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NEWS 7.22.22: State Park Murders, New Nebraska State Senator, RAGBRAI Business Boost, and More

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Police say three people have been killed in a shooting at a state park in eastern Iowa and the suspected gunman is also dead. Mike Krapfl, special agent in charge of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said in a statement that police responded to reports of the shooting at the the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground before 7 a.m. Friday. Krapfl says officers responding to reports about a shooting found three people dead at the scene. He did not specify how they died and has not released their identities. Officials say they later found a Nebraska man at the campground who had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators believe the murders were a random act of violence.

The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating an officer-involved shooting last night involving the South Sioux City Police Department.

Siouxland News CBS 14 Fox 44 reports officers originally responded to a possible overdose at the Autumn Park Apartments.

Authorities say paramedics who arrived first on the scene were forced to leave after a person showed a gun. The suspect then fired at officers in a hallway. One officer returned fire hitting 61-year-old Richard Germek. During a news conference this morning, authorities say the officer was placed on administrated leave, which is standard procedure. Germek did go to the hospital and then taken to jail, but then returned to the hospital for treatment for a medical condition.

Nebraska's attorney general says he will not file criminal charges against fellow Republican and former state lawmaker Mike Groene over photos the ex-lawmaker took of an aide. The state attorney general said there is not enough information from the results of a Nebraska State Patrol investigation to warrant criminal charges. Groene, of North Platte, resigned from office earlier this year after acknowledging that he photographed a legislative aide in his office without her knowledge. Groene told the Omaha World-Herald on Thursday that he had been vindicated by Peterson's decision and that he regretted resigning from the Legislature.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts appointed a Norfolk man to fill Mike Flood’s state senate seat.

Robert Dover was sworn in this morning. He is a land developer and real estate president.

Rickets says Dover “has deep ties to District 19 as a longtime local leader,” and he will strongly defend pro-life values and work to protect Second Amendment Rights in addition to controlling sending and delivering more property tax relief to Nebraskans.

Dover's term in the unicameral runs until January of 2025.

Flood won a special election to replace disgraced U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who was convicted of federal charges related to a donation from a foreign national.

News release from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts:

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the appointment of Robert “Rob” Dover of Norfolk to fill the vacancy in Legislative District 19.

“Rob has deep ties to District 19 as a longtime local leader,” said Gov. Ricketts. “He will strongly defend pro-life values and work to protect Second Amendment rights. As a senator, Rob will be dedicated to controlling spending and delivering more property tax relief to Nebraskans.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve District 19 in the Nebraska Legislature,” said Dover. “I’m a longtime resident of the district, and I’m committed to seeing northeast Nebraska thrive. I’ve dedicated my professional life to the real estate industry, and I’ll work in the Legislature to help reduce the tax burden on Nebraska’s families. I’ll also use my education and experience in finance to ensure the State wisely stewards taxpayer dollars.”

Dover is President of Coldwell Banker Dover Realtors, which he has headed since 1988. Since 2008, he’s been the President of Dover Management Company, which manages residential and commercial property. He also serves as Vice President of Whitecliff Development, which has successfully undertaken multiple development projects in the Norfolk area.

Dover has held leadership posts with the Norfolk Board of Realtors, Nebraska Realtors Association, and National Association of Realtors. He was a Nebraska Real Estate Commissioner from 2007 to 2013. He has been active in civic causes through the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. He has also helped to chair fundraising campaigns for the Norfolk Art Center, United Way, and YMCA.

Dover is a graduate of Norfolk High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State College with majors in Managerial Finance and Spanish. He is a graduate of the Real Estate Institute, a licensed real estate broker, and an Accredited Buyer Representative

Dover and his wife, Ann, have been married for over 28 years. They have four children.

His appointment is effective July 22, 2022. Dover will serve the remainder of the unexpired term for District 19, which runs until January 2025.

Dover fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Mike Flood.

Iowa's Planned Parenthood employees are now official union members, according to KCCI Television in Des Moines.

The workers say they made the move to get better working conditions and pay.

More patients are flocking to states where the procedure is still legal. In Iowa, people can seek an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The workers say Planned Parenthood is very short-staffed, and they're burned out.

Sergeant Bluff is gearing up to kick off the 49th annual RAGBRAI. As the first town on this year’s route, city officials expect local businesses to profit from the more than 15,000 riders registered for the ride. Aaron Lincoln is the city manager. He says it can help some of businesses recover pandemic losses.

“Not only just highlighting our community, but allowing some of our local businesses really to get a shot in the arm, be able to sell some goods and, and really highlight their businesses was what we're really excited about from a city standpoint.”))

A 2019 survey found that nearly a fourth of riders spend more than 50 dollars each day along the route. Lincoln says they anticipate more than 30,000 people will flood into the western Iowa town this weekend.

The Iowa State Patrol estimates at least five-thousand vehicles are making their way to the parking lots at the Iowa Speedway today, the first wave of traffic heading to Newton for IndyCar racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Radio Iowa reports the Patrol predicts daily crowds of 35,000 at the Speedway on both Saturday and Sunday, with nearly 18,000 vehicles on Interstate-80 at the Newton exit both days. Troopers are encouraging people to leave early to avoid heavy congestion. For more information from Radio Iowa click here.

Iowa hired Lorenda Holston as assistant athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion and Anthony Embry for the newly created position of athletics academic and diversity coordinator. The announcement comes as the university and head football coach Kirk Ferentz and others face a lawsuit by former football players who allege they faced discrimination and harassment from coaches and staff because they are Black. Holston previously worked in athletic department support positions at Purdue and Georgia Tech. Embry had worked in academic support in athletic departments at Coastal Carolina and the University of Portland. A trial is set for March 2023, with the former players seeking monetary damages and cultural changes inside the athletic department.
The main terminal at Dubuque's regional airport has been renamed to honor a Black World War II fighter pilot from the eastern Iowa city. The Telegraph Herald reports that the family of the late Robert Martin and others gathered Tuesday for a ribbon cutting at the Dubuque Regional Airport to commemorate the new name, the Capt. Robert L. Martin Terminal. Martin died in 2018 at the age of 99. He was a native of Dubuque who joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and flew missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. The renaming of the airport terminal followed a two-year campaign. In 2020, the Dubuque Regional Airport Commission voted unanimously to approve renaming the airport terminal for Martin.

Lottery officials have raised the Mega Millions grand prize to $660 million, giving players a shot at the nation’s ninth largest jackpot. The prize for Friday night’s drawing has grown so large because there hasn’t been a winner in three months, allowing the jackpot to gradually grow from its $20 million starting point in April. Even as the big prize has increased, the odds of winning the jackpot have remained at one in 302.5 million. The highlighted pre-tax $660 million prize is for a winner who takes an annuity option, paid out in 30 annual payments. Most players choose the cash option, which would be $376.9 million before taxes.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.