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Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., March 20th 2014


March 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press …

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A plan to extend a tax break provided last year to the Iowa Speedway at Newton has moved forward in the Iowa House. The proposal received preliminary approval yesterday from a House Ways and Means subcommittee. It will now be subject to committee-level review. The racetrack in Newton receives a state sales tax rebate under current law, but the rebate is limited to sales occurring before January 1st, 2016.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Woodbury County in western Iowa has approved repair plans for part of a two-lane highway that will eventually be widened. The county board agreed Tuesday to grade part of U.S. Highway 20 in 2016. The Sioux City Journal reports the paving process will close the road west of Correctionville, and is part of a bigger plan to widen a 12-mile section of the two-lane roadway.

ROCKFORD, Iowa (AP) — The old Rockford dam on the Shell Rock River has been removed. The Mason City Globe Gazette says the project had started at the end of January. Officials had discussed removing the dam for more than a decade.

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Jarnell Stokes dominated inside as Tennessee rallied for a 78-65 victory over Iowa on Wednesday night in the NCAA’s First Four. Iowa managed only one free throw during overtime in Ohio, ending a stressful day for coach Fran McCaffery. The coach started the day in Iowa with his teenage son Patrick, who had surgery to remove a thyroid tumor.

5 area residents charged with Minor in Possession


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Five people from Audubon and Cass Counties were charged with Minor In Possession (MIP) of Alcohol, following a traffic stop Tuesday in Cass County. The Sheriff’s Office reports the driver of the vehicle, 19-year old Kelsey Ann Muhr, of Exira, was arrested on charges of OWI/1st offense, MIP and Reckless Driving. She was brought to the Cass County Jail and released Wednesday, on her own recognizance.

Four passengers in her car: 20-year old Dillon Gene Linn, and Madeline Joanne Binter, both of Atlantic; 19-year old Gary Allen Carter, of Exira, and 18-year old Abigail Louise Bintner, of Brayton, were each charged with Minor In Possession.

Massena man arrested Wed. on assault & other charges


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office report the arrest on Wednesday of a Massena man on a trio of charges. 24-year old Michael Russell Robinson, was taken into custodty on charges of Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, Domestic Abuse Assault 2nd Offense, and Violation of No Contact Order. Robinson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $7300 bond.

And on Monday, Cass County deputies arrested 21-year old Jorge Ariel Perez Adams, of Muscatine, on a charge of Driving While Barred. Adams was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on $2000 bond.

Iowa House approves civil containment legislation


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has passed a bill intended to keep sexually violent predators off the streets. Lawmakers unanimously approved the measure 97-0 Wednesday. It now returns to the Senate for final review. The bill would allow people convicted of a violent sexual offense as a juvenile to be sent to a civil containment unit for sexually violent predators upon release from prison.

Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill, from Melcher-Dallas, says taking this step is needed to ensure the safety of all Iowans. Democratic Rep. Mary Lynn Wolfe, from Clinton, says predators like Michael Klunder, who authorities say abducted and killed 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard last year, would have been kept in civil containment instead of being freed. Wolfe says the Shepard case may have been different had the legislation been in place.

Iowa man accused of sex crimes involving minors


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sac City man has been accused of multiple sex crimes involving minors. The Sac City Police Department says they received a report Sunday from a 15-year-old girl who claims she was sexually assaulted by 35-year-old Christopher Carnine. The girl told police she was assaulted Saturday at Carnine’s residence. She claims Carnine gave alcohol to minors and drove them around the Sac City area.

The Fort Dodge Messenger reports Carnine has been arrested and faces multiple charges, including third-degree sexual assault. He is also charged with two counts of lascivious acts with a child, in connection to allegations that he had sexual contact with two other underage teenagers over several years.

Carnine remains at the Sac County Jail.

Museum of Danish America receives $50k grant from IA West Foundation


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn (formerly known as the Danish Immigrant Museum) report the Museum has received a $50,000 grant from the Iowa West Foundation, for the purpose of installing a green roof on the Curatorial Center addition, currently under construction.

Artist's rendition of the Curatorial Center's Green Roof.

Artist’s rendition of the Curatorial Center’s Green Roof.

The green roof is expected to maximize energy efficiency and the thermal barrier between the outdoor environment and artifact storage areas, as well as incorporate the addition into the visitor experience of the surrounding Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park. The addition is being built into the western hillside of the museum and connects in the basement level, bringing the top of the structure at nearly ground-level.

The green roof will serve as an elevated continuation of the Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park space. Museum visitors will be able to walk on a pathway atop the roof, view the native plantings, and read interpretive panels about green roofs and native plantings. The museum’s green roof will be unusual in that it will incorporate prairie grasses and forbs instead of sedums, which are most commonly used on green roofs.

The planting plan, developed by landscapers at Midwest Groundcovers of St. Charles, IL, is based on research done by the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Conservation Science Center. The roof will comprised of 20 different, native plants. Under the roof, the Curatorial Center addition will add 8,000 square feet of artifact storage area and staff workspaces. Construction began on the project in September 2013 and is expected to reach completion in the summer of 2014.

The Iowa West Foundation grant was included in their 2013 fourth quarter grant awards to 32 non-profit organizations in the region. Museum officials say the foundation will be recognized for its grant upon completion of the addition and the green roof on an educational, outdoor panel specifically highlighting green roofs.

1 arrest & 2 accidents reported in Mills County


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest today (Wednesday), of an Emerson man. Officials say 51-year old Brent Douglas Vestal was taken into custody at around 1-a.m. on a charge of OWI/2nd offense. His bond was set at $2,000.

And, there were two accidents in Mills County Monday afternoon, neither of which resulted in any injuries. The first happened at around 2-p.m. on Hilman Road, when Draven Ray, of Glenwood,  lost control of the pickup he was driving. The accident happened at the vehicle was rounding a curve. The 1992 Chevy went off the road and hit a utility pole.

