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46-year old arrested in connection w/a dumpster fire in Council Bluffs

News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man is charged with arson after he allegedly set a fire at a facility for the intellectually disabled. The Daily NonPareil says according to a police report, 46-year old Clyde W. Points was arrested on a warrant for third-degree arson Thursday for his role in a trash receptacle fire at VODEC, 612 S. Main Street. A Council Bluffs Fire Department investigator said Points allegedly set a dumpster near the VODEC building on fire on Wednesday.

Police were able to identify Points from surveillance footage at the facility.The fire investigator said authorities are investigating whether the fire could be connected to a string of dumpster fires that occurred in September of 2013.

Search of vehicle & home in C.Bluffs results in a man arrested on several warrants

News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man is in custody on drug and gun charges, along with a warrant for eluding police. The Daily NonPareil reports authorities arrested 51-year old Mark A. Pike, at around 6:50-p.m. Thursday, on a litany of charges. Police said an officer found that a truck in the 3500 block of Avenue D belonged to Pike, who had outstanding warrants. Officers arrested Pike and, after receiving consent, searched the truck and home, finding methamphetamine, marijuana, drug equipment and a 32-caliber revolver.

Authorities say the original warrant stemmed from an incident that took place on Oct. 23rd, 2014, when Pike allegedly eluded police during an attempted traffic stop at South Eighth Street and Eighth Avenue. A brief chase ensued – with Pike allegedly speeding through stop signs – before officers terminated the pursuit because of safety concerns.

For the chase, Pike faces charges that include eluding a police officer, reckless driving, operation without registration and disobedience to signs and signals. Charges from Thursday’s arrest include suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver-methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver-marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, having a concealed weapon without a permit and drug tax stamp violation. Pike remained at the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Suburban lawmaker questions tax break for farm, construction equipment fuel

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa D-O-T estimates the state could collect about 40-million dollars a year from farmers and construction companies if the tax exemption for so-called “red dye” fuel was lifted — and a few lawmakers are questioning why that tax advantage is being maintained. Farmers and construction companies that primarily operate diesel-powered machinery off of the state’s roads buy fuel that has a dyed with a red tint, to signify it is NOT subject to the state’s fuel tax. Representative Ralph Watts, a Republican from Adel, says the size of farming operations has grown significantly and heavy farm equipment is now being driven on more miles of road to get from field to field.

“If you live in a rural area, you meet them all the time,” Watts says. “The heavier equipment with cleated tires place more stress on the roadway than vehicles with road tires.” That “additional stress” is taking a toll on rural roads and bridges, according to Watts. “The need for moving manure from hog confinements has become a huge factor for rural roads where the movement of manure is done by large tank wagons pulled by farm tractors over the roads,” Watts says. “My personal experience in watching this happen showed me those movements literally pulverize the existing gravel, which requires replacement.” Watts tried, but failed this past week to get his fellow legislators to go along with charging just a 10-cent-a-gallon state tax on red dye fuel.

“Some misguided miscreant might ask: ‘What do you have against farmers?'” Watts said during House debate of the bill that raised the state’s motor fuel tax by a dime a gallon. “I have nothing against farmers. Although I am not a farmer, I am a member of the Farm Bureau — at least I was earlier this morning.” The Iowa Farm Bureau opposes the idea of taxing the diesel fuel that’s used in farm equipment. Only eight other members of the Iowa House joined Watts this past Tuesday to try to force a debate over his proposal, while 87 voted against Watts and his idea was permanently tabled.

(Radio Iowa)

Semi’s collided on I-29 in Harrison County, 1 injured

News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A collision between two semis Friday afternoon in Harrison County resulted in a Missouri man being sent to the hospital. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 36-year old Jason Durham, of Bates City, MO., was transported by Mondamin Rescue to the hospital in Missouri Valley, after the 2007 Freightliner semi he was driving went out of control and hit another semi at around 3:40-p.m. on southbound Interstate 29, about seven-miles north of the Mondamin exit.

Officials say the semi entered the west ditch and hit a large sign before re-entering the interstate and hitting a second southbound 2007 Freightliner, driven by 52-year old Jose Ramirez, of Atascosa, TX. Ramirez’ semi was in the right lane when it was hit. After the collision, Durham’s semi entered the west ditch again, went through fence and hit a culvert before coming to rest in a wooded area.

Ramirez was not injured in the crash. He pulled his semi onto the shoulder of the road, and stopped. His vehicle sustained damage to its trailer. Durham’s semi was considered a total loss. The accident remained under investigation.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., Feb. 28th 2015

News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they’re investigating a letter left at an Ames mosque that contained anti-Muslim messages and threats. Ames Police spokesman Jason Tuttle says officers responded around 4 p.m. Thursday to a report that the note had been left on the door of Darul Arqum Islamic Center.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Davenport officials are seeking state funds for a proposed youth sports complex that would include a hotel and other amenities. The Quad-City Times reports that Davenport plans to apply for Iowa Economic Development Authority grants for the project comprised of a 200-room hotel, a water park, a shopping and restaurant area and a youth sports complex.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is dismissing a lawsuit brought by chiropractors who claimed the state’s dominant health insurer was engaging in illegal price-fixing. The lawsuit challenged Wellmark’s practice of making its negotiated reimbursement rates for medical providers available to self-insured employers and out-of-state insurers in the Blue Cross Blue Shield network. It contended those deals violated Iowa antitrust law by restricting competition.

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) — Police say they have discovered a body in the area where a car had earlier been found in an icy Iowa creek. Authorities say the car was found Friday morning just north of Grimes with no one inside. The body was later discovered nearby. KCCI-TV reports that the car belongs to a woman who was reported missing on Monday.

