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Information on adoptions to be presented in Council Bluffs

News

January 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A statewide organization in Iowa that recruits, trains, licenses and supports Iowa’s foster and adoptive families, will hold an informational meeting in Council Bluffs on Jan. 20th, for individuals interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents. The Omaha World-Herald reports the Iowa Kidsnet session gives attendees a basic overview of the process involved in foster care and adoption and an understanding of the characteristics of children in the child welfare system.logo

Families especially are needed to foster teens, children with special needs or behaviors, and sibling groups. Iowa also needs more African-American, Latino and Native American foster and adoptive parents. For more information, call 800-243-0756 or visit iowakidsnet.com.

Shenandoah School Board votes to fire District Superintendent

News

January 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The contract of Shenandoah School District Superintendent Jeff Hiser was terminated Tuesday after he decided not to fight to keep his job. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the school board voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday evening after Hiser withdrew his request for a hearing on the matter. On Nov. 5th, board members unanimously approved considering Hiser’s termination. A public hearing before an administrative law judge had been set to begin Wednesday after Hiser challenged that action.

Jim Hanks, an attorney with the Ahlers & Cooney P.C. law firm that represents the school district, said Hiser had tenure so the board couldn’t fire him without an appeal process. The board said it acted against Hiser after an investigation uncovered evidence of fraud, policy violations and a cover-up of misdeeds. In its reasons for termination, the school board accused him of submitting fraudulent expense requests, knowingly giving inaccurate information in a board investigation, violating district policy by engaging in unapproved outside employment, and misusing district time and property for personal gain.

According to a statement issued Monday by Hanks, Hiser withdrew his hearing request because of ongoing medical problems. The letter said the withdrawal shouldn’t be interpreted “as agreement with the allegations made against him.”

Pott. County Board meetings to be streamed live

News

January 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In an effort to ensure more transparency in the way local government functions, the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors have decided to have their meeting streamed online and simultaneously recorded for later playback if persons interested miss the live proceedings. According to the Daily NonPareil, the board on Tuesday voted 4-0, with Supervisor Lynn Grobe absent, to approve a quote of $46,016 from the Omaha firm of AVI Systems for the installation of the necessary equipment so that meetings can be shown live, also known as streaming, as well as the ability to be recorded for public viewing later. The board also approved having YouTube as the vendor.

The equipment would include a camera in the back of the boardroom, with various ceiling speakers and microphones, plus a new projector and screen allowing other departments use for training purposes. There would be a three-year service agreement in which AVI would fix or replace equipment if needed. It could take two weeks, maybe less, to install the equipment, followed by testing and/or tweaking to ensure high quality. It will be set up so that the public could go to pottcounty-ia.gov and then click on “Meetings” and their listed dates.

Not only did AVI have the lower of two quotes, but it currently provides recording services for the courtrooms in the courthouse, such as allowing jail inmates to listen in and/or respond to questions in the courtrooms without the need to be transported there.

Storm hinders blood drive efforts

News

January 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A spokesperson for a blood center that serves three states says the winter storm hit them at the worst possible time. LifeServe Blood Center’s Beth Phillips, says they had to cancel blood drives as the snow moved in. “This severe weather came right after the holidays, which is already a difficult time for use to collect because people are busy with fun activities with their friends and family,” Phillips says, “So this storm really couldn’t have come at a worse time for us and our collection efforts.” A surge in the flu has sent people to the hospital and added another hurdle in efforts to collect blood.

“If you have a cold or the flu, we ask that you wait for all of those symptoms have passed before you come in to donate with us,” Phillips says. She estimates they lost nearly 200 units of donated blood alone form storm cancellations. “Because we plan so far in advance because we have to get staff and resources to a site — if we cancel a blood drive or close early — we can’t make up for those units the very next day unless we see more people turning out for our events. We can’t host more events because we are limited in our resources,” according to Phillips. Phillips hopes people will bundle up and take some time to donate yet this week as the temperatures warm up a bit.

She says it takes less to an hour to donate, especially now with low wait times. Phillips says the actual donation takes only five to 10 minutes to complete. And while donating blood won’t cause the temperature outside to warm up, she guarantees it will give you a warm feeling. “You’ll know that you saved three lives of people in your community, there’s really not better feeling than that,” Phillips says. She encourages you to go to www.lifeservebloodcenter.org to find a place to donate.

Phillips says you will find a green button that says “donate now” and you can type in your zip code. “And you can see local blood drives near you, or you can call us at 1-800-287-4903,” Phillips says. The center which serves 100 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, normally has a three-to-five-day supply of blood on hand, but Phillips says they are down to less than a one-day supply of most types of blood.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, Jan. 8th 2015

News

January 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad and lawmakers say they want to work on roads funding during the 2015 legislative session, but no one is committing to a specific plan. The Republican governor and legislative leaders spoke yesterday during an Associated Press Legislative Forum.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A fired manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier accused of fraud agreed to cooperate with prosecutors months ago under a plea deal. A plea agreement released Tuesday shows Phillip Payne agreed in May to “fully and completely cooperate” in the investigation of the Midamar Corporation. The document shows that Payne worked as Midamar’s operations manager, but was fired in 2012 after telling the Cedar Rapids-based company he intended to seek employment elsewhere.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A February 23rd sentencing has been scheduled for an Illinois man convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal accident in a Burlington motel parking lot. The Hawk Eye newspaper reports 35-year-old Phillip Evans of Wood River, Illinois pleaded guilty on Monday as the prosecutor told a judge that a vehicular homicide charge would be dropped for lack of evidence.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A trial has been scheduled later this month for a Mason City man accused of vehicular homicide and other crimes. The Mason City Globe Gazette says 47-year-old Victor Rivera pleaded not guilty on Monday. His trial is set to begin on January 27th.

