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Iowa board holds sway over millions in taxes


January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Decisions by the Iowa Property Assessment Appeal Board will affect millions in property taxes paid by property owners or spent by some Iowa cities. The Des Moines Register reports Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines could lose up to $3 million in property taxes if the property values are cut, and local school districts could lose millions more.

The slumping economy has hurt the value of commercial property, prompting the property owners to demand that their assessments be lowered. When that happens, they have smaller tax bills and the cities and schools have less to spend.

The three-member Property Assessment Appeal Board was created in 2007 by the Legislature. Its charge is to review decisions made by county boards of review.

Lack of snow raises fears of drought

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowans aren’t complaining about the lack of snow, but weather watchers say there’s rising concern about a drought in the coming months. Bryce Anderson, senior agriculture meteorologist at Data Transmission Network, says the La Nina weather pattern is bringing Iowa milder temperatures while keeping the arctic air far to the north. “The effect that we’re going to see from that is a fairly dry situation through much of the wintertime,” Anderson says. “We will have to watch for the possibility of severe weather becoming a little bit more of a feature as we go into the spring.”

Anderson says the longer our region is lacking in significant moisture this winter, the greater the possibility of drought conditions a few months down the road. “There is some stage of drought going on over about the eastern third of Nebraska through the northwestern part of Iowa,” he says. “If we don’t get any moisture in late winter, then into early spring, we set ourselves up to be concerned about a drought problem going into the crop-planting season.” That seems a bit unusual, considering we just came out of a year when we saw several months of severe flooding on the Missouri River. Anderson says the La Nina pattern can spark unstable weather conditions in the spring.

“La Nina can be a real storm producer and can contribute to severe weather occurrences being greater than average over the Midwest,” he says. “That’s going to be a feature we are going to be watching especially when we get into March and then into April as we start to change our seasons.” Anderson says a dry spring could bring a vexing challenge to producers. He says we should enjoy the mild winter now and be ready for a dry, likely stormy, spring.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Record High set in Atlantic, Thursday

News, Weather

January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic shattered a 78-year old weather record for a high temperature Thursday, when we topped out at 62 degrees. The old record high of 52 was set in 1933.  The National Weather Service says record highs are possible again today, across Iowa.

The record high for today’s date was 56-degrees, which was also set in 1933.

Clarinda man pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute Meth, & firearm charges


January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said Thursday, a southwest Iowa man plead guilty Wednesday, to drug and weapon charges. U-S Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt said 33-year old Edward Eugene Gray, Jr., of Clarinda, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A sentencing hearing before District Court Judge John A. Jarvey will be scheduled at a later date.

According to the written plea agreement, from approximately January of 2004, until November of 2010, Edward Gray, Jr., was involved in the distribution of methamphetamine in the Southwest Iowa and Northwest Missouri areas with co-conspirators: 56-year old Orvis Lee Wagaman, of College Springs; 53-year old Edward Eugene Gray, Sr., of Coin; 23-year old Levi Edward Gray, of Clarinda, and others.  In addition Gray. Jr., was aware that a co-conspirator carried a firearm while distributing methamphetamine with Gray, Jr., and the possession of the firearm was in furtherance of the drug conspiracy.

Orvis Lee Wagaman, Edward Eugene Gray, Sr., and Levi Edward Gray have entered guilty pleas to the drug conspiracy and are pending sentencing. Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, has a mandatory minimum sentencing of ten years in prison up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000 or both a fine and imprisonment, and a period of supervised release following imprisonment of at least five years. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, or a maximum of  life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. Inaddition, the offense requires a period of supervised release of three years. The sentence for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense must be served consecutively to the sentence imposed for the drug conspiracy.

The case was investigated by nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Update: Head-on crash in Shelby County


January 5th, 2012 by admin

In an update to a story we told you about earlier today (Thursday), KJAN News has learned of a head-on collision between two vehicles in Shelby County, Thursday morning. The accident took place on Highway 44, between Quince and Redwood Streets, about 3.5-miles east of Harlan.

At about 7:55 Thursday morning, a 2001 Chevy Silverado pickup driven by 50-year-old Kevin Fries, of Harlan, was traveling east on Highway 44 while a 2002 Chevy Malibu driven by 35-year-old Shawn Strong, of Harlan, was traveling west on Highway 44.

The Strong vehicle crossed the center line into the path of the Fries vehicle where both vehicles then collided nearly head on.  The Fries vehicle came to rest in a ditch while the Strong vehicle came to rest on the highway.  Both vehicles were considered a total loss.

Strong was transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan by Medivac Ambulance, and then flown to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha by Life Net Helicopter.  The status of his injuries is not known.  Fries was uninjured in the crash.

The accident remains under investigation with charges pending.

Record High temp broken in Atlantic

News, Weather

January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

As of 12:38-p.m., Atlantic has broken the old record high temperature set for this date. We were at 53-degrees, which beat the old record of 52, set back in 1933!

Missouri man arrested on animal cruelty charge in Taylor County


January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Lenox Police Department reports a Missouri man was arrested this (Thursday) morning on a charge of animal cruelty. Officials say 30-year old Clint Auger was taken into custody at around 10-a.m., following an investigation into an incident Tuesday night, during which Auger allegedly stabbed a dog before beating it with a baseball bat. Lenox Police Chief Jon Huggins told KJAN News the dog survived the attack, and was being cared for at a local veterinary clinic. Auger was being held in the Taylor County Jail.

You may recall, the same man was arrested Tuesday evening, on a charge of Public Intoxication, after Lenox Police were called to the scene of a local grocery store, and found Auger was in possession of two, half-consumed bottles of vodka. A breath test indicated he had nearly three-times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

Iowa lawmakers expect commercial property tax deal


January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislative leaders say they are getting closer to a deal over plans to overhaul Iowa’s commercial property tax system. Despite failure to reach an agreement during last year’s session, lawmakers such as Republican Rep. Tom Sands, of Wapello, say they’re ready to work with Democrats again during the session that begins Monday. Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate, say they were optimistic they could reach agreement with Gov. Terry Branstad and Republicans who control the House. A key, though, is whether reductions in commercial property taxes could be phased in over a long enough time.

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor sees commercial property tax reform as a key part of his economic development plan and was willing to negotiate with legislative leaders.

Head-on crash in Shelby County


January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

KJAN News has learned of an apparent head-on collision between two vehicles in Shelby County, this morning. The accident reportedly took place on Highway 44, between Quince and Redwood Streets, about 3.5-miles east of Harlan. Our sister station KNOD in Harlan says authorities and rescue personnel were called to the scene. One person was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Omaha, while other persons injured in the crash were transported to Myrtue Hospital in Harlan. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said additional details would be released later this afternoon.

8AM Newscast 01-05-2012

News, Podcasts

January 5th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson