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Breaking News: Western IA woman’s remains found in Sac County


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety reported late Thursday night, that authorities in western Iowa were investigating the suspicious death of a western Iowa woman whose remains were discovered while officers were investigating the alleged kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of another victim. The body was located at 2242 Ira Avenue, and officials say the death was being treated as suspicious in nature. An autopsy will be conducted by the Iowa State Medical Examiner in Ankeny. The name  of the victim was being withheld pending notification family.

In early May of 2011, a Carroll resident, 50-year old Dawn Allen was reported missing. Her vehicle was found in the parking lot of a club on the east side of Carroll. The last person known to have had any communication with her, 54-year old James Snovelle, committed suicide May 9th in Kansas, as authorities closed in on him. Allen’s remains were never found. It’s not clear if there is any connection with her disappearance though, and the remains found Thursday in neighboring Sac County.

The investigation into death of the woman found Thursday, started at around 8-a.m., when the Sac County Sheriff’s Office responded to Highway 20 and Ira Avenue, two miles west of Early, to investigate an alleged kidnapping. Law enforcement had received a 911 call from a local citizen who had encountered a 21 year old woman attempting to flee a vehicle and claiming she had been kidnapped. Once at the intersection of Ira Avenue and Hwy 20, law enforcement officials made contact with the victim and determined the suspect had fled on foot. A search of the area was conducted and sheriff’s deputies located 21 year old Kirk Riley Levin hiding in a nearby barn. Levin was taken into custody without incident.

The victim reported that Levin showed up at her Storm Lake residence at approximately 6:30-a.m., and initially asked her for a ride. Levin took her out of Storm Lake, to a residence at 2242 Ira Avenue, in Early. The residence is about one-half mile away from the roadside where the victim was discovered by the citizen and law enforcement. The victim reported Levin held her against her will and informed her she was being kidnapped.

Levin was being held at the Sac County jail on 20-thousand dollars bond. He’s facing felony charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse (a class D felony), assault while participating in a felony (a class D felony), and 3rd degree kidnapping (a class C felony). Levin is being held on $20,000.00 bond.

The investigation into the kidnapping and death is being investigated by the Sac County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and Storm Lake Police Department. The Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol assisted in the initial search for Levin.

Vehicle stolen from Union County recovered in Kansas


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Union County Sheriff Rick Piel reports a vehicle that was stolen late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning from a rural Union County residence, was found Thursday afternoon in Kansas. The vehicle, which was taken from a location about four-miles north/northeast of Creston, was found about 190 miles away, in Shawnee County, KS. No other details are currently available.

Clarinda man arrested for DUS


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, released details about an arrest which occurred Sunday evening. Sheriff Lyle Palmer says 40-year old Merlin Glenn Lininger, of Clarinda, was pulled over for a traffic violation at around 6-p.m. Sunday, in the 1200 block of South 16th Street.

During the traffic stop, it was determined Lininger’s driving privileges were suspended. He was subsequently arrested for Driving Under Suspension (DUS), and brought to the Page County Jail. Lininger posted bond, and was released pending a hearing on the charge.

Helicopter crew remembered as “selfless”


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The head of a Mason City hospital calls this “a very tragic time” following last night’s (Wednesday) medical helicopter crash in a northern Iowa field that killed the crew of three. Dan Varnum, president of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, confirms those killed are: pilot Gene Grell, nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl. Varnum says, “They, like all Mercy employees, were selfless health care workers who gave their lives to really providing care for others each and every day.”

Fred Buttrell is president of Air-Med, which runs the helicopter service. Buttrell says the Texas-based company has 50 outlets all across the country and makes 50-thousand flights a year. He says this is the company’s first serious incident since 2004. He says the Bell 407 helicopter was put in service new in April of 2011 and it was in full compliance with all of its maintenance and safety checks.

A Bell 407 Medical helicopter, similar to the one which crashed.

“The aircraft was equipped with all of the latest technology, night-vision goggles, avoidance and warning systems,” Buttrell says. “The aircraft did not have the quote black box but it did have a satellite tracking system that monitored aircraft positioning and aircraft information that will be used as part of the download of the investigation.” The chopper crashed near Ventura about 9 P-M as it was flying from Mason City to Emmetsburg to pick up a patient.

The cause of the accident is unknown. The FAA and local law enforcement officials are investigating.

(Bob Fisher/Radio Iowa)

Portsmouth grain company closes its doors

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A granary in Portsmouth has closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. G & R Grain Company Incorporated, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 1st, in the Southern District Court of Iowa. Farmers found out about the move when they attempted to sell or pick up their grain. A simple sign on the door indicated the company’s actions.

