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(Updated) Structure fire in Audubon


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Audubon plus more than a half-dozen other communities responded to the scene of a structure fire in downtown Audubon early this afternoon. Audubon Fire Chief John Ballou told KJAN News the fire at 310 Broadway Street was reported at around noon. He said there was a little confusion at first because the noon whistle sounded at about the same time as the fire sirens were going off.

The Chief said when they arrived there was a fire on the second floor and smoke coming from the windows. The upper floor of the building was said to have been vacant. Audubon Mayor Sam Kauffman told KJAN the lower floor was a former daycare center, and is owned by Jonell Gaskill-Irlmeier. The lower floor was being used primarily for storage of documents and other items.

Crews from Adair, Atlantic, Brayton, Exira, Manning and Templeton all responded with mutual aid. Atlantic sent it’s ladder truck,while Templeton and Manning sent their tankers. A semi tanker loaded with water provided by a local farmer also was at the scene. Ballou said it was fortunate that several of the fire trucks had just been in Exira for the City’s 4th of July parade, and were able to respond quickly.

The flames were pretty much knocked down by around 3:30 pm, but a rekindle was reported just after 4-p.m. The roof, upper floor and part of the 1st floor eventually collapsed into the basement. The structure was considered a total loss. A business in an adjacent building sustained water damage. No injuries were reported. A cause of the blaze was not immediately available. An inspector with the State Fire Marshal’s Office is expected to be in Audubon Saturday, to try and determine the source of the fire.

Mayor Sam Kauffman said while he was grateful for the assistance from area fire departments, he especially wanted to thank the Atlantic Fire Department for sending it’s “quint,” or ladder truck equipped with a snorkel. He said that piece of equipment likely prevented the fire from spreading to the adjacent buildings and creating a major disaster.

White Pole Road Dev. Corp. celebrates 100th Anniversary of 1st registered route in Iowa


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The White Pole Road Development Corporation is celebrating  the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s first registered state route. The White Pole Road (aka Great White Way Highway) was a dirt road that once stretched from Davenport to Council Bluffs and insured motorists a straighter, leveler and shorter route across the state with a town every five miles along the way. The White Pole Road became the first certified state route under the provisions of the then newly-formed Iowa State Highway Commission on July 30, 1914.White Pole Road

Leighton Christiansen, Iowa DOT Librarian, says “There were so many interesting names and road designations that crisscrossed the state at the beginning of the 1900s during the ‘Good Roads’ movement. When the Highway Commission was formed in 1913, they decided to organize these auto trails. The Great White Way Association of Iowa plotted their road on county maps, paid a $5 registration fee and soon became the first official route in Iowa.”

Today, the recreated 26-mile White Pole Road in the West Central part of the state is a tribute to this original road that once connected the five communities of Adair, Casey, Menlo, Stuart and Dexter. This particular stretch of road is also important because it served as the nucleus to Iowa’s first certified route. In the early 1900s, these towns were part of the regional Des Moines-to-Atlantic White Pole Auto Club which held meetings at the halfway point in Menlo. This road promotion then grew from Des Moines to Council Bluffs in 1910 and in the fall of 1912, the road continued on to the east of Des Moines to Davenport. Plans were made to eventually extend this statewide road from Chicago to Denver but by the 1920s the vision was merged with other routes and the name ultimately gave way to highway numbers.

In 2002, the White Pole Road Development Corporation formed with a mission to create a tourism industry that brought new visitors and related revenues in to each of their five communities and improved the quality of life. These community leaders knew the value of a good road running through their towns just like they did 100 years ago and decided to pay tribute to the route. John Fisher, president of the White Pole Road Development Corporation, said “It’s the people who built the original road and it’s the people building it again in spirit. 100 years later we’ve gone full circle and we’re using our old road to help grow and bring vitality back to rural Iowa.”

The group invites you to follow the over 700 telephone poles painted white along its 26-mile stretch on Saturday, July 12th and reflect on all those that have cruised before you. Refreshments will be served outside the Stuart City Hall from 6-8pm. A representative from the Iowa DOT will be present.

(Press Release)

7AM Newscast 07-04-2014

News, Podcasts

July 4th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Independence Weekend outlook: Stormy, hot & humid

News, Weather

July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service in Des Moines says our July 4th weekend will be stormy and becoming very humid and hot by Sunday. Sunshine should prevail most of the day, today (Friday), with high temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s. Storms will begin to move into the area after 9 pm from the west. These storms will move eastward overnight, reaching the Des Moines metro a little before sunrise Saturday morning. A few of these storms may produce periods of heavy rain, so if you encounter possibly flooded roadways remember to turn around, don’t drown!1937448_667273706684161_6330820548077491759_n

For Sunday, temperatures will warm to around 90 degrees. Dewpoints will be in the low to mid 70s, so heat index values will be close to 100 degrees. Make sure to plan accordingly now and have plenty of water to drink and shade if you plan on being outdoors.

A cold front will past through the area from the northwest during the afternoon/evening hours. Strong to possible severe storms will be possible with this front… keep monitoring the forecast for the latest updates.

Look out for price gouging and repair scams


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says price gouging rules are now in effect for all counties designated disaster areas by the governor, and anyone who finds big increases in the prices of materials used in the recovery from storms and flooding should report them. Miller says you also need to protect yourself from those who look to take advantage of you by promising to make repairs. “Scammers, often from out-of-state or certainly from a distance, come in and just happen to be in the neighborhood and knock on your door. I think you have to be particularily careful of those,” Miller says. Miller says take some simple precautions, no matter where the person doing the work is from.

