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Trial for a Marne man set to begin today


April 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Trial is set to begin this (Tuesday) morning at 9:30 in Atlantic, in the case of a Marne man facing an Aggravated Misdemeanor charge of Animal Abuse in connection with the December 24th shooting of  a family dog. 56-year old Charles Collins Cutler also faces a Serious Misdemeanor charge of a Reckless Use of a Firearm in connection with the incident, which involved the shooting of a Colorado woman’s dog that strayed onto Collins’ property while it was playing. A separate hearing on the firearms charge will be held July 9th in Cass County District Court.

Cutler pleaded not guilty to both charges. His request for a change of venue, was denied.

Stories from Iowans competing in Boston Marathon

News, Sports

April 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Nearly 160 Iowans were registered to run in Monday’s Boston Marathon, where two bomb blasts killed two people and injured dozens more. A small contingent from western Iowa was among those who narrowly escaped being injured by the blasts. According to the Daily NonPareil, Kim Moore, from Treynor, was among several people waiting for a medal when she heard the first explosion. Moore, who had finished the Boston Marathon 10 minutes earlier, turned around to see a large plume of smoke and saw the impact as another explosion rocked the finish line of the prestigious race.

Council Bluffs native Mike McSorley finished about the same time as Moore. He was seated at a restaurant table with friends when he heard the news. Lory Van Tilburg of McClelland told the paper she let her family and friends on Facebook know she was safe, but that she missed the bomb by just minutes. Peter Crawford, of Red Oak, also ran in the Boston Marathon. Crawford, an engineer with JFSCO Engineering, was near the finish line when the bombs went off. He told local media representatives that he would have been caught up in the explosions, if his time had actually been quicker than it was.

Three brothers from Cedar Falls ran in the race. Joey, Daniel, and David Sevcik are members of the Iowa State Running Club and according to Joey, they left the finish line area about 10 minutes before the explosions. “Many of our guys heard an explosion…but didn’t know what it was,” Sevcik said. “We were somewhere between the 25th and 26th mile marker. We’re not exactly sure where.” Sevcik said his group only heard one of the explosions and didn’t know what was going on until they started receiving messages on their cell phones.

“We didn’t assume, you know, it was a bomb or thing anything like that. We were just kind of like, ‘Oh, what was that.’ And didn’t think anything of it until we got back into cell service and everybody’s cell phone started to go off and say, ‘Hey! Are you guys OK? Are you guys OK?’ And then that’s when we realized what exactly it was,” Sevcik said. “There were also, at that time all of a sudden, ambulances and fire trucks flying down every which way through the middle of Boston.” This was Sevcik’s sixth marathon and even with the chaotic nature at finish lines, Sevcik said he’d never been concerned for his safety.

“I’ve never felt unsafe at all. There was no reason to feel unsafe (Monday) even. It’s such a crowded area, especially at the finish line,” he said. “Thousands upon thousands of people cheering…so there’s no reason to feel anxious. It was just a completely packed area, so it’s kind of shocking.” The explosions happened about three hours after the winners crossed the finished line. Jeanine Penticoff of Cedar Rapids was about a half mile away from the finish line when officials stopped the race. “There were a lot of family members who were waiting at the finish line that were associated with the runners we were running alongside, so there was just a lot of worry and concern,” Penticoff said. It took Penticoff more than an hour to find her husband, as cell phone coverage was limited and roads had been closed off.

“You just never know what’s going to happen, because obviously these things can happen at any time, at any place,” Penticoff said. This was the first Boston Marathon for Penticoff, who’s the Director of the Energy Efficiency Department at Alliant Energy. Des Moines attorney Doug Gross got a phone call from his daughter, Eileen, shortly after the bomb blast, saying she was O.K.  “Our daughter, Molly, was running in the race. I think Molly missed it by about 10 minutes,” Gross says. “Eileen, my wife, and then our oldest son, Eric, who was with Eileen, were looking for Molly and they went right near that finish line and just minutes before it went off they were right by there. They heard it go off. They thought it was something big dropping out of a building is what they described it as and then they said it was mass confusion — and thank God they’re safe. They’re all safe.”

