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11 children were living in filth, Iowa authorities say

News

June 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A Council Bluffs man has been charged with child endangerment after authorities found that 11 children were living in filthy conditions.
The Daily Nonpareil reports Richard Simet is charged with neglect of a dependent person and a dozen counts of child endangerment. Those are the same charges facing 34-year-old Bobbi Simet, who authorities say isn’t married to Richard Simet.

The charges stem from an investigation done by the Iowa Human Services Department and Council Bluffs police. Officials say they found the children’s home to be very dirty, infested with cockroaches and smelling like urine. The children range in age from 2 to 14.

Atlantic School Board to act on formal PPEL Election Resolution next month

News

June 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education, Wednesday evening, discussed but took no action on their plans to hold a special election in September, with regard to the voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and PPEL Income Surtax. The Board did, however, agree to have the district’s lawyer look over a draft resolution for placing the Income Surtax before the voters, only. The idea is to have the resolution ready by their next meeting on July 13th, so that it can be submitted to Cass County Election Commissioner Dale Sunderman by July 25th, the deadline for a next special election to be set.

The current, draft Resolution of Election calls for a vote on the PPEL Income Surtax, only, which if approved, would begin July 1st, 2017. The language states “The percentage of Income Surtax will not exceed 20-percent (to be determined by the Board each year), with the total taxation not to exceed 85-cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in any one tax year. If the measure fails, it would still not “Terminate or restrict authority previously granted by the voters to levy a special tax for any one or more of the purposes permitted by Iowa law.”  A similar Measure placed before the voters last fall, failed. School Board members hope to have the matter explained in more detail at future, public meetings.

In other business, the Atlantic School Board voted 4-to 1 in favor of a 3% salary increase beginning with the 2016-17 School Year, for School District Administrators and Supervisors, with Dr. Swanson voting against. They also approved, by a vote of 4-to 0, a 3% salary increase for Central Office clerical staff, with Board Chair Josh McClaren abstaining due to a conflict of interest.  Prior to the vote, School Board member Jenny Williams requested to have Business Manager Mary Beth Fast’ increase removed from the group increases. She said that’s because compared with the State average pay for District Business Managers, Atlantic’s is pretty high.

Atlantic Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein had requested both increases. The cost of the salary increase for Administrators and Supervisors amounts to $29,108, which includes IPERS and FICA. Amstein noted that during the 2015-16 school year, the Administrators and Supervisors did not receive a raise, but were given five additional vacation leave days that they were allowed to exchange for cash at the end of the school year. The same offer does not apply to the coming school year, but Amstein requested those individuals be able to retain the option to be paid for up to 5 days unused vacation leave at the end of the 2016-17 school year. With regard to the Central Office clerical staff, Amstein says the cost of their salary increase would amount to $9,377, which again, includes IPERS and FICA. It affects four clerical positions, two tech support and one grounds maintenance positions.

The 3% increase is less than the total package agreement negotiated with the non-certified employees association for the 2016-17 year.

Jasper County teen killed in crash, four others injured

News

June 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A teenager was killed in a traffic crash Wednesday morning in central Iowa’s Jasper County. It happened shortly after 7:30 a.m. when a car and truck collided at an intersection in Kellogg. The truck caught on fire, but the three people inside were able to escape. The driver of the car, 16-year-old Trenton Brady of rural Kellogg, died at the scene. A passenger in the car and three occupants of the truck, were taken to hospitals.

(Radio Iowa)

Multiple semi crashes in I-80 construction zone in Iowa County

News

June 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Traffic safety officials are looking at possible changes to a construction zone on Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa. Jim Schnoebelen, the Iowa DOT’s District 6 engineer, says around a half-dozen semis have crashed in the work zone near Ladora within the last week. “I can confirm there’s been at least five and maybe as many as six or seven,” Schnoebelen said.

Ladora I-80 construction area wreck

Ladora I-80 construction area wreck

The Department of Transportation is fixing decking on a bridge, which is forcing traffic to use temporarily shifted lanes in both eastbound and westbound directions. The speed limit on I-80 in the construction zone is reduced to 55 miles an hour. There’s a narrow shoulder in the right lane in both directions and, apparently, it’s causing problems for semi drivers in particular.

“We’re looking to see if we may even have some camera footage that would allow us to review the accidents,” Schnoebelen said. “It seems like most of them appear to be (semis) just slipping off the side of the road. I’m not sure about the cause of that…whether it’s just distracted driving or not enough margin of error for the room available there.” So far, there have not been reports of serious injuries in the crashes. Since there is a narrow shoulder, the DOT installed signs telling truck drivers to use the left lane.

