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Glenwood H.S. Principal resigns


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Principal of the Glenwood Community High School has resigned. The Omaha World-Herald says Principal Shane Stephens cited a decline in personal health and failure to meet goals as his reasons. His resignation was announced during a special school board meeting earlier this week. Stephens is the second principal in less than a year to resign from the high school.

Superintendent Devin Embray said Thursday that Stephens will work through the end of the year. The Glenwood Community School District has begun an internal and external search for a new principal. Embray said school officials hope to find a new candidate by mid- to late April. Applicants will be narrowed to three to five finalists.

Stephens, who was hired in April 2013, replaced former principal Kerry Newman who resigned after reaching an agreement with the school district. As part of that agreement, the district stopped Newman’s termination, paid her $40,000 and allowed her to obtain copies of some of her work. The Glenwood school board considered terminating her contract because of several allegations, including an inappropriate relation with a district employee. The school board later voted to accept Newman’s resignation.

Car crashes into Bluffs home then drives away


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are looking for a vehicle that crashed into a home and then left the scene, early Thursday morning.  Authorities says at around 12:20 a.m., Council Bluffs Police Department officers were called to 803 south 13th St., where an unidentified vehicle struck the side of a home, causing $10-thousand damage.

Police said the driver had attempted to turn left onto Eighth Avenue from South 13th Street and lost control, left the roadway and struck the home. A witness said the vehicle then drove away. Police said the vehicle is described as a small, two-door, dark-colored car that has heavy front-end damage. Part of the driver’s side headlight was left at the scene of the collision.

Mills County Atty. won’t run for re-election due to family concerns


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Citing the need to spend more time with his family, Mills County Attorney Eric Hansen has announced with will not be seeking re-election this year. The Omaha World-Herald says Hansen’s daughter was very ill last year, and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Hansen said that experience left him emotionally drained to the point where he didn’t have the energy to participate in a contested election.  Hansen was hired as an assistant county attorney in February 2003. He was promoted to full-time assistant in 2006 and became county attorney in 2011.

In Mills County, Patricia McSorley – an assistant county attorney – and Ashley Kissel, both Republicans, are running for Hansen’s position.



New census data shows loss of population in s.w. Iowa


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A report in the Daily NonPareil says every southwest Iowa county has lost population since the 2010 Census. The paper cited new data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. Pottawattamie and Harrison counties were also among the counties estimated to have lost the largest number of residents over the past three years. Most of the state’s growth was centered around urban areas, primarily in central and eastern Iowa.

As a whole, Iowa saw its population increase 43,559 people since 2010, and it remained the 30th-most-populous state. However, only 29 of Iowa’s 99 counties gained population during the three-year span. Pottawattamie County joined Woodbury County as the only two of Iowa’s 10 largest counties to lose population since 2010. Those two counties also contain principal cities for the state’s only two metropolitan areas west of the Interstate 35 corridor.

Dallas County, which contains many of the booming suburbs just west of Des Moines, was once again Iowa’s fastest-growing county, seeing its population increase by 12.9 percent – from 66,135 to 74,641 residents – since 2010. It ranked 17th among all counties nationwide.

The entire Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area gained 29,801 people (3.4 percent growth) since the 2010 Census, making it the nation’s 60th-largest with 895,151 residents. By and large, growth was associated with urban areas and neighboring counties.

On the western side of the state, only a handful of rural counties – including Ida, Crawford, Union and Sioux – saw population growth.

SW IA man charged with the theft & sale of grain

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County report one person was recently arrested on a felony theft charge associated with the theft and sale of grain. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year old Kelley Ryan Roof, of Tabor, was charged with 1st degree theft, a Class-C felony, following the execution of a search warrant at his residence.  His cash bond was set at $40-thousand.

His arrest was the result of an investigation into a tip from a concerned citizen authorities received on March 13th. The individual told authorities about a possible theft of grain from the Fremont County area. During the investigation, it was discovered Roof allegedly took without permission, 2,230-bushels of soybeans from a Randolph area farmer. Roof is alleged to have sold the beans for more than $31-thousand.

