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CAM School Board discusses sharing Superintendent with CR-B


April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Members of the CAM School District’s Board of Education Monday evening, discussed the sharing of a Superintendent with the Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District. Last week it was announced CR-B Superintendent Rich Stoffers would be resigning in an effort to save his district money. Stoffers said he’s taken an early retirement package in order to save thousands of dollars for the district next year.

During Monday night’s CAM School Board meeting, Superintendent Steve Pelzer said he’d received a call March 24th, asking if he would be interested in sharing his position at CAM, with the CR-B District. He said he didn’t answer the question, and has deferred until he had a chance to discuss the matter with CAM Board President Gary Dinkla and the rest of the Board in Monday’s Special Meeting.

School Districts sharing a Superintendent is nothing new. Several area districts share a Superintendent in an effort to save costs during times of declining enrollment and mounting expenses. Pelzer says Governor Branstad, Monday, signed into law a bill pertaining to Operational Sharing, which provides incentive monies to districts for just such purposes. CAM Board President Gary Dinkla said he and Pelzer spoke with CR-B School Board President Joel Davis about the possibility of sharing.

He said Davis had been in contact with other districts about a 60-40 split in the Superintendent’s time – meaning the home district would use that person 60-percent of the time. Dinkla said Davis’ Board didn’t want to jeopardize talks with other possible districts by asking for a 50-percent share. Dinkla said Davis was going to talk more with other districts and come up a timeline. Pelzer said the CR-B Board is having a meeting Wednesday night to discuss progress on those talks and the process for sharing.

As for Pelzer, he told the CAM Board he has no interest in sharing his job with another district…which is something he’s done before.. but it’s something CAM could consider in the future. That’s because there are significant financial incentives and possible saving for the district. He said he would consider stepping down and having the Board pursue other options, he wants to sit down with them and discuss a severance package, because he hadn’t planned on early retirement.

Gary Dinkla said there are no plans to pursue options such as sharing a superintendent, but talks will continue with CR-B to see if there is a mutual, beneficial interest in doing so.  

Iowa man pleads guilty to Federal Child Exploitation charge


April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U-S Department of Justice (DOJ) report an eastern Iowa man pleaded guilty Monday in Massachusetts, to federal child exploitation charges. The plea by 32-year old Joshua Dunfee, of Oxford Junction, came just moments before his jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday morning. Dunfee plead guilty to the coercion and enticement of a child to engage in illicit sexual activity and the sexual exploitation of a child to produce child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for June 27th, 2014.

Officials say Dunfee posed as man by the name of “John” from “Hunt Photography” on Facebook, and communicated with a Massachusetts mother who was seeking employment as a model and believed Hunt Photography to be a legitimate business.   In October 2011, Dunfee contacted the mother and told her that Hunt Photography had a client willing to pay $20,000 for a mother-daughter bikini modeling contract.   Dunfee told the mother that in order to apply she would need to audition her daughter for him immediately and persuaded the mother to take her minor daughter out of school.

At Dunfee’s further direction, the mother placed her daughter on webcam for him to view for a 48-minute video call.   During this time, Dunfee was able to see and hear the mother and her minor daughter, but they were unable to see or hear him.During the “audition,” Dunfee directed via instant messenger that the minor be posed for him—first in a bra and underwear and then completely naked. Dunfee knew that the girl was a minor.

On Nov. 3, 2011, federal agents executed a search warrant at Dunfee’s residence, where law enforcement had traced the illicit conduct via IP address records.   A forensic examination of Dunfee’s computers (obtained during the execution of the search warrant) revealed various activities consistent with the use of certain platforms to communicate while posing as Hunt Photography, including Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger Chat.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide initiative created by the Department of Justice in 2006 that is designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.    

Update: Grass fire in Adair County along I-80 burns 50-to 60-acres

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A carelessly discarded cigarette from a passing vehicle is being blamed for a large grass fire that occurred Monday afternoon north of Interstate 80, in Adair County. Adair Fire Chief Jordan Smith told KJAN News the fire started about two-miles east of the Adair Exit (77.5-mile marker) and was first paged out just before 3-pm, Monday. Smith said with the way the wind was blowing, the fire burned east-northeast along and north of the Interstate for about 2-miles. Firefighters managed to get the flames knocked down before they reached the westbound rest area, but not before the fire jumped 2 gravels roads as it raged eastward.

After the flames jumped one gravel road, and destroyed large, round hay bales.  He said 50-to 60 bales were lost. Smith said hay bale fires are almost impossible to extinguish unless you spread them out and hose them down, which is dangerous and time consuming. A neighboring farmer who has construction equipment used his excavator and dug a big hole to dump the bales in and cover them up, allow the fire to be snuffed out.

Three firefighters from Adair suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze. Smith says two had smoke inhalation, with another had minor burns to his face. The thick curtain of smoke created problems for motorists along Interstate 80. Visibility along the interstate was down to zero at time. Several law enforcement agencies were requested for traffic control. The eye-catching fire also attracted “rubber-neckers,” who Smith says can be a real hindrance to fire fighting efforts, and endanger lives.

