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Ringgold County man arrested for going armed w/intent


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston say a Ringgold County man was arrested Thursday morning at the Union County Law Enforcement Center, on a warrant for charges of Going Armed with Intent, and Criminal Mischief in the 3rd Degree. 29-year old Aaron James Mangum, of Tingley, was being held in the Union County Jail on $5,000 bond.

(Podcast) KJAN News, 12/19/2014


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. Newscast with KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


Stanton man arrested Friday on 3rd offense OWI charge


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop early this (Friday) morning in Montgomery County resulted on a felony OWI/3rd offense charge for a Stanton man. Sheriff’s officials say 20-year old Cody Benjamin Johnson was taken into custody at around 12:20-a.m. and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where he was being held on $5,000 bond.

IA Educator’s Board files ethics charges against Treynor Superintendent


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An ethics complaint filed against the superintendent of the Treynor Community School District has prompted two charges in an administrative law court seeking professional disciplinary action. According to the Daily NonPareil, Superintendent Kevin Elwood is accused of allowing the Treynor school district to hire a custodian in the summer of 2013 who Elwood allegedly was aware had sexually assaulted a student.

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners has charged Elwood with two counts of unethical practice. In a notice issued Nov. 4, the board alleges “Person A” sexually assaulted a Treynor student on or after May 21, 2013. The notice goes on to allege “Person A” was hired as a custodian under Elwood’s “consent and authority” and worked through July 16, 2013. The Board says Elwood failed to appropriately respond to similar allegations in the past. Based on the document from the IBOEE, it is not apparent that “Person A” refers to any of the publicly known claims of sexual assault investigated in Treynor.

A hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 5, 2015, in Des Moines before Administrative Law Judge Laura Lockard. To avoid the hearing, Elwood has the option to surrender his professional license or negotiate a settlement agreement. Lockard is responsible for drafting a decision that would then go before the IBOEE for review and a final determination whether an ethical violation occurred and, if it has, what disciplinary sanction is appropriate.

Kim Cunningham, the IBOEE secretary, said Thursday that the Nov. 4 notice was the only document available for public inspection related to Elwood’s case. A complaint, which was not disclosed but was referenced in the hearing notice, was received Jan. 15, 2014, by the IBOEE. The notice also indicates Elwood had to file a response to the charges by late November.

Following an investigation, the board members determined probable cause to proceed with a hearing at its June 14 meeting. Minutes from the meeting show the decision was unanimous. At the hearing, Elwood will face accusations of violating two standards for ethical conduct “toward other members of the profession, parents, students and the community” as outlined in Iowa Administrative Code.

The investigation into Elwood’s alleged inaction is not the first case involving sexual assault allegations in the Treynor Community School District this year. Treynor made headlines in January after Elwood’s son, Kreighton Elwood, was accused of sexually assaulting several girls in 2012. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges and has to register as a sex offender for the next decade. The case involving his son prompted an online petition demanding Kevin Elwood’s immediate resignation. At the time, the petitioners said the superintendent did not properly investigate reports of alleged sexual abuse and harassment in the school district.

Another case came to light in May when Michael Travis, a Treynor teacher and assistant softball coach, was accused of inappropriately touching two softball players during separate incidents in 2002 and 2006. Additional charges against Travis were filed this week. He now faces two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee related to new alleged victims from 2004 and 2005 as well as two similar counts from the original criminal complaint. Travis has pleaded not guilty to the initial charges and is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 27. He has not had a preliminary hearing on the new charges.

New High School in Red Oak’s future


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Red Oak Community School District will build a $13 million new facility either as an addition to its existing high school or adjacent to it as part of the same campus complex. Superintendent Terry Schmidt told the Omaha World-Herald the school board decided Monday, in a 3-2 vote, to approve the first phase of Tiger Vision, the district’s facilities plan that seeks to eventually move all district schools to two nearby campuses.

Several community members spoke at the meeting, he said. The school board had already postponed a decision to seek an additional public hearing and community members were invited to participate in the Tiger Vision planning process. Schmidt said the plan will be to close Red Oak Community Middle School, which is more than 100 years old and has been temporarily shuttered since the Labor Day weekend because of flooding but will reopen its doors in early January.

The existing high school will be renovated for middle-schoolers, which is a common use for older high school buildings, he said. Grades six through 12 would be housed at the expanded campus, with fifth-graders possibly traveling to the new middle school location as well, depending on enrollment, Schmidt said.

