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(Atlantic) The Storm Prediction Center has southwest Iowa in a slight risk for severe weather Wednesday night.  

“They are calling this the first real chance of severe weather of the season,” stated Cass County Emergency Management Director Mike Kennon. And there is a new system in place that will keep Cass County residents even safer.

 

Kennon says it is called the Cass County notification system. What it does is transmit a voice message warning to every landline telephone and emergency text message to all registered cell phones when severe weather breaks.

 

“When there is a threat subscribers will get a text message on their cellphone or email or your landline will ring,” said Kennon. “That’s kind of the beauty of the system.”

 

Kennon says residents that want to receive a text message must register their cell phone online at www.casscountyiowa.us , Cass County facebook page at facebook.com/CassCoEMA, and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office facebook page,  www.facebook.com/casscountysheriff. Landlines are automatically in the system.

 

The Storm Prediction Center says there is a 15-percent chance of severe weather in southwest Iowa. Large hail and damaging winds are the main threat.

 

Tom Robinson

March 31, 2015

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(Des Moines) The downward slide of farmland values continued over the last six months according to the latest report from the Iowa Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute.

 

“We did see a decrease on all tillable acres; this is high, medium and low quality acres combined,” said Spokesman Kyle Hansen. “We’re seeing the average reduction of 7.6 percent.”

 

Hansen says all nine reporting crop districts in Iowa reported declines ranging from 11-percent in northeast Iowa to 4.6-percent in southwest Iowa.  The land institute shows from March 2014 to March of 2015 the average decline in land values statewide was 11-percent.

 

Iowa Radio Network

03/31/2015

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(Des Moines) The Iowa Department of Public Safety is accepting nominations for the Governor’s Lifesaving Awards until April 15th. These special recognition awards are presented to ordinary citizens who take extraordinary lifesaving measures to save a fellow citizen.  


If you know a local hero whose actions deserve recognition from the Governor and the state's top law enforcement officials, you can visit the Iowa Department of Public Safety's website to find instructions and the nomination form.

In order to qualify for one of the four categories of awards, several criteria must be met:

 

-The incident must have occurred within the state of Iowa.

 

-The incident must have occurred between January 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015. All nominations must be received by April 15, 2015. However, incidents not occurring within this time period may be eligible for an Outstanding Service Award.

 

-The nominee should not be professionally trained in lifesaving techniques. Examples of those excluded from nomination include firefighters, law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses, lifeguards, water safety directors, or first aid instructors (unless they are retired from such positions).

 

-An individual is not eligible if the life saved is that of his/her immediate family, as well as parents, grandparents, or children. The nominee may be eligible for the Outstanding Service Award, however.

 

The Governor's Lifesaving Awards are presented each year at the Iowa State Fair. Award recipients are honored by Iowa's Governor, Lt. Governor, and leadership of the Department of Public Safety and its Iowa State Patrol Division.

 

Mandy Billings

03/31/2015

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(Atlantic) Southwest Iowa’s Animal Coalition is hosting an adoption event at Orschelns in Atlantic on April 25th.

 

“Unfortunately we have too many animals and not enough homes and the animals that will be represented in this group will be adoptable animals; we’ll have cats, dogs, donkeys and goats, so it’s kind of fun for the kids to come out and do that,” said Kathy Humann, with Western Iowa’s Feral Cat Program. “I think what’s really important with this group is to know that these are different organizations from different parts of western Iowa that are working together in a coalition to do the best thing for as many animals as we can. We’re not working against each other or trying to compete with each other… we’re working together and we found that the coalition is doing a lot of good things.”

 

Kathy Humann said the coalition includes her organization; Western Iowa’s Feral Cat Program, as well as the Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter, Montgomery County Animal Rescue, People for Paws, and Lusco Farms Donkey Rescue.

 

The adoption event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pet owners will also have the opportunity to bring in their pets and have them micro-chipped for $10.

 

Humann said another event they are working on is regional low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

 

“This is a first for this area; it really is a really good thing. People have a lot of farm cats or outside cats that they feed or too many cats in the house and they can’t afford to get them fixed the way that they should be to be happier and healthier animals,” said Humann. “We’ve got four vets in the area that are beginning to work together to offer low cost spay and neuter days, one day maybe twice a year, maybe three times a year.”

 

Western Iowa’s Feral Cat Program and Harlan Veterinary Associates and Referral Center will hold a spay/neuter clinic for cats only on April 30th. Space is limited. To register, contact Kathy Humann at 712-784-2490.

 

Mandy Billings

03/31/2015

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(Washington D.C.) Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is gearing up for the next re-election campaign having held the first fundraiser of the year in West Des Moines Monday night. Grassley says,

 

“I think public service is an honorable thing. If I can be helpful to the people of Iowa particularly in transition while Iowa has a new Senator then I think that’s helpful.”

 

Grassley says the public has given him its trust in order to serve in the senate and every so often you have to renew that trust.

 

If re-elected, Grassley would be 89 years old when his 7th term in the Senate ends.

 

Iowa Radio Network

3/31/15 

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(Atlantic) A recent report released by the American Public Power Association ranked Atlantic Municipal Utilities as the eight lowest cost providers in the State. Based on the report, of the 182 electric utilities operating in the state of Iowa only three other electric utilities had a lower residential rate than AMU.

 

 “We try really hard to keep the rates low,” stated AMU Comptroller Jennifer Saathoff. “As a public utility we are not out there to make a profit, all we want to do is set the rates so that we can be responsible and cover our spending and make sure we have adequate reserve.”

 

Saathoff says increased costs to meet stricter environmental and regulatory requirements, especially at the coal-fired plant in Council Bluffs has put upward pressure on the electric rates AMU charges to local consumers.

 

“We have had a couple of rate increases the last couple of years but even with that we can still state we have one of the lowest rates in the state,” said Saathoff. “We have a lot of pride in the fact that we operate fiscally responsibly and try and keep the rates appropriate.”  

 

AMU provides electrical service to 3,953 residential and commercial consumers within the city of Atlantic and another 670 residential and commercial consumers in the surrounding rural area.

 

The Atlantic Utility company received some more good news this week. Moody’s’ Investors Service assigned an A1 rating to AMU’s Electric Revenue Refunding Capital Loan notes.

 

Tom Robinson

March 31, 2015

Noon news 

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(Atlantic) An Atlantic man has been arrested on a Federal Warrant for Child Pornography.

 

The Atlantic Police Department arrested 54-year-old Jimmy Misner, of Atlantic, on Monday. He is charged with Possession of Child Pornography, Receipt of Child Pornography and Forfeiture.

 

Misner was transported to the Cass County Jail and later transferred.

 

 

 

 

Bennett Blake
3/31/15

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(Audubon) The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office has released more details about an accident that involved an Audubon County Deputy and his K9.

