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Iowa early News headlines: Wed., June 5th 2013


June 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

ONAWA, Iowa – Authorities in Nebraska late Tuesday evening located a woman and two children who were the subject of an Amber Alert issued in Iowa a few hours earlier. Sheriff’s officials in Monona County (Iowa) say the Dodge County (Neb.) Sheriff’s Office found 30-year old Cari Ann Eich, and her children 4-year old Labrie Parker and 1-month old Lawson Gualazzi, at around 8 p.m.  Authorities say 30-year-old woman, who may have been strung out on meth, allegedly abducted the boys.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster declaration in Des Moines County in the wake of recent storms and flooding. Branstad announced the declaration yesterday. He has issued disaster proclamations in more than 40 counties due to the storms. The declaration helps counties access state resources to help with the flood response

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Catholic church is suing the city of Des Moines over the right to demolish two properties for development. St. Augustin Catholic Church filed its lawsuit in Polk County District Court earlier this week. Church officials want to force the city to issue permits that would allow for the demolition of two houses on the city’s west side.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport man has been accused of using his cellphone to record video of a woman undressing at a tanning salon. The Quad-City Times reports Justin Coffey made an initial court appearance yesterday in Scott County District Court. He is charged with invasion of privacy-nudity.



June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Amber Alert issued for two children from western Iowa Tuesday evening was terminated a few hours later, after a vehicle matching the description and license plate issued during the Amber Alert was stopped north of Fremont, Neb. The Monona County (Iowa) Sheriff’s Office said 30-year old Cari Ann Eich, who was described as a “Noncustodial parent,” was arrested and her two boys, ages  4-years and one-month, are safe. 

Authorities said Eich was arrested without incident after a motorist who heard the Amber Alert saw the pickup the trio were in, and called police. Authorities had feared for the boys’ safety, because Eich was suspected of being under the influence of methamphetamine when she took off with her kids from her grandparents’ home. Iowa authorities said later, she did not appear to be under the influence of drugs when she was apprehended.

Family members say Eich was scheduled to check in to rehab at Women and Children’s Center in Sioux City at 2-p.m. Tuesday, but as the family was loading vehicles, Eich managed to leave with the children at around 12:45-p.m., before anyone had a chance to react. The Amber Alert was issued at around 6:30-p.m. It was cancelled just before 9-p.m., after Eich and the boys were located about an hour-earlier.

Officials said it appears Eich never had the rights to have her children in her custody.

Amber Alert Issued! (UPDATED)


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(updated 7:28-p.m.)

The State of Iowa has issued an AMBER ALERT for children reported missing out of western Iowa’s Monona County.

Lawson Gualazzi

According to authorities, Cari Ann Eich, a 30-year old white female is believed to have taken two children, 1 month old Lawson Gualazzi, a white male weighing 10-pounds, and 4-year old Labrie Parker, a white male weighing about 45-pounds. Lawson has unknown color hair and brown eyes. and was wearing a blue sleeper. Labrie has blonde hair and blue eyes. He is wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans.

Labrie Parker age 4

The children were abducted at around 12:45-p.m. from 22004 Dogwood Avenue in Onawa. They are believed to be traveling in a blue 2002 Chevy Silverado pickup with Iowa license plate 072 HMO. Direction of travel is unknown.

Cari Ann Eich

Authorities say Cari Ann Eich may be heavily under the influence of methamphetamine. She has sandy colored hair, and hazel eyes. Eich weighs about 150-pounds and stands 5-feet 11-inches tall. She was wearing a blue sweat shirt and jeans.

If you see the vehicle, the children or the suspect, contact the Monona County Sheriff’s Office at 712-433-1414 or call 9-1-1. The AMBER ALERT was issued at 6:35-p.m. June 4th, 2013.

Atlantic City Council to set the date for a public hearing on Cable TV manager pay raise


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Atlantic will meet Wednesday evening at 5:30. During their session, they’re expected to act on setting June 26th as the date for a public hearing on amending the Cable TV committee budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The Cable TV committee is asking the Council to increase its adopted 2014 budget by $6,600 to cover the cost of a pay increase and benefits for Station Manager Mike McCullough and his assistant. The increase is on top of the $4,190 increase the committee adopted for their FY 2014 budget for the manager and assistant manager’s costs based on their current compensation.  

