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Guilty plea entered in NW IA bus records tampering

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

HOLSTEIN, Iowa (AP) – A former transportation director of a northwest Iowa school district has pleaded guilty to tampering with bus records. Fifty-two-year-old Douglas Wessling filed his plea earlier this week. Sioux City television station KCAU says Wessling will receive two years of probation and an order to pay a $1,000 fine.

Wessling was put on leave last fall and then lost his job as transportation director for the Galva-Holstein Community School District after an investigation by the Iowa State Patrol. District Superintendent Dave Kwikkel has said three district buses were taken out of service because of damage. Kwikkel said Wessling put one of them back into use before it had been repaired. Authorities say he also falsified repair records on at least three buses.

Meth blamed for Iowan’s death in Nebraska

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) – The death of a 35-year-old Iowa man after a Nebraska traffic stop in November has been blamed on methamphetamine.  Dakota County Attorney Kim Watson says a grand jury has found that no crime was involved in the death of Matthew Ahlsten, of Sioux City. Watson said in a news release Wednesday that autopsy tests showed Ahlsten died as a result of methamphetamine toxicity. His death was ruled an accident.

Ahlsten was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by the trooper on Nov. 3. Ahlsten soon suffered a seizure and became unresponsive. Officials say he died before he could be taken to a hospital.  Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg has said the vehicle driver didn’t know Ahlsten and was merely giving him a ride.

Semi rollover off I-80 in Cass County Friday morning

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(Update 6:56-a.m. w/no injuries)

No injuries were reported after a semi-tractor trailer hauling about 150 pigs rolled into the median off of Interstate 80 this (Friday) morning, in Cass County. The accident happened just after 6:45-a.m.  between mile markers 74 and 75.  Additional information is currently not available.

Tyson changes plans, will keep open Denison plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DENISON, Iowa (AP) – Tyson Foods has changed its plans and has decided to keep open its beef plant in Denison.  Officials say the decision will save nearly 400 jobs in the western Iowa city of about 8,400 people.  Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said Thursday that employees were given the good news last week.

Two years ago Tyson said the aging slaughterhouse could close after completion of a $90 million expansion and modernization project at Tyson’s beef plant in Dakota City. The Dakota City project originally was expected to be completed in mid-2013, but it’s taken longer than anticipated. Completion now is expected this summer.

Tyson says reasons to keep open the Denison plant include the closing of some competitors’ beef plants and the lower feed prices for cattle.

Carson man arrested on Abuse & Interference charges

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County arrested  a 52-year old Pottawattamie County man early this (Friday) morning. The Sheriff’s Department says Jim Lee Findley, of Carson, was taken into custody at around 12:50-a.m. on a valid Pott. County warrant for Domestic Abuse causing bodily injury, Interference with Official Acts, and failure to hold a fishing license. Findley was booked into the  Montgomery County Jail and held for Pott. County.

5 p.m. is deadline to place candidate names on primary ballot

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Candidates have until five o’clock tonight (Friday) to submit the paperwork to get their names on the June Primary ballot. Candidates for state and federal office have to collect petition signatures — the number of signatures required vary for each office — and deliver those petitions to the Secretary of State’s office in Des Moines. In addition to the candidates for governor, the U.S. Senate and congress, candidates in 125 legislative races are completing the process and legislative leaders from both major parties are claiming supremacy in candidate recruitment.

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs said “We are very, very encouraged by the candidates who have come forward in these districts: small business people, attorneys, people with a background in education. We’ve got lots of great candidates out there running in key districts.” Senate Republican Whip Jack Whitver, of Ankeny, said “We have a broad and diverse group of candidates from all kinds of different backgrounds: business leaders, civic leaders, military veterans. We feel very good about our candidates and we feel very good about the mood and the energy in our party right now.”

Democrats now hold 26 seats in the Iowa Senate and Republicans hold 24. In the House, Republicans are in the majority with 53 seats and Democrats hold 47.

Elections will be held for all 100 seats in the Iowa House, as state representatives serve two-year terms. There will be 25 senate races, as state senators serve four-year terms and the other 25 senators won’t face a reelection race until 2016. Four senators have decided to retire rather than run for reelection in 2014. The retiring senators are Dennis Black of Lynnville, Nancy Boettger of Harlan, Sandy Greiner of Washington and Hubert  Houser of Carson.

