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(Podcast) KJAN News, 12/17/2014

News, Podcasts

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The 7:07-a.m. Newscast w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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New charges filed against former Treynor teacher/coach

News

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Omaha World-Herald reports prosecutors in Pottawattamie County have filed two new charges against a man whom they have previously accused of fondling two students while he was a teacher and coach in Treynor. Court records show 45-year old Michael D. Travis was charged Dec. 10th with two felony counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee.The County Attorney’s Office said the alleged crimes occurred in August 2001 and August 2004. Travis worked in the Treynor school district as a fifth-grade teacher and an assistant softball coach.

He was first charged in May with two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. He has pleaded not guilty, and a trial is scheduled for late January. Prosecutors allege those crimes occurred in May 2002 and May 2006.

Red Oak Middle School to reopen in January

News

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

After being closed since the Labor Day weekend, Red Oak Community Middle School will reopen its doors for the new year. Superintendent Terry Schmidt told the Daily NonPareil an inspection by the State Fire Marshal’s Office on Monday morning cleared the way for the building to reopen Jan. 5th. The school was closed indefinitely after as much as 2 inches of water flooded its second floor, leaking into electrical conduits and creating a safety hazard. The three-story building just north of downtown is more than 100 years old.

Middle-school students will start their holiday break early on Friday so teachers and support staff can box up temporarily classrooms in the district’s high school and its adjacent technology building. Maintenance and operation staff will complete the move during the holiday break, Schmidt said. The building already has repaired electrical infrastructure, new carpet and new painting where needed.

Because the gym is in a separate but attached building, the fire marshal gave an all clear to use the building weeks ago if the district prevented a possible fire from spreading from the main school. Schmidt said the repairs so far have totaled about $120,000, but he expects the total bill to end up about $150,000 by mid-January when claims are submitted to the district’s insurance adjuster.

Group pushes for medical marijuana legalization

News

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A group of Iowans announced a campaign Tuesday at the state capitol dedicated to promoting regulated access to medical marijuana for patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions. Lawmakers passed, and the governor signed a very limited bill into law that allows the use of cannabis oil for patients with chronic epilepsy. Sally Gaer is the mother of a child with the form of epilepsy and now is a member of the group “Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis.”

“We have more folks who would like access to cannabis as medicine to use for their medical conditions…they’ve been in contact with us and so we decided to form this group, and it encompasses more than intractable epilepsy,” Gaer explains. Founding members of the group include Easter Seals of Iowa, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Iowa Chapter; Epilepsy Foundation of North Central Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska; Epilepsy Families for Medical Cannabis. Gaer says one of their objectives is to change the classification of marijuana from a schedule one designation.

“Schedule one says that marijuana has no medicinal value, which is quite untrue and inaccurate,” Gaer says. The also want to create a Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee within the Department of Public Health. “That are physicians and pharmacists and scientists and law enforcement and drug enforcement, so everybody is on the same page,” Gaer explains. “And they would make the decisions as far as processing, growing and dispensing the cannabis medicine in the state so that the legislature is not making every little minuscule decision.” One of the arguments against approving medical marijuana is that critics say that will then lead to approving recreational use of the drug.

“None of us are really for recreational marijuana in any way, shape or form,” Gaer says. “My story has been all along, they already get it. They can walk outside and in five minutes get their hands on illegal recreational marijuana, to their detriment. I still don’t have access to medicine for my daughter.” Gaer says even with the law allowing Iowans with intractable epilepsy to treat their conditions legally with medical cannabis oil, Iowans still cannot safely, affordably, and legally get medical cannabis in other states. She says part of the problem is that the state-issued medical cannabis “cards” needed are still not available. And although 23 states have legalized the sale of medicinal cannabis, it’s sold almost exclusively to in-state residents.

“Drug abusers still get it, and the people that need it still can’t,” she says. Gaer says the extra support could help get something more done in the upcoming legislative session, and that’s why they are making their support know now. “I think there are some legislators working and figuring out what this should look like, and if we can get a bill introduce right away this session and get work going on it, so we are further ahead than we were last year,” Gaer says. Last year’s legislature was working with the knowledge that many members would be on the ballot in the fall, and she hopes with the election over, there’s more chance of getting the issue moving.

