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Omaha woman arrested on drug charge in Fremont County


January 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop late Tuesday night in Fremont County resulted in a Nebraska woman’s arrest on drug charges. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy pulled over a vehicle in Hamburg at around 11-p.m.  The K9 unit was deployed during the investigation, and as a result, resulted in the arrest of 24-year old Janae Austin, of Omaha. The woman was taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled Substance with intent.

Inside the vehicle, numerous containers of Butane Hash Oil (a marijuana concentrate), was found. Austin was transported to the Fremont County Jail and held on a $5,000 bond.

USDA: Indiana bird flu outbreak is believed contained, Iowans can relax

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Poultry producers in Iowa are on high alert as an outbreak of avian influenza is being dealt with in Indiana. At least ten turkey farms in a single Indiana county are reported infected. T-J Myers, an administrator at the U-S-D-A’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the outbreaks appears to be contained. “There’s been a lot of good work to increase our preparatory efforts at the federal side, the state side and the industry side,” Myers says. “Industry and poultry producers have been doing a lot to strengthen their biosecurity so we are hopeful that as we respond very quickly to this virus that we can get it contained.”

The Indiana situation is being closely monitored and Myers says the agency is not calling for vaccinations. “Our vaccination policy is to only use it if we feel that it would be an important adjunct to our stamping out policy,” he says. “At this point, we are not looking to do any sort of vaccination.” While the bird flu outbreak appears to have spread to multiple farms in Indiana, they are all in close proximity within one county and officials believe the spread has been halted.

Given that, vaccinations shouldn’t be needed. “That’s something that we would only use if we felt that it was necessary to assist us in containing a spreading virus,” Myers says, “which we are not looking at right now.” A total of 77 poultry operations in Iowa had bird flu outbreaks last spring and more than 31-million chickens and turkeys were wiped out in Iowa, which was by far the worst-hit state.

Losses in Iowa alone from the outbreak may total one-billion dollars. No new cases of bird flu have been reported in Iowa since last June and the final quarantine was lifted on December 1st.

(Radio Iowa)

Follow-up to earlier post: Carson campaign volunteer dies after roll-over accident on I80


January 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A 25-year-old college student who was volunteering on Ben Carson’s Iowa Caucus campaign has died after a roll-over accident on Interstate 80 in western Iowa. A van driven by a campaign staffer hit a patch of ice, rolled and was struck by another vehicle near Atlantic Tuesday morning. The campaign field director and two other campaign volunteers were treated and released from the local hospital, but Braden Joplin was flown to an Omaha hospital for treatment. Carson temporarily suspended his campaign and flew from South Carolina to Omaha to meet with Joplin’s family.

“I think that’s where we need to be right now,” Carson said. Joplin died of his injuries late Tuesday afternoon. Carson released a written statement a few hours later, saying one of the “joys of campaigning is the privilege of meeting bright young men and women” like Joplin. Carson says he’s filled with “a deep and profound sadness” at the young man’s death.

As news of the accident spread on social media, messages of support came from candidates and campaign staff on both sides of the political aisle. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders began his Sioux City rally last night with a moment of silence in honor of Joplin. Carson says that outpouring of support shows “life will always transcend politics.”

Carson called Joplin and those like him who volunteer for campaigns “the unsung heroes of the political process.” Joplin was a student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He was among a group of student volunteers who arrived in Iowa this month to volunteer in the run-up to the February 1st Iowa Caucuses.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 1/20/16


January 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

ATLANTIC, Iowa — A staff member with the Ben Carson presidential campaign has died from injuries he suffered during a crash in Interstate 80 Tuesday morning, in Cass County. An official for a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, says the Carson campaign volunteer, 25-year-old Braden Joplin, died late Tuesday afternoon. Six others were hurt in the crash.

