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Records: Sac County murder suspect fantasized about rape

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Records show that a western Iowa man charged with murdering his mother and kidnapping another woman hours after getting out of prison last week told police in 2008 that he planned to use duct tape found in his backpack to rape a girl. The Wisconsin prosecutor in a 2009 car theft case involving Kirk Levin told the court Levin was once caught hiding in the basement of a girl he was targeting. Prison officials say they had no choice but to release the 21-year-old on Jan. 1st when his 5-year sentence for burglary ended three years early, under a state law that routinely cuts inmates’ sentences in half.

Levin was arrested Thursday, hours after prosecutors say he killed his mother at her Early home and abducted a 21-year-old woman, who escaped.

Neb. appeals court OKs DNA retesting in rape case

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Court of Appeals says a man convicted nearly four decades ago of rape should be allowed to seek new DNA testing in the case. Juneal Pratt is serving 32-to-90 years for the rape, sexual assault and robbery of two teenage Sioux City sisters at an Omaha motel in 1975. Kathy and Gail Schiefen, were 19 and 17 respectively, at the time.

Pratt has maintained his innocence and asked a Douglas County District judge to allow DNA testing of the evidence collected in his case, citing the availability of new tests. But Judge Russell Bowie denied the request in 2011, saying the evidence was not stored in a way that preserves its integrity and that it may have been contaminated by DNA from those who handled it.

But the appeals court said Tuesday that the lower court was wrong to make that conclusion.

Atlantic City Council to act on amended personnel policy

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two sections of the City of Atlantic’s Personnel Policy pertaining to how far our police officers can live from the City, and the number of non-union personal holidays allowed, will be discussed and acted on during a meeting Wednesday evening, of the Atlantic City Council. A resolution set to come before the Council would require the City’s police officers to live within a 25-minute response time of the City. The change to the current policy was requested by the Union and is supported by Police Chief Steve Green. The current personnel policy requires employees to live within five-miles of the City limits.  Green says the more lenient change in the policy would meet both the legal and operational requirements of his department.

The second portion of a resolution to the personnel policy would increase the number of personal holidays from two- to three- per year, for non-union employees. It would increase the total number of holidays from 10- to 11-days, and according to city officials, provide parity between the union and non-union workforce. John Lund, assistant to City Administrator Doug Harris, said his survey of surrounding cities indicated the average number of holidays provided was 11.5 days.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council is expected to hear a report from Nishna Valley YMCA Director, Dan Haynes. Their meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. in the Council’s Chambers, at City Hall.

 

Cass County Supervisors to hold zoning ordinance hearing

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The first of two public hearings pertaining to an amendment to the Cass County Zoning Ordinance, will take place Wednesday morning, in Atlantic. The hearing is with regard to a change in the zoning district or districts’ Permitted Principal Uses, and will take place during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Cass County Board of Supervisors. The hearing will be followed by the first vote on approving the amended ordinance. A second hearing and vote on the amendment will be held January 16th.

In other business, the Supervisors will receive a quarterly report from County Conservation Department Director, Micah Lee. And, they’re  expected to act on approving a new hire for the Secondary Roads Department. The meeting begins at 9-a.m. in the Supervisor’s Board Room, at the Cass County Courthouse.

8AM Newscast 01-08-2013

News, Podcasts

January 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

7AM Newscast 01-08-2013

News, Podcasts

January 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Former Denison Fire Chief pleads guilty in missing funds case

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A man who once served as the City of Denison’s first paid fire chief, has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of 1st-degree theft, in association with the misspending tens-of-thousands of dollars of city and county money. According to the Omaha World Herald, the plea by Mike McKinnon was made in exchange for a second charge of felonious misconduct in office, being dropped. McKinnon is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11th. He faces up to 10-years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.

