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Bluffs man involved in numerous robberies faces 7-to 25-years in prison


October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man authorities say was involved in three robberies and at least two attempted robberies this past summer in Council Bluffs, along with a pair of robberies in Carter Lake and Omaha, faces a minimum of seven-years in prison.The Daily NonPareil reports in an agreement with prosecutors, 24-year old Matthew T. Koval will plead guilty to second-degree robbery, first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct. The first two charges carry a 10-year maximum prison sentence, while ongoing criminal conduct carries at 25-year sentence.

Jon Jacobmeier with the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office said that, as part of an agreement, the theft and robbery charges will run consecutively, with a mandatory minimum to be served of seven years. The 25 years for ongoing criminal conduct will be served concurrently – at the same time. Koval must serve a minimum of seven-years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Police said they’ve also linked Koval to robberies that occurred in late May at area gas stations and hotels. Koval was arrested on June 26 at the Walgreens store on east Broadway in Council Bluffs. He told the court he committed the crimes because of financial trouble.

Bluffs’ Bayliss Park recognized as 1 of 10 “Great Public Spaces” for 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with  The American Planning Association (APA), Tuesday, announced that Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, has earned the designation as one of the “10 Great Public Spaces” for 2014.   Each October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs.

Bayliss Park is the geographic and symbolic “town square” for the community. Using four corner entrances, Bayliss Park connects visitors with the surrounding commercial and residential areas of downtown as well as the bike trails that extend 40 miles throughout the community. The park also serves as the preferred site for many arts events, outdoor concert series, outdoor movies, weddings and major annual community events like “Celebrate CB,” and the “Winterfest” lighting display. Over the past 10 years, a citizen steering committee for Bayliss Park has raised nearly $750,000 with the help of over 1,500 community members. The monies will be directed to the park’s rehabilitation and renovation, including the creation of a master plan.

APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 230 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. Places are announced annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

New this year, APA is seeking input from the public for the “31st Great Place Designee.” Interested citizens can nominate their Great Place by commenting on APA’s Facebook page or via Twitter using hashtag #mygreatplace.  The “31st Great Place Designee” will be announced on Friday, October 31, 2014.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Oct. 1st 2014


October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A portion of Interstate 35 in central Iowa has reopened after a crash involving a semitrailer closed it for several hours. West Des Moines police say the crash happened Tuesday morning after a northbound semitrailer struck construction barriers just south of Iowa Highway 5 and overturned. The truck’s fuel tank ruptured and spilled diesel across the highway. Three people were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. A fourth person declined medical attention at the scene.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — An eastern Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including vehicular homicide in connection to a crash that killed four teenagers in August. Twenty-four-year-old Joseph Connolly, of Holy Cross, also asked for a speedy trial. Connolly faces multiple charges in connection to the crash near Epworth. Connolly’s pickup hit a four-wheeled utility vehicle carrying Sean Kenneally, Mitchell Kluesner, Nicholas Kramer and Bryce Wilwert. They boys, all 14, were killed.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will appear in Iowa this week at a campaign event with Gov. Terry Branstad and congressional candidate Rod Blum. Branstad’s campaign says Christie will speak at a rally in Cedar Rapids on Friday. Branstad is running for a sixth non-consecutive term. Recent polls have showed him with a sizable lead against Democratic opponent Jack Hatch.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has permanently barred a Law Vegas company from marketing to state residents following allegations of false advertising. The injunction against Au Naturale Health Solutions also requires that the company refund Iowa consumers who request one. Au Naturale Health Solutions sold health and nutrition products in the state, including marine phytoplankton pills and liquid oxygen drops. The company is accused of making false claims about the health benefits of the phytoplankton pills.

Judge bars company from marketing to Iowans


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has permanently barred a Law Vegas company from marketing to state residents following allegations of false advertising. Polk County District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom issued the injunction Tuesday against Au Naturale Health Solutions. It also requires that the company refund Iowa consumers who request one.

Au Naturale Health Solutions sold health and nutrition products in the state, including marine phytoplankton pills and liquid oxygen drops. The company is accused of making false claims about the health benefits of the phytoplankton pills.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office says its consumer protection division also recorded phone calls with telemarketers making false claims about its products.

Martens elected President of IGWA


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Atlantic Municipal Utilities have announced Jon Martens, Director of Water Operations at Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU), has been elected President of the Iowa Groundwater Association (IGWA). Martens has been working in the water business since 1981 and has been the Director of Water Operations at AMU since 1992.

The IGWA was originally formed in 1984 in response to increasing cases of groundwater contamination issues in the State of Iowa. Groundwater contamination can pose a threat to pollute public and private water supplies. The Association is made up of a diverse group of members from throughout the state including geologists, hydrogeologists, engineers, educators, attorneys, waterworks personnel, irrigators and other industry representatives all working together to address groundwater concerns.

S.W. IA Mental Health Center to move Oct. 3rd


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

After months of talking, planning and renovating, officials with the Cass County Health System said Tuesday the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center (SWIMHC), is finally moving to its new location at 1500 E. 10th Street. John Bigelow, SWIMHC Executive Director, says the Center is moving “just across the driveway” from 1408 E. 10th Street. The center has been at its current location since 1969 but has recently outgrown the space, due to an expansion in services and staff.

