PM News Stories 9.27.19

Sep 27, 2019

The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and lengthy sentence of a northeastern Nebraska woman who killed her 4-year-old daughter.   

CARLA MONTOYA

Carla Montoya was sentenced a year-and-a-half ago to 55 to 75 years in prison for intentional child abuse resulting in death.

Montoya told police she repeatedly threw her daughter, Caylee, onto a bed on March 12, 2016, and that the girl may have hit her head on the bed frame or a wall. The girl died days later in an Omaha hospital.

In her direct appeal, Montoya argued that her statements to police should not have been allowed into evidence, and that she shouldn't have been found guilty because there was no proof she intended to kill the girl.

She also argued her sentence was excessive.

The high court on Friday found no merit to any of her arguments.

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand is proposing legislation requiring mandatory prison time for those convicted of theft involving public money.

Sand's proposal comes just days after an investigation by a television station in Cedar Rapids.

KCRG found only about 40% of Sands' special investigative audit reports dating during the past few led to criminal prosecution.

That meant no one has been held responsible for at least $8 million in improperly used public funds.

Sand says his plan would require mandatory prison time for felonies involving the theft of $1,000 or more in public money, as well as for misusing tax credits.

Sand says his proposal will not have a mandatory minimum sentence but seeks to stop those convicted of serious financial crimes receiving only probation.

And, after months of construction, a major bridge between Sioux City and North Sioux City reopens today.

A ribbon cutting takes place this afternoon for the Military Road Bridge.

The closure created an issue for motorists who had to find alternative routes to travel between the two communities since May.

Tomorrow night Democrats in Woodbury County will gather for an event gaining the attention of candidates running for president.

The annual Harry Hopkins Dinner takes place at the Shrine Temple and is sold out. 

The presidential candidates planning to attend are businessman Andrew Yang, former Maryland congressman John Delaney, and former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak.  There will be representatives for other democratic contenders as well.

Guest speaker is Pulitzer Prize Winner Art Cullen, author and Editor of the Storm Lake Times.

The Dinner is named in honor of Harry Hopkins, who was born in Sioux City.

Hopkins was a politician, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and assistant to FDR.

Many farmers in the Midwest are frustrated by the Trump administration’s waivers that excuse some oil companies from using ethanol in their gasoline.

The latest renewable fuels plant to shut down in Iowa because of the EPA small refinery waivers is a biodiesel plant in the southeast part of the state.

Kelly Nieuwenhuis of Primghar  is the board president of Siouxland Energy located in Sioux Center, which halted production last week.

He says the move by the administration causes a ripple effect.

“We got corn farmers that usually brought corn to our plant during harvest, that we’re not taking corn right now. We’ve got cattle feeders that are using our great feed products, they’re scrambling to find alternative feed sources right now to replace what we were shipping out of our plant.”

Niewenhuis and other farm leaders in Iowa and Ohio say they need the 4 billion exempted gallons reallocated to larger refineries, to bring back demand for ethanol.

The president of the University of South Dakota President says establishing a "Dakota's Promise" scholarship for qualifying university students will once again be a priority for the school.

In her annual State of the University address Sheila Gestring said the proposed program is necessary to ensure that USD remains accessible to hard-working and academically qualified students who can't afford college.

Efforts earlier this year to set aside $1 million to fund the needs-based Dakota's Promise scholarships failed in the Legislature.