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A Caller Impersonating BBB Representative Scares Midwest Business

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa, is warning businesses in the region that someone impersonating a BBB representative may contact your company with threats of prosecution. Business owners should be aware that these phone calls are not legitimate.

Earlier this week, a man using the name “Drew Aldridge” called a business located in Rapid City, South Dakota. He claimed that he was from the local BBB and informed the business that there were “several cases filed against their business that they had neglected to take care of over the past three years.” He proceeded to say that they now have an “F” rating and claimed there is a local attorney who is interested in prosecuting them. The caller said, “I am letting you know that formal charges may be coming against your business. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and have a good day.”

BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty said “There is nobody employed at BBB with the name ‘Drew Aldridge’ and this company does not have unanswered complaints.” Hegarty said “This appears to be a pretty common scam that occurs all across the country. The callers will claim to be from well-established organizations such as the IRS, FBI and BBB, and they anticipate their message will scare the business enough to call back. Callers reportedly ask for detailed personal and business information. It is likely a phishing scam, designed to get information that can be used for illicit purposes or a means of gathering a list of leads that can be sold to other companies. The business owner may also be told that they can pay a fee to avoid prosecution.”

Representatives from BBB may contact businesses periodically by phone to handle complaints, update BBB Business Reviews or invite select businesses to apply for BBB Accreditation, but they do not threaten legal action. Businesses are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of a BBB representative by calling 800-649-6814. Additionally, any business that believes it has been contacted by someone who may be impersonating someone from BBB is urged to contact BBB with information that may aid in the investigation of this call.

Red Oak man arrested Thu. morning after running from authorities

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Montgomery County arrested a man early this (Wednesday) morning for failing to stop. Authorities say 25-year old Brett Alan Querry, of Red Oak, was charged with OWI/1st offense, Speed by Radar, Failure to Obey a Stop Sign, and Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle, following an incident during which he failed to stop for a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Querry was taken into custody at around 12:45-a.m. without further incident at 150th Street and F Avenue, northwest of Red Oak. He was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $1,000 bond. Sheriff’s Deputies were assisted during the incident by officers with the Red Oak Police Department.

Denison man arrested after hit-and-run accident in Shelby County

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of a hit and run, motor vehicle accident with injuries, Wednesday morning. The accident happened at around 6:30-a.m., in the 1600th block of Highway 59. Officials say a 1999 Chevrolet Lumina, driven by Chadwick Sachau, of Denison, was northbound on the highway at the same time a 2000 Chevy Suburban driven by Efrain Chavez-Mendoza, of Denison, was traveling southbound.

Sachau’s car crossed the center line and struck Suburban in the left rear corner panel. Officials say after the collision, Sachua continued north bound, in an attempt to flee the scene. When his car became disabled in the 1700 block of highway 59, Sachua fled on foot. Deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene, located Sachua a short distance away, and took him into custody.

Sachau was not injured during the incident. He was transported to the Shelby County Jail and charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, and driving while barred. His bond was set at $2,000. A passenger in the Chavez- Mendoza vehicle, identified as 21-year old Andy Armondo-Casanova, of Denison, suffered minor injuries and was transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital by Medivac Ambulance.

Personnel with the Westphalia Fire Department assisted the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at the accident scene.

Shenandoah man injured in Fremont County crash

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Wednesday, reported one person was hurt during a single-vehicle rollover accident early that same morning. Deputies responded at around 12:35-a.m. to the intersection of 130th Street and 405th Avenue, where they discovered a full-size truck lying on its side in the south ditch.

The driver, 23-year old Darin Profitt, of Shenandoah, was still in the vehicle. The man was extricated from the truck and transported to the Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, before being transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center for further treatment. AN investigation indicated alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

Fremont County Deputies were assisted at the scene by Shenandoah Police, Deputies from Page County and Shenandoah Fire and Rescue personnel,

Mills County landfill to dispose of birds w/Avian Influenza

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The remains of chickens killed by the avian flu will be buried in a Mills County landfill as soon as next week, weather permitting. The Daily Non Pareil reports the United States Department of Agriculture has reached a deal with Iowa Waste Systems, owner of the Loess Hills Sanitary Landfill near Malvern to serve as one of several statewide sites to received the dead birds.

Robert Glebs, CEO of Iowa Waste Systems said they have told the USDA they would like to accept 10 loads of dead chickens as a ‘test run’ for the first burial, which amounts to about 200 tons in weight. The test run was supposed to have taken place Wednesday, but Glebs says rain, which could have allowed excess water into the ground as a leachate, prevented it from taking place. He said the landfill will try to bury the chickens next week, weather permitting.

The plastic bags with chickens inside are placed deep in the ground before being covered with waste and soil within five minutes.State Senator Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene, says hehas received more than a few grievances from people in the area with worries about diseased animal remains coming to their neck of the woods. However, Costello said the protocols and regulations to keep the diseased remains safe and contained are stringent and detailed. The Iowa Department of Transportation will figure out a safe route for the trucks, which are purified after carrying the remains to the site, he said.