Dr. Bigelow and Cass County Health System CEO Todd Hudspeth began actively looking for additional space in January 2014. At about the same time, Unity Point at Home, which is currently leasing space from the hospital at 1500 E. 10th St., approached CCHS looking for a way to reduce its lease costs by leasing a smaller space. It was then that the idea of SWIMHC and Unity Point at Home swapping buildings was first identified as an option. Over the past nine months the idea has gradually become reality. Davita Dialysis, currently sharing space with Unity Point at Home at 1500 E. 10th Street, will remain at its current location.

SWIMHC is moving its main office to the new location on October 3, 2014. A satellite office was moved to the new location last week and is operational this week.  Dr. Bieglow says they “Will be able to see patients beginning at 8-AM on October 6th at the new location.”

For a couple of months, SWIMHC and Unity Point at Home will be sharing the building. When renovations at 1408 E. 10th St. are completed, Unity Point at Home will relocate. After final renovations at the new SWIMHC location are completed, Zion Recovery will relocate to 1500 E. 10th St. to share the space with SWIMHC.


*Note: 1500 E. 10th Street is the tan brick building on the right as you come up Hospital Drive from Highway 6. Prior to housing home care and Davita Dialysis, this building was occupied by Atlantic Medical Center. 1408 E. 10th Street is the red brick building just to the south, which has been occupied by Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center since it was built.

(CCHS Press Release)

SWICO offers an opportunity to visit about regional economic development issues with candidates


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Southwest Iowa Coalition (SWICO) say the public is welcome to participate in discussions during SWICO’s annual Legislative Forum. The forum takes place beginning at 5-p.m. on October 16th in Atlantic, at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club. State and federal candidates representing SWICO’s 16 county membership region in southwest Iowa have been invited to attend.

The members of the Southwest Iowa Coalition host an informal legislative forum each year to provide a venue for conversation with legislators about economic development policies that affect the region’s rural residents. The forum will begin with an opportunity for casual conversation over appetizers. Candidates will make individual addresses beginning at 5:30-PM. Following the legislative addresses, the SWICO board will share its Annual Agenda of Legislative Priorities for the upcoming session and moderate question and answers from the audience.

Southwest Iowa Coalition President Lee Weir, who will moderate the legislative session, says, “The
Coalition very much appreciates the willingness of Legislators to visit with us in our own environment because it adds a level of reality to the issues we face in rural Iowa.”

There is no cost but RSVP’s to the office are appreciated for planning purposes with regard to space
and refreshments. Call 712-309-2132 to reserve your place at the forum, or e-mail swico@swico.org.

Counties in SWICO’s membership area include: Adams, Adair, Audubon, Cass, Clarke, Decatur, Pottawattamie, Fremont, Guthrie, Page, Mills, Montgomery, Ringgold, Shelby, Taylor and Union, but anyone interested in these types of events is encouraged to attend. More information about the Coalition can be viewed at www.swico.org.

Senate Oversight panel approves 18 recommendations


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Senate Government Oversight Committee has voted to pass 18 recommendations to the Iowa Legislature for consideration next year including a ban on secret settlement agreements and expanded whistleblower protection.

The committee of three Democrats and two Republicans voted 3-2 on party lines Tuesday to accept the committee’s findings and recommendations. The committee has met for six months, calling dozens of state workers and administrators to testify. The committee looked into alleged improper hiring practices, the exertion of political influence over judges hearing unemployment cases and several other issues raised by workers.

Chairwoman Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, says enacting the recommendations would clean up state government. Republican committee member Julian Garrett says the recommendations are campaign gimmicks meant to discredit Republican Gov. Terry Branstad who is seeking re-election.

3 suffer possible injuries during rollover accident in Cass Co.


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says three people were transported by private vehicle to the hospital in Atlantic, following a rollover accident late Sunday morning. Authorities say deputies responded at around 11:25-a.m. to a report of a one-vehicle accident on 690th Street and Hamburg Road.

An investigation determined a 2002 Chevy Tahoe owned and driven by 31-year old Amanda Joy Graham, of Marne, was northbound on 690th Street when Graham swerved to avoid a vehicle slowing to make a turn. Her actions caused the SUV to roll onto its passenger side.

Graham and two passengers were transported to the hospital to be checked for possible injuries. Damage to the Tahoe is estimated at $10,000. Graham was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

AG’s office says Templeton Rye lawsuit can proceed


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa attorney general’s office says a lawsuit alleging whiskey maker Templeton Rye misled consumers can proceed. The Des Moines Register reports a state law requires the Iowa attorney general’s office to evaluate the lawsuit and determine if the claims have validity to move forward in court.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in Illinois by a Chicago law firm on behalf of consumers in the country who have purchased a Templeton Rye bottle. It claims the company broke consumer protection laws and misled drinkers about where the whiskey is made.  The newspaper reports a second Chicago law firm plans to file a class-action lawsuit.

Keith Kerkhoff, co-owner of Templeton Rye, says the company’s lawyers will respond to the lawsuits in court.