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Former Ralston teacher guilty of groping students


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A 59-year-old former Ralston, NE., teacher has been convicted at his second trial for inappropriately touching young students.  On Thursday a Douglas County, NE, District Court jury found Nicholas Richter guilty of three counts of sexual assault of a child. In August Richter’s first trial ended in a hung jury.

Three boys ranging in age from 10 to 12 testified that Richter groped them during classes. A middle-age man also testified that Richter groped him three decades ago, when Richter was teaching in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Richter faces up to five years in prison on each of the three counts.

(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. Area News/Funeral Announcements, 12/13/13

News, Podcasts

December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson…


NE man sentenced to 5-years in prison for crimes committed in NE & IA


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska man was sentenced this week to a term of not less than 5-years in prison in connection with incidents that occurred in NE and Iowa in late September. The Omaha World-Herald reports 32-year old Michael A. Beard, of Lincoln, NE., received his punishment from a judge after pleading guilty to a charge of 3rd degree burglary. Four theft charges, two other burglary charges, a criminal mischief charge, an assault charge and an interference with official acts charge have been dismissed.

Beard was arrested after a string of events that began in Lincoln with the theft of a car. The vehicle was later found on fire southeast of Ceresco, NE. Soon afterward, a small pickup parked nearby was stolen. That vehicle was later found in Saunders County, NE, where a nearby electrical company’s truck was stolen. Authorities say at some point, Beard stole a Ford F-150 truck and drove to Iowa. A Harrison County roads crew found him rummaging through a vehicle parked at the county shed south of Modale.

Beard punched a roads crew worker and rammed a vehicle driven by another roads worker before abandoning the F-150 and running off. The next day, the Omaha police helicopter found Beard hiding in a cornfield.

Once Beard has served his time in Iowa, he will be handed over to authorities in Saunders County, Neb., where he faces burglary, theft and possession of stolen property charges. The Lancaster County, NE., Attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges against Beard in the next few weeks.

Red Oak man arrested on an assault charge


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested Wednesday night after he allegedly used a baseball bat in the commission of an assault. 31-year old Bill Joe Gillespie was taken into custody at around 8-p.m., after authorities received a 9-1-1 call from a residence on East Elm Street. Gillespie was being held in the Montgomery County jail on $2,000 bond following his arrest on aggravated assault charges.

An investigation into the incident continues.

Accident in Red Oak Thursday morning


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An accident in Red Oak Thursday morning caused $1,600 damage, but no one was hurt. Red Oak Police report 16-year old Jessie Dean Houston, of Red Oak, was traveling west on East Nuckols Street at around 8-a.m., when he lost control of the 1993 Ford F-150 pickup he was driving on the snow and ice covered road. The pickup crossed the center line and hit a legally parked 1996 GMC Blazer. Houston was cited for Careless Driving.

Council Bluffs & Omaha look to combine efforts to market metro area


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Instead of trying to market individual states, many in the business world are now looking at economic development from a metropolitan perspective. Consultants are working to create a unique joint effort to spark growth that would join forces between a southwest Iowa community and its larger neighbor in Nebraska. Jeff Beals, executive vice president for the World Group in Omaha, explains the goal.

Beals says, “Omaha and Council Bluffs could become the first bi-state metro area in the entire country to truly integrate their economic development efforts.” On the other side of Iowa, there’s a flurry of advertising done by the Quad Cities, to promote Davenport, Bettendorf and their metro neighbors Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. Beals says the Council Bluffs-Omaha effort would be different in its marketing strategy in a way that could benefit the entire region.

“You would be bringing two states to the table,” Beals says. “If one state has better incentives for a certain type of factory, you highlight that place. Meanwhile, the whole metro area benefits because of increased jobs.” Beals says no final decision has been made on launching the project.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Fri., 12/13/13