According to Costello, the remains are placed in bags, which are heated to destroy the flu germs, before being buried and do not leak. He said he was unsure how many trucks carrying remains could be coming to Mills County, but he heard recent estimates put 25 million birds have died from the flu. The outbreak in the upper Midwest could cost producers nearly $1 billion, according to the Associated Press.

Dustin Vande Hoef, public information director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, said the landfill will follow special waste-handling criteria. Vande Hoef said previous animal disease outbreaks have been handled in similar fashion in the past.

Iowa House passes bill to legalize fireworks

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

It would be legal to sell and set off fireworks in Iowa if a bill that cleared the Iowa House last night (Wednesday) becomes law. Representative John Wills, a Republican from Spirit Lake, was among the 53 House members who voted “yes.” “We need to have people understand that what they do and how they do it is their responsibility,” Wills said. “This bill gives freedom back to the people and I’m in favor.”

Representative Kirsten Running-Marquardt, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, was among the 43 who voted “no.” “This bill does not make Iowa a safer place to live,” she said. “In fact, it does the opposite.” Critics cited concerns about fires started by the sparks of fireworks, as well as complaints that veterans with post traumatic stress disorder suffer from the sounds of fireworks. Representative David Maxwell, a Republican from Gibson, says he doesn’t have P-T-S-D, but couldn’t watch fireworks for several years after he got out of the military.

“I still don’t enjoy them,” Gibson said. “And I’m not a kill joy, believe it or not, but I know a number of people that really do not look forward to summertime and the 4th of July because what happened to them 40 or 50 years ago or even longer. I think we’re being a little bit shortsighted for a few bucks here.” That would be because the bill legalizes the sale of commercial fireworks in Iowa. Representative Matt Winschitl (WIND-shit-ull), a Republican from Missouri Valley, says he didn’t support the bill because of the tax revenue the state might collect.

“It’s about letting Iowans make the choice for themselves,” Windschitl says. “You’ve got 43 other states out there that allow one degree of fireworks or another beyond what Iowa does.” If the bill becomes law, it would be legal to set off fireworks between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day. Representative Dave Heaton, a Democrat from Mount Pleasant, says his dog, Molly, isn’t a fan of the fireworks that go off in his community over the 4th of July holiday.

“She gets through that, but I’ll be darned if I want to vote for a bill that makes the 4th of July year round,” Heaton said. Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls who voted for the bill, says he has “nothing but good memories” of setting off fireworks. “I can remember lots of 4th of July where we had a lot of fun with fireworks,” Rogers said. “And I remember doing the same thing with my own kids, in Cedar Falls.” A few legislators like Representative Mary Gaskill of Ottumwa admitted they were conflicted on the issue.

“I have young people in my district who really want me to vote yes on this bill,” Gaskill said. “And then I listen to the veterans and the fire fighters and those people who would be directly affected with the bill and I have changed my mind and I have decided I’m a no on this.” Representative Mike Sexton, a Republican from Rockwell City who voted for the bill, says far more Americans are injured by dog bites than by fireworks.”Folks, whatever happened to apple pie and baseball and Chevrolet and hot dogs and fireworks?” Sexton asked. “We are not talking about blowing up the state of Iowa.”

If the bill becomes law, cities and counties would be allowed to pass local ordinances restricting fireworks, plus the bill calls for a 250-dollar fine for improper use of fireworks. It would also be illegal to sell fireworks to a minor. A similar bill cleared a senate committee earlier this month and is eligible for senate debate.

(Radio Iowa)

Agreement should make it easier to correct errors on your credit report

News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General says getting errors removed from your credit report is going to get easier under an agreement reached with the top three credit reporting agencies. Spokesman Geoff Greenwood says 31 states are a part of the agreement to improve the accuracy of the reports. “For years we’ve been getting complaints about all of the credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and Trans Union — so for the last couple of years, attorneys general have tried to address this problem,” Greenwood says.

Credit reports assign credit scores based on a variety of factors, including how well you pay your bills, how much money you’ve borrowed. Under this agreement the credit reporting agencies must implement an escalated process for handling complicated disputes, such as those involving identity theft, fraud, or cases where one consumer’s information is mixed with anothers’.

A credit report is really important, in some respects it’s a life story of your finances,” Greenwood says. “And others read those reports when they are thinking about extending you credit for a car, or a house, or maybe even hiring you.” Greenwood says this agreement also addresses one particular area of concern — the payment of medical bills. “In some cases consumers were still working things our with their insurance company, didn’t get enough time and it ends up being a blemish on their credit report. This institute some changes that we think will reduce those types of reports on people’s credit reports,” Greenwood says.

The credit reporting agencies now cannot place medical debt on a credit report until 180 days after the account is reported to the credit reporting agency to gives consumers time to work out issues with their insurance companies. Greenwood says you can get a free credit report from each of the three agencies by going to the website www.annualcreditreport.com. Then you can act to clear up any wrong information.