In southwest Iowa: Senate District 11 – Republicans Art Hill, of Council Bluffs, and Tom Shipley, of Nodaway, have filed nomination papers; Senate District 12 – Democrat Dan Muhlbauer has filed; Republicans Troy Arthur and John Blue, both of Council Bluffs, and Democrat Charlie McConkey, of Council Bluffs, have filed papers in Senate District 15; In Senate District 16, Republican Mary Ann Hanusa and Democrat Marti D. Nerenstone, both of Council Bluffs, have filed papers to run; Republican Matt Windshitl, of Missouri Valley, has filed to run for State Representative in District 17; In  Representitive District 20, Greenfield Republican Clel Baudler and Democrat Steve Roe, of Panora have filed papers with the Secretary of State; In District 21, Republican Jack Drake, of Griswold, and Democrat Tim Ennis, of Corning, are in the running; In District 22, Republican Greg Forristall, of Macedonia is unopposed; In District 23, Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene is also unopposed. (For the complete list of current candidates, go to: http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/2014/primary/candlist.pdf)

Republican Governor Terry Branstad submitted his petition signatures on February 25th. Jack Hatch, the Democrat from Des Moines who’s been running for governor, plans to deliver his petitions sometime today (Friday). In the closely watched U.S. Senate race, five Republicans have submitted their paperwork to have their names on the June Primary ballot. They are Sam Clovis of Hinton, Joni Ernst of Red Oak, Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, Scott Schaben of Ames and Matt Whitaker of Clive. The only Democrat running for the U.S. Senate is Bruce Braley of Waterloo.

There are crowded primaries in the first congressional district, the seat Braley currently holds, and in the third district as Republican Tom Latham of Clive announced in December he would not seek re-election to congress.

(Radio Iowa & Ric Hanson/KJAN)

Underwood teachers accused of pharmacy prohibited acts placed on leave

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Underwood teachers who’ve been charged with two felony counts of pharmacy prohibited acts, have been placed on paid administrative leave. Superintendent Ed Hawks told the Daily NonPareil 34-year old’s Samantha and Heath Telleen were placed on leave under the advice of legal counsel. The couple turned themselves in to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office last week, after a warrant for their arrest was issued March 7th in connection with the alleged use of stolen prescription pads to obtain pain medication in Iowa and Nebraska. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $20,000 fine. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for March 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Samantha Telleen works as a special education teacher at Underwood Middle School while Heath Telleen teaches social studies at Underwood High School. The couple allegedly used prescription pads 14 times from Underwood Family Practice, according to a criminal complaint. Seven were used in Council Bluffs. Other incidents happened in Nebraska.

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, March 14th 2014

News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill originally drafted to make it illegal for landowners to allow drinking on their property by anyone under 21 has been changed. The House Public Safety Committee approved an amended version of the bill yesterday that now limits offenses to those who permit people younger than 18 to drink on their property. The bill exempts property managers who aren’t aware of minors drinking.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that increases available state money to encourage installation of solar power systems in Iowa has passed a Senate committee and moves forward to the full Senate. The bill, supported by environmental groups, received bipartisan support in the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday.

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — More than a year after a summer storm sent it tumbling down, the 11-foot-tall Chief Wapello statue is back atop the county courthouse in Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Courier reports that after an extensive renovation, workers yesterday strapped the statue to a steel cable and used a crane to raise it about 85 feet. They then lowered it slightly to assistants who guided it into place. The statue had been in the place of honor since the Wapello County Courthouse was completed in 1894.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State defensive tackle Rodney Coe has been kicked off the team. Cyclones spokesman Mike Green says Coe has been dismissed for violating team rules. The junior started Iowa State’s final four games in 2013 and finished with 37 tackles.

Exira plans to burn down old 3-story school

News

March 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

EXIRA, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Exira plan to burn down the western Iowa city’s old elementary school. The Exira Community School Board agreed to the plan earlier this week, resolving a question that has remained unresolved since the building was closed three years ago.

According to published reports burning the school would save the district up to $60,000 in demolition costs, even including the cost to haul away the charred remains. It also will give area fire departments a rare chance to train on a multi-floor building. Superintendent Dean Schnoes notes the three-story building has seven different floor levels.

The fire is planned for April 27th. Officials will use wood pallets to start the fire and are seeking pallet donations.

Panel changes, OKs bill targeting minors drinking

News

March 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill originally drafted to make it illegal for landowners to allow drinking on their property by anyone under 21 has been changed. The House Public Safety Committee approved an amended version of the bill Thursday that now limits offenses to those who permit people younger than 18 to drink on their property. The bill exempts property managers who aren’t aware of minors drinking The panel approved the bill 15-to-5. It now goes to the House floor.

First violations would carry a simple misdemeanor charge and a $200 fine. Subsequent offenses carry $500 fines. Rep. Deborah Berry, a Democrat from Waterloo, says she’s worried about how the measure would be enforced. Republican Rep. Jarad Klein, of Keota, says the amended bill was an improvement over the earlier version.