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Iowa Insurance Division highlighting fraud case involving former firefighter

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The commissioner of the Iowa Insurance Division is shining a spotlight on a case in northeast Iowa with hopes of preventing and deterring insurance fraud. Nick Gerhart says a former Strawberry Point firefighter recently pled guilty to charges that he paid two other men to steal his truck and set it on fire back in 2011.

“They burned this truck, committed the arson, and then filed false claims with the insurer to collect,” Gerhart says. The case involved Terry Groth and his accomplices, Damian Welsh of Strawberry Point and Zachary Norton of Monticello. Gerhart says Groth filed claims with his insurance company for the loss of the truck, a burglary at his shop, and vandalism of his father’s property in Manchester.

Groth received payments totaling nearly $13,000, but investigators later determined all of the claims were false. Gerhart says insurance fraud cases like this affect all consumers because it leads to higher premiums. “The way it works in insurance, everyone’s risk is pooled together and when fraudulent claims are filed and paid out, all of us pay for that,” Gerhart says. Groth, a former Strawberry Point firefighter, was ultimately convicted of second-degree arson and insurance fraud.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man arrested Tues. on numerous drug charges

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s Deputies in Cass County, Tuesday, arrested an Atlantic man on numerous drug charges. 59-year old Kenneth Eugene Hoyt faces felony charges that include Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine, and Failure to Affix Drug Tax Stamp, as well as charges of Possession of Prescription Drug without Prescription, OWI 1st Offense, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Hoyt was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $55,000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Office reports also: 39-year old Aimee Jo Nicholson, of Des Moines, was arrested Wednesday, on a District Court warrant for Probation Violation. Nicholson was taken to the Cass County Jail where she remains held on $10,000 bond. And, on March 20th 33-year old Juan Manuel Anaya Mendez, of Atlantic, turned himself in at the Cass County Jail on one Atlantic Police Department warrant for Criminal Mischief 5th Degree, one District Court warrant for Probation Violation, and three District Court warrants for Failure to Appear to Serve Jail Time. Mendez was booked at the Cass County Jail where he posted $2000, but is still serving time on his Failure to Appear cases.

Denison Police Chief exonerated in forcible search warrant execution

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Attorney General’s (AG) Office has notified the City of Denison that no charges will be filed against the City’s Police Chief, for forcibly entering a residence in an attempt to execute a search warrant. Police Chief John Emswiler today (Thursday), released a letter from the Iowa AG’s Office which said aninvestigation into a complaint for “Breaking into a residence without a warrant” in Sept. 2015 was closed, and no charges will be filed. The investigation was handled by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, and the report given to the Crawford County Attorney’s Office before being forwarded to the AG’s Office for review.

The letter from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office states “On September 18th, 2015, Chief Emswiler possessed knowledge that a valid arrest warrant had been issued for [name redacted]. Emswiler proceeded to [address redacted] Broadway (Street) in Denison, in an attempt to execute the search warrant. As of September 18, 2015 [address redacted] was the known residence of [the subject of the warrant]. When Emswiler arrived, he knocked on the door in an attempt to announce his presence.

“Emswiler had a reasonable belief that [the subject of the warrant] would be present at [the residence] since law enforcement had recent contact with (the subject) at the same location, and knew it to be his residence. When there was no answer, Emswiler validly entered the residence in an attempt to locate [the subject]. Because it was [the subject’s] residence, there was no requirement to obtain a search warrant or any other process to gain lawful entry.

“Applying the facts of this particular investigation to the statutory and case law, Chief Emswiler was well within his authority as a law enforcement officer to forcibily execute a valid arrest warrant on [the subject] at his residence.”

Power is out to more than 6,000 Iowans due to snowstorm

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More than six-thousand Iowa homes have no electricity this morning (Thursday), in many cases due to snow-covered tree limbs falling on power lines. Ashton Newman, spokeswoman for MidAmerican Energy, says some areas of northwest Iowa got a thick coating of ice and then up to 15-inches of snow along with wind gusts approaching 50 miles an hour.

“Ice through the evening hours fell on the lines,” Newman says, “and then when you bring wind into the factors, that can cause some downed tree branches and downed power lines.” She says many customers have been without power since the middle of the night and utility repair crews have been on-the-job since the wee hours.

“They’re working hard out there to get power back on quickly,” Newman says, “so we appreciate all of our customers’ patience during this time.” She says it may take until this afternoon for power to be restored to all Iowa customers. MidAmerican reports outages of several hundred in the areas in and around Sioux City, Council Bluffs and Waterloo, and four-thousand homes without power in Fort Dodge. Alliant Energy reports about 700 customers statewide without power.

(Radio Iowa)

Several agencies involved in Thu. morning pursuit in s.w. IA

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Several western Iowa law enforcement agencies participated in a pursuit that began early this (Thursday) morning in Fremont County, and ended in Omaha. Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope reports at around 1-a.m., during a narcotics investigation in the area of Highway 2 and Interstate 29, deputies tried to stop a 2013 Ford F-350 for a traffic violation. The truck, driven by 35-year old Dustin Boetel, of Omaha, took off and proceeded north on I-29.