 

On March 27th, Deputy Shawn Young and his K-9 partner Harry were on patrol in a 2012 Chevy Tahoe south of Exira on Lark Avenue when he heard a broadcast from Cass County of a fight occurring on I-80 near the 67 mile marker. Cass County Deputies were responding to the call. Being close to the area, Deputy Young proceeded towards that area in case the Cass County Deputies needed assistance. Deputy Young contacted Audubon County dispatch by radio checking if she would go direct with Cass County to check if he needed to proceed and back up the Cass County Deputies. Three minutes later, Deputy Young called into Audubon County dispatch on is cell phone advising he had just had an accident and that he needed assistance immediately because his K-9 Harry was possibly deceased.  Deputy Young later advised after radioing dispatch that he was attempting to hang his mic up when the distraction had him miss the 20 mph curve sign. Even though he was not traveling at a high rate of speed, he was unable to navigate the curve causing him to go straight off the curve, striking a field drive embankment.

 

When Exira Rescue personnel arrived, Deputy Young refused medical attention and insisted that he would help his K-9. Around that same time, a Cass County Deputy arrived and after seeing the condition of K-9 Harry, he loaded Harry into his patrol vehicle and proceeded to transport him to the Audubon Veterinary Clinic where they had staff waiting for his arrival. Deputy Young was then transported by Exira Rescue to the Audubon Hospital for possible injuries to his legs, torso and neck. Deputy Young was released that same night after several tests. During this time, Audubon Veterinary Clinic staff was working feverishly to stabilize K-9 Harry. By morning, they had stabilized Harry and then began an examination to determine the extent of his injuries. This is when it was determined that his injuries were insurmountable and euthanasia was the only choice possible to stop his suffering.

 

The Sheriff’s Office will hold a Memorial Service for K-9 Harry on Thursday, April 9th at 5:00 p.m. at the Audubon City Park band shelter stage. All are welcome to attend. Harry was a 6-year-old Belgian Tervuren who had working for the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office for five years. At one point or another, Harry has been cared for and lived with almost all of the deputies for Audubon County. Harry has been responsible for recovering over ½ lb. of crystal meth, four pounds of cocaine, 10 pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana and over $270,000 in drug money, as well as numerous drug arrests and convictions. The Sheriff’s Office plans to continue their K-9 program at a later date.

 

The accident remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol and then reviewed by the Audubon County Safety Committee.

 

(Photo from I80 K9 Facebook page)

 

03/31/2015

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(State)  April showers bring May flowers and after a dry March in Iowa, we could have some catching up to do on the precipitation front in April.

 

Dry weather headlined the month of March in Iowa. The lone exception is Northeast Iowa which endured a major snow storm. Otherwise it was the driest March on record since 1994.

 

“Very, very dry conditions across most of the state. The driest of all generally West Central Iowa. Carroll, Audubon, and Guthrie County seem to be the center of the driest part of the state during March. They only saw about a tenth of an inch of moisture during the month when you generally see two inches or so.”

 

That accounted for the 7th driest March in 143 years of records. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker believes we could see mother nature make up for things in April.

 

“That‘s been kind of the trend in recent years. We‘ve had quite a number of dry March‘s in the last 15-20 years or so. Then we‘ve actually had 10 consecutive wetter than normal April‘s. It certainly looks like we‘ll be getting off to a wet start this coming April as well. It looks to be a fairly strong storm system coming through right on the first day of the month on Wednesday or Wednesday night that could bring some fairly substantial rains across the state at that time.”

 

Temperatures were about a degree and a half above normal this month. They bounced around from a cold start, to an extended period of mild weather, and finished out with slightly cooler than normal conditions. Western Iowa experienced the warmest temperatures.

 

“Western Iowa along the Nebraska border from 5-6 degrees warmer than normal for March while Eastern Iowa along the Mississippi River only maybe a degree or two cooler than normal so quite a contrast.”

 

The possibility of severe weather events increases as we dive into April. Hillaker says there haven’t been any significant indicators for or against an outbreak of severe storms, but does note nationally it has been an extremely quiet year for severe weather.

 

Bennett Blake
3/31/15

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(Woodbine)  A Woodbine man is charged with first-degree kidnapping.  

 

Authorities allege that 50-year-old Daniel Yates tied his girlfriend up and threatened to throw her into a nearby river. 

 

Yates was arrested last week and charged with first-degree kidnapping after the woman told police that he assaulted her at his home and held her captive.  The girlfriend alleges psychological torture. She claims Yates sat on her chest and opened and closed a knife. 

 

Doctors say an examination determined she has a broken rib.

 

Tom Robinson

March 31, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Des Moines A-P)  A safety research organization is urging Iowa to toughen its rules for teenager driver's licenses.

 

The Des Moines Register reports that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says a study shows Iowa could more than halve its rate of fatal teen accidents if a stronger driver's license law were adopted.

 

The institute says Iowa should increase its licensing age to 17 years old from the current 16. And the institute suggests Iowa not issue instructional permits until someone reaches age 16 instead of the current 14.

 

Two lawmakers and the state's chief highway safety expert said Monday that it would be difficult to adopt tougher teen driver rules in Iowa, where many teenagers in rural communities rely on cars and pickups to drive to school, work and other activities.

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(Logan) The former Missouri Valley Fire Chief accused of misleading local police in a fire investigation pleaded not-guilty during a court hearing Monday.

According to the Omaha World Herald, 44-year-old Johnnie Walker told the magistrate that “this all a misunderstanding.”

 

Court documents state that Walker faces charges of interference with official acts and reporting false information, both simple misdemeanors.  

 

The State Fire Marshall’s Office questioned Walker about the March 7 fire that occurred at an abandoned home in Missouri Valley. Walker told officials he wasn’t available to fight the fire because he was ill. And he claims he was ill when Police questioned him. Walker has said that he was “out of it” and isn’t sure what he told Police.

 

A trial date has been set for May 8.

 

Tom Robinson

March 31, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Boone-A-P) Attorneys are expected to deliver their opening statements Tuesday in the second Iowa trial of a man accused of killing his former roommate in 2009.

 

The Messenger reports that a Boone County jury was seated Monday for the trial of 55-year-old John Green. Green is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old Mark Koster in Sac City.

 

Green's first trial was held in Webster County because his attorney had argued that pretrial publicity would make it impossible for Green to receive a fair trial in Sac City. The same argument was used against holding the second trial in Fort Dodge. The first trial ended in a mistrial.

 

Koster was declared missing in 2010. His remains were found in the basement of his Sac City home in 2012.

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(Red Oak) Red Oak Police arrested two teens on drug related charges Monday night.

 

The report says 18-year-old Cara Belle Hale and a 14-year-old female were taken into custody at around 9:31 p.m. Hale was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and OWI, drugged. The female juvenile was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Hale was taken to jail and held on $1,000 bond. The minor was released to her parents.

 

Tom Robinson

March 31, 2015

a.m. news 

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow law enforcement officials in Iowa to conduct limited strip searches on certain jail inmates without probable cause.

 

A Judiciary subcommittee agreed Monday to advance the bill, which passed in the House. A committee must approve it by Friday to beat a legislative deadline.

 

The bill would allow a strip search involving visual inspection of a person, including genitals, without probable cause if he or she is arrested on suspicion of a simple misdemeanor or scheduled violation and is in a holding area with others. A scheduled violation can involve offenses while driving or consuming alcohol, among others.

