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(Podcast) 8-a.m. News, 09/04/2014

News, Podcasts

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. News & funeral report, 9/4/14

News, Podcasts

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Judge: Health fund can’t sue Iowa’s 3 universities

News

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force Iowa’s public universities to pay into a fund that subsidizes insurance for Iowans with health risks. Judge Dennis Stovall says the Iowa Individual Health Benefit Reinsurance Association doesn’t have the authority to sue. The association helps Iowans with medical conditions obtain affordable coverage, and is funded by assessments charged to insurers and self-insured health plans.

Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa paid assessments until 2010. The University of Iowa became self-insured that year and, the association argues, required to pay. But all three refused to pay then, with their governing board arguing they weren’t covered by the law.

The lawsuit sought to collect more than $1.5 million, warning that higher costs for patients and providers would otherwise result.

Atlantic CC approves URP despite legal opinion & ongoing confusion

News

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

After nearly 30-minutes of discussion and obvious uncertainty over how a tax abatement would be carried out, the Atlantic City Council Wednesday approved by a vote of 5-to1, the third and final reading of an ordinance designating the 2014 Urban Revitalization Area. Councilpersons Cord, Hartkoph, Halder, Somers and Hayes voted yes. Councilman Chris Jimerson voted against the motion, while Councilperson Lori Stuart was absent from the proceedings.

City Administrator Doug Harris and Mayor Dave Jones were at odds over what the City’s legal position is, with regard to tax abatement’s being retroactive to Jan. 1st, 2014, for building permits obtained on and after that date. Harris said the issue isn’t the ordinance itself, but its implementation. Harris said the there is a different understanding between the key players involved the abatement decision: Bob Josten (The City’s Legal Counsel), City Attorney Dave Wiederstein, and County Assessor Brenda Nelson.

Attorney Bob Jostens’ legal opinion in the matter, was that abatement’s cannot be retroactive, but Jones said the County Assessor would make that determination, and the Council would have to approve each abatement request made following an assessment. Harris said the City would be opening a “Can of worms.” He asked the Mayor how does the City determine the increase in value of properties where building permits were issued after Jan. 1st, 2014. Jones said it’s based on “luck.”

Harris said the Attorney’s say the City can’t abate value created prior to Sept. 3rd, 2014…the date the Ordinance was approved. Jones said if a building permit was issued in 2013, the property owner would not qualify for abatement in 2014. He said if the were issued the permit in 2014, then “They got lucky…that’s the best way you can put it.”

According to the City of Atlantic’s Urban Revitalization Plan, a person making improvements on an existing home located south of 14th street, will be able to apply for a 100-percent tax abatement of the added value up to $75,000. For new homes built south of 14th Street the first $75,000 of tax value would be abated for a period of five years. Those with residences north of 14th Street, both new construction or rehabilitation, will get 100-percent of that taxable value abated over a period of five years. Duplexes will also be eligible for tax abatement’s under the ordinance. Commercial construction is the same throughout the entire city based on a sliding scale up to the first $250,000 in value. It starts out at 80-percent of the value, then 70-percent, 60, 50 and finally 40-percent.

In other business, the Council approved the second reading of an Ordinance amending the City’s Code of Ordinances by making a slight language change in the section pertaining to Speed Regulations. A motion was then made and seconded to waive the third reading and approve the Ordinance as amended. The vote was all-in-favor.

The Council also approved a change order between the City and AAA Budget Environment, for the mitigation and disposal of additional asbestos materials on the property located at 611 Linn Street. The change order amounts to $1,554. City Administrator Doug Harris said the last months heavy rains slowed down progress on street projects, but work is expected to resume on those projects next week, where it hasn’t already begun.

Red Oak Middle School damage worse than expected

News

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An electrical inspector with the State of Iowa has determined the Red Oak Middle School is unsafe to occupy, following a water leak over the Labor Day weekend that left as much as two-inches of water on the second floor of the more than 100-year old structure. As a result of the inspection, the school will remain closed indefinitely, or until electrical repairs are completed. The Daily NonPareil said water leaked into electrical conduits, creating a safety hazard. Insurance is expected to pay for the repairs. The leak, which was detected after an alarm was triggered, was accidental, according to Superintendent Terry Schmidt.

Schmidt said he expects work will take at least 10 to 14 days but repairs have to bring the building up to code, which creates significant variables depending on how much damage is found. Middle school students were given Tuesday and Wednesday off class as the district strived to reopen the building. Restoration was nearly finished on Tuesday afternoon when work was called off after the electrical concerns were uncovered. The bulk of the damage was to the building’s drywall.

Red Oak Middle School students will return to class Monday for an orientation at Red Oak Community High School, while high-schoolers will have the day off and high school staff will have an in-service day. The middle-schoolers will then hold classes at the adjacent Red Oak Technology Center, with a few shared classrooms in the high school building.

Schmidt said classes will be squeezed into spaces that weren’t being used all day. The Technology Center used to have higher occupancy, leaving leftover space that is available immediately. Being able to make everything work – even if it’s not ideal, he said – was one positive outcome from the experience. At this point, it’s unknown whether the middle school students will need to make up any days at the end of the year. Red Oak took advantage of a change in state law last year to adopt an hours-based calendar, instead of a traditional days-based calendar, which Schmidt said offers some flexibility.

