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4 men seeking job as Council Bluffs police chief

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Four men are vying to become the next police chief in Council Bluffs. Mayor Matt Walsh will choose the next chief, who will replace Ralph O’Donnell, who retired in March.

Walsh tells the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil he wants to hire a chief who will have the respect of his officers, a good understanding of crime fighting and strength as a communicator. The four people competing for the position are Fremont, Neb., Police Chief Jeffrey Elliott; John Farmer, former police chief in Forrest City, Ark., and a former Omaha police lieutenant; and Terry LeMaster and Scott Milner, both captains with the Council Bluffs police.

Walsh says he hopes to make a decision by mid-May and to have the new chief in place by June.

Branstad backs extension of health care policies

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa has agreed to a federal recommendation that will allow thousands of residents to hang onto health insurance policies that don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Branstad and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart announced Wednesday that the state would grant the extension of plans through 2016.

The action will let about 330,000 Iowans retain their health insurance policies. Most buy their own insurance or are covered by small employers. Without the move, some of those policies could be cancelled. Branstad says in a statement that the decision gives Iowans the flexibility to maintain current coverage or shop for new plans available to them.

Eighteen other states have allowed plan extensions as permitted by federal regulations.

Despite ruling, Iowa to bar all felons from voting

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Elections officials will continue to bar felons from voting despite an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that suggests not all of them have lost their voting rights. Three justices ruled Tuesday that only some felonies are considered “infamous crimes” under the Iowa Constitution that bar individuals from voting or holding office.

Their opinion said such crimes are only ones that show offenders “would tend to undermine the process of democratic governance through elections.” The court says it’ll have to “develop a more precise test” in future rulings.

A spokesman for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Wednesday the office will continue to treat all felons as being disenfranchised unless their rights have been restored by Gov. Terry Branstad. He says the court didn’t identify specific felonies that weren’t “infamous crimes.”

Gusty wind blows over semi on I-80 Wed.

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sustained, gusty winds caused a semi tractor-trailer to be blown over late Wednesday morning on Interstate 80. The accident was reported at around 11:45-a..  The rig, and empty trailer, partially blocked the slow lane of eastbound I-80 near the 54-mile marker, between the Marne and Elk Horn Exits. The driver was not injured. His name was not released. In their updated report issued April 21st, the Patrol said the semi was eastbound at the 53.8-mile marker when a gust of wind caused the trailer to lift up. The truck rolled onto the driver’s side and slid down the Interstate toward the east, while at the same time rotating in a clockwise motion before coming to rest on the traveled portion of the road, facing southwest.

Blowed1

Ric Hanson photo's.

Ric Hanson photo’s.

Stuart man arrested in Lenox

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox say a man from Stuart was arrested Tuesday afternoon, after authorities learned he was allegedly involved in a shoplifting incident at the Casey’s General Store in Lenox.

Lenox P-D booking photo

Lenox P-D booking photo

53-year old Russell Simmons was located at a residence on Main Street a few hours after store employees reviewed surveillance video and saw the man allegedly take some items.

Police also determined Simmons had an arrest warrant from Clark County for Failure To Appear in court. He was arrested on the warrant and for theft in the 5th degree and transported to the Taylor County Jail.

Adair County Supervisors receive Sheriff’s resignation

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), received a letter of resignation from Sheriff Brad Newton. Auditor Mindy Schaefer told KJAN News his last day will be June 27th, at 3-p.m.

Adair County Sheriff Brad Newton

Adair County Sheriff Brad Newton

In the letter, Schaefer said Newton explained why he’s leaving law enforcement. He said he’s worked in law enforcement for 35 years, and that it was time to pursue other interests. Schaefer says after the Board received and approved Newton’s resignation, they began to plan on finding his replacement.

She said the board decided to appoint an individual to the position. The appointment will take place June 25th, with the person selected taking over June 27th at 3:01-p.m. Schaefer said Newton will be missed. She said also the Board is talking with current deputies about the position, but no decision has been made at this time about a selection.

In other business, the Adair County Board of Supervisors decided to use an amendment to score a livestock confinement operation not previously scored under the Master Matrix, but will not re-score the application under the amendment, with regard to Circle G Pork in Orient Township, Section 34.

Harlan CC hears vicious dog appeal

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan City Council discussed an appeal to a vicious dog determination during a public hearing held Tuesday. The dog’s owner, Cindy Scheffler of Harlan, was in attendance to make the appeal for her dog, Bailey, who she claimed, was not vicious. City Attorney Todd Argotsinger said the matter has been ongoing since late 2013 when the Harlan PD and City animal control officers provided documents on a dog running at large was vicious. A notice was sent out at that time to Scheffler designating the dog as vicious. Scheffler appealed that determination to City Administrator Terry Cox on January 29th. A hearing was held on February 13th and Argotsinger said the determination was upheld.

