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TX man arrested twice Wednesday morning, in Creston

News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston say a man from Texas was arrested twice this (Wednesday) morning. At around 2:30-a.m., 38-year old John C. Jordan, of Katy, TX, was arrested for OWI/1st Offense. Jordan , who was released from the Union County Jail on $1,000 bond, was arrested again just before 6-a.m., also on an OWI charge. He was being at the jail in Creston, on $1,000 bond.

Creston Police report also, an ex-employee of RELEWIS Refrigeration, Inc., of Creston, failed to return a company vehicle and trailer after he was released from employment. A 2015 Chevy Silverado truck and 2010 H&H cargo trailer containing tools and company equipment valued at $85,000, were recovered in Texas.

And, a Creston resident reported to police late Tuesday morning, that someone broke into her camper and stolen a Nintendo DS, MacBook Air laptop computer, and a Black and Decker drill. The loss was estimated at $530. The theft took place sometime between 10-p.m. Friday and 7-a.m. Saturday.

Imprisoned woman ordered to pay nearly $432K in restitution

News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) – A 45-year-old south-central Iowa woman who’s been sentenced to 20 years in prison has been told to pay back the vehicle dealership she stole from while working there. Online court records say Lyndsay Huntsman was ordered last week to pay restitution of nearly $432,000 to Creston Automotive in Creston, where she’d worked for several years in the bookkeeping department.

She’d made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to five of the six theft counts against her. Prosecutors dropped a charge of ongoing criminal conduct in exchange for Huntsman’s pleas.

Massena firefighters called-out early Wed. morning

News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Massena responded early this (Wednesday) morning, to a report of a possible residential fire at 202 Pine Street. The call from a woman who said her fire alarm was going off and who smelled smoke, came in at around 1:15-a.m.  A Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy who was in the area and was first on the scene, said he could smell smoke in the home, but wasn’t able to observe any flames.

After about an hour on the scene, authorities were able to determine a motor on an appliance had burned-up, causing the smoky smell. There were no injuries and no damage was reported. All fire units were back in-station by 2:20-a.m.

Lagging farm economy worries state financial experts

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A three-member panel of financial experts is lowering its estimate of state tax collections. The Revenue Estimating Conference is still predicting overall state tax revenue will be up three-point-four percent for the year, but the group shaved 121 million dollars off the total compared to its March prediction. Iowa Department of Management director Dave Roederer says he and the other two panel members are concerned about what’s happening in the farm economy.

“When producers are producing corn and soybeans at a loss, that means that there’s going to be less revenue coming into the state,” Roederer says. Roederer says when farmers have a down year, that tends to have a ripple effect throughout the Iowa economy. Roederer, though, points to Iowa’s low unemployment rate as a positive sign.

“The economy is more partly cloudy than anything else,” Roederer says. The state is just three months into the budgeting year and Roederer says there’s no cause for alarm since the group is still predicting Iowans will pay 235 MILLION dollars MORE in taxes this year than last.

(Radio Iowa)

Eleven counties northern IA counties institute a burn ban

News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Eleven counties in northern Iowa are now under burn bans that prohibit any open burning. Howard County Emergency Management Director, Darrell Knecht requested the ban after seeing conditions worsen. “Just very, very dry conditions. The standing crops are dry, the grass is getting dry and drying down, and of course with the wind, everybody’s burning leaves this time of year and we’re hoping to get ahead of it a little bit,” Knecht says. He also saw issues in other counties.

IA counties (in red) w/a ban on open burning as of 10/13/15.

IA counties (in red) w/a ban on open burning as of 10/13/15.

“Around us there have been a few fires where combines have caught fire, so again, we just wanted to get a little ahead of it,” Knecht says. Knecht says people don’t always pay attention to the conditions when they burn. “I think always their intentions are usually good, sometimes they want to get stuff done before they think a little bit,” he explains. He says with the burn ban in place it sends a message to not take any chances. Knecht says Howard and some of the surrounding counties have not had the rain needed to make conditions safer.

He says it would take a pretty good rain to make a significant difference. A fire in eastern Iowa destroyed around two-thousand acres of crops and two firefighters had to be treated for smoke inhalation. Knecht says even a small fire can get out of hand quickly. “Especially if there is some wind blowing, it’s gone in no time,” Knecht says. The other counties joining Howard under a burn ban are: Hankcock, Winnebago, Worth, Mitchell, Chickasaw, Fayette, Wright, Franklin, Bremer, and Buchanan.

