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8AM Newscast 07-31-2014

News, Podcasts

July 31st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Commission wants former Iowa prosecutor punished


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) – A commission has recommended to the Iowa Supreme Court that a former prosecutor who beat a client that he’d had a sexual relationship with should be barred from practicing law for at least four years. The Des Moines Register says the Iowa Supreme Court’s Grievance Commission also criticized Anthony Zane Blessum for his lack of remorse. Among other findings, the commission said in its recommendation to the Supreme Court that Blessum had neglected his duties for the client.

In March 2013 Blessum pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman on June 11, 2012. He was given seven days in jail, probation and was told to pay her nearly $7,000 in restitution. Blessum was Madison County attorney from 1987 through 1997.

Blessum’s lawyer says Blessum was disappointed by the commission’s findings.

Southwest IA authorities looking for stolen pickup


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in southwest Iowa are asking for the public’s help in locating a pickup that was reported stolen early this (Thursday) morning out of Red Oak. Red Oak Police reported a white and silver 1998 Dodge RAM 1500 pickup (Iowa license plate 472 YKT) was stolen from the 100 block of west Maple Street. The victim believes the vehicle…possibly driven by a female…was on its way to Council Bluffs.

The pickup has a broken back window covered with duct tape. If you have any information as to the location of the vehicle, call the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center at 712-623-6500. If you see the pickup, do not approach the vehicle or driver, just call 9-1-1 immediately.

Iowa cancels free tuition offer football promotion

News, Sports

July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Legal concerns have forced the University of Iowa to suspend a promotion offering free tuition to five randomly selected students who purchased football season tickets. Athletic director Gary Barta says he has decided to temporarily shutter the offer after questions were raised about whether it complies with state raffle laws.

Iowa says the free tuition package is worth roughly $8,000. The award also can be used to cover fees, books and related supplies for the upcoming fall and spring semesters. The Hawkeyes also were planning prizes such as $500 in school supplies and $1,000 gift cards to a local grocery store chain in an effort to boost lagging student ticket sales.

Iowa has seen those numbers drop from 10,000 to roughly 7,000 in less than two years.

Villisca woman arrested for OWI following Wed. afternoon accident


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A woman from Villisca was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Montgomery County, following an investigation into a single-vehicle accident. Authorities say they received a call about a vehicle in the ditch one-quarter of a mile west of Q Avenue on Highway 34, at around 4:35-p.m., Wednesday. An investigation determined 55-year old Martha L. Freeman, of Villisca, was traveling east on Highway 34, when her vehicle entered the ditch and became stuck.

Freeman was charged with OWI/1st Offense and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where she was held on $1,000 cash bond.

Montgomery County/Red Oak P-D arrest/incident report


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County report several recent arrests. At around 3:05-p.m. Wednesday, Red Oak Police arrested 44-year old Shelby Joann Olivares, of Red Oak, on a charge of Public Intoxication. Her bond was set at $300. A little after 9-p.m. Wednesday, Red Oak Police arrested 52-year old Jack Ray Steinspring, of Red Oak, on a charge of Driving While Suspended. His bond was set at $566.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department says deputies located a 16-year old female runaway from Webster City, Wednesday night. The teen — who had been reported missing, earlier in the day — was walking along southbound Highway 71 at around 9:45-p.m., when she was located. She was transported to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held pending the arrival of a parent or guardian. No charges were filed.

At Around 9:50-p.m., Wednesday, Red Oak Police arrested 24-year old Cassie Ann Phelps, of Red Oak, on a charge of Trespass. Phelps was taken into custody in the 100 block of west Prospect Street, following an investigation into an incident that occurred earlier in the 100 block of Miller Avenue. Phelps was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $300 cash bond.

And, at around 1:05-a.m. Thursday (Today), 24-year old Netosha Nichole Stalder, of Clarinda, was arrested in Red Oak, on a charge of Improper Use of Registration. She was also found to have a revoked driver’s license and Failed to provide proof of insurance. Her bond was set at $1,000.

Iowa official: Goat grazing plan is working

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa government official says the state’s plan to use goats to clear away vegetation is an initial success. Iowa Department of Natural Resources supervisor Mike Steuck tells KCRG-TV the 60 goats have been munching away for two weeks at the Ensign Hollow state wildlife area near Strawberry Point. He said Wednesday that the goats have cleared more than three acres of giant ragweed, stinging nettles, wild parsnip, poison ivy and other undesirable species.

