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(Clarification) Former Denison Fire Chief intends to pleads guilty to theft charge


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The former Fire Chief in Denison intends to plead guilty to a theft charge associated with funds missing from the City of Denison. The Omaha World Herald had reported in its Friday edition, that Michael McKinnon, a native of Clarinda, pled guilty to 1st degree theft. However, according to the Crawford County District Clerk’s office, McKinnon’s attorney, F. Montgomery Brown, submitted to the Court a “Notice of intent to plead guilty“.

The notice said McKinnon would plead guilty to a felony Theft in the First Degree charge and pay $9,265, the amount Crawford County incurred for the audit report, in exchange for the State dropping the second felony count of Misconduct. His appearance before a 3rd District Court Judge is set to take place January 7th. At that time McKinnon can follow-through by pleading according to the terms presented in the intent letter, or make a different plea.

As we reported last year, McKinnon left his employment as fire chief amid questionable purchases made by him and questionable payments made to him for training and equipment. A complaint was filed in Crawford County charging McKinnon with Theft in the First Degree, a Class C Felony, and Felonious Misconduct in Office, a Class D Felony. A report by the State Auditor’s Office last year, said questionable expenditures were made by McKinnon while he served as the Denison Fire Chief from 1999 to 2010. The 20 month investigation was prompted by the concern of local officials, and focused on the period from 2005 to 2010.

The questionable expenditures amounted to nearly $96,000. The audit identified a number of purchases that were improper or did not have proper documentation, including webcams, GPS units, a television, a riding lawnmower and snowblade and clothing. The audit also found thousands of dollars paid to businesses owned by McKinnon and included invoices with addresses for post office boxes in Des Moines that did not exist.

McKinnon is currently employed as a fire science program instructor at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.

BBB plans merger for Neb., SD, Kan., Iowa


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Better Business Bureau that serves Nebraska, South Dakota and southwest Iowa has announced a merger with The Kansas Plains Better Business Bureau that serves most of Kansas.  The new combined territory will have nearly 10,000 accredited businesses.   Jim Hegarty is president of the bureau based in Omaha says that the merger will let each bureau “build on each other’s strengths, combine resources and initiate new programs to meet the needs of today’s businesses and consumers.”

The bureaus expect the merger to be completed in the next few months. The merged bureau will have its headquarters in Omaha, with in Lincoln, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Wichita, Kan.

(correction) No injuries following Adams County accident Thursday


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following a single-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon, north of Corning, in Adams County. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the driver of a 2007 Chevy Impala, 55-year old Teresa A. Pratt, of New Market, and two unidentified passengers were traveling south on Highway 148. When Pratt lost control of the car, the vehicle entered the east ditch.

Red Oak Police cruiser hits deer: $5,000 damage to the car


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak Police Department patrol vehicle sustained $5,000 damage Thursday night, when the vehicle struck a deer. According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Allen was traveling east on Coolbaugh Street at around 10:15-p.m., when the 2007 Dodge Charger he was driving hit a deer that entered the road from the north. The deer was killed in the collision, but Officer Allen was uninjured.

Theft and other investigations underway in Clarinda


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Clarinda Police Department is keeping busy these days, investigating reported incidents of theft. Chief Keith Brothers says on Wednesday, November 7th, the Kum & Go Convenience store in Clarinda reported a gas drive off amounting to just over $35. That same day, Clarinda resident Michael Foster reported the theft of a Lenox 3 ton air conditioning unit and 4 bin stainless steel buffet table from the rear of a business owned by Foster located at 215 South 16th Street. The loss was estimated at $3,800.

On Monday, November 5th, Mikayla Westover, of Clarinda reported to Police that a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier she owned had been tampered with while the vehicle was parked in the 300 block on N. 11th Street. Officials say it appeared a white granular substance had been poured into the gas tank. The incident occurred sometime during November 2-5th.  There is no damage estimate available. Also on Monday, Rodney Johnston, of Clarinda reported that a chainsaw and case valued at $250was stolen from the bed of Johnston’s truck while it was parked in the Hy-Vee Food Store parking lot.

And, on Saturday, November 3rd, Griff Taylor, of New Market, reported his identity had been fraudulently used at the Akin Building Center in Clarinda to purchase approximately $2,700 of building and construction supplies.

All of the incidents remain under investigation by the Clarinda Police Department, with the Page County Sheriff’s Department  assisting in the identity theft investigation.

