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Ericksen trial delayed again

News

May 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The trial in the case of a Pottawattamie County man who faces 10 felony counts of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree in Cass County, has been delayed again.

Roger Allen Ericksen (booking photo courtesy Cass Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

Roger Allen Ericksen (booking photo courtesy Cass Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)

The trial for 55-year old Roger Allen Ericksen, of Underwood, was to have taken place in Cass County District Court on Wed., May 27th, but Judge James Heckerman on Friday, set the date as July 7th. A pre-trial conference, which was to have been held this Tuesday, has now been postponed until June 1st. It’s the third time the pre-trial conference has been delayed, and the second postponement of the trial.

Ericksen was arrested on February 23rd in connection with acts that allegedly happened with a minor child in 2011. He has entered a written plea of Not Guilty to the charges. Ericksen remains held in the Cass County Jail on $25,000 cash bond. On May 11th, Ericksen’s lawyer, Jay Mez, filed for a Waiver of Speedy Trial and a request for a continuance.

In December 2012, Ericksen, who resided in Lewis, pled guilty in a prior case in Cass County District Court to Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Reports Early Morning Citation

News

May 23rd, 2015 by Patrick Duronio

On Saturday morning at approximately 2AM, deputies of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Cited 18 year old Buck Owen Schaforth of Orient and 19 year old Jordan Joseph Villhauer of Corning at the intersection of East 3rd street and 2nd avenue in Villisca for possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Both subjects where released upon issuance of the citations.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Reports Arrest

News

May 23rd, 2015 by Patrick Duronio

On Saturday at approximately 3:40 AM, deputies of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office arrested Seth Michael Lewis of Farragut at the intersection of Main street and Frankfort street in Stanton. Lewis is charges with possession of drug paraphernalia and minor in possession of alcohol. Lewis was transported to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, processed, and released to the custody of his parent.

 

Former western IA Fire Chief admits he lied about fire investigations

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Authorities say the former fire chief of Missouri Valley lied to police about his credentials and the steps he was taking to investigate suspected arsons at two local homes. The Daily NonPareil says Johnnie Walker, the former fire chief, pleaded guilty to providing false information to authorities.

Johnnie Thomas Walker (Harrison Co. Jail photo)

Johnnie Thomas Walker (Harrison Co. Jail photo)

In return, prosecutors dropped a charge of interfering with official acts. Judicial Magistrate Jack White sentenced Walker to a 30-day jail sentence, which was suspended. Walker also was ordered to pay $120 in court costs.

Missouri Valley Police Chief Ed Murray said Walker provided false information to investigators on suspected arsons at two abandoned houses. One of the houses, on the northeast corner of 10th and Granite streets, was set ablaze three times in October. The other house, at 105 W. Superior St., was set on fire on March 7th. According to Murray, during the investigation of the Granite Street fires, Walker said that he was a certified arson investigator when he is not and that state arson investigators wouldn’t investigate such a fire when they would.

On the West Superior fire, he told Murray he had taken samples from the scene to a crime lab in Ames when he had not. He also said he was out of town on the night of the fire when he later said he was at home. Walker has said he was home ill at the time. At one point, Walker was supposed to meet with local and state investigators to discuss the West Superior fire but missed the meeting. Murray called him on his cell phone. Walker told him he was traveling to Ames to deliver samples from the fire to the lab.

But Murray could hear wind blowing in the background. He became suspicious and asked one of his officers to go by Walker’s house. The officer found Walker in his front yard, talking to the chief on the phone, not on the way to Ames. State arson investigator John Ticer said that’s impossible, because there isn’t a lab in Ames to test the samples. That was the first piece of evidence that led them to suspect Walker was not telling the truth.

Asked why Walker had misled him, Murray said he didn’t know and would only be speculating. 19-year old Coty Cates, of Missouri Valley, has pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors to one count of second-degree arson in connection to the Granite Street fires. He received a suspended fine of $1,000, ordered to pay restitution to the victim and placed under drug court supervision for two years. Two other arson charges against Cates in connection to the Granite Street fires were dismissed.

Investigators know of no connection between Walker and Cates. The teen is believed to have acted alone. In addition to the Superior Street blaze, state and local officials continue to investigate several other possible arson fires in the area, including a house at 2279 U.S. Highway 30 that exploded Oct. 27, 2013, and numerous hay bales set ablaze on Oct. 31, 2014.

Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call Missouri Valley police at (712) 642-2736 or Ticer at (712) 308-3977.