The Cable TV committee has proposed changing both McCullough’s status and his assistant to “regular employee,” which means McCullough’s salary would increase from $19,500 per year to $23,318, including FICA, IPERs and Workers Comp. benefits. His assistant’s salary would be unchanged, but with added benefits, it would cost the City $1,476 more per year. City Administrator Doug Harris says the Committee proposes to draw down their fund balance to pay for the recurring personnel expense. They currently have about $30,000 in their fund balance, which was originally intended for future replacement of equipment.  

In other business, the Atlantic City Council will act on approving resolutions pertaining to Sewer Revenue Bonds. One resolution calls for a bond purchase agreement in a principal amount not to exceed $7.055-million dollars, the other is with regard to the issuance of the bonds. The Council will also act on approving a proposed Bull Creek Bike Route and designation as a City Bike Route, connecting the Bull Creek Path off of Olive Street with the 2nd Street Bike Route which connects with Buck Creek Road.  

The Council will also act on approving the second reading of an amendment to the City’s Code of Ordinances, which calls for an increase in the rate charge for Sewer Service. If approved on the 3rd and final reading, the monthly base fee for up to 3,000 gallons would increase $1.50 per month to $28.50. The fee for usage above 3,000 gallons would increase 30-cents per 1,000 gallons, to $5.80 per thousand. The increases are said to be needed to fund debt service and operating costs of the new wastewater treatment plant, and an increase in the annual utility billing costs passed along to the City by Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU).

IA DOT warns of online driver’s license renewal scams


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowans will soon be able to renew their driver’s license on-line, likely starting in mid-July, but Iowa Department of Transportation officials say they’re hearing from Iowans who’ve already been tricked by on-line imposters. Mark Lowe, director of the D-O-T’s motor vehicle division, says there are a number of websites that offer information about how to renew your driver’s license. “They may provide information on how to get your driver’s license in online services and they’ll have you fill out information and pay for something, but what you’re getting is just an easy guide that provides information that we really provide on our website,” Lowe says. “So then people have either shown up at our offices or they’ve called and said, ‘Well, I paid $14 for this, but I haven’t gotten my license yet and it’s because all they were doing was buying some information and not conducting an online transaction that they can only do through us.”

The key is finding the Iowa Department of Transportation’s website, which ends with a dot-gov — and clicking the link for the Motor Vehicle Division. Lowe stresses, however, that online license renewal is not available now. “Because of the way the legislation was set up we’ve got some rules to pass which we will hopefully transact at our July 9 commission meeting and that once that’s done we’ll open up the site hopefully sometime in mid-July and we’ll make sure that’s well-known,” Lowe says. “But we want folks to make sure that when they look at it, they’re seeing that they’re on an Iowa DOT site and not any type of site that’s a .com or a .org.”

Go to the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division website, www.iowadot.gov/mvd/index.htm, which is likely to be updated in July once driver’s license renewal goes online. Legislation signed into law by the governor in mid-May ensures most Iowans between the ages of 18 and 70 will be able to renew their licenses online. However, Iowans with medical or vision problems or other restrictions on their current driver’s license will have to go into a D-O-T station to renew their licenses.

(Radio Iowa)

Unauthorized Cellular Phone Bill Charges: Cramming


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers about incidents of “cramming” on cellular phone bills. Officials say if a mysterious unauthorized charge appears on your wireless phone bill—like a monthly horoscope, a “premium service” or membership—you may have been “crammed.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cramming occurs when a company adds a charge to your landline or wireless phone bill for a service you didn’t order, agree to, or use.  For years, landline users have filed complaints about cramming.  More recently, wireless phone users have reported relatively small charges appearing on monthly cell phone bills—often from under a dollar to under $10—for services that they didn’t order.  They may be one-time charges or monthly fees.

Protect Yourself from Cramming

·       Check your monthly wireless phone bill.  Spending just a little time checking your monthly bill, line-by-line, is the very best way to protect yourself from cramming.  If you pay through automatic billing, it’s even more important to look over your wireless phone bill.

·       Look for unauthorized charges.  Look for third party charges that you didn’t authorize and charges that appear to be unusual or have vague titles.  For example, look for “membership” fees, unusual “service” or “voice mail” fees, charges through a 900 number, or even charges for entertainment services or horoscopes.

·       Call your wireless carrier if you’re unsure about a charge—even a small one.  Your wireless carrier should be able to explain all charges on your bill, whether it’s their charge or from a third party.

