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Judge rejects farm groups’ lawsuit to keep EPA data private

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by two major farm groups that sought to block the release of data on large livestock farms in Minnesota and Iowa. The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council filed the lawsuit in in Minneapolis in 2013 after some activist groups requested the Environmental Protection Agency data under the Freedom of Information Act. The data includes physical addresses and other operational details about the farms. The farm groups said releasing the data would violate farmers’ privacy.

But U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday. She ruled that Farm Bureau and the Pork Producers lacked legal standing. And she pointed out that the data the two groups sought to keep private is easily available from other public sources anyway.

Contentious debate over school funding

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Last night (Tuesday) Republicans in the Iowa House voted to increase general state spending on Iowa’s public K-through-12 schools by nearly 48-million dollars. Democrats like Representative Art Staed (STAYED) of Cedar Rapids say that’s not enough and it will mean: “Fired teachers, larger class sizes, fewer supplies, outdated textbooks, outdated software, fewer course offerings.” Representative Patti Ruff, a Democrat from McGregor, says shortchanging schools shortchanges the state’s future.

“You can’t have world class schools on a third-world budget,” Ruffs said. Republicans rejected those arguments, saying schools will get an increase and it will be a large share of the new tax revenue that’s available for lawmakers to spend. Representative Chip Baltimore, a Republican from Boone, was indignant. “I will not sit here and be beat about the head and told that I dont’ care about children,” Baltimore said. He says state spending on schools has increased significantly in the past decade, but the overall performance of students hasn’t increased.

“Where does the money go?” Baltimore asked. He suggests the school districts are wasting money on inflated salaries for administrators. The groups which represent teachers, administrators and school boards in Iowa are asking legislators for an increase that’s about four times as much as Republicans propose. Now that a bill on the subject has cleared the Iowa House, this debate will now shift to the Democratically-led Senate.

(Radio Iowa)

Clarinda man arrested on felony forgery charges

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers says multiple felony charges have been filed against a local man as the result on an ongoing investigation into financial fraud by the Clarinda Police Department. Brothers said 31-year old Tristan Lynn Marsh, of Clarinda, was arrested Tuesday afternoon, (January 27th) on a warrant alleging that Marsh committed felony theft and 25 counts of felony forgery at a local Clarinda business.

Marsh allegedly issued 25 forged checks to the business between October and December 2014, totaling almost $15,000.  He was taken into custody without incident at his home, and was being held in the Page County Jail on $25,000 cash bond, pending an initial appearance before the Page County Magistrate.

The investigation has been referred to the Page County Attorney’s Office for review of the filing of formal charges.

Woodbury County takes step toward another I-29 interchange

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Woodbury County Board has taken a step down what could be a 10-year journey for another Interstate 29 interchange. The Sioux City Journal says the board committed nearly $181,000 for its share of a study that will cost $600,000. Local officials have been asking the Iowa Transportation Department since 2012 for an exit between mile markers 138 and 140 to help boost economic development. They cite traffic near Southbridge Business Park, which is being built south of Sioux Gateway Airport.

Department rules require a justification report before interchanges can be built. The interchange cost was estimated at $20 million in 2013. County consultant Terry Lutz told the board that even if state approves the project, it would take eight to 10 years before it opens to motorists.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 1/28/2015

News, Podcasts

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

Play

Van careens out of control & hits an office bldg in Creston

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A woman from Creston was injured Tuesday afternoon, when her vehicle went out of control and hit a building before coming to rest. The Creston P-D says 84-year old Ruth Kralik was backing into a parking space on Grand Avenue in Creston, when she lost control of her 1996 Ford van and stepped on the gas pedal. The vehicle went over a curb and into a yard to the south before continued through the yard, where it narrowly missed a light pole and several trees.

The van continued southbound across the street and into another yard, which it crossed before the van spun around on concrete in front of an office building at 612 Grand Avenue. The van hit the building, causing a large hole to form in the wall. Two picnic tables were also broken during the collision, before the van finally stopped.

