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State of Iowa made secret payouts to ex-workers

News

March 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state of Iowa has paid more than $282,000 in secret settlements to six former employees over the last three years. The Des Moines Register reports that all were asked to sign confidentiality agreements that would have kept the settlements out of public view. The settlements were shuffled through state agencies, avoiding the typical process of being approved by and made public through the Iowa State Appeal Board. They were obtained through Iowa’s open-records law.

The employees held positions ranging from a public health supervisor to a design engineer. They were considered merit-based employees, which gives them the ability to move into other available state jobs ahead of workers with less experience. The workers contend they would have kept their jobs if the state hadn’t violated workplace employment practices.

Names of suspect & officer in Bluffs shooting released

News

March 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Council Bluffs have released the name of the Police Officer who fired his weapon at fleeing suspect. The Omaha World-Herald says Officer Aaron Gutierrez was chasing 46-year old suspect Dudie J. Rose, and fired one round from his service weapon, but missed Rose, who was believed to be carrying a knife and under the influence of a controlled substance. Rose was transported to Mercy Hospital after his arrest, when he went into a seizure and lost consciousness. He’s been charged with Possession of Stolen Property.

The incident leading up to Rose’ arrest at around 5:30-p.m. Friday began after authorities received a report of a reckless driver. Officer Gutierrez saw the suspect vehicle – a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup — and initiated a traffic stop, but the vehicle, which was reported stolen out of Omaha on Feb 3rd,  sped-off.   Rose finally stopped the truck it in the 100 block of North 17th Street, but he then took off on foot. After the man was found behind a garage in the 1600 block of Avenue A, the officer fired at him, but missed. The pickup was taken into evidence.

The incident and officers’ actions remains under investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Red Oak man arrested Sunday morning

News

March 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County report the arrest early this (Sunday) morning of a Red Oak man. According to Red Oak Police, 57-year old William Wayne Elliott, of Red Oak, was arrested near north 2nd and Cherry Streets at around 2:35-a.m.   Elliott was charged with Driving While Barred. He also received a warning for having an insufficient number of headlights on his vehicle.

Elliott was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on a $2,000 cash bond.

Pott. Co. proposes to raise property taxes – Hearing set for Mon. morning

News

March 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing will be held in Council Bluffs at 10-a.m. Monday, with regard to the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Pottawattamie County Budget, which calls for an increase of $1.25 per thousand dollars assessed property valuations in the cities and $1.38 in the rural areas. The Daily NonPareil says rising costs of daily operations and a state-mandated reduction in commercial property tax bills are among reasons given by Pottawattamie County Supervisors for proposed increases in the county’s tax levies. The meeting takes place in the second floor meeting room at the Pott. County Courthouse.

Those factors, coupled with a state-mandated reduction in the property tax rollback for residential property, will likely result in higher tax bills for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. The county’s budget proposal calls for the tax levy to increase from the current $7.67 per $1,000 of taxable valuation to $8.92 for the coming fiscal year. If the budget is approved, those who live outside a community’s city limits would see the property tax levy increase from $10.87 per $1,000 in taxable valuation to $12.25.

For the fiscal year beginning July 1, property taxes will be based on 54.4 percent of a property’s assessed value. With the levy increase and the reduction of the rollback, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay $485 in county taxes, compared to $405 this year. The owner of a $200,000 home will pay $970 in county taxes, compared to $810 this year, while the owner of a $300,000 home will pay $1,455 in county taxes, compared to $1,215 this year.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sun., March 16th 2014

News

March 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Protesters have gathered at the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines to decry the use of drones in war. The Saturday morning rally was organized by the Midwest Veterans for Peace and Catholic Workers.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa City Community School District plans to eliminate 35 teacher positions and at least one administrator position for the upcoming school year as it looks to cut spending. Superintendent Stephen Murley tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen that the district intends to reduce staff positions by not filling open spots after teachers and staff retire, and that 47 teachers already have announced plans to do so after this school year.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa state police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Council Bluffs. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says the shooting occurred Friday evening, when a Council Bluffs officer fired his gun at a suspect during a foot chase, missing the suspect. No injuries were reported from the shooting.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — DeAndre Kane scored 17 points, Georges Niang added 13 and Number 16 Iowa State rallied to beat Baylor 74-65 on Saturday night to win its first Big 12 tournament title since 2000. Naz Long and Dustin Hogue had 12 points apiece, and Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cyclones in Kansas City.

