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Ex-lottery worker convicted of rigging system to win $14M

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former lottery security official has been found guilty of fraud for rigging a Hot Lotto game so he could win a $14 million jackpot. An Iowa jury on Monday convicted 52-year-old Eddie Tipton, of Norwalk. He faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts when sentenced in September. Tipton’s lawyer says he’ll appeal.

Tipton denied being involved, saying he wasn’t even in Iowa on Dec. 23, 2010, when someone bought the winning ticket at a Des Moines area convenience store. His attorney says store surveillance video was too fuzzy to identify the buyer. Prosecutors argued Tipton had access to the room housing the computer that picked Hot Lotto numbers and lied about being out of state. Tipton was never awarded the money.

USDA secretary not ready to declare bird flu outbreak over

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s not ready to declare the Midwest bird flu outbreak over. While no new cases of the H5N2 virus have been detected over for over a month, Vilsack told The Associated Press on Monday that the threat hasn’t passed. Vilsack said poultry producers have caught a break thanks to the summer weather because warmer temperatures tend to kill the virus.

But he also said his agency is aware of the need to be prepared in case the disease reappears this fall. He noted that USDA officials and poultry industry groups plan to meet in Iowa next week to discuss those plans. Bird flu has cost Midwest poultry producers about 48 million birds, mostly egg-laying chickens in in Iowa and turkeys in Minnesota.

Democrats keep pressuring for special session on education $$

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Democratic leaders say they’re “tired of the excuses” from Republican Governor Terry Branstad and his fellow Republicans in the legislature and they are calling for a special legislative session to “support local schools.” Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, blasted the Republican governor during a speech this weekend at an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser.

“We worked overtime this session to make sure Iowa’s children have a quality education,” Jochum said. “…That, my friends, was vetoed by Governor Branstad, the man who claims to be the education governor. The emperor has no clothes.” Given the partisan make-up of the Iowa legislature, however, reconvening the House and Senate this summer is impossible without the support of Republicans — and Governor Branstad and the top Republican in the Iowa House both say Republicans don’t want one.

Jochum, the second-ranking Democrat in the Iowa Senate, was inducted into the Iowa Democratic Party’s “Hall of Fame” at its annual banquet Friday night in Cedar Rapids. “You know, Democrats, it’s time to take the gloves off,” Jochum said. “You know elections matter and you know every vote counts. One vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate stopped the House Republicans and Terry Branstad from abolishing early childhood education.”

Democrats hold 26-to-24 majority in the Iowa Senate. Jochum, Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal and House Democratic Leader Mark Smith published an opinion piece in The Des Moines Register this weekend, urging Iowans to ask their local senators and representatives “to support their local schools by joining the call for a special session to restore critical funding for Iowa schools.”

(Radio Iowa)

Greene County casino could help continue pushing up gambling revenue

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

State gambling revenues reversed a downward trend in the most recent fiscal year that ended in June due in part to a new casino in Sioux City. Another new casino is open in Greene County near Jefferson, and State Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says while the casino will take some profit from existing casinos, but will also increase state revenues too. “The market studies had shown that Jefferson would generate anywhere between 30 and 40 million dollars, with five to 15 million of that in new revenue,” Ohorilko says.

The Wild Rose Resort and casino officially opens August first, but the casino allowed gamblers to start placing bets one week ago. Ohorilko says the so-called “soft” opening is legal. “Many facilities will do this, and the most important thing is that they are in compliance with all of the administrative rules and all of the gaming laws,” Ohorilko says, “and they are in compliance, they have demonstrated that to the commission and the D-C-I.”

He says opening slowly allows the casino to test everything. “It gives them an opportunity to kind of work out some of the kinks before their grand opening and get their staffing in place and really try to fine tune what they need for when they go live and all of their amenities are open,” Ohorilko explains. The casino has planned grand opening events for August 7th through the 9th.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 7/20/2015

News, Podcasts

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Iowa animal shelters over-crowded in summer months

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Many of Iowa’s animal shelters are struggling with overcrowded conditions.Cats at ARL The state’s largest nonprofit animal shelter last week reported a record number of homeless animals in their care. Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa, says the Des Moines operation has over 13-hundred (1,300) animals under its watch. “Every place you look right now there are cats and dogs,” Colvin says.

