges of embezzlement and theft. She was ordered to pay more than $36,000 in restitution. Gagner was accused of transferring nearly $100,000 from employee 401(k) accounts between 2008 and 2011. She later admitted to using the money to help sustain Gagner Restoration. The Lincoln Journal Star reports the restitution will be paid to two employees.

Simants to remain in Nebraska psychiatric ward
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln County District judge has ordered a man who killed six members of a western Nebraska family nearly 40 years ago to remain in a state psychiatric hospital. The North Platte Telegraph says Judge Donald Rowlands ruled Wednesday that Erwin Charles Simants will stay in the Lincoln Regional Center, where he's been since being found not guilty of the killings by reason of insanity in 1979. Prosecutors say Simants shot and killed Henry and Audrey Kellie, their son David and three of their grandchildren in 1975 at the Kellies' Sutherland home. Doctors have testified that Simants is no longer mentally ill and should be moved to a supervised home. But the judge said Simants is still dangerous and would pose a threat to the public if released.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

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