·       Ask your carrier about blocking third-party charges.  See if your carrier offers blocking options.

·       Dispute unauthorized charges.  If you detect an unauthorized charge, notify your carrier.  Follow up with an email or certified letter, and save a copy of the complaint and certified letter receipt for your records.

·       Avoid providing your wireless number in exchange for “freebies.”  Crammers may lure unsuspecting consumers through websites that promise freebies.  When consumers provide their cell phone number, they may unwittingly sign up for a monthly membership or subscription fee.  Avoid providing your cell phone number to online giveaways, sweepstakes, contest entries, and surveys.  If you do provide your number, be sure you’re familiar with the company collecting the information.

·       Unsolicited text messages can lead to unauthorized charges.  Unsolicited or “spam” text messages, which could be associated with contests, sweepstakes, ringtones, or other services, generally urge the recipient to reply—and sometimes even direct the recipient to reply with the word “stop” to avoid incurring monthly charges.  Before attempting to stop the messages through replying, call your wireless carrier to verify that doing so will actually stop the texts and any associated crammed charges.

·       Avoid calls to “toll-free” entertainment lines.  Many of these numbers may transfer your call to a 900-number, which will result in charges to your phone bill.  The call could also result in your automatic enrollment in a monthly “membership” charged to your phone bill.

·       Crammers can also sneak in through downloads, apps and clicked ads.  The beautiful free smartphone background picture, the fun free app you can download, and some clicked advertisements may result in unauthorized charges.  A company may disclose the charges, but it’s often buried in fine print that few people read or understand.


To file a complaint or for more information, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, IA 50319.  Call 515-281-5926, or (toll-free) 888-777-4590.  The website is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.

NC man injured in Pott. Co. crash Tuesday morning


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A tractor-trailer driver from North Carolina was injured when the semi he was driving went out of control this (Tuesday) morning in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 37-year old Timothy Dillard, of Rose Hill, NC, was transported by Neola Fire and Rescue to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, after the rig, owned by Gale Marie Werner trucking out of Stillwater, MN, went out of control at around 8-a.m. on Interstate 80 eastbound near the 28-mile marker.

Officials say the 2012 Kenworth jackknifed on the wet pavement and entered the south ditch before coming to rest on the shoulder of the road. The left side fuel tank was punctured during the accident, causing diesel fuel to spill into the ditch. Officials with the Iowa DNR were called-in to investigate the spill.

Residential thefts reported in Harlan


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Harlan are investigating recent residential thefts. On Monday, officers were called to a home in the 1700 block of 6th Street, after a resident reported someone may have broken into the back door of her home. Nothing appeared to have been missing. On May 31st, another Harlan resident reported he had returned home to find his front door unlocked, and some video game equipment, games and dvds missing. Included among the missing gaming electronics, was an X-Box 360, and a PlayStation 2. Both incidents remain under investigation.

And the Harlan P-D reports the arrest on May 31st, of 32-year old Daniel Pash, and 37-year old Amanda Hanover, both of Harlan. The pair were arrested on active Shelby County warrants, and were transported to the Shelby County Jail.

Alleged kidnapping victim testifies in Iowa trial


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – A woman who says she was kidnapped by a northwest Iowa man also accused of killing his mother has testified in his murder trial.  The Messenger in Fort Dodge reports Jessica Vega, of Storm Lake, testified to a Webster County jury Tuesday after opening statements in the trial of 21-year-old Kirk Levin.
The 21-year-old Vega said Levin showed up at her home on the morning of Jan. 3 and asked her to drive to nearby Early. She said he later told her she was being kidnapped and tied her up with a rope.  Vega said she was able to escape when Levin drove the car into a ditch.
Levin is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Marilyn Schmitt. He also faces a third-degree kidnapping charge.

Something fishy in Harlan


June 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department reports four teens were charged in connection with an incident of criminal mischief last week. Officials say Harlan resident Nathan McClaren reported to police several young persons had dumped a can of tuna underneath the driver’s seat of his 2002 Oldsmobile Alero. Authorites cited 17-year old Catherine Schmitz, of Harlan, with Criminal Mischief in the 4th degree. 16-year old Colin Fuhs, of Portsmouth was cited for joint Criminal Conduct. 18-year old Haley Miller, and 17-year old Shelby Powers, both of Harlan, were charged with aiding and abetting in connection with the incident.