ATLANTIC, Iowa — Two people were killed when the car they were in went out of control Tuesday morning west of Atlantic, and was struck broadside by a pickup truck. The Iowa State Patrol says the victims were 49-year old Melissa Jones, of Walnut and 39-year old John Maxwell, of Anita. Both were in the car. The driver of the pickup, 57-year old Dennis Weihs, of Marne, was transported to the Cass County Hospital by Medivac Ambulance.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate lawmakers in Iowa are considering a “ban the box” bill that would limit when employers can ask job applicants about their criminal histories. The bill would prohibit an employer or employment agency from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until the applicant has been selected for an interview or after he or she has been given a conditional job offer. Supporters say the bill offers a second chance to applicants who have been turned down for work. Critics say it could be a liability to employers.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police have arrested an Iowa City man after officers say he used a plastic gun to rob a bank. Iowa City police say the Tuesday morning robbery occurred at the U.S. Bank on William Street. A witness reported seeing a man with a gun robbing the bank. Iowa City police say a University of Iowa police officer later stopped 30-year-old Clifton Rayner Brinkmeyer and in a search found a fake, plastic gun. He was charged with second-degree robbery.

BLOOMFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a southeastern Iowa man who was killed in December died of gunshot wounds. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and State Medical Examiners released how 39-year-old Michael Thomas Goodwin Sr. died. Davis County Sheriff’s Office deputies found his body on Dec. 13 after receiving a call asking that they check on the man at his home north of Bloomfield. On Jan. 11, police charged a 16-year-old boy with first-degree murder.

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says state residents shouldn’t let Ted Cruz win the Iowa caucus because he opposes continued federal government support of ethanol. The Republican governor spoke at a renewable fuels conference Tuesday. His state leads the nation in ethanol production. Cruz supports phasing out a federal policy that sets a minimum for the amount of ethanol blended in the nation’s gas.

Details released on I-80 crash in Cass County


January 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol Tuesday evening released details and the names of those involved in a crash that happened at around 9:30-a.m. Tuesday, on Interstate 80 in Cass County. Officials say a 2015 Ford Transit Van carrying members of Presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign staff, was traveling west on I-80 about a mile east of the Elk Horn exit, when the vehicle went out of control on the icy road. The Carson campaign late Tuesday evening one of the staffers had died.

The van crossed the median and into the eastbound lanes, where it was hit by a 2012 Chevy Avalanche. The van then rolled into the south ditch. Injured in the crash was the driver of the van, 27-year old Jonathan McCall, of Sugar Land, TX (who was wearing his seat belt), 18-year old Aaron Ohnemus (no city given – not wearing a seat belt), and 24-year old Braden Joplin, of Midland, TX. Joplin, was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic before being transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he later died.

Also injured was 34-year old Laneanne Lane, of Exira, a 12-year old male, a 5-year old male (Seat belt used), and a 10-year old female (seat belt used). The Patrol says all three of the children, and Laneanne Lane, were transported by Medivac Ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic. The children were subsequently transferred to Children’s Hospital, in Omaha. Ohnemus were transported to CCMH by Walnut Rescue.

The accident prompted Carson, the Republican presidential candidate, to cancel campaign stops Tuesday and Wednesday.

ISP releases details on fatal Cass County crash


January 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Revised 6:34-p.m.: The State Patrol has corrected info. to reflect Melissa Jones is from Walnut, not Anita)

Two people died and another was injured during a crash Tuesday morning on Highway 83, about one-quarter of a mile east of Highway 173. The Iowa State Patrol identified those who died in the crash between a pickup and a car as 49-year old Melissa Jones, of Walnut and 39-year old John Maxwell, of Anita. The driver of the pickup, 57-year old Dennis Weihs, of Marne, was transported to the Cass County Hospital by Medivac Ambulance.

The Patrol says a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Jones, was traveling east on Highway 83 at around 11-a.m., when the car went out of control while trying to negotiate a curve. The car crossed the center line of the road and was hit on the passenger side by Weihs’ 2016 Chevy Silverado  pickup.

Both vehicles came to rest upright in the northeast ditch. Jones and Maxwell, who were wearing their seat belts, died at the scene. Weihs was also wearing his seat belt. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Atlantic Fire and Rescue and Medivac ambulance assisted at the scene.

