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IPIB issues opinion on Neola City Council matter


February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Public Information Board issued an advisory opinion on meeting in closed sessions with legal counsel, in part because of a recent complaint filed against the Neola City Council. The Daily NonPareil says the board, in its recently issued opinion – which can be referenced by Iowa governmental officials – said that the issue was brought up in two recent complaints where government bodies went into a closed session without it being clear what attorney represented the bodies.

A complaint recently was filed with the IPIB against the Neola City Council, alleging the council violated Iowa Code by holding a closed session without City Attorney Scott Rogers present during its Oct. 19th meeting. Neola representatives argued an attorney handling a specific matter for the city, Clint Fichter, was present, so there was no violation of the law.

To show an attorney-client relationship, the government body should have an existing engagement letter, contract, resolution or a designation in the minutes of a previous meeting. The board dismissed the Neola complaint, but asked for background work to be done, which prompted the advisory opinion.

A copy of the opinion can be read at http://www.ipib.iowa.gov/node/370.

Oakland man faces sex crimes charges


February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Pottawattamie County man who holds a key position with a local ward of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS), has been charged with six counts of sex-related crimes. According to the Daily NonPareil, 26-year old James Raborn, of Oakland, has been charged with two felony counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist, two misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist as well as single misdemeanor counts of dissemination or exhibition of obscene materials to minors and purchase or possession of a depiction of a minor in a sex act. The charges stem from alleged sexual relationships with two 16-year-old females.

No-contact orders, which prohibit Raborn from contacting the victims, were filed on Wednesday. Raborn was arrested on Feb. 12th and posted $65,000 bond one day later. His attorney, Jordan Glaser, said Raborn plans to plead not guilty.

According to Raborn’s arrest affidavit, he works as a ward young men president for LDS. The LDS’ webpage says the ward young men president serves as a member of the ward priesthood executive committee and the ward council. As a member of this committee and council, he participates in efforts to build faith and strengthen individuals and families. Investigators interviewed a representative with the LDS church who said that Raborn was a member of its clergy.

Investigators with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office said that Raborn met the two 16-year-old girls in his role as ward young men president. In the arrest affidavit, the two victims are listed only as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. Jane Doe 1 reportedly met Raborn in July of 2015 and later introduced him to Jane Doe 2.

According to the arrest affidavit, Jane Doe 1 met with authorities on Nov. 12th, and Jane Doe 2 was interviewed on Dec. 4. Both reportedly said they performed sexual acts with Raborn and received explicit pictures from the suspect. Jane Doe 1 reportedly told authorities that she was aware that Raborn was married with children.

With a search warrant, investigators searched residences in Oakland and Red Oak and allegedly found explicit pictures of Jane Doe 2 as well as text messages between the two of them describing their relationship. The two victims also turned in gifts of jewelry, clothes and memorabilia, which they allegedly received from Raborn.

If convicted of the felony sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist charges, Raborn could receive up to five years in prison. His next court date is a preliminary hearing on March 9th.

Iowa extends athletic director Gary Barta’s contact 5 years

News, Sports

February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A big year from Iowa’s football and basketball teams means a big raise for athletic director Gary Barta. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Iowa President Bruce Harreld and Barta reached a five-year contract extension last month. It guarantees Barta $4.6 million in compensation through June 30th, 2021.

The deal increases Barta’s base salary from $400,000 to $550,000 in July and guarantees $250,000 in annual deferred compensation. Both amounts increase by $50,000 in 2018. Despite fan unrest last year, Barta stuck by football coach Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz led the Hawkeyes to 12 wins and a Rose Bowl appearance.

Barta’s biggest hire, basketball coach Fran McCaffery, has turned a once-moribund program into the nation’s fourth-ranked team. Barta’s department is also facing a federal investigation into sex discrimination allegations.


Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Feb. 18th 2016


February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that would create a system for manufacturing, dispensing and possessing medical marijuana in Iowa has advanced in the Legislature. The Republican-majority House Commerce Committee voted 17-6 to pass the measure on Wednesday.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A big year from Iowa’s football and basketball teams means a big raise for athletic director Gary Barta. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Iowa President Bruce Harreld and Barta reached a five-year contract extension last month. Barta’s biggest hire, basketball coach Fran McCaffery, has turned a once-moribund program into the nation’s fourth-ranked team.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has seen a 36.4 percent increase in faculty resignations during the 2014 to 20015 academic year, compared with the year before. The Iowa Board of Regents’ most recent faculty report says the number of resignations at the university increased from 66 to 90 between fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The Press-Citizen reports the Iowa Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the reports when they meet February 24th and 25th in Ames.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Polk County inmate has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and sex abuse after being held in jail for over three years. The Des Moines Register reports that 45-year-old Lavelle McKinley admitted Monday as part of a plea deal to sexually assaulting and strangling Cynthia Rouse. He has been held on a murder charge since January 16th, 2013, two days after Rouse died.

Red Oak woman arrested on two outstanding warrants


February 17th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Wednesday afternoon of a Red Oak woman on two bench warrants.  At 3:50pm deputies arrested 26-year-old Mildred Helenora Douglas of Red Oak.  One warrant was out of Cass County for Driving While Revoked and the second was out of Pottawattamie County for Failure to Appear on OWI Charge.  Both bonds were $2,000 and Douglas was turned over to Cass County.

