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Johnston couple claim $1 million Powerball prize


January 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) – A Johnston couple have claimed a $1 million Powerball prize they won in the New Year’s Eve drawing. Friedel and Michele Djordjevic went to Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive on Friday to turn in the ticket that Friedel Djordjevic bought at a Johnston convenience store.

Once he and his wife were certain that five of the six numbers on the ticket matched the numbers pulled Dec. 31, they put the ticket in a fireproof box and began planning what to do with their winnings. They told lottery officials that they intend to put away some money for retirement, buy a new home, pay bills and share with their adult children.

Friedel, who is originally from Germany, says they also plan to take trips there to visit friends.

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., Jan. 26th 2015


January 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As Governor Terry Branstad prepares to introduce legislation aimed at expanding broadband Internet in Iowa, members of a committee tasked with giving him key recommendations for a bill say it’s a complex issue that they’re still sorting out. Members of a broadband committee within a science, technology, engineering and math advisory council say they’re still deciding what the state’s overall goal should be with expanding high-speed Internet, also known as broadband.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The four finalists to be Des Moines next police chief will be interviewed this week as officials prepare to make their choice. KCCI reports the final four candidates will go through a series of public events and interviews this week. A public reception will be held for the candidates on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the World Food Prize building. They will meet privately with top city officials on Friday.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa bird watchers will again be able to spot bald eagles this winter as they visit in search of warmer weather. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports an eagle watching event will be held at North Central Junior High on February 7th.

ATLANTA (AP) — Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are courting the Republican Party’s elite donors in the early maneuvering for the 2016 presidential race. But several other potential Republican candidates are concentrating their efforts on Christian conservatives. Several White House hopefuls addressed social conservatives at this past weekend’s Freedom Summit in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first caucuses in 2016.

Summary of Saturday’s “Iowa Freedom Summit”


January 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The “Iowa Freedom Summit” drew hundreds of grassroots activists to Des Moines this past weekend for a 10-hour event featuring 31 different speakers, about a dozen of whom presented themselves as possible 2016 presidential candidates. Congressman Steve King — the co-host of the event – kicked things off Saturday morning. “Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking from this stage to you today?” King asked and the crowd applauded. The parade of potential contenders for the G-O-P’s next presidential nomination included governors like Scott Walker who touted what he called the “Wisconsin Way” as a prescription for the entire country. “Common sense conservative reforms can actually work,” Walker said, “and they can work in a blue state like Wisconsin.”

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas challenged Iowa Republicans to ask each candidate to prove their conservative credentials. “Look each candidate in the eye and say, ‘Don’t talk. Show me,’” Cruz said. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called for a cease fire among conservatives. “We don’t need to spend the next two years beating each other up in the conservative tent,” Huckabee said. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested litmus tests could doom the party. “If you want a candidate who agrees with you 100 percent of the time, I’ll give you one suggestion: Go home and look in the mirror,” Christie said. “…If that’s the standard we hold each other to as a party, we will never win another national election — ever.”

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum offered his assessment of why Republicans have lost the last two national elections. “We don’t win because too many people think we don’t care about them,” Santorum said. Businessman Donald Trump drew cheers from the crowd when he declared that Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush would be losers for the party in 2016. The event also introduced Iowans to potential candidates who aren’t well known here, like former Hewlett-Packard C-E-O Carly Fiorina who brought the house down with her critique of Hillary Clinton’s performance as secretary of state.

Protestors who support President Obama’s actions which shield young people who were brought here illegally as children from deportation disrupted former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech. The Republican crowd started applauding Perry to try to drown out the protesters. Two protesters were arrested. Steve Wilson of West Des Moines supported Huckabee in 2008, but wasn’t thrilled with his choices in 2012. He attended Saturday’s event to “get a handle” on who’s thinking about running in 2016.

“We’re all quite dismayed and upset at the way the country has gone and where it’s headed and that kind of scares us,” Wilson says. “So it’s time to stand up and take a stand and see if we can’t get the country back to the country we grew up in and we loved.” While none of the participants in Saturday’s event have formally declared themselves candidates for the presidency, they made it clear Iowa’s Caucuses are on their minds. The Iowa Caucuses are currently scheduled for February 1st, 2016.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Rollover accident south of Atlantic Sunday morning


January 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following a rollover accident early this (Sunday) morning, south of Atlantic. According to dispatch reports, the accident happened at around 12:15-a.m., near 610th Street and Lansing Road. Three occupants were out of the vehicle prior to the arrival of law enforcement and rescue.

The driver of the vehicle reportedly had a suspended license. No other details are currently available.

PPEL elections coming soon to East Mills & Essex Districts


January 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Voters in the Essex and East Mills community school districts will be asked to expand physical plant and equipment levies to pay for infrastructure projects. The proposals will be decided on by the voters, Feb. 3rd. The Daily Non Pareil says it’s  the second attempt for East Mills, which would raise the board-approved levy of 33 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation to a total of $1.34 to be collected through property taxes and income tax surcharges.

The expanded levy would generate nearly $4 million in additional funding for infrastructure projects. The shared superintendent between East Mills and Essex, said East Mills would use the money for reroofing its high school building and completing a geothermal heating system at its elementary building.

The PPEL dollars in Essex would pay for a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, estimated to cost $725,000, as well as replacing buses and updating the district’s technology. Essex would also collect the maximum of $1.34 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. For a residential property worth $100,000, that translates to an increase of up to $66.40 per year. For a commercial property, it would be $127.30, based on 2013 property tax rollbacks.

In both cases, the PPEL funds would be limited to infrastructure spending. For the Essex election, polls will be open noon to 8 p.m. at Essex City Hall, 412 Iowa Ave. Polls will also be open from noon to 8 p.m. for the East Mills special election. Residents of Emerson proper will vote at the Emerson Community Building, while Malvern residents vote at the Malvern Public Library, 502 Main St., and Hastings residents at the Indian Creek Museum, 59256 380th St.