The shelter is receiving dozens of animals a day. Colvin notes adoptions are critical, but Iowans can take other actions to help ease the burden on the state’s animal shelters. “It’s virtually impossible to adopt our way out of the homeless pets situation,” Colvin says. “Therefore, we have a lot of resources at the Animal Rescue League – as there are around other parts of the state – to make sure people are getting their pets spayed or neutered. There are a number of programs that make that very affordable and in some instances even free.”Dog at ARL

Many shelters around the state also have foster programs. “So, if you can even temporarily have a pet in your home, they can just kind of hang out at your place and they’ll still be available for adoption. That’s a huge way they can help,” Colvin says.

The ARL and many other shelters also offer free cat and dog behavior counseling as a way to encourage owners to keep their pet rather than give it up.

(Radio Iowa)

Credit Card Crunch: Iowans Paying Down Debt

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – It’s looking to be a better year financially for those in Iowa and across the country as a recent analysis shows that Americans are making progress in paying down their credit card debt.  According to the study by CardHub – a card comparison website – almost $35 billion in credit card debt was paid off in the first quarter alone.

Still, that’s considerably less than the roughly $46 billion in debt that was accrued in the quarter previous, says Jill Gonzalez, a CardHub spokeswoman. “We’re getting farther from the recession,” she states. “A lot of people say we’re not all the way out of it yet, but I think consumers are now willing and wanting to spend more. Unfortunately they’re still spending money that they don’t necessarily have.”

The credit card debt for the average household is now about $7,000, according to the report. To reduce that quickly, Gonzalez recommends paying off cards with the highest interest first, or transferring that debt to cards with lower rates. Gonzalez says also key is having a budget.

“Making a budget, sticking to it,” she stresses. “That’s kind of the age-old advice, but really just spending less than you have to begin with and then the money that you are spending, make sure you’re setting it aside to pay off your debt.” In addition to paying off debt, financial advisers recommend building an emergency fund in case of job loss or an unexpected illness.

(Iowa News Service)

Friends, Family Rallying for Council Bluffs Man Injured in Motorcycle Accident

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Friends and family members of a western Iowa man who suffered traumatic brain and other injuries during a motorcycle accident last month, have organized a means to raise funds to help pay his medical bills. 22-year old Jacob Braunersrither, of Council Bluffs, lost control of his motorcycle on June 22nd, and was thrown about 50-feet. In addition to his brain injuries, the man suffered from a broken femur and fractured hip.

Braunersrither has spent the past three weeks in the ICU at Creighton Hospital. He was recently transferred to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for extensive therapy with brain injury specialists. To help pay for his mounting medical bills, friends and family of Braunersrither are running an online fundraising campaign through Red Basket, a nonprofit crowdfunding website based in Omaha.

All funds donated will go directly to him to help pay for medical bills and his car payment. No fees are charged to donors with giving through Red Basket. To support Braunersrither with your tax deductible donation, visit RedBasket.org/580. The fundraising campaign is titled “Fighting for Jacob.”

Red Basket is fully supported by WoodmenLife which covers Red Basket’s administrative costs in their entirety so 100% of donations are directly passed thru to the individual or cause.

Aftonwoman arrested Sat. on drug & other charges

News

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston say a woman was arrested on drug and other charges over the weekend. 38-year old Sara Exline, of Afton, was taken into custody at around 1:10-a.m. Saturday on charges that include Driving While Revoked, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and on two Union County warrants for Failure to Appear in court. Exline was being held in the Ringgold County Jail on $14,000 cash bond.

Also arrested Saturday, was 22-year old Kevin Davis, of Creston. Davis was taken into custody at around 7-p.m. on an Adair County warrant for Failure to Appear in court. He was later released from the Union County Jail on a $200 cash bond.

And, 29-year old John Vanscoy, of Creston, was arrested at around 1:30-a.m. Sunday, for Driving While Suspended. He was later released on a $300 bond.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 7/20/2015

News, Podcasts

July 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. report w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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