Currently no counties in southwest or western Iowa have implemented a ban on open burning, but area fire chiefs and emergency managers are asking the public to be very cautious, especially on dry and windy days.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Oct. 14th 2015

News

October 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal prosecutor says two top aides to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign were involved in a “cover-up” when they tried to hide payments to a state lawmaker. Justice Department attorney Jonathan Kravis says email records and testimony will show Jesse Benton and Dimitri Kesari concealed payments to former Iowa Senator Kent Sorenson. Paul is expected to testify during the nearly two-week trial.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A panel of state budget experts is lowering Iowa revenue projections for the current fiscal year. The Revenue Estimating Conference met Tuesday to project state revenue. The group predicts the state will take in about $7.05 billion for the fiscal year that began July 1st. That’s less than the $7.18 billion they estimated earlier this year.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state agency will delay the implementation of a proposed tax break expansion. The Department of Revenue agreed to a request from lawmakers in the administrative rules review committee on Tuesday that the tax change date would be moved from January to July. The Department of Revenue plans to change a law exempting certain items used during manufacturing to broaden the exemption.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University is proposing a three-year, $1,500 tuition surcharge that would affect thousands of international students. Board of Regents documents show the school wants to add an extra $500 annually for three years to the nonresident rates international students already pay. Regents will consider the proposal next week.

Lawmaker panel reviews proposed tax break for manufacturers

News

October 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state agency will delay the implementation of a proposed tax break expansion after a legislative panel expressed concern that the matter merits discussion during the upcoming legislative session. Victoria Daniels, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, agreed to a request from lawmakers in the administrative rules review committee on Tuesday that the tax change date would be moved from Jan. 1 to until July 1.

The Department of Revenue plans to change a law exempting certain items used during manufacturing to broaden the exemption. Some Democrats have questioned whether the agency should take such action, noting that lawmakers have previously discussed the matter but didn’t approve a change.

Officials have said the change could reduce the tax burden for manufacturers by up to $46 million annually.

 

Developing El Nino could bring Iowa warmer-than-normal winter. Or not.

News, Weather

October 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

We’re almost a month into fall and already talk is turning to the winter ahead. The weather pattern known as El Nino continues to strengthen and promises to be one of the strongest on record. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says it could mean Iowans are in store for a less severe winter ahead. “The stronger the El Nino becomes, generally, the higher the odds are that we’d have a warmer-than-normal mid-winter period in Iowa,” Hillaker says. “That would be from roughly early to mid-December to the early part of March.”

That’s usually the coldest time of the year anyway, so Hillaker warns it will still be cold, perhaps just not as cold as during a typical winter. Still, he says not to bet on the warmer winter. “Every once in a while, we do get exceptions to this tendency for mild El Nino winters in Iowa,” Hillaker says. “The last El Nino event, which was a medium-strength event six years ago, ended up bringing us an unusually cold and snowy winter.”

The El Nino is characterized by warm water in the central and east-central Pacific Ocean. Forecasters say the last time the El Nino system promised to be this strong was during the winter of 1997-98, which ended up being one of Iowa’s warmer winters on record.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa West Foundation Awards $7 Million in Funding for Cycle 2 of 2015

News

October 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently awarded $6.6 million in grants and initiatives for the second cycle of 2015. The funding will assist 22 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities with projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The City of Clarinda received $55,975 for a downtown façade revitalization while the Audubon Recreation Foundation received $50,000 toward their proposed recreation center. The towns of Corning, Neola, Red Oak and Shelby also received grants toward placemaking projects.

Healthy families was another recurring theme for this cycle of grant funding. Heartland Family Service received $300,000 to administer years two and three of the Children’s Mental Health Initiative in Lewis Central Community Schools — a 3-year pilot program based on the high need for school-based mental health services as identified by local superintendents. MICAH House received $45,000 for general operating funds and Council Bluffs” Vocational Development Center (VODEC) was awarded $25,000 for residential home renovation.

The second funding cycle also included initiative dollars for the construction of a new veterans building in Council Bluffs. The Iowa West Foundation and the Charles E. Lakin Foundation each awarded $275,000 to the project, which broke ground in August. The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors also awarded $113,000 to the Fourth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services for the continuation of their successful drug court program. The Fourth Judicial District would have been forced to cancel the program on Oct. 1 due to insufficient funding had the Foundation not stepped in.

