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Cass Co. Supervisors discuss weed control & indigent burials

News

November 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Weed Commissioner Larry Randel provided the Board of Supervisors with an update on his department’s activities. Randel said he’s had several “problem issues” with the growth of noxious and nuisance weeds in the County he’s had to send out notices on, to property owners. Randel says he got a “decent response” from those he sent out notices to, but not a 100-percent response. Randal will follow-up with those property owners next year to remind them of their responsibilities. He said also he wants to work with the County to make sure they take care of their respective rights-of-way, especially after property owners complained that the county doesn’t take care of its fair-share of the weed problem. The weeds he says tend to proliferate, especially in the Massena area, because of work installing the wind turbines and culverts, which causes the seeds to be spread and appear unsightly when the grow into full-fledged weeds. Supervisor Chuck Rieken suggested Randel write an official letter to the County Roads Department, the Iowa DOT Engineer and Iowa Interstate Railroad, to remind them they need to take care of their right-of-ways.

In other business, the Board of Supervisors met for about an hour with area funeral home directors to discuss revisions to the County’s indigent burial policy, which currently pays up to $1,500 for burial or cremation services. Some suggestions which will likely be included in a draft of the policy – which hasn’t been changed since 1997 – include removing a nearly identical and redundant fee funeral homes and the County pays to the Medical Examiner’s Office, removing the funeral homes’ responsibility for finding a burial plot, and setting an equal rate for which the county pays cemeteries for grave openings and closing. How much the County pays for indigent burials needs to be determined soon, because budget deadlines are looming.

Update: 3 injured, 1 seriously during Tues. accident in Cass County

News

November 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

In an update to a story we first brought to you Tuesday evening during the news on KJAN, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department says three people were injured, one of them seriously, during a crash Tuesday afternoon, southeast of Anita. Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Ayers told KJAN News the accident happened about 3-miles southeast of Anita on Glendale Road, at about 3:45-p.m.

Ayers says a 1999 Chevy Blazer driven by 33-year old Cynthia Simon, of Anita, was traveling west on Glendale Road and turning left into a farm driveway, when she failed to see an eastbound 2000 Buick LeSabre, driven by 92-year old Virgil Martin, of Fontanelle.  The vehicle s collided head-on.

Both drivers were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, along with Evelyn Martin, of Fontanelle, who was a passenger in the Buick. She was later flown to a hospital in Des Moines for treatment of serious injuries. Her husband was being treated at the hospital. Simon was treated at the hospital and released. Charges are pending completion of an investigation into the accident. Damage from the crash amounted to $18,000.

8AM Newscast 11-23-2011

News, Podcasts

November 23rd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Ex-Bluffs pastor faces 17-years in prison in sex abuse case

News

November 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A former youth minister from Council Bluffs faces up to 17-years in prison for his role in the sexual exploitation of teens. 32-year old Brent Girouex plead guilty Tuesday to one-count of sexual abuse in the 3rd degree, one-count of felony sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist, and one count of misdemeanor sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. His sentencing was set for March 7, 2012.

Girouex had been charged with 61 counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist and 28 counts of 3rd degree sexual abuse, in connection with acts he allegedly performed while serving as a youth pastor with the Victory Fellowship Church in Council Bluffs. His Alford Plea to the 3rd degree sexual abuse charge means Girouex did not admit to any specific elements of the offense, but acknowledges a jury would most likely find him guilty if a trial where held.

The charges were filed after Girouex told authorities about the incidents on February 16th, 2011. He admitted the offenses to police only after church leaders confronted him upon hearing from four young men who came forward with the allegations earlier that month. According to court records, Girouex told investigators he felt it was his duty to — quote — Help (the teen) with homosexual urges by praying, while he had sexual contact with him.”

7AM Newscast 11-23-2011

News, Podcasts

November 23rd, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Utah residents arrested on drug charges following traffic stop in Pott County

News

November 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Utah couple were arrested Monday afternoon on drug charges, following a traffic stop in Pottawattamie County. According to Sheriff Jeff Danker, the driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Somphavanh Childs and her male passenger, 23-year-old Samson Phommabout, were charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, prohibited acts, and a drug tax stamp violation. Childs and Phommabout are being held in the Pottawattamie County Jail on $5,000 bond, each.

Danker says Deputy Brian Miller stopped a Chevy Malibu for speeding on Interstate 80 at around 12:30-p.m. just north of the Highway 6 exit near Council Bluffs.  After issuing a speeding citation and speaking with the pair, the deputy suspected they may be involved in criminal activity. He asked for and received, permission to search their vehicle. During the search, he discovered 55 pounds of hydroponic marijuana in vacuum sealed bags.

