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Gronstal thinks there’s a way to keep Carhart out of Council Bluffs


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The top Democrat in the Iowa Senate says he “thinks there’s a way” to ensure a Nebraska doctor who performs so-called “late-term” abortions cannot open a clinic in Council Bluffs. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, who is from Council Bluffs, says work is underway to make changes in a bill that already cleared the Iowa House, a bill that would ban abortions in Iowa after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

“The legislation as drafted by the House I think significantly invites a very serious court challenge,” Gronstal says. “So I think we’re trying to look at some ways to fix that up in such a way that we can guarantee a new, late-term abortion clinic doesn’t open in Council Bluffs.” Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, was asked last week to examine the House-passed bill and lead the process of making changes.

“So I’ve spent part of last week and other the weekend studying the bill and working to craft some amendments that deal with what we think is the number one concern that the bill tries to address and that’s the establishment of a clinic by Dr. LeRoy Carhart in Council Bluffs,” Bolkcom says. Carhart is no longer able to perform so-called “late term” abortions at his clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska because a Nebraska law that took effect in mid-October bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Other states like Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho have recently passed similar laws and Iowa is among nearly a dozen other states with similar legislation pending, Bolkcom says there are concerns those laws are unconstitutional.

“I don’t think we should be about passing laws that we know on their face are unconstitutional,” Bolkcom says, “especially looking at the 20-week outright ban.” Bolkcom hopes to release details of the alternatives he’s exploring “within the next few days.”

“The issue we’ve heard repeatedly from people who care about this issue is the establishment of this clinic in Council Bluffs,” Bolkcom says. “And we are focused on that issue primarily.” Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, worked in 2003 to pass federal legislation that bans so-called “partial birth abortions.” King is urging state legislators in Des Moines to take the next step and pass a state law that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

“I know a little bit about LeRoy Carhart and I’ve looked that man in the eye and it’s a disturbing experience, let me tell you,” King says. So far, the four other state laws that ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy have not been challenged in court. Indiana’s governor last week indicated he’ll sign a similar abortion ban for his state.

(From Radio Iowa)

Audubon County drug arrest & other activity


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Audubon County report four people were arrested over the weekend. 47-year old Bonnie Faye Wiggins, of Pomeroy, was arrested Friday night following a traffic stop near 235th Street and Highway 71. Wiggins faces charges which include Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Keeping a Place for Possessing Controlled Substances, and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp. She was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later posted bond. 

32-year old Joshua Robert Saunders, of Gray, was arrested early Sunday morning, after he turned himself in to the Audubon County Sheriff’s office. Saunders was wanted on a warrant issued on April 21st, for failure to appear on a Driving While Suspended charge. He was held in the Audubon County Jail until making an appearance in front of the magistrate. 

19-year old Dilan Seth Olesen, of Audubon, was arrested Saturday night by Exira Police, on a charge of OWI 2nd Offense. Olesen was taken into custody following a traffic stop in Exira. He was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later posted bond.

And, Sheriff officials in Audubon County say Jodi Kay Bails faces charges of OWI 2nd offense and Driving While Revoked, following an investigation into an accident which occurred on April 16th, near Mockingbird Avenue and 250th Street. Bails was scheduled to appear in court today (Monday).

Hurried Iowa theft suspect arrested for theft


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A woman who was stopped on suspicion of shoplifting makeup items at a grocery store in Council Bluffs was in a hurry, so she asked the officer for a citation.

The Daily Nonpareil says the officer asked the woman last week: What’s the rush? The woman said she didn’t want to be late to court. Court? For what? Her reply: Theft.

The officer then arrested the woman on another theft charge.

Emerson woman injured in rollover accident


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say a Mills County woman suffered possible, unknown injuries during a rollover accident Sunday night. Sheriff’s officials say 43-year old Rebecca Ann Cates, of Emerson, was found at around 8:45-p.m., a short distance away from the crash site, near 200th Street and “A” Avenue.

Cates was driving a 1996 Geo Metro westbound on 200th Street, when the car crossed the center line of the road as it was rounding a curve. Cates overcorrected, sending the vehicle into the north ditch, where it rolled for an undetermined number of times before coming to rest on its top in a field.