Iowa reports new bird flu turkey case in Pocahontas County

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials say an additional turkey farm in Pocahontas County has tested positive for bird flu. If confirmed, the case will be the third in that county. The case brings the Iowa total to 64 farms with bird flu. The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates 21,000 turkeys on the farm. Iowa has just over 1 million turkeys already killed or to be euthanized as a result of the virus.

Iowa will lose more than 25 million birds, mostly chickens, as a result of the disease which first surfaced just over a month ago. The spread of the disease seems to be slowing with fewer new cases reported daily. Minnesota reported no new cases Friday, the seventh day with no new cases reported.

 

NE trucker injured in Pott. County crash, Friday afternoon

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from Nebraska was injured during a rollover accident Friday morning, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 1999 Freightliner semi driven by 45-year old Trevor Lierman, of Stanton, NE., was traveling east on Interstate 80 at around 12:20-p.m., when Lierman took exit 27 to head west on I-680.

Photo courtesy Brian Rink

Photo courtesy Brian Rink

The semi went out of control on the curve and entered the north ditch, where the trailer, loaded with cattle, rolled over. Lierman, who was wearing his seat belt, was trapped in the cab of the semi for about 30-minutes until he could be extricated by Neola Fire and Rescue personnel.

He was flown by LifeNet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Several cattle were trapped in the wreck, while others escaped. They were rounded up by area farmers and ranchers. Officials say anywhere from 15-to 20 cows involved in the crash may have to be euthanized. I-680 was closed in both directions while the cattle were being rounded-up.

The accident remains under investigation.

Iowa lawmakers say they’ve made progress on budget spending

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers say they’ve made progress in determining how much to spend on the state’s overall budget, including K-12 education. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal say they’re optimistic, despite not reaching a deal Friday following another round of meetings at the Capitol. Paulsen, of Hiawatha, predicted lawmakers could be debating budget bills as early as Wednesday. Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, also indicated his office was communicating with various departments over proposed numbers.

But neither lawmaker elaborated on potential concessions over the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Senate and Gov. Terry Branstad have proposed overall general fund budgets of about $7.34 billion. House Republicans want to spend $7.17 billion. For schools, the two sides are about $50 million apart.

Bird flu cuts Iowa April egg production 4 percent from 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa egg production for April fell 8 percent from the month before and 4 percent from a year ago as the bird flu claimed millions of egg-laying hens. The first case was found in Iowa chickens around April 20 so the decline reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly report reflects only some infected farms. The June 22 report will show a more complete picture. The virus has spread to 63 farms killing more than 21 million egg-layers.

The average number of layers on hand was 56.1 million in April, 5 percent lower than the year before. The loss drove egg prices to a record on Friday. Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen. Commodity market analyst Urner Barry says the previous record was $2.27 set on Dec 4.

Man on a stolen forklift tries to ram cop car in Council Bluffs

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A man driving a stolen forklift in Council Bluffs tried to ram a police cruiser this (Friday) morning. According to Bluffs Police, officers responded at around 9:20-a.m. to the area of 16th Avenue and High Street, for a reported hit-and-run accident, in which the caller said the vehicle responsible was a construction-type forklift.

While officers were enroute, the communications center received numerous other calls about the driver of the forklift operating the machine erratically. Council Bluffs Police Officer Ron Branigan saw the forklift in the area of South 10th Street and 7th Avenue. When the driver of the machine saw the officer’s cruiser, he turned sharply in an alleged attempt to ram the cruiser.

Officer Branigan was able to avoid a collision, and followed the machine in an attempt to stop it. At the intersection of South 10th and 5th Avenue, the driver spun the forklift around, and again tried to ram Branigan’s cruiser. The officer again avoided the collision. In the area of South 12th Street and 5th Avenue, the forklift stopped after essentially being surrounded by police.

The driver, 39-year old Michael Lynn Burgess, of Council Bluffs, was taken into custody without further incident and brought to the Pottawattamie County Jail. Burgess was charged with 1st Degree Theft, Assault on a Police Officer with a dangerous weapon, and leaving the scene of an accident. Authorities determined the forklift was stolen from Midwest Walnut, at 1914 Tostevin Street.

Glenwood man arrested Thu. for Domestic abuse assault/impeding blood-air flow

News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Glenwood arrested 38-year old George Galvan, of Glenwood, Thursday, on two Mills County warrants. The warrants charge Galvan with Domestic Abuse Assault causing injury, and Domestic Abuse Assault impeding blood/and-or air flow. Galvan was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail, pending an appearance before a magistrate. And, 43-year old Dustyn Bond, of Malvern, was arrested Wednesday, for Parole Violation. He was being held without bond, as well.