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Court dates set in 2nd Roger Ericksen sex abuse case

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The court dates have been set for a Pottawattamie County man facing more sexual abuse allegations. According to the Cass County Attorney’s Office, an arraignment hearing for 56-year old Roger Allen Ericksen is set for March 16th, followed by a Pre-Trial Conference on April 6th, and Trial on May 27th. Ericksen faces 10 counts of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree, which is classified as a Class-B felony.

Ericksen, who was living in Underwood, was arrested by Cass County Sheriff’s deputies on Feb. 23rd, and remains in the Cass County Jail on $25,000 bond. In Dec. 2012, Ericksen pled guilty to Sexual Abuse in the 3rd degree, stemming from a prior case.  In his previous case, Ericksen was given a 10-year suspended sentence and ordered to register was Sex Offender. He was also ordered to live in a residential correctional facility.

The most recent charges are the result of allegations in involving acts with a minor child that reportedly occurred in 2011.

Workers at state mental health facility get layoff notices

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Layoff notices are going out to employees at a state mental health institution in Mount Pleasant that is slated for closure. Department of Human Services spokeswoman Amy McCoy says Thursday that notices had gone out to 36 workers. The layoffs will be effective April 6. There currently are about 74 people working at the facility.

Under Gov. Terry Branstad’s proposed budget, funding would be eliminated for mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. Branstad says the hospitals are old and that people can seek mental health treatment from other providers, including two state mental health institutions in Cherokee and Independence.

Democratic lawmakers say the Republican governor is ignoring the fact that the Legislature appropriated money for the institutions. A Branstad spokesman says the change will lead to better care.

Bill seeks to restrict protests at military funerals

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A bill that would double the size of the “buffer zone” between protesters and mourners at an Iowa soldier’s funeral is eligible for debate in the Iowa House. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, is the bill’s sponsor. “In my opinion, you don’t have a First Amendment right to disrupt a peaceful assembly of those that are gathering to mourn fallen loved ones who died for this country,” Kaufmann says. A 2006 Iowa law forbids protestors from being within 500 feet of a military funeral and Kaufmann’s bill would extend that zone to a thousand feet.

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Robert King is also director of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. “We’ve never dealt with this at the cemetery in the two years that I’ve been there,” King says. “However, I can’t imagine the anguish that a family would endure if we had a bunch of people show up to protest.” The Phelps family from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, has staged dozens of anti-gay protests at military funerals. Representative Jake Highfill, a Republican from Johnston, says it’s a First Amendment right to protest, even though he’s no fan of the Phelps family.

“I believe there’s a special place in hell for people like this. These people are just the bottom of the barrel,” Highfill says. “But people did not die for this country to just protect the people that are popular. The First Amendment right is not here to protect the popular opinion. It’s there to protect the minority opinion.” Representative Zach Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, was deployed three times when he was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. He says burying a fallen soldier is a sacred act and this bill gets his support.  “When those who would perpetrate hate speech and attempt to cover it as a First Amendment right, it becomes difficult, then, to be able to support that level of intrusion…into a family suffering’s right to privacy.”

The bill cleared the Iowa House Judiciary Committee last night (Wednesday) by a 21-to-zero vote. The bill would give the families of fallen soldiers the right to sue protesters for “inflicting emotional distress” during a funeral or burial service. Such lawsuits could seek up to 10-thousand dollars for each family member if the bill becomes law. A member of the Phelps family told The Cedar Rapids Gazette “whiny, crybaby legislators” in Iowa were pushing this bill. Six Phelps family members staged a protest at the statehouse in January, but their chanting and singing was drowned out by the engine-revving Patriot Guard Riders. The group of motorcyclists travels the country to provide a buffer zone around the Westboro Baptist protesters wherever they go.

(Radio Iowa)

Western IA Watershed Quality Initiative to receive funding

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A watershed project that spans three counties in the KJAN listening area has received a grant amounting to $354,000 toward the total project cost of $713,000. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Thursday) announced the Elk Run Watershed Quality Initiative Project in Sac, Carroll and Calhoun Counties, headed up by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance, is one of three such projects across the state selected to receive a total of $1.4-million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative, over the next three years.

In addition to the state funds, the three projects, including those in Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Story, Boone and Hamilton Counties, will provide an additional $1.4-million in matching funds to support qater quality improvement  efforts, as well as other, in-kind contributions. The selected projects will join 13 targeted Water Quality Initiative demonstration watershed projects that were previously funded to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.

