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A state tax extension for some flood-weary businesses, individuals


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The state’s top tax official has used her authority to grant a tax extension to businesses and individuals living and working in the Missouri River flood zone. Victoria Daniels, a public information officer in the Iowa Department of Revenue, says it’s unclear how many taxpayers may be late in filing. “We just don’t know,” Daniels says. “But this is an ability that the director has, by law, to grant this extension in the event of a disaster.”

Taxpayers must submit sales and use taxes, plus any withholding for income taxes, on a quarterly basis. But taxpayers living in the six counties that border the Missouri River now have ’til October 31st to file. “Maybe they can’t get to their business location,” Daniels says. “Or their computers are under water and they can’t do what they need to do to acces the eFile & Pay system — something to that effect.”

Taxpayers in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties who’ve been hit by flooding can qualify for extension and file their quarterly tax payments by October 31st without penalty or interest. Daniels says her agency also has gotten a number of inquiries from the Dakota Dunes area, where people have temporarily relocated to Iowa because of the flooding there.

“There was some question about, ‘O.K., if I move to Iowa, am I now an Iowa resident and do I now owe Iowa income tax?’ And the guildeline has always been if you have Iowa-source income of $1000 or more, regardless of where you live, you are going to need to file an Iowa return,” Daniels says. “And we do have some guidelines for what we consider permanent residency.” Daniels says most South Dakotans fleeing flooded homes will be considered temporary, not permanent residents of Iowa because they intend to move back to their South Dakota home. The State of South Dakota, by the way, does not have a personal income tax.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors approve redistricting and precincting plans


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday, approved a redistricting and re-precincting plan proposed by a three-member committee tasked with drafting it, based on the results of the 2010 Census. The committee, comprised of Sherry Toelle, Board Chair Duane McFadden, and Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman, first met on June 22nd, to begin the process. 

Under the new plan, which retains the five supervisor districts, Supervisor District 1 would include Districts 2 and 3 in the City of Atlantic, along with the Brighton, Grove, Pymosa, and Washington Townships. Supervisor District 4 includes the Cass, Bear Grove, Pleasant, Noble, Edna and Victoria Townships. And, Supervisor District 5 would include the Benton, Franklin, Grant, Lincoln, Union and Massena Townships.  It shifts around some townships, but Sunderman said the plan ultimately makes it more convenient for the voters. He says there were two different plans, but one made too many changes that would inconvenience the voters. The other was closest to the current district map. The new plan has District 5 comprised of six townships, instead of 5.

He said the committee had very strict guidelines and tight margins to deal with in creating the plan. They had to try and make sure there were 2, 791 persons in each district. He says they only had less than a one-percent margin to play with, according to the new rules which were established by the legislature. Sunderman says they tried to come up with a plan that would not split any of the precincts, which includes townships, cities, or city ward.

The Supervisors will hold two public hearings on an ordinance adopting the plan they approved Wednesday. The first takes place during their meeting on September 14th. The Board is expected to waive the third reading of the ordinance following a second public hearing and second reading, on September 21st.

No hearing on hog lot expansion near Walnut, but written comments still being accepted

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors has decided not to hold a public hearing on a request by Lincoln Center Farms, to expand its hog operation south of Walnut. There are no complaints on record about the farm, and a public hearing on the company’s expansion plan is not mandatory in order for it to proceed. Regardless, the Board agreed to keep the application for expansion on file at the Planning Department, so that  accept any written comments may be accepted.

County Planning Director Kay Mocha said Lincoln Farms has asked the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a construction permit to add a fourth building at the farm. The farm has about 3,300 head of swine and is looking to add 1,100. Mocha says it’s the first request for expansion of a livestock lot that the county has received since a master matrix program was enacted in 2002. The master matrix is a scoring system for concentrated animal feeding operations, with point allocations in three categories: water, air and community impacts.

The Iowa DNR will have the final say on whether the farm can expand.

Arrest made in Coon Rapids death investigation


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety reported late Wednesday night, that an arrest has been made in connection with the death over the weekend, of a Coon Rapids man. 21-year old Travis Jeffrey Barker of Coon Rapids, was taken into custody Wednesday evening, on a charge of Murder in the First Degree,  in connection with the death of 28-year old William Smith on Sunday, September 4th. Barker’s bond has been set in the amount of $1,000,000.00. He is currently in custody at the Carroll County Jail awaiting an appearance before a magistrate.