Molly Gross was part of a group running to raise money for “Best Buddies,” an organization that helps people with disabilities. “There was a special place where they met in a law firm and so they went there and they were locked down there for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours, until they were free to go back to their hotel and I just talked to them and they’re back at the hotel and they’re fine, so thank goodness they are,” Gross told Radio Iowa shortly before six o’clock Iowa time. Des Moines native Jeremey Hellickson, a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, was playing in Boston Monday afternoon. He knows the Gross family. Hellickson sent a text message to Mrs. Gross, checking to make sure the family was safe.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., April 16th 2013


April 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say an Iowa inmate being treating at a medical facility has died of natural causes and complications from pneumonia. The Department of Corrections says 65-year-old Laurence Johannsen died Saturday at the hospice care unit of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an unknown amount of untreated wastewater has discharged into a creek in southeast Iowa. The state Department of Natural Resources says city officials in Fairfield discovered the discharge yesterday morning at Crow Creek near Chautauqua Park. Officials say the discharge is tied to a break in a collection line.

(Information in the following story is from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City officials say a petition in support of banning the use of red light cameras and drones does not have enough signatures. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports as of yesterday that the petition had just over 2,000 valid signatures instead of the required 2,500 valid signatures.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has approved a plan to reduce commercial property taxes, but the outlook for the bill is unclear because the House favors an alternate proposal from Gov. Terry Branstad. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 29-21 in favor of the plan yesterday. The legislation would gradually provide commercial and industrial property owners with a tax credit equivalent to a roughly 40 percent tax cut on their first $324,000 in assessed property value.

Meeting set to discuss issues at Fort Calhoun nuclear plant


April 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators are planning to meet with the utility that owns the troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska, but some of the discussion will be private because security information will be on the table. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said Monday that the April 22 meetings will focus on flood protection and security for the plant 20 miles north of Omaha.

Fort Calhoun has been shut down for more than two years. Initially, the plant went offline for routine refueling maintenance in 2011, but flooding along the Missouri River and a series of safety violations forced it to stay closed. The Omaha Public Power District has been addressing the problems, and officials say significant progress has been made. Regulators won’t allow the plant to restart unless they’re confident it’s safe.

Area Students to Receive Governor’s Scholar Awards


April 15th, 2013 by Jim Field

438 high school seniors across Iowa will be honored Sunday, April 28, 2013, at the Eleventh Annual Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony, held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines starting at 1:00 p.m.

The Governor’s Office, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and its title sponsor, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, are presenting this recognition program.

The Honorable Governor Terry Branstad and Honorable Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds will host the event and address the audience of 2,500-plus. Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, Brett Nanninga, Superintendent at Tri-Center Community Schools, and chairperson of the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and Tania Johnson, 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year from Cedar Rapids, will welcome the students and their guests.

The seniors being honored were selected by their high schools as the highest academic achievers. Each student will receive a photo plaque of themselves with Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds and a certificate to commemorate their achievement. Each student’s most influential teacher will also receive a certificate of appreciation.  A reception for the students, their parents, their most influential teachers, and other guests will follow the ceremony.

In addition to being recognized as the state’s brightest students, over 99 percent of the group participates in school activities, with approximately 80 percent participating in at least one interscholastic sport. More than 60 percent plan to pursue their post-secondary education in Iowa.

Among the local honorees:  Elizabeth Mulder of Adair-Casey, Kaelly Welsh of A-H-S-T, Scott Caslow of Atlantic, Marissa Haubrich of Audubon, Trevor McKee of CAM, Brendan McAllister of Coon Rapids-Bayard, Andrea Beck of Corning, Jacob Hartvigsen of Exira/EHK, Haley Scmidt of Griswold, Therese Frels of Guthrie Center, Adam Zaccone of Harlan, Jakob Croghan of IKM/Manning, Emily Dickinson of Logan-Magnolia, Hannah West of Missouri Valley, Julie Bricker of Nodaway Valley, Morgan James of Orient-Macksburg, Brenna Hafner of Panorama, Geoffrey Sellers of Red Oak, Rachel Faga of Riverside, Kara Allen of Stanton, Ryan Hempel of Treynor, Charles Peters of Tri-Center, Madicen Fanslau of Underwood, Jill Vanderhoof of Villisca, Lauren Sievers of Walnut and Alyssa Blum of Woodbine.