“Get price comparisons or even bids. Get some references where work has been done. When you do decide on an agreement, get it in writing and sign the contract. But before you sign the contract, read it through and make sure that it makes sense,” according to Miller. And he says you should never pay the entire amount of the contract up front, as that’s usually when the contractor takes the money and never completes the work. Miller says you can pay some money ahead of time and the rest once the work has been completed. Over half the counties in the state are now under a state disaster declaration, but Miller hasn’t yet heard of any problems.

“We haven’t had any initial reports, it’s still early in the reconstruction and rehab world. We always try to get out early and warn people,” he says. Miller says the price gouging law is a good one, but he says you have to help by talking precautions.  He says the downside is that it is sometimes hard to find scammers who are out of state and they sometimes spend the money before they are caught. “So it’s really important to follow the guidelines of protection and common sense that I’ve outlined so they don’t get the money in the first place,” Miller says.

You can go to the Attorney General’s website at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov to get more information on preventing scams.

(Radio Iowa)

Adams County accident results in an arrest


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County report an investigation into an accident Thursday evening on the south side of Nodaway resulted in the driver being arrested on a charge of OWI/2nd offense. Authorities say deputies were dispatched to the single-vehicle accident near Birch and 260th Streets at around 7-p.m.  Their investigation determined 30-year old Caiti Bradley, of Nodaway, lost control of her car, which ended-up in the ditch. Bradley was arrested on the OWI charge and brought to the Adams County Jail, where she was being held on $2,000 bond.

Rain further eases much of Midwest drought

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says near-record-setting rainfall last month has nearly eradicated residual drought from much of the Midwest including Iowa. All that remains of the drought in Iowa are two small areas of abnormally dry conditions, one in the southeast corner of the state, and one in the southwest corner. Some areas now have too much water.

Meteorolgist Brad Rippey says in a Wednesday report drought covers just 5 percent of the U.S. soybean area and 8 percent of the nation’s corn. Corn, rated 75 percent good to excellent, has not been rated as highly at this time of year since 2003. Soybeans, at 72 percent good to excellent, have not been rated as highly at this time of year in the last two decades.

Trial date finally set for former Bluffs doctor in child sex abuse case


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and others have finally agreed on the date a sexual abuse trial for a former Council Bluffs pediatrician will be held. The Daily NonPareil report trial for 69-year old Dennis Seaborn Jones is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19th. Jones, is accused of second-degree sexual abuse for the alleged abuse of a 5-year-old girl. Jones has agreed to waive his right to a jury trial.

The sexual abuse charge is a Class B felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. The trial scheduling change is at least the fourth since Jones was arrested in May of 2013. On May 23, 2014, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. As part of a search related to the sexual abuse case, investigators found a large amount of child pornography on computers and hard drives on Jones’ computers.

Jones is currently in federal custody. A sentencing hearing in the matter is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Aug. 15 at the U.S. Courthouse in Council Bluffs.

Iowa News Headlines: Fri., July 4th 2014


July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WALFORD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Wisconsin woman was struck and killed after walking in the middle of a highway in eastern Iowa. The Linn County Sheriff’s Office says 44-year-old Rochelle Ihander was walking in the center of a lane of Highway 151 near Walford yesterday morning when she was hit by an SUV. The vehicle’s driver was not injured.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man accused of leaving the scene of a deadly car crash faces a felony charge in the case. Twenty-two-year-old Mark Beltran was charged Tuesday in connection with the death of 70-year-old Robert Ibsgaard. Authorities say Ibsgaard was on a crosswalk in May when he was struck by a car driven by Beltran.

RICEVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa woman has pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse charges involving a 15-year-old boy. Twenty-two-year-old Mindy Jo Fetters of Riceville entered the plea earlier this week. Fetters is accused of being involved in an incident in April allegedly involving the teenage boy.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Council Bluffs say someone is drilling holes into cars to take gasoline from inside the vehicles. Police say a person or group may be linked to at least 18 cases since April. Both old and new cars have been targeted.

Cass Supervisors approve salaries for FY 2015 & budget adjustment


July 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Monday, received certifications from county officers for base salaries of their deputies and certified the base salaries of deputies to the county auditor. The Board also determined the compensation of ‘other employees’ [other than those under bargaining unit or other employment contracts], and reviewed FY2014 budget expense appropriations and made amendments as necessary.

A motion to make a county budget appropriation adjustment was approved (change in spending authority for budgeting purposes) for Fiscal Year 2014. The adjustment to the General Basic Fund was for a decrease in the Non-departmental line item by $30,000; and increasing Data Processing by $30,000.

In accordance with Iowa Code, Sheriff Darby McLaren certified the annual base salaries of the exempt deputy sheriff. It was determined that the maximum limitation of 85% of the sheriff’s salary was not exceeded, therefore 1st Deputy John Westering salary of $58, 172 per year was approved by the Board. And, the Supervisors certified to the Auditor annual departmental deputies’ base salaries for Fiscal Year 2015.

For FY-2013 and FY-2014 the position of jail administrator was given to the first deputy sheriff. Rather than hire a jail administrator, the sheriff and Board of Supervisors determined it was most practical for Westering to perform jail administration duties and authorized supplement pay to the first deputy. The amount paid was an annual total of $5,000, including social security and IPERS. Sheriff McLaren has requested,  and the Board approved, FY-2015 supplemental pay for Westering amounting to $4,254 for performing jail administration duties.

And, in accordance with Iowa Code the Board agreed to set a compensation schedule for FY-2014-15. Detailed information about the compensation schedule and deputies’ base salary information is available at the Cass County Auditor’s Office, and will be posted in the minutes of the Board of Supervisors meeting on the Cass County website at http://www.casscountyiowa.us