Smith says firefighters from Adair, Casey, Stuart, Menlo, Anita, Wiota, Greenfield, Bridgewater, and Fontanelle were on the scene for about 5-hours, finally wrapping things up at around 8-pm, Monday.

Red Oak man charged with fuel theft


April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County say a man was arrested early this (Tuesday) morning after failing to pay for fuel. 20-year old Jeremy J. Navarrete, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 2:30-a.m., for Theft in the 5th Degree. He also did not possess a valid driver’s license. Bond was set at $300.

Authorities say Navarrete was arrested following an investigation into a complaint about a person who had pumped fuel into his vehicle and was unable to pay for it. The vehicle he was operating and filled with fuel was towed.

Iowa News Headlines: Tue., April 1st 2014


April 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Officials for Sioux City and Woodbury County are trying to figure out if they should consolidate some services due to an unusual arrangement in place for decades. The city and county have separate public employees performing similar tasks.  James Van Bruggen, executive director of watchdog group Taxpayers Research Council, says sharing some services could increase collaboration and save taxpayer money.

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) – Fort Madison is considering whether to allow golf carts on city streets. The City Council will discuss the issue Tuesday night. City Manager Byron Smith says several cities in the area have adopted similar ordinances since 2011. He adds that a registration fee would generate some revenue.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected an appeal argument by Jonathan Narcisse in his fight to gain a spot on the Democratic primary ballot for governor. Last week a judge denied the former Des Moines school board member’s request to overturn a ruling by the Iowa secretary of state’s office that his nomination petitions were incomplete. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court agreed to hear Narcisse’s appeal and on Monday delivered an opinion that simply affirms the district court decision.

GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in west-central Iowa are investigating the death of a Des Moines area developer found inside a burnt vehicle. The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says 64-year-old Bobby Joe Knapp was found inside the vehicle after someone reported it Sunday. The state medical examiner’s office says the cause and manner of Knapp’s death have not been released pending further investigation and lab testing.

Compost pile fire in Atlantic at City Yard Waste Site


March 31st, 2014 by Chris Parks

Atlantic Fire was called to a fire at approximately 8:55pm Monday evening at the City of Atlantic Yard Waste Site near the Schildberg Recreation Area.  The blaze was reported to be in the compost pile at the site. Additional details are currently not available.

Update on Guthrie Center death inside burnt vehicle


March 31st, 2014 by Chris Parks

GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in west-central Iowa are investigating the death of a Des Moines area developer found inside a burnt vehicle.

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says 64-year-old Bobby Joe Knapp was found inside the vehicle after someone reported it Sunday. The state medical examiner’s office says the cause and manner of Knapp’s death have not been released pending further investigation and lab testing.

On Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service put out information on Knapp, who had a warrant out for violation of parole status. The Des Moines Register reports Knapp was serving prison time for violating federal clean air laws. He was recently released to a home confinement program.

Authorities say the burnt vehicle was stolen. The state Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the case.

Council Bluffs teachers receive delayed paychecks


March 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A Council Bluffs school district has apologized to teachers for a delay in their monthly paychecks.  The Council Bluffs Community School District sent an email Monday to teachers and substitute teachers alerting them that a payroll file for automatic deposits was not electronically submitted to the bank last week.  District spokeswoman Diane Ostrowski says the mistake was due to an error.

The Daily Nonpareil reports the district will reimburse employees who received overdraft charges because of the delay. Employees who are customers with American National Bank received a credit for the funds to their accounts. The error did not affect employees who receive bimonthly paychecks. That includes paraprofessionals, custodians and technicians.

Woman swerves to avoid styrofoam cooler & hits a tree


March 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska woman was injured Monday morning when she swerved and crashed while trying to miss an object that flew out of a boat being towed on a trailer. The Iowa State Patrol says 30-year old Sarah Rozniecki, of Omaha, was transported by Glenwood Rescue to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs following the crash. The Patrol says she was wearing her seat belt. The accident happened at around 7-a.m. in Pottawattamie County on Interstate 29 southbound, near the 42-mile marker.

Officials say a 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup pulling a boat and trailer, was traveling south on I-29, when an unsecured styrofoam cooler flew out of the boat and came to rest on the traveled portion of the road. When Rozniecki swerved to miss the cooler, her 2007 Toyota Corolla went out of control, left the road and entered a ditch before hitting a tree and crashing through a barbed wire fence before coming to rest in a field.

Mills County arrest report


March 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports three arrests over the past few days. On Friday, 39-year old Brent Harley Crawley, of Pacific Junction. Crawley was taken into custody during a traffic stop on Highway 34 at 1980th Street, and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. His bond was set at $1,000.

And there were two arrests on Monday. 36-year old Rebecca Marie Phillips, of Glenwood, was arrested at around 4:50-a.m. on an OWI/1st offense charge. Phillips was taken into custody following a traffic stop at 221st and Ashton in Mills County. Her bond was set at $1,000. Also arrested Monday was 44-year old Laura Jeanie Smith, (No town given). Smith was taken into custody at the Pottawattamie County Jail at around 12:19-a.m., on a Mills County warrant for Failure to Appear in court on an original charge of  OWI/1st offense.  Her bond was set at $5,000.