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Numerous departments battle fires near Villisca, Tuesday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Peronnel with the Villisca Fire Dept along with several other firefighters from Department within Taylor, Page and Adams County, battled a large field fire Tuesday afternoon. Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Brian Hamman said on his social media page that the fire involved several hundred acres, large round hay bales and brush piles.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA's Facebook page.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA’s Facebook page.

Hamman said also conditions are ripe enough for fire to get out of control and move at a dangerous speed. He mentioned it was Villisca’s second fire of the day. All of the blazes were in Taylor County, just southeast of Villisca. The Fire Danger index in southwest Iowa was in the “Very High” category, Tuesday.

Iowa Senate supports letting districts decide school start

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa school districts could decide when to start the academic year under a bill that has won approval in the Iowa Senate. The Senate voted 32-17 in favor of the legislation Tuesday. School start dates became a key issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early.

Supporters say providing districts with control is best for students, while opponents argue early starts can hurt tourism. The bill will now move to the House, where lawmakers in the House Education committee have approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner. Senators said they hoped to soon resolve the issue.

Iowa lawmaker criticizes closing of mental health facilities

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa lawmaker has reiterated his criticism of the planned closing of two state mental health facilities. Rep. David Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, spoke on the House floor Tuesday about the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. He received a standing ovation from many lawmakers.

Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal removes funding for two of the four state mental health facilities in Iowa. Branstad calls the facilities outdated and says patients could receive more efficient treatment elsewhere. Heaton says the closings would force patients to travel long distances for treatment. He says medical professionals have told him there is no space available in local hospitals for additional patients.

Heaton says Branstad and the state Department of Human Services should offer more solutions as the session moves forward.

Des Moines water supplier to sue counties over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. The board voted Tuesday afternoon to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

The counties oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts north of Des Moines. The lawsuit will allege the drainage systems are no different than city wastewater treatment plants in that they discharge pollutants and should be subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

Nineteen citizens spoke in support at the meeting. Several farm groups say in a statement the lawsuit undermines the relationship between the water utility and farmers upstream but they’ll continue to work on water quality.

Transients arrrested for vehicle thefts in western IA

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two transients were arrested in Council Bluffs on theft and other charges, following an investigation into the theft of pickup trucks from Pottawattamie and Mills Counties. According to Bluffs Police, 35-year old David Spracklin was arrested March 6th in Fremont, NE, by members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force.

David Spracklin

David Spracklin

He was wanted on warrants charging him with 2-counts of Theft in the 1st Degree, 4-counts of Forgery, Credit Card Forgery, Identity Theft, Conspiracy, and On-going Criminal Conduct.

Sara Novy

Sara Novy

32-year old Sara Novy was arrested today (Tuesday) in Omaha, by members of the same Task Force, on warrants charging her with 2 counts of Theft in the 1st, Credit Card forgery, Conspiracy and On-going Criminal Conduct. Both were being held in the Pottawattamie County  Jail.

The investigation into the duo’s alleged activities began just before 7-a.m. January 27th, when a white 2015 Ford F250 pickup was stolen from the parking lot of Bucky’s on North 16th Street, in Council Bluffs. Officials say in the early afternoon hours of February 11th, a red colored 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup was stolen from a farm in Mills County, Iowa. Later that same afternoon, the vehicle’s owner noticed his stolen truck parked in the parking lot of Midstates Bank (at 1851 Madison Avenue) occupied by a male and a female.

The owner called 911, but before the arrival of the Police, the truck drove to the No Frills Super Market (at 1801 Valley View Drive) and pulled next to a new white Ford F250. The female exited the Dodge and got into the Ford. The Police arrived at this time and attempted to stop the Dodge Ram. Both vehicles fled the area, failing to stop for the Officer.

A little after 2-a.m. February 15th,  a Council Bluffs Police Officer pulled into the Bucky’s parking lot (15 No. 16th St.) and noticed a white Ford F250 had just pulled into lot from the opposite drive. As the Officer drove toward the truck, it sped out of the lot and traveled westbound on Avenue A at a high rate of speed. The truck was found abandoned minutes later near the intersection of No. 34th Street and Avenue A. This was the same vehicle that had been stolen on January 27th.

