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Hay bale fire just north of downtown Atlantic, Tuesday

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An ember from a torch used to cut steel beams was the apparent causing of a fire that ignited several bales of hay Tuesday afternoon, just north of downtown Atlantic. According to Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon, firefighters were called to 101 Chestnut Street ata round 2:30-p.m. Crews brought the fire under control before the flames could spread to nearby county-owned storage buildings.

The still smoldering bales were brought from the scene to the compost pile a short while later. Crews left the original scene at around 3:20-p.m. and proceeded to the compost pile to soak the bales with more water in an effort to prevent a rekindling of the fire.

No injuries were reported.

Photo's courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County EMC

Photo’s courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County EMC

Bales2

Owner of restaurant charged with arson

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police have made an arrest in connection with a fire that gutted a restaurant in Greene County. The fire was reported just after midnight on January 27 at the Pizza Ranch in Jefferson. A couple of weeks later, investigators announced they determined that the fire had been intentionally set. Now, the restaurant’s owner, 53-year-old Robert Schultz Jr., is facing charges of arson, criminal mischief, and insurance fraud.

(Radio Iowa)

Ombudsmans’ office sees increase in complaints

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The annual report from the state Ombudsman shows complaints and questions increased by seven percent in 2015. Acting Ombudsman Kristie Hirschman complied the report. “We’ve been consistently increasing our complaints the last few years — not by a lot — but consistently a little bit every year without an increase in staff,” Hirschman says. “The complaints that we receive that we agree to investigate do seem to be more complex.” The Ombudsmans’ office doesn’t look into every complaint or call they get.

“The primary reason that we use to decline a complaint is if there is an available grievance or appeal process that they haven’t taken advantage of, because it is only fair to give the agency the opportunity to resolve the complaint before we get involved,” Hirschman says. On the other end of the spectrum, Hirschman says they sometimes step in because of the circumstances.

“There’s some complaint that just because they are so egregious on face value, we jump in whether there’s a grievance process available or not,” Hirschman explains. “There’s several…that come to mind that we’ve highlighted in our annual report. One of those being the inmate who was shackled in the shower.” The Ombudsmans’ office recommended the jail install a lockable gate on the shower to deal with high risk inmates instead of keeping them in shackles. The office agreed to look into more than 44-hundred complaints last year, and the majority of those dealt with the prisons or jails.

Hirschman says the Iowa Legislature’s intent through the years has been to have the Ombudsmans’ office focus on corrections complaints so inmates at the state and local level have a place to go with their complaints. She says state law makes the letters to the Ombudsman from prisoners confidential, and they cannot be read by the jail or prison staff. Complaints about county government were second on the list this year.

“In the past actually, the Department of Human Services has consistently been our second highest level of complaints — you know somebody took their kids, they are not taking action against an abuse situation or a child support problem, or they are not getting their food stamps — but this year, county complaints were higher,” Hirschman says. The annual report shows 69 percent of the cases accepted by the officer turned out to be unsubstantiated. Hirschman says many times there was not intentional wrongdoing by local governments, there were factors that cause them to mishandle some issues.

“Lack of resources, lack of planning, lack of understanding of different situations or interpretations in the code. There’s new rules passed every year and I’m sure it is difficult for everybody to stay on top of those, even if it is their job, especially in smaller communities,” Hirschman says. Hirschman says her office works with the people involved in these situations to come to a solution.

Hirschman was appointed the acting Ombudsman with the retirement of Ruth Cooperrider. She has applied for the job and says the state is in the process of filling the position permanently, and that decision will likely come after the legislative session. For more information on the annual report, go to: www.legis.iowa.gov/Ombudsman.

(Radio Iowa)

Bluffs man arrested in Cass County on a warrant

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s Deputies in Cass County, Monday, arrested a Pottawattamie County man on a District Court warrant for Probation Violation. 20-year old Russell Logan Barker, of Council Bluffs, was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $2000 bond.