 

Supporters say the bill allows for better confiscation of items entering the jail. Critics say such searches are invasive and require probable cause.

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(Harlan) The Shelby County Board of Supervisors met this morning to canvas the results of the City of Shelby Mayoral Election to fill a vacancy.

 

Former mayor Mel Hursey resigned earlier this year.

 

The board declared Ron Kroll as the winner with a total of 57 votes. The other candidate on the ballot, Bob Richmond, had 32 votes.

 

There were five write-in votes for Mel Hursey.

 

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An attorney for a former Des Moines police officer who spent less than two years in prison for severely beating a man during a 2008 traffic stop says putting him back behind bars wouldn't be beneficial.

 

In a sentencing brief filed Friday, 31-year-old Mersed Dautovic's attorney argued that returning him to prison would harm his daughters and negate progress he's made since his 2012 conviction of using excessive force on Octavius Bonds.

 

Dautovic finished his federal sentence and was released in January 2014. But in August, a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the sentence too lenient and sent Dautovic's case back for resentencing. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.

 

Dautovic will be resentenced April 20. Prosecutors seek a 14-year prison term.

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(Atlantic) Gronewold, Bell, Kyhnn & Co. P.C. CPAs have released an audit report on Cass County.

 

The County had local tax revenue of $25,969,742 for the year ended June 30, 2014, which included $1,230,203 in tax credits from the state. The County forwarded $19,029,316 of the local tax revenue to the townships, school districts, cities and other taxing bodies in the County.

 

The County retained $6,940,426 of the local tax revenue to finance County operations, a 0.7 percent increase from the prior year. Other revenues included $6,088,828 from the state, including indirect federal funding of $2,467,736, charges for service of $351,156, and $191,376 for the use of money and property.

 

Expenditures for County operations totaled $14,468,301, a 21.2 percent increase from the prior year. Expenses included $4,958,282 for roads and transportation, $1,092,156 for mental health, $2,359,152 for public safety and legal services, $813,009 for capital projects, the flow thru of indirect federal funding and $1,222,405 for administrative services.

 

A copy of the audit report is available for review in the office of the Auditor of State and the County Auditor's office.

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(Area) There is a slight risk for severe weather across this area of the state this week. Mindy Beerends, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines says a cold front tracking along the Canadian Border will track south into western and Central Iowa late afternoon and early evening Wednesday.

 

“Thunderstorms always bring the threat of lightening, and we looking for a slight risk for severe weather,” stated Beerends. “So there may be a chance for large hail and damaging winds with these thunderstorms.’

 

The National Weather Service says storm spotter activation may be needed Wednesday afternoon and evening.  

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

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(Des Moines) Sounds like the Governor can’t lose on the school start date issue.

 

Terry Branstad today says he can accept enforcing the current law of starting school in the fall no sooner than the week of September 1st, or a compromise start date of August 23rd that has already passed through both chambers.

 

“I can live with the present law or this compromise is something that I would also find acceptable,” said Branstad.

 

But, the compromise school start date bill is currently on hold in the state Senate on a procedural move by the Senate Majority Leader.

 

Iowa Radio Network

03/30/2015

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(Glenwood) A Thurman woman was arrested for eluding, speeding and possession of a controlled substance.

 

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office arrested 21-year-old Renee Katherine McConahay at around 3:00 a.m. Sunday. McConahay’s bond was set at $2,000.

 

In other activity, 41-year-old Ronald Loren Gray, of Pacific Junction, was arrested Sunday for violation of a protection order. He was held on no bond.

 

Debra Lynn Decair, 53, of Glenwood, was arrested Saturday for driving while revoked, leaving the scene of an accident and no insurance. She was held on $1,000 bond.

 

And, 38-year-old Charles Curtis Kephart, of Council Bluffs, was arrested Friday on a warrant for probation violation. He was held on $20,000 bond.

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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(Area) Several road construction projects are already underway or will soon begin in Southwest Iowa.

 

Scott Suhr, District Transportation Planner with the Iowa DOT District 4 Office, says Interstate projects include work continuing on the Council Bluffs Interstate project in the area of the 275 interchange, resurfacing near the I-80 and I-680 interchange near the Beebetown interchange, and also I-80 near Waukee where they are putting in a new interchange.

 

Highway resurfacing projects include Highway 92 from U.S. 71 thru Massena to the Cass/Adair County line, Highway 71 from I-80 to Audubon, Highway 141 near Coon Rapids, and Highway 191 from Highway 44 to Panama. 

 

Among the projects garnering the most interest locally is 7th Street in Atlantic. This covers from Olive Street to near Plum Street.

 

“We will be going though and reconstructing that road way. We looked at possibly keeping a lane or two open and shifting traffic during the duration of this, but rather than have a whole summer of construction we decided it would be best to get the contractor in, get the work done and get out of there. So that’s the plan right now in the area.”

 

Suhr says all three lanes will be closed as opposed to keeping one lane open and shifting traffic around to work on different areas.

 

“The problem is you don’t get as good of workmanship because you have joints all over the place. Plus the fact is it being only a couple months, it’ll be five and six months because it just takes longer.”

 

The project has been let and could start sometime in late April or early May, it’s estimated to take 2-3 months.

 

A couple of dates to keep an eye on. A meeting with businesses concerned with access to their business will be held today, on April 9th there is a public meeting to discuss construction activities in Council Bluff, and a Public Information Meeting will be held in Afton for a Union County Project.

 

Bennett Blake
3/30/15

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(Atlantic) You may have received a text message this morning in reference to an account at Wells Fargo Bank.

 

It’s a SCAM….Atlantic Wells Fargo Manager Jamey Park explains.

 

“There was a mass text message that was sent out to both customers and non-customers about 15-20 minutes ago. What the text message is stating is that the account or the card has been suspended and it is wanting people to respond back to that text message.”

 

Park’s advice,

 

“My advice is to not do this. If there are any questions contact the local branch or call the 24 hour customer service number located on the card in question. It is a SCAM do not respond to this text message at all.”

 

This is the 2nd time in the last month that a similar text has been sent out.

 

Bennett Blake
3/30/15

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(Atlantic) The Atlantic Police Department arrested two men on drug charges Saturday.

 

Glenn Keller, 56, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance marijuana, Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st Offense cocaine, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Open Container.

 

Ronald Keller, 52, of Massena, was charged with Controlled Substance Violation, OWI 2nd, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Driving under Suspension, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Prohibited Acts.

 

Both men were transported to the Cass County Jail and booked in.

 

The Atlantic Police Department also arrested 29-year-old Albert Johnson, of Atlantic, this morning on an Ida County warrant for Contempt of Court. He was transported to the Cass County Jail where he bonded out.

 

And, 20-year-old Nick Renner, of Atlantic, was arrested this morning for Public Intoxication. He was transported to the Cass County Jail and booked in.

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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(Glenwood) A Glenwood man was arrested on a drug charge over the weekend.

 

The Glenwood Police Department arrested 20-year-old Logan Lingle on Sunday for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Lingle was held on $1,000 cash or surety bond.

