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Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Jan. 28 2014

News

January 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — After a second day of deliberations, jurors haven’t reached a verdict at the trial of an Iowa man charged in the 1974 slaying of a 17-year-old girl. Wapello County jurors left yesterday after meeting all day to consider the case against Robert “Gene” Pilcher. Deliberations resume today.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have captured an Iowa inmate accused of walking away from a work release center. The U.S. Marshals Service say in a news release that 25-year-old Derrick Dejuan Hoover was arrested Thursday after Des Moines police located him during a traffic stop. Authorities say Hoover cut off his monitoring device and walked away from the Fort Des Moines Work Release Center on January 7. He had been ordered to live at the center as a condition of release for federal convictions.

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) — Residents in the western Iowa city of Logan have been asked to conserve water as officials investigate a possible leak in the distribution system. The Department of Natural Resources says the amount of water coming into the city from four wells has been gradually decreasing over several weeks. Workers spent the weekend looking for a break in a line but have been unsuccessful.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats who hold the majority in the Iowa Senate want to boost state education funding for the 2015 school year. But the Republican governor and Republicans controlling the state House have shown little interest in considering the proposal this year. Under state law, the General Assembly is supposed to establish funding levels more than a year in advance. Legislators have not always followed that law.

Audubon City Council tables interim clerk appointment

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A standing-room only crowd attending Monday night’s meeting of the Audubon City Council, hoping to get answers to questions they had about the Council’s decision not to re-appoint Lora Hansen as City Clerk during their meeting on January 13th, but they received very few answers that weren’t hidden behind the cloak of the law.IMG_20140127_185959_401 After a lengthy and sometimes contentious session, the Council tabled action on appointing an interim City Clerk, pending talks with interim City Attorney David Wiederstein, who was appointed to fill the position of Lance Levis. Levis turned in his resignation last Thursday. Hansen has agreed to remain City Clerk in the interim, until the matter is taken up again in two weeks.

During the session, it was pointed out the Council may have broken the law with regard to what transpired during the last session and the events which led up to it. Dawn Rohe, a citizen of Audubon and City Administrator in Manning, said they violated Iowa Code at the previous meeting by not having the appointment of a City Clerk on the agenda 24-hours in advance of the meeting. She said each member of the Council could face financial damages for knowingly violating the rule. She said Mayor Clark “Sam” Kauffman could have vetoed the Council’s vote not to re-appoint Hansen, but he chose not to do so.

Rohe also made a request under the Iowa Open Records law, for documents pertaining to actions leading up to the Jan. 13th meeting, and any other pertinent information. The main question the 100 or so people who were in attendance at the meeting had, was why the Council thought it was necessary to replace Hansen — who has served the City for more than 30-years — with Janet Nelson (who subsequently withdrew her name from consideration). Councilman John Wetzel said that was something they couldn’t discuss.  He said that was one the advice of the City Attorney. He did say Hansen was supposed to be on a two-year appointment, and it was not performance-based. Wetzel says “If some day, if we can talk about more things, then we will.”

Wetzel also denied allegations Nelson was chosen in behind the scenes activities that would have been illegal under the Iowa Code. He said there was no interview. Instead, she was referred to him by a citizen. He saw Nelson and examined her resumed, but he denied he had an interview with her. Newly elected Councilman Jason Hocker was asked why, since he’d never worked with Hansen, would he make a motion to “get rid of her.” Hocker side-stepped the answer by saying he’s already spoken about the matter in area newspapers. That didn’t sit well with the man who asked the question. He said he the citizens would never have voted for Hocker they knew he intended to make a motion not to re-appoint Hansen.

Democrats seek boost in Iowa education funding

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats who hold the majority in the Iowa Senate want to boost state education funding for the 2015 school year, but the Republican governor and Republicans controlling the state House have shown little interest in considering the proposal this year.

Legislation to increase state funding for the school year that starts in the fall of 2015 was approved by a Senate subcommittee Monday. Under state law, the General Assembly is supposed to establish funding levels for kindergarten through 12th grade education over a year in advance.

Lawmakers have not always followed that law. Gov. Terry Branstad called the rule “outmoded” Monday. He also said the state could not afford the 6 percent budget increase that Democrats are seeking. Democratic leaders have said it’s important to abide by the law.