Clarinda teen arrested for possessing pot

News

February 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers reports a local teen was arrested Thursday on a drug charge. The 15-year old male was taken into custody for alleged illegal possession of a controlled substance, believed to be marijuana. His arrest was the result of an investigation by the Clarinda Police Department and the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department.

The juvenile was released to the custody of his legal guardian pending additional action by Page County Juvenile Court Services and the Juvenile Court Division of the Page County Attorney’s Office.

Ernst awaits answers over death of vet who sought mental health treatment at VA

News

February 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Senator Joni Ernst has asked Veterans Affairs officials to explain how the agency handled the case of a veteran whose frozen body was found last Friday in a Des Moines park. Forty-one-year-old Richard Miles was an Army veteran who did three tours of duty in the Middle East. His family says he suffered from post traumatic stress and had hoped to be admitted to the Central Iowa V-A Hospital on February 15th, but he was given a prescription and dismissed.  “While the law enforcement investigation into Richard’s death is ongoing, it’s tragic our nation lost a veteran who may not have received the mental health treatment that he deserved.”

Ernst on Monday asked for an “immediate and thorough” investigation of the man’s case and she set today (Friday) as her deadline for getting a report back from the V-A. “As a member of the Senate I do have a responsibility to ensure our nation lives up the promises that our nation lives up to the promises that it has made to our veterans,” Ernst says. “And as someone who was deployed in the Iraq War, it’s one of my top priorities to ensure our veterans are receiving the care they deserve after they have selflessly sacrificed for our nation.”

Five days after Miles was dismissed from the Central Iowa V-A, his body was found by a man walking a dog in Des Moines Water Works Park. Miles was not wearing a coat or shoes when his body was found.

(Radio Iowa)

Utility reports millions in unpaid bills

News

February 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The latest report by Iowa’s largest utility companies shows more than 39 million dollars in past due bills. In addition, more than one thousand households were involuntarily disconnected. A federal program called LIHEAP provides protection from those signed up from having the power shut off between November 1st and March 31st. Iowa’s LIHEAP director Jerry McKim says he is concerned about those not in the program, but he says they have some protection too.

“The law says if you haven’t had a payment agreement that you broke in the last 12 months, the utility — not might– they must allow you a minimum of 12 months to pay off you past due balance,” according to McKim. He says if you have concerns, you can seek help from the customer service office of the Iowa Utilities Board. “They’re the state agency that has authority over every utility in the state for electric and gas on disconnection procedures and payment plan rules, so that’s where you would go if you think you are not being treated fairly,” McKim says.

McKim says state law requires utility companies to take into account household income when setting up a 12 month repayment plan. McKim says fewer people applied for LIHEAP assistance this year, so there are funds available for those who qualify.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors approve appointment of Asst. Co. Attorney

News

February 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Jamie Arnold as Assistant County Attorney. The action came during their meeting held this (Friday) morning, in Atlantic. Arnold had previously been an Administrative Assistant to County Attorney David Wiederstein, while he was waiting for his license to practice law in Iowa to be approved by the State. He also serves as Attorney for the City of Atlantic.

In other business, the Board agreed to accept a bid from Metal Culverts out of Maryville, MO., for the County’s supply of Stock pipe and project pipe. Stock pipe is used for smaller projects such as under small driveways or road crossings. Project pipe is intended for larger construction projects. Cass County Engineer Charles Marker said they received three bids for the supplies, with the lowest from Metal Culverts, in the amount of $109,840.56. The bids, he said, were very close among the three companies who vied for the contract. The board approved a contract with the low bidder for the pipes.

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker (left) & Supervisor Gaylord Schelling w/a map of County pipe/bridge projects.

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker (left) & Supervisor Gaylord Schelling w/a map of County pipe/bridge projects.

Marker said with the passage of the Iowa Gas Tax, the County will be able to do four more bridge projects this year. He rolled out a map showing the locations of bridge projects intended to get underway this year, about three of which are contract, meaning they are handled by outside contractors, and a few more which will be taken care of by County crews. Marker said in addition to the estimated 5-to 700-million dollars the County is expected to receive from the State once the tax goes into effect March 1st and the revenue is divided among the State, counties and cities, he was able to get a great deal on used steel from the county engineer in northwest Iowa’s Ida County. He says they can use the steel for floor support beams on four additional bridges in the County. Decking is placed on top of the beams to make up rest of the bridge.

The Supervisors gave Marker the go ahead to purchase the steel at 22-cents per pound, which is 26-cents less than what they would normally have to pay. He said that saves the County about $50,000.

The Board also held a hearing on the Adoption of Cass County Code, which is essentially a re-compiling of the County Ordinances in accordance with Iowa Law. County Auditor Dale Sunderman explained the County Code is essentially the same, with the exception of a section that was removed because it is covered elsewhere in Iowa law. The parts removed in Section 3 of the Code include an ordinance “Establishing a school infrastructure Local Option Sales and Services tax,” an ordinance “Providing for the registration and documentation of retail sales of keg alcoholic beverages.”

Following the hearing, the Board approved the 1st reading of the adopted code. The 2nd hearing will take place during the Board’s meeting on March 4th.

Glenwood man arrested on weapon and assault charges

News

February 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Glenwood report 39-year old Jonathan Swaim, of Glenwood, was arrested Thursday on charges that include Assault Use/display of a weapon, two-counts of Assault with weapon on a peace Officer, and, Interference with official acts. No other details about the circumstances surrounding his arrest were provided. Swaim was being held in the Mills County Jail on $11,000 bond.