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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Feb. 17th 2016

News

February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — One of three men initially charged in the death of a Council Bluffs man has pleaded guilty to lesser charges as a part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Twenty-two-year-old Sarael Duncan, of Omaha, Nebraska, pleaded guilty to theft. He was originally charged with murder in connection with the August death of 20-year-old Jacob Combs but that charge has been dropped.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The Black Hawk County Gaming Association board has given $750,000 to Waterloo’s Fourth Street canopy bridge project, although few members offered resounding support of it. The board gave its unanimous approval to split the grant into two payouts, which will fund about 50 percent of the $1.5 million project. The project, set the start this spring, will rehabilitate the walkway portion of the Fourth Street bridge that crosses the Cedar River.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Lottery officials say the record Powerball jackpot in January helped send lottery ticket sales soaring to new records. The Powerball jackpot grew for more than two months before it reached a world-record level of nearly $1.6 billion. It was split three ways in the Jan. 13 drawing by tickets purchased in California, Florida and Tennessee. Iowa lottery sales in January exceeded $54 million, topping the previous monthly sales record of $42 million set in February 2006.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate panel has advanced a bill that would make it a hate crime in Iowa to commit an offense against a person because that person identifies as transgender. The bill would make it a hate crime if an offense is committed against a person or their property because of the person’s gender identity or gender expression. Current language in Iowa code includes multiple characteristics, including sexual orientation.

Man pleads guilty to theft in Council Bluffs death case

News

February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — One of three men initially charged in the death of a Council Bluffs man has pleaded guilty to lesser charges as a part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Twenty-two-year-old Sarael Duncan, of Omaha, Nebraska, pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft. He was originally charged with murder in connection with the August death of 20-year-old Jacob Combs but that charge has been dropped.

Caine Peterson, of Council Bluffs, and Christopher King of Lincoln, Nebraska, also were charged with murder but have agreed to plead guilty to amended charges. They are accused of robbing Combs of marijuana. Officials say Combs jumped onto Petersen’s vehicle as the three men fled but then fell or was thrown, suffering head injuries. Combs died in a hospital on Aug. 15.

 

UNI, UI, ISU student leaders plead for speedier mental health counseling on campuses

News

February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Student leaders at the state’s three public universities are asking for expansion of mental health counseling services on the campuses in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City. Katie Evans of Dubuque, the president of Northern Iowa Student Government, says two U-N-I students committed suicide last semester and a recent U-N-I graduate she knew committed suicide in December.

“Some legislatures across the country are beginning to make a priority of mental health and hopefully Iowa will follow along,” Evans says. University of Iowa student body president Elizabeth Mills of Johnston got mental health counseling on campus during her first two years at the universities. “Unfortunately our counseling services are gravely underfunded and are needing help and seeking assistance from our university and our state,” Mills says. “At this time a student who needs help, needs that dire assistance, has to wait two to three weeks in order to be seen by qualified staff.”

Josh Schoenfeld — a fifth year medical student at the University of Iowa — is president of the student government for graduate and professional students on the Iowa City campus. He says depression is even more prevalent among graduate-level students than undergrads. “I personally have known three students who have committed suicide during my four years on campus,” Schoenfeld says. Iowa State University student body president Daniel Breitbarth of Saylorville says the stress of “an astounding amount” of student debt is taking a toll.

“This has resulted directly in an increase on the pressure on our counseling staffs at all three institutions,” Breitbarth says. “On average, Iowa State students have to wait an average of 30 days to meet with a mental health service…staff member and this is just way too much time to wait if you are in dire need of help.” The student leaders made their comments during a statehouse news conference Tuesday afternoon.

(Radio Iowa)

Probation Violation arrest in Red Oak

News

February 16th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police department reports the arrest of a Red Oak woman on two active warrants Tuesday.  At 3:23pm Officers arrested 19-year-old Cara Belle Hale, of Red Oak, in the 200 block of 3rd Avenue in Red Oak on two active Montgomery County Warrants for Probation Violation.  Hale was taken to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held on $5,000 cash bond.

Atlantic City Council to set date for a Public Hearing on Loan Agreements & borrowing of money

News

February 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Atlantic will meet in a regular session Wednesday evening at City Hall. During the 5:30-p.m. meeting, the Council will review the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget and 5-year Capital Improvement Plan. They’ll also act on passing a Resolution setting March 9th as the date for a Public Hearing on a proposal to enter into General Obligation Loan Agreements, and the borrowing of money for the agreements.

When it issued Bonds in 2011, the City reserved the right to call the portion of the 2011 Bonds maturing in years 2019 through 2026 for early redemption on any date on or after June 1st 2018. The Resolution (#4-16) proposes the City enter into a General Obligation (G.O) Loan Agreement (Or, “Essential Purpose Loan Agreement”) and to borrow money not to exceed $4.8-million, for the purpose of paying the costs to that extent, of:

  • Constructing street and storm water drainage improvements
  • Acquiring vehicles and equipment for the municipal fire and police departments
  • And advance refunding the Callable 2011 bond.

The City also proposes entering into a G.O. Loan Agreement and to borrow money in a principal amount not to exceed $200,000, for the purpose of paying the costs of constructing improvements to the municipal library. The maximum rate of interest payable for the Loan Agreement is seven-percent.