 

In other activity, 48-year-old David Craigmile, of Glenwood, was arrested Friday for Public Intoxication. He was held on $300 cash or surety bond.

 

And, 30-year-old Tare Shannon, of Council Bluffs, was arrested for Driving While Barred. Shannon’s bond was set at $2,000 cash or surety.

 

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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(Audubon) An Audubon man was arrested for aggravated domestic abuse, 2nd offense.

 

The Audubon Police Department arrested 29-year-old Shawn Leroy Schmidt on Saturday. He was held on $5,000 bond in the Audubon County Jail.

 

The Audubon Police Department also reported the arrest of a 16-year-old Audubon female on March 24th for Possession of Marijuana 1st Offense. The teen was released to her parents and will be referred to the Juvenile Court.

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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(Audubon) The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office has filed charges on two individuals following an extensive drug investigation that began in November of 2013.

 

Reece Joseph Blohm, 21, of Audubon turned himself into the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office this morning on an outstanding warrant. Blohm has been charged with Possession of Marijuana 2nd Offense and Gathering where Controlled Substances are used. He was seen by the magistrate and released.

 

Robert Paul Joens, 21, of Exira, also turned himself into the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office this morning on an outstanding warrant. Joens has been charged with Gathering where Controlled Substances are used.

 

A preliminary hearing for both men is set for April 16th. The incident remains under investigation.

 

Mandy Billings

03/30/2015

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(Harlan) Three people were injured in a single-vehicle accident in Shelby County Saturday.

 

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says it happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of 1400th Street and Knotty Loop. Authorities say 16-year-old John Carroll, and two passengers, identified as 14-year-old Tara Hansen and 15-year-old Samuel Klein; all  from Harlan were westbound in a pickup on 1400th Street when Carroll lost control. The vehicle entered the ditch and ended up on its’ top. Klein was ejected from the pickup.

 

All three occupants were transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan for treatment. Tara Hansen was later flown by Life Net Helicopter to Omaha an Omaha Hospital.

 

Carroll was cited for failure to have control.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Medivac Ambulance, Earling Fire and Rescue, and Westphalia Fire and Rescue.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Questions are being raised about some purchases by Iowa law enforcement agencies using money seized under state and federal civil forfeiture laws passed to help fight the scourge of illicit drugs.

 

The Des Moines Register reports the money is supposed to be spent on enhancing law enforcement and crime fighting capabilities, not on items that normally would be covered by departmental budgets.

 

Among the purchases reported by the Register: scented candles, mulch and tropical fish; sewer and water bills; a $27,000 sport utility vehicle for a county prosecutor; respirators for firefighters.

 

Former Cass County Attorney Daniel Feistner says his office used forfeiture money to buy the scented candles in 2013. He says the candles helped mask unpleasant body odors from some people visiting the office.

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(Creston) An OWI, and two driving while revoked charges landed three people in jail in Creston over the weekend. All were separated incidents.

 

Police arrested 40-year-old Michelle Marie Snyder, of Cromwell on Friday on a charge of third offense OWI, a Class D Felony. She was released on $5,000 cash bond.

 

In a separate case, 65-year-old Dennis Jay Wilkinson, of Des Moines was arrested for driving while revoked. He was released on $300.00 bond.

And 30-year-old Jessica Jo England, of Creston was taken into custody Sunday for driving while suspended. She was released on $300.00 bond.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Des Moines) Outdoor burning is highly discouraged in western Iowa today. In fact the  National Weather Service says that there is extreme fire danger across the entire western half of the state resulting in a Red Flag” warning that has been issued from noon to 7:00 p.m.

 

Forecasters say strong southwest winds, low humidity, and grasses nearly 100-percent cured across the warning area are all a recipe for fire with the potential to spread rapidly.

 

A “Red Flag” warning means that critical fire conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Atlantic) The Atlantic City Council will decide Wednesday on a land lease agreement with Murphy Heavy Contracting Corporation at 106 State Street in Atlantic. This is the original site of the old truck parking lot.

 

Under the proposed agreement, Murphy would lease the lot and generate $7,200.00 in revenue directly to the City on land that was producing nothing.

Murphy would use the site for a concrete recycling operation along with landscape stone product sales.

 

The Community Development Committee reviewed the proposal earlier this month and has given a recommendation in favor of the proposal.

 

The Council will also receive an annual presentation by Annette Renaud from Alliant Energy, act on finalizing a retainer agreement with Otto, Lawrence and Wiederstein. Jamie Arnold, a member of their firm, has been appointed City Attorney. The will also act on a new Medivac contract. In other business the Council will act a contract and bonds for the 2015 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project, and act on two loan agreements.

 

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Council Bluffs) The Iowa Department of Corrections says a man escaped from a residential work release facility in Council Bluffs Sunday afternoon.

 

The press release states that 21-year-old Joseph Cias Smith, Jr. was placed on escape status after failing to return to the facility from employment.

 

Smith is serving a seven year sentence in Pottawattamie County for willful injury causing bodily injury, assault with a weapon, and assault causing serious injury. His parole was revoked on March 12 2015, and his sentence began on March 28.

 

Smith is described as a white male, 5-10, and 198 pounds, with brown hair, Hazel eyes and tattoos on his upper right arm, forearm, left hand, and left thigh.

 

Information as to Smith’s whereabouts should be reported to the Council Bluffs Police Department or the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Council Bluffs) A Carter Lake man was treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday afternoon.

 

Marvin Naggatz, 21, told Council Bluffs Police that he was in a parking lot in the 2300 block of West Broadway when he attempted to adjust his holster. During the process his .40 caliber handgun discharged, causing a gunshot wound to the hand.

 

He was treated at Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Tom Robinson

March 30, 2015

a.m. news 

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(Sioux City AP)  The construction of a giant $2 billion fertilizer plant remains on schedule in northwest Iowa, but the project is nearing its busiest phase when roughly 2,200 workers will be employed on the job.

 

The Sioux City Journal reports construction of the new CF Industries plant is entering its second year, but it remains on track for completion in 2016.

 

Nick DeRoos, who is overseeing the expansion project, says the construction work slowed over the winter because of the snow, wind and freezing temperatures, but activity is picking up.

 

Two dozen cranes are in use at the site this month. The biggest one can lift as much as 1,000 tons 350 feet in the air.

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(Washington D.C.)  U.S. Republican Senator Joni Ernst voted in favor of the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2016. The Red Oak Lawmaker released this statement following its passage Friday night.  

 

“When Iowans sent me to Congress, I pledged to cut wasteful and out of control spending that has consumed Washington and buried our nation in debt.

 

“The budget resolution is an important step toward restoring fiscal responsibility and includes commonsense reforms to balance the budget, rein in government spending and get Washington moving in the right direction, while providing our military with the needed resources to protect our national security.

 

“This balanced budget has the necessary fiscal framework to move our country forward, toward a stronger economy that Iowans deserve.”

 

The Republican-led U.S. Senate has approved a 2016 budget blueprint that will balance federal spending in 10 years without raising taxes, trim trillions of spending dollars and repeal Obamacare.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives approved its own budget version on Wednesday which eliminates the federal deficit in nine years. 

