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Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., March 28th 2014


March 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups are sounding alarms that a Republican-led House subcommittee has inserted language into the budget bill for the Department of Agriculture that critics say would prevent the public from accessing information about water quality improvement practices. The budget bill deals in part with farm practices the state will help pay for as part of the state’s strategy to reduce manure and fertilizer that runs into rivers and streams.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has denied the applications of 18 inmates seeking commutation. The governor made the announcement Thursday in a news release. The individuals seeking commutation are serving different sentences, including life in prison. Some have been convicted of crimes like first-degree murder. Other convictions involve kidnapping and robbery.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A couple has purchased the historic Hibernian Hall in downtown Davenport and plans to use the space as loft housing. The Quad-City Times reports developers Manoj and Manisha Baheti bought the hall, several adjacent buildings and a house. The real estate deal closed Tuesday. The hall, built in 1889, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

NEW YORK (AP) — Iowa State and UConn are meeting today in the Sweet Sixteen with similar NBA-inspired offenses. The third-seeded Cyclones tip off Friday evening versus the seventh-seeded Huskies in the NCAA tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden. Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and UConn’s Kevin Ollie were briefly teammates with the Chicago Bulls in 2001 and 2002.

Gov. Branstad denies 18 applications for commutation


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today (Thursday) denied 18 applications for the commutation of prison sentences. Five prisoners who committed crimes in western and southwest Iowa were among those whose requests were denied. They include:

  • 43-year old James W. Bettis, who committed his crime on September 6, 1988, in Page County. He is currently a life sentence for first-degree murder.
  • 34-year old James Eaglefeather, who committed his crimes on October 6, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five years for Robbery – 1st degree, 85%.
  • 39-year old Danny Ray Long, who committed his crimes on or about December 11th and 18th, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a term of incarceration not to exceed fifty years for two counts of Robbery – 1st degree, 85%.
  • 46-year old Steven G. Sempek,  who committed his crimes on April 1, 1998, in Pottawattamie County. He is currently serving a 100-year sentence for six counts of Sexual Abuse in the second-degree (85%).
  • 58-year old Simon C. Tunstall committed his crime on August 31, 1986, in Woodbury County. He is currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

EEOC sues Shelby County trucking company, alleging sexual harassment


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

PANAMA, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing an Iowa trucking company accused of allowing a female worker to be sexually harassed and firing her for complaining. The commission claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Panama Transfer violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Panama Transfer is based in Panama, 100 miles west of Des Moines. The family-owned company operates and maintains truck terminals in several states. The lawsuit claims a female worker at its Wellman, Iowa terminal was sexually harassed by a male supervisor who made sexual innuendos in private and over the workplace intercom. It says she was fired in May 2012 after she complained.

Company President Dean Kloewer said Thursday the allegations are false and the company’s lawyers will fight them. The commission is seeking damages.

5 arrests in Cass County over the past week


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports five people were arrested over the past week on unrelated charges.On Wednesday, deputies arrested 34-year old Phillip Christian Hunter, of Cumberland, on a charge of Domestic Abuse, second offense. Hunter was brought to the Cass County Jail and released Thursday (3/27) on his own recognizance. Also arrested Wednesday, was 44-year old Angela Dee Cook, of Atlantic. She was charged with OWI/2nd offense, and at the jail received an additional charge of Possession of Electronic contraband. Cook was booked into the jail and also released on her own recognizance Thursday (3/27).

On Monday, 20-year old Andrew Warren Laughlin, of Atlantic, turned himself-in to the Cass County Jail. Laughlin was wanted on a District Court warrant for a Probation Violation. He remains in the Cass County Jail on $3,000 bond.  Last Sunday, 49-year old Tab Norman Rasmussen, of Exira, was arrested on a District Court warrant for Failing to Appear at a Child Support Hearing. He was being held without bond in the Cass County Jail.

And on Friday, March 21st, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 49-year old Floyd Marvin Johnson, of Wiota, on a charge of Driving While Revoked. Johnson was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released the following day on his own recognizance.

