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Branstad appoints acting Iowa corrections chief

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has named a longtime staffer as acting director of the Iowa Department of Corrections.  Branstad said Thursday that Jerry Bartruff will take over the job. He will replace retiring Director John Baldwin. Bartruff’s first day in the role will be Friday. He has worked in the department since 1982, most recently as deputy director for operations in the department’s eastern region.

Branstad called Bartruff a “capable professional” who could handle the transition.  Baldwin appeared before lawmakers earlier this week to discuss the long-delayed Iowa State Penitentiary. Baldwin said he still doesn’t know when the facility will open, noting that officials are studying a potential solution to a faulty smoke control system. The prison in Fort Madison was scheduled to open last March.

TX man arrested on drug charges in Creston

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A man staying at a Creston motel was arrested Wednesday afternoon, on drug charges. The Creston P-D says 39-year old Robert Rix, of Shephardsglen Heath, TX, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana – 1st offense. Rix was later released from custody on $300 bond.

And, a woman residing at a home on Pine Street in Creston reported Tuesday afternoon, that someone took a debit card and her purse from her car, which was parked behind her residence. The loss was estimated at $55. The incident took place sometime between 7-p.m. Monday and 7-a.m. Tuesday.

(8-a.m. News)

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 1/29/2015

News, Podcasts

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

Play

(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. KJAN News & funeral report, 1/29/2015

News, Podcasts

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

Play

Stanton woman arrested for assault

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Wednesday afternoon on separate charges in Montgomery County. Sheriff’s officials say 28-year old Katie Marie Pierce, of Stanton, was arrested on a warrant for assault. Pierce was later released on $100 bond. And, 32-year old Ronald Glen Ballinger the 3rd, of Red Oak, was arrested on a warrant for violating a No Contact Order. He was subsequently released on a Recognizance Bond.

Corning man arrested for harassment & impersonating a public official

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County say a man was arrested Wednesday night after a person recorded an audio copy of a phone conversation and a callback number belonging to a person who was allegedly harassing them. 48-year old Edward Lee Avila, of Corning, was arrested at around 11-p.m. , on charges of Harassment and Impersonating a Public Official. Avila was being held in the Adams County Jail on $2,300 bond.

Shelby’s Fire Chief resigns over controversy

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby Volunteer Fire Department currently has no members and now, no chief. The City Council fired all 12 members Monday evening. Now, The Daily NonPareil reports Shelby’s Fire Chief, Eric Wendt, resigned Wednesday morning. With no active members, the city of 641 is relying on Minden and Avoca to respond to any emergencies via a mutual aid agreement.

Robert Hall, who was a volunteer firefighter, said the department had also provided EMS services, and now the city is relying on a for-profit ambulance service based out of Harlan. Wendt said he resigned not because of the firings but because of personal reasons.

The city council now oversees the fire department, he said, and is accepting applications for volunteer firefighters. The firings were the result of a dispute between the council and department over funds the department raises. The fire department kept a separate bank account to hold monies generated by fundraisers – about $40,000, according to Shelby City Attorney Clint Fichter, who said that money is considered public funds and is governed by the same rules as tax money.

Bob Richmond, mayor pro tem, said the council had tried on several occasions to repair the situation between the city and members of the fire department. Richmond said he could not speak to the matter of the separate account since it is being litigated between the city and an attorney for the fire department. However, he said the council is working to get the fire department active again as soon as possible.

Richmond said 14 people have shown interest in joining, including past members. All fired members were notified they could reapply under a stipulation they would follow council directives and state code. A meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at city hall, 419 East St., for those interested in joining the fire department.

Group warns tax-hikers will face angry voters in 2016

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The leader of a group created nearly four decades ago to lobby for a smaller state government and reduced taxes say Iowa legislators will pay a price in 2016 if they support a gas tax increase in 2015. Rob Solt is president of Iowans for Tax Relief, a group urging lawmakers to vote against any bill that would raise the state gas tax. “Legislators are sent up here to make tough decisions and the toughest decision they’re probably going to have to make this year is to pass a gas tax increase, which our polls show Iowans don’t want, or to take a look at are the resources there and can they just reallocate them,” Solt says. “And unfortunately at this point no one is willing to take a look at the formula.”

Here’s how the formula works: nearly half of the money raised by those taxes is kept by the state, with 20 percent going to cities and the rest going to counties. Solt suggests the state should keep less and share more with local governments. “If we get a gas tax increase passed and the money goes through the formula and people expected to get their local road or bridge fixed and it absolutely won’t get done, I mean it will be such a miniscule amount that will get done at the local level, they’re going to be really frustrated,” Solt says. “And they’re going to get to the 2016 elections and say: What did I get for paying this additional amount? And I think it’s going to make people angry.”

It appears momentum is building at the statehouse for a gas tax increase, however. Key legislators yesterday said a vote on a 10-cent hike in the per gallon gas tax could come in February and the higher tax rate might take effect as soon as March. The Iowans for Tax Relief president questions the way the State of Iowa is spending its current portion of gas tax proceeds.  “If you drive through Iowa City, there’s 10 miles of colored, stamped concrete there,” Solt says. “…How can we not have enough resources when we can do colored, stamped concrete as a median divider, but we can’t do a project in Davis County?”

The state taxes every gallon of regular gas at 21 cents. Ethanol-blended gasoline is taxed at 19 cents per gallon. The state tax on diesel is 22-and-a-half cents per gallon. Those tax rates were set in 1989. Gas tax revenue is declining because vehicles are more fuel efficient and supporters of a gas tax increase say the state is at least 215 million dollars short each year of what’s needed to fix up and expand Iowa’s transportation system.

(Radio Iowa)

Denison man found guilty in double homicide & arson case

News

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A jury in western Iowa returned three guilty verdicts Wednesday in the case of a Denison man charged with a double homicide and arson. The Omaha World-Herald says 26-year old Michael David Schenk was found guilty of two counts of murder in the first degree and one count of arson in the second degree.

Michael Schenk

Michael Schenk

Schenk was charged in the March 10, 2014 deaths of 80-year old Marvin Huelsing, of Maple River, and 81-year old Alice Huisenga, of Arcadia. The bodies of the two victims were discovered after fire departments responded to a report of a trailer house and a pickup on fire on Huelsing’s property at 1872 Milford Road, between Deloit and Denison.

Wind Advisory in effect for all of western/sw IA Thursday morning

News, Weather

January 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD COUNTIES….A WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM. HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE-COUNTIES….A WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM.

* TIMING…STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE EARLY THIS MORNING.

* WINDS…EXPECT SUSTAINED NORTHWEST WINDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH THROUGH MID MORNING.

* IMPACTS…LOSE OBJECTS WILL BE BLOWN AROUND. DRIVING HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES WILL BE DIFFICULT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS GREATER THAN 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT…ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.