The second accident happened at around 3:10-p.m., Monday, on Main Street, near Malvern. Sheriff’s officials say a 2002 Ford driven by John David Prokop, of Malvern, was traveling south on 315th Street and entering a speed zone in Malvern, when he became distracted while reaching for his sunglasses. Prokop’s vehicle crossed the center line of the road and northbound lane of traffic before hitting a culvert sign. The vehicle continued south on the northbound shoulder and hit another driveway culvert before coming to rest.

Cass County Supervisors approve tax sale certificate in Cumberland


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, approved the Assignment of a County held tax sale certificate of purchase for a Lot in Cumberland. Cass County Treasurer Tracey J. Marshall told the Supervisors the lot is next to property owned by Brent Paulsen, who wants to clean-up the lot and get the property back on the tax roll. Auditor Dale Sunderman said it’s not a “High Value” property at $38 per year.

Board Chair Frank Waters said Paulsen wants to improve the community by cleaning-up the site and possibly making it a small park or, at least get rid of the eye sore of junk material currently located on the lot. Sunderman said the property description is the “South half of the east half of Lot 9 block 9, Second Addition,” in Cumberland.

In other business, Cass County Engineer Charles Marker updated the Board on the gravel and roads the Secondary Roads department will be working on this year, “Specifically, one-mile at a time.” He says some of the “Contract rock” will be “Spot Rock,” which is used for roads that have portions that which have soft or muddy.  Marker said Contract Rock currently runs $10 per ton, which takes up a good chunk of his budget.

He said also that they have been stockpiling some of the material in parts of the County. There are about 30-miles of rock roads in each district within Cass County, with each district receiving a share of the rock necessary to handle road improvements. He says the rock costs his department $790,000. That figure does not include the cost of hauling and handling the material. Marker says his department receives $1.7-million dollars from property taxes, with nearly half of that going for the purchase of rock alone.

He says the decision on which roads need to be bladed and/or re-rocked, is made with each district foreman. And in her report to the Board, Cass County Mental Health/General Relief Coordinator Deb Schuler said the 28-E Agreement for Regionalized Mental Health Services has been accepted, and another regional meeting will be held on March 31st to approve the Management Plan, which must be submitted to the State by April 1st. Schuler reports also, Dr. John Bigelow with the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center, has been appointed to the Regional Mental Health Advisory Council, which means Cass County will be represented on that particular Board. Some of the persons on the Council will be appointed to the Board in charge of running the Regional services.

Ready to start spring cleaning? Be careful with all of those chemicals!


March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With the arrival of spring on Thursday, many Iowans will leap into a house cleaning frenzy. Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and the education coordinator for the Iowa Poison Control Center, says you’ll need to use caution with all of those powerful cleansers, especially if there are kids in the house. “What we see as a lot of exposures is the household cleaning chemicals, the things that are under the kitchen sink,” Noble says. “Usually, it’s when the product is in use, when we find exposures happening to both the kids and the adults.”

While the kitchen can be a danger zone for poisonings, she says bathrooms can be just as problematic with all of those personal hygiene products.  “The toothpaste, the shampoo, the lotion, the deodorant,” Noble says. “We always get lots of calls about that and those are things that we use every day so it’s hard to lock them up or put them up high so they’re out of reach.” She says about half of the 50-thousand calls a year that come into the Sioux City-based hotline involve children and accidental poisonings.

“It’s always surprising because you would think something might taste bad so they’re not going to eat it but kids don’t always have that same sense of taste that adults do,” Noble says. “Just because something tastes bad doesn’t mean they won’t eat it. Kids will still swallow it. You wouldn’t believe the calls that we get.” She suggests Iowans program the Iowa Poison Control Center hotline into their cell phones and have the number handy by landlines. The center is staffed 24-7 and the call is free to 800-222-1222.

(Radio Iowa)

Severe Weather Awareness week is approaching

News, Weather

March 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Next week, March 24th through the 28th, is Severe Weather Awareness Week.SVR Wx Cass County Emergency Management Director Mike Kennon says a Statewide Tornado Drill will take place on or about 10:15-a.m., with the warning sirens being activated throughout the County, and weather radios sounding their alerts. Kennon says the tornado drill will be an excellent opportunity for Cass County residents, businesses and schools to practice their own procedures in the event of severe weather. 

In the event of severe weather or potential severe weather on the day of the test, these test watches may be postponed. More information about Severe Weather Awareness Week and the related Tornado Drill will be released in the coming days.

Another form of severe weather is extremely dry and windy conditions that can cause controlled burns to quickly spread and become out of control, placing lives and property in danger. As we’ve mentioned before, numerous Counties this week instituted a ban on open burning, including Fremont, Page, Pottawattamie, Mills and Montgomery Counties. Shelby County began their bi-weekly updates on the Fire Danger in that county, on Monday, with the risk currently being “High” for fires to spread.

Kennon says there is no ban on open, outdoor burning in Cass County, but that may change. He says the matter will be discussed during a County Fire Association meeting Thursday night. Local fire chiefs can elect to place a burn ban in effect for their specific district, if they wish, but in general, a consensus is obtained from all the chiefs to call for a County-wide Burn Ban, which is more formal and encompassing. Anyone thinking about conducting a controlled burn in the mean time, needs to do two things, according to Kennon…

He says you need to call your local fire chief and get their permission, and if that’s granted, call the Cass County Communications Center to inform them about when and where you plan to burn, so fire department personnel and equipment needlessly respond to what may be perceived by others to be an uncontrolled burn. For a current list of counties with a burn ban in-place or those that will be in effect, go to http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/main/burnbans/