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(Update) – Additional sex abuse charge against Bluffs man


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officers with the Council Bluffs Police Department this (Friday) morning served an additional arrest warrant on a Council Bluffs man who was already facing one felony count, and one aggravated misdemeanor count, of Sexual Exploitation of a minor. A warrant for a felony count of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd degree was filed against 36-year old Shawn Beu. The warrant was served at the Pottawattamie County Jail, where Beu remains held on a $25,000 bond.

Since Beu’s arrest, the Council Bluffs Police Department has received inquiries from some concerned parents, who have children that have had contact with Beu in the past. Authorities say they want the public to know that they are investigating a single incident, with one victim. At this point in the investigation, officials have found no evidence indicating that there are other victims.

Beu is a corrections sergeant for Douglas County in Nebraska. Council Bluffs police say an investigation of Beu began after the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children passed a tip to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Des Moines man arrested on Red Oak P.D. warrants for felony Theft & forgery


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Des Moines, Thursday afternoon, arrested a man wanted in Red Oak on felony Theft and Forgery charges. 32-year old Gordon Leroy Currin, III, of Des Moines, was arrested on a valid Red Oak Police Department warrant for two counts of felony Theft in the 2nd degree, and two felony counts of Forgery. Currin was brought to the Polk County Jail and held until Friday (today), and then transferred to the jail in Montgomery County, where he was being held on a $5,000 cash bond.

Bill calls for focus on career & technical ed programs in Iowa schools


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa House has approved legislation that attempts to elevate vocational and technical programs in Iowa schools. Representative Mary Ann Hanusa, a Republican from Council Bluffs, says Iowa businesses are struggling to fill high-skill jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but do NOT require a four-year college degree.

“The bill calls for collaboration between business, between the school districts and between the community colleges and partnerships to help provide opportunities for our students that, in many cases, are not now there,” Hanusa says. Some regions of the state have that kind of collaboration established already, but the bill aims to ensure all students in Iowa have access to those kinds of career paths.

Representative Josh Byrnes, a Republican from Osage, says the bill is the culmination of a two-year task force. Representatives of business and labor organizations as well as educators were part of the effort. “This is a big issue in the state of Iowa,” Byrnes says. “We’ve got a shortage of workers.” Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City, is chairman of the House Education Committee.

“I think this is an important piece of legislation backed by a lot of people, from a lot of hard work,” Jorgensen says. The bill passed by unanimous vote in the House and now goes to the Senate. Representative Cindy Winckler, a Democerat from Davenport who voted for the bill, nonetheless says the legislation is flawed because there’s no money in the bill for career and technical education programs in Iowa’s middle schools and high schools.

“I appreciate all the work that has been done on this bill and I know that labor and industry have had a significant role in identifying what we need to do,” Winckler says. “I’m not sure that we have a clear path to how we would accomplish it.” The bill calls for all Iowa schools to establish advisory boards so local businesses and community college officials can provide input to improve a district’s vocational and technical programs.

(Radio Iowa)

Former Ag Secretary, Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge running for US Senate


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(updated 12:15-p.m.) A Democrat who has won three statewide elections says U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley has “lost his way” and she’s launching a campaign to try to defeat him in November. Republican Chuck Grassley is seeking a seventh term in the U.S. Senate this November. Democrat Patty Judge, the former lieutenant governor who served two terms as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, says she hadn’t planned to run for the U.S. Senate. That all changed last month after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia died and Grassley immediately announced his Judiciary Committee will not hold a hearing to consider whomever President Obama nominates to fill the vacancy.

Judge says she talked with her family and they came to this conclusion: “Things were lined up. There was a real chance to beat Chuck Grassley, not just to harass him, but to beat him and so we’ve jumped in, with both feet.” Judge says Grassley is acting like someone who has been in Washington for far too long. “I worked with Chuck through the years, particularly the years I was in the Department of Agriculture. I always found him to be cooperative and a person that was very helpful to me and who had Iowa’s best interests at heart,” Judge says. “I don’t know what’s happened.”

