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Survey: economy remains weak in rural parts of 10 states

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy will remain weak in rural parts of 10 Midwestern and Western states because of low grain and oil prices. The region’s overall economic index improved slightly to 50.9 in January from December’s neutral score of 50. The index ranges from 0 to 100. Any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says growth is being restrained in rural areas because of low corn and fuel prices. But bankers say ethanol plants haven’t slowed production much. Despite the concerns, rural businesses have adding some jobs. The January hiring index was 52.8, down from December’s 55.2.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

University of Iowa president to retire after 8-year tenure

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she plans to retire after leading the school since 2007.  Mason announced Thursday that she will step down Aug. 1 after managing a devastating flood, major budget challenges and numerous controversies.

The 64-year-old biology professor came to Iowa City from Purdue University, where she had been provost. Almost immediately, she was thrown into managing one problem after another, many caused by events outside her control. A historic June 2008 flood came to symbolize her tenure, when heavy rains caused the Iowa River to overflow its banks and damage and destroy numerous buildings.

Mason worked to keep the university open and spent the following years overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars of rebuilding projects.

Harlan High School Bomb Threat update

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our earlier reports, officials with the Harlan Police Department today (Thursday) said they were still investigating a bomb threat incident at the Harlan High School located at 2102 Durant Street, and following up on leads. Meanwhile, they are continuing to ask for help from the public. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the H-PD at 712-755-5151.

Police Chief Frank Clark said the incident began to unfold when authorities were notified by school officials at around 12:16-p.m. Wednesday, that was bomb threat had been received at the Harlan High School. Officials would not disclose how the threat was conveyed. Authorities say at around 12:20-p.m., officers arrived at the school and learned district officials followed protocol and evacuated about 1500 students to two separate, safe locations.

The high school and grounds, along with the parking lot were searched, and with no evidence of an explosive device found, the building was turned back over to school officials at around 3:10-p.m. While the search was underway, law enforcement was in contact with the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Other agencies that assisted in handling the incident include: Deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office; crews with the Harlan Fire Department; The Iowa State Patrol; Harlan Community School District officials; Shelby County Emergency Management; Shelby County 911; the City of Harlan Public Works Dept.; Medivac Ambulance Service; Shelby County Public Health, and Myrtue Medical Center.

Effort to draft Warren in 2016 race hires Iowa staff

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A group trying to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race has hired several staffers in Iowa.  The “Run Warren Run” campaign announced Thursday that it had opened an office in Des Moines and hired an Iowa field director and four other field organizers in the early-voting state. The field director is Blair Lawton, an Iowa native who worked for President Barack Obama’s 2012 Iowa campaign.

The campaign is being organized by MoveOn.org and Democracy for America. They held their first Iowa meeting in Des Moines last month. The activists are trying to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, but the Massachusetts senator has said she isn’t running.

MoveOn plans to spend $1 million on its Warren effort and Democracy for America has pledged $250,000.

NJ trucker killed in I-680 crash

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from New Jersey has died on a crash on Interstate 680 in western Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol reports 48-year old Jeffrey Hall, of North Brunswick, NJ, died this (Thursday) morning, after the semi he was driving went off the road and into the median. When Hall swerved back onto I-680 westbound, the trailer hit the guard rail and the 2005 International rolled onto its left side before continuing north and west and going through the guardrail.  Hall was ejected from the cab of the truck as it rolled. The semi came to rest in the north ditch.

The accident happened just before 7-a.m. near mile marker 21. The State Patrol was assisted at the scene by Neola Fire and Rescue, and deputies with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 1/15/2015

News, Podcasts

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More area news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Hearing set for today on a new trial for Oakland man convicted of murder

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A hearing on a motion for a new trial and an arrest of judgment will be held today in Council Bluffs for a Pottawattamie County man found guilty of first-degree murder last November in connection with the death of an Atlantic woman. Attorneys for 63-year old Robert A. Reynolds, of Oakland, filed the motion for a new trial on Dec. 31st.  The hearing takes place at 1:30-p.m.

Reynolds’ attorneys cited in their motion the grounds for a new trial would include the trial not being in Avoca, a jailhouse phone call, and other issues discussed in the judges’ chambers. Reynolds, who was found guilty of shooting to death 64-year old Patricia Kinkade-Dorsey during the early morning hours of April 8th 2013, was to have been sentenced Jan. 21st.

Creston Police investigate theft at an apartment complex

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston are investigating the theft of change boxes from washing machines at the Executive Apartments. The theft, which took place sometime between 3-p.m. Monday and 3-p.m Tuesday, resulted in a loss of about $268.

(7-a.m. News)

(Podcast) 7:06-am. KJAN News & funeral report, 1/15/2015

News, Podcasts

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Caesars Entertainment files for bankruptcy protection

News

January 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The owner of dozens of Casinos across the U-S, including two in Council Bluffs, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Omaha television station WOWT reports Caesars Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection early this (Thursday) morning. The company owns 53 properties, and 18 of them were included in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Two of the 18 are located in Council Bluffs: Harrah’s Council Bluffs and Horseshoe Council Bluffs. A statement from the company says, “There are no planned job reductions as a result of this action. The business performs well at an operating level but the balance sheet still needs to be addressed.”

Caesar’s is trying too shed more than half of its $18.4 billion debt burden. The company has been negotiating with creditors and lenders for months on a reorganization plan that would turn the division into a real estate investment trust – one to own properties and the other to lease properties – promising creditors cash or new debt.

Caesars says the voluntary filing gives companies a chance to restructure their businesses to restore their finances without being forced into bankruptcy. The company says all properties will remain open for business. It also says rewards programs will remain the same and services offered at casinos and hotels will operate as normal.

Caesars casinos struggled after missing out on the casino boom in Asia. The company was also reluctant to upgrade and expand in its traditional U.S. markets. The operating division employs 36,000 people at 38 casino-hotels including the flagship Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.