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Company involved in bad check case had “F” rating


July 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The company that wrote thousands of bad checks to buy gold and other valuables at antique shows on the Iowa border and nationwide has had an “F” rating for years with the Better Business Bureau. Treasure Hunters Roadshow held a four-day event in Nebraska City, Nebraska, earlier this month, drawing flocks of people from both sides of the Missouri River who sold heirlooms — and got rubber checks in return. Jim Hegarty, president and CEO of the region’s Better Business Bureau, says this Roadshow company is bad news. “Unfortunately, they’ve been all over the United States and we’ve received complaints from everywhere about this company,” Hegerty says. In three years, the bureau has recorded more than 200 complaints about the company, all focusing on insufficient funds. Hegarty says the Roadshow had been cooperating with the bureau, until recently.

“There was a while where the company was actually responding to BBB disputes by claiming that replacement checks were being issued,” he says, “but as of last week, the company has ceased responding to these complaints, which is not good news.” The Treasure Hunters Roadshow, owned by THR and Associates of Springfield, Illinois, was in Nebraska City from July 3rd through the 7th, buying jewlery and coins and writing checks to customers. Reports show the company cut 94 checks totaling more than $37,000 at the event south of Omaha. Many of the checks bounced. Amounts ranged from just a few bucks to $19,000. If you’re going to take part in this sort of on-the-spot sales event, he says you’d be wise to do a little research first.

“It is really important if you’re considering selling gold or silver or valuables of any kind — or doing business with any company for any reason — to take time and check them out with the BBB before doing so.” To file a complaint in this case, contact the Nebraska office of the Better Business Bureau or the Otoe County Attorney’s office. Hegarty’s office serves Nebraska, South Dakota and southwest Iowa and has more than 65-hundred member companies in the region. Learn more at the website: iowa.bbb.org

(Radio Iowa)

Karli Jo Brown sent back to prison


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak woman who was released from prison less than two-weeks ago, after her sentence for motor vehicle homicide by reckless driving was reconsidered, will end-up serving the remainder of her original prison sentence. According to Omaha Television station KETV, 4th District Court Judge James Heckerman, Monday, revoked 20-year old Karli Jo Brown’s 5-year probation, after she was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic assault just three-days after being released from prison. Heckerman was the justice who granted Brown’s request to reconsider her sentence, and suspended the two, concurrent 10-year sentences  she was given in November 2011, for her role in an accident that occurred one year earlier. The crash happened while Brown tried to pass two vehicles going uphill in a no-passing zone.

The accident claimed the lives of 4-year old Alex and 5-year old Maliki Todd, from Cumberland. Their mother Nina McNeese, was seriously injured. Investigators said Brown — who lived in Essex at the time — was traveling at approximately 74-miles per hour, and texting her then boyfriend within minutes, or seconds of the accident that happened near Red Oak on Highway 48.

Brown served eight-months of her sentence before asking the judge to reconsider. On July 21st, Red Oak Police responded to a domestic assault call at an apartment occupied by Brown’s husband, Zachary Cox. The couple was arrested after officers found red marks on his face, and scratches on his neck. Both persons said they had been assaulted by the other, but Brown showed no visible marks. Brown had been held in the Montgomery County Jail since her arrest following the domestic incident, on $20,000 bond.

KETV says in revoking Brown’s probation and ordering her to serve her original sentence, Judge Heckerman told the woman she used poor judgment in confronting her husband that weekend, just like she did the day she drove the car that killed the two preschoolers.

Iowa crops decline in long, hot summer

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The condition of Iowa’s crops continues to decline as the drought persists. Even with some rain last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 46 percent of the corn crop is now in poor or very poor condition. Last week, it was 40 percent.  The USDA says in Monday’s report that 34 percent of Iowa’s soybeans are in poor to very poor condition. Last week, it was 30 percent.
Thunderstorms hit on Wednesday and over the weekend, with a statewide average of .70 inches. But Audubon hasn’t had any measurable rain in 36 days. In Atlantic, the last measurable rain was on June 28th, when we received just two one-hundredths (.02) of an inch.

The high temperature for the week was 107 degrees in Donnellson, Fairfield and Keokuk.  Iowa State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says July could be the third hottest and fifth driest July among 140 years of state records.

Drive-by shooting arrests – more information released


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Des Moines Police Department has released more information about an incident which led to the arrest of three individuals this (Monday) morning, in Pottawattamie County. Officials say at around 12:50-a.m., Des Moines Police Officers responded to shots fired in the area of 1300 block of East 29th Street.  During the investigation of the incident, officers recovered several rounds of 9- mm ammunition and observed damage from the shots being fired, including a bullet hole to the front of the residence at 1306 East 29th Street and one shot which shattered a vehicle window.   Officers on scene obtained a vehicle description of the suspect vehicle involved in the incident and put the description information out to other law enforcement agencies.

The suspect vehicle was observed by Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Bartholomew, who followed the car and ran the license plates. The plates came back as those belonging to a White Dodge van. The vehicle was stopped by Pottawattamie County Deputies near the Shelby exit at around 2:15-a.m.  The individuals inside the vehicle were transported back to the Des Moines Police Department for questioning.

After interviewing with Crimes Against Persons Detectives, 26-year old Shera Goodwin, along with 24-year olds Ivory Goodwin and Kendra Akins, were charged with Intimidation With a Weapon. The Goodwins are from Omaha, while Akins is from Bellevue, NE. After conducting interviews with the suspects involved in the incident, it was determined the residence at 1306 East 29th Street was not the intended target of the shooter and is not believed to be involved in any way with the suspects.