Photos of 300+ acre fire near Kirkman

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

These pictures are courtesy of Irwin Fire Chief Lynn Gaskill. (See separate post for details on the fire)fire3 fire2 fire1 fire6

Accidents in Atlantic send 3 people to the hospital


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our earlier stories about two separate accidents in Atlantic, Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green reports the drivers of two vehicles involved in a collision this (Thursday) morning at the intersection of Highway 71 and 22nd Street, were transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Green says a pickup driven by Jason Jordahl, of Atlantic, was traveling north on Highway 71 at around 7:28-a.m., and slowing for a vehicle stopped and waiting to turn left onto 22nd Street, when his vehicle was hit from behind by an SUV driven by Chelsea Adams, of Atlantic. Adams was cited for Failure to Maintain Control and Reduce Speed. Damage from the crash amounted to $9,000.

And, an accident Wednesday afternoon just south of the intersection of 10th and Chestnut Streets resulted in 16-year old Caleb Kelly, of Atlantic, being sent to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Chief Green says Kelly was traveling south in a 2-door Saturn at around 2:17-p.m., when he suffered from a medical issue that caused him to jerk the steering wheel to the right. The car then hit a utility pole guy wire before flipping onto its left side and ending up on its roof. No citations were issued.

Adair County Primary set


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The final list of candidates for local government offices in Adair County has been released. According to Deputy Auditor Sandy Mitchell, two people are running for Supervisor in District 2:  Democrat incumbent Steven Shelley, and Republican Ralp A. Lents. In District 4, Incumbent Cliff Sheriff faces a challenge from fellow Republican Brian Rohrig. Jodie Hoadley is the lone Democrat running for the seat.

Adair County Treasurer Brenda Wallace and Recorder Janelle Schneider, both Republicans, and Attorney Michael D. Maynes, a Democrat, are unopposed in the Primary. All are incumbents.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains “High” through March 31st

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Management officials say light rain and drizzle this (Thursday) morning will give way to sunshine and strong winds this weekend. Rapid drying of the dead vegetation will occur returning, causing a higher threat for fires to spread. Therefore the Fire Danger placards in area businesses will remain in the “High” category, through Monday morning.

A fire Wednesday evening burned over 300 acres. The flames were fanned by winds in excess of 30-mph. The Shelby County EMA asks residents to please call ahead and report your burning plans to the EMA office at 712-755-2124.



Shelby County Authorities release info. on 300-acre fire

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Shelby County have released more information about a large fire that took place Wednesday evening. As we have reported, crews from Kirkman, Harlan, Irwin and Defiance Fire Departments responded to the blaze near 1541 Redwood Road, at around 5:35-p.m., Wednesday. Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Emergency Management officials also responded.

Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says initial units reported a large grass fire spreading rapidly to the Norhtheast.    Winds at time of ignition taken from the Irwin Weather Station were reported to be  out of the South, Southwest, gusting  at 39-MPH.  Peak wind speed during the Initial Attack was recorded at 51-MPH. Irwin Fire Chief Lynn Gaskill, Incident Commander for the fire requested additional assistance for water tankers, and grass trucks from Manilla Fire Dept, Manning Fire Dept, and Kimballton Fire Departments. Additional help from local farmers with disc arrived on scene throughout the evening.

The fire traveled 1.7 miles crossing 1800th where fire departments attempted to hold the fire. As a precaution approximately14 area residents were asked to evacuate to a shelter in Harlan, IA.  Shelby County Public Health and the City of Harlan opened and staffed the shelter at the request of Shelby County Emergency Management. After the fire was contained,  units were called back out at approximately10:30-p.m., for a flare up.

Roads in the area were temporarily closed to assist in the firefighting effort, and Shelby County Secondary Roads personnel responded to assist with staffing road blocks. Wives of the Irwin Firefighters and others in the Irwin community set up a canteen at the Irwin Community Center to provide water and food for the firefighter who were on scene for over 4 hours.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and mapping of acreage will be completed today (Thursday).  It is estimated to be over 300 acres in size.  No injuries to fire firefighters were reported and no damage to outbuildings occurred.

Downtown Harlan business’ roof peeled back by high winds


March 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

High winds on Wednesday caused numerous grass and structure fires in the area and also removed a portion of the roof on a business in downtown Harlan.

Photos by Joel McCall/KNOD - Harlan

Photos by Joel McCall/KNOD – Harlan

photo 1 The Harlan Police Department was called to 6th and Court around 6:50pm due to the partial blown off roof. Officers arrived on scene and contacted Harlan city work crews to assist. The owner of the building was notified and city crews closed off a portion of 6th Street from Durant and Court. Vehicles parked on the east side of the square from Durant to Market were moved as a precaution in case the roof was dislodged. As of this (Thursday) morning, one lane of 6th Street is still blocked off between Durant and Court in downtown Harlan.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)