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Ernst & King redirect white supremacist’s campaign donations to SC church


June 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two Iowa Republicans have redirecting campaign donations from a white supremacist who reportedly influenced the man accused of murdering nine African Americans in a South Carolina church last week. Senator Joni Ernst and Congressman Steve King are giving the money to the church in South Carolina as well as the families of those murdered there.

Earl Holt of Longview, Texas, donated a thousand dollars to the Ernst campaign last fall and made 25-hundred dollars in donations to King’s last two reelection campaigns. Holt is a leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The church shooter has said he was inspired by information he found on that group’s website. Holt’s occupation is listed as “retired” alongside the F-E-C’s record of his donations to both Ernst and King.

King posted a statement on his campaign website, saying his prayers are with the families and friends of those affected by the tragedy in South Carolina. Holt also donated to presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, all of whom have denounced Holt in the past two days and redirected his campaign money to help the South Carolina church and those who were slain there last Wednesday.

Holt has called African Americans “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world.” Holt has posted a statement on the web saying his group is “hardly responsible” for the actions of a “deranged” shooter “merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.” The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Holt’s “Council of Conservative Citizens” as the “reincarnation” of “White Citizens Councils” of the 1950s and ’60s that served as a national network for white supremacists.

(Radio Iowa)

Corps taking steps to reduce Missouri River Basin flood risk


June 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to reduce flooding risks in the Missouri River Basin after recording higher than expected water levels at many of its reservoirs. Corps officials said Monday they expect to hold more water back over the summer, using the storage capacity of reservoirs to limit downstream flooding when possible.

Jody Farhat of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division says the Corps anticipated drought conditions earlier this year, but shifted its focus after the Midwest and Plains states experienced far more rain than predicted. Some states have seen as much as 10 inches in the last 30 days.

The basin covers parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas and all of Nebraska.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., June 23rd 2015


June 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Des Moines police officer convicted in March of using excessive force has been sentenced to more than five years in prison. Colin Boone was sentenced to 63 months in prison. He will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence. A jury convicted the 39-year-old Boone following allegations he kicked a man in the head during a traffic stop in 2013. The kick knocked out two of the man’s front teeth.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man in Mason City fired a gun at an officer shortly before killing himself. The Mason City Police Department says an officer stopped a man suspected of drunken driving early Monday morning. The officer reports the man at one point had a gun pointed at himself. The man is accused of firing a handgun in the direction of one of the officers. The officers say the man shot himself with the handgun about one minute later.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — After years of arguing that liberal Iowa law professors illegally derailed her career, a conservative lawyer will get a second chance to prove her claim to a jury. Jury selection started in federal court in Davenport in a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activist Teresa Manning, who contends that the University of Iowa College of Law refused to hire her for teaching jobs because of her beliefs and associations. The long-running lawsuit has been closely watched in higher education.

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) — The owners of an art gallery and bistro in suburban Des Moines will close the business, saying it wasn’t financially viable following a dispute about using the venue for a same-sex wedding. Dick and Betty Odgaard say they would close the Gortz Haus in Grimes because their decision to stop renting a gallery for weddings made the business unsustainable.

Weather officials say hail, damaging winds possible in Iowa

News, Weather

June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Weather officials say large hail and damaging winds are possible in parts of Iowa as thunderstorms move through the state. The National Weather Service says thunderstorms in southeast Iowa will pose the biggest threat Monday afternoon into the evening. Parts of central Iowa will also be affected.

The forecast doesn’t rule out conditions for tornadoes, and heavy rainfall in some areas may also produce flash flooding.

Ericksen sentenced to maximum of 25-years in prison


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County man who plead guilty June 1st to one felony count of Sexual Abuse Assault in the second-degree, was sentenced today (Monday, June 22nd), to serve a maximum of 25-years at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Larsen said 56-year old Roger Allen Ericksen was also ordered to pay a fine amounting to $1,000. Cass County Attorney Dave Wiederstein says at a minimum, Ericksen will be incarcerated for 17 and a half years before being eligible for parole, with credit given for time already served.