In the City’s proposed 5-year Capital Improvement Program, City Administrator John Lund reports the City has $10.276-million in proposed improvements. The resources available between incoming cash and renewing existing debts, without raising taxes, is $8.679-million, which leaves the City with a balance of approximately $1.59-million. Lund says the City is currently at 73.66-percent of its bonding capacity, with only two bonds falling off in the next five-years.

Council Bluffs man arrested on Stalking charge

News

February 16th, 2016 by Chris Parks

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of a Council Bluffs man on Tuesday.  At 3:00pm Deputies arrested 32-year-old Roger E. Madsen of Council Bluffs on a valid Montgomery County Warrant for Stalking.  Madsen was taken to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held on $5,000 cash bond.

Lawmakers take up bill calling for higher speed limits in Iowa

News

February 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A bill to increase the interstate speed limit in Iowa to 75 miles an hour has cleared its first hurdle and will be considered in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow (Wednesday). Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake is a truck driver who is spearheading the effort to raise the speed limit on Interstates AND hike the limit on two-lane highways to 65. “People are driving those speeds now,” Worthan says.

Representative Rick Olson of Des Moines says when he learned how to drive, the speed limit was 75 on the interstate. “I’m told that cars are safer today,” Olson says. “I don’t have any problem with increasing the speed limit.” Steve Gent, the director of traffic and safety at the Iowa Department of Transportation, says his agency isn’t for or against the proposal, but he’s raising safety concerns about hiking the interstate speed limit.

“Ten years ago the State of Iowa increased rural speed limits from 65 to 70,” Gent says. “…Fatal crashes increased 29.5 percent (and) Total accidents in the four years after increased 25.2 percent.” The average speed on Iowa interstates today is 72 — two miles over the posted speed limit.

A bill to raise the interstate speed limit to 75 miles an hour was introduced in the Iowa Senate last year, but failed to clear committee.

(Radio Iowa)

Taylor County man sentenced to life in prison for death of a child

News

February 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Judge in Taylor County today (Tuesday), sentenced a Bedford man to life in prison without the possibility of parole, in connection with a first-degree murder conviction. 26-year old Charles Emanuel Hall was also sentenced to ten years in prison for the charge of child endangerment resulting in serious injury. Hall was convicted last month by a jury in Taylor County district court. The charges stemmed from the investigation of the death of 3 year old Janiya King in May of 2015, in Bedford.
Hall is the father of the child.

Charles Hall

Charles Hall

On May 22nd, 2015, authorities said they responded to a 911 call for a child not breathing at 806 Washington St. Deputies found Janiya King, unresponsive. She was pronounced dead by the medical examiner. Court documents indicate Janiya had severe burns on her face and right shoulder.
Hall’s girlfriend, 25-year-old April Clair, of Bedford, was also initially charged with child endangerment causing serious injury, a Class-C forcible Felony. Clair had told authorities that Janiya accidentally knocked over a pot of boiling hot dog water onto herself two weeks prior to her death. Clari told authorities she didn’t think it was necessary to seek medical attention.

Authorities however, said the burns were so bad that they caused permanent disfigurement. Clair also told investigators the girl fell down the stairs multiple times and became weaker, but still did not seek medical attention. The woman reached a plea deal and was found guilty by the court on Sept. 8th of Child Endangerment Causing Bodily Injury, a Class-D Felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 5-years.

Scholarships Available for In-Demand Manufacturing Training

News

February 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, Iowa (Feb. 16, 2016) – Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a non-profit initiative spreading the word about career opportunities in manufacturing, is offering fifteen $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa’s 15 Community Colleges. One award will be made per college region.

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, says “Manufacturing firms supply more than 208,858 jobs to Iowans. These well-paying careers require education and training beyond high school, but don’t require the often burdensome cost of a bachelor’s degree. Recent studies have shown that two-year degree and technical certificate holders, especially in high-demand manufacturing occupations, can earn salaries that surpass those of four-year college graduates.”

Examples of training programs to which the scholarship can apply include Welding, Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machining, Industrial Automation, Industrial Maintenance, Robotics, Tool and Die and Transportation and Logistics.

Interested candidates should apply by completing the application found at www.elevateiowa.com (click on “About”). Applications are due April 1st, 2016. For more information about manufacturing careers, visit www.elevateiowa.com.

Elevate Iowa is a statewide, integrated marketing campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. The initiative is directed by a coalition of all 15 Iowa Community Colleges represented by the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development, the Iowa Department of Education, the private manufacturing sector and the State of Iowa.

The initiative is funded in part by the I-AM Consortium, which is 100% financed through a grant from the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. Elevate Iowa offers resources to the public specifically targeting those eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers, unemployed/underemployed Iowans, U.S. veterans, along with K-12 students and their families.

(Press Release)

Man arrested for sexual abuse of two-month-old child

News

February 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A southern Iowa man is accused of sexually assaulting an infant. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, deputies took a report about a two-month-old child being sexually assaulted on February 4th. The girl was taken to a local hospital by the mother and later transported to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

Monroe County Sheriff Daniel Johnson said the girl is recovering. Deputies have arrested 30-year-old Justin Stickrod on charges of felony child endangerment and sexual abuse. Stickrod was being held in the Monroe County Jail on a $68,000 bond. According to Sheriff Johnson, Stickrod has only a minor arrest record and doesn’t have a prior history of sexual abuse arrests.

Justin Stickrod

Justin Stickrod

Albia Police are assisting with the investigation.

(Radio Iowa)