Kralik was transported by ambulance to the hospital in Creston. The van was totaled in the crash. Damage to the Regency Park Office Building was estimated at $15,000. No citations were issued.

In other news, Creston Police say a resident of an apartment on north Maple Street reported someone entered his apartment sometime between Jan. 20th and 28th. The thief took a Toshiba Satellite computer valued at $350. And, the Union County Sheriff’s Office says K & K Auto, in Creston, reported Tuesday, that sometime between Sunday and Monday, two of the vehicles on their lot were damaged. The loss was estimated at $1500.

(Podcast) KJAN News & Funeral report, 1/28/2015

News, Podcasts

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 7-a.m. Newscast, with Ric Hanson.

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(Update) – Shelby City Council suspends its volunteer firefighters

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby City Council has suspended all but one member of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Department because of a dispute over fundraiser proceeds. According to the Daily NonPareil, Fire Chief Eric Wendt said he was the only member of the 12-person department who was not suspended Monday. Without any active firefighters, the city will rely on Minden and Avoca to respond to emergencies by way of a mutual aid agreement.

Wendt said the dismissals stem from a disagreement over a separate bank account that the department uses to hold its fundraiser money. Wendt said the council thinks they control their pancake money, and the dispute is over whether monies generated from pancake feeds and events should be labeled as public funds or fire department funds. Wendt said he does not know why he was not suspended.

Shelby City Attorney Clint Fichter said multiple issues led to the suspensions. Asked if the separate funds were an issue, Fichter said state code requires fire departments to be subject to the same regulations as the rest of the city. All monies, including those raised by fundraising, are public funds, subject to the same rules as tax money. Fichter said in the last two years, audit notes were made to make sure the money was accounted for.

He said also the separate account held about $40,000. The city is accepting applications to re-staff the fire department as quickly as possible. Fichter said all suspended members were notified that they could reapply under a stipulation that they would follow council directives and state code.

Robert Hall, a volunteer firefighter for seven years, said he received an email that said insubordination was the reason for the suspensions. Asked about the email, Fichter said he could not comment for legal reasons. The firefighters have obtained legal counsel, Hall said, and hope to return to their duties as soon as possible.

Council Bluffs men beaten & robbed after meeting to sell items through online page

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A plan by two Pottawattamie County men to sell items on a social media page backfired Tuesday night, when the men were assaulted and robbed. Council Bluffs Police Lt. Mark Galvan said in a press release, that 20-year old Ronald Kleckner and 18-year old Scott Evans, both of Council Bluffs, had advertised items for sale on a local buy/sell Facebook page.

A person contacted the men, and a date, time and location was set up to meet them and purchase the advertised items. At around 11-p.m. Tuesday, Kleckner and Evans arrived at the location in the 100 block of 4th Avenue in Council Bluffs, and were approached by four people, two black males, an Hispanic male and an unknown male subject.

The men assaulted Kleckner and Evans with a club and robbed them of several items. The victims, who suffered minor injuries, were able to get in their car and drive away. As they left, they reported hearing a gunshot. The black male suspects were described as being between 19 and 24-years of age. No other details about the suspects is available.

If you have any information about the robbery, contact the Council Bluffs Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 712-328-4728.

Meeting over the future of the Clarinda MHI set for this Saturday

News

January 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A meeting is set to take place this Saturday morning in Clarinda, with regard to Governor Branstad’s proposal to close or re-purpose the Clarinda Mental Health Institute. The meeting, featuring Dept. of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer, will be held in the Clarinda MHI auditorium beginning at 10-a.m.  Saturday, January 31st. District 24 Republican Representative Cecil Dolecheck also plans to attend.

Governor Terry Branstad said earlier this week his administration wouldn’t be violating state law if they continue to run “significant” prison operations and a military-style academy on the Mental Health Institute campuses in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda.

Key legislators says they were “disturbed” because they didn’t learn of Branstad’s plan to close the two mental health care facilities in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda until they were shown the details of Branstad’s proposed budget.