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Iowa News Headlines: Thu., March 8 2012


March 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from the Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A group opposed to the development of new nuclear power plants is running more than $8,000 worth of television ads in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City.The advertising campaign from Friends of the Earth comes as a legislative committee prepares to consider a bill Thursday that outlines how utility rates would be set if a company builds a nuclear power plant in Iowa. MidAmerican Energy is considering one that could cost it as much as $2 billion.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a chemical spill after a truck accident has closed part of Iowa Highway 7 near Newell in northern Iowa. The Department of Natural Resources says a semitrailer went off the road and rolled early Wednesday, throwing several chemical containers into a ditch, where they leaked or ruptured. There were no injuries. The spill involves three 55-gallon drums of phosphoric acid, three to five 275-gallon plastic containers of sodium and potassium hydroxide mix and one 55-gallon drum of chlorine bleach.

WHITTEN, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a valve malfunction may have a caused an anhydrous ammonia spill at a grain elevator in Whitten in northern Iowa. The Times-Republican in Marshalltown reports three supply tanks began leaking at the Mid-Iowa Co-Op late Tuesday morning. Gundy County Sheriff Rick Penning estimates they spilled about 80 percent of their 28,000 gallons by the time a hazardous materials crew got the leak under control Tuesday afternoon. No one was hurt and no evacuations were ordered, but a nearby highway was closed for most of the day.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Mason City man facing 13 state charges of sexually abusing children has been indicted on five federal charges. Michael Goodale was indicted Tuesday on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse, two counts of interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and one count of accessing child pornography. The sexual abuse charges stem from incidents involving two boys under the age of 12 between 2008 and September 2011.

Exira Lions Club/Godwin Endowed Scholarship Fund Deadline Is Near


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Community Foundation has announced the Exira Lions Club/Harold and Beverly Ann Godwin Endowed Scholarship Fund will result in one scholarship for $1,000.  The scholarship is open to any high school senior from the Exira-EHK School District pursuing a two or four year degree, full-time, at any accredited vocational/technical or educational institution or a college or university. The deadline for submitting applications for the scholarship is March 31st. Those interested in seeking the scholarship need to complete an application available from your High School Guidance Counselor.

For more information surf to: http://omahafoundation.org/improving-our-community/community-foundation-of-southwest-iowa/

Ex-youth pastor gets probation in sex case


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A former Council Bluffs youth pastor who plead guilty to sexually abusing a teenager has been put on probation and ordered to get sex offender treatment. Brent Girouex was sentenced on Wednesday in Pottawattamie County District Court. He pleaded guilty in November to one count of third-degree sexual abuse. He entered an Alford plea to two counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. Under an Alford plea, Girouex didn’t admit guilt but agreed that evidence likely existed for a conviction. Girouex, a former youth pastor at Victory Fellowship Church, told investigators he had sexual contact with one teen over a four-year period. Several other young men stepped forward after his arrest. Girouex had faced 89 charges. Prosecutors consolidated the charges.

Atlantic City Administrator talks about Chicago to Omaha Rail Route


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Administrator Doug Harris, Wednesday, urged the Council and public to visit an Iowa Department of Transportation Website designed to receive input on the desire and feasibility of a Chicago to Omaha passenger rail route.  The Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Iowa DOT, will analyze improvements to the regional intercity passenger rail service from Union Station in Chicago, through Iowa, to a terminal in Omaha.

The study will include a Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the corridor. The potential improvements will help complete the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative’s (MWRRI) vision for developing an improved and expanded passenger rail system in the Midwest. The study will be a major step in assessing the viability of a high-speed, regional passenger rail system in this highly populated corridor. Harris says there are five routes being studied.

That includes: The Canadian National Railway, that passes through Dubuque and Ft. Dodge; A Union Pacific Railroad route that passes through Cedar Rapids and Ames; A Canadian Pacific/Burlington Northern Santa Fe, or BNSF route through Cedar Rapids and Savannah; an Iowa Interstate Railroad route which passes through Iowa City, Des Moines and Atlantic; and, the Chicago-Burlington-Quincy Railroad, which passes through Burlington and Osceola.

Harris said some forecasts by the DOT indicate 246,800 passengers could travel the route each year. The trains would travel at speeds ranging from about 80-to 110-miles per hour, except through towns along the route. He says by going to the Iowa DOT’s website, you can find out more about the study, and leave your comments and suggestions. The website is www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha.

