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Montgomery County man sentenced to 5+years for Possession of a firearm as a felon


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A man from Montgomery County was sentenced Wednesday to more than 5 1/2-years in prison on a weapons charge. U-S District Court Judge John Jarvey sentenced 32-year old Bill Joe Gillespie of Red Oak, to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for possession of firearm by a convicted felon.DOJ logo

An investigation revealed that Gillespie had broken into a Shell gas station in Red Oak, Iowa, during the early morning hours of December 15, 2013, and had taken, among other items, two shotguns. The shotguns were recovered from Gillespie a short time later. Gillespie pled guilty to the charge on May 8, 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the Red Oak, Iowa, Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Precautionary Measures Taken to Assure Health and Safety of Iowans


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is updating the numbers of travelers who are currently being monitored for Ebola. As of November 6, 2014, 13 travelers, who were in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the last 21 days, are now in Iowa. Twelve had low risk of having been exposed to Ebola in those countries, so they are being allowed to resume normal activities; however, IDPH has ordered them to self-monitor, meaning they are required to take their temperature
twice a day and report their health status to public health.

One person had some risk of being exposed to Ebola, and has been quarantined, meaning they have been directed to stay at home and take their temperature twice daily, including at least once with a public health official observing. At this time, there is no risk to public safety. None of these travelers have any symptoms consistent with Ebola – which include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. IDPH Medical Director and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk stated, “These individuals are being monitored closely and pose no risk to the public’s health. All individuals are fully complying and are cooperating with health officials.”

Public health actions, such as “quarantines,” are used when a person is well, but may have been exposed to a serious disease, and so may become ill in the future. With the disease Ebola, the incubation period is up to 21 days, thus the person will stay at home or be “quarantined at home” for 21 days. “Isolation” is used when an individual is displaying symptoms of an illness; this has not been used yet in Iowa because none of these travelers have become ill or displayed symptoms.

As more non-ill travelers return from West Africa, it is likely that more people will be directed to either submit to self-monitoring or placed into quarantine. Iowans should be confident every step has been, and will continue to be taken to protect the public’s health. These public health actions are consistent with current national guidelines, are part of the standard practice of public health, and have been used in the past with outbreaks of SARS, measles, tuberculosis, and during the 2006 H1N1 influenza
pandemic.State law prevents the state from releasing certain health information that may identify individuals, but the following represents a “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) regarding the situation:

  • Are any of these individuals displaying signs or symptoms of Ebola? No individuals are displaying signs or symptoms of Ebola. These actions are being taken out of an abundance of caution.
  • Is the public’s health, safety and well-being at risk? No, these individuals are not displaying symptoms. Ebola is only contagious when an individual is ill. Furthermore, all individuals are fully complying with the appropriate public health order.
  • If there is no risk to the public’s health, why would the state release this information? The state believes in being transparent, especially when it pertains to the public’s health and wellbeing. We understand this is a public health issue of great interest to Iowans so we believe we need to be as forthcoming as possible. As such, the state believes the information needs to be released, even though there is not a risk to the public’s health at this time.

Case counts have been placed on IDPH’s web site since October 27 and are updated weekly. This will continue as has been done in the past with other outbreaks of serious diseases. You might find these updates at www.idph.state.ia.us/EHI/Issue.aspx?issue=Ebola%20Outbreak&pg=Status%20Updates

  • Where are the individuals in Iowa? Because of the small number of travelers returning to Iowa from Ebola-affected counties in West Africa, the release of county-level data could lead to identification of an individual, in violation of Iowa law.
  • Have monitored individuals been traveling around Iowa or been engaging in activities around members of the public? Those who are determined to be at low risk are allowed to travel by private car and to resume normal activities, but not to travel by airplane, train, long distance bus, or ship. Travelers who are determined to be at some risk are under orders to stay at home, but are allowed non-congregate outdoor activities (such as jogging in a park) as these types of activities do not put the public at any risk.
  • Why weren’t these travelers stopped at the arrival airport? These individuals were flagged at the U.S. arrival airport after having traveled from one of the three West African countries, and were screened by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials. Travelers, who are well, are allowed to continue on to their destination, including Iowa. Meanwhile, public health officials in the destination state are alerted to the arrival of these travelers. In Iowa, public health officials contact these travelers and perform an in person interview to verify their risk of having been exposed to patients with Ebola, and are served an appropriate public health order based on that risk.
  • What country did the individuals work in, who did they work with and what kind of work were they doing? Releasing information about an individual could identify them and violate state law, which protects an individual’s health information from becoming public.
  • What can the public do to remain safe? The public is safe. These travelers are not having any symptoms at this time and are being monitored twice a day by public health officials.
  • If the quarantined traveler were to become symptomatic, how would public health officials respond? Public health officials have been working with Iowa health care partners to have a system to safely transport a sick traveler to a prepared medical facility that could safely care for that patient.

Iowa’s new senator-elect gets call from Obama


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s new Senator-elect Joni Ernst got a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama this week. A White House official said Thursday that Ernst was among the election winners Obama called Wednesday. The Republican from Red Oak beat Democrat Bruce Braley for the Senate seat long held by Democrat Tom Harkin.

Ernst spokeswoman Caitlin Conant declined to comment on the conversation. Throughout the campaign Ernst was critical of Obama and his administration and sought to tie Braley to the unpopular president.

Glenwood man arrested Thursday on warrants


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Glenwood man was arrested today (Thursday), on a Mills County warrant for Disorderly Conduct. 18-year old Blake Holland was brought to the Mills County Jail and held on a $300 cash bond.

