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Former Pott. Co. resident on trial in NE arson case


January 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A former Council Bluffs man is on trial in Nebraska accused of hiring an acquaintance to burn down his troubled manufacturing business near Fort Calhoun, Neb., to gain $4 million in insurance money. The Daily NonPareil reports 52-year old Thomas Schropp is being federally indicted on six criminal charges related to the arson of PK Manufacturing, a Nashville, Neb., company he co-owned with his uncle. The trial started Tuesday.

Prosecutors say the business was intentionally set on fire about 3 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2008. Jurors will hear from more than 30 witnesses during the trial, which is expected to last two weeks. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russ Mayer laid out the state’s evidence against Schropp during opening statements Tuesday, saying PK Manufacturing had been heading downhill for some time.

He pointed to the fact Schropp lost his largest customer in late 2007, causing his sales to drop almost 50 percent. His tax returns for the tax year 2007-2008 showed Schropp lost $254,000 in income due to his business. In 2008, Schropp owed nearly $5 million in bank loans. Mayor said Shropp instructed one of his employees to inflate the value of his inventory so bankers would continue to work with him, and right before the business burned, Schropp had unsuccessfully attempted to sell it.

A Crime Stoppers tip led the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to methamphetamine addict Billy Richards and his live-in girlfriend, Julie Winkelbauer. Schropp asked Richards, a painter, to stop by his business during the summer of 2008. Mayer said when Richards arrived at PK Manufacturing, Schropp told him this job wasn’t about painting, it was to torch the business. Schropp allegedled offered the man $20,000 to do the job.

Richards has pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of a building by fire and is facing seven to 9½ years in prison. He is hoping to receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony against Schropp.Winkelbauer agreed to testify only if the government would not prosecute her. After the fire, Schropp filed a claim with his insurance company for about $4 million. The insurance company later denied his claim. Fire and insurance investigators declared the fire suspicious but couldn’t determine the cause of the fire. The trial continues today (Friday) and next week in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

Page County child dies after being attacked by his family’s dog


January 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A family dog’s attack on a seven-year old boy Thursday evening resulted in the child’s death. Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer says authorities were notified about the incident just before 5-p.m. The incident occurred at 709 Glen Avenue, in College Springs. The unidentified child wasn’t breathing at the time.

When Deputies arrived EMS workers from Clarinda and College Springs were administering CPR to the 7 year old boy. Clarinda EMS transported the 7 year old to the Clarinda Regional Health Center where he was pronounced dead at 5:50 PM.

The names of the victim and his family were being withheld as of early Friday morning, pending notification of relatives.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Jan. 23rd 2015


January 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Jeb Bush has tapped former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as the chairman of his education foundation. Bush appears to be moving toward a campaign for president in 2016. Rice remains a popular figure in Republican circles, having served in the administration of Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Greyhound Association is looking to claim nearly $5 million from a supplemental fund in an effort to help live dog racing in Dubuque. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission met to go over the association’s request to claim remaining funds in an account traditionally used to offset expenses. The Iowa West Racing Association is also considered a stakeholder, therefore having claim to the account as well. The commission plans to ask both groups to file proposals for the account money prior to a March meeting.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers say more than 200 Iowa school superintendents oppose Gov. Terry Branstad’s education spending plan. House and Senate Democratic leaders released data Thursday from an online survey sent to officials in Iowa’s 338 school districts. Only one of those who answered thought Branstad’s proposed funding level was adequate. Branstad’s $3 billion school budget offers about $100 million in new school funding, though much of it is earmarked for specific programs. The budget includes about $35 million more in general support for K-12 public schools.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The parents of a 13-month-old girl who died from methadone exposure last year have been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Twenty-six-year-old Precious L. Bailey, formerly of Bettendorf, and 25-year-old Spencer J. Smith, of Clinton, pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment resulting in serious injury. Medical records say the couple’s daughter died Sept. 24, 2013 after consuming a small amount of methadone. Tests show the girl had also been exposed to methamphetamine.

Nebraska, Iowa driving laws rated among worst in nation


January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A national advocacy group has ranked Nebraska and Iowa among the nation’s worst in enacting safer driving laws. The Washington, D.C.-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group released its annual report Thursday rating each state based on their laws meant to increase safety. Nebraska and Iowa are among nine states to receive the lowest rating.

