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Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Dec. 7th 2012


December 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Two people have been burned in a fire that erupted in a bedroom of a Davenport home. Mike Hayman, of the Davenport Fire Department, says the two were sent to University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and are in critical condition. Hayman says they suffered serious burns in the blaze, which was reported a little after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The victims’ names haven’t been released. No one else was in the house when the fire started.

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — A 24-year-old man has been arrested, charged with setting fire to a home he was renting in the northeast Iowa city of Evansdale. Wayne McCormick was arrested earlier this week. Online records say McCormick remained in Black Hawk County Jail yesterday, pending $20,000 bail.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified the officers involved in a traffic stop shooting that killed a Cedar Rapids woman. The Cedar Rapids Police Department said yesterday that Officer Mitchell Magill and Officer Adrienne Phelps were on patrol when they attempted to make a traffic stop early Tuesday. Police say Desirae Daniel was shot after displaying a handgun as the officers approached. She was later pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Hospital.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state auditor says a southern Iowa resort lodge failed to meet its financial targets last year. A report released yesterday by State Auditor David Vaudt shows Honey Creek Resort missed its $6.4 million budgeted revenue by about $540,000.

Authorities ‘confident’ bodies are 2 Iowa cousins


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say they’re “confident” bodies found in an isolated wildlife area are those of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes last summer. Black Hawk County sheriff’s Capt. Rick Abben said that’s based on evidence at the scene and the preliminary investigation. However, autopsies are still pending. Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins vanished while riding bikes in Evansdale in July. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10. Hunters found the bodies Wednesday in a rural park about 25 miles away.

Local and state police and the FBI joined in a massive search that continued for months after the girls disappeared. No one has been charged in the case. Evansdale is about 90 miles northeast of Des Moines.

1 injured during collision on Atlantic’s southwest side Thursday


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was sent to the hospital for treatment of a minor leg injury after an SUV and a full-sized pickup collided on Atlantic’s southwest side, Thursday afternoon.

A GMC pickup involved in the collision with a Ford Escape in Atlantic. (12/6/12) Ric Hanson photo.

Atlantic Police Officer Spencer Walton told KJAN News one of the vehicles was trying to turn east from Highway Six on to 22nd Street, the second vehicle was unable to stop in time and struck the first vehicle from behind. The female driver of the Ford Escape which was hit was able to drive away from the scene to the Cass County Memorial Hospital. An infant riding in the vehicle was properly secured in a safety seat and was not injured. The female driver of the pickup was also not hurt.

The accident happened at around 3:40-p.m. The names of the drivers were not immediately available. Charges were pending completion of the accident investigation.

Lewis man pleads guilty in sex abuse case – gets 2 years probation


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner, Thursday, issued a statement indicating a Cass County man who was scheduled to stand trial a second time next Tuesday on sex abuse charges, has instead plead guilty to one felony count of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree.  Roger Allen Ericksen, of Lewis, appeared in court Tuesday along with his attorney, and entered his voluntary plea as part of an agreement with the State of Iowa, represented by Feistner.

Ericksen had faced 46-counts of 3rd degree sexual abuse, two counts of lascivious conduct with a minor and two charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. In entering his plea Tuesday, the other charges were dismissed. Ericksen admitted that on or between the dates of March 18th, 2011 to July 25th, 2011 he used a sex toy to perform a sex act upon a 14-year-old female victim.

Ericksen waived a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) and all constitutional rights as well as the right to a fifteen-day waiting period between plea and sentencing and the right to withdraw his guilty plea at least five days prior to sentencing and was immediately sentenced by the District Court. The judge sentenced to a maximum of 10-years in prison, but then suspended the entire sentence and placed Ericksen on two-years of supervised probation.

As part of the terms of his probation, Erickson is required to register as a sex offender in the State of Iowa, he must provide a DNA sample, have no further contact with the victim for 10-years, enroll in and complete a Sex Offender Treatment Program, and reside at the Residential Treatment Facility in Council Bluffs, until his term is satisfied. In the meantime, he will be held in the Cass County Jail until space is available at the RTF.

In addition, a special sentence was imposed committing Ericksen into the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his life, with eligibility for parole as provided under the Code of Iowa. All remaining charges against him were dismissed. Feistner said it boils down to this: Ericksen is on probation for 2-years. If he successfully completes the terms of his probation, the 10-year sentence will no longer be held in reserve. However, if he commits a serious crime, the entire 10-year sentence could be invoked. The Special Sentence (Under Iowa Code 903B.1) means that he is technically “On parole” with the Department of Corrections for the rest of his life. If he commits a crime that draws their attention, the DOC can invoke a variety of punishments, at their discretion.

Last August, a mistrial was declared in Ericksen’s case, after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on its verdict.

(For details on 903B.1, see: http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/cool-ice/default.asp?category=billinfo&service=iowacode&ga=83&input=903B)

IFA awards nearly $5.5 million for affordable housing opportunities


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently approved a total of more than $5.4 million in grants to 25 Local Housing Trust Funds to move local affordable housing projects forward. The grants will aid in the development and preservation of nearly 2,000 affordable housing units throughout the state. The grants will provide nearly $5.5 million in funding and leverage an additional $6 million in local contributions to assist 25 Local Housing Trust Funds in moving housing priorities forward.

