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Giffords calls on women to highlight gun violence


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords says that “dangerous people with guns are a threat to women.” She appeared in Iowa on Tuesday to rally female voters and inject gun control into one of the nation’s marquee Senate contests two weeks before Election Day. Giffords is nearing the end of a two-week national tour that includes stops in Minnesota, Oregon and Washington State this week.

The Arizona Democrat has become the reluctant face of the gun control movement. She was shot while meeting with constituents almost four years ago. The attacker killed six and left Giffords with permanent brain damage.

Giffords has pushed Congress unsuccessfully to expand background checks for all gun purchases. As the midterm elections approach, she’s fighting to ensure gun violence isn’t forgotten.

Winterset woman faces vehicular homicide charges


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) – A Winterset woman has been charged with vehicular homicide following a car crash in May that killed two people. Court records show 21-year-old Mari Silliman faces two counts of vehicular homicide. Des Moines television station KCCI reports she turned herself in earlier this month and is out after posting bond.

The single-vehicle crash in May killed 20-year-old Logan Waltz, of Winterset, and 21-year-old Taylor Aleman, of West Des Moines. Matthew Thomas Lindholm, an attorney for Silliman, says his client plans to plead not guilty to the charges. He says alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash, and there will be an investigation into road conditions prior to the crash.

Villisca woman cited for animal neglect


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A complaint from a citizen in Mongomery County has resulted in charges of Animal Neglect being filed against a Villisca woman. The Sheriff’s Office reports 20-year old Cheyanne Nicole Welcher faces two-counts of animal neglect, after an investigation.

Officials from the City of Villisca seized two puppies belonging to Welcher from the 100 block of west 5th Street, in Villisca. The puppies were placed in the care of the Southern Hills Vet Clinic, in Villisca.

USDA: Iowa corn harvest 18 days behind schedule

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The harvest remains behind schedule in Iowa but weather conditions are favorable for allowing farmers to try to catch up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa is about 18 days behind the normal corn harvest pace with 19 percent harvested while typically at this time more than half of the crop is in. Nationally, only a third of the crop is in when normally half is finished by now. The Iowa soybean harvest is nine days behind schedule with 61 percent harvested, less than the 77 percent average. Nationally, just over half the crop is in. The average is 66 percent.

The USDA says in its weekly update released Monday 93 percent of the corn crop and 94 percent of soybeans nationally are in fair, good or excellent condition.

New department policy aims to help Iowa families


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Department of Human Services caseworkers are taking a new approach in child welfare cases that emphasizes helping families deal with their problems. The idea, called differential response, is to not launch formal investigations into parents when there are questions about a child’s well-being but no signs of abuse or imminent danger. Instead, caseworkers connect families with assistance to help them get their lives back on track.

The Des Moines Register reports examples of minor concerns include a messy house or a child who wanders off and is later found by a neighbor. The department said that social workers have used this approach almost 40 percent of the time during the first half of 2014 when looking into cases about a child’s welfare.

Woman injured in Council Bluffs house fire


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A woman has been injured in a fire at a house in eastern Council Bluffs. The fire was reported today (Tuesday), at about 6:15 a.m.  Authorities say the woman was taken to an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital for treatment. Her name hasn’t been released.

The fire cause is being investigated.

Iowa’s unemployment rate climbs to 4.6%


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Workforce Development agency is reporting the state’s unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent in September from 4.5 percent in August. IWD spokesperson Kerry Koonce isn’t surprised.
“You’re seeing transition between summer and fall employment, so we’ll frequently see a little bit of bump this time of year,” Koonce says.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September compared to 6.1 percent in August. The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 77,900 in September from 76,500 in August. There are roughly 3,000 more unemployed Iowans compared to a year ago. Koonce says there was also an increase in the total number of working Iowans. “It jumped from 1,626,400 (in August) up to 1,629,700 (in September),” Koonce says. “That’s 33,000 higher than it was this time last year, so that’s still very strong improvement for the economy.”

Iowa’s construction sector added 1,600 jobs in September, following an “unexpected” loss of 1,200 jobs in August. Construction has added jobs in five of the last six months. Education and health services also added 1,300 jobs last month.  “We did see some losses in trade and transportation (-1,000 jobs), with most of that in the transportation area,” Koonce says. “We also saw losses in leisure and hospitality (-1,600), which does tend to trend down this time of year.”

Employment in Iowa’s construction, health care, and finance sectors are at or near record levels, according to Koonce. Manufacturing trimmed 100 jobs last month, marking the fourth straight month that sector has cut employment in Iowa. “We saw large growth (in manufacturing) last year, so that’s just kind of leveling off,” Koonce says.

Compared to one year ago, there are around 400 fewer jobs in Iowa’s manufacturing sector.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Police report 2 arrests


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police report two arrests. On Monday, 38-year old Mandy Bolin, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant for Failure to Appear in court. And, last Friday, 48-year old Daniel Green, of The Dalles, OR., was arrested for 5th degree Theft (shoplifting).

Both were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Iowan who was speeding wife to hospital is charged


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa man who wouldn’t pull over for police while racing to get his pregnant wife to a hospital has been charged with speeding. Des Moines television station KCCI reports that 41-year-old Ben Kohnen also is charged with failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Last Tuesday Kohnen refused to halt for pursuing officers as he sped from his home in Pomeroy toward a hospital in Fort Dodge so his wife, Rachel, could safely deliver their fourth child. Officers eventually deployed stop sticks that punctured one of his vehicle’s tires, so Kohnen stopped.

When officers realized Rachel Kohnen was in labor, they took her to the hospital while her husband stayed to talk to other officers. Tiny Hazel Kohnen was born about an hour later, after her dad arrived.

Exira-EHK Board approves elementary school land sale


October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Exira-Elk Horn/Kimballton School Board Monday, held a public hearing at high school in Elk Horn, on a Resolution for the sale of land associated with the former elementary school in Exira. During the Exira-EHK School Board meeting last month, the Board agreed to sell the property for $5,000 by area resident Marvin Jorgenson. Superintendent Dean Schnoes said the hearing was merely a formality.

He said because the price tag for the property was $5,000, Iowa Code requires the open meeting.)
There were no objections and only one question on the matter from a district patron on how the sale would benefit the community. Schnoes said the Board wanted to make sure the land would benefit the community when it agreed to sell the land last month. He said a representative of the group still plans to use the land for a retirement home/assisted living facility, and/or a medical facility.

Following the public hearing, the Board approved a Resolution to sell the land, along with the Quit Claim Deed. In other business, the Exira-EHK School Board approved a contract for Pre-School Para-educator Catherine Menter, and a contract with the Atlantic Community School District with regard to the Cass County Educational Opportunity Center (CCEOC).

Schnoes said there are currently no students from the district attending the Center, but it’s available for any student that may fall behind that allows them to get the help they need.