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Man convicted of homicide for crash deaths of 2 teen girls


April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — A man accused of text messaging before a fatal Linn County crash has been found guilty. Court records say 36-year-old Keith Furne was convicted by a jury Wednesday of two counts of vehicular homicide and one of reckless driving resulting in serious injury. The crash occurred on Nov. 3, 2016, on the north side of Robins. Authorities say Furne was writing a text while driving his pickup truck before ramming into the back of a car. Two teenage girls were killed: 16-year-old Selena Apodaca and 13-year-old Isabella Severson. The trial was moved to Story County.

DMACC trying to get girls interested in firefighting, EMS careers


April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny is offering a free class to high school girls in tenth through 12th grade to learn about careers in firefighting or Emergency Medical Services. The chair of the DMACC Fire Service/Paramedic program, Dewey Anderson, says the four-hour class will be hands-on. “We have a fire truck out here, we are going to have them learn about the different parts of firefighting. We also will have our DMACC ambulance there and they will learn about Emergency Medical Services and hopefully generate some excitement,” Anderson says.

He says firefighting is a profession that has been dominated by men, but they are trying to show women there’s a place for them too. “I think for a lot of years it was viewed as you have to be big and burly and manly to do this type of work. But really….you do have to be in shape, but you have to have some smarts. You have to understand the concepts of what goes into firefighting,” Anderson says. He says the methods have changed through the years. “There’s a lot of science behind firefighting — it isn’t just riding the fire truck and throwing some water on the fire.You have to know different things such as what type of fire you are fighting and how to fight it. You have to know how to hook up hydrants, you have to know how to don protective gear correctly. All of that stuff goes into being a firefighter,” according to Anderson. “It’s really technical, it’s changed over the years and it’s a lot more technical. I I am hoping that some of these girls will get excited enough about the whole process to be able to consider that as a career.”

He says there are many women in rural volunteer fire departments, but metro departments have lagged behind. Anderson says they want to see more women in their program. “We have maybe one or two a year that go through the fire science program here at DMAAC. I’ll tell you they can get jobs very easily once they graduate. That’s the word we are trying to get out also — get you associate’s degree in fire science and you can get a good paying job once you complete the program,” Anderson says. You can find out more about the program online at: www.dmacc.edu/careerdiscovery. Or you can call Dewey Anderson at 515-965-7051 to discuss the class and program.

(Radio Iowa)

Montgomery County Sheriff’s report (4/19/18)


April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports 38-year old Wendell Brian Leach, of Des Moines, was arrested at around 12:11-a.m. today (Thursday), following an incident at Ironwood Avenue and Highway 48, west of Elliott. Leach was taken into custody for Public Intoxication. He was transported to the Montgomery County Jail and held on a $300 bond. Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff’s Deputies in Montgomery County arrested 26-year old Devon Keith Hale, who is listed as homeless. Hale was arrested in the 300 block of E. Washington Avenue (Belt Auto Center), for Disorderly Conduct associated with three separate incidents, including one at Red Oak Pawn and the Houghton State Bank. He was also charged with Interference with Official Acts, following an incident at the Montgomery County Jail. Hale was being held in the jail on a $300 bond.

Gas prices staying higher than normal


April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who are filling up the gas tanks of their cars — and their snowblowers — are paying more lately. Gail Weinholzer, at Triple-A-Iowa, says gasoline prices are higher than usual. “We’ve had a strong demand throughout the winter,” Weinholzer says. “We’re exporting a lot of crude oil. Crude oil is trading up above $65 a barrel and all of that formed a confluence of reasons why prices have stayed high through the winter and are a bit higher than they were last year at this time.”

The average price for gas in Iowa is two-58 a gallon. That’s up 20-cents from a year ago. Last weekend’s U-S-led strike on Syria likely isn’t to blame, at least not much. “Syria is not an oil exporter, not directly,” she says. “There’s some nervousness within the market about any continuing hostility and that’s keeping crude oil prices high. Crude oil prices have been high throughout the winter so it’s not having that significant of an impact.”

