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Iowa Teens Convicted of Murder Get New Sentences


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

Two Iowans given life sentences for murders committed when they were teenagers will get new sentences. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.

The Iowa Court of Appeals has vacated the mandatory life sentences of Christine Lockheart and Thomas Bennett based on the recent U-S Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for those who commit crimes as minors is “cruel and unusual punishment.” Lockheart was found guilty of first-degree murder committed during a robbery in Scott County in June of 1985 when she was 17. She was convicted along with her boyfriend of stabbing a retired Davenport bus driver. Bennett was convicted in Polk County of murder in 1988 after he and two friends shot and killed a neighbor who had just cashed his Social Security check. Bennett was 17-years and four months old when the crime happened. The Iowa Court of Appeals has sent both cases back to the district court for resentencing. The Appeals Court rulings in both cases indicated that while a mandatory life sentence is not proper, that does not prevent the district court from imposing a life sentence in each case if the court rules it is appropriate. The Iowa Department of Corrections estimates there are some three dozen cases that could be impacted by the U-S Supreme Court ruling. See the ocmplete rulings on RadioIowa.com.

Two Iowa Officials Collaborate in Sting


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

The state’s attorney general and secretary of state have collaborated on a case to stop a California man from stealing thousands of dollars from Iowa corporations. A judge today (Wednesday) issued an injunction against the man who sent an official-looking letter to Iowa-based corporations, seeking a 125-dollar fee to file paperwork with the state. Attorney General Tom Miller says the mailing had the “aura” of an official document, but it’s not.

“The trickery of the form and the government look-alike and the payment of the fee, thinking it was to government, was a form of deception,” Miller says.
At least 270 Iowa corporations sent a check to what turned out to be a post office box in Des Moines. U.S. Postal Service inspectors helped intercept the mail and about 33-thousand dollars worth of checks were recovered. Secretary of State Matt Schultz says his office began fielding calls about this mailing in June.

“To start a business in Iowa is $50. They’re charging a $125 that would be on what seems like an annual basis according to the document they’re using to mislead Iowa businesses,” Schultz says. “…This is an exorbiant fee compared to the fees that are charged for business filings in the state of Iowa.” Investigators are trying to determine where this California man got a mailing list for Iowa corporations. The attorney general has asked a judge for permission to mail back the checks that were intercepted.

“These accumulated over a period of weeks. There was a deadline at the end of June. In the last few days, I think 48 came in of the 270, so it seems to be declining,” Miller says. “We think we’ve gotten most or all of them that Iowans sent in.” Miller says the good news is none of those checks were cashed, so none of those corporations paid any money in this scheme. The secretary of state says any document that must be filed with his office can be found on the website for his office.

“That’s why we’re trying to let the public know and make sure that they’re not feeling that they have to provide this filing,” Schultz says. “There’s always an element to our society who tries to game the system and I’m just glad that the attorney general and our office were able to work together to stop it.” Schultz is a Republican. Miller is a Democrat. Go to www.radioiowa.com to learn more about this case and listen to the two state officials discuss details with reporters.

Wiota Man Arrested Wednesday


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports a Wiota has been arrested on an Audubon County warrant.

The Sheriff’s Office says 31-year-old Travis Austin Moon of Wiota was arrested Wednesday at about 2:30 PM on an outstanding Audubon County warrant for revocation of probation.

Moon was picked up from the Cass County Authorities and transported to Audubon County Jail where he was being held on $1,000 bond.

Audubon Man Cited After Crash Wednesday


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office says an Audubon man has been cited for Failure to Maintain Control after a rear end accident near highway 71 and 260th street Wednesday morning.

At about 11 AM Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office says 18-year-old Daylan Gene Kleen of Audubon was driving a 2001 Ponhtiac and 34-year-old Nicole Jensen of Audubon was driving a 2000 Ford F-150 southbound on highway 71.  A slow moving vehicle was in front of both Kleen and Jensen.

Jensen had slowed and Kleen had begun to slow but became distracted.  Kleen then hit the back of Jensen’s vehicle.