Judge says after serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 36 years, Grassley is finally the panel’s chairman, but is refusing to do the committee’s work when it comes to a nominee for the Supreme Court. “That is something that doesn’t sound like Chuck Grassley,” Judge says. “…It appears to me that he has caved into Washington thinking.” Judge is a registered nurse and her family farms near Albia. She served eight years in the state legislature and two terms as Iowa’s Ag Secretary. She ran for governor in 2006, but ended that campaign to become Chet Culver’s lieutenant governor running mate.

Culver and Judge lost to Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds in 2010 and a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee says Judge was rejected by Iowa voters the last time she ran because she’s an “out of touch liberal.” “I have served as a state senator, as the secretary of agriculture, as the lieutenant governr, as homeland security advisor during the floods of 2008 and I think people know that I’m not out of touch and I think they know that I’m a pragmatic person that likes to find solutions to problems,” Judge says. Judge suggests Grassley has become part of the problem in the U.S. Senate.

“This whole campaign season has been about anti-establishment. It’s been about people’s frustrating with government. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, that’s the conservation,” Judge says. “I think people are really tired of electing people to go out to Washington, D.C., and then watching them sit on their hands.” Judge promises to run a “vigorous campaign” against Grassley.

“Chuck Grassley’s been there too long,” she says. “He’s lost his way and I’d love to replace him.” Judge faces at least one Democrat in the June Primary. State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids filed the paperwork Monday to place his name on the June ballot. Three other Democrats have talked about running for the U.S. Senate as well, but so far none of the three have submitted the required number of petition signatures to the Secretary of State to qualify for the ballot.

A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee says “no one works harder for Iowa than Chuck Grassley” and Grassley “wrote the book” on how to talk with voters “and take their ideas and concerns directly to Washington.”

(Radio Iowa)

2 wolves shot in Iowa this winter


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Tests confirm that two wolves have been shot and killed in Iowa. Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Friday that two large canines that were shot this winter in Osceola and Van Buren counties have been identified as wolves. The wolves likely came from the Great Lakes region, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Gray wolves are endangered, under both federal and state laws, but officials say no charges will be filed in the shootings. The wolves will be used for education outreach at local county conservation boards. Officials say there has been a recent increase in the number of wolves moving to Iowa from the Great Lakes region.

AHS students take part in Clothing drive for those in need


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Students with the Atlantic High School will be participating in an upcoming clothing and shoe drive, that will allow them to give back to the community and work in conjunction with the mobile food pantry. Mandi Brauer, High School Resource-/Special Education Teacher for the Atlantic Community School District, says both students and teachers are accepting donations of gently used shoes and clothing for this first-time event.

Those items will be cleaned and donated to persons in need. Coats are also accepted. Donated items can be dropped off at the High School at 1201 East 14th Street. As part of the program, students will be taught how to wash and fold clothes correctly. The clothes will be made available to the public March 16th as part of a Food Drive at the Atlantic High School. The event takes from 4-until 6:30-p.m.

Clothing will be set-up and organized by clothing size, in the High School Media Center. Gently used clothing may be dropped-off at the Atlantic High School from now until Friday, March 11th. Clothes left over from the event will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Brauer is originally from Anita. She and her husband, who used to teach in the Kansas City area, have conducted similar projects in their previous school district. Helping those in need, runs in her family. She says her family has always found ways to give back to the community and area, and that’s a trait she wanted to pass along to students in the Atlantic School District.

Oakland native serves Navy’s Info. Warfare Community


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Navy’s Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs reports a 2005 Riverside High School graduate and Oakland, Iowa native is serving as part of the Navy’s Information Warfare Community in Suffolk, Virginia. Ensign Chris Crowder is an information professional, a part of the Navy’s  central operational authority for intelligence, information operations,  electronic warfare, and space capabilities in addition to cyber and networks operations.

In a press release, Ensign Crowder said “Being a techie makes the job enjoyable.” The men and women who make up the U.S. Navy’s Information Warfare Community
team around the world are warriors who remain motivated and mission focused.
These warfighters direct cyberspace operations to deter and defeat  aggression while ensuring freedom of action in cyberspace.

