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Man whose gun killed 4-year-old boy in Iowa sentenced


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The owner of a gun that a 4-year-old boy used to accidentally kill himself in Iowa last year has been sentenced. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa says Daniel Henriksen was sentenced Wednesday to two months in federal prison and three years of supervised release. He had pleaded guilty last year to a federal count of possessing a firearm while being an unlawful user of marijuana.

Prosecutors say Henriksen had left his .45-caliber handgun in a mobile home where Jayden Choate and two other preschoolers were staying on June 17, 2016. Police say Jayden found the gun near where he and the other children were napping and accidentally shot himself in the head.

Henriksen had faced up to 10 years in prison.

Court denies appeal in ‘Bachelor’ star’s fatal accident case


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has denied an appeal filed by an Iowa farmer-turned-reality television celebrity charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Chris Soules asked the Iowa Supreme Court to dismiss the felony charge before it goes to trial. He contends Iowa law doesn’t require fatal wreck surviving drivers to wait for police but state prosecutors say it does.

Soules asked a judge to dismiss the case but the judge declined last month and Soules appealed. The high court Friday denied his request to hear the appeal. Soules appeared on “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With The Stars” in 2015.

He struck a tractor driven by a neighbor on April 24 last year in northern Iowa. He called 911 and waited for first responders but left before police arrived.

Prominent Iowa AAU coach out amid pornography investigation

News, Sports

February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police are investigating whether an elite Iowa youth basketball coach took video recordings of nude teenagers without their knowledge after a source gave them an electronic device with child pornography, according to court documents filed Friday.

The Iowa Barnstormers of the Amateur Athletic Union announced late Thursday on Twitter that 42-year-old Greg Stephen was no longer with the traveling organization, where several prominent players have been on the roster since its founding in 2005.
Court documents show the Division of Criminal Investigation served a search warrant Thursday at Stephen’s home in Monticello in northeast Iowa.

Investigators were looking for evidence of “unlawful manufacturing of child pornography and invasion of privacy,” as well as evidence of “additional” pornographic images and victims who may have been recorded. Stephen hasn’t been charged with any crimes.

Stephen’s father, Roger, who with his son run a family-owned car dealership in Monticello, said he and his son have been advised not to comment by lawyers. But he dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing, calling them “fake news” and noting his son has run the team successfully for 12 years.

“There’s nothing to hide. It isn’t the way it looks,” Roger Stephen told The Associated Press. “My son has got many, many scholarship players for all the schools around here. The team has been a great, great deal for the community. He’s a great guy and there’s no reason for all this to happen.”

Barnstormers co-founder Jamie Johnson didn’t immediately respond to an email from AP seeking comment. Sponsored by Adidas, the program’s alumni include Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery (son of Coach Fran McCaffery), Wisconsin star Ethan Happ and former Northern Iowa stars Jeremy Morgan and Wes Washpun. Current players include two heralded Iowa recruits, Patrick McCaffery of Iowa City and Joe Weiskamp of Muscatine.

Court documents show that agents seized several items from Greg Stephen’s home, including laptops, a hard drive, three security cameras and a backpack containing two “covert cameras.” A sworn affidavit signed by DCI special agent Ryan Kedley says the investigation started Sunday, when Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith received information from a source saying he had evidence of a criminal act.

The source told Smith that he was at Stephen’s home on Feb. 15 performing construction services when he came across what appeared to be a plug-in electronic device with video recording capabilities in a bathroom, the affidavit says. The source told Smith he was concerned about the nature of the device and had prior concerns “involving photographic images possessed by Stephen of young males.” The source took the device and turned it over to police after finding video files of young males showering, the affidavit says.

Agents inspected the device Wednesday and found more than 100 video clips, including three folders labeled with names that were redacted in the affidavit. Two of those folders included clips of “young, non-adult male individuals disrobing to the point of nudity with genitalia exposed to the camera,” Kedley wrote.
He added that the clips appeared to have been recorded in a hotel bathroom without their knowledge, and that additional footage in the device included footage of an adult male who appeared to be Stephen.

Senator Grassley gets questions on gun control at stop in Burlington


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley spoke at the Greater Burlington Partnership this (Friday) morning — with gun control one of the main topics. A woman pulled out a wallet-sized photo and showed it to the Republican Senator. “This is my son,” the woman said, “yesterday I spoke to his teacher… and she was in tears because she is scared that she is going to be gunned down in her classroom.”

Many showed up to challenge Grassley’s stance on new gun control measures in the wake of a Florida school shooting that left 17 dead last week. Grassley said he wouldn’t support a new ban on so-called “assault weapons,” he said the 1994 ban was allowed to sunset for a reason. “Because it demanded a study that the National Institute of Justice… to do a study whether the ban cut down on crime and murder, and that showed it didn’t,” Grassley says he is willing to consider changing things with an “intellectual basis,” however says the study “proves otherwise” for a new ban on AR-15 style rifles.

Around 150 people were in attendance for the event, in which Grassley discussed infrastructure, the farm bill, federal tax-cut, and even President Donald Trump’s tweeting habits. “He hurts himself by tweeting,” Grassley says. “When he does something that is really good…then tweets something irrelevant it detracts from it. If he doesn’t have the approval rating he thinks he ought to have…it’s probably his own fault.”

The stop was part of Grassley’s 99 county tour of Iowa, which also includes stops in Keosauqua and Wapello today.

(Radio Iowa)

Senators unanimously vote to forbid charges to consumers seeking a freeze on their credit


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

A bill that has cleared the Iowa Senate was inspired by he security breach at a credit reporting agency that exposed millions in the U.S., Canada and Britain to identity theft. Senator Brad Zaun’s bill would forbid the agencies from charging consumers a fee to freeze their credit in hopes of preventing scammers from taking out loans with the stolen information.

