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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 17th 2014


December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

GARNER, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor says it will be impossible to find an impartial jury in Hancock County for the trial of a former state lawmaker accused of sexual abuse. Assistant Attorney General Tyler Buller says former state Rep. Henry Rayhons, his lawyer and his family have provided commentary that’s led to slanted and misleading coverage of the case. Rayhons, of Garner, is accused of having sexual contact in May with his wife, Donna Rayhons, while she was a resident of a care center and not able to give consent. Donna Rayhons died in early August.

GRANGER, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a fatal house fire in Granger was likely caused by smoking. The State Fire Marshal Division within the state Department of Public Safety says the early Monday fire was accidental and likely caused by smoking. Authorities believe the fire started on a couch where a man was located. The man was identified as 55-year-old James O’Connor. Authorities say he died of thermal injuries.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state ethics board has dismissed a complaint filed against state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. A staffer for Republican treasurer candidate Sam Clovis filed the complaint over an ad campaign for a popular college saving program that aired as Fitzgerald was running for re-election. The ethics board says airing the ads didn’t break any state law.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — A former Iowa State graduate student accused of trying smuggle sensors for military guidance systems has pleaded guilty in a New Mexico federal courtroom. Wentong Cai is a Chinese national. His cousin who worked for a tech company in China also has pleaded guilty and faces 20 years in prison.

Atlantic City Council to act on several matters, Wednesday


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, will act on several matters to come before them. During their 5:30-p.m. meeting at City Hall, the Council will act on a Tax Abatement application for a residence at 1604 Bryn Mawr Blvd. Interim City Administrator John Lund says after consulting with the City Attorney, it was determined the proposal for a new addition was eligible for the abatement due to the time frame in which the actual improvements began, and not the demolition.

The Council will also act on providing prior approval of tax abatement for a lot at 904 Mulberry Street, where the property owners may make up to slightly more than 3-thousand square feet of improvements. A building permit will still need to be acquired, the 10-percent threshold met, and zoning regulations followed per the completed abatement applications.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council is expected to approve a 28-E agreement between the Atlantic Fire Department and the City of Marne. The agreement is renewed every 5-years, and there are no changes from the previous agreement. The Council will also act on a clarified Resolution pertaining to the City’s Personnel Policy Manual, and the second reading of a Mowing ordinance.

And, the Council will recognize Atlantic Police Officer, Sgt. Paul Wood, who has served the community for 10-years. An award to be presented to Officer Wood is being covered by an anonymous party who wishes to recognize City employees for their service. No taxpayer dollars are involved.

Lake Manawa drowning victim ID’d


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County today (Tuesday) identified the victim of a canoeing accident that took place Sunday afternoon on Lake Manawa, in Council Bluffs. Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said the victim, whose body was recovered late Monday morning, has been positively identified by the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office as 39 year old Jeremiah Beckmann of Omaha, Ne. Beckmann’s family has been notified of the identification. Beckmann was an active duty member of the United States Air Force and was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base.

Meyers says Beckman and 36-year old Benjamin Ferguson, also of Omaha were on the Lake when their  canoe capsized at around 1:45-p.m. Sunday. The accident happened as the men were maneuvering the canoe through an area of ice on the southwest side of the lake, near Boy Scout Island.

Ferguson, who is a Master Sergeant at Offut AFB and assigned to the Air Force Weather Agency, swam to the shore and walked to the park ranger’s house to report the incident. Beckmann had tried to hang onto the tipped over canoe, but slipped under the water. At the time of the accident, the water temperature was around 35 degrees.

Ferguson was taken to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs hospital for treatment of hypothermia. Council Bluffs Fire Dept. rescue crews had searched the lake until 5:30-p.m. Sunday without finding the Beckmann. Members of the Omaha Fire Department’s Dive Team and Council Bluffs Fire Department resumed their search for Beckmann at 8-a.m. Monday. His body was recovered at around 11-a.m that day.

Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office to partner w/the IABD for tobacco, Alternative nicotine and Vapor product education & enforcement


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says it has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Guthrie County’s youth. Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. ABD logo

Due to a change in Iowa law, alternative nicotine and vapor products are now considered age-restricted products and will be part of the I-PLEDGE program’s compliance initiatives this year. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 93%. By participating in the program, the Guthrie Co Sheriff’s Office has committed to do its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.

I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use and affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale. Although not required to retake the training if currently certified, ABD encourages clerks to repeat the training after October 3rd, in order to familiarize themselves with the newly age-restricted products.

Sheriff Marty Arganbright says “I-PLEDGE’s retailer training is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product sales. The training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.”