“You know, that was what we heard from the get go last year, well this is an election year, this probably won’t happen. And our thought was exactly it’s an election year this should happen,” Gaer says. “So, hopefully we won’t have that oh my gosh what will this do to the election in the fall if I do anything about this, hopefully it will more about helping people.” Gaer says medicinal marijuana is widely supported by most Iowans, as a 2014 Des Moines Register poll found that 59 percent of Iowans support its use. A follow-up poll by Quinnipiac found that 81 percent of Iowa voters support legal access to medical cannabis under a doctor’s treatment plan.

(Radio Iowa)

Ernst will be neutral in presidential race until after 2016 Iowa Caucuses

News

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

This past year Senator-elect Joni Ernst got campaign help from most of the Republicans who plan to run for the White House in 2016, but she plans to welcome all presidential hopefuls to Iowa and will not publicly pick a favorite in the 2016 race before Iowa’s Caucuses. “I do not intend to endorse anyone,” Ernst says. “I would love to welcome anybody that like want to put their name out there.”

The list of possible presidential candidates who campaigned with and for Ernst before November’s election includes former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who hosted a fundraiser for Ernst in Florida. Florida Senator Marco Rubio campaigned with her in Iowa twice, donated 10-thousand dollars to the Ernst campaign and paid for commercials touting her candidacy.

In October, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee campaigned with Ernst in western Iowa and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul headlined a rally with Ernst in Iowa City. Ernst says she’ll throw the welcome mat out to all the Republicans who jump into the next presidential race. “We’ll have a lot of visitors coming to Iowa and I’m so excited about that,” Ernst says. “Iowa is a great agricultural state, a great manufacturing state with great financial institutions here and I am going to have a wonderful time sharing Iowa experiences with them and showing them how wonderful our people are.”

Ernst did publicly endorse Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House in 2008 and Romney returned the favor this past spring with his endorsement of her when she faced five Republican competitors in the June Primary. Ernst is publicly declaring herself neutral in the run up to Iowa’s 2016 Caucuses. “I am going to be a welcomer to the state of Iowa,” Ernst says. “I welcome anybody that’s choosing to place themselves out there and seek the nomination.” Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Republican governor, is among those considering a bid for the presidency and he was the keynote speaker last night (Tuesday) for the Polk County Republican Party’s holiday party in Des Moines.

In October Jindal met with Iowa voters at one of Ernst’s campaign offices, but Ernst was not there. In June, Texas Senator Ted Cruz endorsed Ernst on his Facebook page and urged his supporters to make a contribution to her campaign. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin endorsed Ernst in March, right after the debut of the campaign ad in which Ernst talked about castrating pigs and promising to cut pork in Washington.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 17th 2014

News

December 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

GARNER, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor says it will be impossible to find an impartial jury in Hancock County for the trial of a former state lawmaker accused of sexual abuse. Assistant Attorney General Tyler Buller says former state Rep. Henry Rayhons, his lawyer and his family have provided commentary that’s led to slanted and misleading coverage of the case. Rayhons, of Garner, is accused of having sexual contact in May with his wife, Donna Rayhons, while she was a resident of a care center and not able to give consent. Donna Rayhons died in early August.

GRANGER, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a fatal house fire in Granger was likely caused by smoking. The State Fire Marshal Division within the state Department of Public Safety says the early Monday fire was accidental and likely caused by smoking. Authorities believe the fire started on a couch where a man was located. The man was identified as 55-year-old James O’Connor. Authorities say he died of thermal injuries.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state ethics board has dismissed a complaint filed against state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. A staffer for Republican treasurer candidate Sam Clovis filed the complaint over an ad campaign for a popular college saving program that aired as Fitzgerald was running for re-election. The ethics board says airing the ads didn’t break any state law.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — A former Iowa State graduate student accused of trying smuggle sensors for military guidance systems has pleaded guilty in a New Mexico federal courtroom. Wentong Cai is a Chinese national. His cousin who worked for a tech company in China also has pleaded guilty and faces 20 years in prison.