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(Des Moines AP)  With many state workers poised to soon make monthly health care contributions for the first time, will Iowa lawmakers follow suit?

 

Under a recent arbitration award, workers in the largest state employees' union will have to start making a monthly contribution of at least $20 to their health benefits starting in January. This will be a shift for the majority of the 19,000 state workers represented by Local 61 the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

 

Lawmakers in the part-time General Assembly can get plans that don't require a monthly payment. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he'd like to change that. But

 

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal was less forthcoming on whether he will consider such a change.

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(Omaha) More counties have been added to the Wind Advisory that goes into effect today from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The advisory includes the area counties of Audubon, Adair, Cass, Dallas, Guthrie, Pottawattamie, Harrison, Shelby, Crawford and Carroll. 

 

The National Weather Service says northwest winds will increase to around 30-35 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.

 

A Wind Advisory means that sustained wind speeds between 30 to 39 miles per hour or gusts between 45 to 57 miles per hour are expected and can make driving difficult especially for high profile vehicles.  

 

Tom Robinson

March 28, 2015 

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(Stanton) A fire destroyed an apartment unit in Stanton Saturday afternoon. The Stanton Fire Department received the call at around 3:03 p.m. at 402 Broad in downtown Stanton. A neighbor noticed the smoke coming out of a second story apartment unit and called 9-1-1.

 

Stanton Fire Chief Zeb McFarland says when they arrived flames were shooting out of a second story apartment. He says they conducted a minimal attack because electrical lines were popping and an undetermined amount of pistol and rifle ammunition was firing off inside the unit.

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Fire fighters from Red Oak and Villisca provided mutual aid. The blaze was doused in a little less than an hour.

 

McFarland says a faulty stove caused the fire that destroyed one apartment unit.

Two other units sustained water damage.

 

The occupants were evacuated safely and no one was injured.

 

(Photo: courtesey of Stanton Fire Department)

 

Tom Robinson

March 28, 2015

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(Omaha) The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley Nebraska has issued a Wind Advisory from around mid-morning to mid-afternoon for western Iowa and eastern Nebraska Sunday. The advisory includes the area counties of Harrison, Shelby, Crawford and Carroll.

 

Forecasters say a cold front will move through the area tonight and behind it from around 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. northwest winds will increase to around 30-35 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour.

 

A Wind Advisory means that sustained wind speeds between 30 to 39 miles per hour or gusts between 45 to 57 miles per hour are expected and can make driving difficult especially for high profile vehicles.  

 

Tom Robinson

March 28, 2015 

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(Crescent) Two people were injured in a rollover accident in Pottawattamie County Friday night.

 

The Iowa State Patrol says 18-year-old Laryssa McLouth, of Maple Grove, Minnesota, was driving a 2006 Saturn Ion southbound on I-29, near the 62 mile marker, and took the off-ramp from I-29 onto I-680. McLouth failed to navigate the curve on the off-ramp and went off the roadway to the left. McLouth over corrected, causing the vehicle to spin out of control. The vehicle went across the off-ramp and into the right ditch where it rolled over.

 

McLouth was not injured in the accident. Two passengers, 21-year-old Rayna McLouth and 16-year-old Nolan McLouth, both of Maple Grove, Minnesota, were transported to Mercy Hospital by Crescent Rescue.

 

Mandy Billings

03/28/2015

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(Audubon) An Audubon County Deputy and his K9 were injured in a single vehicle accident Friday night.

 

The Iowa State Patrol says 25-year-old Deputy Shawn Young, of Audubon, was transported to the Audubon County Hospital with minor injuries. Young’s K9 was transported a vet in Atlantic with life-threatening injuries.

 

The accident occurred at around 11:12 p.m. near 345th and Lark Avenue. Young’s Chevy Tahoe was found in a field drive on the southwest corner of a curve. The accident investigation in ongoing.

 

Mandy Billings

03/28/2015

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(Harlan) Two people were injured in an anhydrous ammonia release in Harlan this morning.

 

The Harlan Fire Department says the incident occurred just after 10:00 a.m. at 1808 5th Street, which is Farm Service Cooperative. Upon arrival, the Harlan Fire Department and Medivac immediately removed, decontaminated, and treated two victims. They were transported to Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan and later transferred by helicopter to Omaha.

 

The cause of the anhydrous ammonia release is under investigation. Harlan Fire Department, a member of Tri County Special Operations Unit Hazardous Materials Team, entered the building in Level A personal protective equipment, which is a Vapor protective suit, with air supply. The Hazardous Materials responders used gas detection equipment to insure the area was safe. The building was ventilated and released back to the owner at around 12:15 p.m. with no further incident.

 

Mandy Billings

03/27/2015

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Firefighters closed a street in Des Moines' East Village area after a bar received a threatening letter in an envelope that included white powder.

 

Crews were called about 12:45 p.m. Friday to Blazing Saddle, a gay bar, after an employee opened the envelope and white powder spilled out.

 

Part-owner Bryan Smith told The Des Moines Register the bar occasionally gets hate mail "but never powder."

 

Firefighters closed East Fifth Street between Grand and Locust streets for about an hour.

 

A postal inspector also responded and the FBI will investigate the letter.

 

It wasn't clear whether the powder was being tested.

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(Des Moines) Governor Terry E. Branstad has signed a proclamation making April Keep Iowa Beautiful Month. Community projects during the month encourage Iowans to build pride and respect in making their communities better places to live and work through beautification, clean-up and recycling activities.

"We encourage every mayor to promote a project in their local community," said Mike Richardson, Chairman of the Keep Iowa Beautiful Board of Trustees. "Clean-up and beautifications projects help build stronger communities and improve the economic vitality and cultural health of our state." 

As the Proclamation states, "Keep Iowa Beautiful, a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, works with government organizations, private companies, communities and volunteer/service groups statewide to conduct litter prevention, recycling, beautification, community and landscape enhancement, increased volunteerism and waste minimization programs..."

For more than 15 years Keep Iowa Beautiful has worked to empower Iowans to make Iowa the cleanest and most attractive state in the nation.

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(Atlantic) The Atlantic School Board approved a salary agreement for the non-certified staff during a special meeting Thursday night.

 

The school board initially rejected the agreement at their meeting last week. Atlantic Community Schools Business Manager Mary Beth Fast said Board President Kristy Pellett stated Thursday night that they needed more information and that they wished to reconsider ratifying that non-certified bargaining agreement.

 

“They approved the original agreement as it was presented and we had a zero percent increase in our health insurance and we are calculating the supplemental state aid at zero percent and in doing both of those things that settlement fell within the range that the district needed,” explained Fast.

 

The board unanimously approved the original agreement which allows for 47-cents an hour pay raise, for a total package increase of 3.2 percent for the 2015-2016 school year. The total cost to the district would be around $87,584.

 

Mandy Billings

03/27/2015

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(Des Moines) Iowa has the 11th lowest unemployment rate of any state in the nation.

 

Workforce Development Spokesperson Kerry Koonce says the latest number reflects a continued strong economy.

