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ISU economist discusses impact of soda tax on battle with obesity


December 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Voters in Berkeley, California, approved a controversial “sin” tax on sugary soft drinks last month, but Iowans may not realize Iowa is one of about 20 states that already tax soda pop. “You don’t see it unless you pay attention to your grocery bill,” according to John Beghin, an Iowa State University economist. “We don’t have a sales tax on foods in Iowa,” he says, “but the sales tax applies to soft drinks, so in a sense, we have an implicit soda tax in Iowa.”

The state’s six percent sales tax is charged on bottles and cans of soda pop. far less than the “sin” state taxes charged on alcohol and tobacco products purchased in Iowa. Policymakers in Iowa have argued significant increases in the taxes on cigarettes, for example, will help curb smoking. There is now a stigma attached to smoking, because of the cancer risk — making it easy for policymakers to hike taxes by a dollar-per-pack, but Beghin says increasing taxes on high-calorie sodas may increase awareness of the health issues associated with obesity.

“We need to start somewhere signaling to people that the current lifestyle is not that healthy,” Beghin says. “The soda tax may not be the best idea, but maybe a mild reminder you shouldn’t overconsume those products.” Berkeley, California’s “sin” tax on soda is a penny per ounce and it applies to syrups added to coffee as well as soft drinks. Diet cola is not subject to the city’s tax. Iowans, by the way, will consume 136 million gallons of soft drinks this year.

(Radio Iowa)

Show off some trophies…even if they’re not yours

News, Sports

December 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Area residents have a chance to take home the gold and a piece of history from Treynor Community School’s sports teams. The Daily NonPareil reports more than 400 trophies will be auctioned off on Dec. 9th beginning at 4-p.m.,  at Treynor High School, 102 E. Main St.

According to business teacher Jennifer Travis, the school has hundreds of old trophies that have been in storage for years. In an effort to make them more visible to the public, all past trophies are being photographed and categorized into an electronic digital display, which will be shown on a monitor in the trophy case. Trophies mostly range from 1960 to 2008, though a few from 1930 to 1957 are on auction.

Basketball, track, golf, softball tournaments and other activities such as the Brain Bowl are up for grabs. However, trophies from state tournaments, district titles and other major accomplishments will continue to be on display with the school and are not for sale.

A silent auction will be held for most of the high school trophies. A number of junior high trophies are available for $1 each. Proceeds will go to the Treynor Athletic Department. To view the trophies, go to treynorschools.org. People who are unable to attend the Dec. 9 basketball game and would like to place a bid can email Travis at jrtravis@treynorcardinals.org with information before 6 p.m. Dec. 8.

Candidates for Ernst’s IA Senate seat now number 1/2 dozen


December 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The race for Senator-Elect Joni Ernst’s vacated Iowa State Senate seat now has six contenders. According to the Daily NonPareil, Charla Schmid of Red Oak announced her candidacy on Friday, and will vie with five other candidates during the Republican Party’s special nominating convention Dec. 11th, in Clarinda.

Schmid has been a resident of Montgomery County for 32 years and served on the Red Oak School Board for 13 years. She also holds the state legislative chair for Business and Professional Women of Iowa and was the group’s president for two terms.

Schmid joins Montgomery County Republican activist Margaret Stoldorf, farmer Seth Watkins of Clarinda, Fremont County Supervisor Cara Marker-Morgan, State Rep. Mark Costello and Tracee Knapp of Ringgold County in seeking the Senate seat. The special election is set for Dec. 30.

Harlan Police Report


December 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department, Friday, released a report on arrests dating back nearly three-weeks. The most recent arrests include 38-year old Ryan Schechinger, of Harlan, who was arrested Monday (12/1), when officers were called to a domestic disturbance in the 3000 block of 12th Street. Schechinger was taken to the Shelby County jail where he was charged with domestic abuse assault for allegedly assaulting Shawn Schechinger, also of Harlan.

On Saturday, Nov. 29th: 31-year old Michael Gifford, of Harlan, was arrested on an active Shelby County warrant. Gifford was transported to the Shelby County jail without incident; 23-year old Jordyn Timmerman, of Harlan, was arrested following a traffic stop. Timmerman was charged with driving under suspension, operating a non-registered vehicle, and failure to show proof of insurance. Timmerman was cited and released; and 29-year old Jason Ostrus, of Earling, was arrested when officers were called to a domestic disturbance in the 1300 block of Garfield Avenue. Ostrus was taken into custody and taken to the Shelby County jail where he was charged with domestic abuse assault for allegedly assaulting Makayla Hammel, Harlan.

