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U of Iowa eliminating some scholarships as part of cutbacks


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa is eliminating academic scholarships expected by more than 2,400 resident students for the 2017-18 school year. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that a letter being sent by university President Bruce Harreld blames the Legislature’s decreasing university funding by $8 million. University officials estimate that cutting the scholarships will save the university about $4.3 million.

The university already has reduced its Summer Hawk Tuition program, tightened residency requirements for out-of-state students and raised the minimum number of credit hours required for students to live in the dorms.

Harreld told state lawmakers Wednesday that the cutbacks were necessary because of the $8 million reduction in state funding that the university is required to handle over the next four months.

Reward paid in Montgomery County following tip on suspect’s location


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Montgomery County Sheriff Joe Sampson says Montgomery County Crime Stoppers have paid a reward to a person or persons, associated with a tip that resulted in the arrest of a suspect wanted on numerous charges. Crime Stoppers actively followed-up on the proceedings that led to the arrest of the suspect involved in an incident that took place in Stanton, in Dec., 2016.

Sheriff Sampson says Montgomery County Crime Stoppers thanks the individuals and law enforcement agencies involved, and further requests all citizens of Montgomery County to call 1-888-434-2712, when you see any and all suspicious activity, or with any information relative to current or ongoing investigations.

When you call that toll-free number, you and your tip or information will remain totally anonymous. You are connected to an operator who takes down your information before issuing you a special ID number. You will the be instructed to call back into the Crime Stoppers line with your ID number to receive updates on the case. A successful prosecution resulting from your information may result in a cash rewards, which will also be handled on an anonymous basis.

Red Oak man arrested again this week


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man who had been arrested early Monday morning on Assault and Obstruction of Emergency Communications charges, was arrested again Wednesday evening for Violating a Protective Order. Red Oak Police says 28-year old Zachary Charles Burkes, of Red Oak, was arrested at around 6:45-p.m. and was being being in the Montgomery County Jail without bond.

And, 38-year old Kevin Duane Staley, of Red Oak, was arrested just after 6-p.m. Wednesday in Red Oak, on a Page County warrant for Probation Violation. Staley was brought to the Page County Jail, where his bond was set at $2,000.

And, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports 27-year old Eduardo Monrreal-Robles, of Elliott, was arrested just before 7-p.m. Wednesday in Elliott, on a Montgomery County warrant for Failure to Appear in Court on a Driving While Suspended charge. Monrreal-Robles was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $300 cash only bond.

E-Verify requirement pondered for Iowa businesses with 25+ employees


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Nineteen Republicans in the Iowa Senate are co-sponsoring a bill that would require Iowa businesses with more than 25 employees use the federal government’s “E-verify” system to confirm all new hires are citizens or legal residents of the United States. Dave Stitz is a vice president at the McAninch Corporation, a central Iowa contracting company that’s been using E-Verify for about eight years. Since 2009, the company has had just one applicant who failed the cross-check.

“If they know that a business is doing this, they will not come and apply for work, so they avoid us, which is a good thing,” Stitz says. “Word of mouth (moves) pretty fast.” Senator Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, says about three percent of Iowa businesses currently use the E-Verify system to ensure they’re following federal law and only hiring citizens and legal residents.

“Their competitors that don’t check and do hire people in the country illegally and pay them substandard wages — I think we all understand that happens — it’s not fair to the people that are obeying the law,” Garrett says. Critics like Pastor Ryan Arnold of the First Christian Church in Des Moines call
the bill anti-immigrant.

“It runs contrary to my church’s faith-affirmed responsibility to welcome the immigrant in our midst,” Arnold said. Iowa Catholic Conference executive director Tom Chapman says the state’s four Catholic bishops aren’t experts in labor law, but they are opposed to the bill.