The group has identified 15 laws it believes ensure safe driving. Both states have just five of the laws on the list. Jacqueline Gillan, the group’s president, says these states’ secondary offense laws, such as texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt, allow unsafe behavior.

Fred Zwonechek, Nebraska Office of Highway Safety administrator, tells the Omaha World-Herald the low rating doesn’t mean the state isn’t a safe place for drivers.

Man w/chainsaw injury crashes car in Mills County


January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Mills County investigating an accident that happened Saturday afternoon found no one around upon arrival, but within minutes, the driver appeared on the scene with an interesting story. Sheriff’s officials say James Nausler, of Omaha, told authorities he suffered a chain saw injury to his hand and was attempting to drive himself to the hospital, when he passed out. His vehicle went into a ditch and hit a tree before coming to rest. The man was transported by his wife to the hospital, for treatment.

And a man from Tabor was injured early Sunday morning, when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line of 221st Street in Mills County as he was approaching Kesterson Road. The vehicle driven by Todd Guiser went out of control and rolled several times into the east ditch. Guiser was transported by Glenwood Rescue to Mercy Hospital.

Mills County Sheriff’s report (1/22/15)


January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s office has issued a report on their most recent arrests. Early this (Thursday) morning, 25-year old Charles Evertt Welch, of Omaha, was arrested for OWI/2nd offense and Open Container. His bond was set at $2,000. On Wednesday, Mills County deputies arrested: 21-year old Lindsey Johanne Krause, of Glenwood at the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, on a warrant for Probation Violation. Krause was being held on $10,000 bond. That same day, 43-year old Jessica Leslie Steele, a homeless person, and 44-year old Aaron Michael Borelli, a homeless man, were arrested for Interference with Official Acts. Their bonds were set at $2,000 each.

On Tuesday, 37-year old Earl Fletcher Edds, of Glenwood, was arrested on a warrant for OWI/3rd offense. His bond was set at $5,000. And on Monday, 20-year old Dylan Lee Conn, of Glenwood, was arrested Warrant for Assault causing Bodily Injury or Mental Illness. His bond was set at $1,000.

Ex-Des Moines police chief supports use of body cameras


January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former Des Moines police chief says he thinks the next person in the job should advocate for the use of body cameras and speak more with residents.  Bill Moulder was Des Moines’ police chief between 1984 and 2003, and he now runs a police management consulting firm. He tells The Des Moines Register that in a post-Ferguson climate, the police chief should support the use of body cameras.

Police departments around the country have purchased the devices following the August fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.  Judy Bradshaw retired in October after seven years as Des Moines’ police chief. Four finalists for the job will be in the city next week to interview with city officials.

Numerous items taken from rural Union County property

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office says numerous items, including a tractor, were stolen from the rural Thayer, area. The owner, who lives in Lorimor, reported on Jan. 17th, that  someone took a gate, a 1950’s Ford pull-type combine, Allis Chalmers WC Commander Tractor with side hay loader, one steel wheel, and a 3 point bucket from his property on Warbler Avenue near Thayer. The property was valued at $2,600. Officials say the theft happened sometime within the past day.

Sheriff’s officials said also, 26-year old Clay Allen Brammer, of Arispe, was arrested Wednesday (1/21/15) at 9:00 PM at the Law Enforcement Center on a Union County Warrant for 1st offense domestic abuse assault. Brammer is being held in the Union County Jail awaiting an appearance before the Magistrate.

ServSafe Class to be held in February


January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

ServSafe, the national certification program for food service managers, will be held in Clarinda on February 17th, 2015. The cost of the course is $150 which includes 8 hours class time, a manual, and the national certification exam. There is a $50 discount for Iowa Restaurant Association members. It will be held at ISU Extension and Outreach, Page County office in Clarinda.servsafe

Anyone interested in preparing and serving safe food is welcome to attend. All food service operations are required to have at least one certified staff person. To receive more information and registration form, contact ISU Extension and Outreach,

Page County 877-596-7243 or your local ISU Extension and Outreach office. Anyone needing to take the recertification exam only may contact the office for more information. Registration is required by February 13.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 1/22/2015

News, Podcasts

January 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More area & state news w/Ric Hanson.