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Lenox man arrested on Montgomery County warrant

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Tuesday of a Lenox man. At 1:00pm Deputies arrested 48-year-old Tyler D. Lillie on a warrant charging him with Violation of Probation. Lillie was located by Taylor County authorities on a traffic stop and was transported to Montgomery County without incident. He was held on $5,000 bond.

Harlan Police Report

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

The Harlan Police Department reports three recent arrests. On August 14th Officers arrested 31-year-old Adreana Augustina Bernal of Harlan for Domestic Abuse Assault. Bernal was taken to the Shelby County Jail.

Also arrested on August 14th was 44-year-old Jason Michael Lassen of Harlan following a call for a disturbance. Lassen was charged with Public Intoxication and booked into the Shelby County Jail. Lassen was released and then arrested again the next day for Public Intoxication and alcoholic beverages in city parks.

King to Host Town Hall in Audubon County on August 27

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

Congressman Steve King has announced that he will be hosting a town hall meeting in Audubon County on Tuesday, August 27. The town hall is open to the public and to the media.

The Audubon County town hall will be held in Audubon at the Audubon City Chamber Building located at 800 Market St. The town hall will run from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM Central.

King has pledged to hold a town hall in each of the 39 counties in the 4th Congressional District this year, and, as scheduled, this town hall will be the 32nd King will have hosted in the district since January.

Coroner: Leader of large organic food scheme dies by suicide

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Missouri farmer blamed for running the largest organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history has died by suicide, weeks before he was to report to federal prison to begin serving a 10-year term, a coroner said Tuesday.

Livingston County Coroner Scott Lindley confirmed the death of Randy Constant in his hometown of Chillicothe, Missouri. He said Constant died in “a self-inflicted situation” and said more details would be released soon.

A federal judge sentenced Constant to prison at a hearing on Friday for leading what prosecutors dubbed the “field of schemes fraud.” But he granted Constant the ability to self-report to prison in the coming weeks, after the Bureau of Prisons decided where to place him.

The death comes as federal law enforcement officials are under fire for failing to prevent the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Prosecutors say Constant falsely marketed non-organic corn and soybeans certified as organic on a massive scale. His sales equaled up to 7 percent of organic corn grown in the U.S. in 2016 and 8 percent of the organic soybeans. Overall, from 2010 to 2017, he sold more than 11.5 million bushels of grain, or enough to fill approximately 3,600 rail cars, prosecutors said.

“Randy Constant and his co-conspirators lied to the American public and cheated thousands of consumers,” U.S. Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. said in a statement issued Monday. “For years, Constant put personal greed and self-interest above all else.”

Constant owned an Iowa-based grain brokerage, which sold his corn and soybeans primarily as feed for chickens and cattle. Those animals were then marketed for their meat and meat products that were advertised as organic.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said during the sentencing hearing that Constant’s fraud did “extreme and incalculable damage” to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation’s organic food industry.

He said consumers nationwide were fooled into paying extra to buy products ranging from eggs to steak that they believed were better for the environment and their own health. Instead, they unwittingly purchased food that relied on farming practices they opposed, including the use of chemical pesticides to grow crops.

Williams also gave prison terms Friday to three Overton, Nebraska, farmers whom Constant recruited to join the scheme. Michael Potter, 41, was ordered to serve two years behind bars; James Brennan, 41, was sentenced to one year, eight months; and his father, 71-year-old Tom Brennan, was given a three-month sentence.

Prosecutors did not seek their immediate detention in federal custody, which is routine for defendants who are not seen as dangerous or flight risks.

Williams gave all four the option of entering federal custody immediately, surrendering in two weeks to a regional U.S. Marshals office, or self-reporting to the prison designated by the bureau of prisons. All four chose the final option, which typically might give them three to six more weeks of freedom before incarceration. Williams warned they would have to pay their own way and show up on time or face potential legal consequences.

Constant’s attorney, Mark Weinhardt, described his client last week as a 60-year-old “pillar of the community” who had served on the school board and donated his time and money to local causes and the Methodist church. He said he was stunned by the contradiction between Constant’s record of good deeds and his lengthy fraud scheme.

“Mr. Constant is a real puzzle,” he said.

He said that Constant would be broke and unable to farm for the rest of his life. He had sold his home and his wife of 39 years had come out of retirement to return to teaching to support the family, Weinhardt said.