While the weather is still wintry, we’re almost a month into spring, which usually means an upturn in gas prices. “We’re most of the way through the switch-over from the winter to the summer grade of fuel, even though we’re not actually experiencing summer at this point,” Weinholzer says. “The summer grade fuel burns cleaner and costs more to refine so we always see prices rise in the spring, although I wouldn’t expect them to rise any more than a nickel or a dime between now and Memorial Day.”

The daily Triple-A survey shows Iowa’s most expensive gas is in Dubuque, averaging two-65 a gallon, while the cheapest gas is in Council Bluffs at two-49.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, April 19 2018


April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:55 a.m. CDT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa regulator says the state’s top elections official will not be required to identify his private businesses in a conflict-of-interest disclosure form because other state officials have kept them secret without consequence. The statement from Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board director Megan Tooker comes a day after The Associated Press reported that Secretary of State Paul Pate owns a strip mall and two rental storage businesses that he didn’t list on an ethics filing last week.

OAKLAND, Iowa (AP) — The parents of a 16-year-old girl who died in a school bus fire in western Iowa last year are suing the school district. The Des Moines Register reports that Glen and Natalie Klindt accuse Riverside Community School District in the wrongful death lawsuit of negligent hiring, training and supervision of 74-year-old bus driver Donald Hendricks, who also died in the fire. The Klindts say the Dec. 12 death of their daughter, Megan Klindt, caused them severe emotional distress.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa appeals court has granted a new trial for a man convicted of murder who argued that the jury was biased against him. The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with Lee Christensen, who argued on appeal that several jurors had seen Facebook posts threatening the jury and warning of riots if Christensen weren’t convicted. Christensen was sentenced in 2016 to 50 years in prison for the June 2015 shooting death of 19-year-old Thomas Bortvit.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Court records say a Dubuque man scheduled for a murder trial in August has made a plea deal with prosecutors. The Telegraph Herald reports that a hearing is scheduled Friday for 36-year-old Michael Piantieri, who’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the Dec. 2 slaying of 42-year-old Beverly Puccio at her home. The agreement says Piantieri will plead guilty to second-degree murder and face a mandatory sentence of 50 years in prison.

Atlantic business owners voice concerns about closings


April 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

More than two-dozen people packed Atlantic City Hall Wednesday evening, to listen about plans to attract and retain businesses in the community, in light of four local businesses that have already shuttered their doors or soon will be. At least two of those business owners are retiring, one has health issues. Chamber Executive Director Bailey Smith spoke to the Council about what they are currently doing and plan on doing to reverse the trend.

First, she said, the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce provides business owners with continuing education opportunities, including partnerships with the Small Business Development Center and Iowa Works, to update owners on changing business practices, marketing strategies and staying up-to-date on labor laws. They also launched a “Shop local initiative” with 1st Whitney Bank, and the “Shop Local Passport Program,” in partnership with 15 businesses. Since its launch, almost $2-million dollars were spent at those businesses, combined.

Smith says those programs are creating positive change and educating the community. The Chamber next plans to launch a Mentorship Program. It will guide new business owners through the process by partnering them with existing business owners. Through confidential conversations, new entrepreneurs will be able to get advice and strategy on all facets of the operation of a small business.

And finally, several independent business leaders and investors are partnering together to pledge money to entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in Atlantic. The pledge will work as a loan vetted through a local bank and will help business owners buy inventory, cover building costs, etc. Interest in this program has been strong on the business leader and investor side.

Russell Joyce, with the Cass Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO), said their Board of Directors is supportive of the City and/or some other entities, providing an incentive program for retail. Joyce said over the past few years, a number of professionals have retired, but that’s turned out to be a positive situation, because it ended up bringing in younger professionals.

Even now, he said, with people in the retail sector reaching retirement age or past retirement age, there are positives to report. New businesses have come to town, some have moved to older buildings and refurbishing them, and some are considering expanding. Recruiting new retail is the real challenge, according to Joyce. Some solutions include doing more shopping locally, and for some businesses to adjust their business models to change with the times.

