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Central IA man gets 10-years in prison for Child Pornography Offense

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Dallas County man was sentenced this week to prison on child pornography charges. The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports 76-year old Harold “Hal” Holmstrom, of Minburn, was sentenced Wednesday to serve a maximum of 10-years in jail plus a lifetime of supervised released, on federal child pornography charges.

In determining the sentence, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Jarvey took into account the fact that Holmstrom had sexually abused five female members of his family decades ago when they were small children, which had gone unreported and therefore unaddressed prior to the federal prosecution. Judge Jarvey described the victim impact statements as among the “most difficult” he has read during his tenure on the bench.

Holmstrom was caught using a computer program to download child pornography from the Internet by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations special agents in 2012. According to HSI, Holmstrom was one of the top ten most active collectors of child pornography on this particular computer program in all of Iowa between 2010 and 2012.

Holmstrom told case agents he had deleted all traces of child pornography from his computer before it was taken from him by law enforcement authorities in August, 2012, but HSI’s computer forensic team was able to recover evidence that he downloaded over 4,800 images of child pornography. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported 1,286 images were of known victims from 69 different child pornography series. Images involved children under 12, bestiality, and violence.

Any persons having knowledge of a child being sexually abused are encouraged to call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Taylor County Sheriff’s Office swamped by false puppy mill imagery

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office is being swamped with calls about a  puppy mill in the county. Authorities says an “Outfit in New Jersey has dug up a photo from several years ago purporting to show a puppy mill in Taylor County and is urging people from across the nation to call and complain.” To counter the rumor mill (again), the Sheriff’s office has issued the following statement:

“The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the matter and has not found any evidence of violations of Iowa Code Chapter 717B, or any other Iowa Statute. The Sheriff’s Office has received multiple telephone calls about the matter based upon Facebook postings. Facebook postings are not evidence upon which we can base a criminal prosecution. If you posses evidence of a current violation of this statute, you need to provide this and we will review. However, evidence does not include dated photographs posted on someone’s Facebook page. We would need evidence of recent acts or omissions which violate the statute and implicate specific persons in the violations. If you cannot provide us with evidence of a crime, then you cannot expect us to be able to prosecute someone for a crime.”

Authorities are asking the public to “Quit buying the propaganda,”  so their deputies and dispatchers  can get back to business serving the needs of Taylor County residents.

7AM Newscast 07-25-2014

News, Podcasts

July 25th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Midwest Consumer Targeted in IRS MoneyPak Scam

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Tax season may be over but that has not stopped scammers from continuing to pose as IRS officials and making calls threatening jail time and loss of property. Thousands of calls have been made to individuals nationally with total losses around one million dollars. Officials with the Better Business Bureaus (BBB) report that consumers have received calls and voicemail messages stating they need to contact the IRS immediately or they would face legal consequences. Other calls threatened arrest by U.S. Marshals for failure to pay the correct amount of taxes.

BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa has been notified by a consumer in Hickman Nebraska that she received a message on her answering machine from the IRS on July 15th. The consumer returned the call at 8:15 am on July 16th. The “IRS official” who answered the phone told her that she was delinquent in paying some of her taxes in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and she owed the IRS $2,704.42. She was also notified that this information had been sent to a “high court” in Washington DC, that this was a time-sensitive issue and that she would need to pay a portion of the amount owed immediately or she would be arrested that day.

The caller stayed on the phone with the consumer while she went to her bank, withdrew $500, then drove to the nearest CVS Pharmacy and had the money transferred to a Green Dot MoneyPak as instructed. As soon as she returned to her vehicle, the caller asked her for the numbers on the back of the card. After giving him this information, she told him that she would have to get the rest of the money from her husband. The “IRS official” gave her another phone number to use to let him know when she had the additional funds. The consumer stated, “So I called my husband and then he called BBB, and all things came to a stop.” The man continues trying to contact her on her cell phone, but she does not answer.

BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty says “The IRS never contacts taxpayers by phone requesting money. They also never contact taxpayers by email. If there is an issue with the IRS that requires your response, the contact would be made by U.S. mail.”

The BBB recommends the following tips if you receive one of these scam phone calls:
. Hang Up – Don’t provide any information over the phone. Call the IRS directly using the phone number found on their legitimate website.

. Protect Personal Information – In response to an incoming call, never give out any personal or financial information such as your Social Security number, financial information or any passwords and other identifying information.

. IRS Contacts via U.S. Mail – If a caller claiming to be an IRS agent notifies you of an outstanding tax debt, but you haven’t received official notification from the IRS through the United States Postal Service, it is most likely a scam.