Bill lets military members buy guns without permit

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa legislative panel has unanimously approved a measure that would let active duty members of the military buy handguns without going through the usual permit process. A three-member House subcommittee approved the bill Monday and it now will go to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Currently, any person buying a handgun must first obtain a permit, meet certain requirements and pay an annual fee. The bill would allow active duty members of the military to skip this process. Republican Rep. Dwayne Alons, of Hull, says the bill would align Iowa’s law with 37 other states that let active duty members of the military buy firearms without permits.

Iowa Senate backs tax break for military pensions

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has unanimously approved legislation that would exempt military pensions from state income taxes. The legislative body, where Democrats hold a slim majority, backed the bill Monday in a 46-0 vote. The legislation now moves to the state House, where it is expected to get speedy approval.

The military pension exemption is a top priority for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who has made support for veterans a key part of his budget plan this year. According to the Branstad administration, the pension exemption would cost the state a projected $10 million in lost annual revenue. Currently, military retirees over the age of 55 can exempt a portion of their military pensions from state income taxes.

Council Bluffs man sentenced on firearm charge

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A U-S District Court judge has sentenced 40-year old Michael Phillip Castor, of Council Bluffs, to 110 months imprisonment, on a charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Castor will also be required to serve three years of supervised release, to forfeit the firearm and ammunition he possessed, and is required to pay a $100 special assessment for the Crime Victim Fund. Castor remained in the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence.

In sentencing Castor, Judge Robert W. Pratt found that Castor was subject to the enhanced sentencing provisions of the Armed Career Criminal Act, which increases the sentence of a convicted felon in possession of a firearm based on prior serious drug felony or felony violent crime convictions. Castor was found to have three prior violent crime convictions in Nebraska, including burglary, robbery, and the use of a firearm to commit a felony.

Mills County man sentenced on firearm charge

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says 41-year old Jason Shawn Allan, of Hastings, in Mills County, was sentenced Friday in United States District Court in Council Bluffs, on a charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

Senior United States District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt sentenced Allan to 24 months imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Allan was also ordered to forfeit the firearm he possessed, and to pay a $100.00 special assessment to the Crime Victim Fund. Allan remained in the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence.

The charge arose from the response by Mills County Sheriff’s deputies to a call of a suspicious person on private property. Upon arrival, deputies found Allan with a disabled vehicle in a private driveway. Alan was observed to have bloodshot eyes, with an odor of marijuana emanating from his person. In the ensuing investigation, deputies found drug paraphernalia and an unloaded .22 caliber revolver in the vehicle, of which Allan was the operator and sole occupant. Along with other criminal history, Allan had previously been convicted of felony charges of theft, serious assault, forgery, and multiple charges of OWI 3rd.

The case was investigated by the Mills County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Citation issued following accident in Atlantic Friday

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following an accident Friday morning, here in Atlantic. Authorities say a vehicle driven by Jeffrey Salz, of Atlantic, crossed the center line of the road as Salz was heading north in the 1200 block of Maple Street. Salz’ vehicle struck a southbound vehicle driven by Sandra Neighbors, of Anita, causing a total of $8,000 damage. The accident happened at around 9:30-a.m.  Salz was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

Atlantic arrests

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report four people were arrested recently. On Friday, 58-year old Blaine Buchanan, of Atlantic, was arrested on two Cass County warrants for Failure to Appear to serve jail time, twice. And, 24-year old Marshall Fischer, of Atlantic, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana). Both men were booked into the Cass County Jail.

On Sunday, 43-year old Carl Kemp, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant for Domestic Abuse Assault. That same day, 22-year old Brady Salberg, of Atlantic, was arrested for Simple Assault. Both men were booked into the Cass County Jail.

WATER CONSERVATION ADVISORY ISSUED FOR CITY OF LOGAN

News

January 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Residents of the city of Logan in Harrison County, are being urged to conserve water while workers try to determine where a break may have occurred in the system. Water for the city of Logan comes from four wells located several miles from town. The amount of water coming in from the wells has been gradually decreasing in recent weeks from approximately 250 gallons per minute to approximately 160 gallons per minute.

It is believed that the decrease in water production is due to a break in a line somewhere in the system. Crews spent most of the weekend trying to locate the problem, but have so far been unsuccessful.

The city currently has a full storage tank at 250,000 gallons, but uses and average of 160,000 to 170,000 gallons a day. Until the cause of the problem can be determined and repaired, residents are being asked to conserve water as much as possible to retain an adequate supply.

(12-p.m. News)