The demonstration watersheds selected cover 274,596 acres. More than 30 partners from agricultural organizations, institutions of higher education, private industry, local, state and federal government and others, are working together on the projects.

DNR Listening Session ON fall hunting and trapping regulations rescheduled for march 25

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has rescheduled a public meeting over the Iowa Communications Network for March 25 from 6 to 9 p.m., to listen to the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. Meetings will be held in Atlantic, Boone, Calmar, Chariton, Clear Lake, Council Bluffs, Creston, Dubuque, Eldridge, Johnston, Marshalltown, Monroe, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sergeant Bluff, Sheldon, Spencer, Tiffin, Tripoli and West Burlington.

Complete ICN locations are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting. The meetings are part of the process for making rules in state government. At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall.

These discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes this fall. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.

Slauson restitution order

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A judge in the case of Leatha Kay Slauson has rendered his decision on how restitution will be made to victims she scammed out funds associated with her child’s fake cancer scheme. Judge Greg Steensland determined the amount of total victim restitution at $32,964.06. Funds available to pay the victims amount to $15,900.82, and will be distributed as follows:

  • Melanie and Darrin Petty, of Atlantic, $100
  • Beta Sigma Phi, of Atlantic, $200
  • Victoria Erickson, of Kimballton, $1,000
  • Jeffrey & Katie Tibbles, of Ankeny, $93
  • United Methodist Church, Atlantic, $3,050.25 (The funds returned to the UMC will not be returned to donors, but used for a comparable charitable donation to the one in this case. They shall then provide proof of that donation to the court.)
  • Jennifer Nobles, of Nora Springs, $335
  • Mercy Medical Center North, Mason City, $2,642.20
  • Ronald McDonald House, Des Moines, $3,990.19
  • Rainbow House, Omaha, NE, $3,990.19.

The $15,900 described above will be placed in the trust account of Slauson’s Attorney, Jay Mez, for distribution as prescribed. The remaining balance of victim restitution in the amount of $17, 063.24 is payable by Slauson. As funds are received from her, they will be sent in equal amounts to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines, and Rainbow House, in Omaha.

The 30-year old Slauson was sentenced to 5-years probation after pleading guilty to falsely claiming her 5-year-old daughter had cancer and raising money for her treatment. In November, 2014, Slauson pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment, one of administering harmful substances, one of theft and one of unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

3 arrested on drug charges in Creston

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three people have been arrested on drug charges, in Creston. Authorities say 48-year old Michael Esslinger and 51-year old Ricky Kimball, both of Creston, were arrested Wednesday afternoon at their homes, on Union County warrants for Possession of a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine.

And, 32-year old Andy Alden Hansen, of Creston, was arrested in the 800 block of West Adams Street early Wednesday morning, on charges that include Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession with the Intent to Deliver/Meth, and Driving While Barred.

All three men were being held in the Union County Jail, where Hansen’s bond was set at $100,000.

(Podcast) KJAN News & funeral report, 3/5/2015

News, Podcasts

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. report w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Clarinda man arrested Wed. night on drug charges

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A routine traffic stop Wednesday night at North Broadway and West Washington Streets in Red Oak, resulted in the arrest of a Clarinda man. Red Oak Police report 29-year old Jason Lynn Ridnour was taken into custody at around 10-p.m. on Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, charges. Ridnour was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $1,000 cash bond.

S.W.IA man’s sentence on a murder charge put on hold

News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A District Court Judge on Wednesday continued the sentencing date for a southwest Iowa man convicted on a murder charge. The Daily NonPareil reports Judge Timothy O’Grady ruled against a defense motion for a new trial in the first-degree murder conviction of Brian Davis in the July 18th, 2009, death of his former girlfriend, Holly Durben. Davis’ sentencing was continued until 9:30 a.m. on April 9th to allow the defense additional time to file motions in the case. The Judge delayed sentencing because the defense is required to have a minimum of five days to file any motions it wishes prior to sentencing.

Requesting a new trial, Public Defender Michael Hooper, one of three attorneys defending Davis, argued that there was reasonable doubt in the case. Hooper argued that the case had stumped a medical examiner, and even a firearms expert found that the scene was consistent with suicide, leading to reasonable doubt.

O’Grady said he started hearing the case entirely neutral. Hooper also pointed out that in the decision, O’Grady originally used the term “horrible” to describe the bruising that Dr. Jerri McLemore, a former assistant state medical examiner described on Durben’s neck. But the doctor did not use the word “horrible.” Roan did not object to the request by the defense that O’Grady amend his decision and change the word “horrible.”