At around 7:40-p.m. on February 19th, a vehicle fire was reported in the 3500 Block of Gifford Road. After the fire was extinguished, it was determined that this was the same vehicle that had been stolen in Mills County on February 11th. During the course of the investigation into these thefts, Spracklin and Novy were identified as being in possession of both stolen trucks. They have also been identified as having tried to pass forged checks at Walmart and Home Depot in Council Bluffs. Warrants for their arrests were issued on March 4th.

CCHS Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The deadlines are quickly approaching for several scholarships that are available to area students through Cass County Health System and its affiliate organizations.
· Cass County Health System offers a $1,000 scholarship to southwest Iowa students pursuing a four-year degree in a health-related career. Deadline is April 1, 2015.
· Cass County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary provides two $1,000 Grant-in-Aid scholarships for students pursuing a health-related career. Deadline is March 31, 2015.
· Cass County Memorial Hospital Foundation offers two $5,000 Louie and Elsie Hansen Memorial scholarships for graduates of a Cass County high school who will be attending a medical or nursing school leading to an MD, RN, or LPN degree. Deadline is April 1, 2015.

Applications are available on the Cass County Health System website, www.casshealth.org, and can be turned in to the Human Resources Office or Cass County High School guidance offices by the respective deadlines listed above. For more information, contact Sara Nelson, Director of Public Relations, 712-243-7408.

House passes bill that would make changes to Iowa’s gun laws

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The House has passed a bill that would make several changes to Iowa’s gun laws, including removing the age limit for children to use pistols and revolvers under a parent’s supervision. The House voted 75-24 Tuesday to advance the bill to the Senate, where lawmakers are considering a similar bill. The bill would make it legal for a child under 14 to use pistols and revolvers under a parent’s supervision. It would also block public access to the names of people with permits to carry guns.

The bill would legalize the use of suppressors to help silence guns. It also makes changes to how some people acquire and renew their permits. It’s unclear what kind of support the bill will get in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Ex-Air Force officer w/Carroll residence to plead guilty in Afghan contract case

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A prosecutor says a former Air Force captain who oversaw contracts in Afghanistan will plead guilty to an influence-peddling charge stemming from his later employment representing a vendor. Adam Pudenz is charged with making false statements and violating a law that bans ex-federal employees from trying to influence matters in which they were involved. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Murphy wrote in a court document Friday that the 35-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to both counts Tuesday and forfeit his home in Carroll, Iowa.

Pudenz managed contracts for clothing, shoes and boots for Afghan National Security Forces while stationed in Kabul in 2009-2010. Two went to Kabul Milli Trading Co. After leaving the Air Force, investigators say Pudenz was paid $247,000 by the boot manufacturer to influence his former colleagues.

Atlantic Chamber – Fraud Alert: Stolen purse

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department has informed the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce about a purse that was stolen at around 5:15-a.m. today (Tuesday). The Chamber is warning its member businesses not to take any checks or credit cards with the name Karla Michael. If you receive a check, credit card or debit card with the name Karla Michael on it, contact Atlantic Police Depot at 712-243-3512.

Details about the checks and credit cards:

Checks: Karla Michael Iowa State Savings Bank, Lenox, IA
Debit Card: Karla Michael US Bank
Debit Card: Karla Michael PCSB Bank
Credit Card: Karla Michael Capital One

 

 

Iowa inmate who’d left work release center back in custody

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A prison official says an Iowa work release inmate who’s been on the loose since Jan. 1st has been apprehended. Corrections Department Assistant Director Fred Scaletta said Tuesday that Timothy Denney was caught somewhere in Nebraska. Denney was placed on escaped status after he didn’t return to the work release center in Sioux City on New Year’s Day.

Denney was sentenced in August 2004 to 15 years in prison on convictions for robbery and going armed with intent. He’d been transferred to work release on Oct. 8.