Polk County man arrested in Guthrie County on drug & other charges

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop Monday afternoon in Guthrie Center resulted in two people being cited on drug charges. During the traffic stop, Kenneth Stephen of Guthrie Center, was cited for Possession of Marijuana 1st Offense. Jill Dean was also cited, for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Since Dean was treated as an impaired driver, additional charges are currently pending. The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office K9 unit assisted with the traffic stop.

And, a man from Polk County was arrested last Friday night, following a traffic stop in Guthrie Center. Marcus Austin, of Bondurant, was booked into the Guthrie County Jail for Failure to Obey a Stop Sign, Possession of Marijuana 1st Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Authorities say additional charges are pending.

US Senate passes bill defending trade secrets

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A bill co-sponsored by both of Iowa’s U-S senators that’s designed to shield American innovators from intellectual property theft passed the Senate last night (Monday). Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he was very pleased to see the Defend Trade Secrets Act be approved by the chamber on a unanimous vote of 87-to-0.

Grassley says, “That will provide new tools for businesses to fight back against bad actors and prevent thieves from disseminating valuable trade secrets.” Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which convened a hearing on trade secret theft last December and he steered the bill to committee passage earlier this year. The measure would be a boon to many U-S companies, Grassley says, including Iowa-based DuPont Pioneer.

Grassley says, “The company was victim in a high profile 2013 trade secrets case in which six foreign nationals conspired to steal engineered corn seeds in order to benefit a foreign company.” Those seeds were said to be the product of 30-to- 40-million dollars in research. Grassley says the Defend Trade Secrets Act would create a new avenue for companies like DuPont Pioneer to pursue civil claims against trade secret thieves in federal court.

(Radio Iowa)

Public hearing in Atlantic, Wed. on amended Cass County FY 2016 budget

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A pubic hearing will be held Wednesday morning, in Atlantic, with regard to an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Cass County Budget. The meeting takes place shortly after the Cass County Board of Supervisor’s meeting convenes at 8:30-a.m. Following the hearing, the Board will act on adopting the amendment, and the FY 2016 Iowa DOT/Secondary Roads Dept. Budget.

In other business, the Board will act on approving a contract with Rasmussen Mechanical Services, for courthouse boiler and burner service and/or upgrades. If a candidate is available, the Board will also act on the appointment of a Grove Township Trustee to fill a vacancy term that ends Dec. 31st. 2018.

The Supervisors will also hear a report from the Engineer Candidates Interview Committee, with Board action to follow. In February, Cass County Engineer Charles Marker announced he would be retiring at the end of June. A committee has since received applications for his replacement, and interviewed the finalists.

Red Oak woman arrested on a drug-related warrant

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak arrested a woman this (Tuesday) morning on a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. warrant for a Controlled Substance violation. 33-year old Mandy Marie Knapp, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 8:45-a.m. and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where she was being held on a $50,000 cash bond.

3 men arrested in Atlantic

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports three arrests. On Sunday, 24-year old Mark Fredericksen, of Atlantic, was arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Prescription. On Monday, 20-year old Tyler Osborn, of Atlantic, was arrested for 5th Degree Theft (Shoplifting), and Public Intoxication. And, on Tuesday (today), 23-year old Jason Mark, of Atlantic, was arrested for Criminal Trespassing.

All three men were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Western Iowa man pleads guilty to July 4 vehicular homicide

News

April 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa man accused of killing a pedestrian while driving drunk on July Fourth has pleaded guilty. The Daily Nonpareil reports 26-year-old Austin Arndt, of Logan, entered the plea Monday to a charge of vehicular homicide while intoxicated. His sentencing is set for April 18th.

Authorities say the body of 50-year-old Charlotte Anderson was found a little after 11:15 p.m. on July Fourth last year along Iowa Highway 127 on the north side of Logan. Friends and family told investigators they think Anderson had been walking from her home nearby to watch a band perform in downtown Logan.

Authorities say Arndt told officers he’d been at a bar and drank 15 to 17 beers within less than six hours before the accident.