Atlantic City Council to act on several matters, Wednesday

News

December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, will act on several matters to come before them. During their 5:30-p.m. meeting at City Hall, the Council will act on a Tax Abatement application for a residence at 1604 Bryn Mawr Blvd. Interim City Administrator John Lund says after consulting with the City Attorney, it was determined the proposal for a new addition was eligible for the abatement due to the time frame in which the actual improvements began, and not the demolition.

The Council will also act on providing prior approval of tax abatement for a lot at 904 Mulberry Street, where the property owners may make up to slightly more than 3-thousand square feet of improvements. A building permit will still need to be acquired, the 10-percent threshold met, and zoning regulations followed per the completed abatement applications.

In other business, the Atlantic City Council is expected to approve a 28-E agreement between the Atlantic Fire Department and the City of Marne. The agreement is renewed every 5-years, and there are no changes from the previous agreement. The Council will also act on a clarified Resolution pertaining to the City’s Personnel Policy Manual, and the second reading of a Mowing ordinance.

And, the Council will recognize Atlantic Police Officer, Sgt. Paul Wood, who has served the community for 10-years. An award to be presented to Officer Wood is being covered by an anonymous party who wishes to recognize City employees for their service. No taxpayer dollars are involved.

Lake Manawa drowning victim ID’d

News

December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County today (Tuesday) identified the victim of a canoeing accident that took place Sunday afternoon on Lake Manawa, in Council Bluffs. Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said the victim, whose body was recovered late Monday morning, has been positively identified by the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office as 39 year old Jeremiah Beckmann of Omaha, Ne. Beckmann’s family has been notified of the identification. Beckmann was an active duty member of the United States Air Force and was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base.

Meyers says Beckman and 36-year old Benjamin Ferguson, also of Omaha were on the Lake when their  canoe capsized at around 1:45-p.m. Sunday. The accident happened as the men were maneuvering the canoe through an area of ice on the southwest side of the lake, near Boy Scout Island.

Ferguson, who is a Master Sergeant at Offut AFB and assigned to the Air Force Weather Agency, swam to the shore and walked to the park ranger’s house to report the incident. Beckmann had tried to hang onto the tipped over canoe, but slipped under the water. At the time of the accident, the water temperature was around 35 degrees.

Ferguson was taken to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs hospital for treatment of hypothermia. Council Bluffs Fire Dept. rescue crews had searched the lake until 5:30-p.m. Sunday without finding the Beckmann. Members of the Omaha Fire Department’s Dive Team and Council Bluffs Fire Department resumed their search for Beckmann at 8-a.m. Monday. His body was recovered at around 11-a.m that day.

Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office to partner w/the IABD for tobacco, Alternative nicotine and Vapor product education & enforcement

News

December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says it has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Guthrie County’s youth. Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. ABD logo

Due to a change in Iowa law, alternative nicotine and vapor products are now considered age-restricted products and will be part of the I-PLEDGE program’s compliance initiatives this year. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 93%. By participating in the program, the Guthrie Co Sheriff’s Office has committed to do its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.

I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use and affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale. Although not required to retake the training if currently certified, ABD encourages clerks to repeat the training after October 3rd, in order to familiarize themselves with the newly age-restricted products.

Sheriff Marty Arganbright says “I-PLEDGE’s retailer training is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product sales. The training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.”

Guthrie Co Deputies and Reserve Officers will also be conducting compliance checks on local establishment as part of the I-PLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter and attempt to purchase tobacco or alternative nicotine products. Clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot. Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for a third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.

“By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community,” Sheriff Arganbright said. “Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.”
To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to www.iowaabd.com

(Press Release)

Woman arrested for Trespassing in Atlantic

News

December 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic arrested a woman on a Trespassing charge, Monday. Officials say 64-year old Jeannette Schroeder was taken into custody and booked into the Cass County Jail. Additional information was not immediately available.