Money for the project is being raised using the district’s physical plant and equipment levy and state sales tax proceeds. A general obligation bond is expected to be needed for the second phase, which would bring together elementary students into one renovated campus. Total estimated costs for the Tiger Vision projects are between $23 million and $27 million. Schmidt said work on the first phase will begin this summer, which was why the board needed to make a decision as soon as possible.

IA District 12 Senate candidate faces sexual assault charge in NE


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Libertarian candidate who has filed for election to fill the Iowa Senate seat vacated by Joni Ernst is facing a sexual assault charge in Sarpy County, Neb. The Daily NonPareil reports 69-year old Don Brantz faces misdemeanor charges that include third-degree sexual assault, third-degree assault, disturbing the peace and interfering with a public service company.

According to the complaint filed last month in Sarpy County Court, the charges stem from an incident on Oct. 10 in Bellevue, Neb.  Prosecutors say Brantz is accused of inappropriately touching a woman, and threatening to choke her. Authorities say he hung up a phone the woman used to call 911.

Brantz, who lives near Mineola, is a former Mills County Board member and former social worker. He filed for Ernst’s District 12 seat on Dec. 15 after gaining the nomination from the Libertarian Party of Iowa. Brantzwill be on the ballot in a special election Dec. 30 against two other candidates: Republican Mark Costello of Imogene and Democrat Steven Adams of Red Oak.

District 12 represents the southwest Iowa counties of Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Ringgold.

Governor hears from 20 during hour-long hearing on state budget


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad held an hour-long hearing Thursday evening, to give members of the public a chance to comment on state spending priorities for the coming year. Most of the 20 people who spoke represented trade groups and associations. Sharon Presnall, a vice president of the Iowa Bankers Association, is also on the Iowa Taxpayers Association board of directors. She urged the governor to “seriously consider” cutting income taxes. “Frankly states with the best tax climates have broad bases and low rates and this is an area that we think that Iowa can do a little bit better in,” Presnall said. “And I also think at the end of the day by doing that you actually generate more revenue.”

Justine Stevenson, director of government relations for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, urged the governor to find a way to finance repairs of “deteriorating rural roads and bridges.” “A delay in addressing the shortfall in transportation infrastructure has increased the cost to make those necessary repairs and improvements,” Stevenson said. “Recognizing the serious condition of our roads and bridges, you are working with legislative leaders and interest groups to craft a bipartisan solution. We commend you for this effort and will work to support the responsible funding plans that may be developed.”

For the past five years legislators and the governor have talked about raising the state gas tax or finding a new way to finance road and bridge construction, but there’s been no resolution. Scott Newhard is executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, the trade group for companies that build highways and bridges or supply the materials for that construction.  “Roads should be paid for by users, including out-of-state drivers on a pay-as-you-go basis and with constitutionally-protected funds,” Newhard said. State fuel taxes are placed on the Road Use Tax Fund and, according to the state constitution, money in that fund may only be used for the state’s transportation system.

Newhard asked the governor to tamp down any talk of using general state tax dollars to pay for roads and bridges. Each speaker at last night’s budget hearing was given three minutes to make their pitch and about 10 people who came to speak were unable to make it into the hearing room in the one-hour allotted for the event. The governor did hear from lobbyists for community colleges and nursing homes concerned about state support of their institutions, plus trade group representatives seeking state money for water quality initiatives.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement who were stuck waiting outside the hearing room said state government should focus on preventing water pollution by limiting manure and farm chemical use on cropland rather than giving farmers money to construct barriers that prevent run-off.

(Radio Iowa)

Farmland values drop nearly 9% in latest ISU survey

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmland values saw their biggest drop in almost three decades in the latest survey released by Iowa State University, Thursday. The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development is taking over the survey duties from retired economics professor Mike Duffy. But Duffy helped crunch the numbers this year. “What we saw was an eight-point-nine percent drop,” Duffy says. “When you look, the primary reasons the survey respondents gave for the drop were lower commodity prices.”Land2014_map1

The drop means an average value of acre of farmland in the state fell 779-dollars to seven-thousand-943 dollars. Duffy says it’s not surprising the value would drop given the drop in commodity prices and the impact seen in other areas of the economy. “You know if you use just the basic formula — land values to income divided by the interest rate — right now when the income drops, then we would expect to see the land values drop. And in fact, I think it’s probably a sign that the market is working when we do see responses like this,” Duffy says.