He says there are several elements to the 18-month study that will have to be considered before approval is given, but the thing that’s needed right now, is public input via the website. The study began this Winter by analyzing the project scope. Potential routes will be analyzed this Spring. Over the Summer, an environmental impact study will be conducted, which includes public and agency input, and an environmental analysis. In the Fall, a draft of the Tier 1 Schedule will be created, and with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ready for final public input and agency review by the Spring of 2013.

No Speed Limit change on 22nd Street in Atlantic – for now


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

There won’t be a reduction in the speed limit on sections of 22nd Street in Atlantic, at least for now. The City Council Wednesday night unanimously voted against approving the second reading of an ordinance which would have ultimately reduced the speed from 45- to 35-miles per hour from Highway 71 to Olive Street and Chestnut to Highway 6, citing opposition from residents, the lack of accidents and a need to re-evaluate other options for improving the safety of both residents and pedestrians.The resolution was also defeated, despite a recommendation by Police Chief Steve Green and the Community Protection Commission.  Councilman Steve Livengood said of the people he’s spoken with or heard from, most wanted the speed limit to stay the same as it is, and even though he had some reservations, he voted against the ordinance.

Councilman Chris Jimerson conducted an unscientific poll through Facebook. He said the responses he received we also vastly opposed to reducing the speed limit. He says there 103 votes to leave the speed limit at 45, 21 votes to lower it to 35. Jimerson went so far as to knock on the doors of 52 residents along East 22nd Street, in an attempt to get a better perspective on the speed limit issue. At 28 homes, no one answered the door, 24 people responded. 16 persons who responded want the speed limit at 35-mph, 7 wanted it to stay the same, and one didn’t care either way. Some of the residents suggested more speed limit signs be erected, others suggested sidewalks be installed.

The issue of sidewalks was brought up by more than one person. Jimerson said a woman he spoke with came upon a jogger who motioned her to go around on a hill, but she didn’t. If she had, she discovered she would have had a head-on collision with another vehicle. Councilman Dana Halder said joggers and pedestrians who won’t move to the side of the road, are a source of irritation for drivers he’s spoken with. Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Livengood said the issue can be addressed again at a later date, if there is a petition to reduce the speed limit. In the meantime, he urged drivers not to drive in excess of 45-miles per hour, and to use extra caution approaching the hills because of blind driveways.

Nodaway Man Arrested After Traffic Accident


March 7th, 2012 by admin

The Adams County Sheriff’s office reports the arrest of a Nodaway man following a traffic accident early Tuesday morning. Officials say 19-year-old Johnathan Locke, of Nodaway, was taken into custody, after an investigation into the crash. Locke was traveling eastbound near 2107 Corning Carl Road at around 12:20-a.m. Tuesday, when he swerved to miss a deer. The vehicle entered a ditch and hit a driveway before it vaulted into the air and hit a utility pole. The pole fell into the north ditch and set it on fire.  Locke and a passenger in the vehicle, Hannah Cross, of Corning, suffered minor injuries during the crash. 

Locke was picked up later in the day Tuesday, on an Adams County warrant. He was charged with driving while suspended, public intoxication, minor in possession, and interference with official acts.

NW IA School Superintendent explains why “Bully” film is not shown to students


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A school superintendent in northwest Iowa is responding to media reports that he rejected the showing of a documentary on bullying to students. Sioux City Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman says the movie, which is titled “Bully,” cannot be shown in any schools right now. “Truthfully, at this time, the district cannot show the film in our schools as the film is not yet ready for school based release,” Gausman said. “When the film becomes available, we will make the appropriate decisions related to how we might infuse the film into the very progressive activities we have already placed in our schools.” 

Parts of the documentary were filmed in a Sioux City elementary school. The Motion Picture Association of America has given the film an “R” rating for foul language, upsetting supporters of the project who believe it will prevent the film from being shown to students to demonstrate the impact of bullying. Gausman says parental involvement is important in teaching children about bullying — which goes beyond whatever decision is made on the R-rated documentary. “We must have parent engagement to watch a film with that rating,” Gausman said. “Similarly, the solutions for bullying in the American school system must also include parental engagement and community engagement as we enact any programs, curriculum or even documentaries as a solution for the challenges that face the American schools related to bullying.” 

