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Glenwood P-D searches for Bluffs man after a pursuit and crash


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Updates w/ISP report clarifying Neal as the driver)

Authorities in Mills County are searching for a Council Bluffs man involved in a pursuit and crash this (Monday) morning, in Glenwood. According to Glenwood Police, 28-year old Rodney Kephart Jr., of Council Bluffs, fled from the scene of a crash at Highway 34 and Hilman Road.

Kephart was in a 2007 Ford Focus driven by 25-year old Jennifer L. Neal, of Council Bluffs, that was being pulled over by Glenwood Police at around 6:15-a.m. The car was traveling east on Highway 34 when Neal failed to yield to a stop sign. The vehicle was struck by a 2013 Volvo semi driven by 50-year old Paul D. Grass, of Carter Lake.

Following the collision, the car entered the southeast ditch. Kephart took off on foot. Neal, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was injured and transported by Glenwod Rescue to Creighton Medical Center, in Omaha.

Kephart Jr. has an active warrant out of Council Bluffs for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of burglary tools, and assault on persons in certain occupations. His bond was set at $5,000. Officers from several agencies assisted in looking for  Kephart, including K-9 units from Fremont County and Council Bluffs, Able one from Omaha Police Department, Iowa State Patrol and Mills County Sheriff s Office along with officers from the Glenwood Police Department.

Anyone with information on Kephart Jr.’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement and or the Glenwood Police Department at 712-527- 4844.


2 Villisca men arrested in Mills County


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports a Montgomery County man was arrested
Sunday, on a drug charge. 49-year old Shawn Allen Graham, of Villisca, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Open Container. His bond was set at $600. Another Villisca resident, 45-year old Keith Allan Currin, was taken into custody Sunday, and charged with Open Container. Bond was set at $300.

Sheriff’s officials said 53-year old Brian Jeffrey Combs, of Council Bluffs, was arrested Sunday, for Driving Under Suspension. His bond was set at $300. Three arrests occurred Saturday, in Mills County. Authorities say 51-year old Deanna Lee Andrews, of Glenwood, was arrested for being a Fugitive From Justice. Her bond was set at $5,000. 36-year old Nicholas Thomas Rohrberg, of Council Bluffs, was arrested in Mills County on a warrant for Probation Violation. Bond was set at $5,000. And, 42-year old Jeffrey Scott Leytham, of Council Bluffs, was arrested Saturday for Driving Under Suspension. Bond was set at $300.

(12-p.m. News)

2016 Sponsor Program continues to help fund Emergency Management in Adair & Guthrie Counties


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

For a fourth year, members of the private sector (business & industry) in Adair & Guthrie Counties are joining with the public sector (city and county governments) to support the budget needs of the Adair & Guthrie County Emergency Management Programs. According to Adair & Guthrie County Emergency Management Coordinator Robert Kempf, “Emergency Preparedness is not just the responsibility of our local governments. Emergency Management and Preparedness are a team sport; everyone has a part to play. The participation by the private sector is critical to accomplishing our planning and response goals and objectives.”Adair-Guthrie EMA

Kemp says “In 2015 we introduced our Mobile app. This app is free through the Goggle Play Store and ITunes and is the first of its kind in the State.” It is a one stop shop for basic information about preparedness, to get Emergency Information, current emergency management updates, weather, utility outage, closing and road condition information. Residents can also use the app to sign up for the county’s emergency notification system and to report damages to their property from storms. Kempf says “It also contains contact information for all the emergency services units in Adair & Guthrie Counties.”

The agencies maintain a Hazardous Materials Response Contract to help provide response information and assistance to emergency responders and industry in the case of a chemical spill or leak. According to Kempf, “Our emergency services cannot afford the equipment and training required to maintain a local hazardous materials team. Our contract with the Council Bluffs Fire Department allows our first responders 24/7 access to the information and expertise that might be needed for this type of incident.’

The Emergency Management Program provides preparedness and recovery information to the public in many ways throughout the year. Kempf says ” We are available to speak to different civic groups and business throughout the year”.

The Sponsorship Program includes four support levels: Bronze up to $100.00, Silver up to $250.00, Gold up to $500.00 and Platinum over $500.00. Any businesses, industry or groups in Adair & Guthrie Counties that would like to learn more about the program or become a sponsor or would like a presentation about preparedness can contact Kempf at 641-332-3030 or agcema@guthriecounty.us.