“The reason for that is when you start messing around with people’s employment, you’re messing around with families,” Chapman said. “And I don’t think there’s any doubt that if this bill gets passed and starts being enforced, you’re going to start having some problems with people being able to provide for their families and harm real families.” Madeline Cano of the Iowa Citizens Action Network suggests the requirement would “promote” discrimination against potential workers who are in the country legally.

“There is a stereotype of what an undocumented immigrant looks like,” she says. A wide range of business groups are registered as undecided on the bill. A spokesman for the Iowa Chamber Alliance says his group supports mandatory use of E-Verify, but it should be FEDERAL requirement, rather than a hodge-podge of laws from all 50 states. In addition, business groups say upgrades are needed in the system to make it work better.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa home sales down slightly, prices up, in January


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Home sales are a key economic indicator and sales cooled off across Iowa last month.
Just 2,028 homes were sold in Iowa during the first month of the year. That’s down from 2,107 home sales in January of 2016. The numbers come from the Iowa Association of Realtors (IAR) and president Cindy Miller blames inventory levels, in part, for the sales slowdown.

The number of homes on the market is down over 20-percent compared to a year ago. It was also extremely cold during much of January, which may’ve kept prospective buyers from doing a lot of shopping. The IAR reports the median price for a home sold in Iowa last month was $145,000 – up from $135,000 a year ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thursday, 2/23/17


February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CST

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The winning Powerball numbers have been drawn for the jackpot that’s climbed above $400 million for the first time in nearly three months. The numbers are 10-13-28-52-61 and Powerball 2. The game’s website says one winning ticket was sold in Indiana. During Wednesday night’s drawing, it was announced that the jackpot increased to an estimated $435 million.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the use of automated speed cameras in Iowa, rejecting challenges in two separate court cases filed by citizens claiming Cedar Rapids cameras violated their constitutional rights. In one case six car owners ticketed on Interstate 380 sought class-action status claiming the cameras violate equal protection and due process rights among others.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Protesters have crowded Gov. Terry Branstad’s office to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline that passes through Iowa. Around 20 people came to the Iowa Capitol at 1 p.m. Wednesday to speak with Branstad, who is in Washington D.C. for National Governor’s Association meetings until Monday. The protesters say they want to speak directly to Branstad about denouncing the pipeline.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man has been arrested after police say he used a hammer to smash nearly 30 sculptures in the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens in downtown Des Moines. The Des Moines Register reports that the incident occurred Tuesday evening, when 48-year-old Dung Van Nguyen began smashing 27 pillar and two lion sculptures with a hammer. Police who confronted him shocked the man with a Taser when they say he refused orders to drop the hammer.

Iowans to get harsh reminder it’s still winter

News, Weather

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s flirtation with spring-like weather will be coming to an abrupt end tomorrow (Thursday). National Weather Service meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg says it will include a roughly 40-degree swing in temperatures. “Temperatures are going be back down into the 30s. I think on Saturday a lot of Iowa is going to lucky to even hit 30 degrees,” Kotenberg says. “It’s going to windy – think of those raw, windy days with winds of 20 to 30 miles an hour from the north. So, we had a small taste of spring this week, but it’s really going to flip this weekend and we’re going to see winter come back in full force.”

Rain and snow are also in the forecast. “We’re going to have that magical 32-degree line cutting right through the heart of the state from southwest to northeast,” Kotenberg says. “So, it looks like (southern) Iowa will see more rain than snow.”

Winter Storm Watch (Counties in blue); Blizzard Watch (counties in bright green)

A Winter Storm Watch covers 14 counties in parts of western and north-central Iowa from Thursday night through Friday evening. (In the KJAN listening area, a Winter Storm Watch is in effect from 6-a.m. Friday until Midnight, for Crawford, Carroll, Harrison and Monona Counties) A Blizzard Watch is in effect for 15 counties in the northwestern 3 tiers of counties, from 6-p.m. Thursday until Midnight, Friday.