The Sheriff says also, a Council Bluffs man was arrested on Monday for allegedly breaking into a house on River Road and taking metal from the home. 23-year old Joshua Thompson was taken into custody after the owner of the home noticed suspicious activity and stopped to investigate. Thompson reportedly took off and hid in the creek, but was located a short time later by deputies and an Iowa State Patrol Trooper.

Man arrested after chase ends with a crash into a NW IA casino

News

November 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A northwest Iowa man has been arrested after officials say he led authorities on a chase that ended when he crashed his car into the WinnaVegas casino in Salix. The Iowa State Patrol says 54-year-old Robert Bechtel, of Cherokee, is charged with drunken driving and numerous traffic violations. His case isn’t on the online court system and it’s not known if he has an attorney.

The patrol says the chase began Monday night when a trooper tried to help a motorist parked on the shoulder of Interstate 29 near Salix. When the trooper stopped, the driver took off. Authorities say the chase ended when Bechtel pulled into the casino’s parking lot, lost control of his car and hit the building.

3 injured during accident in Cass County

News

November 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three people suffered what were described by Cass County Chief Deputy Sheriff John Westring, as non-life threatening injuries during a two-vehicle crash this afternoon, southeast of Anita. The accident was reported just after 3:45-p.m., near 76091 Glendale Road. No other details are currently available.

Page County man sentenced to more than 2 dozen years in prison for 2008 robbery

News

November 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says a Page County man was sentenced today (Tuesday) to 19 and a-half years in prison for his role in a robbery, and car jacking.  43-year old Tiran Rodez Casteel, of Coin, was also convicted on charges which included obstruction of justice and witness tampering. In addition, Casteel was sentenced to a consecutive term of 84 months in prison for brandishing a firearm during the car jacking, for a total prison term of 26 1/2 years.

United States District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt also ordered Casteel to serve a five year term of supervised release following release from prison, and pay $400 to the Crime Victim Fund. Restitution was ordered to remain open until the value of the stolen coins can be determined.

The case against him revolved around the September 11, 2008, robbery of Darlene Eitzen at her rural Page Countyfarm home. The woman was held at gun point while Casteel and his son, Devan Casteel, robbed Mrs. Eitzen of her rare and valuable coin collection, which she had acquired after her husband’s death.

Federal jurisdiction for the prosecution existed because Casteel had taken Mrs. Eitzen’s car during the robbery, in violation of the federal carjacking statute. While awaiting trial on the federal charges Casteel attempted to have Mrs Eitzen killed so she could not testify at his trial. That resulted in addition charges being filed in federal court for obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

The case was investigated by the Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Division of the United States Department of Justice (ATF), the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Page County Sheriffs Office. It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Grassley, Harkin, King & others react to Supercommittee’s failure

News

November 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The reaction from Iowa’s two U.S. Senators to the “super committee’s” failure illustrates the divisions that led to the impasse. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin says Republicans doomed the deficit reduction talks by rejecting all tax increases, and even calling for new tax cuts. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the focus needs to be on reducing spending. “Too many people seem to think that tax increases are a solution to this problem, but tax increases aren’t a solution because the money from higher taxes doesn’t seem to get to be used to reduced the deficit,” Grassley says, citing a study from Ohio University. “For the last 65 years, every new dollar in new tax increases has resulted in congress spending not just that $1, but $1.17.”

Grassley says with or without an agreement, federal spending has to be reduced and that includes cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Grassley also blasts President Obama for “blaming Republicans” for the super committee’s failure. “But he doesn’t seem to engage or offer credible solutions for deficit reduction,” Grassley says. From the other side of the partisan divide, Senator Harkin says Republicans “do not care about deficit reduction” and he says the only way to accomplish the goal is trhough “a fair mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.”

Congressman Steve King, though, doubts the 25-percent across-the-board cuts that have been triggered will ever come to pass. “We should remember that they don’t even start until the first day of January in 2013,” King says, “…after we have a presidential election, after a third of the members of the United States Senate are up for reelection and we have all the members of the house are up for reelection.” Some members of congress are already talking about ways to act in 2012 to avoid the deep cuts to defense and other federal programs. King, though, suggests the decisions won’t come ’til 2013 — after the 2012 election results.

“It’ll be a different congress and perhaps a different president that has time, then, to go in and change some of these mandatory cuts,” King says. King made his comments during a meeting in Le Mars yesterday. Congressman Bruce Braley says, “partisan ideology is trumping common sense in Washington.” Congressman Tom Latham says Americans have a right to be frustrated by the “rampant dysfunction in Washington. Congressman Dave Loebsack says the super committee is another example of the kind of “brinksmanship” that led the country “to the edge” this summer when the government’s credit rating was downgraded. Congressman Leonard Boswell calls it “shameful” that the super committee failed to broker a deal.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)