1 injured in Page County accident Wed. morning


February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office says one person was transported to the hospital following an accident this (Wednesday) morning. The crash took place at around 8:05-a.m. at 170th Street and E Avenue, or about two miles south and east of Essex.

Essex Fire and Rescue was called to the scene and extricated 33-year old Susan Elizabeth Moore, of Villisca, from the 2012 Chevy Malibu she was driving. Moore was   then transported to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital by Essex Rescue for treatment of  undisclosed injuries. The driver of the other vehicle, 50-year old Melissia May Long, of rural Shenandoah, and her passenger, were checked for injuries but were found to be okay.

An investigation into the accident determined Long was driving a 2007 Jeep Liberty north on E Avenue from the stop sign, crossing 170th. Long said that she didn’t see the 2012 Chevy Malibu that Moore was operating westbound on 170th east of the intersection with E Avenue. Moore saw the Long vehicle start from the stop sign and continue into the intersection. She started to brake, but Long’s SUV hit the car on the driver’s side front door. The collision caused Moore’s car to spin counter clockwise into the north ditch, where it hit and destroyed a county road sign post. The car came to rest in the north ditch, west of the intersection. Long’s SUV also spun counter clockwise and came to rest in the eastbound lane of 170th just west of the intersection.

Deputies cited Long for Failure to have insurance and Failure to yield upon entering through Highway.

Veterans Information Fair set for April in Pott. County


February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Commission of Veteran Affairs will be sponsoring a Veterans Information Resource Fair at the Avoca Iowa American Legion on April 1st, from 3-to  7-p.m., and April 2nd from 7:30- to  11:30- am. Free meals will be served for attendees on April 1st from 5-to 7-pm and April 2nd from 7:30–to 9:30-a.m.

Vendors wishing to participate should contact the Pottawattamie County Veterans Affairs office by March 21st, to reserve a table. Call 712-328-5797 to reserve your table.

Iowan gets 60 days in jail for head-butting 13-year-old son


February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Sergeant Bluff man has been given 60 days in jail for head-butting his 13-year-old son. Forty-eight-year-old Bradley Graff also was ordered Tuesday to pay $410 in restitution. The Sioux City Journal reports that Graff pleaded guilty to child endangerment. He pleaded guilty in a separate case to failing to register as a sex offender. He was given a suspended five-year sentence and two years’ probation.

Court documents say the head-butting occurred while Graff was practicing wrestling with his 11- and 13-year-old sons at his business, Wall of Fame. The documents say the older boy asked to stop practicing, but Graff threw him onto a mat several times and head-butted him. The documents also say Graff stomped his son’s head onto the mat, giving the boy a bloody nose.

$47.25 million water quality investment announced

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

State officials, along with commodity group leaders, are touting a nine-and-a-half million dollar U-S-D-A grant for water quality efforts that will get four-point-75 million dollars worth of matching funds from the state. Officials say Iowa farmers will invest another 33 million dollars to complete water quality projects. Kurt Simon, the state conservationist, says more than 40 partner are involved.

“This partnership has brought together diverse stakeholders from multiple sectors committed to improving water quality in line with the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” he says. That’s the voluntary approach farm groups and state officials announced three years ago in response to concerns about run-off from ag land.

Kirk Leeds, the C-E-O of the Iowa Soybean Association, is also a spokesman for the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and he was at Tuesday’s news conference to announce the combined 47-and-a-quarter million dollar investment in conservation practices on Iowa farms.

The Iowa Soybean Association Research Conference started Tuesday and continues today (Wednesday) in Des Moines. This (Wednesday) morning at the state capitol, the House Ag Committee began debating Governor Branstad’s plan to divert some school infrastructure money to water quality projects.

The Des Moines Water Works, the state’s largest water utility, has sued officials in three northwest Iowa counties for mismanaging drainage districts, causing the utility to spend millions removing nitrates from the river water used as its drinking water supply.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa fire deaths so far in 2016 are double last year


February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

As many as 15 people have died in fires across Iowa during the first six weeks of this year, twice the statewide death toll compared to last year. Ron Humphrey, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s office, says bitter cold weather was a factor in many of the deadly blazes. “That was the case in the Boxholm fire, where it was extremely cold, so (the family was) using extra heat sources in the house, which then led to the fire, which led to the firefighters out in that extreme cold,” Humphrey says. “It’s hard on humans, it’s hard on equipment, it’s a perfect storm. It was hard to fight that fire with everything involved.”

Humphrey says smoke detectors were discovered in the rubble of nearly every fire, but most had no batteries or were otherwise not functioning. “It’s kind of sad when you go into these fatalities and you see a smoke detector there that had a battery and you wonder, would that have made a difference, or there was no smoke detectors in there,” Humphrey says. “That can be very frustrating.”

Humphrey says half of the fatalities occurred in just two fires during January. Three people died in a home in Montrose in southeast Iowa, while a mother and her three children perished in a blaze in Boxholm just south of Fort Dodge.

(Radio Iowa)