“It’s looking like, right now, portions of northwestern Iowa will hit that 6 to 10 inch range and couple places could see more than a foot of snow,” Kotenberg says. “It looks like this will be a drawn out event, as well, with the snow lasting most of Friday morning, all of Friday, and into Saturday morning.” Kotenberg notes the AMOUNT of snow won’t be the biggest factor in travel conditions — it’ll be the strong winds, with gusts up to 40 miles an hour.

“When you have any snow that falls with winds that are that strong, we could see blowing and drifting snow, visibilities well under a mile, and even snow that’s been plowed by snowplows…that can be blown back onto roadways,” Kotenberg says. The snow and cold spell won’t be hanging around too long. Temperatures are expected to climb back into the 50s by next Tuesday and Wednesday.

(Radio Iowa)

Protesters occupied governor’s office; four arrested


February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Twenty people began occupying the governor’s office early Wednesday afternoon, to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline which passes through Iowa. At 5 p.m., four were arrested and charged with trespassing when the office closed for the day. Frank Cordaro, a spokesman for the group, says continued reliance on oil will cause “more dirty wars.”

“It’s oil-based this. It’s oil-based that,” Cordaro said. “We’ve sold our soul to oil.” The protesters asked to speak with Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, but neither were in the office Wednesday. “There’s a lot of baloney going on in this rigged system,” Cordaro said. “That’s not my words. That’s the presidents, so this is a rigged scene about big oil interests.”

Similar protests were staged in other states. The pipeline is to ship oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Illinois. The route through Iowa has been completed, but an uncompleted portion of the pipeline in North Dakota has been the focus of intense protests. Wednesday night was the deadline for protesters in North Dakota to clear out of their encampment at the site.

(Radio Iowa)

MO. man hospitalized following search for alleged stolen vehicle


February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A man from Missouri was being treated for undisclosed injuries at the hospital in Clarinda, Wednesday, following a search for a stolen vehicle that was first reported to have been involved in an accident. 27-year old Corey Evan Langdon, of Mound City, MO., was located by the Montgomery County K9 units following a lengthy search of the area.

The search began after the Page County Sheriff’s Office was notified at around 10:20-a.m., that a stolen vehicle, a 1999 Ford Ranger pickup that had been northbound on Highway 71, turned east onto Highway 2, entered a cornfield and rolled.  The occupant was allegedly seriously injured.  The call came to PAGECOMM dispatch from a Law Enforcement agency in Holt County Missouri.  Holt County Missouri had received the call from a relative of a person who allegedly had been in the vehicle.

Personnel from the Clarinda Fire Department, Clarinda EMS, Clarinda Police Department, and the Page County Sheriff’s Office began a search for the vehicle.  The vehicle was found north of Clarinda off Highway 71 north of 170th Street, approximately 15 yards into a field, stuck in the mud.  The vehicle had not been involved in an accident.

K-9’s from Montgomery County were sent to assist in the search by Montgomery County Sheriff Joe Sampson on the request of Sheriff Palmer.  A several hour complete search of the area was conducted. It is unknown as to how long the vehicle had been stuck in the field prior to PAGECOMM receiving the information, but is assumed prior to sunrise due to the conditions and information gathered from area residents.

There was no word on whether charges have been filed in connection with the incident.

Iowa House panel OKs medical marijuana oil bill


February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa House subcommittee approved a bill that would legalize medical marijuana oil and create a state-run program to grow and dispense the product. People affected by epileptic seizures, multiple sclerosis and cancer spoke Wednesday in support of the bill, telling lawmakers cannabis oil helped them. The GOP-led panel unanimously supported the bill, which now moves to the House public safety committee.

The Iowa Department of Public Health would run the program, and an agency official said it was important participants receive license cards. Rep. Jared Klein, a Republican from Keota, noted the legislation doesn’t legalize recreational marijuana but only allows cannabis oil for medical treatment. He says 28 states have passed similar bills.

Iowa approved a marijuana oil program in 2014 for treatment of epilepsy. It expires this summer.