The Sioux City School District has partnered with the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention for 12 years in efforts to stop bullying and harassment in public schools.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

House OKs bill replacing term ‘mental retardation’


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A bill that would remove the phrase “mental retardation” from most state laws has passed the Iowa Legislature and now will go to Gov. Terry Branstad. The House unanimously approved the bill Tuesday. The Senate had earlier passed the bill, also unanimously.  Branstad has indicated his support for the change. The move is part of a national effort to encourage governments and individuals to stop using the term.
     Activists say the term “mental retardation” can be hurtful to people who have a variety of disabilities.
     In Iowa, the phrase “intellectual disability” will be used instead.

Harlan teen to appear in court next week on drug charges


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Harlan teen arrested last Summer on drug charges is in trouble with the law again. According to court records, 18-year old Brett Scott Wilke faces numerous felony drug charges and an aggravated misdemeanor drug charge, after he was arrested following an ongoing Harlan Police Department investigation into his alleged activities.

Wilke faces a felony charge of Ongoing Criminal Conduct, three felony charges of delivery of a controlled substance, and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance in a structure. If convicted of the felony and aggravated misdemeanor charges, he faces up to 42 years in jail, with additional fines totaling $17,500.

According to Harlan Police reports, Wilke allegedly sold marijuana to a confidential informant on three separate occasions in January and February. The Harlan Tribune reports Wilke allegedly sold a baggie of a green leafy substance that field tested positive for marijuana to the informant. The amount of each sale was 3.8, 4.2 and 5.4 grams. One of the sales was within 1,000 feet of a school. Wilke was taken into custody following a traffic stop February 23rd in Harlan. He was released on a $15,000 bond and ordered to appear in court for his Preliminary Hearing on March 15th.

Wilke was also arrested on May 30th, 2011, on Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges. Wilke was 17 at the time. His case was handled by Juvenile Court Services.

Nebraska man arrested in Pottawattamie County after manhunt


March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County say a Nebraska man was arrested Tuesday morning on numerous charges in the northwestern part of the County, following a manhunt. Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Dwayne Riche told KJAN News 28-year old Louis Enrique Cruz-Guzman, of Bellevue, NE, was taken into custody at around 11:37-a.m. after being flushed out of an embankment near a creek by a Pott. County K-9 unit about 6-miles north-northeast of Council Bluffs. Sgt. Riche says the incident began when authorities received word at around 7:50-a.m., that a man matching Cruz-Guzman’s description was on the property of the Hazel-Dell Township Cemetery at about 250th and Juniper Road. At around 10:15-a.m., deputies were called to L-34 and Badger Avenue for a report the same subject was walking toward Weston Avenue. 

A property owner in the area, Brian Driver, saw Cruz-Guzman walking on his property carrying a claw hammer Driver believed came from a shed or outbuilding on his property.  When Driver confronted the man and said he was going to call the Sheriff’s Office, Cruz-Guzman took off on foot through a corn field headed toward a wooded creek line. Moments later, Phil Cock, who was on an ATV fixing fences, saw the suspect running toward the creek in the vicinity of Juniper Road and L-34. 

A deputy who responded to the scene hopped on the ATV with Cock and together the men began a search for Cruz-Guzman. At that same time, authorities received another report the same man allegedly stole a bicycle from a female residents’ backyard, and was trying to get away. The suspect abandoned the bike and once again took off on foot. Numerous agencies responded to conduct a search for the man, including the Iowa State Patrol and a Pott. County K-9 unit.  Area schools were notified about the incident and placed on “lock-down,” as a security measure. As the K-9 “Francisco,” and his handler, Deputy Brian Miller, began walking the creek line, the suspect heard the team approaching and surrendered to the State Patrol near the 14.5-mile marker of Interstate 80. Cruz-Guzman was wearing only his boxer shorts, as his shoes, pants and shirt were frozen and discarded in the water. 

Cruz-Guzman was arrested on a warrant out of Boone County, Iowa, for Probation Revocation and Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Deliver. He was also charged in Pottawattamie County, with Burglary in the 3rd Degree…2 counts of Trespassing…Interference with Official Acts and Theft in the 5th Degree. He was being held this (Wednesday) morning in the Pott. County Jail on $10,000 bond.