“It may be an issue, at times, where trucks don’t have that opportunity to get over to the left lane. So, we’re taking a look at whether there needs to be more advanced warning to make sure they’re aware of that upcoming work zone,” Schnoebelen said. The construction work in the area started last week and is expected to last until September.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, June 9th 2016

News

June 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

LAWTON, Iowa (AP) — A northwest Iowa city clerk has been fired after police say he tried to meet an underage boy in Nebraska for sex. The Sioux City Journal reports that city council members in Lawton unanimously voted Tuesday to remove City Clerk Douglas Furlich. He was arrested Thursday and charged with sexual assault through the use of an electronic device.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Patty Judge opened her general election campaign against one of the most-entrenched senators in Washington by making a trip to Washington herself _ Washington, Iowa, that is. One day after the former lieutenant governor defeated three other Democrats for the nomination, she met with local supporters there over lunch. Democratic activists say that kind of ground-level politics is the only way she can pull an upset against Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who ranks fourth in Senate seniority.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ruled that a Des Moines teenager accused of fatally shooting a 17-year-old boy will face trial in adult court. The Des Moines Register reports that District Associate Judge Joseph Seidlin chose to transfer 15-year-old Marvin Holmes’ first-degree murder trial from juvenile to adult district court Wednesday. Holmes is accused of shooting Kendall Foster in the back April 29.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A former employee of The Swiss Colony catalog sales company has pleaded guilty to an elaborate fraud scheme in which he stole and sold its merchandise online for years. Chad Saeugling faces a possible prison sentence after entering guilty pleas Wednesday for mail fraud and making false statements to financial institutions.

City of Atlantic set to begin annual spraying for mosquitoes Thursday

News

June 8th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The City of Atlantic issued a notice for residents that they will begin annual spraying for mosquitoes on Thursday, June 9the and Friday, June 10th.  Spraying will be done between 4:00am-7:00am, weather permitting.  Spraying will continue every Thursday and Friday throughout the summer until further notice.

Number of primary voters casting ballots lowest since 2004

News

June 8th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Preliminary figures show the number of voters to cast ballots in the primary election is the lowest in more than a decade. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says 187,969 voters cast ballots in the U.S. Senate primary on Tuesday, the only statewide race on the ballot. That represents 9.7 percent of the 1.9 million active registered voters. It’s the lowest number since 164,404 voters cast ballots in 2004, a year with no federal or statewide primary challenges.

Since 2000 statewide turnout has ranged from 16.6 percent in 2002 when there was a highly contested governor’s race to 9.5 percent in 2008, another year with no statewide primary races. Pate says the reason for low turnout this year may be voter apathy centered on frustration with government.

Correction! Audubon County Board of Supervisors race

News

June 8th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

In a correction to our earlier posts and reports: Incumbent Republicans Todd Nelson and Rick Thompson received the most votes in the three-man race for the At Large seats on the Audubon County Board of Supervisors. Thompson received 711 votes (36.4%), while Nelson received 658 votes (33.7%). Doug Sorensen garnered 572 votes (29.3%).  (Earlier we had stated Nelson lost his bid for re-election. We apologize for the misunderstanding and error!)

Summer is just around the corner: Mowing tips

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 8th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Summer officially starts June 21st, and with it comes the need for lawn care. Officials with the Guthrie County Extension Service, say when mowing your lawn, mow at a height of 3-3 ½ inches during summer months and 2 ½-3 inches in the spring and fall.

There are two options when deciding to water your lawn.  You can do nothing and allow the grass to go dormant or you can water during dry weather to maintain a green, actively growing lawn.  If you decide to water, 5 am to 9 am is the best time to water so it soaks deeply into the soil.

To control white grubs, there are 3 approaches.  You can apply a preventive insecticide to the lawn annually, apply a curative insecticide only when damage symptoms appear, or do nothing and repair your damaged lawn when grub damage occurs.  Mid-June to late July is the best time to apply preventive insecticide.

Exira man arrested on warrant for Criminal mischief, Trespass and Disorderly Conduct

News

June 8th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office reports an investigation into an incident that took place early Monday morning at a business in Exira, has resulted in the arrest of 19-year old Jonathan Jamz Herron, of Exira. Herron was charged with Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree, Trepass and Disorderly Conduct. He was later released from the Audubon County Jail, after appearing before a Magistrate.