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Explosion outside OSI in Oakland injuries 1 person

News

March 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An accident at a food-processing plant in Oakland Tuesday morning has reportedly left one person injured.  Officials with OSI issued a statement to the media Tuesday afternoon saying “At approximately 11:30 this morning, a contractor was servicing a piece of equipment when the accident occurred outside of the plant. The contractor’s employee was transported to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs via Oakland Fire and Rescue and the extent of injuries is unknown, but the person has been discharged from the hospital.”

Some reports from employees on their social media sites made reference to a generator exploding  outside the facility, but that has not been confirmed.

 

Glenwood residents miffed about tax hike

News

March 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The discussion got a little heated during a meeting Tuesday night of the Glenwood City Council, when several residents in the crowd of more five-dozen complained about the Council’s vote to raise property taxes in order to replenish the city’s general fund and to pay for two street projects on the south side of town. According to the Omaha World-Herald, residents alleged mismanagement on the part of city officials led to the general fund being drained. Some residents also said that the council should try cutting the budget instead of raising taxes, and that the proposed street projects should be more modest.

Exactly how much residents will be taxed has not been determined. The council voted to allow itself to tax property owners in town up to 46 cents per year per $1,000 of value, meaning an owner of a $100,000 home would pay as much as $46 more per year in property taxes. The council will vote later on exactly what the tax hike will be. The council needed to vote on the tax increase Tuesday night in order to finalize its budget, which is due to the state Friday.

The vote was unanimous, but some council members expressed misgivings, saying they felt forced to vote for it at the last minute. The two street projects cover about four blocks of Vine Street and a block of Railroad Avenue. The two projects total about $1.2 million but, with 80 percent of the cost covered by state and federal money, the city would pay $260,000. Landowners along the two street projects will also pay an assessment to help fund the project — to total 9 percent of the city’s costs. Some landowners along the route say that is unfair.But City Administrator Brian Kissel says some properties are getting new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveway approaches. The people who are receiving that benefit are being charged the assessment.

Another concern for those at the meeting is the money designated to replenish the general fund. The city says doing so is necessary because the city spent nearly $200,000 on the town’s library after its roof collapsed in late 2012, and another $150,000 has already been spent on the two street projects. The city has a general fund balance of $100,000, Kissel said. But officials want to get that to about $300,000.

 

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., March 11 2015

News

March 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa lawmaker has reiterated his criticism of the planned closing of two state mental health facilities. Rep. David Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, spoke on the House floor about the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal removes funding for two of the four state mental health facilities in Iowa. Branstad calls the facilities outdated and says patients could receive more efficient treatment elsewhere.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa school districts could decide when to start the academic year under a bill that has won approval in the Iowa Senate. School start dates became a key issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early. Supporters say providing districts with control is best for students, while opponents argue early starts can hurt tourism.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former Air Force captain who oversaw contracts in Afghanistan has pleaded guilty to an influence-peddling charge stemming from his later employment representing a vendor. Adam Pudenz pleaded guilty to violating a law that bans ex-federal employees from trying to influence matters in which they were involved, and to making a false statement.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The House has passed a bill that would make several changes to Iowa’s gun laws. The House voted 75-24 today to advance the bill to the Senate, where lawmakers are considering similar legislation. The bill would make it legal for a child under 14 to use pistols and revolvers under a parent’s supervision.

Numerous departments battle fires near Villisca, Tuesday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Peronnel with the Villisca Fire Dept along with several other firefighters from Department within Taylor, Page and Adams County, battled a large field fire Tuesday afternoon. Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Brian Hamman said on his social media page that the fire involved several hundred acres, large round hay bales and brush piles.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA's Facebook page.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA’s Facebook page.

Hamman said also conditions are ripe enough for fire to get out of control and move at a dangerous speed. He mentioned it was Villisca’s second fire of the day. All of the blazes were in Taylor County, just southeast of Villisca. The Fire Danger index in southwest Iowa was in the “Very High” category, Tuesday.

Iowa Senate supports letting districts decide school start

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa school districts could decide when to start the academic year under a bill that has won approval in the Iowa Senate. The Senate voted 32-17 in favor of the legislation Tuesday. School start dates became a key issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early.

Supporters say providing districts with control is best for students, while opponents argue early starts can hurt tourism. The bill will now move to the House, where lawmakers in the House Education committee have approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner. Senators said they hoped to soon resolve the issue.

Iowa lawmaker criticizes closing of mental health facilities

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa lawmaker has reiterated his criticism of the planned closing of two state mental health facilities. Rep. David Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, spoke on the House floor Tuesday about the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. He received a standing ovation from many lawmakers.

Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal removes funding for two of the four state mental health facilities in Iowa. Branstad calls the facilities outdated and says patients could receive more efficient treatment elsewhere. Heaton says the closings would force patients to travel long distances for treatment. He says medical professionals have told him there is no space available in local hospitals for additional patients.

Heaton says Branstad and the state Department of Human Services should offer more solutions as the session moves forward.

Des Moines water supplier to sue counties over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. The board voted Tuesday afternoon to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

The counties oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts north of Des Moines. The lawsuit will allege the drainage systems are no different than city wastewater treatment plants in that they discharge pollutants and should be subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

Nineteen citizens spoke in support at the meeting. Several farm groups say in a statement the lawsuit undermines the relationship between the water utility and farmers upstream but they’ll continue to work on water quality.

Transients arrrested for vehicle thefts in western IA

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two transients were arrested in Council Bluffs on theft and other charges, following an investigation into the theft of pickup trucks from Pottawattamie and Mills Counties. According to Bluffs Police, 35-year old David Spracklin was arrested March 6th in Fremont, NE, by members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force.

David Spracklin

David Spracklin

He was wanted on warrants charging him with 2-counts of Theft in the 1st Degree, 4-counts of Forgery, Credit Card Forgery, Identity Theft, Conspiracy, and On-going Criminal Conduct.

Sara Novy

Sara Novy

32-year old Sara Novy was arrested today (Tuesday) in Omaha, by members of the same Task Force, on warrants charging her with 2 counts of Theft in the 1st, Credit Card forgery, Conspiracy and On-going Criminal Conduct. Both were being held in the Pottawattamie County  Jail.

The investigation into the duo’s alleged activities began just before 7-a.m. January 27th, when a white 2015 Ford F250 pickup was stolen from the parking lot of Bucky’s on North 16th Street, in Council Bluffs. Officials say in the early afternoon hours of February 11th, a red colored 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup was stolen from a farm in Mills County, Iowa. Later that same afternoon, the vehicle’s owner noticed his stolen truck parked in the parking lot of Midstates Bank (at 1851 Madison Avenue) occupied by a male and a female.

The owner called 911, but before the arrival of the Police, the truck drove to the No Frills Super Market (at 1801 Valley View Drive) and pulled next to a new white Ford F250. The female exited the Dodge and got into the Ford. The Police arrived at this time and attempted to stop the Dodge Ram. Both vehicles fled the area, failing to stop for the Officer.

A little after 2-a.m. February 15th,  a Council Bluffs Police Officer pulled into the Bucky’s parking lot (15 No. 16th St.) and noticed a white Ford F250 had just pulled into lot from the opposite drive. As the Officer drove toward the truck, it sped out of the lot and traveled westbound on Avenue A at a high rate of speed. The truck was found abandoned minutes later near the intersection of No. 34th Street and Avenue A. This was the same vehicle that had been stolen on January 27th.

At around 7:40-p.m. on February 19th, a vehicle fire was reported in the 3500 Block of Gifford Road. After the fire was extinguished, it was determined that this was the same vehicle that had been stolen in Mills County on February 11th. During the course of the investigation into these thefts, Spracklin and Novy were identified as being in possession of both stolen trucks. They have also been identified as having tried to pass forged checks at Walmart and Home Depot in Council Bluffs. Warrants for their arrests were issued on March 4th.

CCHS Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The deadlines are quickly approaching for several scholarships that are available to area students through Cass County Health System and its affiliate organizations.
· Cass County Health System offers a $1,000 scholarship to southwest Iowa students pursuing a four-year degree in a health-related career. Deadline is April 1, 2015.
· Cass County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary provides two $1,000 Grant-in-Aid scholarships for students pursuing a health-related career. Deadline is March 31, 2015.
· Cass County Memorial Hospital Foundation offers two $5,000 Louie and Elsie Hansen Memorial scholarships for graduates of a Cass County high school who will be attending a medical or nursing school leading to an MD, RN, or LPN degree. Deadline is April 1, 2015.

Applications are available on the Cass County Health System website, www.casshealth.org, and can be turned in to the Human Resources Office or Cass County High School guidance offices by the respective deadlines listed above. For more information, contact Sara Nelson, Director of Public Relations, 712-243-7408.

House passes bill that would make changes to Iowa’s gun laws

News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The House has passed a bill that would make several changes to Iowa’s gun laws, including removing the age limit for children to use pistols and revolvers under a parent’s supervision. The House voted 75-24 Tuesday to advance the bill to the Senate, where lawmakers are considering a similar bill. The bill would make it legal for a child under 14 to use pistols and revolvers under a parent’s supervision. It would also block public access to the names of people with permits to carry guns.

The bill would legalize the use of suppressors to help silence guns. It also makes changes to how some people acquire and renew their permits. It’s unclear what kind of support the bill will get in the Democratic-controlled Senate.