Guthrie Co Deputies and Reserve Officers will also be conducting compliance checks on local establishment as part of the I-PLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter and attempt to purchase tobacco or alternative nicotine products. Clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot. Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for a third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.

“By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community,” Sheriff Arganbright said. “Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.”
To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to www.iowaabd.com

(Press Release)

Woman arrested for Trespassing in Atlantic


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic arrested a woman on a Trespassing charge, Monday. Officials say 64-year old Jeannette Schroeder was taken into custody and booked into the Cass County Jail. Additional information was not immediately available.

UI students stressed by finals get relaxing perks


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa wants its students stressed about final exams to relax. To that end, the school is offering them free breakfast, yoga classes, massages and other tension-relieving perks. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the stress-buster activities at the Iowa Memorial Union began over the weekend and continued Monday morning with a pancake breakfast. Throughout the week, students will find quiet study spots, free snacks and coffee in addition to yoga and massages.

Angie Reams is the University of Iowa’s assistant to the dean for student care initiatives. She says there is also help for those students feeling more than just stressed. For students feeling overwhelmed, there is University Counseling Services and other programs.

Report: Iowa ranks 7th for volunteerism


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new federal report ranks Iowa 7th in the country for the percentage of residents who spend time volunteering. Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency in charge of volunteering and service. She notes the most popular volunteer activity in Iowa involves donating food or preparing meals for the needy. That’s also the case for most other states.  “In Iowa, it’s 32-percent, so that’s very high and that’s one of the top ways people can help,” Spencer says. “I think, in general, Americans don’t like the idea of anyone going hungry.”

Utah is once again ranked as the top state for volunteerism. Idaho, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin and Nebraska round out the top six, followed by Iowa. Spencer says there are a number of reasons why states with a lot rural communities tend to have higher volunteer rates. “For example, low commute times…so, it’s easier to get around. There are higher densities of nonprofits, higher education levels, and high levels of home ownership — that could indicate to us that people are settled in to their community and they really care. They want to make sure their community is strong and vibrant and they want to help,” Spencer says.

The report states slightly more than 1 in 3 Iowans (34.7%) volunteered in 2013. The study also calculated the economic value of those volunteers.  “Of the nearly 800,000 volunteers serving statewide, the value of that is $1.5 billion in economic value to the charities, nonprofits and faith organizations,” Spencer said.

Nationally, one in four Americans volunteered last year. The report found those between the ages of 35-44 had the highest volunteer rate, while those over the age of 65 spent the most time volunteering.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Sheriff warns of Insurance sweepstakes scam


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about a recently reported scam. Officials say a person received a letter that claimed to be from Cigna Dental/Health & Life Insurance. The letter said the woman had won a sweepstakes, and included a check, along with a request for the recipient to put the check in her bank account, and send funds back to the sweepstakes to cover the cost of fees.

The Sheriff’s Office says while Cigna is the name of a valid company, the letter is a scam. They remind you that when a company asks YOU to send THEM money in order to receive money, it’s always a scam.

Cass County Sheriff’s report, 12/16/14


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Cass County report the arrest of two Atlantic men. 42-year old Michael Chad Barnes was arrested Sunday, on a charge of OWI/1st Offense. And last Thursday, 31-year old Jeffery Leroy Carpenter was arrested on a District Court warrant for Failure to Serve Jail Time. Carpenter was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held until sentence is served. Barnes was released from the jail later in the day, Sunday, on his own recognizance.

Corning man passes out and crashes in Creston


December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two separate accidents in Union County Monday resulted in one person being transported to the hospital in Creston. Authorities say at around 4:45-p.m., a 2005 Pontiac driven by 45-year old Rodney Taylor, of Corning, was traveling westbound on Highway 34 in Creston, when Taylor apparently blacked out, due to coughing and choking.

His car left the road and went over a curb and grassy area into a parking lot, where it continued at a high rate of speed, and hit another curb on the west side of the parking lot. The vehicle launched into the air and landed on the side of a ditch. Taylor suffered from chest pain and was transported to Greater Regional Hospital in Creston. His vehicle sustained $10,000 damage, and was considered a total loss.

The second accident happened at around 7-p.m., when a vehicle driven by 19-year old Jess Haryle, of Creston, ran into a legally parked 2002 Ford Ranger pickup truck. The accident occurred as Haryle was traveling south on Division Street, in Creston. The man told authorities he didn’t see the pickup before running into the back of the vehicle. Damage from the accident amounted to $3,000. Authorities cited Haryle for Striking an unattended vehicle.