King says “it doesn’t look good” for those who oppose same-sex marriage


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Republican Congressman Steve King says he is not optimistic those who share his viewpoint on “traditional” marriage will prevail. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota all voted to support same-sex marriage and an Iowa Supreme Court justice who participated in the 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa was retained. King says that likely means same-sex marriage is here to stay. “That’s, I think, the kind of prediction that we can expect from looking at these results around the country,” King says. “Here in Iowa, there’s not going to be a vote on it that I can see and if that’s the case and another two years go by, I would never say never…but it doesn’t look very optimistic for people who believe in traditional marriage as I do.”

King supports the “Defense of Marriage Act” — a 1996 federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. King says he’s not sure that law would be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. “Justice Roberts has delivered us a decision on ObamaCare that will forever cause us to wonder and speculate as to how he might come down,” King says, “and he right now is the swing vote on the Supreme Court.” King has been a frequent and vocal opponent of “ObamaCare” — calling for it to be “pulled up by the roots” and repealed. But Barack Obama’s victory this past Tuesday means King now is exploring options like trying to “shut down” federal funding to implement parts of ObamaCare and encouraging states to balk at some of the provisions.

“I’m not sure any of that can get done. I want to look at all of those options, but it looks to me like the people in America voted for dependency,” King says, “not only dependency with regard to health care, but dependency with regard to believing that government is going to take more and better care of them and they’re going to ask somebody else to pay the bill rather than themselves.” King made his comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that airs at 7:30 tonight (Friday) on Iowa Public Television.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines – Fri., Nov. 9th 2012


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A 3-year-old girl has died nearly three months after she pulled a large television down upon herself. Family friend Lena McElvogue told The Des Moines Register that Aleena Coe died yesterday at a hospice in Johnston. She was injured August 9th in her Des Moines home.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man’s second set of guilty pleas has been accepted and his sentencing has been scheduled. A judge rejected the first guilty pleas from 31-year-old Bobby Wolf of Waterloo, on October 30th. Wolf had made a plea deal with Linn County prosecutors on charges stemming from his ramming of three police cruisers during an August 25th chase in Hiawatha.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines therapist has been accused of having a romantic relationship with a client. Forty-five-year-old Darla Krom is charged with sexual exploitation by a therapist. Police say a 39-year-old woman began seeing Krom as part of couple’s therapy and continued as a client when the couple’s relationship ended.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A 30-year-old Nebraska man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty to traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor. U.S. District Court Judge John Jarvey on Thursday sentenced Robert Andrew Larson of Cozad, Nebraska to 87 months in prison. Police say Larson had engaged in sexually explicit Internet chats with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl who was actually a law enforcement officer.

No injuries following house fire near Elliott


November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Elliott, Griswold and Red Oak were called to the scene of a residential structure fire Thursday afternoon, about one-mile north and three-miles east of Elliott. The fire was reported at the Nick and Kelly Kinser residence, at around 1:45-p.m. Elliott Fire Chief Dave Reynolds told KJAN News contrary to early dispatch reports, the home at 2402 100th Street, was not fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. He said there was some damage to a bedroom and its contents, while the rest of the house sustained heat and smoke damage. No dollar estimate of the damage was available.

Crews remained on the scene for about 90-minutes. No one was home at the time the fire broke out, and none of the firefighters were injured. Reynolds said he’s 99-percent sure the fire was electrical in nature. He appeared to be leaning toward and electric blanket as the culprit. He said when they arrived the home’s smoke detectors were going-off, which is something they don’t often see anymore.

Reynolds wanted to express his thanks to the Griswold Fire Department, which brought a tanker and pumper truck to the scene, and the Red Oak Fire Department, for its assistance as well.

Shelby County Fire Danger “Low” through Monday

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Thursday (Nov. 8th), reduced the grassland and field Fire Danger Index to “Low.” The threat of rapidly spreading fires due to outdoor burning of timber and other materials will remain low, due in-part to precipitation that’s expected across the area over the weekend.

Remains found in Sac City are missing man


November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) – The skeletal remains found buried in the basement of a Sac City home are those of a man last seen three years ago.

Mark Koster

Sac City Police Chief John Thomsen says the state medical examiner’s office used dental records to confirm the identity as Mark Koster. He was listed as a missing person in 2010. His family reported he was last seen in May 2009.

Koster who was 58, was the prior owner of the home and had been living with an unknown man about three months before he disappeared. Police are investigating the death. No one had lived in the house after Koster disappeared and family members sold the house in May.

The new homeowner was remodeling the basement and found the buried remains.