Mattress stolen from Red Oak home

News

March 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak are investigating the theft of a Brooklyn twin-size bed/mattress. Authorities say a female resident on west Hammond Street reported to police Friday evening that a pink bed/mattress was delivered to her home earlier in the day. Sometime between Noon and 2:30-p.m., a person or persons unknown took the bed set from the home’s front porch. The loss was estimated at $105.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Red Oak Police Department at 712-623-6500.

Area firefighters battle flames in SE Pott. County

News

March 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Brian Hamman reports firefighters  from Elliott, Griswold, and Red Oak battled a barn fire on Wednesday afternoon in rural southeast Pott County. The call from 11717 480th Street came in at around 2:50-p.m.

The blaze started in the barn that was being torn down, and extended to the field as well as two grain bins. Several area farmers assisted with removal of grain from the bins as well as providing tractors in the field to contain the field fire. No injuries were reported.fire1fire2

 

Survey: nearly 1 in 4 Iowa companies expect to add workers in coming months

News

March 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A survey released this week shows Iowa employers are predicting a robust job market between April and June. Karen Miller, a spokesperson for Manpower, Incorporated, says “We found 71-percent of the employers that we surveyed are going to maintain their current staffing levels, while another 24-percent said they’re going to be adding to their staff for this coming quarter.”

The results of the second quarter survey are similar to those from a year ago, but mark an improvement over the first quarter of this year when 18-percent of Iowa employers anticipated adding to their workforce.

(Radio Iowa)

Bluffs officer fires at fleeing suspect

News

March 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa state police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Council Bluffs. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says the shooting occurred Friday evening, when a Council Bluffs officer fired his gun at a suspect during a foot chase, missing the suspect. No injuries were reported from the shooting.

The man was caught and taken to a local hospital for a medical condition not related to the shooting. The officer had been called to an eastern area of Council Bluffs for a report of a reckless driver.

Harrison County Officials who broke the law order to purchase a book

News

March 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa judge hast ordered three Harrison County officials to each purchase a $2 “Open Meetings, Open Records” handbook from the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, in lieu of paying a $100 fine for violating state open-meeting laws. The Daily NonPareil reports Judge James M. Richardson ruled earlier this month, that Supervisors Robert Smith, Walter Ultman and Gaylord Pitt had violated the open-meetings law during a meeting held Nov. 7th, by going into a closed session as trustees of the Ultman Drainage District. The ruling came after the Judge reviewed video footage of two meetings, the other of which was held Nov. 14th. The supervisors were initially fined $100 each, but court documents show those fines were later suspended.
The board had been involved in a lawsuit over a court order to fix the Utman Levee, an aging structure near Modale. In February, the supervisors unanimously voted to repair a 200-foot gap in the levee. According to the paper, the supervisors said the closed sessions were within the law because they were held under a section of Iowa Code that deals with the handling of matters in litigation or where litigation is imminent, and the disclosure of such information would be prejudicial, or put a governmental body at a disadvantage the position of the governmental body during litigation.

The court ruled that the supervisors would not have been prejudiced by the disclosure of the recording from the Nov. 7th meeting, where the board discussed whether to dispute the costs of subpoenas from a previous lawsuit, pay the costs or table the discussion for a further time. Since the court ruled records from the Nov. 7 meeting are public information because the discussions were not within the legal boundaries to enter closed session, the supervisors were ordered to disclose the recording from that meeting.

The court however,  ruled that the supervisors were within the scope of the open-meeting laws when they entered closed session during a meeting held under the same section of the Iowa Code, on Nov. 14th.