In exchange for his plea of guilty to Count I, the remaining nine counts of sexual abuse in the second degree were dismissed. Ericksen is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life under the sex offender registry rules, pay all related court costs and fines, and his court appointed attorney fees. He is also required to submit a DNA sample for profiling.

There is also pending parole violation arising from his conviction in Cass County to Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree, on December 4th, 2012.

Consultant expects longer Omaha VA hospital funding delay


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A consultant’s report says funding to build a replacement for Omaha’s aging Department of Veterans Affairs hospital may be even further away than expected. In 2011 the VA unveiled plans for a 1 million-square-foot replacement in Omaha to serve Nebraska and western Iowa veterans. Congress approved $56 million to start the project planning, and it tentatively was scheduled to open in 2018.

The analysis by Omaha-based Booz Allen Hamilton released Monday says funding now could be delayed until the late 2020s. The analysis points to a $9 billion backlog of approved projects and VA infrastructure needs that could reach $60 billion. “There never really was any real chance there was going to be a new hospital here,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, D-2nd District.

Hwy 6/7th Street construction project update


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

As part of a weekly report on the Highway 6/7th Street construction project here in Atlantic, Scott Suhr, Iowa Dept. of Transportation District 4 Planning Coordinator, says the contractor had a very productive week considering the amount of rain we received.

The sanitary sewer work at Mulberry, Pine and Spruce has been completed. The EPA work has also been completed. Bluffs Paving began trimming grade from Olive to Spruce. They will work on trimming grade from Spruce to Pine this week. The contractor will prepare grade from Pine to Cherry this week.

Suhr says there is a possibility the contractor may begin pouring concrete on Friday but there is a lot of work to do before that. The contractor will also work on the sanitary sewer near Plum Street this week. Atlantic Municipal Utilities could replace the water main later this week or possibly early next week.

Gov. Branstad signs broadband bill into law


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

PERRY, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that is aimed at expanding high-speed Internet in Iowa. Branstad signed the bill Monday at an equipment supplier in Perry. The law creates a property tax relief program for service providers adding infrastructure for high-speed Internet, also known as broadband. It also designates more responsibility to the state’s chief information officer to establish more broadband opportunities.

Branstad made broadband expansion a legislative priority during the last two years, but lawmakers were often at odds over its implementation. A bill with more tax incentives for service providers failed in 2014. Lawmakers this year disagreed on the direction of a grant program that was stripped of $5 million in state dollars. The program is in the law, but it will be privately funded.

2 non-injury accidents in Union County


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Union County investigated two, non-injury accidents over the past few days. Late Saturday morning, vehicles driven by 17-year old Mica Graham, of Sidney, and Anthony Weeks, of Lorimor, collided at the intersection of Highways 169 and 34, causing $8,000 damage. Sheriff’s officials say when Weeks failed to yield the right of way, the 2010 Dodge Caravan collided with a 2005 Mercury Sable, driven by Graham. Weeks was cited for Failure to Yield upon making a left turn. He told authorities he didn’t see the car because of a vehicle in the turn lane.

The other accident happened just after Noon on Thursday, at the intersection of W. Howard and N. Elm Streets, in Creston. According to Police, a 2004 Chevy Malibu driven by 74-year old Maynard Madore, of Creston, was hit by a 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup driven by 48-year old Dixie Akers, of Creston, after Akers failed to obey a stop sign. Damage from the collision was estimated at $2,800.

2 Atlantic residents arrested on assault charges


June 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports two people were arrested on assault charges, Friday. 44-year old Brenda Osborn, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse/Serious Assault. And, 58-year old Terry Calhoun, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault/3rd or subsequent offense. Both were booked into the Cass County Jail.

And, Atlantic Police say no injuries were reported following an accident late Friday morning, at 10th and Plum Streets. Officials say vehicles driven by Marjorie Turner and Sharon Arnold, both of Atlantic, collided just after 11-a.m., when Turner stopped, but then continued into the intersection as she was heading north on Plum Street. Her vehicle hit Arnold’s vehicle as it was heading west on 10th Street, causing a total of $18,000 damage. Turner was cited for Failure to Obey or Yield from a Stop Sign.