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Iowa woman avoids life sentence in toddler’s death


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped murder charges against an Iowa woman who admitted to causing the head injuries that killed a three-year-girl at her in-home day care. Rochelle Sapp of Orange City pleaded guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges under a plea agreement in the death of Autumn Elgersma. Sapp admitted that she dropped the toddler to the ground and also admitted to multiple acts of child endangerment in prior months.

Prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge, which would’ve been a life sentence for Sapp. Second-degree murder would’ve required 35 years. Judge Edward Jacobson sentenced Sapp to an indeterminate sentence of up to 100 years.

Drake University law professor Bob Rigg says the 34-year-old Sapp will serve “significant time” — likely around 15 to 20 years.

Texas company plans Sioux City rail car facility


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A state agency says a Texas company plans to build a rail car maintenance and repair facility in Sioux City that would create 250 jobs. The Sioux City Journal reports Dallas-based TrinityRail Maintenance Services has requested $1.9 million in tax incentives for the proposed $29.5 million project. Plans call for a 150,000 square-foot complex.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority will consider the request at a meeting Friday in Des Moines. To qualify for the incentives, the facility would need to pay workers at least $16.36 per hour.

Last Iowa Senate debate set for Braley and Ernst


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Democrat Bruce Braley’s campaign aides say the Democratic congressman hopes to be back from Washington for the final debate with Republican Joni Ernst in Iowa’s neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race.

Braley was attending the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing on the Ebola virus. Braley is a member of the subcommittee. Deadlocked in recent polls, the candidates plan to debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at Morningside College in Sioux City.

Ernst had no campaign events planned Thursday. Ernst reports having three times as much campaign money on hand as Braley, though the congressman has recently erased the gap Ernst held in September.

The seat is open this fall because five-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is not seeking re-election.

More landowners join Missouri River flood lawsuit


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The list of landowners suing the federal government over major flooding along the Missouri River since 2006 has grown considerably. The lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March was amended Thursday to include 436 plaintiffs. The latest additions to the lawsuit include 38 North Dakota landowners and the Omaha and Winnebago tribes of Nebraska.

The landowners argue that the Corps’ decisions since 2006 have contributed to flooding especially during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

The federal government has denied the allegations and says the Corps shouldn’t be blamed. Landowners say the recurring flooding deprived them of their land, so they should be compensated.

3 arrested on drug & other charges in Shelby County, Thursday


October 16th, 2014 by admin

A joint investigation by authorities in two western Iowa counties has resulted in the recovery of stolen property, three arrests and the discovery of illegal drugs along with drug paraphernalia. Sheriff’s deputies in Shelby and Crawford Counties executed a search warrant at 258 5th Street in Earling Thursday afternoon.

Arrested at the residence was 27-year old Nicole McClure, of Earling, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance/methamphetamine. McClure was being held in Shelby County on$100,000 bond.  24-year old Elizabeth Melby, of Moorhead, who arrested at the home on a Monona County warrant for possession of a controlled substance. She was transported to Monona County from the Shelby County Jail.

And, 46-year old Daniel Welsh, of Denison, was arrested on three counts of 3rd degree burglary. He was being held at the Crawford County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Officials says there is a possibility of more arrests being made in the near future as the investigation is continuing.

Tax Preparation Volunteers Needed to Continue Local Program


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County/ISU Extension Office report the Extension is looking for persons to work with residents through the VITA Program. For several years, ISU Extension in Cass County has served as a host site for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Now, organizers are looking for local volunteers to keep the program going strong. VITA is an IRS-sponsored program that certifies community volunteers to prepare and e-file basic tax returns at no cost for low to moderate income individuals and families.images

Volunteers are needed in Cass County to prepare 2014 taxes and should have a basic understanding of income tax laws, an interest in helping others, and basic computer skills.

VITA volunteers are provided free training, self study materials, and software necessary to prepare basic income tax returns including Forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040. Taxpayers schedule appointments and taxes are prepared by the volunteers at a central location with equipment provided. Volunteers must complete a certification exam and the IRS waives liability for volunteers if they prepare returns within the scope of their certification.

To find out more about the VITA program contact Kate Olson at the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132 or keolson@iastate.edu. Interested persons will need to complete a one page application and background screening.

The VITA program provides free tax preparation to low and moderate income families so they can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credits. In Cass County, the program is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach with funding and support from the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Human Services, and Iowans for Social and Economic Development (ISED).

Central IA men arrested on drug charges in Audubon County


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Central Iowa men were arrested on drug charges this (Thursday) morning, in Audubon County. The Sheriff’s Department says 20-year old Eduardo Luis Gomez Baeza, and 21-year old Braulio Moreno, both of Marshalltown, were arrested following a traffic stop at around 1:30-a.m. in the 3100 block of Highway 71.

Baeza and Moreno were charged with Possession of Marijuana. Morena was hit with an additional charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The men were transported to the Audubon County Jail and later released after appearing before a magistrate.

Shelby County Implements Fire Danger Monitoring

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Service Officials, including Fire Chiefs, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Management will begin twice weekly updates on local fire danger conditions. Signs placed strategically in each community, primarily at the fire Stations will indicate what the fire danger is for any particular day.

This program, implemented in 2010, resulted in a reduction of fire responses countywide. The continuous bi weekly fire danger assessments are provided by email to the media, Fire Chiefs, and others who support the program on their web pages, through radio, and cable TV information pages. This has, at times, reduced the need for our county to implement a complete burn ban.

When someone has the need to burn a pile of brush, debris, or buildings, they are asked to contact the Emergency Management Agency at 755-2124. The dispatchers will obtain the location and nature of the planned burn and will provide the caller with the Fire Chiefs contact information. Through this expanded communication process, we have found some burns can be rescheduled to a different time of day, where wind and moistures are more acceptable. The Fire Chiefs can have input as to how the burn can be conducted safely and be aware of the activity should it become unmanageable.

Shelby County has four color coded distinct levels:

LOW – You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief.
Moderate You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief. Timing for burns should be morning, or evening hours and extinguished by dark unless authorized by Fire Chief due to possible impacts to roads and health from smoke. Burns must be monitored at all times.
High – Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Please call 712-755-2124 with questions.
Extreme – Burning is prohibited, unless you have a signed permit from the local Fire Chief. Fires on Extreme days can grow rapidly and pose a risk to the Health and Safety of the Community.

If you have any questions please call 712-755-2124.

Republicans to campaign for Iowa candidates


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will campaign for Iowa Republicans next week.  A spokesman for congressional candidate Rod Blum says Paul will appear Wednesday at a Cedar Falls rally for Blum, who is seeking the open 1st district seat. A news release from the Iowa Republican Party says Paul will attend a fundraiser for state Rep. Bobby Kaufman in Wilton that night. U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst will also appear in Wilton.

U.S. Rep. Steve King says Christie will attend the luncheon part of his annual pheasant hunt fundraiser Oct. 25. Christie is appearing at a fundraiser for Gov. Terry Branstad that evening. An Ernst spokeswoman says Huckabee will hold Tuesday events for Ernst in Sioux City and Council Bluffs.

Atlantic teen arrested on a drug charge


October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic teen was arrested Wednesday, on a drug charge. The Atlantic Police Dept. reports 17-year old Logan Nielsen was arrested for Delivery of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana. Nielsen was cited and released to his parent.