During the pursuit Speeds reached 100-mph, with Boetel allegedly ramming the Fremont County K9 Unit and a Iowa State Patrol cruiser along the way. The chase continued into Council bluffs and on into Omaha, where the vehicle, having sustained disabling damage, ceased operating in the area of 114th and Dodge Streets.

Boetel was being held by the Omaha P-D on numerous Felony charges, including two counts of felony assault on a peace officer, operating a stolen truck, and  numerous other traffic violations. Authorities plan to bring him to Fremont County to face multiple charges, once the investigation in Nebraska is concluded.

Suspect vehicle in Thu. morning pursuit (Courtesy Fremont Co. S/O)

Suspect vehicle in Thu. morning pursuit (Courtesy Fremont Co. S/O)

Aistrope says he wants to thank the Iowa State Patrol, Pottawattamie County Sheriffs Office, and the Council Bluffs Police Department, for their assistance during the pursuit.

Census: Iowa population down in 71 counties, urban areas up

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – U.S. Census estimates show more than two-thirds of Iowa counties have lost population since 2010 but that counties near urban areas saw big growth. The Census data released Thursday estimate 71 of Iowa’s 99 counties lost residents and 28 counties gained population.

The largest percentage growth was 21.2 percent in Dallas County, in suburban Des Moines. That was followed by 10.2 percent in Johnson County and 8.6 percent in Polk County. The largest population growth was in Polk, where the Des Moines-based county added 37,076 people. Polk has an estimated population of 467,711, making it Iowa’s largest.Census

Clinton County had the biggest population decline, dropping by 1,348 residents. Adams is the state’s least populated county, with 3,796 people.

2016 Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs will host the 2016 Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day Ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2016. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located south of the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines.  Governor Terry E. Branstad who was governor in 1984 when the monument was dedicated will officiate the ceremony and make remarks.

This year’s ceremony includes the unveiling of a new plaque dedicated to the honor of the many Americans and Iowans that served in Vietnam and Southeast Asia who have for many years have suffered from the effects of their duty.  This new Iowa Vietnam War In-Memory Memorial Plaque will be located along the sidewalk leading to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and is dedicated to their honor and memory. IA Dept of Veterans Affairs

Many service men and women who served during this war continue to suffer and have had premature deaths related to their service.  These deaths are the result of Agent Orange-induced illnesses, post-traumatic stress injuries, and a growing number of other registered causes.  These service men and women are the “hidden casualties of Vietnam.”  The new plaque reflects on these Iowans and provides a lasting monument to their memory and service.

Colonel Robert C. King (Ret), Executive Director, Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, encourages Iowans to attend the ceremony that honors and commemorates our state’s Vietnam veterans who returned from the war and those who gave their lives in the fight for the freedom of others.

AMVETS Post 2 will host a luncheon following the ceremony at their post located at 2818 – 5th Street.  The free lunch is being provided by Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

Legislature approves two bills expanding gun rights

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Two bills that would change Iowa guns laws are headed to the governor’s desk. The first would let Iowans buy and sell “suppressors”or “silencers” that greatly reduce the sound of a gunshot. Target shooters say the devices helps preserve their hearing. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, is a gunsmith, which means he’s been trained to repair, modify and build guns.

“This has been a long-time coming,” Windschitl says. “What we have before us now is a bill that’s going to expand Iowa’s freedoms.” Suppressors are legal in 40 other states. The second gun-related bill that has cleared both the House and Senate this week would let landowners carry a loaded gun while driving an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile on their property. Anyone else on an A-T-V or snowmobile could carry a gun, but it would have to be unloaded and in a case or holster.

Senator Dick Dearden of Des Moines, an avid hunter who worked on the bill. He says “Also, you must get off the vehicle to shoot unless you’re wheel-chair bound, basically.” Bill backers say it’s dangerous to encounter some wild animals while riding A-T-Vs or snowmobiles in rural areas and this bill will let people shoot rabid or charging animals.

(Radio Iowa)

Snowfall’s ended, but some Iowa roadways still treacherous

News

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say heavy snow is hampering travel in parts of Iowa, particularly near Sioux City. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp said Thursday morning that the powerful winter storm that struck Wednesday left 12 to 14 inches of snow in and northeast of Sioux City.

The snowfall has ended, and Heitkamp says he doesn’t expect many problems from drifting or blowing snow because it fell wet and heavy – typical of wintry storms in the spring. The Iowa Transportation Department advises against travel in northwest Iowa because many roadways north and east of Sioux City are covered with snow or are blocked by disabled vehicles.  The department also says snow is covering some stretches of Interstate 35 north of Ames.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 3/24/2016

News, Podcasts

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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