 

“Right now we’re seeing another drop in unemployment from 4.2 to 4.1 percent for Iowa,” said Koonce. “This is still significantly below the national rate of 5.5 percent and we are also down from 4.4 where we were this time last year.”

 

She says their latest report shows some job loss in the retail sector, which tends to happen after the holidays. Manufacturing added 1,200 jobs, education added a thousand positions, and constructions is picking up and is expected to continue to be strong over the next few months.

 

Iowa Radio Network

03/27/2015

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(Area) Turkey Hunting Season kicks off one week from tomorrow as youth hunters will have the first opportunity to take the field.

 

The youth season runs April 4th through 12th. Bryan Hayes, with the Iowa DNR, says, 

 

“It gives the young hunters a chance to be out in the woods, out chasing the turkeys outside of the regular season where we will have as many as 50,000 hunters take the field during the regular season. During the youth season there is a smaller push and a lot more room in the woods for these young hunters.”

 

He says it’s a good opportunity for young hunters to learn the sport.

 

“The focus should be on that more than actually bagging a turkey. You know it‘s nice to call a bird in and get the young hunter an opportunity to harvest a turkey, but don‘t make that the primary focus because there is a lot more to turkey hunting than shooting a turkey.”

 

The first of four adult seasons will start on April 13th.

 

“It‘s split up into four different seasons. This divides up the hunters so we don‘t have everybody out there hunting at the same time. We have a limited amount of turkey hunting in the state. By dividing up the spring into four different seasons, we divide up the pressure and it makes for a lot more enjoyable hunt.”

 

A lot of scouting is taking place right now ahead of the start of the season. Hayes says about one of every three hunters are successful in bagging a turkey.

 

Bennett Blake
3/27/15

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended the law license of the former Madison County Attorney for 18 months for violating attorney rules of ethical conduct including having sex with a client and then assaulting her when the relationship deteriorated.

 

It was significantly more lenient than an attorney disciplinary board's recommendation of a four-year suspension.

 

Court documents filed Friday say Anthony Zane Blessum engaged in a sexual relationship with a client in 2011 and was convicted of repeatedly striking her in 2013. He also was found to have improperly handled client funds.

 

Blessum, who is 57, was Madison County attorney from 1986 to 1997. He recently has practiced law in his own office in Des Moines.

 

Blessum didn't immediately return a message.

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(Greenfield) A bill passed the House that would increase the distance from 500 feet to 1,000 feet for protestors at veteran’s funerals.

 

Clel Baudler, a Representative from Greenfield, said this was an easy bill to support. He said the bill is in reference to the folks from Westboro Baptist Church….

 

“These people are filled with hate,” said Baudler. “That Reverend Fred (Phelps), I know he died, but the one girl in that bunch is trying to carry on his legacy and there were problems at one military funeral and so we just upped the distance to 1,000 feet.”

 

Baudler was also part of a subcommittee meeting held Thursday morning on SF 319 which would tighten the texting while driving laws. The bill would make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense.  Baudler said the subcommittee meeting was well attended by supporters of the bill. The bill passed the subcommittee unanimously and is currently in the Transportation committee.

 

Meanwhile, this week Baudler is asking for constituent’s opinions on HF 528 which relates to responsibilities for expenses for the safekeeping and maintenance of prisoners by counties and two cities… SF 151 which establishes an orientation and classification center at the Iowa correctional institution for women and at the Anamosa state penitentiary… and SF 309 which relates to the compilation of a presentence investigation report in a criminal proceeding.
 

Mandy Billings

03/27/2015

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(Creston) The Creston Police Department reports the arrest of 30-year-old Nick Wilkinson, of Creston.

 

Wilkinson was arrested Thursday morning at the Law Enforcement Center on a Union County Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

He is being held in the Union County Jail awaiting bond hearing.

 

Bennett Blake
March 27, 2015

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed against the Woodbury County sheriff and other officials, saying their failure to treat a jail inmate for substances abuse withdrawal led to his death more than two years ago.

 

The federal lawsuit was filed by Tony Josta, of Homer, Nebraska, representing the estate of his son, Anthony Josta. The lawsuit says 35-year-old Anthony Josta "was subjected to defendants' deliberate indifference to his medical needs."

 

Anthony Josta was found dead in his cell on March 26, 2013, three days after his arrest on a warrant for contempt of court.

 

Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew told the Sioux City Journal that he welcomes the chance to offer sworn testimony in defense of the jail's procedures and explain the conditions and decisions officers face daily.

 

March 27, 2015

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a southwest Iowa man's appeal of his conviction for robbery, carjacking, obstructing justice and witness tampering.

 

The court notified 49-year-old Tiran Casteel Thursday it would not hear his case.

Casteel, of Coin, Iowa, is serving 27 years in prison for the 2008 robbery of Darlene Eitzen at her rural Page County farm.

 

Prosecutors say Eitzen was held at gunpoint while Casteel and his son, Devan, robbed her of a rare coin collection her late husband left her.

 

While awaiting trial Casteel attempted to have Eitzen killed prompting obstructing justice and witness tampering charges.

 

Casteel's conviction was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2013. He's at a federal prison in Kansas. His son, Devan, is imprisoned in Texas, scheduled to be released in 2021.

 

March 27, 2015

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(Des Moines) Your days of nonchalantly driving past a police car while texting and driving may soon be coming to an end.  Lawmakers in the House advancing a Senate bill today (Th) that would make such distracted driving a so-called primary offense in Iowa.  That means police don't have to wait to see you break some other law before stopping you for texting and driving.  Subcommittee Chair and trucker Gary Worthan says he's in favor of the bill, but, he wishes it could be expanded to include all hand-held devices...

 

"It's amazing what you can see from the cab of a truck going down the interstate, what's going on in some of these vehicles. So I'm disappointed that this bill isn't stronger."

 

And, the Storm Lake Republican says he'll be checking with other members of the House Transportation Committee to see if an amendment toughening the bill would pass.  Senate File Three Ninety-One advancing unanimously out of sub-committee this morning.

 

Iowa Radio Network

3/27/15

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(Des Moines) March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and in Iowa the focus is on ways in which communities can welcome and include individuals with disabilities.

 

The month was established in 1987 by President Reagan to ensure that everyone can lead productive lives and achieve their full potential. Rik Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said much progress has been made since then.

 

"We have people with all types of developmental disabilities living, learning working and playing in communities in which they choose to live," he said.

 

Shannon said one of the efforts this month has been a series of community discussions on ways to be more inclusive, with the latest held Thursday night in Ames and another set for Monday in Spencer.

 

Despite the strides made in recent years, Shannon said there's still much more to be done to ensure that needed services and supports are available.

 

"So in March, we hope to raise awareness of the issues, the challenges that confront people with disabilities, those barriers to full community inclusion," he said, "and we want to celebrate the successes that they've enjoyed since that first Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month."

 

In Iowa, about 50,000 people live with a developmental disability.

More information is online at iddcouncil.idaction.org.

 

Iowa News Service

3/27/15

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(St Charles) An Urbandale faces charges in connection with the bank robbery in Madison County Wednesday.
 