The animals were enlisted to graze seven of the 40 acres in the area. The DNR is paying the goat’s owner $2,000 for the trail project, which includes the goats’ return visit this fall. Steuck says the success of the state’s goat plan hinges on how much vegetation grows back by next year.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, 7/31/14


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Legal concerns have forced the University of Iowa to suspend a promotion offering free tuition to five randomly selected students who purchased football season tickets. Athletic director Gary Barta says he has decided to temporarily shutter the offer after questions were raised about whether it complies with state raffle laws.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a railroad bridge has reopened in rural Dubuque County only one day after what appeared to be a devastating fire. A Canadian Pacific Railway spokeswoman tells the Dubuque Telegraph Herald the bridge just north of the Dubuque/Jackson county line reopened about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators say Archer Daniels Midland Company has agreed to settle allegations that it violated Clean Water Act rules at facilities where it stored fuels and oil in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. The Environmental Protection Agency says Decatur, Illinois-based ADM will pay a civil penalty of $430,000. Archer Daniels Midland spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said the company worked with regulators to address their regulators. Anderson says ADM has a compliance program in place to protect the environment.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Mississippi Valley Fair official has apologized to special needs kids and their parents after some of the children weren’t allowed on some rides. The Quad-City Times says some employees of Tom Evans United Shows wouldn’t let the kids get on the rides Tuesday, which was Special Needs Day at the fair in Davenport. Fair director Bob Fox says he apologizes and that special needs guests who were turned away are invited back Sunday to “enjoy the fair as it should be.”

Construction job gains recorded in Iowa


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new report released by the Associated General Contractors of America shows employment gains in Iowa’s construction industry. There was a four percent increase in the number of construction-related jobs in Iowa this June compared to the same month a year ago. The group also analyzed data from the nation’s top metropolitan areas. It found construction employment jumped nine percent in the Des Moines metro and six percent in Cedar Rapids during that 12-month period.

The Associated General Contractors of America is the trade association for the construction industry. The group’s chief economist says there’s growth in construction in about two-thirds of the country, while construction job losses are being recorded in states like New Jersey, West Virginia and Arizona. Missouri was the only neighboring state to record job losses in construction — the decline there was just one percent. Minnesota had the largest jump in construction jobs in the region — an eight percent increase in June of this year compared to June of last year.

Metro areas on Iowa’s borders saw little to no growth in construction employment during the period. There was a one percent increase in construction jobs in the Quad Cities during the period, while the report found no construction job gains in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro.

(Radio Iowa)

Report ranks Iowa’s tax climate 40th out of 50 states


July 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s tax climate ranks among the worst in the nation according to a new report released by the “Future of Iowa Foundation.” The group is a subsidiary of the Iowa Taxpayers Association and its report ranks Iowa’s overall tax system 40th out of the 50 states. Iowa Taxpayers Association president Dustin Blythe says members of his organization will meet August 19th to start a conversation about how to improve that ranking.

“Trying to come up with a broad-based tax reform agenda,” Blythe says. One reaon Iowa’s overall tax system ranks so low is because the state’s sales tax is so high. A two percent sales tax was first imposed in Iowa in 1934. It has tripled since then, to six percent.  “What we actually have subject to tax from what we had subject to tax in 1970 to now has almost gone from 70 percent down to 30,” Blythe says, “which means your sales tax rate has to go up if you’re taxing (fewer and fewer) items.” The group’s report also says the tax has to go up because there are fewer people in Iowa — a net loss of more than 60,000 people over the last 20 years. In addition, Iowa has the nation’s highest corporate income tax and the state’s top personal income tax rate is nearly nine percent.

“Obviously the high rates, at least on paper, give us the appearance that we’re uncompetitve on a national scale,” Blythe says. Iowans are able to deduct their federal income tax bill from their income before calculating how much they owe in state income taxes. It makes Iowa’s income taxes appear far higher. Republicans, though, have resisted efforts to get rid of that deduction, which is only allowed in five other states, arguing it would be a tax on a tax. Blythe says his group is open to the idea of getting rid of that deduction, but only if the move is part of “comprehensive” reform of the state’s entire tax system.

(Radio Iowa)