Students who attend Red Oak Middle School should report to the high school auditorium at 8:08 a.m. Monday. All students will be in class the following Tuesday. Practices for volleyball and football, meanwhile, will resume this Thursday at regular locations beginning at 3:45 p.m.

An announcement about supplies, computers and other equipment needs will be made today (Thursday). All middle school staff will report today for directions and assignments, including their duties for Friday.

 

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Sept. 4th 2014

News

September 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

CLARION, Iowa (AP) — Jurors in the first degree murder trial of a man charged with killing a Rockwell City police officer heard a taped interview in which he expressed no regret about shooting the officer. The Fort Dodge Messenger reports that during the first day of testimony Wednesday, jurors heard a two-hour taped interview of 33-year-old Corey Trott. He’s charged with the September 2013 death of 37-year-old Jamie Buenting during a standoff at Trott’s house. He has pleaded not guilty.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The Scott County attorney says two Davenport police officers were justified in using deadly force against a man armed with a knife. The Quad-City Times reports county attorney Mike Walton announced Wednesday that Officers Epigmenio Canas and Shawn Sullivan were justified when they fired seven shots at 61-year-old Alvin Jennings on August 13th.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A northern Iowa man has died of injuries he received after falling off a roof. The Globe Gazette reports 48-year-old Kalin Kuhlers died Tuesday at a Mason City hospital, where he was taken after being injured Monday.

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — The maker of Blue Bunny ice cream says it will close a plant in Utah and shift production to northwest Iowa. Le Mars, Iowa-based Wells Enterprises, Inc., announced Tuesday it would close its ice cream plant in St. George, Utah, and move production to its Le Mars facility. Company spokeswoman Liz Croston says production and storage will move to Le Mars over several months, with the Utah plant closing by the end of 2014. The Le Mars Daily Sentinel reports the St. George plant employed about 90 people. The plant was built in 2003.

Villisca woman faces Assault charge stemming from Aug. incident

News

September 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Deputies with the Page County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday (today), transported 35-year old Ruby Jean Brownlee, of rural Villisca,  to the Page County Jail from Council Bluffs. Brownlee faces a felony “Assault on Persons engaged in Certain Occupations,” charge. a Class “D” Felony.

The charge is the result of an incident on August 25th, 2014, that started around noon and occurred in the northern part of Page County near the 1100 block of Quince Avenue. Bond on the charge was set at $5000 cash only, by a Page County Magistrate.

Brownlee is currently being held in the Page County Jail.

Authorities talk suicidal subject off Missouri River bridge

News

September 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Crisis negotiators averted a potentially fatal situation Wednesday morning when a man threatened to commit suicide by jumping off the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri River, linking Omaha and Council Bluffs. Authorities were notified at around 10:24-a.m. by the 27-year old Council Bluffs man’s father, that the man intended to jump off the bridge.

Omaha Police observed the unidentified man on the outside of the walkway on the Iowa side of the river. Council Bluffs Police Crisis Negotiators were called the scene. Also on hand were officials with the Omaha Police Dept., Omaha/Council Bluffs Fire and Rescue, and Omaha/Council Bluffs water rescue teams.

Authorities spoke with the man for about two-hours before he came back over the railing. He was transported to a Council Bluffs hospital for a psychological evaluation and treatment of minor injuries. No charges are pending against the individual.

Are you missing a rifle?

News

September 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer wants to know if you are missing a rifle. Palmer says just after 7-a.m. Wednesday (today), his office was notified about a gun lying on the south side of the should off Highway 2, between Juniper and K Avenue. Deputies located the weapon and checked to make sure the Ruger 10-22 rifle wasn’t stolen. The check turned up negative.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident. Palmer says anyone who is missing the weapon mentioned, should call the Page County Sheriff’s Office at 712-542-5193.  You will need to provide the serial number of your rifle to confirm the weapon is yours. The serial number can be obtained from the Federal Firearms licensed dealer YOU purchased it from.

Griswold man arrested on assault/weapon charge

News

September 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office report a Griswold man was arrested last week for Assault while Displaying a Weapon. 35-year old Roger William Peckenpaugh III was taken into custody Aug. 25th and released the next day, on bond. On August 26th, a Bridgewater woman was arrested on a charge of Burglary in the 3rd degree. 50-year old Toni Lynn Reese, was released from custody the following day, on her own recognizance.

On August 27th, deputies in Cass County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year old Andrew Nielsen, of Harlan. Nielsen was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He released from custody the following day on $300 bond. Last Friday, 48-year old Rodney Ray Suhr, of Dunlap, was arrested in Cass County on a charge of Failure to Appear for Child Support Hearing. Suhr was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on $2000 bond.

And on Sunday, 23-year old Tisha Lynn Kruse, of Marne, was arrested in Cass County on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Kruse was taken to the Cass County Jail where she was released later that day on her own recognizance.