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Lawmakers who supported Iraq war are wary now


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — One Republican senator says the conflict between Iraq’s Shiites and Sunnis has been going on for 1,500 years — and he says, “Whatever we do, it’s not going to go away.” Richard Shelby of Alabama is among the lawmakers who voted to authorize military force in Iraq 12 years ago, but are now voicing doubts that U.S. air strikes will turn back the insurgents who are threatening the Iraqi government. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, “After a decade of war, we’ve all had enough.”

As President Barack Obama considers what to do in Iraq, there is little agreement in Congress on what steps he should take — despite some Republican voices calling for air strikes and stepped-up military action. Sen. John McCain is among those Republicans.

A Democrat who voted for the Iraq invasion in 2002 — Tom Harkin of Iowa — now calls it “one of the worst votes” he ever cast. And as the U.S. again considers intervention in Iraq, Harkin says that vote is “weighing heavily” on his mind.

Obama will discuss the situation in Iraq with House and Senate leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow.

(Update) AMU crews busy early Tues. morning fixing power outages


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of people across Iowa were without electricity early Tuesday morning, as a large complex of storms walloped the Midwest Monday and overnight into Tuesday morning. In Atlantic, winds in excess of 50-miles per hour caused a tree limb to fall on a house at 1407 Chestnut Street. Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU) General Manager Steve Tjepkes told KJAN News it was at about that same time the first power outage was reported in Atlantic. Tjepkes said a couple of outages were called in from the 2100 block of Hillcrest Drive, and the 800 block of Elm Street.

Not much later, a line in the area of Olive Street and Hillcrest was dropped by falling tree limbs, but the majority of customers on the west side of town lost power after a primary line was hit by a tree limb behind Deter Motor Company, at around 6-a.m.  Tjepkes said in all, some 700 in-town and rural AMU customers lost power at some point during the night, but service was restored to all customers by around 8:15-a.m. At around 3:15-a.m., officials with Mid-American Energy, Alliant Energy, and the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives had reported a combined 60-thousand customers were without power throughout the state. More than half of those customers were in the Des Moines metro area.

2 year non-union contract approved in Shelby County


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Board of Supervisors have approved a new 2-year contract for non-union/full-time employees. In a meeting held this (Tuesday) morning, the Board presented the new contract which included a 2.25-percent Cost Of Living wage adjustment (COLA) on July 1st, 2014 and a one-percent performance increase on January 1st, 2015. Supervisor Steve Kenkel explained the performance increase. “How that will work is if an employee receives a satisfactory performance evaluation, the employee shall receive an additional 1 percent increase.”

The performance base increase is something tied to the non-union contracts but not the union contracts and Kenkel wanted to clarify the reasoning. “The goal of this board is to increase the accountability throughout county government by implementing annual employee performance evaluations. This board was willing to provide financial incentives to our employees for strong performance as evident by our initial proposal to all three unions. Unfortunately the final contracts to the unions did not include a paid per performance provision. As a board, we will continue to work towards this goal and we will implement a similar plan to our non-union employees. The bottom line is the three union contracts were given the opportunity to participate in performance base pay and they chose not to do that.”

The performance evaluations will be the same for all non-union employees and will be used for five consecutive years. Kenkel said it will be a one or two page evaluation in the fall. After the performance base pay maximum is reached, longevity will go into effect after 5 years with an increase of .35 cents and increase by ten cents every five years there after. Shelby County Recorder Linda Fahn spoke to the supervisors before they approved the vote.

“I would just like to say on behalf of the employees, we would like to thank you for the cost of living and performance increases. I think our staff deserves it and they will appreciate it as well.”
The contract was approved. The Shelby County Supervisors also approved a new 3 year contract with Gronewold and Company of Atlantic for the county audit. Supervisor Roger Schmitz said overall the contract is about a 1 percent increase from the previous 3 year contract.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Adams County murder suspects remain in jail – officials tight lipped


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County says two men who were arrested last week on murder charges remain in jail. 40-year old Antonio Valenzuela and 41-year old Francisco Valenzuela, of 2087 110th Street in Lenox, were charged with Attempted Murder. Their bonds was set at $25,000 each.

Authorities have not released any further details, except to say Antonio Valenuela was arrested June 13th after a search warrant was executed at 409 w. Dallas Street, in Lenox. Francisco Valenzuela was arrested a short time later.

Since it is an ongoing investigation, and for the safety of certain individuals, sheriff’s officials say they are withholding additional information at this time.