In western Iowa: COG Housing, Inc., which serves Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac Counties, was awarded a $249,671 grant that will assist 28 low-income households through a combination of grants and low-interest loans. Eligible activities will include lead hazard remediation, owner-occupied rehabilitation, down payment assistance for homebuyers and emergency relocation and foreclosure prevention assistance; the Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund, Inc. received a grant amounting to $152,230, to promote the development of an estimated 25 affordable rental and homeownership housing opportunities through the financing of rehabilitation, new construction or direct assistance activities. The funds will also be used to promote homebuyer and tenant education, including general maintenance information.

In addition, the Southern Iowa COG Housing Trust Fund (which serves Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Madison, Ringgold, Taylor and Union Counties) received a $244,155 grant for seven affordable housing activities to assist an estimated 30 households: owner-occupied rehabilitation in support of homeownership, first-time homebuyer assistance, transitional/special needs housing (including assisted living), infrastructure for new development/infill housing, lead-based paint remediation, demolition and lot clearance for new construction and rental projects. And, the Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund, Inc. (which serves Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby Counties), received a $296,151 grant to assist an estimated 50 households by providing down payment assistance for low-income households and owner-occupied and rental rehabilitation assistance for extremely low-income households. In addition, lead-based paint stabilization assistance to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in owner-occupied and rental units will be provided. Local matching funds will also be utilized to finance a demolition.

The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans, supporting transitional housing programs as well as homeless assistance and prevention.

Another road closed for repairs in Shelby County


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency said Thursday, another road in the County  will be closed, due to repairs. The latest closure affects the Timber Road Bridge, which will be closed effective Dec. 7th (Friday), for the installation of a Low Water Crossing. The bridge is located on a dirt road in the 300 block of Timber road, between Monroe Townships 22 and 23. The bridge will be replaced with a low water crossing, in the Spring of 2013.

Last week, it was announced repairs on the Keg Creek bridge along 1100th Street in Shelby County will result in the closure of that street for about two-weeks. The road was officially closed on Monday.

Atlantic woman arrested for Contempt of Court


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports 28-year old Laura Madden, of Atlantic, turned herself-in to authorities Wednesday. Madden had been wanted on a warrant for Contempt of Court. She was subsequently booked into the Cass County Jail.

U. S. Attorney’s Office Collects $4,432,403 in Civil & Criminal Actions in FY 2012


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced today (Thursday), that the Southern District of Iowa collected more than $4.4-million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 related to criminal and civil actions. Of this amount, over $2.3-million was collected in criminal actions and just over $2-million was collected in civil actions. In addition, the office collected $2.1-million in criminal and civil forfeitures.

Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in FY 2011. A portion of the amount, $5.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys’ offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $13.1 billion represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2012.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S., and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims.

PA man arrested on drug charges in Cass County


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Another person has been arrested on drug charges, following a traffic stop in Cass County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 44-year old John T. Schanz, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, was taken into custody on Interstate 80 at around Noon, Wednesday.  Schanz was charged with possession with intent to deliver/marijuana, a drug stamp violation and prohibited acts. He was being held in the Cass County Jail on $5,000 bond.

On Monday, Trooper Wayne Brosam with the Iowa State Patrol stopped a 1996 conversion van with Illinois plates for speeding on I-80 at around 7:55-a.m., about two-miles east of the exit to Highway 71. During conversations with the driver, 34-year old Tramaine McCray, in Brosam’s patrol  car, the Trooper says he observed numerous indicators of criminal activity. At the conclusion of the traffic stop verbal consent was given to search the van. During a hand search of the vehicle, approximately 16.5 pounds of high grade marijuana was located in a natural void in the headliner of the conversion van.

McCray, and a passenger in the van, 34-year old Demetrius Johnson, were taken into custody on charges that include Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Deliver, Prohibited Acts and violation of the Drug Stamp Tax. They were later released from the Cass County Jail on $5,000 bond each.

Atlantic City Council accepts AMU budget


December 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, accepted without many qualms, Atlantic Municipal Utilities’ 2013 budget. As we reported earlier, AMU says its total budget for 2012 is up 12.1-percent from the current fiscal year. The biggest factors which figure into the increase, is the price the utility pays for electric production and transmission costs, which have risen a combined 56.6-percent. The utility also said its fund balance would decline by $431,000 or 9.2-percent despite AMU’s planned increases in local electric and water rates, which go into effect January 1st.

City Administrator Doug Harris says the Council also accepted work conducted on the City’s Street Maintenance Garage. The final contract price was $42,585. Harris said also, that the Council approved a change order pertaining to the Hot Melt Asphalt Resurfacing Improvement contract with Henningsen Construction, Incorporated.

And, they approved a change order with Fox Engineering with regard to the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. In his report to the Council, Harris said he spoke about certification of the new lab at the wastewater treatment plant, efforts at negotiations with AFCSME, and an energy audit.

Harris said Mayor Dave Jones issued a reminder to citizens of Atlantic, that when the snow falls, sidewalks need to be cleared, and snow should not be pushed into the streets. And, Harris said the City Yard Waste site hours changed this past Monday. The site will now be operating on Winter Hours, which are Saturday’s only, from 9-a.m. to 5-p.m., and as always, only trees, branches, grass, garden waste, and leaves are accepted.