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Early morning arrest in Red Oak, Wednesday

News

November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested early this (Wednesday) morning. According to the Red Oak P-D, 26-year old Jason Rolfe Aherns was taken into custody at around 2:45-a.m. in the 1700 block of Crestline Drive. Aherns was picked up on a valid warrant for Theft in the 5th degree. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and held on a $1,000 cash bond.

Red Kettle campaign looks to use social media

News

November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The drop in temperatures makes it tougher on the people ringing the bells at the Salvation Army red kettles, and it also puts a bit of a chill on donations. Lia Pontarelli, is the spokesperson for the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids. “Having such a cold start to our kettle season is not very exciting to us, ” Pontarelli says. “Last year it got very cold, but it got cold a little later in our kettle season.” Cold weather makes people want to get in and out of stores quickly and keeps them from stopping to drop a donation into the kettles.

“We’re hoping that as the holidays come a little bit closer — with Thanksgiving this week, Christmas is a month away now– hopefully people will start getting in that spirit and despite the cold weather they will still give.” Modern economics have also hurt the kettle campaigns across Iowa and across the country as Pontarelli says people don’t carry as much money with them. She says they are trying to use technology and social media to help out with the donations.

“Encouraging people to be an on-line bell ringer. You can set up a kettle yourself and you can send an e-blast out, you can post it on your social media and you can help be a bell ringer in your pajamas, on your couch or in front of your fireplace,” Pontarelli explains. She says they’ve looked at many options to make it easier for people to chip in.

“Different locations have tried text to give at the red kettle, where you can text in your donation. Some locations tried having a credit card machine right at the kettle, but again you’re walking into as store and you really don’t want to fumble through to try to find your wallet and pull out your credit card,” Pontarelli says. “And then also with the cold weather you really have your hands bundled up with your head down and heading into the store, and that’s never going to change that. So, going to the on-line method I think is a good change for us.” Pontarelli says you can use the on-line system anywhere in the state.

“If you do a Google search for Salvation Army in your town, you should be able to find the Army that is closet to you,” Pontarelli says. “And also the same goes with the online red kettle. If you go to on-line red kettle dot o-r-g (www.redkettle.org), you should be able to find the red kettle nearest your location.” She says the red kettle campaign raises important funds for the organization. “During the Christmas campaign we raise about 40-percent of our annual operating budget, so it really helps set the pace for what we are going to be able to do throughout the entire year in the community.” according to Pontarelli. “It helps us pay people’s rent in June or provide meals in September for kids. So the money that we raise now is imperative to the help that we can provide our community year round.”

The Red Kettle Campaign runs through Christmas Eve.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Nov. 26 2014

News

November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are investigating the cause of a small electrical fire at a northwest Iowa plant owned by the makers of Blue Bunny ice cream. Wells Enterprises says efforts are underway to figure out the cause of the Monday night fire at one of its facilities in Le Mars. No injuries were reported.

ELDORA, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman has been given probation for stealing from an elderly man under her care. District Court Judge Michael Moon recently ordered to suspend a 10-year prison sentence for 60-year-old Pamala Hammond. She will instead be on probation for two- to five years. Hammond pleaded guilty last month to a count of theft in connection to the estate of James Curtis Ruby, of Eldora. The 88-year-old veteran died in 2012.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man is back climbing trees after he fell 40 feet from one over the summer, breaking several bones. Owner Kevin Hardy of Cutting Edge Tree Services in Mason City fell from a tree in Charles City on July 20. He broke nearly everything but his will. Hardy suffered several injuries in the fall, including a broken clavicle and ribs. After several hospital stays and rehabilitation work, Hardy says he considers himself a lucky man.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa school has filled more than 3,500 shoeboxes with items like toys and clothing intended for impoverished children overseas. The shoeboxes filled by Great River Christian School students were loaded into a semitrailer destined for Minneapolis, where they will eventually be flown to other countries. The shoebox delivery is by Operation Christmas Child, an organization the school has been helping for 11 years.

Council Bluffs, Iowa Resident Sentenced to 60 Months for Possession of Child Pornography

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County man was sentenced, Monday to spend five-years in prison on a child pornography charge. United States District Judge Stephanie Rose ordered 42-year old Anthony John Wesolowski, of Council Bluffs, to serve 60 months in prison by for possession of child pornography, plus  10-years of supervised release following his imprisonment.

