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2 arrests in Red Oak New Year’s Day


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report two arrests early this (Friday) morning. At around 2:25-a.m., police arrested 59-year old Roger Stewart Sell, of Red Oak, on a charge of aggravated assault. Sell was being held at the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center on a $2,000 cash bond.

Officials say he was arrested in the 1800 block of East Summit Street, following an incident whereby Sell and the alleged victim, John William Kalbas, got into a verbal argument that resulted in Sell allegedly pulling a small pocket-type knife, and cutting Kalbas across his forearm, leaving a large laceration.

And, at around 1:15-a.m., Red Oak Police arrested 18-year old Lauren Maris Stephens, of Stanton, for OWI 1st offense. Stephens was taken into custody at the intersection of Highway 48 and 215th Street. She was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond.

Iowa sheriff’s deputy praised for helping woman escape fire


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SLOAN, Iowa (AP) – A Woodbury County deputy says there was nothing heroic about helping a woman escape from flames at an apartment building in Sloan. On Tuesday Deputy Todd Peterson broke the fall of a woman who was hanging upside down from the second-floor window of the burning apartment. She and another woman who’d jumped to safety were taken to a Sioux City hospital.

The Sioux City Journal reports that at a news conference Wednesday, Peterson said he was just reacting to the situation he was confronting. He said, “I just did my job.” Major Todd Wieck, of the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, watched video of the incident from Peterson’s body camera and praised his quick thinking, saying “He did a fantastic job.”

Bluffs family’s apartment damaged by fire Thu. morning


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs family is starting the new year without a home. According to the Daily NonPareil, a fire severely damaged the apartment of Butch and Kathy Holder at Cottonwood Apartments, at around 11:30-a.m., Thursday.  Fire officials say an employee at the complex, Austin Shaw, of Council Bluffs, used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Shaw is credited with preventing the blaze from spreading to the rest of the structure. Butch Holder was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but there were no other injuries report.

Kathy Holder told the paper Troy Holder arrived home to find a fire in the kitchen and the hallway. Troy Holder was able to help his son and their dog get out of the apartment. Butch Holder went back to grab the family’s other cat, eventually finding him but suffering some smoke inhalation in the process. The family’s hamster was also saved.

Authorities say the fire is believed to have been caused by a burner on the apartment stove, which had been left on. The burner set fire to something on the stove before spreading to other, nearby materials. The apartment had a smoke detector, but its batteries were dead.

The Holder family has renter’s insurance. The American Red Cross is assisting the family, including help with providing lodging.

Bluffs man to stand trial in March on assault & child endangerment charges


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A trial date has been set for a Council Bluffs man who faces several felony counts of assault and child endangerment after allegedly physically abusing a baby. The Daily NonPareil reports 23-year old Rodney Weatherwax was taken into custody Dec. 19th on suspicion of child endangerment and assault causing injuries, at least 20 fractures, to a 5-month-old child. The baby was born on July 26. Weatherwax’s trial date has been set for March 8th.

According to the arrest affidavit, the injuries allegedly took place between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30. On Nov. 30, the victim was admitted into Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital for failing to thrive. After the victim’s mother told doctors the suspect allegedly punched the child in the face, doctors did X-rays and found multiple fractures. The infant was then sent to Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

On Dec. 16th, Weatherwax spoke with police and, according to the arrest affidavit, the suspect told police that marijuana, cocaine and Xanax were allegedly used by people watching the child. He admitted to falling while holding the infant on Nov. 27th.

Weatherwax has been officially charged with two counts of assault causing willful injury, a Class C felony; one count of abandonment of a dependent person, a Class C felony; and one count of child endangerment, a Class B felony. A Class B felony carries up to 25 years in prison upon conviction, while a Class C felony has a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Weatherwax remains in custody at Pottawattamie County Jail with bond set at $200,000.

Newspaper: Iowa’s body camera rules fall short of standards


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A newspaper reports that policies governing Iowa police and sheriff’s departments’ use of body cameras don’t meet nationally recommended standards. The Des Moines Register lists several of the standards, including public involvement and awareness. The newspaper says its review shows that, in general, the public hasn’t been involved in drafting the policies and officers aren’t telling people they’ve being recorded.

Just two of the eight agencies that provided policies to the newspaper post the documents on their websites. Des Moines and Cedar Rapids police chiefs said policies will be shared with community groups after the final drafts are completed. Iowa agency leaders interviewed by the Register said they don’t require officers to inform people they’re being recorded because Iowa law allows recordings in public without second-party consent.

ONE MONTH to go before Iowa Caucuses


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

It’s January 1st — so that means there’s just ONE MONTH LEFT in the Iowa Caucus campaign. The first presidential candidate scheduled to hit the state in 2016 is…Mike Huckabee. His first event is Saturday morning at the Northside Cafe, in Winterset, from 9:15-to 10:45.

