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Noon Newscast 7.31.19

Associated Press

Woodbury County is making strides towards having a new jail.  

Yesterday, Woodbury County supervisors approved an architecture contract with a firm that will put together a design for the $49.5-million-dollar jail. 

The county has cited infrastructure and overcrowding issues as reasons for a new building.

The county is joining several others around the state that have recently worked to update and expand their facilities.

Eight counties have completed new jails or major renovations since 2014.

A judge is expected to announce his verdict tomorrow in a double-murder case in Sioux City.

Court records say the verdict will be handed down to 19-year-old Tran Walker.

His non-jury trial ended in May.

Walker is accused of killing 17-year-old Paiten Sullivan and 18-year-old Felipe Negron Jr.

Police say Walker was in a car with the other two early last year when he stabbed Sullivan and then Negron when he tried to intervene.

A friend of Walker testified that the defendant said he had wanted to talk to the girl about their breakup and that he needed closure.

Sullivan's stepmother, Stevie Sullivan, testified that Walker and Sullivan broke up because he didn't want her to finish school.

Western Iowa authorities have recovered the body of a farmer who died after his tractor flipped over atop him when it ran off a riverbank edge into the Missouri River.

The tractor was spotted by people searching for the man Tuesday evening a little more than 2 miles northwest of Mondamin.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Office says the farmer had been working along the riverbank getting the land ready for cattle.

A dive team found the body and pulled it from the water.

The sheriff's office identified the man as 82-year-old Malvern Wallis, who lived in Mondamin.

A lawyer for the ousted Iowa Department of Human Services director says he'll file a legal claim alleging he was the victim of whistleblower retaliation.

Jerry Foxhoven plans to announce tomorrow he's filing a wrongful termination claim with the State Appeals Board.

It’s the first step toward pursuing a lawsuit against state government.

The lawyer says Foxhoven objected to a request to continue to have his agency fund most of the salary of the governor's deputy chief of staff.

A spokesman for Governor Reynolds has said that Foxhoven never raised any such concerns and that he was let go because she wanted to move in a new direction.

Nebraska business and education leaders have unveiled a new plan designed to create 25,000 jobs while adding $15,000 to the annual income of every resident by 2030.

The plan by the group Blueprint Nebraska also seeks to bring 43,000 new young adults into the state and attract $200 million in annual research and development initiatives.

The group also hopes to make Nebraska a top-ranked state for its quality of life.

And, there's a first time for everything.

A Nebraska state trooper has cited a driver after pulling over a vehicle that had registration stickers painted onto its license plates.

The vehicle was stopped this week at an Interstate 80 exit in north Lincoln.

It's unclear whether the driver also was the artist whose unsteady hand fashioned two rough red rectangles in the upper right-hand corner of the plates.

Troopers say they have never seen anything like it before.