An extensive investigation began when law enforcement determined that Wesolowski was using a file sharing program to obtain images containing child pornography over the internet for a period of several years. On July 8, 2014, Wesolowski pled guilty and admitted that on October 31, 2013, he had images on his home computer that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

State Patrol gearing up for busy holiday weekend on roads

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who plan to do some traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday will likely see a few law enforcement officers on the road as well. Sergeant Scott Bright is the spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol. “It’s one of the most traveled holidays of the year, so we’re going to have a few extra troopers out there working,” Bright said. Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend last year, two people were killed traffic crashes around the state.ISP patch

“This year, hopefully we have zero,” Bright said. “Currently, we’ve had 304 traffic fatalities in the state (this year). Last year, at this time, we had 280. So, we’re 24 ahead of where we were last year and hopefully this weekend we won’t lose anybody on the highways.” Iowa ended up with 318 traffic deaths in 2013 — the lowest annual total since 1944.

Bright is encouraging motorists to buckle up, obey the speed limit, and avoid distractions while driving.

(Radio Iowa)

2 plead guilty in connection to Iowa house fires

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two people have pleaded guilty to charges in connection to a string of house fires in Sioux City. The Sioux City Journal reports a 17-year-old pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree arson as part of a plea deal that will dismiss a third-degree burglary charge. Thirty-two-year-old Daisy Castillo pleaded guilty recently to third-degree burglary as part of a plea deal that dismissed a second-degree arson charge. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Associated Press does not generally name minors accused of crimes. Authorities have been investigating a string of suspicious house fires in August and September. Eighteen-year-old Javen Mobley has pleaded not guilty to second-degree arson and third-degree burglary. A 14-year-old is charged in juvenile court with first-degree arson.

Fatal fire in southwest Iowa

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County say a residential fire this (Tuesday) morning has claimed the life of a Riverton man. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says 66-year-old William Daniel died in the fire at 911 Meadow Avenue, in Riverton. The blaze was reported at around 6:20-a.m.

Firefighters from Riverton, Sidney, Hamburg and Farragut were on the scene for about three hours. State Fire Marshall Special Agent John Ticer told the Daily NonPareil  the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but that he believes it began in the master bedroom of the home. Ticer said there were no working smoke detectors in the residence, and that may have contributed to Daniels’ death.

Daniel’s body has been taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, for autopsy.

2014 DNR Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants awarded to rural fire depts

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Bureau, in cooperation with US Forest Service – State and Private Forestry, has awarded $207,807 in 50 percent cost-share grants to 82 rural Iowa fire departments to aid their efforts in protecting Iowan’s and their property from wildfires.The grants offer valuable funding assistance for wildfire suppression equipment, personal protective equipment and communications equipment.

Among the area fire departments that should be watching for the notification that their 2014 VFA Grant requests have been approved are those in: Afton,  Anita,  Atlantic, Avoca, Carson,Grant, Hamburg, Harlan, Irwin, Jamaica, Logan, Manning, Mapleton, Pacific Junction, Sidney, and Stuart.

Gail Kantak, fire supervisor with the DNR’s Forestry Bureau, stressed the importance of submitting Wildland Fire Reports whenever fire departments respond to a wildland fire or provide assistance to a prescribed or controlled wildland fire. Departments actively returning these reports receive priority points when the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant applications are scored. The wildland fire reports are compiled locally and nationally and are reported to Congress.

Wildland Fire reporting forms and spreadsheets are available at www.iowadnr.gov/fire.

BOIL ADVISORY LIFTED FOR CITY OF DUNLAP

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR says a boil advisory has been lifted for the city of Dunlap, in Harrison County. The boil advisory was issued Saturday after cracks were discovered in a water main. Repairs have been made to the system and the water has been tested to ensure it is safe.

Governor stands by request to have state employees pay part of insurance

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The state opened negotiations Monday with the largest state employee union and health insurance is again an issue. The president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61, requested an 8-percent increase in salaries over a two-year period, and wants the state to continue paying 100-percent of health insurance. The state is proposing a one-percent pay increase with state employees picking up 20-percent of the cost of insurance. Governor Terry Branstad told reporters Monday that state workers should pay part of their insurance costs.

“I have been on record for a long time in feeling that everybody ought to have some skin in the game, ought to make some contribution,” Branstad says. Branstad sought the same thing during negotiations two years ago and ultimately an arbitrator ruled the state should continue to pay 100-percent of the health insurance, but denied the employees a pay raise. Branstad says the union representing state law officers has agreed to pick up part of the cost of their insurance, and non-contract employees do as well. He says other state employees should also contribute.

“Frankly we are paying a price for it not happening,” Branstad says. “The executive council had to approve a 40-million dollar increase in cost in our health care. And I think if people have some skin in and we work in a collaborative way together, we can do a better job of controlling health care costs for state employees.” The negotiations on the new contract will resume in January behind closed doors.

(Radio Iowa)