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Two key counties to watch in Iowa’s US Senate race

News

November 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s largest county and the state’s fastest-growing county are key battlegrounds in the race for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat.  Polk County, home to the state’s capital city of Des Moines, is Iowa’s largest county and a key point of emphasis for Bruce Braley’s campaign because it is a Democratic stronghold. Former Governor Tom Vilsack says back in 2004, John Kerry lost Iowa to George Bush because Kerry didn’t win enough votes in Polk County.

“Polk County Democrats, you have got to deliver on Tuesday,” Vilsack said Saturday during a rally in Des Moines. “You have got to deliver a wide margin. You need to be committed to that.” As of midday Money, a record number of absentee ballots had been returned in Polk County — over 58-thousand. Nearly 29-thousand came from Democrats, another 10-thousand from independents and Democrats contend many of those are likely Braley voters.

For Republicans, Dallas County has become a G-O-P stronghold. Dallas County was the seventh fastest growing county in the entire country in 2012. It’s population grew by 62 percent in the first decade of this century. Jon McAvoy has served on the Adel City Council for 25 years and was featured in an ad for Republican Joni Ernst’s campaign.

“I think Dallas County is going to carry strongly for Joni, I really do. We’re strongly Republicans,” McAvoy says. “When we moved out there 36 years ago, it was pretty much all Democrat. All the elected people in the county, except for one, were Democrats and now it’s totally flipped around and they’re all Republicans, except for one.” As of Saturday, Republicans had a three-thousand vote edge in returned absentee ballots in Dallas County.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Nov, 4 2014

News

November 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

UNDATED (AP) — The hard-fought Senate race in Iowa between Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst could be a photo finish. One poll released over the weekend suggests Ernst has pulled ahead, while several others show a close matchup. Money has flooded the state for both candidates as Republicans seek the six-seat gain they need to take control of the Senate.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state audit confirms that a former Iowa County official stole more than $60,000 in public money. Kimberly Tanke is serving three years of probation after pleading guilty to theft in March. Tanke was twice elected county treasurer and later served as a county supervisor. She resigned a year ago.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is apologizing for calling Republican Joni Ernst attractive, but “wrong for the state of Iowa.” Harkin, who is supporting Democrat Bruce Braley to succeed him, made the remarks at a recent Democratic dinner. In the video, Harkin says it doesn’t matter if Ernst is “as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers,” if she’s going to be a conservative vote in the Senate. Ernst decried the remark as sexist, saying he would not have made the same comments about a male candidate.

(Information in the following story is from: KWWL-TV, http://www.kwwl.com)

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — A 14-year-old girl faces a first-degree arson charge in connection to a small fire at a middle school in northeast Iowa. Evansdale Fire Chief Kent Smock says the girl was taken into custody. The case has been sent to the juvenile court system. The small fire was reported on Oct. 22 inside a bathroom at Bunger Middle School in Evansdale. No injuries were reported.

Atlantic City Council to accept bids for properties

News

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council is expected to act Wednesday evening, on accepting bids for two, City-owned properties acquired through the condemnation process. During the Council’s last regular meeting, resolutions allowing for the sale of properties at 1200 Birch and 1106 Poplar via sealed bids, were approved. Bids will be accepted through 5-p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 5th).

One of the properties is currently an empty lot. The other has a two-story home on the lot. The house is filled with junk and the buyer will need to remove the structure and its contents, according to a demolition agreement the purchaser is required to sign. If no bids are received for either property, or if the Council feels either bid is inadequate, it may reject the offer/offers, and table the matter.

In other business, Interim City Administrator John Lund is expected to report on his recent visit with Ed Morrison, from the Iowa Municipalities Worker’s Compensation Association. Lund says Morrison had good news, in that measures taken by the City to adopt certain policies, have resulted in a roughly 66-percent decline in the number of Worker Compensation claims over the past 5-years. The policies include seat belt or restraint use, using a designated physician and a Return to Work program.

As a result of having fewer claims, Morrison told Lund the City is being moved out of a higher risk bracket and it is now eligible for insurance premium discounts, which Lund says will be less than what a City the average size of Atlantic, pays.

Near end of their 5:30-p.m. meeting, Wednesday, the Council may elect to enter into a Closed Session per Iowa Code, to hold a Collective Bargaining strategy session, with regard to the City’s Road and Wastewater Treatment system employees’ contracts, which are set to expire June 30, 2015. Lund said rather than using a labor attorney to facilitate the discussions, he would try and meet with Union leaders prior to the Council’s meeting.