Atlantic City Council Considers TIF request for local developer

News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A local developer’s request for $360,000 in Tax Increment Financing from the City of Atlantic could result in as much as $70,000 in tax revenue once the nearly $4-million dollar housing project is completed and the homes are sold. Don Sonntag appeared before the City Council Wednesday night to ask for the TIF, which the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee has recommended the Council approve. The matter was discussed, but no action was taken during the Council’s session. Instead, it’s expected to be placed on their agenda at a later date.

The TIF application is for the Southern Heights View Development Project, which would be located between East 19th and East 22nd Streets. Councilperson Kathy Somers, who is on the P&F Committee, said there was some concern brought up during the Committee’s meeting Monday evening, about congestion along 19th Street near two local residential care facilities that would be created as the project is being brought to fruition. The Committee decided it would recommend to the Council 19th Street be widened to eliminate any potential congestion.

Sonntag said the 28 unit complex has an approximate valuation of $3.5-to 4-million. 16 of the units would be located along 19th Street, with 12 additional units near 22nd. He said it will be a combination of rentals and condominiums, some without basements, some with walk-out basements. In addition, Sonntag said he would be willing to commit to building one or two regular homes on property located along Olive Street in the same area, that’s owned by his son.

Sonntag reiterated the need for more housing in Atlantic, in pitching the project to the Council. He said there are less than one-half dozen lots available in town for someone wanting to build a 250-to 300 thousand dollar home. Sonntag said there are people who are looking for those size lots, and if they aren’t available, will look toward Harlan and Carroll to build their homes.

Sonntag says if the TIF is approved, the $360,000 – payable by the City in three $120,000 installments – will be used to help with infrastructure improvements and other matters associated with the development project, to help make the final costs affordable to potential buyers of the properties.

Atlantic City Council meets the new Attorney in town

News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council officially met the man whom it’s assumed will become the new City Attorney. Current City Attorney Dave Wiederstein, who was elected Cass County Attorney in November, introduced Jamie Arnold to the Council. Arnold comes to Atlantic from North Carolina, along with his wife and two children, one that’s nearly two-years old, the other, six. Once he receives his license to practice law in Iowa, he will officially be an Associate with the Law Firm of Otto, Lorence & Wiederstein, PLLC. In addition, Arnold will maintain a private practice and is expected to be appointed Assistant Cass County Attorney, helping to prosecute criminal matters.

Atty. Jamie Arnold

Atty. Jamie Arnold

Arnold addressed the Council as well, in his distinct, somewhat southern drawal. He said “You can tell I’m not from around here, but we didn’t just pick a spot on a map and throw darts at it and pick Iowa. My wife is actually from southwest Iowa, so we have some ties here.” He said people have been very good to him and he looks forward to working in Atlantic.

Arnold’s wife is originally from Bedford. Wiederstein said because Arnold had been practicing law in North Carolina, he doesn’t not have to take the Iowa Bar Exam. He says Arnold is simply waiting for some paperwork to be processed by a clearing house in order to receive his license to practice law here.

Red Oak man arrested for stealing chopped wood

News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly taking chopped wood that didn’t belong to him. Officials say 60-year old James Donald Uhlmann, Sr., was taken into custody at around 4:25-p.m. after he allegedly walked onto property owned by Gail Ann Rohner and took chopped wood valued at $200 that had been prepared by Rohner. Uhlmann had been previously warned not to commit the crime but ignored the warning. He was charged with 5th Degree Theft and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where he was being held on $300 bond.

And, at around 2:30-p.m. Wednesday, Matthew Wayne Echternach, of Essex, was arrested for Driving While Suspended, after the vehicle he was operating was pulled over on east Nuckols Street, in Red Oak. Echternach was also charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and later posted a $300 bond before being released.

 

Iowa man pleads not guilty to charges in fatal car crash

News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to providing alcohol to a teenager before a fatal car crash in August. Twenty-one-year-old Matthias Stork, of Breda, entered his written plea Wednesday in Sac County District Court on two counts of selling, giving or supplying alcohol to a minor resulting in death. The Sioux City Journal reports his trial is scheduled to begin in March.

Stork is accused of supplying beer to a 17-year-old in August who later drove a vehicle. The teen’s car crashed into a vehicle driven by 16-year-old Bailey Jacobsen. She and her passenger, 16-year-old Lindsey Quirk, both of Wall Lake, were killed.

The teen driver has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. Authorities say his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for driving.

Bluffs man arrested in Glenwood

News

January 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Glenwood Police Department reports the arrest on Thursday (today) of 32-year Matthew West,  of Council Bluffs. West was arrested on a Mills County warrant for Probation Violation. His bond was
set at $5000.