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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 4/15/2015


April 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A group of protesters are calling for the resignation of a Burlington police officer who fatally shot a woman when firing at a growling family dog. A few dozen people gathered in Burlington to protest 31-year-old Jesse Hill’s return to work at the Burlington Police Department. He had been on administrative leave following the Jan. 6 shooting of Autumn Steele and returned to work March 27. A rally has also been staged in support of Hill.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A 78-year-old man has been accused of sexually abusing two girls. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office says 78-year-old Merlin Jensen, of Avoca, was arrested April 3 and remained in custody without bond. A criminal complaint says Jensen is accused of inappropriately touching 7- and 4-year-old girls and exposing himself to them. The complaint says Jensen gave the 7-year-old girl a vibrating toy and attempted to have sex with her at least once.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has confirmed the governor’s pick to lead the state Department of Human Services. The Senate endorsed Chuck Palmer, who took over DHS in 2011 after Gov. Terry Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.

MONTICELLO, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton says she wants to be a “champion” for struggling American families. She laid out the early cornerstones of her 2016 presidential campaign with students and teachers at a community college in Monticello, Iowa. It was her first formal public event since returning to presidential politics. Clinton is opening her campaign with small events such as the community college meeting and leaving big rallies for later.

Bird flu confirmed in Iowa turkey flock

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bird-flu strain that has already hit numerous turkey farms in the Midwest has been found in a turkey flock in northwest Iowa. An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says Tuesday the H5N2 strain of bird flu virus has been confirmed in a barn on a farm housing 27,000 birds in Buena Vista County. The disease was suspected when turkeys began dying in the barn.

An Iowa Poultry Association spokesman says the farm is under quarantine and the turkeys will be euthanized. Animal health officials have long said the virus is dangerous to all commercial poultry. Iowa has 130 turkey farms raising 11 million turkeys a year. The state also is the nation’s leading egg producer with 59.6 million egg layers. No chicken flocks in Iowa have been infected.

Clarinda Police Make Early Morning Drug Arrest


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Clarinda today (Tuesday) arrested a local man on drug and other charges. Officials say at around 3:40-a.m., officers arrested 42-year old Jess Scott Larson, of rural Clarinda, for felony possession of marijuana, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance believed to be marijuana and introduction of contraband believed to be marijuana into a correctional facility or jail.

Larson was arrested without incident following a traffic stop at 20th & State streets. He was booked into the Page County Jail, and held on $3,000 bond, pending an initial appearance before a Page County Magistrate.

Bridge out/road closed notices for Shelby County


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency reports a bridge along Ironwood Road is closed for construction. The bridge is over Mosquito Creek, in the 1900 block of Ironwood Road, just south of 1944 Ironwood Road, between Union Township Sections 33-34. Construction is expected to last about six-weeks. Officials say the area has many dirt or Level-B roads. Considerable alternate route planning will be necessary for persons responding to emergencies in the area.

A reminder also, that a bridge along Yellowwood Road over Elk Horn Creek, is closed between 544 and 532 Yellowwood. Access to Elk Horn Park is only available from the south, in Clay Township, Section 10. The road in that area is closed for an indefinite period of time.

Iowa educators express frustration with funding holdup


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Across Iowa, school districts are finalizing budget proposals for the upcoming school year without a key detail: how much administrators can actually spend. The Iowa Legislature continues to be at an impasse over education funding for the fiscal year that begins in July. A deadline Wednesday for school districts to have preliminary approval of their budgets seems to be doing little to prod lawmakers into action.

Iowa school superintendents say the lack of certainty about funding has been frustrating. Some say it could affect staffing and programming, among other things. Democrats, who originally proposed more than $200 million in additional funding, are now pushing for about $150 million. Republicans are seeking an increase of more than $100 million. Both proposals include dollars dedicated to teacher leadership training.

Tax rate declines for Exira-EHK District


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The tax rate for patrons of the Exira-Elk Horn Kimballton School District is being lowered for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year. Superintendent Dean Schnoes told KJAN News the levy will decrease about 70-cents per thousand dollars of taxable valuation.

Schnoes said the rate will decrease from about 13-dollars, to $12.31/per thousand. The change, which becomes effective July 1st, followed Monday night’s school board meeting on the 2015-16 budget, during which there were no objections from the public. The budget, according to Schnoes amounts to between 8-and 9-million dollars. (The exact figure wasn’t immediately available)

Schnoes said the Exira-EHK School Board also agreed to continue discussions with the Audubon Community School District, on sharing a wrestling program next year. He said they’d like to get to a point where they can field all the weight classes. Schnoes said it’s important to keep wrestling alive in both districts.

In other business, the board approved the resignations of 4th grade teacher Kara Wilson, who is moving to another district closer to home, and head volleyball coach Connie Wyatt. The Board also approved their assessment goals for kids next year, as well.

Audit of Pacific Junction finds improper pay to city employees


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A report released Tuesday detailing an investigation by the state auditor of the town of Pacific Junction has revealed more than $30,000 in improper pay to city employees.

Auditor Mary Mosiman issued the report on the investigation of Pacific Junction that found $31,842 in wrongful disbursements to city officials over a five-year period, from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2013. It also identified $75,825 in unpaid payroll taxes, including about one-third of that total in penalties and interest.

Concerns from citizens about the frequency and number of payroll check received by city employees prompted the review. According to the report, City Clerk Kari Williams received nearly $16,000 in unauthorized vacation, sick leave and holiday pay.

Theft investigation in Grant leads to an arrest


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An investigation into a theft in Grant this past February, and the theft of an ATV, has resulted in an arrest. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports 32-year old Jason Latham, of Blockton, was arrested this (Tuesday) morning on a 2nd Degree Theft charge. Latham was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond.

More than 300 Iowans to split $7,000 in refunds after being duped in psychic solicitation scheme


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A company based in the United Kingdom has paid $7,000 to provide refunds to 325 Iowans who responded to personalized psychic solicitations. Geoff Greenwood, spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s office, says his office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit after an investigation that started a couple years ago with a call from an eastern Iowa woman.FakePsychic

“Our consumer protection division heard from an Iowan whose 91-year-old mother had provided a lot of money to this clairvoyant and this 91-year-old almost went broke sending money to this individual,” Greenwood says. The mailings — from supposed psychic “Mary Theresa” or “Lady of Hearts” — offered to share information in exchange for a fee of between $20 and $54.

“She all but promises that something really good is going to happen…’I’ve got some information that perhaps will affect your wealth or affect your health,'” Greenwood says. The scheme by Nature Plus Limited targeted mostly elderly Iowa victims, who will soon be getting refunds.

“And what’s important as well is that she won’t be doing this again in Iowa and she won’t share her mailing list with others so others can target these same people,” Greenwood says. Some Iowa victims sent hundreds of dollars in response to multiple mailings from supposed psychics promising riches and life-changing miracles, according to Greenwood.

(Radio Iowa)

Bag of raccoon carcasses mistaken for bag of dead puppies


April 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say what seemed to be a bag of dead puppies dumped near a bridge in northwestern Iowa has turned out to be a bag of skinned raccoon carcasses. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says the bag was found north of Sibley on April 6 and appeared to have been left near the bridge sometime last fall. But on Monday senior conservation officer Greg Harson with the Iowa Natural Resources Department said the carcasses were those of raccoons.

Osceola County Sheriff’s Lt. Seth Hofman says it’s not known whether the raccoons were trapped or hunted legally, but they were disposed of illegally.