. Look Out for Spoofing – Part of scammers’ sophisticated tactics include ‘spoofing,’ which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID.

. Don’t give out the number on the back of a MoneyPak -Avoid requests that require you to purchase a MoneyPak and provide the card number via email or by phone.

. Treat MoneyPak cards like cash – Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions can never be reversed.

. Contact the FTC – File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint. From the complaint homepage, select “Other” and then “Imposter Scams”. In the notes, include “IRS Telephone Scam”.

If you or someone you know receives a threatening phone call claiming to be with the US government, report it to BBB by calling 800-649-6814 or email info@bbbinc.org. For more information you can trust, visit bbbinc.org.

 

Volunteers needed to pack meals for Hunger Flight

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

West Des Moines, Iowa — Online registration is now available for the seventh “Meals from the Heartland” Annual Hunger Fight. This year’s event will be held Wednesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 30th at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.

Over 15,000 volunteers are needed during this event to reach the goal of packaging 5 million meals. Online registration is now open at www.mealsfromtheheartland.org. Volunteers are needed to package the meals as well as for support positions such as Event Setup, Event Greeter, Floor Support and Nightly Cleanup. This annual event is the largest multiday volunteer food packaging event in the United States.

Meals from the Heartland is a non-profit organization that engages thousands of volunteers annually to package meals for delivery to food insecure children and families in Iowa, the United States and around the world. Since 2008, Meals from the Heartland has packaged more than 40 million meals with the help of over 125,000 volunteers. In 2013 alone, over 33,000 volunteers packaged 8.6 million meals

Meals from the Heartland conducts meal packaging events year round throughout central Iowa and at its new facility, the Patty Cownie Center, home of Meals from the Heartland, 357 Lincoln Street, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265.

(Press Release)

Braley criticized for missing House VA Committee hearings in 2011, 2012

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Republicans have been criticizing Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for missing most of the hearings the Veterans Affairs Committee held when Braley was on the panel. Now, a national group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to air that complaint in ads on Iowa T-V stations.

Congressman Braley, the Democratic Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate this year, attended five of the 19 House Veterans Affairs Committee hearings held during the two years Braley was on the committee. The ad from “Concerned Veterans for America” says Braley “skipped an astonishing” number of hearings. Dan Caldwell, a former Marine who is the group’s legislative campaign manager, says Braley was absent or “AWOL” in 2011 and 2012 when veterans needed him most. “He neglected his responsibilities as a member of the VA Committee and it was quite (clear) these responsibilities were a low priority to him,” Caldwell says.

The ad mentions one particular hearing Braley did not attend which focused on the long-wait times for veterans seeking care in the V-A system as well as bonuses being paid to some executives in the Veterans Administration. “The VA Committee…has been very proactive in flushing out a lot of these problems with the VA and Congressman Braley obviously neglected his duties as a member of the full committee and that, in our mind, is unacceptable,” Caldwell says. The Concerned Veterans for America ad asserts Braley was too busy attending three different fundraisers on September 20th of 2012 to go to that particular V-A Committee hearing.

Braley’s staff says Braley was not at a fundraiser, but attended a House Oversight Committee hearing instead, an assertion Caldwell disputes.  “In that hearing he offered no testimony, there are no recorded remarks,” Caldwell says. “…What it looks like he did was show up briefly, got recorded attending and then left.” Democrats charge “Concerned Veterans for America” is mainly financed by the Koch (like Coke) brothers, businessmen who have donated millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes. State Representative Todd Prichard, a Democrat from Charles City who is a major in the Iowa National Guard, defends Braley.

“It’s about getting results for the people you represent and it’s about taking care of those people back home and that’s what Bruce did,” Prichard says. “That’s what he did for the people I served with.” Prichard’s Guard unit served 17 straight months in Iraq, but when the soldiers returned in 2007 they were declared ineligible for military education benefits. They were also denied combat pay.  “Things that were promised to us that weren’t really delivered,” Prichard says. “But Bruce was able to work to get us kind of what we had coming for the service.” Prichard also cites Braley’s work to extend another federal law that offers grants to returning soldiers with disabilities, so they can retrofit their homes.

“And that’s how I know Bruce, as a champion and somebody who’s going to go to bat for veterans ’cause that’s what he’s done for me and the people I served with,” Prichard says. As for the attendance issue in D.C., Braley’s staff says the congressman attended 15 of the 17 hearings held by the House Veterans Affairs SUB-committee he was assigned to, so Braley’s overall attendance record for committee AND SUB-committee hearings was above 50 percent. Attendance records were an issue in the U.S. Senate race earlier this year.

