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Adams County investigation leads to arrests


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department reports an ongoing investigation into incidents that date back to last year has resulted in felony charges being filed against two people. Fred Almaguer and Jonnie Weeks were arrested Feb. 7th and charged with Distribution to person under the age of 18 on certain real property, a Class-B Felony. Almaguer and Weeks were brought to the Adams County Jail and held on $25,000 cash bond, each.

Jonnie Weeks was also arrested Feb. 4th on an Adams County Warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Almaguer was originally arrested January 28th, following a traffic stop. After further investigation, Almaguer was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Paraphernalia.

Tree-killing pest found in Iowa City; bug now in 30 counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – State officials say an invasive insect that kills ash trees has been confirmed in Iowa City. The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that a specimen collected from trees that appeared to be under attack on the University of Iowa campus was confirmed as an emerald ash borer. With Johnson County added to the list, there are now 30 Iowa counties where the pest has been confirmed.

The insects are native to Asia and were first spotted in the U.S. in 2002, when they showed up in the Detroit area. Authorities say the insects have spread to at least 25 other states, killing millions of trees. Once infected, trees typically die within five years. University of Iowa officials estimate there are 560 ash trees on campus.

Iowa lawmakers OK bills to raise speed limit on rural roads


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa lawmakers have advanced bills that would raise the speed limit on rural roads despite warnings that the change could lead to more fatal crashes. The Des Moines Register reports a three-person subcommittee approved two bills Monday that would raise the speed limit on rural, two-lane roads. One bill would increase the speed limit from 55 mph to 60, and another would bump it up to 65 mph.
The bills now go to the full Transportation Committee.

Steve Gent, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, cautioned that increased speed limits are linked to a higher number of fatal crashes. He also noted it would cost roughly $5 million to implement changes including new mileage signs and road markings.

2015 Council Bluffs Interstate System Annual Report available online


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation have released the 2015 Council Bluffs Interstate System Annual Report. The report highlights progress made on construction and design projects in the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program (Program) during the past year. It features information about completed and active projects, public outreach, program status, statistics for work completed in 2015, and 2016 key projects around the Council Bluffs area.IA DOT

Iowa DOT District 4 Engineer Troy Jerman says “The Program was very busy over the last year working towards opening capacity to reduce congestion on Interstate 80/Interstate 29 west of South Expressway and completing several improvements near the I-29 and U.S. 275/Iowa 92 Interchange. The Program’s Annual Report provides a high-level overview of all of the work and design engineering that occurred in 2015 to provide the public with a summary of how Iowa DOT is delivering this important highway improvement project.”

The Iowa DOT is in the process of reconstructing I-29, I-80, and I-480 in the Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The comprehensive interstate redesign is expected to modernize the highway system and improve mobility and safety of approximately 18 miles of interstate. Motorists are encouraged to allow for extra travel time while the interstate improvement takes effect. If you would like more information about detours and traffic impacts, visit the program website: www.councilbluffsinterstate.iowadot.gov/.

To view the annual report, visit www.councilbluffsinterstate.iowadot.gov/2015annualreport/.

Former city clerk in Iowa accused of theft gets probation


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) – A former Pacific Junction city clerk accused by state auditors of giving herself unauthorized Christmas bonuses and vacation and sick pay has been given probation and must pay a civil penalty of $625. Forty-three-year-old Kari Williams, of Glenwood, pleaded guilty to tampering with records and was sentenced Monday to a year of probation. Williams was granted a deferred judgment, which means that if she successfully completes probation, the conviction will be wiped from her record. Mills County prosecutors dropped charges of theft and felonious misconduct in office.

Williams resigned in March before the results of the auditor’s investigation were announced in April. The charges were filed in August following an investigation by the Mills County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation found Williams took nearly $32,000 in improper payments.

Storm Spotter classes are being offered throughout the area

News, Weather

February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service (NWS) and local county emergency managers are once again hosting storm spotter training classes across Iowa. There are a combination of “in-person” spotter training classes scattered across the state and webinar-based distance learning classes. In-person spotter training classes are offered primarily in larger cities and towns, but also in several rural counties and smaller towns.

Spotter talks are open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. No prior registration is required. Scheduling usually takes place in January and February, but not every county will have a talk.Skywarn

In the KJAN listening area, here is the schedule for Storm Spotter classes:

  • Wed., Feb. 17th: Ringgold County Spotter Training, 7:00-to 8:30-p.m. at 109 W. Madison St., in Mt. Ayr.
  • Wed., Feb. 24th: Madison County Spotter Training, 7:00-to 8:30-p.m. at Madison County Elderly Services (1006 N. John Wayne Dr.).
  • Mon., March 7th: Adams County Spotter Training, 6:30- to 8-p.m at the Corning Fire Station (905 Davis Ave.)
  • Wed., March 16th: Adair & Guthrie County Spotter Training, 7-tp 8:30-p.m. at the Menlo Community Bldg. (417 Sherman St.)
  • Thu., March 24th: Audubon County Spotter Training, 7-to 8:30-p.m. in the Court Room at the Audubon County Courthouse.
  • Tue., March 29th: Dallas County Spotter Training, 6:30-to 8:00-p.m at the Washington Township School (Intersection of County Roads P-58 & F-31).
  • Wed., April 6th: Crawford County Spotter Training, 6:30-to 8:00-p.m. at the Denison Fire Station.

