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DCI investigates death in Dallas County Jail

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An autopsy will take place Saturday on the body of a man who died in the Dallas County Jail, Friday, in Adel. Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety report at around 1-p.m., the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office found inmate, 42 year old Leroy Mckinney, Jr., unresponsive in his jail cell.  All attempts to revive Mr. Mckinney were unsuccessful.

Mckinney was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny for autopsy. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation, but officials say no foul play is suspected at this time.

NW Iowa man gets life for murder, kidnapping

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

EARLY, Iowa (AP) – A northwest Iowa man convicted of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman has been sentenced to life in prison.  A jury found 21-year-old Kirk Levin guilty in June of first-degree murder in the January death of 45-year-old Marilynn Schmitt and third-degree kidnapping in the abduction of a woman he met online. On Friday, Judge Timothy J. Finn gave Levin a life sentence.  Finn also rejected Levin’s request for a new trial.

Levin’s trial was moved to Webster County because of heavy publicity. His attorney argued a second change of venue request should have been granted. The attorney also says Levin’s statements to police after his arrest should have been inadmissible evidence at trial.

Audubon Sheriff’s Dept. warns of scam

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Audubon County Sheriff Todd Johnson is warning residents of the area about a “Microsoft PC Support Scam.” Johnson says an Audubon County citizen reported a caller claiming to be with Microsoft said they may have a virus on their computer. The caller then requests to be logged on to the person’s computer so they can have full access.

They may also ask for personal information to pay for fees to clean up the computer. Residents of the area are urged to never release personal banking or credit card information over the phone. If you have any questions about this type of scam, call the Audubon County Sheriff’s Dept. at 712-563-2631.

Cass County man convicted of sexual abuse back behind bars

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County man who plead guilty to a single count of third-degree sexual abuse late last year, finds himself back in jail for violating the terms of his probation. According to online court records, 54-year old Roger Allen Ericksen, of Lewis, was arrested  July 19th, on a warrant. Ericksen was being held in the Cass County Jail on $10,000 bond.  Ericksen allegedly violated the terms of his probation by quitting his job and failing to notify authorities. He has also reported made no effort to find full employment since quitting.

Last December, Ericksen entered a voluntary plea of guilty to felony sexual abuse in the 3rd degree. He was sentenced to serve a maximum of 10-years in prison, but the sentence was suspended and he was instead placed on supervised probation for two-years. The judge ruled Ericksen must register as a sex offender, provide DNA sampling, and to have no contact with the victim for a period of ten-years. He was also ordered to enroll and successfully complete the Sex Offenders Treatment Program.

Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner said following Ericksen’s sentencing in December, that if he successfully completes the terms of his probation, the 10-year sentence will no longer be held in reserve. However, if he commits a serious crime, the entire 10-year sentence could be invoked.

IA Governor’s father dies after long illness

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad’s father has died after a long illness. The governor’s press office announced Friday that Edward Branstad died during the morning in Mason City. The news release did not provide a cause of death, but said he was 89 years old and suffered from cancer. Edward Branstad had brain surgery last September to remove a tumor.

In a statement, the governor said his father taught him “the value of hard work,” and said he is “now at peace.” The funeral will be held Monday at Waldorf College in Forest City.

(Update) Shed fire in Atlantic

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Update 2-p.m.)

A fire that consumed a storage shed in Atlantic this (Friday) afternoon in the alley between 5th and 6th streets and Locust and Cedar Streets, appears to have been caused by a discarded cigarette.004 Atlantic Assistant Fire Chief Tim Cappel said when they arrived shortly after the call was dispatched at 1:20-p.m., the shed was fully engulfed in flames and a used GMC straight truck parked next to the shed was also on fire. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but both the shed and truck were a total loss.

Cappel said some men were working around the shed, when a discarded cigarette apparently started the dry area on fire.005 The men tried to stomp the flames out, but were unsuccessful. The shed was recently acquired for rental purposes, as was the truck. No injuries were reported. The exact cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

Firefighters were on the scene for almost an hour.

Iowa governor’s trooper receives speeding ticket

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Three months after a high-speed pursuit, a trooper who was driving Gov. Terry Branstad has been ticketed for driving 84 in a 65-mph zone. The Hamilton County Clerk of Court said that state trooper Steve Lawrence was issued the ticket Friday. He paid a fine of $181.50 for the ticket, which was written by an Iowa State Patrol major.  Lawrence was driving Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Highway 20 on April 26 when he was clocked by a deputy traveling 84 mph.

Another trooper, Matt Eimers, eventually caught up to the vehicle but didn’t stop it after seeing it was Lawrence driving the governor’s official vehicle. The Iowa Department of Public Safety launched a review of the speeding incident after audio and video was made public this month.

IDPH investigating increase in Salmonella cases

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Over the past several weeks, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and local public health agencies have received 26 reports in 19 counties of illness linked to a relatively uncommon strain of Salmonella. Among the area counties reporting cases of infection, is Madison and Union, with one case, each.

IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “Salmonella is commonly the result of improper handling or preparation of food. This particular strain is often associated with improper cooking of poultry or eggs.” While the symptoms of Salmonella infection are similar to those of Cyclospora infection (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.), the recently reported cases of Salmonellosis are not related to the cyclosporiasis outbreak, according to Quinlisk.

The best way to avoid all illnesses, including food borne illnesses, is by frequently washing your hands, especially after using the bathroom, before preparing food, and after playing with pets or visiting a petting zoo.

Officials say it is especially in the summer, when chicken is on the grill and egg-containing treats like homemade ice cream are common, to take extra care to keep food safe.

Food safety tips include:

  • Grill chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should also be reheated to 165 degrees F. The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product.
  • When making salads containing eggs, like potato or macaroni salad, be certain the eggs are thoroughly cooked and the yolks are firm.
  • Do not use raw eggs to make homemade ice cream. You can make homemade ice cream safely by using pasteurized egg products, or by tempering and cooking the eggs in a hot custard ice cream base.
  • Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Whether in your car or on the picnic table, illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours and during the summer heat, that time is cut down to within one hour.

For more information about foodborne illnesses, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Foodborne.aspx.

HMU approves CEO’s pay raise

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

In a closed-session portion of the Harlan Municipal Utilities Board meeting, Thursday, the Board acted to approve a pay raise for their Chief Executive Officer. The Trustee’s action followed a performance evaluation of CEO, Darrell Wenzel, who has served in the position for a year. The board approved a CPI raise of 2.2% and a merit raise of 2.8%. Wenzel’s contract is for 3 full years.

In other business, HMU purchased two new extended work trucks. One is a 2014 Chevrolet from Keast Auto Center in Harlan for the price of $28,000 while the other is a 2013 Ford from Keast Ford in Harlan for $23,500. HMU also approved a customer service charge of $35 per hour on cable TV calls that are costumer caused issues.

Shenandoah man arrested for going armed with intent

News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports a man authorities had been searching for in connection with an incident which occurred Wednesday night, was arrested early this (Friday) morning. 37-year old Donald James Ryan, of Shenandoah, was taken into custody after being interviewed at the Shenandoah Police Department, at around 1:30-a.m. He faces a felony charge of Going Armed with Intent, and was being held in the Page County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Authorities say deputies were dispatched to 1672 A Avenue (approximately 1.5 miles north of Shenandoah) at around 10-p.m. Wednesday, in connection with a disturbance at the Valerie Kay Kalkas and David Ryan residence. The incident allegedly took place between Kalkas, Ryan, and another family member, who was later identified as Donald Ryan.  When Law Enforcement arrived, they determined the man had allegedly physically assaulted David Ryan and Kay Kalkas.