Emerson voters will have a special city election to fill a council vacancy. East Mills voters will also choose between Bruce Breeding and Brenda Koger to fill an open spot on the school board.

School Budget Review Committee grants reprieves for some SW IA Districts


January 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Tri-Center joined Hamburg and Farragut in receiving good news from the School Budget Review Committee earlier this week. The Daily NonPareil reports the Tri-Center Community School District – which serves Neola, Minden, Persia, Beebeetown — approached the state agency Wednesday afternoon to request a “modified supplemental amount,” the legal authority to spend dollars already spent to wipe the slate clean as the district tackles overspending.

The SBRC approved adding $480,244 in additional spending authority, as well as accepting Tri-Center’s corrective action plan, which projects a stable certified enrollment for the school district of 647 students. In exchange, the SBRC ordered Tri-Center to not spend more than $6.23 million from its general fund for fiscal year 2015 and to not spend any miscellaneous income until it’s received.

Tri-Center is required to submit monthly reports to its board showing the financial position of the district in relation to its budget control plan and spending authority, which will also be made available to state officials. Tri-Center Superintendent Tony Weers said significant reductions will still need to be made to spending. An estimated $600,000 in cuts are expected to be needed to reach the spending limits imposed by the state.

After hearing cases from Hamburg and Farragut, the SBRC approved budget authority supplement of $148,951 for Hamburg and $803,010 for Farragut as part of their corrective action plans. General budget spending for Hamburg for fiscal year 2015 will be limited to $2.5 million, while such spending for Farragut is capped at $2 million. Those figures don’t include allowable special education expenditures.

Similar to Tri-Center and other districts, the two Fremont County districts also will submit monthly reports to their boards and state officials. The districts must submit a plan to the SBRC by late next month to outline how to configure buildings to maximize potential cost savings with the least amount of facility upgrades.

In all three cases, the SBRC granted back budget authority, the legal right to spend money the districts have. None of the districts are receiving additional funding from the state, and none of the districts are insolvent. State law is designed to guarantee school districts across the state spend about the same amount of money per student. Tri-Center, Hamburg and Farragut all spent more than authorized for their general funds, which pays teacher salaries and other operational expenses.

While Tri-Center has sufficient enrollment to trim expenses to stay under the spending cap, the situation is different for Hamburg and Farragut. Both are small districts under the enrollment threshold widely considered sustainable.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sun., Jan. 25th 2015


January 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has followed up a national turn in the spotlight with a speech to home-state conservatives that stressed a need to rein in “executive overreach.” The freshman Republican appeared Saturday at a daylong forum attended by several potential 2016 White House contenders. The Freedom Summit was billed as the start of the Iowa presidential caucus chase.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Protesters have heckled Republican presidential prospects Rick Perry and Chris Christie over immigration policies during a conservative political forum in Iowa. The former governor of Texas was interrupted during his speech to the Iowa Freedom Forum by six people chanting, “If you become president, will you deport our families?” The six young adults claimed to be children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Police escorted them from the auditorium.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Police are still looking for a man involved in a crash that caused a Council Bluffs house fire. The Daily Nonpareil reports that a man was driving a 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup just after 2 a.m. Friday when he crashed into the home’s porch. The suspect fled the scene.

COLLEGE SPRINGS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say two family dogs that fatally mauled a 7-year-old College Springs boy have been euthanized. Malaki Mildward, a first-grader, died shortly after the attack Thursday afternoon. Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer tells the Omaha World-Herald that the dogs were 6-month-old puppies — a 25-pound female and a 35-pound male.

Police seeking driver after Council Bluffs crash, house fire


January 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Police are looking for a man involved in a crash that caused a Council Bluffs house fire. The Daily Nonpareil reports that a man was driving a 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup just after 2 a.m. Friday when he crashed into the home’s porch. Witnesses told police the driver fled on foot. No injuries were reported.

Council Bluffs police say the truck caught fire after the wreck and was engulfed in flames by the time officers arrived. The fire spread to the porch, but the house was not damaged. Assistant Fire Chief Matt Thomas says the wreck caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Police Sgt. Jason Bailey says the department hasn’t been able to contact the pickup’s registered owner.

Iowa judge gives life to ‘dangerous’ man in dual robberies


January 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge in Iowa says a man sentenced to life in prison for two robberies is one of the most dangerous people he’s ever seen. The Sioux City Journal reports that U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett made the comment at 23-year-old Jamal Dean’s sentencing on Friday.

Authorities say Dean, of Sioux City, has a criminal record stretching back to age 7. In August, he was found guilty of conspiracy, weapons, carjacking and robbery charges in connection with separate robberies of drug dealers in April 2013. He also pleaded guilty to an attempted murder charge in state court after he shot a police officer in the head.

Bennett says he believes in second chances, but described Dean as one of the biggest threats to society he’s ever seen.

Authorities: Dogs that fatally mauled Iowa boy euthanized


January 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COLLEGE SPRINGS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say two family dogs that fatally mauled a 7-year-old College Springs boy have been euthanized. Malaki Mildward, a first-grader, died shortly after the attack Thursday afternoon. Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer tells the Omaha World-Herald that the dogs were 6-month-old puppies — a 25-pound female and a 35-pound male. Palmer says the dogs were mixed-breeds with some bulldog heritage and had shown no signs of aggression.

Palmer said the boy’s family also euthanized another family dog — a bulldog mix who was not involved in the attack on the boy. Authorities believe Malaki went outside to play with the puppies, as he often did, when he was mauled. No one witnessed the attack.