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2 plead guilty in connection to Iowa house fires

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two people have pleaded guilty to charges in connection to a string of house fires in Sioux City. The Sioux City Journal reports a 17-year-old pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree arson as part of a plea deal that will dismiss a third-degree burglary charge. Thirty-two-year-old Daisy Castillo pleaded guilty recently to third-degree burglary as part of a plea deal that dismissed a second-degree arson charge. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Associated Press does not generally name minors accused of crimes. Authorities have been investigating a string of suspicious house fires in August and September. Eighteen-year-old Javen Mobley has pleaded not guilty to second-degree arson and third-degree burglary. A 14-year-old is charged in juvenile court with first-degree arson.

Fatal fire in southwest Iowa

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County say a residential fire this (Tuesday) morning has claimed the life of a Riverton man. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says 66-year-old William Daniel died in the fire at 911 Meadow Avenue, in Riverton. The blaze was reported at around 6:20-a.m.

Firefighters from Riverton, Sidney, Hamburg and Farragut were on the scene for about three hours. State Fire Marshall Special Agent John Ticer told the Daily NonPareil  the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but that he believes it began in the master bedroom of the home. Ticer said there were no working smoke detectors in the residence, and that may have contributed to Daniels’ death.

Daniel’s body has been taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, for autopsy.

2014 DNR Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants awarded to rural fire depts

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Bureau, in cooperation with US Forest Service – State and Private Forestry, has awarded $207,807 in 50 percent cost-share grants to 82 rural Iowa fire departments to aid their efforts in protecting Iowan’s and their property from wildfires.The grants offer valuable funding assistance for wildfire suppression equipment, personal protective equipment and communications equipment.

Among the area fire departments that should be watching for the notification that their 2014 VFA Grant requests have been approved are those in: Afton,  Anita,  Atlantic, Avoca, Carson,Grant, Hamburg, Harlan, Irwin, Jamaica, Logan, Manning, Mapleton, Pacific Junction, Sidney, and Stuart.

Gail Kantak, fire supervisor with the DNR’s Forestry Bureau, stressed the importance of submitting Wildland Fire Reports whenever fire departments respond to a wildland fire or provide assistance to a prescribed or controlled wildland fire. Departments actively returning these reports receive priority points when the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant applications are scored. The wildland fire reports are compiled locally and nationally and are reported to Congress.

Wildland Fire reporting forms and spreadsheets are available at www.iowadnr.gov/fire.

BOIL ADVISORY LIFTED FOR CITY OF DUNLAP

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR says a boil advisory has been lifted for the city of Dunlap, in Harrison County. The boil advisory was issued Saturday after cracks were discovered in a water main. Repairs have been made to the system and the water has been tested to ensure it is safe.

Governor stands by request to have state employees pay part of insurance

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The state opened negotiations Monday with the largest state employee union and health insurance is again an issue. The president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61, requested an 8-percent increase in salaries over a two-year period, and wants the state to continue paying 100-percent of health insurance. The state is proposing a one-percent pay increase with state employees picking up 20-percent of the cost of insurance. Governor Terry Branstad told reporters Monday that state workers should pay part of their insurance costs.

“I have been on record for a long time in feeling that everybody ought to have some skin in the game, ought to make some contribution,” Branstad says. Branstad sought the same thing during negotiations two years ago and ultimately an arbitrator ruled the state should continue to pay 100-percent of the health insurance, but denied the employees a pay raise. Branstad says the union representing state law officers has agreed to pick up part of the cost of their insurance, and non-contract employees do as well. He says other state employees should also contribute.

“Frankly we are paying a price for it not happening,” Branstad says. “The executive council had to approve a 40-million dollar increase in cost in our health care. And I think if people have some skin in and we work in a collaborative way together, we can do a better job of controlling health care costs for state employees.” The negotiations on the new contract will resume in January behind closed doors.

(Radio Iowa)

Snow, wind may impact Iowans’ holiday travels

News, Weather

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Many Iowans may need to schedule their Thanksgiving holiday travel plans around those of Mother Nature. National Weather Service Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg says one to four inches of snow is expected across the state tonight (Tue) into tomorrow (Wed) morning. “Most of the snow is going to be in northern and north-central Iowa,” Kotenberg said. “So, we’re looking at maybe three to four inches of snow from around the Estherville area, along Interstate 35, north of Ames.” Much of central Iowa, south of Ames, can expect two to three inches of snow. Western and eastern Iowa are forecast to receive around an inch of snow. The snow may present some challenges for motorists.

