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Democrats’ push to up minimum wage face hurdles from GOP

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers say they’re ready to introduce bills this session that would increase Iowa’s minimum wage, but the effort faces hurdles because of a divided Legislature and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s other priorities. Democrats in the House and Senate want to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour — the federal minimum — to $10.10 an hour. Some feel there’s national momentum on their side this year.

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than the federal standard. Several increases took effect on Jan. 1. But Branstad has been vocal about other priorities, including anti-bully legislation and expanded broadband Internet in Iowa. Leadership in the Republican-controlled House has indicated more interest in funding job creation and worker training programs.

Unspecified threats at 2 Council Bluffs Schools

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities say two Council Bluffs middle schools received unspecified threats Friday that Council Bluffs police quickly determined were not credible – along with several other Iowa schools. The Daily NonPareil reports just before noon, Friday, the Wilson Middle School received a recorded call indicating a vague, external threat would be coming to the school. The school was immediately placed on lockdown, but Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said students did not appear to be in any real danger. Police presence was stepped up outside the school in response.

Shortly after Wilson received the all-clear at 12:25 p.m. and lifted its lockdown, a very similar threat was received at Kirn Middle School. Diane Ostrowski, chief communications officer with the Council Bluffs Community School District, said that though Kirn was not placed on lockdown, police responded and beefed up exterior security.

Meyers said authorities had been in contact with Harlan Police Department, as Harlan Community High School received a called-in bomb threat on Wednesday afternoon. The threat was deemed credible and classes were dismissed early, but the school was declared safe after a nearly three-hour search by law enforcement. A number of other threats were also made Friday against several other Iowa schools.

Media reports indicate similar threats were made at roughly the same time Friday to schools throughout Iowa, including: Ankeny, Cedar Falls, Davenport Central, Davenport West, Sioux City East and Waterloo West high schools. Mitch Mortvedt, special agent with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, said the DCI has not yet been asked by law enforcement to be involved with investigating the threats. However, the Department of Public Safety’s intelligence division is monitoring the situation.

(Podcast) KJAN News & funeral report, 1/17/2015

News, Podcasts

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news and funeral announcements, w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Villisca man charged with forgery; Stanton woman arrested on drug charge

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports three recent arrests. Friday afternoon, 24-year old Joshua Allen Beedle, of Villisca, was arrested on six felony counts of Forgery. Additional charges were pending. Beedle was being held in the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center on $5,000 bond.

On Thursday, 18-year old Morgan Elizabeth Schrader, of Stanton, was arrested in Montgomery County on Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, charges. Schrader was being held at Montgomery County Corrections on $1,000 bond. A couple of hours later, deputies arrested 42-year old Ronald Chester Kingery, Jr., of Villisca, on Serious Domestic Abuse Assault, Child Endangerment and Interference with Official Acts, charges. Kingery, Jr. was being held without bond, in the Montgomery County Jail.

Proposed oil pipeline raises questions

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Dallas, Texas based company proposing to build a crude oil pipeline that would cross 18 Iowa counties will file for a permit to build with the Iowa Utilities Board later this month. Energy Transfer Partners Senior Vice President Joey Mahmoud says the company has permission from 80 percent of landowners along the proposed route to survey. If the petition is approved, he says the company will seek eminent domain powers to survey the rest of the land.

Pipeline map from the Des Moines Register, July 2014

Pipeline map from the Des Moines Register, July 2014

“Is it reasonable to think we’ll have 100 percent voluntary easements, probably not. In those rare cases, we’ll have to rely on the power of eminent domain if we’re able to secure it from the I-U-B,” Mahmoud says. Iowans have spoken out in favor and against the project so far in public information sessions held by the state. Opinions also vary outside the state. A Michigan State geoscientist is warning about a possible oil spill from the proposed pipeline, which Energy Transfer Partners says they intend to bury between three to four feet deep across Iowa farm fields. Geoscientist Bruno Basso says that’s not deep enough.

“Three feet will not even be close to be safe for crop production. Roots will reach at least three to five feet, especially in those good Iowa soils. I mean, long story short, crops cannot grow if there is an oil spill,” Basso says. Basso and Mahmoud recently made their comments on a recent broadcast of the Iowa Public Radio “River to River” program.