It is only the second year since 1999 that the survey has shown a decline in farmland values. The drop has some people asking if land prices will continue on the way down after hitting a peak in 2013, just like they peaked and dropped in the 1980’s. Duffy doesn’t see that comparison. “My personal feeling is that we went into the fall that we did in the early 80’s because we went on a speculative bubble,” Duffy says. “The increase that we’ve just experienced until this year, I think has been more income driven.” Even with the decrease, he says farmland values are more than double what they were 10 years ago, 81 percent higher than 2009 values, and 18 percent higher than 2011 values.  “Even though it’s not good news that it dropped, it is a response to the market. And my personal feeling is that it doesn’t say that we are going to see major drops now for the next several years,” according to Duffy. He believes the values have settled in to adjust to the economic situation.

“My guess, if we see corn end up in the three-50 to four-dollar range and beans in the 10-dollar range, which is kind of what it looks like now, we good expect to see these land values stabilizing, maybe a little more down, but stabilizing and kind of holding in there,” Duffy says. For the second year in a row, Scott County in eastern Iowa had the highest land values and Decatur County in south-central Iowa reported the lowest farmland values. Decatur County reported a value per acre of three-thousand-587 dollars ($3,587) or a drop of 41 dollars an acre from last year’s report. While Scott County reported a value of 11-thousand-618 dollars ($11,618) or a decline of about 795 dollars and acre, which was about 22 dollars more per acre than the statewide average. Southeast Iowa was the only crop reporting district in the state to show an overall increase in values.

“We had seven counties down in that area that reported an increase in value,” Duffy says. “Southeast had drought a couple of years ago, so they had not been increasing — think that is part of the reason. I think that they had record corn yields.” He also says increased livestock values caused more of a demand for pasture land in the southeast. Southeast Iowa reported land values were three-point-two percent (3.2) higher than last year. Keokuk County, located in that southeastern portion of the state, reported the largest percentage increase for any single county at two-point-four (2.4) percent. To find out more on the survey, go tohttp://www.card.iastate.edu/land-value/2014/


Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Dec. 19th 2014


December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — An Omaha, Nebraska soybean processing company plans to build a $90 million vegetable oil refinery in western Iowa. The Sioux City Journal reports that Ag Processing Incorporated plans to build the refinery at its complex near Sergeant Bluff, creating at least 20 new jobs. The information comes from documents by Ag Processing seeking nearly $1 million in Iowa loans and tax breaks released by the state Wednesday.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Some business owners are uneasy about a planned temporary homeless shelter in Iowa City aimed at keeping people warm during the winter. Owner Jim Rogers of Jim’s Instrument Manufacturing tells KWWL-TV the short-term housing solution, which will be open only in January and February, could draw more criminal activity to the area. He says there’s already a homeless shelter in the area.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company’s exporting and marketing practices. The conspiracy charges filed yesterday against 50-year-old Philip Payne are the latest involving the Midamar Corporation of Cedar Rapids.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Black Hawk County jury has found a former Waterloo man guilty of molesting a young girl. The Waterloo-Cedar Fall Courier reports that 38-year-old Mexican citizen Ivan Fernando Fierro was convicted Friday of second-degree sexual abuse.

Arrests made in connection with theft of mail in Council Bluffs


December 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs said Thursday two arrests have been made in connection with the theft of mail from mail boxes in the community. Bluffs Police Capt. Todd Weddum reports 45-year old Eric J. Kriegler, and 30-year old James A. Whitsel, both of Council Bluffs, were each charged with four counts of Theft. Kriegler also faces charges associated with four traffic offenses.

According to Weddum, a Council Bluffs resident called 9-1-1 today (Thursday), to report they had eye-witnessed a white Toyota sedan in their neighborhood. The occupants of the vehicle were allegedly stealing mail from residential mailboxes. A short time later, a Council Bluffs police officer saw a vehicle matching that of the suspects, and initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Bluffs and Willow Streets.

The driver, identified as Eric Kriegler, was subsequently arrested for several traffic offenses. Upon further investigation, it was determined the vehicle contained pieces of mail stolen from three different neighborhoods in Council Bluffs. Kriegler and his passenger were then taken into custody.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Council Bluffs Police Department is continuing to look into the case, to see if any additional charges will be added. The U-S Postal Service Inspector’s Office was also notified of the incident.