Grassley to hold town hall meetings around the area


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley has announced he will hold several town hall-style meetings around the listening area during the month of August. The meetings will take place in Atlantic, Villisca, Bedford, Clarinda, Percival, Glenwood, Logan, Harlan, Audubon and Carroll. Iowa’s senior Senator says the meetings are an opportunity for him to meet with the public and hear their comments, as well as respond to their questions. He’s held similar meetings with Iowans in each of the state’s 99 counties since he was first elected to serve in the U-S Senate, in 1980.

Grassley’s schedule is as follows:

Aug. 20th (unless otherwise noted, these are Town Hall meetings)…

Atlantic, from 8:15-to 9:15-a.m., at the Cass County Community Center

Villisca High School, to speak with students from 10:15-to 11-15-a.m., in the High School Library.

Taylor County Farm Bureau meeting room in Bedford, from 2-to3-pm.

Page County Courthouse meeting room, 3rd floor, 3:45-to 4:45-pm.

Tue., Aug. 21st...

Sapp Brothers Travel Center/Apple Barrel Restaurant in Percival, 7:30-to8:30-a.m.

Glenwood Senior Center, 10:15-to11:15-a.m.

Logan Community Center, 2-to 3-pm.

Harlan Community Library, 4-to 5-p.m.

Audubon County Economic Development meeting room, 5:45-to 6:45-pm

Wed., Aug. 22nd

Carroll County Courthouse, meeting room, 7:45-to8:45-a.m.

Atlantic man Sentenced to 80 Months for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was sentenced Friday to serve a little more than 6 1/2 years in prison for conspiring to distribute Methamphetamine in and around Cass County. The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says Chief District Court Judge James E. Gritzner ordered 29-year old  Christopher Michael Jespersen to serve a four-year term of supervised release following incarceration.

On March 8th, 2012, Jespersen pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, a controlled substance. The conviction was the result of a lengthy investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in and around Atlantic. At the time of his guilty plea,
Jespersen admitted that from May 2010, until July 2010, he agreed to distribute methamphetamine obtained from an Omaha, Nebraska, source to customers in the Atlantic area.

The investigation was conducted by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Cass County Attorney’s Office and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Lewis man arrested on assault charge


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports a Lewis man was arrested last Thursday (July 26th), on a charge of Simple Assault. 24-year old Jesse Cavin Meier was taken to the Cass County Jail where he pled guilty and was released later that day.

1st confirmed case of West Nile virus in Iowa this year


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus disease in Iowa of 2012. The case is a female older adult (61 to 80 years of age) from Lyon County, who is recovering. “The extreme drought conditions in Iowa have dramatically reduced the mosquito population here,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “This West Nile case, however, is a reminder that the virus is still out there and Iowans should take precautions.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. The best way to prevent the virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and to use insect repellent when outdoors. Iowans should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
  • Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

Approximately 20 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one percent of people infected become seriously ill and rarely someone dies.

Since West Nile first appeared in Iowa in 2002, it has been found in every county in Iowa, either in humans, horses, or birds. In 2011, there were nine human cases of West Nile virus and two deaths. 

For more information about West Nile virus, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/DiseaseIndex.aspx?disease=West Nile Virus.

Larger class sizes may be trade off for increased teacher pay


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa teachers might have to accept larger class sizes if they expect increased salaries, under one model presented to a state task force on teacher pay. The task force heard Friday from officials at a Colorado school district where teachers get paid based on their evaluations and student performance, and for taking on new leadership rolls. The officials report a small increase in class size as master teachers leave the classroom to mentor other teachers. Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass agrees that lower class sizes do lead to student achievement: “But the question is, are we willing to invest the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to get the class size low enough that it has an impact, and what do we give up in exchange for that large expenditure. Everything’s a tradeoff,” according to Glass. 

Glass says high performing schools around the world have accepted larger classes in order to pay teachers more. “ I think we have to have that conversation. The United States is among the top spenders around the world and we have some of the lowest class sizes in the world, but our results are mediocre, “ Glass said. Task force member , Tammy Wawro is president of the Iowa State Education Association,-the state’s largest teacher’s union. She is skeptical about the idea of increasing class sizes.“ Class size does matter and class size tradeoff does concern me,” Wawro said. The Colorado officials say student performance has improved But they admit there was strong opposition at first and many teachers left. The Iowa task force will make its recommendations for changing Iowa’s teacher compensation system later this fall.

(Radio Iowa)

Clarinda woman injured during Sunday afternoon accident


July 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was transported by Essex EMS to the hospital in Shenandoah following a two-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon in Page County. Sheriff’s officials say 61-year old Phyllis Jean Carlson, of Clarinda, suffered “non-incapacitating” injuries during the crash between her 2002 Chevy Blazer and a full-size pickup. The accident happened at around 4:35-p.m., at the intersection of 130th Street and N Avenue, about six-miles northwest of Hepburn.

Carlson’s SUV was traveling south on N Avenue as a 2006 Ford F-250 pickup driven by 58-year old Gary Michael Erickson, of Clarinda, was traveling west on 130th. Sheriff’ Lyle Palmer says Erickson ran the stop sign and hit the SUV on the passenger’s side. The Blazer was totaled in the crash. And, even though the pickup sustained $15,000 damage, Erickson was able to drive it to his residence. The sheriff’s report did not indicate if any citations were issued.