Martin O’Malley will be here on Saturday, too, starting in the afternoon with a Cass County Democrats fundraiser at the Cass County Community Center, beginning at around 2:15-p.m. O’Malley will also be in Council Bluffs Sunday at the Council Bluffs Public Library, where he’s scheduled to speak at 3:45-p.m.

On Monday, Ted Cruz starts a big, week-long bus tour of the state.At 12:45-p.m., he’s scheduled to speak at the Carrollton Inn, in Carroll, followed by a visit to Guthrie Center, where he’ll speak from 3:30-to 4:45 at the Prime Time Restaurant (217 State St.). From there Cruz moves on to hold stops in Winterset at 6-p.m., and then to Missouri Valley for a campaign pitch at 10:45-p.m.

Also Monday, Hillary Clinton will start a “river-to-river” tour with stops in six cities, starting in Davenport and ending in Council Bluffs, on Tuesday. Prior to her stop in Council Bluffs, Mrs. Clinton will hold a campaign event at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, beginning at 2:45. Her stop in Council Bluffs is set for 5:30-p.m. Tuesday, in the Student Center at Iowa Western Community College ( 2700 College Road).

John Kasich has one public campaign event in West Des Moines, on Monday. Rand Paul re-enters the state Thursday, with a 10:30-a.m. stop in Council Bluffs, at the city library. Among his events will be a discussion about eminent domain, in Boone, where some landowners are objecting to a proposed pipeline.

(Radio Iowa)

Hamburg man arrested on drug charge New Year’s morning


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An investigation in Fremont County led to an arrest early this (Friday) morning, following a brief pursuit. Deputy Zac Buttercase with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office reports at around 1:30-a.m., deputies conducted an investigation into the distribution of narcotics. During the investigation, the suspect, 21-year old Jason Vance, of Hamburg, tried to flee the scene when he was contacted.

Vance was apprehended a short time later and brought to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, where he was being held on a $100,000 cash bond, for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) with the Intent to Deliver.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Jan. 1st 2016


January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Police have charged a Davenport man with illegally selling a pistol to a man who used it to shoot up his estranged wife’s workplace and then kill himself. Forty-four-year-old Lonnie Long turned himself into authorities Thursday, three days after Bettendorf police obtained a warrant for his arrest. Long told police he sold a pistol to 40-year-old Robert Mayes II in October without asking if Mayes had a permit. Days later, Mayes fired shots in his wife’s workplace before fatally shooting himself.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A New Jersey woman is suing Embassy Suites and the Hilton hotel chain for negligence alleging she was raped in her Des Moines hotel room in April 2014 after staff gave a key to her room to a man she didn’t know. The woman’s lawsuit was transferred this week to federal court in Des Moines. She reported the attack to Des Moines police. Christopher LaPointe later pleaded guilty to sex abuse and burglary charges.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Cedar Rapids-bound flight has made an emergency landing at a Tennessee airport. Chattanooga Airport spokesman Albert Waterhouse says Allegiant Air Flight 760 landed safely Thursday morning after reporting an engine problem. No injuries were reported. The plane was headed from Orlando, Florida, to Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Falls’ top administrator will get a big payout as he ends 40 years with the city. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports City Administrator Dick McAlister will get more than $94,000 after taxes in unused sick leave to apply toward health care expenses. Over his four decades, McAlister accumulated more than 440 sick days.

Manure spill in Taylor County Thu. afternoon

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say a manure overflow at a small hog finishing farm about three miles southwest of Lenox was being investigated Thursday evening. A passerby noticed that the pit at the facility appeared to be overflowing and alerted the DNR on Thursday afternoon. The buildings at the site have shallow under-building pits.

When the pits are full, they are drained into an outdoor concrete tank. It is believed that employees emptied the shallow under-building pits at the facility on Wednesday, December 30th, causing manure to overflow from the tank. The tank was not overflowing on Thursday afternoon, but a path where manure had flowed was still visible and field tests indicated slightly elevated levels of ammonia in water flowing into an unnamed tributary of the East Fork of the One Hundred and Two River.

The operator contacted a commercial manure hauler to land apply manure from the tank in order to prevent further overflows. The DNR is continuing to investigate the incident and will consider appropriate enforcement action.

Judge declines hospitals request to stop Medicaid changes


December 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Polk County judge has declined to stop Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan to privatize Medicaid indicating the federal government has already delayed implementation until March and hospitals that sued to stop it haven’t proven they’d be irreparably damaged.

The Iowa Hospital Association claims Branstad’s plan to turn over the state’s $4 billion Medicaid program to private for-profit companies is illegal because it takes millions of dollars from a hospital trust fund and gives it to the managed care companies the state hired.

Judge Robert Hanson’s ruling Friday says it’s too early for the court to stop Medicaid privatization because the federal delay allows time for the legislature or the administration to fix problems. Branstad’s spokesman says the decision allows the state to move toward a March 1 implementation.