Click this link to view the entire list: Governor’s Scholar Award Winners

Domestic Assault Arrest


April 15th, 2013 by admin

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Monday afternoon, of a Corning man. 24-year old Cody Sanson was taken into custody on a charge of Domestic Assault. His bond was set at $1,000.

Minor accident Prom Night in Atlantic


April 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officers with the Atlantic Police Department investigated a minor accident during the prom, Saturday. Authorities say vehicles driven by Ashley Freund, of Lewis, and Barbara Waters, of Cumberland, collided at 14th and Plum Streets (near the entrance to the high school), at around 9:55-p.m.  The accident happened in the middle of the intersection, after both vehicles stopped, but then proceeded into the intersection. The damage amounted to $12,000.  There were no injuries reported, and no citations issued.

4 arrests in Atlantic


April 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest of five people over the past few days. On Sunday, 38-year old Troy McCurdy, of Atlantic, was arrested for Tampering with a Witness. McCurdy was arrested Saturday as well, for Disorderly Conduct.

Also arrested Saturday, was 26-year old Justin Knutsen, of Atlantic. He was charged with Public Intoxication, 2 counts of Theft in the 4th degree, 3 counts of Burglary in the 3rd degree, and theft in the 5th degree. The charges are in connection with a rash of recent car burglaries. He was taken into custody after he was found inside of one the vehicles that was allegedly broken into. Knutsen was also found to allegedly be in possession of the stolen property.And, 24-year old Joseph Fredericksen, of Atlantic, was arrested Saturday on a Cass County warrant for Theft in the 5th degree.

And, officers with the A-PD arrested 23-year old Tyler Mills, of Atlantic, on Friday. Mills was arrested on a warrant for Violation of Probation. All four of the individuals were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Lieutenant governor criticizes Democrats over education reform negotiations


April 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says it’s time for Democrats in the Iowa Senate to respond to the offer Republicans made last week on education reform.  “I think anytime that you’re in good faith negotiations you anticipate either an acceptance of the proposal or a counteroffer,” Reynolds says. “To my knowledge we haven’t seen either one yet.” Republicans in the House and Republican Governor Terry Branstad say they’ll agree to increase general state aid to schools two percent next year, with one-time, two percent bonus tacked on, followed by a four percent increase the following year. But they’ll only agree to that spending level if Democrats accept all the education reform policies House Republicans endorsed in February.

Reynolds says Republicans “delivered” a compromise and it’s up to Democrats to “move.” “I think the ball is in their court,” Reynolds says. Last week Democrats dismissed what they called the G-O-P’s “my-way-or-the-highway approach” and said they could not accept all the policy proposals House Republicans drafted. Reynolds is singling out Senator Herman Quirmbach — the top Democrat negotiating on education reform — for criticism, saying it’s time for him to rethink his opposition to the Republicans’ proposal.

I hope he’s had some time to think about it over the weekend,” Reynolds says. “I hope he’s had some time to talk to his superintendents and the educators and the administrators and they can talk to him about how important it is to get this done and I hope he’ll come back and really sit down with that conference committee and figure out a way to get this done and move forward on education reform.” The lieutenant governor made her comments this morning (Monday) during a statehouse news conference. Legislators will return to the statehouse this afternoon (Monday), but there the 10-member conference committee trying to hammer out a deal on education reform does not have a meeting scheduled.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa home prices up, inventory down


April 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Home prices continue to climb across Iowa last month. Don Marple is President of the Iowa Association of Realtors (IAR), which keeps track of the average price of homes sold in the state. From March of last year to this year, we’ve gone up (4.4%)…from about $138,000 to $144,000, which has been consistent that way for the last three years,” Marple said. A total of 2,672 homes were sold in Iowa last month. That’s up less than one-percent compared to March 2012 (2,654 homes sold). Marple is slightly concerned with the statewide inventory of homes as there are roughly 1,000 fewer homes on the market today in Iowa compared to a year ago.

We need to start going out there and telling people now is the time to put your home on the market because they are getting such a great value for them – a lot better than they were two to three years ago,” Marple said. “And they’re getting a quicker value because they seem to be getting a lot of offers out there from the pent up demand of buyers wanting to buy.” The average days a home sold in Iowa spent on the market in March was 107 days. That’s down from 120 days a year ago.

(Radio Iowa)