The notice said “This property and all of the assets of the company are under the jurisdiction of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa. It is anticipated that Deborah L. Petersen will be appointed as Trustee.” It also provided a telephone number for concerned persons to call.

Petersen said affected farmers would need to file a claim on the bankruptcy for money owed them, with their own attorney. Details on the disposition of the stored grain will be released sometime next week. Petersen said the next steps are to liquidate the assets and collect the accounts receivable.

She said also, a partial distribution of the funds and assets could come by this summer as long as things go well with the courts and selling the assets. The last date to file a claim is May 20th, 2013. The meeting on the matter will take place February 19th, 2013 in Council Bluffs.

More information on the G & R Grain Company Inc. bankruptcy case can be obtained by calling Deborah Petersen at 712-328-8808, or the U-S District Court’s Case Information system, at 1-866-222-8029. The case number, is 13-00001.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Iowa reports rise in public school enrollment


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials say public schools have reported overall jump in enrollment for the 2012-13 school year.  Officials say the rise of 0.6 percent was the first significant increase since 1996. Overall enrollment has dropped in the five previous school years. Department of Education officials say the increase is due in part to an upsurge in birth rates from 2003 to 2008.

The department’s Jay Pennington says the increase “is refreshing news for Iowa after years of declining enrollment. However, the reality is that this increase most likely is temporary.” Pennington says the long-term trend shows declining enrollment in rural parts of Iowa.

Holiday storms have limited impact on US drought

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Holiday storms that pounded much of the nation with snow and rain did little to ease the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades.  The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that about 61 percent of the continental U.S. remained in some form of drought as of Tuesday, down less than a percentage point from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.

More than 21 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That’s down slightly from the previous week.  All of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are in drought.   But some areas in the Southeast are emerging from drought after heavy rains since Christmas Day.

Grants available to Cass & Audubon County Non-profit groups


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The chairpersons of the Cass and Audubon County Community Foundations, are reminding non-profit groups and organizations in their respective counties, that grant funds amounting to $102,000 for each county, are currently available for your projects.  Applications to receive a portion of those funds, are due by no later than February 1st, 2013.  Detailed application procedures, fact sheets, and a link to the application form can be obtained online at http://omahafoundation.org/swiowa.

Applications will only be accepted through the online system.   Contact Dennis Nissen at 800-794-3458 or dennis@omahafoundation.org or Denise Cardos at denise@omahafoundation.org with grant application-specific questions.  All completed applications will be considered at the March board meeting with notification of results in early April.

Only organizations providing charitable services in Audubon or Cass County are eligible.  They must be able to demonstrate broad community/county support and supply a copy of their 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter.  Requests for general operational funds will not be considered.

Board members of the Audubon County Community Foundation are Chair, Brett Irlmeier of Audubon, 712-563-2644; Vice Chair, Jonnie Meislahn of Audubon, 712-563-2009 Secretary/Treasurer, Thomas Nielsen of Audubon, 712-563-2742; Joanie Heuton of Kimballton, 712-773-5291;; Jay Nelson of rural Brayton, 712-549-2277; Daryl Olsen, DVM of Audubon, 712-563-2080; and Joseph T. Rasmussen, Esq. of Exira, 712-268-6357.

Board members of the Cass County Community Foundation are Chair, Nicholas Hunt of rural Atlantic, 243-5485; Vice Chair, Gary Maas of Anita, 762-3434; Secretary/Treasurer, Roland K. Landsness, Esq. of Atlantic, 243-4154; Royal Bierbaum of Griswold, 778-2586; Beulah Follman of Massena, 779-3457; and Mark D. Kyhnn, CPA of Atlantic, 243-1800.

Iowa cousins’ death causes won’t be released soon


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities won’t be releasing details anytime soon about what caused the deaths of two cousins whose bodies were found in a park about 25 miles from their homes in northeast Iowa.  Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday that the causes and other details about the deaths of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins will be kept confidential in order to protect the investigation.

Smock says “the only people that are going to know this information are the people who are responsible.”  He says tests on the girls’ bodies aren’t finished yet. Lyric was 10 and Elizabeth was 8 when they disappeared from Evansdale on July 13. Their bodies were found on Dec. 5.  No arrests have been reported as the investigation continues.

Vehicle reported stolen from Union County


January 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Union County are asking for your help in locating a vehicle reported stolen sometime Wednesday night or early this morning, from a residence about four-miles north/northeast of Creston.

A vehicle similar to this, was reported stolen from rural Union County.

The Sheriff’s Department described the vehicle as a red, 4-door, 2000 model-year Oldsmobile Alero. It’s license plate reads 184 WZD.

The vehicle was reported missing from 1131 Hawk Avenue. If you have any information about the car, call the Union County Sheriff’s Department at 1-641-782-8402.