The Madison County Sheriff's Office says a charge of 1st Degree Robbery has been filed against 35-year-old Hussam Fayiz Abusharkh. It is believed that Abusharkh acted alone when he entered the Farmer's & Merchant's Bank in St Charles at around 3:00 p.m. while displaying a handgun and demanding money. 
 
After leading employees into a bathroom at gun point, Abusharkh fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money. Abusharkh left the bank in a white 2003 Chevy Monte Carlo with the possible Iowa license plate of “CZH 166” or “CRX 108”.
 
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident and additional charges are pending. Abusharkh’s whereabouts are unknown at this time. If anyone knows of his location, please contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 515-462-3575 or your local law enforcement agency.  Abusharkh is armed and considered dangerous.
 
Mandy Billings
03/26/2015

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A western Iowa youth softball coach accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old friend of his daughter has been convicted of four counts of sexual abuse.
 
The Omaha World-Herald reports 47-year-old John Osborn, of Council Bluffs, was found guilty Thursday of third-degree sexual abuse in a nonjury trial. He faces up to 40 years in prison at his May 1 sentencing hearing.
 
Council Bluffs police say the girl and Osborn began exchanging text messages in June and had phone conversations about sex. Court documents show the girl reported that she and Osborn engaged in sexual acts in July when the girl stayed at Osborn's house for a sleepover with his daughter.
 
Osborn has denied willingly touching the teen and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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(Des Moines) Iowa lawmakers want to increase the buffer zone between mourners and protesters at funerals like the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.  Bondurant Republican Zach Nunn floor managing a bill today (Th) that would increase the distance protesters have to stay away from mourners from 500-to-a-thousand feet.  Nunn says, as he was working on the bill, he was contacted by a widow in Ohio...

 

"Who was moved to tears on the phone because she herself was subjected to the actions of this despicable group of people during her husband's funeral and she's just happy Iowa is extending that buffer zone to 1,000 feet."

 

House File 558 passing through the House unanimously, 100-zip, and now heads to the Senate.

 

Iowa Radio Network

3/26/15

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(Council Bluffs) A Council Bluffs 11-year-old who went missing this (Thursday) morning has been located safe and sound.

 

The Council Bluffs Police Department received a report at 9:45 a.m. that an 11-year-old male had left Edison School on foot without permission. From there, a two hour search involving Pottawattamie County Deputies and Council Bluffs Police Officers ensued.

 

Authorities were able to utilize cell phone technology to track the child in the area of Big Lake Park off North 16th Street. Officers on foot and in vehicles searched the area and additional cell phone information showed the child had moved a half mile north of city limits east of Monument Road. The child was eventually seen running into a heavily wooded area on a ridge where he was apprehended without incident.

 

The uninjured child was transported to his residence where he lives with his grandmother.

 

Bennett Blake
3/26/15

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(Carson)  The Carson Community Club hosts Game Show Mania 2.0 this Friday and Saturday.

 

Carson Resident, Marlene Novotny, says Game Show Mania 2.0 includes a dinner and show.

 

“We have a game show theme, so we’re going to play ‘The Price Is Right,’ we have a few games of that, where we’re going to call some people out of the audience and they can win some great prizes,” said Novotny.  “And then we have two different segments; we have the ‘Match’ game that everybody remembers from the 70’s and then we have ‘The Newlywed Game,’ expect for our case, we call it the “Not-So-Newlywed Game’ because most of the couples have been married many, many years.”

 

Game Show Mania 2.0 will be held at the Carson Community Center in Carson.  Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., with the show beginning at 7 p.m.

 

Tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased at Carson City Hall, Permanent Solution, Janell’s Hair Design, Pioneer Trail Museum, and Rolling Hills Bank in Carson.  To reserve tickets, email Marlene Novotny at gameshowmania@frontier.com.

 

All proceeds from the event go to the Carson Park Board and the Macedonia Historical Society’s expansion project. 

 

And our very own Frank Rizzo will be part of the cast for Game Show Mania 2.0.

 

Anna Hastert

03/25/2015

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(Red Oak) A Red Oak man is charged with Burglary in the 3rd Degree after being arrested late Thursday morning.

 

Kim Jack Douglas Trost, age 35, was arrested at 11:01 a.m. for two burglaries that he committed on March 19th and another on March 11th. Burglaries took place at the Red Oak Greenhouse, BNSF Railroad, and from a motor vehicle parked at BNSF.

 

At the time of the arrest, Trost was already being held on prior burglary and theft charges in the Montgomery County Jail.

 

Bennett Blake
3/26/15

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(Atlantic) A smooth transition took place this week from the old Cass County Communications Center located inside the Cass County Court House to their new location at 707 Poplar Street.

 

911 Communication Center Director Rob Koppert admits its a relief to have the new facility up and running.

 

"Yeah it is a relief because it's been a long time coming. I looked back in the Public Safety Commission Minutes and I first relocating back in 2001. I don't know if this is a 14 year project but we've been working on it fast and furious for the past four and a half years now. Once things started coming into shape the building location was the big thing."

 

He says finding a building right across the street and getting it at fairly decent cost was a significant factor. Overall things went well on Tuesday when they went live at their new location.

 

"Well it wasn't perfect, but for a project of this complexity and a move of this complexity I think it went pretty darn good."

 

Koppert thanks the Board of Supervisors and Public Safety Commission.

 

"We've got a really good center to serve the citizens of Cass County and those that pass through on the interstate. We get a lot of people that come through that need assistance. We've got a really good center that was done very well. The credit really goes to the Board of Supervisors and the Public Safety Commission for having the foresight to say yes we need to do something...and we did it as fiscally responsible to

the taxpayers as we possibly could."

 

Koppert says most of the equipment is all new because their previous equipment was aging and wearing out. He says that helped make the transmission simpler.

 

Bennett Blake
3/26/15

 

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(Atlantic) Wednesday's test of the Emergency Alert System in Cass County came with mixed reviews.

 

Cass County EMA Director Mike Kennon says the good news is the folks who signed up for text messages and e-mails received the proper communication.

 

"We had about 500 people that had registered thus far.  Every one of the texts and every one of the e-mails was delivered successfully. To me, that part is great."

 

The bad news is the land line numbers were not all reached.

 

"The voice mail, I believe because of the timing of it, about 10:00 to 10:15 a.m., with those phone lines you have to have somebody there picking up the lines so we had a lot unsuccessful. We have about 7,000 lines in the county and around 2,300 or so were unsuccessful."

 

He'd like to see more people get signed up.

 

"A lot of it is word of mouth. I received inquiries from people who said, 'I have a friend that got that emergency text. How do I get it?' I would like to see a lot more people.

 

To sign up log onto the Cass County Website, Cass County Sheriff's Office Facebook page or the Cass County EMA Facebook page.

 

Bennett Blake
3/26/15

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(Atlantic) The Cass County Master Gardeners group is again offering grant money to be used in the 2015 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or beautify local communities, and the deadline to apply is next week.

 

The money may also be used for gardening education purposes. The David Williams Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams provided as a long-time volunteer, with the Master Gardener program and other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.


