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Investigation continues into threatening letter at WVC Schools

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the West Central Valley (WCV) School District today (Monday) said on their social media page, that Guthrie County, Stuart Police and State law enforcement officials provided “Solid security” Monday to the district, in light of a threatening note found in the High School commons last Friday, in Stuart. The District says “Stuart Police and our Highway Patrol representative are continuing their investigation to locate the person or persons responsible for the note.”

District officials said also, that “For the remainder of this week, all buildings will be utilizing a single point of access for all students and families. All doors in each building will be locked, and the access point will be monitored (The access point is normally the main entry door). The high school will continue to have a modified contingent of law enforcement personnel onsite for a good portion of this week as their investigation continues. High school students will continue to have their bags checked when they enter the building. The elementary buildings and the middle school will operate under normal conditions with the exception of the single point of access.”

The message to parents concluded by saying “The district will continue to provide for a safe learning environment for the students of West Central Valley. We will continue to work closely with all law enforcement agencies on this issue, and will continue to take the necessary steps to provide you with up-to-date information related to school events.”

Unseasonably warm weather helps farmers advance harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An unseasonably warm week has aided farmers in getting crops out of fields in Iowa and Nebraska although both states remain slightly behind the five-year average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday in its weekly crop update that in Iowa 71 percent of corn is harvested, about two days behind the average. The soybean crop is 89 percent harvested, about five days behind average.

Farmers in southwest and south central Iowa still have a third or more of their soybeans to harvest. Nebraska experienced a week with temperatures averaging nine degrees above normal helping to get 91 percent of the soybean crop in, near the 96 percent five-year average.

Corn farmers in Nebraska are 69 percent harvested which is near the 70 percent five-year average.

Dr. Berry receives IHA “Hospital Hero” Award

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Health System have announced Dr. Elaine Berry has received the Iowa Hospital Association’s 2016 Hospital Hero award. The award was presented on October 19th during the IHA annual meeting in Des Moines. On hand to present the award was Pat Markham, CCHS CEO and former professional boxer/motivational speaker Sugar Ray Leonard, who was a keynote speaker at the event.

According to the IHA website, the IHA Hospital Hero Award “recognizes hospital employees who have performed heroic acts or have consistently and tirelessly given of their time, talent and expertise to improve their organizations, patients and communities.  These everyday heroes are the role models for other hospital employees and the communities they serve.”

Only 10 people from across the state are chosen as hospital heroes each year.  Dr. Berry’s nomination was submitted by hospital staff with letters of support noting her dedication to the community and her patients, particularly with hospice care and emergency medical services throughout Cass County.

From left to right: CCHS CEO Pat Markham, Dr. Berry, and Sugar Ray Leonard.

From left to right: CCHS CEO Pat Markham, Dr. Berry, and Sugar Ray Leonard.

 

Iowa State University police’s body camera policy not public

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State University campus police are using body cameras but because no formal policy for the technology has been adopted, it is unclear when the public has the right to see the videos.  The Des Moines Register reports that campus police began using cameras this summer under a draft policy that the department has refused to release. There is no timeline for when a formal policy may be finalized.

University interim police chief Aaron DeLashmutt says the public safety department wants to make sure privacy rights are looked at before making a policy public. ISU student government president Cole Staudt says that although campus police told the organization that officer were going to wear body cameras, no student input was sought while developing the policy.

Iowa will pay more for state’s privatized Medicaid program

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa is increasing the amount of money it pays three private insurance companies to administer the state’s Medicaid program. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency says the Iowa Department of Human Services decided recently to pay more in rates distributed for each Medicaid patient. It’s unclear how the extra $33.2 million will affect the state’s cost projections.

LSA analyst Jess Benson says the agency will predict a $20 million to $30 million shortfall for the current budget year when the agency meets soon with state officials. The figure is preliminary, and it’s unclear if the Department of Human Services would absorb such costs or if Gov. Terry Branstad would request extra state funding.

Branstad said Monday he still believes the state will save roughly $110 million this budget year from privatization. Senate Democrats have challenged those savings.

MS man arrested on robbery, kidnapping & assault charges in Council Bluffs

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs say a man from Mississippi is in custody on robbery, kidnapping and assault charges, following an incident that took place Sunday night at the Hampton Inn, in Council Bluffs. 53-year old Allan McGowan, of Olive Branch, MS, was arrested sometime after 7:46-p.m., which was when officers responded to a reported assault at the hotel.

Allan McGowan

Allan McGowan

McGowan was charged with Robbery 1st Degree, Kidnapping 1st Degree, Assault while Participating in a Felony and Obstruction of Emergency Communications. He was being held in the Pottawattamie County Jail.

The victim of the assault, 37-year old Norma Hineline, of Omaha, told police she was attacked by McGowan inside one of the hotel rooms. She said prior to being assaulted, McGowan grabbed her purse and began to remove some of her cash. The woman said  she attempted to use the hotel phone to dial 9-1-1, but McGowan hung up the phone.

After being unable to get her purse back from McGowan, Police say Hineline attempted to leave the room, but McGowan reportedly grabbed her and pulled her back into the room, putting her in a “choke hold” and strangling her until she lost consciousness. When Hineline awoke, McGowan was removing cash from her purse and had possession of her cell phone. Eventually, McGowan allowed Hineline to leave the hotel room.