The attorney said Scheffler had the right to appeal again. “Once again in the February 19th letter, Cindy was offered the right to appeal and she did so on March 4th, 2014. From there on March 25th, another notice was sent to Cindy notifying her a further hearing would be held, this time in front of the entire council and scheduled it for today, Tuesday, April 15th, 2014.”

During the meeting, Scheffler gave her response and defended her pet. She said “I’m just here to say my dog is not vicious. She has never bit anybody. They say she snapped at them. The first I ever heard she snapped at Plumb was up in your (Cox) office. Nobody else has ever said she snapped at him since then. Is that down in writing? I’ve never seen it. I don’t know if I will get through here without crying. You can not do this to my dog. My dog is not vicious. She has never bit anybody.”

Documents provided said the dog had previously nipped at city employee Plumb. Two other family friends of the Scheffler’s also defended Bailey saying they have never had any issues with the animal. Kevin “Hoss” Krohn of the Harlan Parks Department said they have dealt with the animal on numerous occasions. Krohn also said the Scheffler’s have been cited nine times since 2007 for having the dog run at large in the city. Councilman Dave Miller said it all comes down to safety of the residents. 

The Harlan City Council closed the hearing and motioned in favor of the vicious dog determination. City Administrator Terry Cox said Mayor Gene Gettys and City Attorney Todd Argotsinger will work with the Scheffler family on the next steps. In the city code, the family would need to provide a certificate of insurance with a minimum liability amount of $100,000 and must be confined within an occupied home or residence or a locked pen or kennel except when leashed and muzzled in order to keep the dog.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Branstad’s tax return shows income of $234,907

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad earned $234,907 and is paying $28,298 in federal taxes for 2013. The governor and his wife, Chris, are paying $6,235 in state taxes. By releasing his tax returns Wednesday, Branstad continued a practice he’s done annually as governor. Branstad’s governor salary totaled just over $127,000. He also earned more than $54,000 from the state’s retirement pension fund from earlier service as governor, lieutenant governor and legislator. Additional income of $22,000 is from capital gains earned on business investments. He also received $35,000 from an IRA following an uncle’s death.

Branstad contributed more than $40,000 to charities. He paid an effective tax rate of 12 percent. His Democratic opponent, Sen. Jack Hatch, released documents Tuesday showing income of $468,591 from real estate development businesses and his state salary.

Bitter fight over University of Iowa’s budget

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Republicans in the Iowa House have voted to try to change the terms of a deal that would freeze in-state tuition for students at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I this fall. Senator Brian Schoenjahn, a Democrat from Arlington, is asking Republican Governor Terry Branstad to intervene. “The House Republican vote is an attempt to pit our universities against each other and pit Iowans against each other,” Schoenjahn says. “Governor Branstad, a tuition freeze is one of your top legislative priorities and it’s in serious trouble.”

The board that governs the three state universities has offered to freeze tuition for the second year in a row if legislators provide a four percent budget boost for each of the schools, as well as an additional four-point-four million dollars for the University of Northern Iowa. Governor Terry Branstad has signed onto that deal and Senate Democrats have as well, but House Republicans late last night (Tuesday) voted to scoop into the University of Iowa’s allotment to provide the extra money to U-N-I, putting Iowa’s budget boost at two percent rather than the four percent going to the other two institutions. Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a Republican from Mount Ayr, says the U-of-I is sitting on a “tremendous” cash reserve.

“Ready cash that they can use as compared to the other two institutions,” Dolecheck says. Representative Chip Baltimore, a Republican from Boone, scoffs at the idea the University of Iowa will be damaged with the House G-O-P’s plan.  “Their entire budget for the fiscal year is $3.1 billion and we’re trimming ($4.4 million) from the increase they say is necessary to freeze tuition in this state — 0.15 percent,” Baltimore said.

House Republicans also rejected an attempt to include an anti-bullying proposal in the budget bill that passed the House Tuesday night at 10:15 p.m. on a party-line vote. Governor Branstad, for the second year in a row, has asked legislators to pass anti-bullying legislation, but House Republicans have yet to bring a bill up for a vote in the full House.

(Radio Iowa)

Father joins effort to change handgun age limits

News

April 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Johnston father of two young daughters is joining with gun-rights advocates in seeking a change to an Iowa law that makes it illegal for children young than 14 to fire handguns.  Nathan Gibson told The Des Moines Register he was inspired to change the law after being told at a shooting range last weekend that his 8-year-old daughter, Natalie, wasn’t old enough to shoot her handgun. Natalie and her 10-year-old sister, Meredith, have been joining their father at shooting ranges since age 5.

Those seeking to change the law say shooting ranges have enforced it more closely since Altoona Democratic Sen. Joe Riding sought to lower the age limit from 14 to 12. That effort failed, but publicity surrounding it prompted ranges to abide by the law.