 Any Cass County not-for-profit group or individual may apply. To ensure the money is helping a wide variety of community organizations, groups who were funded by 2014 grants will not be eligible to apply in 2015. Each grant has a maximum value of $300. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.


 Applications must be received by Monday, March 30th for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by the end of April. For more information, or with questions, call the Cass County Extension office.

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) — Officials from Clarinda Mental Health have begun to transfer mentally ill senior citizens from the institution to private nursing homes.

 

A spokeswoman for the state facility confirmed Wednesday that only about a dozen patients, who are considered to be some of the toughest cases the institution handles, will be affected. The institute itself is scheduled to close July 1.

 

The Department of Human Services says that it is looking for safe placements for the senior citizens. Patient advocates say most of the senior citizens in the program were placed in the institution because private facilities found them too difficult to handle.

 

Department spokeswoman Amy McCoy said that some of the transfers have taken place, but declined to say how many of the residents have been moved.

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(Atlantic) Three Atlantic men were arrested Wednesday by the Atlantic Police Department.

 

25-year-old Marshall Fischer is charged with Theft 4th Degree and Driving While Barred.

 

20-year-old Aaron Cole and Joshua Peters, age 24, each face charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance plus Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

Fischer, Cole, and Peters were all transported to the Cass County Jail and booked in.

 

Bennett Blake
3/26/15

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(Atlantic) The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund recently donated $2500 to the Griswold Little League to assist them with expanding their concession stand/restrooms.  

 

The fund was founded when the family tragically lost Trevor in an apartment fire in 2009.  Since then, the fund has given out over $100,000 in donations back to the communities Trevor was a part of.  “

 

We are blessed with all the support we receive each year at our annual TFred Memorial Golf Tournament,” said Melanie Petty.  This year the tournament will be held on Saturday, August 8th.

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(Glenwood) Two people were injured in a two vehicle accident in Mills County this morning.

 

The Iowa State Patrol says 22-year-old Terrence Reynolds, Sr., of South Sioux City, Nebraska, was driving a 1994 Chevy S-10 westbound on Highway 370 and 44-year-old Jennifer Rethmeier, of Council Bluffs, was stopped at the I-29 southbound off ramp in her 2013 Ford Focus. Rethmeier did not see Reynolds’ vehicle and turned eastbound onto Highway 370 in front of Reynolds.

 

The report states Rethmeier was injured, but was not transported. Reynolds was transported to Jennie Edmundson Hospital by Glenwood Rescue.

 

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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(Harlan) A Harlan woman has been charged with six counts of forgery.

 

The Harlan Police Department arrested 26-year-old Brittney Dollen on March 22nd when it was discovered that she had allegedly altered several checks that were given by citizens for Girl Scout cookies. Dollen was taken to the Shelby County Jail.

 

In other activity, the Harlan Police Department cited two subjects on March 17th when officers were called to a go-cart being driven around the empty lots on Dye Street. 30-year-old Dane Stevens, of Harlan, was taken to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with intoxication in public and trespassing. 33-year-old Kylie Stahl, of Harlan, was cited for trespassing and released.

 

And, 34-year-old Clayton Sorensen, of Harlan, was arrested March 20th following a traffic stop for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He was also cited for improper rear lights.

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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(Des Moines) Petitions bearing thousands of signatures have been delivered to state lawmakers in support of adequate state aid for public schools.

 

The petitions, containing more than 6,000 signatures, were delivered to the conference committee trying to hammer out an agreement on increasing state aid to public schools.  Several education related organizations called on lawmakers to reach an agreement that would adequately fund K-12 education.  The petitioners contend a four percent increase is the bare acceptable minimum for the coming school year.  A four percent increase is in the measure approved by the senate while the house has stood firm with its approved level of funding of 1.25 percent. 

 

The petition drive began after the house approved its level of funding and vowed not to budge.

 

Iowa Radio Network

03/26/2015

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(St Charles) A Madison County Bank was robbed at gun point Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank in St. Charles at 3:07 p.m. reporting that they had just been robbed at gun point by a male subject. The suspect was described as 5’6” to 5’10” tall with a full beard and weighing 350 to 400 lbs.

 

After the suspect entered the bank he displayed a hand gun and instructed staff to fill a bag with the money. Once an undisclosed amount of money was obtained, he ordered all three employees into a bathroom. Once they were in the bathroom, the suspect fled the bank in an unknown direction. The suspect is believed to be possibly driving a white in color Chevy Monte-Carlo.

 

No customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery. An investigation is on-going at this time and anyone with information regarding the identity of this subject or any information related to the robbery is asked to call the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 515-462-3575 or their local law enforcement agency. The subject is armed and considered dangerous.

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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(Underwood) A Wichita, Kansas man was injured when his semi rolled over early this morning in Pottawattamie County.

 

The Iowa State Patrol says 57-year-old Steven Cain was westbound on I-80 at around 12:38 a.m. and noticed the trailer lights on his semi were not working properly. Cain attempted to pull over and fix them, but pulled the tractor trailer over too far. The soft ground pulled the semi into the ditch where it rolled onto its side and came to rest.

 

Cain was transported to Mercy Hospital by Underwood Rescue for non-life threatening injuries.

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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(Treynor) Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker awarded seven students at the Treynor School District for their leadership and bravery by assisting fellow students when a school bus rolled into a ditch northwest of Treynor on March 13th.

 

The Sheriff’s Office says about 20 students were on board, including Alora Nowlin, Chloe Mass, Amanda Stephens, Claire Rolf, Max Hayes, Nathan Nelson and Warren Rolf. These students went above and beyond to make sure all of the other students were safe, helped get everyone out of the school bus and called for help. The Sheriff’s Office says because of their bravery, as first responders arrived they found everyone calm and the scene organized.

 

These seven students were honored with a certificate, a pin, and a personal Thank You from Sheriff Danker.

 

(Photo from the Sheriff's Office Facebook page)

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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(Red Oak) A Villisca woman suffered minor injuries in a two vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Red Oak Police Department says the accident occurred at the intersection of Highway 34 and the entrance road to Senate Avenue, next to the Red Coach Inn, just after 4:30 p.m. 60-year-old Janice Robinson, of Villisca, was driving westbound on Highway 34 and signaled to turn onto Senate Avenue and then started to brake. 55-year-old Ronda Woods, of Red Oak, was driving behind Robinson and struck the rear of Robinson’s vehicle.

 

Robinson was transported by Red Oak Rescue to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital. Woods was given a warning for following too closely. The Red Oak Police Department was assisted by Red Oak Fire and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Mandy Billings

03/26/2015

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Debate over when school districts may start their calendar year continues, with a bill that gives the state control over start dates stalled in the Iowa Senate.

 

The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would require Iowa school districts to start classes no earlier than Aug. 23. But Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, filed a motion to reconsider the bill, meaning it is stalled until he calls it up for another vote.

 

Gronstal said he was concerned that the bill excludes high schools from setting year-round calendars.

 

Republican Senate minority leader Bill Dix called the bill a compromise.

 

This issue came up after the state announced plans late last year to stop issuing automatic waivers to allow districts to bypass current start date rules.

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