Some of those in attendance said the City needs to do a better job of promoting events and drawing people to town, especially in light of the Sesquicentennial. Barb Jorgensen, owner of The Little Cobbler, said the City needs to promote events and draw more people to town. Dr. Keith Leonard, a retired veterinarian, suggested the City help waive some fees for upstart businesses.

Mayor Jones and the Council reminded the audience that the Community Promotion Committee meets to discuss the issues, and anyone is welcome to attend. The public will be notified of the next meeting date and time, which is expected to be within the next month.

Parents of Iowa teen killed in school bus fire sue district


April 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

OAKLAND, Iowa (AP) — The parents of a 16-year-old girl who died in a school bus fire in western Iowa last year are suing the school district. The Des Moines Register reports that Glen and Natalie Klindt accuse Riverside Community School District in the wrongful death lawsuit of negligent hiring, training and supervision of 74-year-old bus driver Donald Hendricks, who also died in the fire.

The Klindts say the Dec. 12 death of their daughter, Megan Klindt, caused them severe emotional distress, and they’re seeking an unspecified amount in damages. The Klindts’ lawsuit also says they and Megan had complained about Hendricks’ driving before the fire. Hendricks used a walker and had back surgery scheduled the week of the fire.

Federal investigators have said the fire began in the engine compartment after Hendricks backed the bus into a ditch and became stuck.

Clarinda man arrested in Montgomery County


April 18th, 2018 by Jim Field

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of 27-year-old Michael Weeden of Clarinda on a warrant for Criminal Mischief 4th Degree. Weeden was arrested at 2:00pm on Wednesday and taken to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $1,000 bond.

Principal Recommends Shareholders Reject Second Round of Mini-Tender Offers by Baker Mills LLC


April 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa –Principal Financial Group ® (Nasdaq: PFG) announced today (Wednesday), that it has received notice of an unsolicited mini-tender offer by Baker Mills LLC (“Baker Mills”) to purchase up to 60,000 shares of Principal Financial Group, Inc. common stock (“PFG”) from Principal ® shareholders. The offer represents approximately 0.021 percent of Principal’s shares of common stock outstanding as of the April 16, 2018 offer date.

Baker Mills’ offer price of $49.00 per share is approximately 19.75 percent lower than the $61.06 closing price of PFG common stock on Nasdaq on April 16, 2018. This offer follows a recent similar offer by Baker Mills to purchase from certain PFG holders up to 50,000 shares of PFG. That previous offer, which terminated on March 2, 2018, resulted in the purchase by Baker Mills of 11,163 PFG shares.

As with the prior offer by Baker Mills, Principal does not endorse Baker Mills’ unsolicited mini-tender offer and recommends that shareholders do not tender their shares in response to Baker Mills’ offer because the offer is, as was the case with the previous offer, at a price that is significantly below the current market value of PFG.

As with the prior offer by Baker Mills for PFG, Principal urges investors to obtain current market quotations for their shares, consult with their broker or financial advisor, and exercise caution with respect to Baker Mills’ offer. Principal urges shareholders who have not responded to Baker Mills’ offer take no action.

Shareholders who have already tendered their shares may withdraw them at any time by providing written notice as described in the Baker Mills mini-tender offer documents prior to the expiration of the offer, currently scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, on May 18, 2018. Principal encourages shareholders to review carefully the “Withdrawal Rights” section of the offer documents.

To find out more, visit principal.com.

Mock Crash at Sidney High School


April 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Deputies with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office assisted local agencies at the scene of a mock crash today (Wednesday), at the Sidney High School. Students were presented with a scenario of a two-vehicle accident with one person ejected from the vehicle. The scenario included one fatally injured student and one arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Photos courtesy the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office

Local first responders wanted to stress the dangers of drunk driving, distracted driving, and wearing seatbelts. The Sidney Fire and Rescue, Hamburg Fire and Rescue, Percival Fire and Rescue, Riverton Fire and Rescue, Farragut Fire and Rescue, Fremont County Coroner’s Office, Fremont County Emergency Management, Benefiel Towing, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office participated in the exercise.