“It’s time that we stand up to these credit reporting agencies,” Zaun says, “and I think this is a step in the right direction.” Equifax temporarily waived fees when its security breach was made public, but it generally costs 10 dollars to put a freeze on your own credit report — and 12 dollars to get it lifted. Hackers stole names, birthdates and Social Security numbers in May and June of last year, but Equifax didn’t disclose the theft until September.

“I personally find responsible Equifax for not having the safeguards in place,” Zaun says. “I can say, in full disclosure, that my information was breached.” Similar bills have been introduced in other states. A bill in Oregon’s legislature would go further and require a credit reporting agency to notify consumers within 45 days of any breach of their personal information. Zaun’s bill banning agencies like Equifax from charging consumers a fee to freeze their credit cleared the Iowa Senate this week by a unanimous vote.

“This is a very important issue,” Zaun said. “With the internet the way it is today, we’re really vulnerable.” Senator Herman Quirmbac of Ames says he is a recent victim of identity theft. “I was notifed a couple of weeks ago by the Social Security Administration that somebody had filed for my benefits,” Quirmbach says. “…Fortunately, their security was better than Equifax’s and they did catch this and the claim was denied, but since then I have been through a lot of hassle trying to shut off a lot of other vulnerabilities.”

Zaun says both he and his wife have run into similar problems trying to clean up their credit record after a security breach.  “I, for one, have tried to correct some of the mistakes on my credit report and it sounds as if I might be a little bit biased, but it takes an act of congress or an act of God to change something on your credit reports,” Zaun says. More than a million Iowans were affected by the Equifax security breach. Attorney General Tom Miller urged Iowans to check their credit reports and freeze their credit as protection from imposters.

(Radio Iowa)

New trial date set for Jasper County murder trial


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — A March trial has been scheduled for a man accused of killing an acquaintance in central Iowa’s Jasper County.
Court records say the new starting date is March 7 for 52-year-old Randy Linderman, of Charles City. He’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the slaying of 61-year-old Jose Ramirez Berber. A family member found Berber’s body inside his rural Newton home on March 6 last year. Linderman’s first trial date was Oct. 18.

The Newton Daily News reports that DNA evidence taken from Berber’s body and clothing matched that of Linderman. Investigators say Linderman acknowledged that he’d been to Berber’s home several times.

Rockwell Collins ‘footprint’ to remain in Iowa, but executive suite moving to Florida


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

More details emerge about the reorganization plan once Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins is acquired by United Technologies. About eight thousand people work for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, making it the city’s largest employer. The new company will be called Collins Aerospace Systems. According to Thursday’s announcement, executives will be based in Florida, and the new company will be divided into six units. The avionics and missions systems units will be based in Cedar Rapids.

A company news release indicated a “significant footprint” would be maintained in Cedar Rapids, but there was no indication of how many people would remain on the job in Cedar Rapids facilities. Collins Radio was founded in Cedar Rapids 85 years ago. Rockwell bought the company 45 years ago.

(Radio Iowa)

UPDATE: Creston man’s death ruled a homicide


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) report the State Medical Examiner’s office has ruled the death of a Union County man was a homicide, but information about the manner of death, was not released. The autopsy was conducted on the body of 45-year old Paul Allen Scheel.  The Creston man’s body was found in his apartment February 14th, after authorities were asked to conduct a welfare check on him. The death was originally considered to be suspicious.

Authorities say this is an ongoing investigation, and that the public is still being asked if they have any information regarding the homicide of Scheel, they are asked to call the Union County Law Enforcement Center at (641) 782-8402. Nothing further is being released at this time.

Iowa appeals court rules against 3 wind turbines


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

FAIRBANK, Iowa (AP) — The state appeals court has ruled that a company built three wind turbines in violation of a county zoning ordinance in northeast Iowa. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Mason Wind and Optimum Renewables now faces a court ruling to remove the three 445-foot wind towers east of Fairbank. The company had challenged a 2016 Fayette County District Court ruling to the appeals court, which upheld the ruling Wednesday.

The district court’s ruling shows that officials misinterpreted the county’s zoning ordinance when approving the wind turbine project. County officials said a special permit approved by a county board wasn’t needed because the turbines were “electrical transmission and regulating” facilities. But the district court ruled that the turbines were electrical generating devices that did require approval from the board.

Frederickson Fund donates to area community projects


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund has recently given funds to some great projects in two communities. Kim Wyman with the Griswold Little League received a check in the amount of $2,000 for updates needed at their complex.

Deb Schuler with the Kiwanis Club is shown with Grant Petty receiving a check in the amount of $500

Kim Wyman with the Griswold Little League is shown receiving a check from Melanie Petty, in the amount of $2,000

Fund spokesperson and Trevor’s mom, Melanie Petty, said Trevor “Was all about baseball, so we are very happy to help with this project.  Members of the Griswold area have been huge supporters of our fundraising efforts through the years and we are happy to pay it forward to them.”

Deb Schuler with the Kiwanis Club received a check in the amount of $500, for their annual bike helmet project. Petty said “This is a project that’s close to our hearts as Trevor was a recipient back when he was in 3rd grade and it made a great impression on him.

She said also, that “We would like to thank all of our supporters for their generosity at our annual golf tournament.  Because of them we are able to help numerous groups through the year.  Plans are already being made for the 10th Annual TFred Memorial Golf Tournament which will be held on Saturday, August 11th at Nishna Hills Golf Course in Atlantic.”