(Radio Iowa)

9-1-1 Service disruption reported in northern Pott County

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Customers of Wind Stream Communications in northern Pottawattamie County were asked to use their cell phones to make 9-1-1 calls late Friday night, after land-line 9-1-1 service was disrupted due to a cut fiber optic line. The outage affected Windstream customers in the Minden, Shelby and Avoca telephone prefixes. The line was quickly repaired and a service map showed no disruptions by 11-p.m., Friday. The service was expected to have been restored by no later than midnight.

4 injured in a crash on I-80 in Cass County Fri. night

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A four-vehicle crash on eastbound Interstate 80 Friday night in Cass County resulted in four persons being sent to the hospital. The Iowa State Patrol says the accident happened at around 9:35-p.m. about a mile west of the Marne exit.

Officials say a 2015 Freightliner semi and a 2006 Chevy Malibu were traveling east in the right lane when the semi, driven by 46-year old Chasun Briley, of Hubbard, OH, rear-ended the Malibu, driven by 25-year old Joseph T. Foster, of Des Moines. The impact caused the car to cross the median and come to rest in the left lane on the westbound side of the road. An unknown vehicle was rear-ended by a 1999 Mercury Sable driven by 34-year old Joann M. Scharlau, of Des Moines, when the unknown car, traveling west on I-80 in the left lane, swerved to the right to avoid a collision with the Malibu.

The Sable came came to rest on the right shoulder of westbound I-80, while the unknown vehicle continued west. Foster and the other individuals injured in the crash, including 21-year old Aleia Robinson and 20-year old Yazsmine V. Wright, both of Des Moines, along with 27-year old Greggie M. Moore, of Omaha, were transported by Walnut Fire and Rescue to the Cass County Memorial Hospital, in Atlantic. It’s not clear which vehicle Robinson, Wright and Moore were in. Foster and Robinson were wearing their seat belts.

Authorities capture 2 Clarinda Academy escapees

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two black males who escaped from the Clarinda Academy Friday afternoon were taken into custody at around 8:45-p.m., just west of Clarinda. Authorities reported the escape just before 3-p.m.  The males, ages 17 and 19 had last been seen heading north from the Clarinda Academy. One of the escapees is from Minnesota and the other is California.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., Jan. 17th 2015

News

January 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

CHARITON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in a southern Iowa shooting is still at large. Police and other officials are searching for the person believed to have shot a woman Friday morning outside her home in Chariton, Iowa. The woman was taken to a local hospital and then transported to a Des Moines hospital. She remains in critical condition.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say the Iowa State University student found dead in Iowa City last September may have been killed in a central Iowa hotel. The Des Moines Register reports a search warrant made public Thursday says 20-year-old Tong Shao had stayed in a Nevada, Iowa hotel from September 5th to September 7th with her boyfriend, Xiandnan Li, the sole person of interest in the case.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Polk County’s medical examiner says he’s seen four times more flu-related deaths so far this season than he saw last winter. Doctor Gregory Schmunk told the Des Moines Register yesterday he’s received 12 death certificates since November citing flu as a main or contributing cause of death. Schmunk says he received just three such certificates last winter.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded nearly $86 million to four companies to support job creation and expansion projects in the state. The board announced the grants yesterday, which will aid projects in Davenport, Ames, Charles City and Burlington.

Polk County medical examiner reports at least 12 flu deaths

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Polk County’s medical examiner says he’s seen four times more flu-related deaths so far this season than he saw last winter. Dr. Gregory Schmunk said Friday he’s received 12 death certificates since November citing flu as a main or contributing cause of death. Schmunk says he received just three such certificates last winter. The Des Moines Register reports three are death certificates of children, most others of the elderly, and one of a 47-year-old.

Schmunk says the spike in flu deaths shows the seriousness of this year’s outbreak, when the height of flu season hasn’t yet hit. The county medical examiner’s office doesn’t receive all death certificates, but Schmunk says he estimates that he sees more than half of Polk County’s death certificates, which is Iowa’s most populous county.