Council Bluffs Man Sentenced to Prison for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charge


January 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says a Pottawattamie County man was sentenced Tuesday to 60 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm while subject to a domestic violence protective order, charge. 38-year old Zachary M. Henderson, of Council Bluffs, was sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge James E. Gritzner. Henderson was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term and to pay $100 towards the Crime Victims’ Fund. Henderson was also ordered to forfeit the firearm involved in the offense.

According to the plea agreement, on April 3, 2015, Henderson possessed a loaded handgun that was discovered during a traffic stop conducted by the Council Bluffs Police Department. Prior to April 2015, Henderson was convicted of a felony offense and he was subject to a domestic violence protective order.

The matter was investigated by the Council Bluffs Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Non injury accident in Red Oak Tuesday


January 19th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police Department released details about a Tuesday accident in Red Oak.  Officers responded to a call of an accident at 3rd and Maple Streets in Red Oak at 2:19pm.  Officers determined a two-vehicle accident had occurred with no injuries reported.

A 2014 Ford Escape driven by 19-year-old Cade Johnson was traveling south bound on 3rd Street approaching Maple Street when a 2002 Chevy Silverado driven by 40-year-old Markus Johnson of Red Oak pulled out in front of him.  Cade Johnson then struck the passenger side of the Silverado with the passenger side of his vehicle.  Damage to the Ford was estimated at $3,000 and $1,500 to the Chevy.  Markus Johnson was issued a citation for Failure to Yield to a Vehicle on the Right.

Cade Johnson’s Ford Escape had to be towed from the scene.

Red Oak woman arrested on marijuana charge


January 19th, 2016 by Chris Parks

Red Oak Police report the arrest of a Red Oak Woman on drug charges Tuesday.  At 3:00pm officers were on a separate call when they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from an apartment.  Officers made contact with the resident and found marijuana and and item of drug paraphernalia.  20-year-old Cassandra Jane Rohner of Red Oak was then arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Rohner was taken to the Montgomery County Jail without incident where she was held on $1,000 cash bond.

Recruiting and keeping volunteer firefighters is becoming tougher in Iowa


January 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Continuing population declines are impacting Iowa’s smaller communities in many ways — including fire departments. Atlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees is president of the Iowa Firefighters Association. McNees says firefighter recruitment and retention are big challenges facing the state’s smaller towns. “Recruitment is difficult,” said McNees, “not only for the size of the community I’m from, still getting someone to volunteer their time. It is a big commitment to go get your Firefighter I and Firefighter II (qualifications), and do all the hazmat that goes with it, then not to mention all the EMS they do here, too. So, finding people, and with the population the way it’s trending rural Iowa, it makes it even tougher.”

McNees says one factor hindering recruitment is that most firefighters are volunteers and must juggle responding to fire or medical calls with their regular jobs. “That makes it harder to find people who will want to respond during the day,” said McNees. “And, it really makes it a problem for them — that’s why you see a lot of automatic aid calls, when you see two or three departments handling calls at one time.” At the same time, McNees says having employees respond to fire calls is tough on employers.

“Any employer who allows a person to be on the fire department or rescue squad, is really doing quite a bit for their community, as well, if they’re allowing that to happen, because it is taking somebody off of their production line, or out of their office,” he says. “It could put a hard press on a business.” So, why become a firefighter? In addition to giving back to their communities, McNees says volunteer firefighters have a chance to impact people’s lives, as you’re dealing with people in their most dire time of need.

“It is so rewarding,” he says. “We do it to help people — that’s why a majority of people are on here. There’s a love of man that we share. You get so fulfilled from that that you don’t mind volunteering to do it. It becomes a way of life and an expectation you have. I have not done anything volunteer-wise that’s been as rewarding over the years as being a firefighter.” McNees recently attended a ceremony in Essex, in which nine of the department’s firefighters were honored for 25-plus years of service.

(Radio Iowa)