Cates was transported to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital in Red Oak, by Red Oak Rescue. Officials say the car was a total loss.

The accident remains under investigation, and charges are pending.

Menlo ethanol plant nixes water contact rate hike


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

BOUTON, Iowa (AP) – An ethanol plant in Menlo won’t agree to raise the contracted rate it pays for water from a financially

troubled rural district. According to The Des Moines Register, Xenia Rural Water District officials say Flint Hills Resources refuses to amend its 20-year contract to allow a 60 percent rate increase.

Xenia’s other, mostly residential customers likely face another rate hike. The average residential bill is about $90 a month, up from $55 last year. Another rate increase could raise that to more than $100 a month.

Xenia’s aggressive expansion plans never materialized, leaving it with crushing debt. It serves portions of 12 west-central Iowa counties.

Mo. Valley Fire


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Harrison County say flames from an unattended brush fire whipped by winds of up to 35-miles per hours, destroyed a machine shop Sunday afternoon, in Missouri Valley. More than 30 volunteer firefighters from five towns responded to the blaze, which was reported shortly after 2 p.m.  No one was injured, but the damage amounted to an estimated $38,000.
Missouri Valley Fire Chief Eugene Shaeffer says the shop’s owner had been burning brush in a pit on the property Sunday morning, and the fire was left unattended. The flames eventually  spread to the nearby, one-story, wooden-structure shop.
Shaeffer said there was little Firefighters could do except spray water on adjacent houses to keep them from catching on fire as well.

Western Iowa learning center for sustainable farming folds


May 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An organic school in western Iowa has folded less than two years after opening.

The Burr Oak Center for Durable Culture on the edge of Turin was devoted to teaching about sustainable farming and fuel conservation. It opened in fall 2009 and closed its doors late last month amid what organizers call community resistance. Executive director Michael Luick-Thrams says neighbors were opposed to solar panels planned for the center, considering them eyesores, and complained about the long grass and the bevy of frogs, dragonflies and butterflies it attracted.

He says the community wasn’t receptive to its missions and the opposition was difficult to contend with as the center fought to attract employees and a steady stream of interns.

Community leaders couldn’t be reached for comment.

Wabash Trace receives accolades


May 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SHENANDOAH – One of the best-kept secrets in southwest Iowa, the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, recently received national attention by being added to the National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Hall of Fame. Bill Danforth, President of Southwest Iowa Nature Trails, Inc., explained the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit organization that promotes railroad right-of-way conversion to trail use.

Danforth said the Trace received the honor for its success and significance. He said that because of the national recognition, the Trace will bring more tourist dollars to the communities situated on the Trace, like Shenandoah, Malvern, Imogene, Coin, and Blanchard.

In addition to an article in the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy magazine, the Trace will be presented with signage signaling it’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

– World-Herald News Service

New signs to mark Iowa’s scenic, heritage byways


May 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s scenic and heritage byways are getting new signage marking the designation.

Troy Seifert with the Department of Transportation office in Ames told the Tribune that the Lincoln Highway between Clinton and Council Bluffs is the first to get the news signs. The first of an estimated 1,000 signs have gone up along the highway between Ames and Boone. The rest will be up by the end of the June. Signs will be installed along the state’s nine other byways by mid-November.

The project began in 2006, and Seifert secured a $580,000 grant for the signs.  Seifert says information about Iowa byways will soon be available online at www.iowabyways.org.

Arrests reported in Glenwood


May 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Mills County said Friday, two people were arrested Thursday on separate charges. 34-year-old Billy Ray Hunter, of Council Bluffs was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on charges which include possession of drug paraphernalia, trespassing and violation of a protection order. His bond has been set at $600.

And, a little later that same afternoon, 28-year-old Keith Alan Wilson II, of Glenwood, was arrested by Mills County Sheriff’s deputies, for violation of the state’s sex offender registry. Wilson’s bond was set at $5,000.

The Glenwood Police Department reports a Tabor man was arrested this week. 21-year-old Thomas Cash faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Cash was brought to the Mills County Jail and held on $5,000 bond.