Officials say police and paramedics were called to a residence in Coon Rapids at atround 1-p.m. Saturday, for a man that was involved in an altercation.  The man was identified as 28 year old William Smith.  Smith was taken to St. Anthony Regional Medical Center in Carroll for treatment and later flown to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines.  Smith was pronounced dead late Sunday afternoon, September 4, 2011.  The cause of death was determined to be due to an epidural hematoma. William Smith and Travis Barker were roommates.

The Coon Rapids Police Department is being assisted by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Judge grants western IA slaying suspect’s request for aid


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — Taxpayers will help fund the defense for a woman charged with fatally shooting a 20-year-old man at her home in western Iowa in 2001. Online court records show District Judge Kurt L. Wilke on Tuesday ruled that Tracey Richter-Roberts can hire a criminal investigator, a private investigator and a psychologist at the state’s expense for a total cost no greater than $6,750. A prosecutor had opposed her request.

Richter-Roberts was arrested in July and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dustin Wehde at her home in Early. She has pleaded not guilty and says she was defending herself from a home invasion.

Trial is scheduled for later this month but Wilke has suggested it could be delayed.

Corning woman arrested on MO warrant


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Corning woman was arrested this (Wednesday) morning, on a warrant out of Nodaway County, Missouri. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office says 29-year old Bobbie Jo Bruce was taken into custody at around 10:25-a.m, and held until she’s extradited to Missouri.

U.S. 30 in Harrison County to close briefly on Thursday


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Sept. 7, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that U.S. 30 between the Missouri River bridge and Harrison County Road K-45, which is located west of Missouri Valley, will close for a brief period on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Both lanes of travel will be closed for approximately one hour beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday to allow Iowa DOT maintenance personnel to remove pumps and other flood-related equipment from the area. The road will reopen around 11 a.m.

Missouri River flood waters are beginning to recede and the pumps are no longer needed. The TrapBags installed along U.S. 30 will be removed at a later date. A separate announcement will be made when the work is scheduled.

The Iowa DOT is continuing its efforts to get traffic flowing smoothly again in western Iowa after months of flooding. Read more about the progress.

Iowa officials seek more time for flood repairs


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials say repairs to roads damaged by Missouri River flooding could be threatened by approaching deadlines built into federal law. Gov. Terry Branstad and Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal have sent letters to federal transportation officials asking that they waive requirements that repairs be completed within 180 days of a disaster. That would mean a November deadline for repairs, but the river hasn’t receded enough in many areas to allow damage assessments, much less repairs. In their letters, Branstad and Gronstal are seeking more time to assess damage and fix roads.

2011 County Endowment Programs funded


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad and officials with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Council of Foundations today (Wednesday), announced the funding of the 2011 County Endowment Fund Program. Officials say about $10-million in funding will be distributed to 85 community foundations across the state.

In western Iowa, that includes: The Empowering Adair County Foundation; The Adams, Audubon, Cass, Guthrie and Harrison County Community Foundations. The Community Foundation of Carroll is also included as a fund recipient.

Each of the 85 community foundations participating in the program, will receive approximately $118,000. In turn, they will grant 75-percent of those funds to charitable projects and programs in their counties, and use the remaining 25-percent to grow a permanent, unrestricted endowment fund. That fund will be used to attract additional donations and provide a source of permanent funding for charitable projects in the county.

The County Endowment Funding Program is made possible through monies the State generates from gambling revenues. 14 Iowa Counties were not eligible to share the funds, because they have state-licensed casinos in those counties.

Essex woman pleads guilty in McNeese fatal crash


September 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Essex woman plead guilty Tuesday in Montgomery County District Court, to two counts of homicide by vehicle/reckless driving, in connection with the November 28th, 2010 crash near Red Oak, that claimed the lives of two Cumberland children, Maliki and Alex Todd, and critically injured the boys’ mother, Nina McNeese.

The crash occurred when a car driven by 18-year old Karli Jo Brown passed two vehicles on a hill, and hit McNeese’ vehicle head-on. Court documents said Brown was driving 74 mph in a 55 mph zone and texting on her cellphone at the time of the crash.

Brown, who turned 19 this past May, had faced charges which included the two counts of vehicular homicide by reckless driving, and one count of serious injury by vehicle. She had previously pleaded Not Guilty to the charges. In return for her guilty plea however, prosecutors dropped a charge of serious injury by motor vehicle. Brown faces the possibility of a 10-year prison sentence on each count. Her sentencing is set for 1:30-p.m. Monday, November 7th, 2011.