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Omaha mans Sioux City robbery sends him to prison for life

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An Omaha man’s admission to robbing a Sioux City bank was his last strike and he’ll spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. Fifty-four-year-old Richard Allen Shaffer admitted to walking into a Sioux City bank on October 12th and handing a teller a note that said he had a gun and wanted money. He fled with around 37-hundred dollars and the clothes he wore and the note were later found at his girlfriend’s home.

Shaffer robbed the Sioux City bank after he was released from federal prison for six 2004 bank robbery convictions. Those were all considered one felony crime, but a review found Shaffer had convicted in a United States Army General court-martial in 1979 of unpremeditated murder and served 18 years in prison. The Sioux City robbery made it the third felony and triggered the three-strikes law and the life sentence.

(Radio Iowa)

Democrats accuse Ernst of conflict of interest over county contracts awarded to her father’s company

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Democratic Party is asking the county attorney in Red Oak to review whether Joni Ernst had an alleged conflict of interest in the 215-thousand dollars worth of county contracts awarded to her father’s company when Ernst was a county official. Ernst is the Iowa Republican Party’s 2014 nominee for the U.S. Senate, facing Democrat Bruce Braley in one of the closest senate races in the country. Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell — who was chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party in the late 1980s — says according to state law, a county officer like Ernst “shall not” have a “direct or indirect interest” in a county contract.

“Iowans expect their public officials whether they’re running for local office or the United States Senate, to do never use the power of their office to benefit themselves, their friends or their families,” Campbell says. A spokeswoman for Ernst says the construction contracts were subject to a public competitive bidding process and it was the county supervisors who voted to award the contracts, not Ernst — plus Ernst does not have a financial stake in her father’s company. Campbell, a lawyer who served one term as Iowa’s attorney general, says by her reading of Iowa law, a county official’s “immediate family members” — including their parents — are not to get county contracts.

“Despite that I think pretty clear statement in the Iowa Code, Senator Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, received $215,000-plus dollars in county contracts for his construction company, Culver Construction,” Campbell says. “This was of course the same time his daughter was auditor.” Last Friday, a Washington, D.C.-based group called the “American Democracy Legal Fund” asked Iowa’s current attorney general to issue an opinion as to whether Ernst had a conflict of interest when her father’s company got those contracts while she served as Montgomery County Auditor. The Ernst campaign says Braley’s “liberal Washington allies” are making “frivolous” allegations to “prop up Braley’s desperate campaign.”

The state’s attorney general this week said the dispute falls under the jurisdiction of the Montgomery County Attorney. Today (Wednesday) Iowa Democratic Party officials asked the county attorney to rule on the matter. Staff in Montgomery County Attorney Bruce Swanson’s office say he won’t be in the office until late Friday. Swanson, a Republican from Red Oak, is seeking reelection this year and does not have a Democratic opponent.

(Radio Iowa)

Harlan Police ask residents/business to watch for fake $20 bills

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Harlan are asking the public’s help in finding counterfeit money circulating in the community. A counterfeit $20 bill was passed at a Harlan business Wednesday. The serial number was BF28462799B.

If you or your business receives a $20 bill that appears to be counterfeit, or has the same serial number on it mentioned above, contact the Harlan Police Department at 755-5151.

Red Oak Police Arrest

News

October 8th, 2014 by admin

Police in Red Oak arrested a Pottawattamie County man early Wednesday afternoon. 26-year old Jason Rolfe Ahrens was taken into custody on a Montgomery County warrant for Failure To Appear in court on a Possession of a Controlled Substance charge. Ahrens was transported to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, and held on $5,000 bond.

Missing Arkansas teens may be in southwest Iowa

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

As part of its ongoing search, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is asking for the public’s help to locate 17-year old’s Michelle Goetz and Damian Gonzalez who went missing from Rogers, Arkansas on Sept. 26, 2014. It is believed that the pair may traveling to southwest Iowa.

Michelle Goetz - Damian Gonzales - selfie

Michelle Goetz – Damian Gonzales – selfie

Michelle she has blonde hair that may have been dyed blond with black underneath. and green eyes. Michelle is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. She has a tribal tattoo in a triangular design on her neck and an anchor tattoo on her torso. Michelle may be wearing glasses.

Damian has brown hair and brown eyes. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 225 pounds. Damian has a cross tattooed on his right shoulder. The pair is traveling in a white pick-up truck with Arkansas license plate.

The public is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) with any information concerning the disappearance or current whereabouts of Michelle and Damian. Calls may be made anonymously.

Michelle Goetz - Damian Gonzales

Michelle Goetz – Damian Gonzales

DNR Investigates manure release in Guthrie County

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating manure released from a cattle feedlot about 10 miles west of Guthrie Center to a tributary to David’s Creek last week.

Owner of the 14,000-head-capacity beef feedlot, Matt Van Meter, reported the manure release at 3:34 p.m. Oct. 2, about eight hours after discovering a break in an irrigation pipe. Van Meter estimates 200,000 gallons of liquids from a solids settling basin were released, but the amount is uncertain because he’s unsure when the pipe broke.