Branstad proposes 2.45 percent boost in general state support of schools


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says he believes the state can afford to send Iowa’s public schools a two-point-45 percent increase in general state aid for the next school year. “I think this is an extraordinary commitment, especially in light of the fact that we’ve had to reduce spending in other areas of the budget,” Branstad says. Branstad will release his entire plan for the entire state budget tomorrow (Tuesday).

He’s carving out a 145 million dollar increase in state support of public schools. That includes the percentage increase he’s recommending in general state aid, plus about 53 million dollars more for a teacher leadership program. Branstad says it’s a tight budget, because state tax collections are lagging.  “This year revenue is down from we anticipated it would be last year, so I think this shows that we have made an extraordinary commitment to reduce spending in other areas in order to do this,” Branstad says.

The Republican governor is urging legislators to make the decision about general school funding quickly rather than engage in a months-long stand-off like they did last year. Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says that’s the goal for Democrats. “Certainly all of us have a desire to get this done quickly. We don’t want to see a repeat of the 2015 session and that was what held us up,” Jochum says. “…It’s good news that the governor is above where the House currently is.”

House Republicans last year signaled they want a two percent general boost in state support of schools for the next budgeting year. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake says Republicans “are committed” to making the school funding decision early. “Education is clearly a bipartisan priority in this building,” Upmeyer says. The Iowa House and Senate convened shortly after 10 a.m. this morning (Monday).

Governor Branstad will deliver his “Condition of the State” message tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 a.m. and Branstad says there won’t be any big surprises in the speech or the budget plan he’ll present to lawmakers tomorrow (Tuesday).

(Radio Iowa)

Powerball jackpot now estimated at $1.4-billion


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing will be an estimated $1.4 billion – the largest lottery jackpot in the world. The cash payout (in lieu of the Annuity), would be $868-million.

While the Powerball is the largest such jackpot in the world, it’s worth noting that Spain’s massively popular Christmas lottery, known as “El Gordo,” is ranked as the world’s richest, though it doles out a single jackpot among millions of prizes, instead of one large jackpot like the Powerball. El Gordo last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country.

As for the U.S., here’s a look at the 10 previous highest jackpots and where the winners were from:

1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

2. $636 million, Mega Millions Dec 17, 2013, (two tickets, from California and Georgia)

3. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one ticket from Florida)

4. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (two tickets from Arizona and Missouri)

5. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb 11, 2015 – (three tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)

6. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug 7, 2013, (three tickets, one from Minnesota and two from New Jersey)

7. $425.3 million, Powerball, Feb 19, 2014 – (one ticket from California)

8. $414 million, Mega Millions, March 18, 2014, (two tickets from Florida and Maryland)

9. $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept 18, 2013, (one ticket from South Carolina)

10. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (two tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)

Three Strains of Influenza Currently Circulating in Iowa


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) says flu activity in Iowa is increasing, prompting IDPH to increase the level of geographic spread of influenza from local to regional spread. All three flu viruses covered by this year’s vaccines – influenza A (H3), influenza A (H1N1), influenza B (Victoria) – are currently circulating in Iowa. The two influenza A viruses are covered by the traditional trivalent (three strain) flu vaccine and this influenza B virus is also included in the quadrivalent (four strain) flu vaccine.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and CDC remind Iowans the influenza vaccine is still the best way to protect against the flu. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “It’s still not too late to receive the vaccine to ensure protection before the peak of flu season hits.” Flu season typically peaks in late January or February. Quinlisk says “Even if you have had the flu already, it’s possible to become ill with one of the other strains circulating. Vaccination will protect against getting influenza a second or even third time this year.”

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death. So far this season, there have been four influenza-related deaths in Iowa: two middle-aged (41 to 60 years of age) adults in central Iowa, one middle-aged adult in eastern Iowa, and an elderly adult (81+ years of age) in central Iowa.

For more information about where and what kind of influenza is in Iowa, go to https://idph.iowa.gov/influenza/reports. Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu.gov/.

Registration being accepted now for Entrepreneur’s event in Greenfield


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

You’re invited to join area entrepreneurs for a night of networking, learning, community support, and fun in Greenfield, next month. “EntreBash” will take place from 6-until 8-p.m. February 8th, at the Warren Cultural Center.EntreBash Lynsi Pasutti, with Midwest Partnership Economic Development Corporation, says the event they are sponsoring, is being done in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa.