Webinar Storm Spotter Training is being offered on Tue., April 12th and Tue., April 19th, from 7-until 8:30-p.m. at https://join.me/nws-desmoines. Also please call 1-866-231-8384. The webinars are open to all spotters. One “advanced” spotter class is offered and built on what was taught in the regular class. It is intended for those who wish to do mobile spotting and desire a deeper understanding of mesoscale and storm-scale meteorology as it relates to storm spotting. Spotters interested in attending this class should have attended either a regular in-person or webinar-based spotter class.

New book details histories of Iowa’s county courthouses


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Two central Iowans have created a coffee table book detailing stories of the county courthouses in all 99 Iowa counties. The 207-page book, “Prairie Jewels,” features color panoramic images and narratives about each of the stately structures. Freelance writer Michael Adams, of Des Moines, says David Richmond, who teaches photography at Simpson College in Indianola, started the project five years ago and it evolved into the book.

“Some of the stories are kind of long on history, others I might focus more on the architecture, and then some might have a little personal observation,” Adams says. “I approached this as a celebration of Iowa’s county courthouse heritage.” During their many journeys across the state to visit each building, Adams says they encountered other “courthouse groupies” who were making similar treks to every courthouse. He’s confident the book will have a wide audience.

“There’s folks that are going to be interested in Iowa history, there’s folks that are going to be interested in architecture, there’s going to be folks that just revel in looking at beautiful buildings,” Adams says. “These are stories of the host communities of these buildings as well.” In addition to the many unusual and sometimes-spectacular features of the buildings themselves, he says there were always tales of community pride, intrigue and whimsy.

“You just walk through these places and you’re incredibly aware of the history,” Adams says. “There were places I visited, like in Leon, I heard about this attempt by two thieves to blow up the treasurer’s office and they ended up blowing up half the courthouse.” While Iowa has 99 counties, there are actually 100 county courthouses in the state. “Lee County has two courthouses,” Adams says. “There’s one in Fort Madison, which happens to be the oldest courthouse in Iowa, and then there’s one in Keokuk that used to be a post office in its early life.”

Pottawattamie County also has two courthouses: the main one in Council Bluffs and the original structure in Avoca, which was built in 1885, though it’s now considered a sub-courthouse. “Prairie Jewels” was the focus of a successful crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign in the spring of 2015. It’s available at independent booksellers and online at: http://prairiejewels.com

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors to revisit Indigent Burial policy, Wednesday


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday morning, are expected to act on approving a Resolution to adopt an Indigent Disposition (Burial and cremation) Policy. The matter was tabled during their meeting Jan. 29th, after it was determined the Resolution, as originally proposed, needed an amendment.

During their session on January 29th, the Board met with representatives of county funeral service providers, the Veteran Affairs and General Assistance Directors, as well as the Cass County Attorney. Their discussion covered the type(s) of disposition, what dollar amount(s) should be paid for the service and whether or not to pay additional funds for grave opening/closing.

In other business, the Supervisors this Wednesday, will hear from Department of Human Services representatives Matt Madsen and Mary Jo Rehm, with regard to the DHS’ Fiscal Year 2017 Budget and Reimbursement arrangement. And, the Board will act on awarding contracts for two bridge replacement projects: A replacement bridge  on the Audubon County line or Akron Road, project # BROS-C015(58)-8J-15; and a reinforced concrete box culvert on 690th Street, project #BROS-C015(59)-60-15.

The Board will also award a contract or contracts for dump truck boxes and snow removal equipment for two new dump trucks. Their meeting in the Supervisor’s Board Room at the Cass County Courthouse, gets underway at 8:30-a.m.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 2/9/2016

News, Podcasts

February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


(update 7:30-a.m.) I-35 now open from Ames to Clear Lake & Mason City


February 9th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Feb 9, 2016 – The Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa State Patrol have reopened north and southbound Interstate 35 from Ames to Clear Lake and Mason City. The road was previously closed due to blowing snow which created extremely hazardous driving conditions.

While the roadway is open, winds will continue to be gusty throughout the day causing blowing snow. Travelers should expect areas of low visibility and patches of snow covered roadways making driving potentially dangerous. Motorists are urged to monitor weather and road conditions before traveling and evaluate the necessity of trips. Often, the safest option is to skip the trip all together.