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Iowa woman pleads guilty to $23K in social security fraud

News

July 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Webster City woman has pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud in which authorities say she received over $23,000 in benefits. According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau, 44-year-old Karlotta Venegas pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of supplemental security income benefits fraud.

Prosecutors say Venegas hid from the Social Security Administration that she had been outside the United States for more than 30 days on eight separate occasions in order to continue receiving supplemental security income benefits. Officials say the fraud took place between August 2008 and September 2013.

Prosecutors say Venegas received over $23,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Venegas’ sentencing hearing has not been set.

Branstad wants to boost ‘biochemical’ production in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad wants Iowa to become the first state to offer a tax credit for transforming the “biochemicals” that are a byproduct of ethanol production. Branstad discussed the issue with former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vislack yesterday (Thursday) during a meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Secretary Vilsack, his department — the USDA, has done a pretty extensive report and they are putting together some federal programs to encourage and support this as well,” Branstad says. Branstad’s proposed state tax credit would not be for the ethanol production companies that make byproducts like corn oil and dried distillers grain when they make ethanol. Instead, the tax credit would be offered to companies that find new uses for those “biochemical” byproducts.

“This is something that we both think could be really beneficial for Iowa,” Branstad says. “There’s opportunity for us to get some federal assistance…Secretary Vilsack is really knowledgable about this and that’s an area where I see we have an opportunity to kind of team up and work together on.” Vilsack gave Branstad the report the U-S-D-A released last week about biochemical production and Branstad read it on his way to West Virginia, where the National Governors Association is holding its summer meeting.

Next summer, in 2016, the National Governors Association will meet in Des Moines and Branstad has invited Vilsack to be there for the event. Vilsack was Iowa’s governor in 2005, the last time Iowa hosted the summer meeting of the nation’s governors.

(Radio Iowa)

Senator Ernst discusses Planned Parenthood video, avian flu vaccine

News

July 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, led a bipartisan group which sent a letter to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services following the release of a second undercover video allegedly showing a Planned Parenthood official talking about selling body parts from aborted babies. “The goal of this letter was to draw attention to the legal, ethical and policy issues raised by the footage, and call upon Secretary Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these questions,” Ernst says. Ernst talked about the goal of the letter.

“We called on H-H-S to review the compliance of Planned Parenthood — one of the department grantees — with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations and other requirements,” Ernst says. “I truly find this footage reprehensible, vial, and they truly raise questions that taxpayers deserve answers to.” During her weekly teleconference with reporters, Ernst was asked about a vaccine that reportedly can prevent the avian flu. Ernst says she is in favor of vaccines, but wants to be sure of the consequences of using them.

“What we want to make sure is if we are utilizing vaccines to prevent the avian influenza, that our trade partners will still accept any exports that we have in poultry production areas,” Ernst says. She says there is still not a consensus in the chicken and turkey industries about the use of the vaccines. “We’re going to have to look at this very carefully and those decisions — of course we rely heavily on producers to provide us with information on whether they believe the vaccines are the right way to go,” Ernst says. She says the U-S-D-A will also provide input on the vaccines as will state ag officials in the areas which have dealt with the outbreak.

Iowa was one of the hardest hit states with the avian flu outbreak .

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., July 24th 2015

News

July 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa court says people can drink alcohol in their cars as long as they’re parked on private property. The Des Moines Register says the Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday a state law banning open alcohol containers in vehicles doesn’t apply to people parked in private lots or driveways.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Dubuque woman says she has a state cannabis card allowing her to give an oil extracted from marijuana to her son, but she’s not allowed to do so in his care center. Instead, Jennifer McFadden says she gives the oil to her 12-year-old son, who has severe epilepsy, twice a day in the facility’s parking lot. She tells the Des Moines Register that the agency which operates the center says it can’t allow the oil into the facility. She says the agency told her that federal authorities still consider it a strictly controlled marijuana product.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Former state lawmaker Pat Murphy is embarking on a second Democratic bid for Congress, after a failed campaign in 2014. The 55-year-old from Dubuque lost a closerace to newcomer Republican Rod Blum in November.

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — About 100 people were evacuated safely when a fire broke out on a paddle wheel boat on Clear Lake. The Globe Gazette reports the fire was reported Thursday morning, just after the Lady of the Lake cruise ship had docked. About 100 people, including 27 from a care center, were evacuated to shore.

Cass County Fair Queen and King Crowned Thursday

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2015 by Chris Parks

The 2015 Cass County Fair got into full swing with the crowning of this years King and Queen on Thursday night in  front of the memory garden at the Cass County Community Center.  A large crowd gathered to see 9 candidates vie for Queen and 2 candidates compete for King.

(Left to right) Blake Miller,Emily McDermott, Alyssa Dean, Tyler Steele (Jim Field Photo)

(Left to right) Blake Miller,Emily McDermott, Alyssa Dean, Tyler Steele (Jim Field Photo)

4 Queen candidates were chosen from the previous judging to be interviewed in front of the crowd.  Those finalists were Haley Carlson, Alyssa Dean, Emily McDermott, and Tierney Sothman.  The two king candidates Tyler Steele and Blake Miller were also interviewed for final judging.