State Auditor David Vaudt reviewed records dating from July of 2005 through March of 2010. The records showed about $96,000 of improper and unsupported disbursements from the Denison Fire Department. Vaudt said about $73,000 of that was from the City of Denison and another $23,000 was from the Crawford County EMS Association. The report shows nearly $40,000 was improperly paid to businesses owned by McKinnon. Vaudt said McKinnon also made thousands of dollars worth of personal purchases with the city’s credit card.

McKinnon has reportedly made a partial restitution, and has agreed to repay the City of Denison the more than $9,260 it paid for the special audit, along with nearly $1,000 the City was not reimbursed by its insurance carrier and, restitution to the Crawford County EMS, the amount of which has not yet been determined.

Latest Iowa figures point to bad flu season

News

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – More and more Iowa flu cases have been reported, and officials say the seasonal outbreak could get even worse now that children are back in school.  The Des Moines Register reports that at least 151 people were hospitalized for flu complications in Iowa during the last week of December. The Iowa Department of Public Health says that during the last week of December 2011, public health officials didn’t record any flu hospitalizations.

Department medical director Patricia Quinlisk said Monday that she doubts the tide of illnesses will ebb soon. Quinlisk says the flu incidences show “all the hallmarks of a relatively bad and prolonged flu season.”   She says people who traveled during the holidays were exposed to viruses that quickly could be spread by children who have resumed classes.

Iowa’s pheasant numbers have fallen far over the years

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new report finds the size of Iowa’s pheasant population has fallen 83-percent since the mid-1990s due to disappearing habitat and a series of harsh winters. Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says habitat loss alone would have meant only a 26-percent drop in pheasant numbers. “You kind of have an exponential effect when you have declining habitat combined with harsh winters because they have no cover to escape the conditions they’re facing,” Baskins says. “We’ve had several winters in a row with above-average snowfall.”

A milder winter a year ago, combined with the summer-long drought, helped the pheasant population somewhat. Baskins says the habitat loss combined with several severe winters is making it harder for pheasant chicks to survive. “The other big influence we have weatherwise is when we get into colder and wetter springs,” he says. “The chicks, when they’re hatching, if they’re exposed to those conditions, they succumb to the elements. They don’t have as high a survival rates when we get into the colder and wetter conditions after first hatching.”

Baskins says Iowa lost more than a million acres of habitat between 1996 and 2010. He says higher corn prices prompted many farmers to plow up land that normally would serve as habitat for the birds. Bob-white quail numbers are also in decline. The numbers come from the DNR’s 2013 report on the pheasant population.

(Radio Iowa)

It’s winter, sure, but all of Iowa is still in a drought

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

January 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new federal report finds well over half the country is still in a drought, including all of Iowa and several neighboring states. U-S-D-A meteorologist Brad Rippey says it’s easy to forget about the drought during wintertime, because there’s no blazing heat and lots of snow, but he affirms, the exceptionally dry weather is continuing.  “We still have 61.09% of the contiguous U.S. in drought,” Rippey says. “That is down nearly three-quarters of a percentage point from December 25th but it does still leave, obviously, a significant portion of the country in drought.” That’s virtually unchanged since July when about 60-percent of the nation was in drought conditions. Rippey says we need to be prepared for the long-haul.

Rippey says, “It is not unusual, especially across the western half of the country, for droughts historically to last many years, in the vicinity of a decade.” The famed Dust Bowl drought started in 1931 and lasted until 1940. Rippey isn’t predicting this drought will continue that long, but he reminds, it can happen. While we’ve all heard of a flash flood, Rippey says the “flash drought” isn’t nearly as well known, although Iowa saw a couple of them this past summer. “It is a very fast-developing phenomenon where you have high temperatures and little-to-no rainfall for a short period of time, on the order of one to two to three weeks,” Rippey says. “That’s the situation we’ve seen many times in the last couple of decades where crops get into trouble very quickly.”

While the report finds a large portion of the country is in drought, that includes all of the following states: Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and South Dakota. While parts of Iowa have seen a foot of snow or more already this winter, the report says to overcome the drought, it may take up to eight-feet of snow.

(Radio Iowa)