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7AM Newscast 02-12-2014

News, Podcasts

February 12th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Arrests expected soon in a string of motor vehicle thefts


February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Sheriff in Crawford County says he’s confident arrests will be made soon in connection with a string of motor vehicle thefts which took place last week. Sheriff James Steinkuehler told the Omaha World-Herald Tuesday, six vehicles were stolen, five of them were full-sized pickup trucks.

Three Ford F-250 pickups were taken Thursday from a farm supply business in Dow City. Two other pickups, a Dodge Ram and a Chevy, were stolen from a residence in Arion. On Friday, a car was reported stolen from Denison.  Four of the pickups have been recovered. All three F-250s were recovered Friday, while another was recovered early Saturday.

The truck taken from Arion occurred after thieves rammed an overhead door. Surveillance cameras across the street from the storage building where the car was stolen, recorded a pickup truck backing through a roll-up door of one business, and the coupe being driven through another door. Steinkuehler said the surveillance cameras showed two of the stolen pickups near the storage building.

Anyone who has information about the thefts is asked to contact the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 712-263-2146. A $500 reward is being offered.

New Iowa Travel Guide available soon

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s new Travel Guide is due out this month. It contains 175 pages of destinations, maps, and ideas for things to do and see across the state. Iowa Tourism office spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says a new section this year attempts to inspire travel with categories like outdoor adventures, wineries and breweries, restaurants, or, living like a local.Iowa Travel Guide 2014

Although many vacationers have gone digital, printed copies of the travel guide are still available. “Pre-Internet days, we were printing probably 500,000 travel guides,” O’Riley said. “Now, with the use of our website increasing, were down to 125,000 (printed copies). That’s probably about where we’ll stay because we still see a demand for those from people who want a hard copy in their hands as they’re traveling the state.”

Travelers across Iowa determined the cover design of the 2014 Iowa Travel Guide, as sightseers provided the pictures and Facebook fans voted on the final photo montage. The new Travel Guide will be available next week at Iowa’s Welcome Centers or you can order one online at traveliowa.com.

(Radio Iowa)

Sandhill Crane Bus Tour and upcoming program- CANCELLED

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass, Crawford, and Shelby/Audubon County Conservation Boards has CANCELLED the guided tour out to Kearney, Nebraska March 20-21ST, due to lack of signups. The corresponding informational program on February 15th 1-PM at the Atlantic Public Library is also cancelled.

If you have any questions please call 712-769-2372.


Villisca man arrested Tue. afternoon


February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County report the arrest Tuesday afternoon, of a Villisca man. 36-year old Roger Eugene Straw was taken into custody at around 4:45-p.m., on a valid Fremont County warrant for Violation of a No Contact Order. Straw was being held without bond, in the Montgomery County Jail.

Bill to expand online schools in Iowa unlikely to be debated this year


February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Efforts to remove barriers to more online schools in Iowa has been put on hold at the statehouse. Advocates for public schools are skeptical about a bill to allow an unlimited number of 100-percent online schools with no brick and mortar component, while backers concede there’s too much conflict to get the bill passed this year. Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City, led last year’s movement to lift restrictions on homeschoolers. This year, Jorgensen is sponsoring a bill he says would again expand school choice.

“One size does not fit all and online education does provide an alternative way of educating kids,” Jorgensen says. Currently there are only two school districts in Iowa that have 100-percent online schools. They’re Camanche Community Schools and Clayton Ridge schools, both in eastern Iowa. The bill authorizes additional online schools that would sign new performance contracts with the state. They could enroll as many students as they want from any district statewide. Amanda Brezina of Des Moines enrolled two of her children in the virtual academy that’s part of Clayton Ridge. She feared her oldest son would be bullied in a regular school.

“He’s very advanced and young for his grade, so this school has been very valuable for us,” Brezina says. “And my second son is testing several years ahead of his age.” Brezina says the curriculum provided by a for-profit company allows her younger son to advance at his own pace. But, critics from teachers to administrators to school boards have their doubts. Some argue public schools could be harmed if the virtual schools divert students and their state dollars away from local districts. Tom Marek is with the School Administrators of Iowa.