A DNR environmental specialist tested ammonia levels in the runoff and water quality in the stream Thursday night and Friday. Field tests showed ammonia levels of at least 10 parts per million in the runoff from the feedlot, which is high enough to cause a fish kill. However, it was raining Wednesday night, stream levels were high and field tests did not show elevated ammonia levels in the stream.

Friday, the DNR checked the stream for 10 miles below the feedlot and did not find any dead fish. The Van Meter feedlot has a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit which allows facilities to discharge pollutants under certain conditions, such as heavy rainfall, if the permit conditions are followed.

The DNR is checking records and investigating the incident to determine if the facility was operating according to NPDES permit conditions. However, the DNR expects to take enforcement action on failing to report the manure release within six hours of discovery. DNR may take additional enforcement action depending upon results of the investigation and laboratory results from stream samples.

U. Iowa legacy students will get new scholarship

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – New students with parents or grandparents who have degrees from the University of Iowa will automatically receive a $6,000 scholarship over four years when they enroll.
University President Sally Mason said Wednesday that she expects hundreds of first-year and transfer students will receive the Iowa Heritage Award next fall.

Mason told reporters that the scholarship is a piece of the school’s strategy to increase its enrollment by attracting more students from Iowa and beyond. Any student with a parent, stepparent, legal guardian or grandparent who received an undergraduate, graduate or professional degree from UI will be eligible.

Within that pool, up to 20 of the highest-achieving students will receive the President’s Heritage Award, which will award another $6,000 over four years. Mason said private donations will help pay the cost.

SWICO sponsors Candidates’ forum in Atlantic Oct. 16th

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Southwest Iowa Coalition (SWICO) will be hosting a Candidates’ forum in Atlantic on Oct. 16th. SWICO says candidates for state and federal office who may be representing Iowans in Adams, Adair, Audubon, Cass, east Pottawattamie, Fremont, Page, Mills, Montgomery, Ringgold, Taylor and Union Counties, have been invited to attend the forum.

The forum will be held at the Atlantic Golf and County Club (102 W. 29th St.). The event begins at 5-p.m. Oct. 16th with appetizers and social time, with the candidates speaking about his or her position on rural development policy issues, at 5:30-p.m.

The event will conclude with a question and answer session moderated by SWICO President Lee Weir. There is no charge to attend, but you are being asked to make your reservation by e-mailing swico@swico.org, or by calling 712-621-2032.

Cass County Supervisors approve full-time Recorder’s Assistant

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday (today) approved the hiring of a full-time assistant for the County Recorder’s office. Retiring Recorder Joyce Jensen said the decision on who to hire as an assistant to incoming Recorder Mary Ward not an easy one, due to the number of qualified applicants. Ward chose Marci Wallingford, who is currently employed at the 1st United Methodist Church in Atlantic, and has been the Pastor’s assistant for the past 7-years. She will begin her employment with the County on Oct. 20th, at a rate of 18-dollars per hour.

Jensen says salary discussions determined Wallingford will remain at the $18 per hour rate even if/when she is appointed as Deputy Recorder, through Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The percentage of salary will be reassessed when it comes to discussion on the FY 2016 budget. BOS2 :18 Q:”..still the Recorder.” Together, Ward and Wallingford will determine the need for a part-time assistant to Wallingford. Jensen said she would make herself available to fill-in as needed as an assistant, at no charge to the County.

In other business, Cass County Engineer Charles Marker reported he and Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Director Roger Herring have determined an eight-foot by eight-foot pad on the southeast corner of the courthouse would be the best option for installation of two bicycle hitching posts. Last week, Herring had proposed locating the posts in the same area, but was instructed to consult with Marker as to the best location and options for mounting the bike posts.

Cass County Conservation Director Micah Lee reported to the Board on his department’s quarterly activities. Lee said they were very busy during the period. He says the new driveway on the south entrance to Cold Springs State Park near Lewis has been heavily used by campers and nature seekers.

He says when they went out for bids on gates to the park, they looked at a couple of different types, but in the end decided it would be cheaper to build a 3 bar, galvanized swinging gate that will be installed soon, prior to the entrance being closed for the Winter. Weirich Welding was given the job of constructing the gates.

Lee says the department is also in the process of renovating its office.  The project should be complete by the end of this month. Among other projects, Micah said they mowed along the T-Bone Trail after receiving a complaint about tall weed growth following the recent, heavy rains. And at the Pellett Memorial Woods, they’ve been conducting general maintenance, including moving of trees from the trail that have died and fallen onto the trail.

Lenox man charged with writing bad checks

News

October 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An investigation into a series of checks written on a closed account, has resulted in the arrest of a Lenox man. Authorities say 36-year old Jeremy Harris was charged with three counts of Theft in the 5th degree.  Harris was subsequently sent a summons to appear in court by the Magistrates office.