Federal prosecutors had introduced evidence that Constant was repeatedly traveling to Las Vegas during the scheme, where he gambled and spent heavily to support three women with whom he had sexual relationships.

Governor selects new commander for Iowa National Guard

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The governor has selected a new commander for the Iowa National Guard.

The office of Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a news release Tuesday that Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell (kor-REHL’) is the new adjutant general. He replaces Brig. Gen. Stephen Osborn, who’d held the post temporarily following the retirement of Maj. Gen. Tim Orr. Osborn will continue serving Iowa as deputy adjutant general.

Corell was born in Manchester and raised in Strawberry Point. He enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard in January 1986.

Most recently Corell commanded the 34th Infantry Division. The assignment included a nearly yearlong deployment to Kuwait.

Corell commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division from June 2010 to June 2012 and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Potential daycare site discussion comes to Griswold School Board

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

A committee that is working to bring a daycare facility to Griswold came to the Griswold School Board on Monday evening to gauge interest in potentially putting a facility on school property. The committee has received generous donations from the Noble Church and Griswold Communications to start up a daycare facility after community needs were gauged. Griswold Schools Superintendent Dave Henrichs said the committee has run into some barriers and that’s why they have come to the Griswold Schools to start a dialogue.

Henrichs said the committee is going to come back to the board with more information.

If the board was interested in accepting a proposal from the daycare committee Henrichs said it would have to follow the same procedure as the recent sale of the Lewis and Elliott buildings. Henrichs said it would obviously have to be a cost neutral project for the school but he thinks it would be a win-win situation for the school and the community if they could work something out.

Griswold School Board moves forward with completion of sale for Lewis and Elliott properties

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

The Griswold School Board finalized the sale of the Lewis and Elliott building properties at their meeting on Monday night. A hearing on proposal to sell the two properties was held prior to the start of the regular meeting and Superintendent David Henrichs said no comment in favor or against those sales occurred so they could move forward with completion of the sales during the regular meeting.

The Lewis Elementary Building is being sold to Chris Jahnke with 3-H-O, LLC in Atlantic for $9,000. The sale price was amended from an initial $40,000 offer due to the cost of asbestos removal and air conditioning updates at the facility. The district agreed to the reduced price in February because it would of been much more costly for the district to demolish the building. 3-H-O is a packaging and shipping company that employs a large number of disabled individuals.

The Elliott Building is being sold to Rayna Blay and Jacque Howell for $4,000. Blay plans to use the kitchen in the building to expand her personal bakery business and Howell is looking to expand her daycare operation. They have plans to make other space in the building available for other business and offices.

The sale of the two properties came about after district patrons approved a bond issue to put a new Elementary addition onto the Middle School/High School building in Griswold. The new Elementary addition to the Griswold building is nearing completion and a ribbon cutting event is scheduled for Wednesday evening at 4:00pm.

Tornadoes reported as storms roll over Iowa

News, Weather

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Storms that spawned tornadoes have rumbled over much of central and eastern Iowa, toppling trees, cutting power and flooding streets.

The National Weather Service says a tornado hit and damaged buildings northwest of Lacona on Tuesday morning, and another was reported 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) southeast of De Soto. It’s not clear whether anyone was injured.

The Iowa State Patrol says minor injuries were reported after winds toppled four semitrailers near the Adair rest area along Interstate 80. A 60 mph (96.6 kph) wind gust was reported at Adair.

Polk County authorities say a lightning struck set fire to a house in Grimes, but the residents got out without injuries.

The weather service says more than 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters) of rain fell on Eagle Grove, and street flooding occurred in several communities.

MidAmerican Energy reports that nearly 4,600 customers remain without power in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

Presidential hopeful John Delaney visits Exira and Atlantic today

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

Democratic Presidential Candidate John Delaney has visits to Exira and Atlantic planned for today. Delaney will be in Exira at Legion Park for a Picnic and Policy Conversation at 5:00pm. He will then head to Atlantic for a visit to the Cass County Democrats meeting at 7:00pm. That meeting will be held in the Cass County Courthouse basement room D.

Those two stops will round out a busy day for Delaney who is making stops in Council Bluffs and Sioux City in the morning.

Trespass arrest in Creston

News

August 20th, 2019 by Chris Parks

The Creston Police Department reports the arrest of 40-year-old Sheri Jo Watters of Creston on a charge of Trespassing. She was arrested at 213 N Maple Street in Creston at 7:00am on Monday. Watters was cited and released from the scene.