No injuries were reported as total damage from the accident was about $9,000.

Kleen has been charged with failure to maintain control.

Cass and Audubon Co. Nonprofit Fall Grant Programs


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

Nonprofit organizations in Cass and Audubon Counties will have just over $50,000 made available to them this fall.

In Cass County, the chair of the Cass County Community Foundation Nicholas Hunt is reminding Cass County nonprofit organizations that the fall grant program is now beginning.  The deadline to apply for funds through the online grant application process is September 1st.  Hunt says that they have $21,380 to be allocated this fall.

Of the $21,380 available, $1,200 is from the Lawrence and Mary Turner Endowed Fund, $1,000 is from the Griswold Community Development Endowed Fund,  and $480 is from the Triumph Endowed Fund for Cass County.

In Audubon County, Brett Irlmeier, Chair of the Audubon County Community Foundation says they have $32,180 to allocate this fall.  The deadline for fall application is also September 1st.

Of the $32,180 available, $1,00 is from the Audubon Massonic Asociation Endowed Fund, $600 is from the Audubon State Bank//Stephen Garst Endowed Fund, $2,000 is fromteh Leon and Iva Milliman Endowed Fund for Audubon County, $2,400 is from the Charles and Kathleen Manatt Endowed Fund, $440 is from the Fred and Evelyn Nissen Endowed Fund for Audubon, and $440 is from the Merle and Norma Petersen Endowed Fund.

Application procedures and grant guidelines can be obtained online at www.iowacommunityfoundations.org/casscef or www.iowacommunityfoundations.org/auduboncef.  Click on the Grant Information tab or contact any board member for additional information.  Detailed instructions are provided in a downloadable form, as well as a link to the online application.  Only online applications will be considered.

More Details about CB Hit and Run


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

In an update to a story we told you about Wednesday on KJAN, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office has obtained more information about a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident in Council Bluffs.

The Sheriff’s Office says shortly after 6:00 PM Tuesday, 46 year old Daniel Owens of Treynor was riding his bicycle westbound near Highway 92 when he was struck by a vehicle that was also traveling westbound.  Owens sustained non life threatening injuries and was transported to University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Upon further investigation, the mirror recovered at the scene was identified as belonging to a 1988 – 1998 Chevy or GMC full size pickup or SUV.  However, the black mirror color may not depict the actual color of the suspect vehicle.

If you have any knowledge of the incident, please contact the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office at 712-890-2200.

Iowa DOT Motorcycle Safety


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

Riders will tell you they enjoy the feeling of freedom that a motorcycle affords them. The majority of riders exercise that freedom while obeying traffic laws. And, a growing number of riders are wearing higher-visibility protective riding gear and helmets to protect their safety.

Still, there is a segment of riders and motorists that are putting all highway users at risk. The fact is – the odds of being involved in a motorcycle crash and living to tell about it or not suffering a serious head or other bodily injury are not good.

The loss of life of one person on Iowa’s roadways is One Too Many. Reading about the loss of more than two dozen motorcyclists sends a powerful message about the need to increase motorcycle safety. Visit the Iowa DOT’s “2012: Iowa motorcycle crashes” website at http://storify.com/Maverick/2012-iowa-motorcycle-crashes to read the stories about those who have been killed or involved in a serious motorcycle crash this year. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority were not wearing a helmet.

Riders can improve their safety by following some simple safety tips:

  • Get trained: Take a motorcycle rider safety course to develop good techniques.
  • Be properly licensed: Get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear proper protective riding gear (head protection, eye protection, protective clothing, and foot protection).
  • Ride Proud-Dress Loud: Wear bright clothing and use retroreflective material.
  • Ride unimpaired: Never drink or use drugs before getting on a motorcycle.
  • Be alert: Being tired and drowsy can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to react.
  • Know your bike: Be familiar with your motorcycle and how to handle it in adverse conditions, especially on gravel.
  • Know the traffic laws and rules of the road: Aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, can lead to a crash.
  • Watch for clues: Recognize it is difficult for motorists to judge how fast a motorcycle is going; blind spots around cars and trucks also prevent motorcyclists from being seen.

When sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • Give them a full lane of travel: Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane, never try to share a lane.
  • Give your full attention to the driving task: Remain alert for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
  • Be aware of the flashing signal: Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off.
  • Stay alert for potential erratic movements: Wind gusts, both natural and those created by large passing vehicles, can move a motorcycle across an entire lane if the rider is not prepared; rain can make the road slippery; the blinding effect of a vehicle’s high beams can be dangerous; and hazards like dead and live animals and damage to the roadway can cause an erratic movement by the motorcyclist.
  • Left turns: The most common crash type that occurs between a car/truck and motorcycle is the one that happens at an intersection as the motorist is making a left turn in front of a motorcycle.

–Press Release from Iowa DOT

USDA Announces Streamlined Disaster Designation Process in Disaster Areas


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

(Des Moines, Iowa) July 11, 2012: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40 percent reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10 percent.

“Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy and it is increasingly important that USDA has the tools to act quickly and deliver assistance to farmers and ranchers when they need it most,” said Vilsack. “By amending the Secretarial disaster designation, we’re creating a more efficient and effective process. And by delivering lower interest rates on emergency loans and providing greater flexibility for haying and grazing on CRP lands, we’re keeping more farmers in business and supporting our rural American communities through difficult times. With these improvements, we’re also telling American producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to designate disaster counties to make disaster assistance programs available to farmers and ranchers. Previous to these changes, the process had been in place for more than two decades and regulations had not been substantively revised since 1988.

-Press Release from USDA

Thursday Morning Iowa Headlines


July 12th, 2012 by Doug Evans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Department of Agriculture says farmers are expected to harvest 146 bushels per acre of corn this fall, down 12 percent from the June estimate of 166 bushels per acre. A widespread drought has burned up the crop in portions of Illinois and Indiana and has reduced yields in other states. The season average farm price for corn is projected at $5.40 to $6.40 per bushel, up sharply from $4.20 to $5 per bushel in June.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Governor Terry Branstad will hold a public meeting next week on the drought conditions plaguing Iowa this summer. The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at Mount Pleasant High School. The USDA is already streamlining the process for farmers to apply for government disaster help.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Allegations of racial profiling have raised heated discussions in Dubuque. Several black people in the audience Tuesday expressed their frustrations at being targeted by police solely because of race. City Councilwoman Lynn Sutton and Police Lieutenant Joe Messerich said they can’t address problems unless people came forward with formal complaints that could be investigated.

HOUSTON (AP) – A Texas judge has ruled the atmosphere and the air must be protected for public use just like water. The written ruling issued Monday by Texas District Court Judge Gisela Triana could help attorneys arguing climate change lawsuits in 11 other states. The cases are aimed at forcing states to cut emissions.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – Some neighboring landowners say they’ll oppose rezoning of agricultural land so a $1.5 billion fertilizer plant project can be built in eastern Iowa’s Scott County. The 318-acre site between Walcott and Davenport is among the sites being considered by Iowa Fertilizer Company. The firm is a subsidiary of Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries.

WALCOTT, Iowa (AP) – Police have released the name of an 87-year-old woman found dead in a burning home in Walcott in eastern Iowa. Police Chief Jeff Blake says firefighters found Lois Moldenschardt after they entered the house to put out the flames on Sunday. Moldenschardt lived alone. Results of an autopsy are pending.

Authorities Looking for Hit and Run Driver in CB


July 11th, 2012 by Doug Evans

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the driver a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident that occurred Tuesday evening in Council Bluffs.

The Sheriff’s Office says shortly after 6:00 PM Tuesday, 46 year old Daniel Owens of Treynor was riding his bicycle westbound near Highway 92 when he was struck by a vehicle that was also traveling westbound.  Owens sustained non life threatening injuries and was transported to University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

No specific description of the hit and run vehicle was obtained, however a black passenger side mirror that broke off of the vehicle was found at the  scene.

If you have any knowledge of the incident, please contact the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office at 712-890-2200.