(Update) Suspect in Cass County chase remains hospitalized


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The suspect in the theft of a pickup truck in Cass County remained in the hospital today (Tuesday), after he crashed the vehicle during a pursuit. Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren told  KJAN News the incident began just after 2-a.m.He says they received a call about a white-colored pickup taken from a residence off of the Airport Road in Atlantic at around 2:03-a.m.  Cass County Deputy Ben Bartholomew observed the vehicle four minutes later, traveling south of Atlantic on Highway 6. He engaged in a pursuit of the pickup, which wound its way through back roads near the Lewis Cemetery before coming to an end at 582nd and Main Streets, on the eastern outskirts of Lewis. That’s where the pickup went out of control at around 2:10-a.m., and rolled several times. It was declared a total loss.

The unidentified driver of the vehicle was trapped in the pickup, which was registered to Roxanne Woolsey, of Atlantic. The man was conscious and breathing when Griswold Fire and Rescue and Lewis 1st Responders arrived on the scene. Officials had asked for LifeNet to be launched, but due to the weather conditions the chopper was grounded. The suspect was extricated from the vehicle and was transported by Griswold Rescue to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic. A report on his condition is not available. McLaren said charges are pending in the incident.

The Sheriff said the suspect had recently been released from the Cass County Jail.

Hatch to run with Cedar Rapids councilwoman


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Sen. Jack Hatch has chosen a Cedar Rapids city councilwoman as his running mate as he seeks to unseat Gov. Terry Branstad in November. Hatch is announcing in Cedar Rapids that Monica Vernon is his choice to run alongside him for lieutenant governor.  A biography posted Tuesday on his campaign website says she is serving her second four-year term on the city council.

She is founder of Vernon Research Group, a market research firm. She has also worked as a community relations director for Mount Mercy University and was previously a reporter for the Gazette.  Vernon, who is 56, ran for Iowa’s U.S. House 1st District seat coming in second behind Iowa Rep. Pat Murphy.

She is married to an attorney, Bill Vernon, and has three adult daughters.

IA Board of Social Work suspends Creston man’s license to practice


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Board of Social Work, last week, acted to suspend the license of a Creston man. The Board ruled on June 10th that Master Social Work practitioner Kenneth Hayes had repeatedly violated the terms of his “Impaired Practitioner Recovery Contract,” as established by the seven-member Impaired Practitioner Review Committee.

Hayes is said to have repeatedly consumed alcohol which was proven through the results of three separate tests. He also ceased participating in a chemical screening program, and was discharged from a treatment aftercare Program facilitated by Zion Recovery Services, for lack of compliance and lack of progress in rehabilitation.

Hayes’ is required to stop practicing social work and pay a total of $130 in fees associated with the proceedings in his case. Hayes has 30 days to appeal his suspension to a district court, with the cost of the appeal his sole responsibility.

Pelzer officially retires from CAM


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Monday’s night’s meeting of the CAM School Board was the last such meeting for Superintendent Steve Pelzer.  Pelzer told KJAN News he officially retired and handed in his letter of resignation, so the district can move forward with its Superintendent sharing agreement with Nodaway Valley. His last day will be June 30th. When asked what he would do in his retirement, Pelzer joked “I think going to be a radio announcer.”

In addition to approving Pelzer’s retirement and resignation, the CAM School Board took action on a few other contracts. He says they had a resignation from Kyle Williams – Head of Maintenance, resignations from various coaching positions because of a moves to different positions, 1st grade teacher Alisha Lindquist resigned to accept a position with the Atlantic School District, and, a contract was issued to new Athletic Director, Joe Wollum.

Pelzer said also, the Board signed a sharing agreement with Nodaway Valley for a part-time counselor. He said that individual will serve the CAM District in the south Elementary and Middle School for about 40% of the contract, two days per week

And, the CAM School Board finalized an agreement with Nodaway Valley for the sharing of their Superintendent, Casey Berlau, effective July 1st.

(9-a.m. News)

8AM Newscast 06-17-2014

News, Podcasts

June 17th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


AMU reports power outages this morning


June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Atlantic Municipal Utilities report a large power outage caused by last night’s storms is effecting several AMU customers. The utility says crews are working on restoring service at this time.  As of 7:40-a.m., AMU officials said with the exception of about 20 customers, most have had their power restored. Those who remain should see the lights come back on within the hour.

The affected AMU customers weren’t the only ones who started off their day without “juice.” Tens of thousands of other Iowa residents were without power early this morning after severe storms packing high winds and heavy rain crossed the state. The Des Moines Register reports MidAmerican Energy had more than 27,000 customers without power early Tuesday morning due to the severe weather. Alliant Energy reported nearly 12,000 Iowa customers without power, including about 6,000 in the Cedar Rapids area.

The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives showed nearly 800 customers without power, with the most in Franklin County.The storms were part of a large system that walloped parts of other Midwest states, including Nebraska.