Harkin apologizes for remark about Ernst’ looks

News

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst says she’s “greatly offended” by a remark Democratic Senator Tom Harkin made last week in Ames and Harkin has issued a written apology this afternoon (Tuesday). Video of Harkin’s remark at a gathering of Story County Democrats was posted online by Buzzfeed yesterday (Sunday). Harkin said Ernst was “really attractive” and “sounds nice” in her campaign ads.

“I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa,” Harkin said, to extended applause from the Democratic crowd. Ernst was asked about Harkin’s remark this morning (Monday) during an appearance on FOX News.

“I was very offended that Senator Harkin would say that. I think it’s unfortunate that he and many of their party believe you can’t be a real woman if you’re conservative and you’re female,” Ernst said on the “FOX & friends” morning show. “Again, I am greatly offended about that.” Ernst said if her name were “John Ernst” Harkin would not have said those things. Harkin issued a written apology this afternoon, saying he “shouldn’t have said those things” and he regret that Ernst feels offended by what he said.

Harkin added that he has complimented Ernst for running “a very good campaign,” but Harkin said he is “only human and can make mistakes” sometimes in how he expresses himself.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Pheasants Forever to hold youth pheasant hunt

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold a youth pheasant hunt on Sunday November 16. The event is open to Cass County youths who have completed hunter safety training. The hunt will take place in the afternoon from 1 pm until 5pm. Participants will be provided a box of either twenty gauge or 12 gauge ammunition. If there are youth who would like to attend, but don’t have a shotgun, the PF chapter will provide one.Pheasants 4 ever

Parents or guardians of youth who want to participate need to contact Tom Hurford, Cass County PF Youth Coordinator prior to Friday the 14th @ 712 249 5356. The youth will meet at the Atlantic Hy-vee parking lot at 1pm.

Lawsuit stalls work on planned sports complex

News, Sports

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A court challenge has largely stalled the proposed development at the “Field of Dreams” movie site. In September 2012, a group of nearby property owners filed a lawsuit against Dyersville, claiming the City Council didn’t consider the impact commercial development would have on the surrounding area by rezoning the property from agricultural use.

Both sides are expected to appear in court next year for the case. Dyersville Mayor Alvin Haas says all local officials can do now is wait. Tentative construction deadlines have passed for the All-Star Ballpark Heaven project, a proposed $74 million baseball and softball complex for traveling youth tournament teams.

Creston man arrested Monday for escaping custody

News

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports a man wanted on a warrant for escaping from the Iowa Department of Corrections was arrested late this (Monday) morning. 45-year old Fred William Still, Jr., of Creston, was taken into custody at around 11:35-a.m. on Highway 71 in Villisca.

Still, Jr. was being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bond.

Exira-EHK Schools to start 2 hours late Tuesday morning

News, Sports

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Due to the distance patrons of the Exira/Elk  Horn Kimballton School District will have to travel after tonight’s football game versus Lamoni, Superintendent Dean Schnoes says classes will start 2 hours late Tuesday morning.

Sioux City police release info on wild chase

News

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sioux City police have released video of a chase where parts of a car flew off and hit a police cruiser before officers were able to stop the driver. The lead officer in the pursuit, Ryan Morritz, tells the dispatcher what is happening when the wheel comes off the car he is chasing. “His rim just went through my windshield, ” the officer tells the dispatcher. Another officer asks if Morritz can still see and he responds, “Yeah it’s the passenger side.”

Suspect Chad Hughes

Suspect Chad Hughes

The officer is then told it’s okay to do a maneuver to cause the car to spin out, as the chase has gotten dangerous with car parts flying. The video from a squad car behind the action shows the car spinning out in a burst of sparks and the officer reports the driver is fleeing. “The guy is running east through the corn,” the Morritz says.

The suspect tries to hide, but Morritz has a police dog with him and the dog quickly locates the man. Morritz then reports the man is in custody and they are putting handcuffs on him. The chase started after the report of a suspicious vehicle driving without its lights on around 3:20 A-M Friday. Police charged 31-year-old Chad Hughes with felony eluding, possession of meth, O-W-I and five misdemeanor counts. Hughes is also wanted by the U-S Marshal’s Service. Morritz was not hurt and there was around two-thousand dollars in damage done to his patrol car.

(Radio Iowa)

Audit: Sac County employee promoted personal work

News

November 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) – An audit shows a former employee at the motor vehicle department in Sac County was fired because officials suspected she was promoting a personal business while at work. A state audit released Monday says the department for the Sac County Treasurer’s Office had more than $3,500 in improper disbursements and deposited collections between January 2010 and the end of February of this year. Most of the money was paid to Lisa Phillips, the department’s former deputy treasurer, for compensatory time.

Phillips is accused of promoting a personal business during normal working hours. County workers told officials they saw her spending two to three hours per day doing non-county activities. The audit has been sent to the county attorney’s office and other agencies.