Neola man arrested on assault & other charges

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Pottawattamie County report a man from Neola was arrested Sunday night on assault and other charges associated with an incident involving his girlfriend, that took place earlier that evening. 32-year old David Joseph Martin Kilibarda faces charges that include Domestic Assault with Injury, Criminal Trespass and Interference with Official Acts. He was taken into custody at around 10:50-p.m. and brought to the Pott. County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Office says also, 26-year old Michael Allen Lee, of Crescent, was arrested Sunday morning for OWI/2nd offense, after a deputy investigated a vehicle parked about a mile north of Big Lake Road, on Joslin. Lee’s preliminary breath test (PBT) registered nearly twice the legal limit for intoxication, and a later blood alcohol test came back as .121, or just over the legal limit.

Also arrested on an OWI charge Sunday, was 25-year old Alex David Friesen, of Crescent, who was taken into custody a little after 3-a.m. following a report of a tired or intoxicated driver in the Crescent area. Friesen was located on Old Lincoln Road and following an investigation was arrested for OWI/1st offense. His blood alcohol level later tested as .164, or twice the legal limit.

Cass County Communications disrupted Oct. 22nd – cause unknown

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert, today (Monday), updated the County Board of Supervisors on some recent good news and bad news. The good news, he said, was he received funds from the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, or, I-CAP.

Koppert said he received $1,000 last Friday from ICAP for a fire extinguishers grant to supply extinguishers for the courthouse and other vital County buildings. The funds will be used to reimburse the County for the already paid for and received extinguishers. The extinguishers cost around $1,300-$1,400 altogether, and Koppert said he would look into using funds from the County E-911 membership to make up the remainder of the costs for reimbursement.

The bad news, Koppert said, had to do with numerous County communications systems. An incident happened that happened the night of Oct. 22nd took down the internet and other vital systems affecting the courthouse and Communications Center.

A dispatcher on-duty texted Koppert, who was in Iowa City at the time. A couple of minutes later, he was notified the County’s radio communications system was down. Koppert said there was no reason they could find or think of that would have caused both systems to crash. The Avaya phone system was also down in the courthouse. 9-1-1 was not affected, however, because the Administrative lines are run to the Comm. Center. At that point, Koppert instructed the dispatcher to active the phone tree method of communication to emergency responders.

Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon was also notified, and responded to the Comm. Center in a coordinated effort with Koppert, to try and figure what was going on and walk through the check-list of steps to correct the problem. A radio tech from Indianola was also called to try and get communications up and running, and Solutions, Incorporated was called to deal with the internet issues.

Early the next morning, the efforts resulted in the internet “WatchGuard” firewall security system being reset in the basement of the courthouse. Koppert said one of the Watch Guards apparently went into a “Kernal panic” mode, which occurs when there is an issue with either system hardware, OS, or firmware. It’s taken by an operating system upon detecting an internal fatal error from which it cannot safely recover.

Koppert says there are plans in-place to have a back-up radio in the Comm. Center, and having someone on-site, available on short notice, to handle similar situations.

3 new Scenic Byways designated in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, along with Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino today (Monday), announced the designation of three new Iowa Byways and the modification of three existing byways in the state. The three include: Bridges Byway in Madison County; White Pole Road Byway between Adair and Dexter, and, Jefferson Highway Heritage Byway between Northwood and Lamoni.

The byway changes come following the review of proposed routes for designation as Iowa Byways conducted by the Iowa Byways Advisory Council led by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). Three organizations responded to a call for applications in 2014 for new byways.  Proposals were also submitted on behalf of four existing Iowa Byways for route extensions or modifications.

The White Pole Road Byway between Adair and Dexter, just north of Interstate 80 along old U.S. Highway 6, is a piece of transportation history linking “five small towns” and events from wagon ruts and train robbery to present day. The roughly 26-mile route was formerly a part of the route known as the Great White Way is lined with 700 white painted telephone poles. It was submitted by the White Pole Road Development Corporation.

The Bridges Byway in Madison County focused on the iconic and widely known covered bridges located throughout Madison County, the 82-mile route will also feature scenic natural areas, the John Wayne birthplace, and other unique destinations.  It was submitted by the Madison County Conservation Board with the support of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the Interim Madison County Scenic Byway Committee.

The Jefferson Highway Heritage Byway between Northwood and Lamoni, roughly along U.S. Highways 65 and 69, is an historic north-south U.S. border-to-border route, that was originally envisioned in 1916 as part of a national corridor for car and freight travel as the auto age developed and before the Interstate system was initiated.  It was submitted by Loring Miller (Leon) and the Jefferson Highway Association on behalf of Decatur County.

The Iowa DOT will work with the new byway applicants over the next several months to assist initiating the byway organization, finalizing the signed byway route, and creating a unique route brand that will be featured on signage to be installed along the route by the 2018 tourist season.

To learn more about Iowa Byways and to order a free Byways Travel Guide or Byway brand poster, visit www.iowabyways.org.

2 arrests by Glenwood P-D

News

October 31st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Glenwood Police Department reports two, recent arrests. On Sunday, 18-year old Morgan Wooton, of Council Bluffs, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Her bond was set at $1,000. And, on Friday, 41-year old Amy Osthus, of Glenwood, was arrested for Theft in the 4th Degree. Her bond was set at $1,000.