And on Nov. 27th, 18-year old David Poole, of Turin, was arrested when officers were called to a residence on Cheyenne Avenue for a vehicle that pulled into a driveway and left leaving tire marks on the driveway. The home owner also allegedly received a phone call asking how he liked the marks. The vehicle was located in the same area. Poole was taken into custody and transported to the Shelby County jail where he was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal mischief. Poole was also cited for careless driving and failure to maintain safety belt.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., Dec. 6th 2014


December 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Spanish teacher at a Des Moines middle school has been named the 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Governor Terry Branstad announced Friday that the award would go to Clemencia Spizzirri, who teaches at Merrill Middle School. In a statement, Branstad called her a “role model to students and colleagues.” The 38-year-old Spizzirri has taught at Merrill Middle School for five years.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A Fort Madison man facing a first-degree murder change in the death of a Burlington man has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. The Hawk Eye newspaper reports 42-year-old Lenard Polhans entered the guilty plea Friday to voluntary manslaughter in Des Moines County District Court. He remains jailed without bond as he awaits sentencing.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Police in central Iowa have arrested and charged a mother and her teenage daughter with assault after they say the pair fought with other students. The Fort Dodge Messenger reports that the 38-year-old Fort Dodge woman and her 16-year-old daughter fought with two other students inside Fort Dodge Senior High School Thursday morning.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa officials have removed a public art work meant to denounce racism after students were angered by its image of a Ku Klux Klan robe. Artist Serhat Tanyolacar says he displayed the 7-foot-tall robe on campus Friday to join with protesters upset over the shooting of Michael Brown.

Postal Service offers reward in post office arson


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

RALSTON, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service is offering up to $5,000 for information related to an arson fire at a post office in the western Iowa community of Ralston. KCIM radio reports the fire began shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday. Firefighters from Ralston and Glidden put out the fire quickly, but it caused extensive damaged inside the building.

The U.S. Postal Inspector Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those who set the fire. Ralston, a city of less than 100 people, is about 15 miles east of Carroll.

Drug bust in Pott. County nets 4 arrests & a child removed from the home


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A search warrant executed Wednesday at a home in rural Pottawattamie County resulted in 117 marijuana plants being seized, a six-week old infant being taken into protective custody, and the arrest of four people. Chief Deputy Sheriff John Reynolds said Friday (Today), the drug bust went down at 21159 250th Street, near Underwood.

Taken into custody during the event on charges of Manufacturing Marijuana, a Tax Stamp Violation and Child Endangerment, was: 63-year old Bobby Wayne Berg; 58-year old Julie Maxine Berg; 32-year old Gustav Wayne Berg; and 29-year old Cassandra Jane Hoffman. Each of the subjects was booked into the Pott. County Jail.

The raid was carried out by Deputies from the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, and officers from Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force and State of Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

Sioux City casino revenue drops from August high


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Revenue at a new casino in Sioux City is down from when it opened last summer, but an official says the drop was expected and the center is doing well. The Sioux City Journal reports the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City had revenue of $5.8 million in November. That’s down from $7.2 million in adjusted gross revenue in August, when the casino opened.

Revenue in September and October was about $6 million each month. The $128 million gambling and entertainment center replaced the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat.

Mark Monson, the president of a nonprofit group that holds the Hard Rock’s state gambling license, says the lower revenue was expected during the winter. He maintains the center is meeting expectations, saying “they’re going great guns down there.”

Police still getting tips about Iowa slain cousins


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) – Two years after hunters found the remains of two missing cousins, investigators say they’re still receiving tips about the abduction of the girls. Ten-year-old Lyric Cook and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins disappeared in Evansdale after they left for a bike ride in July 2012.  Their bodies were found in December 2012 in a rural wildlife refuge in Bremer County. No arrests have been made in their deaths.

Police chief Kent Smock tells the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier they have received new information within the past month. He says it’s nothing that’s “super promising,” but it shows the case is still active.

A $150,000 reward has been set for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

“Shop with the Sheriff” takes place Dec. 13th in Council Bluffs


December 5th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker has announced that on December 13th, at 6:30-AM, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with Target at Metro Crossing, will hold the 16th annual “Shop with the Sheriff.” Pott Co Sheriff

This year, 36 children will be shopping for outerwear, clothing and toys with employees and family members from the Sheriff’s Office. Each family of the participating children will also receive a food basket for the holiday season.

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office “Shop with the Sheriff” event is made possible by the generous donations from citizens, organizations and businesses throughout the area.