During the search of his property, authorized seized a 2014 Polaris RZR purchased with the proceeds of the alleged theft. Roof remains in the Fremont County Jail.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., March 28th 2014


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups are sounding alarms that a Republican-led House subcommittee has inserted language into the budget bill for the Department of Agriculture that critics say would prevent the public from accessing information about water quality improvement practices. The budget bill deals in part with farm practices the state will help pay for as part of the state’s strategy to reduce manure and fertilizer that runs into rivers and streams.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has denied the applications of 18 inmates seeking commutation. The governor made the announcement Thursday in a news release. The individuals seeking commutation are serving different sentences, including life in prison. Some have been convicted of crimes like first-degree murder. Other convictions involve kidnapping and robbery.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A couple has purchased the historic Hibernian Hall in downtown Davenport and plans to use the space as loft housing. The Quad-City Times reports developers Manoj and Manisha Baheti bought the hall, several adjacent buildings and a house. The real estate deal closed Tuesday. The hall, built in 1889, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

NEW YORK (AP) — Iowa State and UConn are meeting today in the Sweet Sixteen with similar NBA-inspired offenses. The third-seeded Cyclones tip off Friday evening versus the seventh-seeded Huskies in the NCAA tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden. Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and UConn’s Kevin Ollie were briefly teammates with the Chicago Bulls in 2001 and 2002.

Gov. Branstad denies 18 applications for commutation


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today (Thursday) denied 18 applications for the commutation of prison sentences. Five prisoners who committed crimes in western and southwest Iowa were among those whose requests were denied. They include:

  • 43-year old James W. Bettis, who committed his crime on September 6, 1988, in Page County. He is currently a life sentence for first-degree murder.
  • 34-year old James Eaglefeather, who committed his crimes on October 6, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five years for Robbery – 1st degree, 85%.
  • 39-year old Danny Ray Long, who committed his crimes on or about December 11th and 18th, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a term of incarceration not to exceed fifty years for two counts of Robbery – 1st degree, 85%.
  • 46-year old Steven G. Sempek,  who committed his crimes on April 1, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a 100-year sentence for six counts of Sexual Abuse in the second-degree (85%).
  • 58-year old Simon C. Tunstall committed his crime on August 31, 1986, in Woodbury County. He is currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

EEOC sues Shelby County trucking company, alleging sexual harassment


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

PANAMA, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing an Iowa trucking company accused of allowing a female worker to be sexually harassed and firing her for complaining. The commission claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Panama Transfer violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Panama Transfer is based in Panama, 100 miles west of Des Moines. The family-owned company operates and maintains truck terminals in several states. The lawsuit claims a female worker at its Wellman, Iowa terminal was sexually harassed by a male supervisor who made sexual innuendos in private and over the workplace intercom. It says she was fired in May 2012 after she complained.

Company President Dean Kloewer said Thursday the allegations are false and the company’s lawyers will fight them. The commission is seeking damages.

5 arrests in Cass County over the past week


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports five people were arrested over the past week on unrelated charges.On Wednesday, deputies arrested 34-year old Phillip Christian Hunter, of Cumberland, on a charge of Domestic Abuse, second offense. Hunter was brought to the Cass County Jail and released Thursday (3/27) on his own recognizance. Also arrested Wednesday, was 44-year old Angela Dee Cook, of Atlantic. She was charged with OWI/2nd offense, and at the jail received an additional charge of Possession of Electronic contraband. Cook was booked into the jail and also released on her own recognizance Thursday (3/27).

On Monday, 20-year old Andrew Warren Laughlin, of Atlantic, turned himself-in to the Cass County Jail. Laughlin was wanted on a District Court warrant for a Probation Violation. He remains in the Cass County Jail on $3,000 bond.  Last Sunday, 49-year old Tab Norman Rasmussen, of Exira, was arrested on a District Court warrant for Failing to Appear at a Child Support Hearing. He was being held without bond in the Cass County Jail.

And on Friday, March 21st, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 49-year old Floyd Marvin Johnson, of Wiota, on a charge of Driving While Revoked. Johnson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on his own recognizance.

Photos of 300+ acre fire near Kirkman

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

These pictures are courtesy of Irwin Fire Chief Lynn Gaskill. (See separate post for details on the fire)fire3 fire2 fire1 fire6