December 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from the Associated Pres…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s governor and the state’s entire congressional delegation are asking the Obama administration to hold a hearing in Iowa to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce ethanol production in 2014. The EPA in November proposed cutting production to 2012 levels, prompting outcry by political leaders from both parties who claimed such a move would devastate Iowa’s economy. An Iowa State University economist says the economic impact elected officials claim is overstated. The EPA is taking public comment for 60 days on its recommendation.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he has reached a deal with federal authorities to expand low income health care. Branstad announced Thursday that he had an agreement with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Iowa sought a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. State officials said they had reached a compromise on one sticking point in the negotiations. The state wanted to charge small monthly premiums to some plan participants. Under the compromise, the state could charge those with lower incomes, but couldn’t deny benefits for not paying.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A panel of Iowa budget experts is expecting tax revenue to rise in the next fiscal year. The Revenue Estimating Conference met Thursday to project the state revenue numbers that Governor Terry Branstad will use to craft his next budget plan. The group predicts net state revenue — made up of taxes and other sources — will come in at nearly $7 billion for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st. That represents an increase of about $300 million over the current year.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal authorities in Iowa have charged a Florida man working for a Chinese company with conspiracy to steal patented corn seed trade secrets from two leading U.S. seed developers. U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt announced Thursday that Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, is in custody. He is alleged to have taken corn from fields in Iowa and Illinois with five other men working for a subsidiary of Chinese-based DBN Group. Authorities are searching for the others.

COLFAX, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in central Iowa responded to a vehicle collision involving an empty school bus. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says the crash happened Thursday afternoon on Highway F48 between Colfax and Newton. Des Moines television station KCCI reports a vehicle that hit the school bus later burst into flames. The station also reports the bus had no students onboard.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Officials say they’ve begun the adoption process for seven puppies found cold and wet in a storage bin on the side of a street in Mason City. The Humane Society of North Iowa says a good Samaritan brought the puppies to a shelter managed by the Humane Society on December 5th after he spotted a plastic bin on a neighborhood curb that said, “Free Puppies.” The National Weather Service says Mason City reached a high of 15 degrees that day. An official with the Humane Society says the puppies are in good health, but the bitter cold could have caused serious hypothermia or death.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Brynn Williamson scored a career-high 21 points and 17th-ranked Iowa State beat Number 21 Iowa 83-70 Thursday night for its best start in 12 years. Jadda Buckley had 19 points and Hallie Christofferson scored 18 with 14 rebounds for the Cyclones, who are 9-0 for the first time since starting 12-0 in 2001-02. Iowa State also improved to 9-0 at home against the Hawkeyes under coach Bill Fennelly.

Second Shotgun Deer Season Begins Saturday in IA

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s first shotgun deer season closed Wednesday and officials with the Department of Natural Resources say the preliminary numbers indicate that license sales and harvest are both down from previous years. Sales of licenses declined 7 percent from 2012 and the reported harvest is 18 percent lower. The decrease reflects decreased deer numbers across the state as well as fewer licenses being issued, continuing the downward trend in harvest since its peak in 2006. The bitterly cold weather was likely a factor as well.

Iowa’s second shotgun season begins Saturday. Historically a lower kill during the first season often results in more deer being taken during the second. Hunters get an additional weekend of hunting during the second season and the weather forecast looks more favorable. Party hunting is a common practice during the shotgun season and hunters are reminded to be careful when hunting in a group.

Always make sure that you are shooting in a safe direction before pulling the trigger. Hunters during the second season typically take a higher percentage of does than first season hunters do. However, if hunters are seeing fewer deer where they hunt they may want to refrain from harvesting extra does. Hunters should check with landowners to see if deer numbers are at an acceptable level and tailor their harvest accordingly.

To avoid waiting in line hunters should consider buying a license today. Current sales for the second season are nearly 30,000 below last year but a large proportion of hunters wait until the last minute to buy a license. About 25,000 licenses will be purchased between Thursday and Saturday morning. Hunters are reminded to report their harvest within 24 hours of recovering their deer. The DNR says that information is an important part of the data needed to manage Iowa’s deer herd.

Cass Co. Sheriff’s Office News


December 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Thursday, announced the election of Deputy William Ayers as an at-large member of the board of the Iowa Sheriff’s and Deputies’ Association for a two-year term. And, as KJAN News mentioned Wednesday, a new deputy is being welcomed to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Tyler Shiels. Deputy Shiels is a currently certified officer and is a graduate of DMAAC with a degree in Criminal Justice.

New report says Iowa pension fund in good shape


December 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new report says Iowa’s public pension system remains in strong fiscal health. The analysis from the Iowa Policy Project was released Thursday. The report says the funds serving over 340,000 current, former and retired public sector workers in Iowa are in good financial shape. Plan participants include state and local government workers.

According to the liberal think tank’s report, the system took a financial hit over the past decade due to stock market losses. But the state has made some benefit rule changes in recent years, including giving the pension system more power to adjust contribution rates.

The latest actuarial review of the pension system shows that the state has 81 percent of the assets needed to pay projected benefits. That means they are currently short about $5.8 billion.