This is the second grants and initiatives funding announcement of 2015 after the Foundation restructured its grant cycles in late 2014 to be three times per year rather than four. The Letter of Inquiry period for the third cycle opened October 1. Those grant recipients will be announced in February of 2016.

Funding for the Foundation’s grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted license fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization under the IRS Code. The Foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

The complete list of grant/initiative recipients and their projects/awards are as follows:

  • Angels Among Us, Inc./Financial Aid for Families of Children w/Cancer – $20,000.
  • Audubon Recreation Foundation/Recreation Center in Audubon – $50,000.
  • Blue Barn Theatre/Expanded programming for the 2015-16 season, $9,200.
  • Carstens 1880 Farmstead/Restoration – $15,750.
  • City of Clarinda/Downtown facade restoration, $55,975.
  • City of Council Bluffs/Communications Officer, $152,000; Rental Housing Inspection, $64, 202.
  • Community Education Foundation/Classroom grants for 2015-16, $25,000; STARS Scholarship Program Initiative, $369,526,
  • Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund/Affordable Housing, 2015-16: $45,058.
  • Downtown Omaha, Inc. Foundation/2015 Holiday Lights Festival: $15,000.
  • 4th Judicial District/Dept. of Correctional Svc./Drug Court: $113,000.
  • Heartland Family Service -Lewis Central Children’s Mental Health Program initiative: $300,000; Housing Emergency Assistance Task Force: $170,000; Iowa Family Works; $77,500; Substance Abuse Services: $37,500.
  • Habitat For Humanity/General Operating Funds: $100,000.
  • Hearts and Hugs Day Care, Inc./Facility renovation: $10,000.
  • Heritage Services/Riverfront Study initiative: $95,500.
  • Iowa West Foundation initiatives: Mid-America Center revitalization, $2-million; Park Landing at River’s Edge Park, $1.15-million; Public Art/Interactive Children’s art for Riverfront Park, $1-million.
  • Justice For Our Neighbors – Legal assistance for low-income immigrants in southwest Iowa, $32,500.
  • Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc./RSafe program: $15,000.
  • MICHA House Corp./General Operating Funds: $45,000.
  • Montgomery County Family YMCA – indoor tennis lighting/court enhancement, $20,000.
  • Neola Area Community Center/Stronger community, $10,000.
  • New Community Development Corp./Mynster Townhomes Development, $250,000.
  • Omaha Theater Company/Rose Theater Field Trips for Council Bluffs Students: $9,452.
  • Opera Omaha/2 productions: $30,000.
  • Pott. County Board of Supervisors/Veterans Admin. Bldg. initiative: $275,000.
  • Vocational Development Center (VODEC)/Residential Home Renovation: $25,000.

Shelby County implements Fire Danger Monitoring

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Service Officials, including Fire Chiefs, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Management will begin twice weekly updates on local fire danger conditions. Signs placed strategically in each community, primarily at the fire Stations will indicate what the fire danger is for any particular day.

This program, implemented in 2010, resulted in a reduction of fire responses countywide. The continuous bi weekly fire danger assessments are provided by email to the media, Fire Chiefs, and others who support the program on their web pages, through radio, and cable TV information pages. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says that has reduced the need for the county to implement a complete burn ban.

If you live in Shelby County and need to burn a pile of brush, debris, or buildings, contact the Emergency Management Agency at 755-2124. The dispatchers will obtain the location and nature of the planned burn and will provide the caller with the Fire Chiefs contact information. Through this expanded communication process, Seivert says they have found some burns can be rescheduled to a different time of day, where wind and moisture level is more acceptable. The Fire Chiefs can have input as to how the burn can be conducted safely and be aware of the activity should it become unmanageable.

Shelby County has four, distinct, color coded levels:
LOW – You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief.
Moderate – You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief. Timing for burns should be morning, or evening hours and extinguished by dark unless authorized by Fire Chief due to possible impacts to roads and health from smoke. Burns must be monitored at all times.
High – Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and Fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Please call 712-755-2124 with questions.
Extreme – Burning is prohibited, unless you have a signed permit from the local Fire Chief. Fires on Extreme days can grow rapidly and pose a risk to the Health and Safety of the Community. If you have any questions please call 712-755-2124.

The Emergency Management Agency uses a combination of the National Weather Service, actual local field measurements, and assessment of local conditions in determining the potential for dangerous fires. With continuing dry weather expected, the availability of fuel through the drying out of the crops will continue to increase the potential for devastating fires, here, in Iowa. The goal is to prevent fires, through good communication, public cooperation, and planning.