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7AM Newscast 03-28-2012

News, Podcasts

March 28th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Iowa pension fund sues audit firm over fraud loss


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System has sued a New York-based auditing firm, alleging that the company failed to detect a theft scheme that cost the pension fund millions of dollars.  The Des Moines Register reports the federal lawsuit was filed in New York last week against Deloitte & Touche. The lawsuit says the auditing firm issued unqualified or “clean” audit reports that the fund relied on in purchasing fraudulent securities.

A Deloitte spokesman says the lawsuit has no merit and that its employees didn’t audit the financial statements of the entities at which the fraud allegedly occurred. The lawsuit follows the criminal case against two executives of Westridge Capital Management and a registered broker-dealer, WG Trading Co. 

One of the two awaits sentencing. The other awaits trial.

Mediacom delays full digital switch to April 10


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Cable television provider Mediacom says customers whose televisions are not yet digital ready have been given a two-week extension before analog reception is fully eliminated. The company still has 48 cable channels located between 23 and 78 operating on older television sets.  A phase-out of analog reception began two weeks. The upgrade to all-digital channels will be complete on April 10th.

For the past six years, customers have received both analog and digital signals through a Mediacom cable connection, but now most analog stations are being eliminated to make room for more high-definition channels and faster broadband Internet speeds.

Nebraska man sentenced for Iowa cocaine conspiracy


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a Nebraska man who supplied crack cocaine that was sold in northwest Iowa has been given 15 years in federal prison. Federal prosecutors say 32-year-old Tuwane English had pleaded guilty in Sioux City to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. English would sell crack in Omaha, Neb., to people who would sell it in the Sioux City area. English, of Omaha, must serve eight years of supervised release when he leaves prison. He was sentenced on Monday. He’d already been convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in Nebraska.

DHS director says mental health reorganization has to address provider shortage


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services says a plan to redesign Iowa’s county-based system for delivering mental health services should also tackle a critical shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. D-H-S director, Chuck Palmer, says lawmakers acknowledge that Iowa’s shortage of psychiatrists is one of the most severe in the country. “It’s the full range, we have acute problems, particularly in rural Iowa. We see it as a significant need and we have to take it on,” Palmer says. Palmer says the bill to reorganize the mental health delivery system includes a study of the shortage of the people needed to run the system.

“The legislature has built into the bill the creation of a workforce group that’s to look at the full range of providers — from psychiatrists where we’re 47th in the nation — to even building up more people trained in peer support,” Palmer explains. Providers say the shortage means a lack of access to mental health care in some parts of the state, especially rural Iowa. Lawmakers say they’re optimistic they will reach agreement on their plan to standardize mental health care statewide and have the state pick up more of the cost.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Benefit fundraiser to be held for good samaritan hit by a car last year


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An event scheduled to take place next Monday night at the Treynor Community Center, will benefit a member of the American Legion Post in  Treynor, who was critically injured last December. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the benefit fish fry for Jerry Lustgraaf will be held from5- to 7-pm Monday at the Community Center, located at 11 West Main Street. The cost is $8 per person.

Lustgraaf, who was the driver of a tow truck, went to help a motorist who had gone into a ditch during an ice storm on December 3rd. He was outside of his truck when he was hit by another vehicle. Lustgraaf was released from the hospital in late January, and while he continues to recuperate at his Treynor home,  it will be months before he can return to work. All of the  proceeds from the benefit fish fry Monday night will go to Lustgraaf’s family, to defray his injury-related expenses.

Anyone with items to donate can contact Post 725 Adjutant Ken Koehler at 712-487-3813.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., March 28th 2012


March 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — House Republicans have pushed through a large proposed cut in education spending. Yesterday, they approved a $775 million schools budget — $36 million less than the current one. The matter is far from settled as Senate Democrats have a school spending plan that is $115 million larger than the House measure.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Almost a dozen bus drivers in large Iowa school districts either face charges or have been convicted in the past decade of serious traffic offenses or criminal convictions. The charges included drunken driving and operating a vehicle with a suspended license. A review of public records in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Dubuque districts show most drivers had clean records or minor traffic violations.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Governors or lieutenant governors from at least four states, including Iowa, are planning to tour the remaining operational Beef Products plant to show support for the company. The plant produces the low-cost beef filler known as “pink slime” that has come under public scrutiny. A company spokesman says officials from Texas, South Dakota and Nebraska also will tour the South Sioux City, Nebraska, plant Thursday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An inmate serving a 25-year prison sentence for criminal transmission of HIV has died of heart disease. The Iowa Department of Corrections says 48-year-old Darrell John Alderton died Sunday in Iowa City. Alderton initially went to jail after being arrested in May 2005 for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy.

Cass County Audit report released


March 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman said Tuesday, Gronewold, Bell, Kyhnn & Company P.C. CPAs have released an audit report on Cass County. The report shows the County had local tax revenue of $22,858,378 (roughly $22.86-million) for the year ended June 30th, 2011, which included $1,414,745 ($1.4-million) in tax credits from the state.

The County forwarded just over $16.26-million of the local tax revenue to the townships, school districts, cities and other taxing bodies in the County. The County retained $6.59-million of the local tax revenue to finance County operations, which is a 14.5 percent increase from the prior year. Other revenues included approximately $5.38-million from the state, including indirect federal funding of $837,755, and direct federal funding of $725,657, charges for service of $364,599, and $160,970 for the use of money and property.

Expenditures for County operations totaled nearly $11.94-million, which is a 9.1 percent decrease from the prior year. Expenses included slightly more than  S4,16-million for roads and transportation, $1.9-million for mental health, $1.85-million for public safety and legal services, and just over $1.07-million for administrative services.

A copy of the audit report is available for review in the office of the Auditor of State and the County Auditor’s office.

Atlantic School Board Terminates Food Service Employee’s Contract


March 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education held a special, closed session Tuesday night.

Becky Oliver (Photo from School District's website)

When the session concluded and the open session resumed, the board voted to terminate the employment of  Food Service employee, Becky Oliver, who worked at the Washington Elementary School. No reason was announced for the termination.

Program seeks to help with relative’s destructive behavior


March 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A program designed to help people cope with loved ones’ destructive behavior is opening a chapter in Omaha/Council Bluffs, the first chapter in either Nebraska or Iowa. Under the 12-step Families Anonymous program, only first names are used. The local organizer, Sally, says F-A helps people deal with the impact brought on by the problems of others.  She says, “Anyone who is concerned about relatives or friends who abuse drugs or alcohol or any substances.” Sally says anyone who has a friend or family member struggling with an addiction knows how this has a ripple effect and impacts many lives.

F-A was founded in 1971 by a group of parents in California. Sally learned about Families Anonymous when searching for a group to help her. She’s been associated with a person with an addiction for about three years and says she started attending meetings on-line.  “In my particular situation, once I began working the 12 steps and began working on me, I began to be able to handle situations very differently by reacting to them differently,” she says. “It changed my life. I feel like I’m getting back to who I was before.” While the group is called Families Anonymous, she says it isn’t exactly set up for smaller children. Sally says, “It’s not something you would probably want to bring a child to but anybody in their teenage years or older would be someone who would able to work the steps appropriately and benefit from the program.”

The local chapter will meet every Wednesday night at 6:30 at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. There are about 225 regular F-A meetings in the U-S and in more than 20 countries.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)