Joni Ernst, who won the G-O-P’s U.S. Senate nomination in June, was criticized by one of her Republican opponents for missing about 40 percent of the votes taken in the Iowa Senate in the 2014 legislative session. Ernst is a state senator and an Iowa National Guard unit commander. A Cedar Rapids Gazette analysis concluded about 10 percent of the state senate votes she missed where taken while she was on active duty. The other 90 percent were missed because Ernst was out campaigning for the U.S. Senate.

(Radio Iowa)

Thefts under investigation in Exira

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Audubon County are investigating several reported incidents of theft. Several vehicles were said to have been entered at various, numerous locations in Exira earlier this week. Money and personal items were removed from the vehicles.

Sheriff Todd Johnson reminds persons in the area to keep their vehicles LOCKED. He also requests anyone with information about the thefts to call the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office at 712-563-2631, or Audubon County Crimestoppers at 712-563-2234. A Crimestoppers reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest an conviction for the thefts.

Persons calling in with tips do not need to give their names in order to be eligible for the reward.

(Story used 5-pm Thu & during overnight news)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., July 25th 2014

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that Iowa officials be notified about any immigrant children placed in the state. About 120 children who entered the U.S. illegally and alone were sent to Iowa in the first half of the year. Branstad learned of the placements from a news reporter.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A convicted armed robber accused of living under the identities of two boys who died in the 1940s remains in custody without bond. Ronald Dwaine Carnes appeared in court yesterday in Cedar Rapids on Social Security fraud and identity theft charges. Prosecutors say he spent decades under the boys’ IDs after escaping from a North Carolina prison in 1973.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The father of a pregnant woman who was shot and killed in rural southeast Iowa in 2012 says the family can start to heal now that the woman’s husband has been convicted in her slaying. Todd Caldwell says he was disappointed Seth Techel didn’t show emotion in court. Techel faces a mandatory life sentence for Lisa Techel’s death.

MONTROSE, Iowa (AP) — An 88-year-old southeast Iowa man has died in an all-terrain vehicle accident. Lee County authorities say Dale Carter lost control of the vehicle Wednesday while traveling on an incline as he was working in his yard in rural Montrose. He was pinned beneath the vehicle after it rolled backward and landed on top of him.

Royalty Crowned at 2014 Cass County Fair; schedule for 7/25/14

News

July 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

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From left: King Tyler Christensen, Queen Kourtnie Stphenson, Princess Hannah Misner, Prince Wyatt Saeugling.

Seven contestants were narrowed down to four candidates in the Cass County Fair Queen competition Thursday night in Atlantic, and when all was said and done, Kourtnie Stephenson received the title, sash and crown. Courtney is the daughter of Corey and Tammy Stephenson. Hannah Misner was selected as Princess.

And, out of three young men vying to become Fair King, Tyler Christensen received the honors, while Wyatt Saeugling was named Prince. Christensen, who’s the son of Jeff and Shelly Christensen, also won the title of Mr. Congeniality, while Kourtnie Stephenson was named Miss Congeniality. The Cass County Fair continues through Tuesday, July 29th.

Friday’s Schedule at the Fair (7/25):
8:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M…………………………Beef Weigh-In
9:00 A.M…………………………………………..Rabbit Show
9:00 A.M……………………………………… Horse Show
10:00 A.M………………………………………Commercial Exhibits Open
10:00 A.M………………………………………4-H Exhibits Open
1:00-P.M.…………………………………..…..Clover Kids Animal Show
3:00 P.M…………………………………………Livestock Judging Contest
6:30 P.M.…………………………………………Mutton Busting
8:00 P.M…………………………..…………….Bull Ride

RAGBRAI rider from Sioux City dies in Mason City

News

July 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – A RAGBRAI participant from Sioux City has been found dead in his tent in Mason City in the second death during the weeklong bicycling event. The Des Moines Register reports 74-year-old George “Frank” Brinkerhoff was found dead inside his tent Thursday morning at Parker’s Woods Campground. Mason City police Sgt. Greg Scott ways Brinkerhoff was participating in the Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa. Scott didn’t know if Brinkerhoff was riding alone or with a group.

Scott says Brinkerhoff appeared to die of natural causes, but a medical examiner who responded hasn’t determined the cause of death. On Monday, 62-year-old Tom Teesdale, of West Branch, had a heart attack and died at a hospital in Emmetsburg.

There have been 30 deaths during RAGBRAI’s 42 years.