“We get a little sensitive when people say start taking shots at public schools saying we’re not doing the job,” Marek says. He urges lawmakers to give last year’s education reform package a chance to work before opening up more online schools. So far, only one group is registered in favor of the bill, a national education reform movement known as Students First. Patty Link is their representative at the statehouse.

“It is not intending to knock our public schools. I don’t see anywhere in (the bill) that implies that, nor is the intent to do that,” Link says. Students First has been promoting education reform in Iowa, backing mostly Republican candidates in the last election. Link says under the bill, the Iowa Board of Education would provide strong oversight for online schools. Critics say that takes local control out of the mix. Osage Republican Josh Byrnes is managing the bill. He recently declined to send it on to the full House Education Committee, but urged backers and critics to try to find consensus.

“There are just a lot of unknowns and a lot of what ifs, and we need a bill brought back to us that doesn’t have those what ifs,” Byrnes said. Backers believe when they take up the bill again next year, they should have plenty of evidence that the online schools are doing a good job.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News headlines: Wed., Feb. 12th 2014


February 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa House have voted in favor of a bill that bars remote distribution of abortion pills to pregnant women in Iowa. In a 55-42 vote, the Republican-majority House endorsed the bill. It now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to advance.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Des Moines youth pastor accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls has pleaded guilty in the case. Court records filed yesterday show that 27-year-old Ryan McKelvey has pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a clergy. He initially pleaded not guilty in September.

LAKE VIEW, Iowa (AP) — A 73-year-old man in northwest Iowa faces charges following a standoff with authorities. The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says James Verlyn Fertig, of Lake View, was arrested following an hour-long standoff at his home. Authorities were trying to serve Fertig warrants in connection to a separate incident Saturday. He is accused of calling a 911 center and making a threatening statement.

CASCADE, Iowa (AP) — A machine shed fire near the eastern Iowa city of Cascade caused at least one explosion and sent a plume of smoke into the sky that was visible for miles. The Telegraph Herald reports the fire started yesterday morning and drew crews from Cascade, Bernard and Monticello. Firefighters had to endure temperatures below zero as they tried to contain the fire to a building housing several tractors and other machinery.

Elliott teen cited following Tuesday accident in Cass Co.


February 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports an Elliott teen was cited for “Passing Contrary to Highway Markings,” following an accident this (Tuesday) afternoon about six-miles north of Griswold. Officials say deputies responded to the two-vehicle accident on 550th Street at around 1:40-p.m. 

A 1994 Nissan Maxima owned and driven by 47-year old Brenda Lee Seymour, of Atlantic, was turning left into a drive on 550th Street when it was struck by a 2003 Dodge Neon driven by 17-year old Cindy Daline Guffey, of Elliott. The accident happened as the teen attempted to pass on the left side of Seymour’s vehicle.

The damage amounted to $1,800. No injuries were reported.

Iowa Senate approves emergency utility bill funds


February 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate approved a bill to provide emergency funds to low-income families struggling to pay their utility bills. The Senate voted 41-to-8 Tuesday to approve the bill allocating money to supplement federal funds. The legislation now goes to the House.

The bill would appropriate $2 million to Iowa’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people unable to pay their utility bills. The federal government funds the program, but states can supplement it.

Democratic Sen. Liz Mathis, the bill’s sponsor, says soaring propane prices and a frigid winter have left many Iowans struggling to afford heating bills. The program assists families with anything from broken furnaces to emergency propane deliveries. Mathis says funds are dwindling. House Republicans have called for waiting to ensure the extra funding is needed.

NE woman cited following Tues. accident in Red Oak


February 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say a Nebraska woman was cited following a collision this (Tuesday) morning, in Red Oak. Officials say a 2009 Hyundai Elantra driven by 58-year old Heidi Adams, of Papillion, NE, was stopped at the intersection of Highways 34 and 48 in Red Oak at around 10-a.m., when she pulled out into the intersection and hit the passenger side of a 1993 Ford Ranger pickup driven by 74-year old Fred Espinosa, of Red Oak, as he was headed southbound.

Damage from the collision amounted to $7,800. No injuries were reported. Adams was cited for Failure to stay stopped at a stop sign.

(12-p.m. News)