After final deliberations by the judges Alyssa Dean was crowned the 2015 Cass County Fair Queen and Tyler Steele was crowned King. Dean is the Daughter of Tim and Corissa Dean and is a member of the Cowpokes 4-H club and Griswold FFA.  Steele is the Son of Doug and Lynette Steele and is a member of the Grant Guys & Gals 4-H club and CAM FFA.

Also receiving awards were Emily McDermott as Princess, Tierney Sothman as Ms. Congeniality, and Blake Miller as Prince and Mr. Congeniality.

The remaining queen candidates were Jessica Aupperle, Katie Aupperle, Mandi Backhaus, Sydney Steffen, and Brookelyn Wahlert. Judging was done by Ronna Herzberg and Shelley Velman.

Also part of the event was the induction of Mary Ottmar into the Cass County 4-H hall of fame.  She was lured to the event under the guise of helping judge the King and Queen contest and then was surprised with the award.  Mary’s son Adam sweetened the surprise by flying in for the ceremony when she thought he was home in California.

The Cass County Fair continues through Tuesday, July 28th.  Listen for live coverage everyday on KJAN.

HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1-UNTIL 8-PM FRIDAY

News, Weather

July 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-CASS-ADAIR-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE COUNTIES:

…HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM TO 8 PM CDT FRIDAY…

* TEMPERATURE…HIGHS IN THE AFTERNOON WILL BE AROUND 90 AND COMBINED WITH THE RETURN OF DEW POINTS NEAR 80 RESULTING HEAT INDICES WILL RANGE FROM 100 TO 105 IN MANY LOCATIONS. HEAT INDICES FROM 105-110 ARE POSSIBLE IN FAR WEST/SOUTHWEST IOWA.

* IMPACTS…HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS WILL RESULT IN AN INCREASED RISK OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS…IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK…THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY…CALL 9 1 1.

 

Public meeting on Harrison County bridge replacement project, Aug 4th

News

July 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4th, to discuss the proposed bridge replacement on Iowa 183 over Cobb Creek, one-half mile north of Harrison County Road F-20.

All interested persons are invited to attend the meeting anytime between 4:30 and 6 p.m. at the Loess Hills State Forest Visitors Center, 206 Polk St., in Pisgah. The meeting will be conducted utilizing an open forum format. Iowa DOT staff will be present to informally discuss the proposed improvements. No formal presentation will be made.

The meeting space is accessible for persons with disabilities. However, if you require special accommodations at the meeting, please notify the Iowa DOT by July 29th. For general information regarding the proposed improvements or public meeting, contact Don Stevens, P.E., assistant district engineer, Iowa DOT District 4 Office, 2210 E. Seventh St., in Atlantic, at 712-243-3355 or 800-289-4368 (or,  email donald.stevens@dot.iowa.gov.)

Red Cross sees uptick in home fires across Iowa this month

News

July 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

It’s been a very busy July for the American Red Cross, as the organization responded to eight home fires last weekend alone. Red Cross regional executive director Tammy Lee says grilling out is just one of the summertime activities that can lead to disaster. “If you’re too close to the house or thinking the fire is out when it’s not, or starting a fire when it’s windy,” Lee says. “Then there are the things we should be cautious of inside year-round, overloaded circuits, putting things on electric cords.”

Lee says the Red Cross typically responds to more storms in the summer, but this July, they’ve helped 101 people already, compared to 70 people a year ago. She says many of those calls have been house fires, which are usually more of an issue in the colder months, when furnaces and fireplaces are in use. “This time of year this year is just a particular reminder that we can have an uptick in home fires even in the middle of the summer,” she says.

Last weekend’s fires were reported in Appanoose, Wapello, Cass, Floyd, Poweshiek and Polk counties. She says anyone wishing to make a donation or to volunteer with the Red Cross can visit redcross-dot-org.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man arrested on drug & other charges

News

July 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest on Wednesday of a local man on drug & other charges. 53-year old Lafe Eichelberger, of Atlantic, faces charges that include Possession of Methamphetamine with the Intent to Deliver, Interference with Official Acts, OWI/1st offense, and Driving While License denied or revoked.

Also arrested Wednesday in Atlantic, was 54-year old Jim Findley, of Carson. Findley was charged with Driving While Barred/Habitual Offender.

And this morning (Thursday), 38-year old Jeremy Lange, of Humboldt, was arrested in Atlantic for OWI/1st offense.  All three men were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Accessible Iowa: Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 25

News

July 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – It’s a major milestone as the landmark civil rights law that ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was spearheaded by former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and signed by former President George H.W. Bush on July 26 of 1990.

Becky Harker, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, says one of the biggest changes in the years since has been the accessibility of public buildings. “Restaurants and grocery stores, courthouses, post offices,” she points out. “And they’re also more accessible to our elders, to people with strollers, to people with other mobility issues. So it’s been good for everyone.”

A number of events to celebrate the ADA anniversary are planned across Iowa in the days ahead including in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Iowa City. While there has been much progress, Harker says there is plenty more to do over the next 25 years and that includes improving job opportunities for those with disabilities.

“We’d like to see more people employed in the community and not segregated,” she stresses. “And it’s going to take a lot of advocacy, a lot of action on the part of people who feel strongly about that.” Statewide, it’s estimated that nearly 17 percent of adults or around 376,000 people have some type of a disability.