She says Midwest Partnership EDC has a grant from the U-S Department of Commerce and is working with UNI’s Business and Community Services to put on a 5-year plan for supporting entrepreneurship in the region. The region includes Adair, Audubon, Greene and Guthrie Counties, but anyone is welcome to attend.

Pasutti says they’re called “Region 1,” because it is the Pilot Program for the partnership with UNI. EntreBash, she says is a smaller, localized version of EntreFest, a two-day statewide entrepreneur conference, that last year, was held in Iowa City. She says it offers you an opportunity to network with other small business owners and entrepreneurs and receive feedback on your business, obtain information resources for funding or tech assistance, and just to celebrate entrepreneurship.

There will also be learning labs with round table discussion on hot topics in the business world, including technology, talent recruitment (hiring and firing), Health Insurance and E-Commerce. The event is free, and refreshments will be provided, along with a keynote speaker, and prize giveaways throughout the night. Pre-registration is requested. For more information or to register, go to www.EntreBASH.com, or find the link at midwestpartnership.com.

Branstad, Reynolds Announce 2016 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Program


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said today (Monday), that eligible Iowans can now buy a home and reduce their federal income tax liability by up to $2,000 a year for the life of their mortgage through the Take Credit mortgage credit certificate program administered by the Iowa Finance Authority. IFA logoApproximately 780 home buyers are expected to benefit from the program in 2016, which is now available for new purchases through a network of lenders throughout the state.

The program provides eligible home buyers with a tax credit against their federal income tax liability every year for the life of their mortgage. Eligible homeowners may take fifty percent of their annual interest paid on the mortgage loan, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year, for up to 30 years. The remaining mortgage interest may be taken as a deduction from taxable income if the home buyer itemizes.

Eligibility for the Take Credit Program requires home buyers to meet household income and purchase price limitations and meet the definition of a first-time home buyer. The federal income limits vary by county and household size, currently ranging from $67,500 to $115,220 per year. A purchase price limit of $258,000 applies statewide with the exception of federally Targeted Areas where the limit is $316,000. A first-time home buyer is defined as someone who has not owned their primary residence in the past three years but also includes home buyers purchasing in a federally Targeted Area and qualified veterans who have not used tax exempt mortgage financing previously.

Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison said “Interested home buyers can apply for a mortgage credit certificate through a Take Credit Participating Lender as part of their financing process. Home buyers will need to have approval of the mortgage credit certificate before they close on a home so they should ask their lender about this opportunity early in the application process.”

After an eligible, pre-approved homeowner has closed a mortgage loan with an IFA Take Credit Participating Lender, IFA will issue the homeowner a mortgage credit certificate. The homeowner in turn may apply the credit against their federal income tax liability on an annual basis for the life of their mortgage. The credit may be claimed on IRS Form 8396.

More information is available at IowaFinanceAuthority.gov/TakeCredit.

Corning man arrested on drug warrant


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office reports a man from Adams County was arrested Sunday evening on a Taylor County warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance. 45-year old Randy Allen Etheridge, of Corning, was arrested at the Union County Law Enforcement Center, and later transferred to the Taylor County Jail.

The Wellmark Foundation announces 2015 MATCH grant recipients


January 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Wellmark Foundation has announced 13 Iowa organizations as recipients of its 2015 Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant program. The 13 grants amount to a total of $824,805, and are designed for plans to develop, implement and enhance local wellness and prevention projects with an emphasis on promoting active living and built environment and increasing access to and consumption of nutritious foods.

image001Among the grant recipients who were able to raise the necessary matching funds, was the City of Manning, which received a $75,000 grant for its Hospital Connector Trail Bridge. The Manning Regional Healthcare Center opened a new hospital, clinic and recovery center on the edge of Manning in May 2014 to replace a previous downtown facility. That created a very strong need for additional trails, so patients, visitors and employees could have pedestrian access to health care. In addition to the pedestrian transportation benefits, the trail will be used by many for active lifestyle and recreational purposes as it ties into a popular, existing trail, built in 2014.

This was the third year that The Wellmark Foundation offered the MATCH grant program.