Glenwood P-D make arrest in vehicle burglary cases


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An investigation that began Wednesday into several vehicle burglaries, has resulted in an arrest. Glenwood Police say 18-year old Johnathan Sibbitt, of Glenwood, was arrested and faces charges that include three counts of burglary, two counts of Theft in the 5th degree, and one count of fourth degree theft. Sibbitt was being held in the Mills County Jail on $7,000 bond.

Authorities say the burglaries occurred the night of November 4th and early morning hours of the 5th.  Their investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the Glenwood Police Department 712-527-4844 .

IA Finance Authority Awards nearly $825-k in Grants for Homelessness Services


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Finance Authority say the IFA’ Board of Directors recently awarded $824,655 in grants to twenty-five organizations to assist homeless and domestic violence shelters with costs associated with providing essential services and emergency shelter operations. The funding is made available through the Shelter Assistance Fund program. Among the projects awarded Shelter Assistance Funds, was New Visions Homeless Services, in Council Bluffs, which received $37,500.

Shelter Assistance Fund applications are accepted on an annual basis and are judged through a competitive process. The Iowa Finance Authority received 28 eligible applications for the 2015 round requesting more than $1.2 million in funding. The program is funded with proceeds from the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

A panel of judges scored the applications based on criteria in several categories, including: project design and competition priorities, experience and capacity, community partnerships, performance, budget and grants management.

The Iowa Council on Homelessness reports that 18,810 Iowans experienced homelessness in 2013 and a total of 11,811 were served by a shelter.

Iowa man faces felony charges in fatal car crash


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa man accused of providing alcohol to a teenager before a fatal car crash faces felony charges. The Fort Dodge Messenger reports 21-year-old Matthias V. Stork, of Breda, is charged with two counts of supplying alcohol resulting in death. Court records show he has pleaded not guilty.

Stork is accused of giving beer to a 17-year-old prior to a two-vehicle crash in late August. The teen survived, but 16-year-olds Bailey Jacobsen and Lindsey Quirk, both of Wall Lake, were killed.

Authorities say the surviving teen’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for minors driving. The teen is facing vehicular homicide charges.

(UPDATE) Authorities ID western IA man injured in accidental shooting


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our earlier story, officials with the Iowa DNR today (Thursday) identified an elderly man who was accidentally shot by his own rifle.  The DNR says 88-year old Clark Melby, of Dunlap, is expected to survive a gunshot wound to his upper torso.

Melby was getting out of his vehicle in a harvested corn field west of Dunlap when he fell and the high-powered rifle he was carrying discharged into his upper torso shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The bullet passed through him and did not hit any vital organs.

Melby was alone at the time of the incident, but was able to contact a neighbor who then alerted emergency personnel. He was airlifted to University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The incident remains under investigation by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Obesity, smoking & binge drinking still challenge Iowans


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Annual Report. The report shows Iowa continues to lead the nation in the percentage of older Iowans who receive an influenza and pneumonia vaccination, but the state faces challenges in categories such as obesity, smoking, and binge drinking.

The BRFSS is an Iowa-specific surveillance system that surveys adults 18 years and older on self-reported health behaviors. Each month a random sample of structured telephone interviews are done. Questions in the survey relate to nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, hypertension, blood cholesterol, alcohol use, inadequate preventive health care, and other risk factors. Because the survey is conducted on an annual basis, the continuous use of this system allows analysis of trends over time.

Positive trends reports in the 2013 BRFSS Annual Report include:

Only six states had an equal or lower percentage of non-elderly residents without health insurance than Iowa.
Only six states had a lower prevalence of current asthma.
The percent of Iowans reporting being diagnosed with arthritis was lower in 2013 than in 2012.
Although the percent of Iowans age 65 and over who reported having a flu shot declined in relative standing among the states from past years, Iowa still has the highest percentage in the nation.
The percent of Iowans age 65 and over who reported having a pneumonia shot increased, and Iowa is ranked among the top ten states in this category.

Challenges raised by the report include:

The percent of respondents considered to be over their healthy weight (overweight or obese) increased from that reported in 2012.
Significantly fewer Iowans had engaged in some sort of physical activity for exercise during the past month other than their regular job in 2013 than in 2012.
The percent of current smokers increased from that reported in 2012.
There are only four states with a higher prevalence of reported binge drinking. States with high rates of binge drinking are mostly in the Midwest.
In terms of being tested for HIV, there were only three states with a lower percentage of people tested than Iowa’s.
Initiated in 1981, BRFSS is the largest, continuously conducted, telephone survey in the world. It is conducted by states under the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is designed to identify and monitor risk factors for chronic diseases and other leading causes of death. Iowa began full participation in the survey in 1988.

To see the 2013 BRFSS Annual report, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/brfss/common/pdf/2013BRFSSannual.pdf.


NE man gets 7-years in prison in Pott. County on weapons charge


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska man was sentenced to prison Wednesday in Pottawattamie County District Court, for being a felon in possession of a firearm. U-S District Court Judge John A. Jarvey sentenced 35-year old Barvarito Garcia Longoria, of Omaha, to 84 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says on April 3, 2014, Garcia Longoria pled guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Pottawattamie County law enforcement investigated a domestic incident, and found Garcia Longoria in possession of a defaced 9mm handgun. Garcia Longoria was prohibited from possessing a firearm after he pled guilty in 2006 to third degree assault on an officer.

The investigation was conducted by the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, 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.