Ensign Crowder

Ensign Crowder

U.S. Navy’s Information Warfare Community is responsible for addressing cyber threats, key trends, and challenges across four main areas: integrated operations, optimized cyber workforce, technology innovation, and reforming development and execution of requirements, acquisition, and budgeting.

Crowder also said he is proud to be a part of the 94 officers, 186 enlisted sailors, and 194 civilians serving at a command that is at the forefront of technology innovation and cyber operations, helping to protect America from threats around the world.

Created in 2009, the Navy’s Information Warfare Community was established to
execute the full spectrum of cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and signal intelligence capabilities and missions across the cyber, electromagnetic and space domains.

Naval Network Warfare Command (NNWC), executes tactical-level command and control to Direct, Operate, Maintain and Secure Navy Communications and Network systems; and leverage Joint Space Capabilities for Navy and Joint Operations-as assigned by Commander, Fleet Cyber Command.

Creston man arrested for domestic assault


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Union County report 25-year old Nathan Allen Vicker, of Creston, was arrested at his residence Thursday night. Vicker was charged with domestic abuse assault. He was being held in the Union County Jail awaiting appearance before the Magistrate.

State troopers will start rewarding teen drivers for wearing seat belts


March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol is launching a campaign with an Iowa-based convenience store chain designed to encourage young drivers to wear their seat belts. Mark Peterson, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says state troopers will be showing up in places like school parking lots and offering rewards to teen motorists who are buckled up. It’s part of the “I Got Caught” campaign.

“They’re going to be working with schools throughout Iowa,” Peterson says. “Obviously, they’re going to be looking for young adults who are wearing their seat belt.” Casey’s General Stores has donated ten-thousand coupons for a free fountain drink or a free slice of pizza. Peterson says studies find that teens are the least likely group to buckle up and the most likely group to die in a roadway crash.

“In Iowa, about half of the fatal crashes involve non-seat belt use and unfortunately, young adults are overrepresented in that group,” Peterson says. “Through a program such as this, a positive program, one that rewards the right kind of behavior, we hope it spreads and that we can get some of those kids that weren’t belting to start wearing that belt.”

During 2014 and 2015, Peterson says Iowa had 91 teens involved in fatal crashes as drivers or passengers. Of those fatalities, more than half of them were not wearing their seat belts. State troopers will -not- be pulling over young drivers as part of this promotion. They’ll only be working in conjunction with the schools this spring at school facilities or school-sponsored events, including prom and graduation.

(Radio Iowa)

EAB confirmed in another Iowa County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 4th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources report the emerald ash borer (EAB), which has already been confirmed in nearly one-third of Iowa’s counties, has been discovered in Decorah. The destructive pest, native to Asia, feeds on and eventually kills infested ash tree. Winneshiek County has been added to the growing list of 31counties in Iowa that have confirmed EAB infestations.

The discovery marks the second county in Iowa where EAB has been found this year. Last month EAB was found on the University of Iowa campus. The exotic pest was first detected in Iowa back in 2010 in Allamakee County. EAB has spread to 25 states where it is responsible for decimating tens of millions of ash trees.

A consulting arborist was drawn to the tree in Decorah after noticing evidence of EAB damage. Further investigation revealed distinctive S-shaped galleries and an EAB larva (immature beetle) underneath the bark of the infested tree. The collected larva was sent to the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory where it was confirmed positive for EAB.EAB

EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the upper canopy, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes and water sprouts (along the trunk and main branches). Federal quarantines are in place to restrict the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states.

The Iowa EAB Team urges Iowans to use locally sourced firewood, burning it in the same county where it was purchased. Firewood is not only a means of transportation for EAB, but other tree-killing pests as well. At this calendar date, the window for all preventive treatments remains closed. If a landowner is interested in protecting a valuable and healthy ash tree within 15 miles of a known infestation, he or she should have landscape and tree service companies bid on work, review the bids and treat beginning spring 2016 (early April to mid-May).Eab2

The State of Iowa will continue to track the movement of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, proof of a reproducing population is needed and an EAB must be collected by a member of the Iowa EAB Team and verified by USDA entomologists.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population, please visit www.IowaTreePests.com.