“I think by 7 a.m., a good part of central Iowa will probably have around one to two inches of snow already fallen,” Kotenberg said. “That means by the time a lot of us head out Wednesday morning, those roadways might already be snow covered and a little bit slippery.” The snow will be followed by a big blast of cold air. “Wind speeds will pick up behind this. We’ll probably see winds of around 15 to 20 miles an hour Wednesday night into Thursday morning,” Kotenberg said.

Some blowing snow is possible on Wednesday. High temperatures on Wednesday will range from the upper 20s to mid 30s, with overnight lows dipping into the single digits.. Highs on Thursday are expected in the teens and 20s.

(Radio Iowa)

Adair-Casey School District continues to look toward the future

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Declining enrollment and other factors affecting the budget forced administrators with the Adair-Casey to figure out a better way to serve their students while at the same time remaining financially viable. Steve Smith, Superintendent for the Adair-Casey School District, says what’s really best for students, is having opportunities in the classroom, as well as extra-curricular activities.Adair-Casey logo

Last week, the Adair-Casey Board held meetings with Iowa Association of School Boards Director of Financial Services, Gary Sinclair. As part of continued discussions intended for the public, they’ve also met with patrons of the district and others, to discuss the district’s current financial and operational positions. Smith says they’ve tried to communicate as much and often as possible with the public, through local newspapers, their webpage, and the position of Board Agenda minutes, to attain reaction from the public.

A community meeting was held one-year ago. The most recent meeting came last Wednesday, during a regularly scheduled School Board session. Smith said the bottom line, is that a continued decline in enrollment will make it difficult for the District to provide the types of things needed for their students. He says the question patrons have, is what kind of an education can they provide if they don’t do something now to prepare for a decline in income from decreased enrollment?

Smith said Adair-Casey School Board President Megan Kading and the rest of the Board have been working to come up with solutions. He says there was a motion that passed last week which stated the district will operate in the same capacity while they explore Whole Grade Sharing opportunities with previously districts, to determine a mutually beneficial partner.

He says they will continue to be looking at aligning themselves with a partner district, but that doesn’t mean it will happen within three-to-five years. The decision last Wednesday, he says, allows them time to plan, without letting time get away from them and being forced to make a rash decision.

Geographically, there are only so many options as far as school districts they can consider as far as Whole Grade Sharing is concerned. The Board met separately, over the summer, with members of the CAM, West Central Valley, Nodaway Valley and Guthrie Center. He says “We walked away from there feeling like three of those four, we would like to dig deeper and find out more information about those districts.” The next step he says, is to look at who might be the most “suitable partner” for the district.

That would enable the district to determine what academic and extra-curricular activities they can offer to students and allow those students to be successful once they graduate.

Cass and Adair County Board of Supervisors to meet Wed.

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Board of Supervisors in Cass and Adair Counties will hold separate meetings Wednesday morning in Atlantic and Greenfield, respectively. In Atlantic, the Cass County Supervisors are expected to act on approving a Livestock Facility Construction Evaluation Resolution. Their meeting begins at 8:30-a.m.

In Greenfield, the Adair County Supervisors will hear from County Attorney-Elect Clint Hight, with regard to his office staff, health insurance, and other office discussion. They also hear from Sheriff Jeff Vandewater, with regard to the resignation of his Chief Deputy, a new hire, and hold discussion with regard to replacing the Chief Deputy.

The Adair County Board will also hold a joint meeting with the County Conservation Board in the Courtroom, followed by a closed session, and action of a Fiscal Year 2015 Conservation Budget Amendment request and Conservation Appropriations request.

Their meeting begins at 9-a.m., Wednesday.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN Local/State News, 11/25/14

News, Podcasts

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

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2 state pursuit results in an arrest in s.w. Iowa

News

November 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A pursuit early this (Tuesday) morning in Fremont County resulted in an arrest. Sheriff’s officials say deputies in Fremont County were called to assist an Atchinson County, MO., Deputy in pursuit of a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 29.  Upon entering Fremont County, deputies were able to box the suspect vehicle-in at the 11-mile marker of I-29 northbound. Taken into custody was 18-year old Jesse Calvin Rondell.

Rondell was charged with assault on a Peace Officer, Felony Eluding, OWI, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $7, 300 cash bond.