“If you see an error, contact the credit reporting agency and let them know about the error,” Greenwood says. “As part of this agreement, they are going to make it easier for consumers.” The agreement is sending six million dollars to the states, with 106-thousand dollars coming to Iowa for Iowa’s consumer education and litigation fund. Greenwood says credit reporting agencies will implement the changes in three phases to allow them to update their I-T systems and procedures with data furnishers. All changes must be completed by three years and 90 days following the settlement’s effective date.

(Radio Iowa)

Omaha Police Officer killed in the line of duty was a 2004 Walnut HS Grad

News

May 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Omaha police officer and a suspect involved in a shootout Wednesday afternoon have died. A statement from Omaha Police said 29-year old Kerrie Orozco, a gang unit officer, was serving a warrant on the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force when she was shot. The Daily NonPareil reports Kerrie Orozco (Kerrie Holtz) was the daughter of Ellen, and the late Kevin Holtz of Walnut. Kerrie attended Walnut High School, where she played basketball and volleyball. She graduated from Walnut in 2004.

Officer Kerrie Orozco (Omaha P-D Facebook page image)

Officer Kerrie Orozco (Omaha P-D Facebook page image)

Orozco is the 25th officer – and first female – in the department killed in the line of duty. She had been taken to Creighton University Medical Center in extremely critical condition after being shot about 1 p.m. near Read Street and Martin Avenue. Omaha police had responded to a “Help an officer” call at 30th Street and Martin Avenue.

Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker said officers were serving a felony arrest warrant about 12:55 p.m. During the process of serving the warrant, shots were fired. Orozco and the suspect, 26-year old Marcus D. Wheeler, were taken to the Creighton hospital in extremely critical condition, with CPR in progress. Despite the efforts of doctors at the hospital, the officer and suspect died.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Orozco was a seven-year veteran of the department and had worked in the gang unit since March 2012.She had coached baseball since 2009 at the North Omaha Boys and Girls Club, volunteered with the Special Olympics, took in rescue dogs, mentored Girl Scouts and frequently spoke at Girls Inc.

Orozco was sworn in as an Omaha police officer in May 2008 in a class of 36. The former Kerrie Holtz married Hector Orozco Lopez in April 2011. Kerrie Orozco had two stepchildren, 8-year-old Natalia and a stepson, Santiago, who is 6. Kerrie had a newborn baby who was born Feb. 17, Olivia Ruth. She was set to be released Thursday from the neonatal intensive care unit at the Nebraska Medical Center.

BBB warns of paving scams

News

May 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa homeowners are warned to be wary of road construction crews that pull up unannounced and offer to spread a new asphalt driveway for you on the cheap. Jim Hegarty, with the Better Business Bureau, says folks in the region are already reporting cases of this familiar scam and he says, don’t be fooled.

“They’ve got trucks that look sort of legitimate,” Hegarty says. “They’ll claim they have leftover asphalt from a state job and they need to have cash and they’ll get it done for you before day’s end. Sometimes, they’ll actually start tearing out the driveway. They’ll take the cash, or if you give them a check before banking hours close, they’ll hit the local bank, cash the check and you’ll never see them again.” It’s always a risk when someone comes to your door offering a deal, Hegarty says, and if you’re not careful, you could get taken by one of these fast-talking crooks.

“These are travelers, sort of like gypsies, and they have encampments all over the South,” he says. “Whenever the weather breaks, they start to move up towards our area.” The best bet, Hegarty says, is to just say “no” and to contact a reputable, local company if your driveway needs repairs.

(Radio Iowa)

Report: Iowa 3rd highest rate of structurally deficient rural bridges

News

May 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A new report shows 22-percent of Iowa’s rural bridges are “structurally deficient.” That’s the third highest rate in the nation according to the National Transportation Research Group. The report states 4,815 of Iowa’s 21,939 rural bridges are structurally deficient. Scott Neubauer, bridge maintenance and inspection engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says most of the bridges at issue carry very few vehicles.

“Over 3,800 of them have less than 50 vehicles a day and about 4,500 of them have less than 500 vehicles a day,” Neubauer says. Most of the old bridges in Iowa deemed structurally deficient have weight restrictions posted. Neubauer says many counties don’t have enough money to fix those bridges and choose to focus on the structures that carry the heavy trucks and traffic volume.

“That’s why some of these stay deficient for so long,” Neubauer says. “It’s just on such a low volume road and carries such a small amount of traffic and the traffic it is carrying, the bridge is adequate…and it’s not really a hindrance to anybody, so the county just does the bare minimum to maintain it.” Neubauer notes the term “structurally deficient” does not necessarily mean the bridge is unsafe.

“You know, just because it’s structurally deficient doesn’t mean that it can’t last in that current condition for many years,” Neubauer says. According to the report, only Pennsylvania (25%) and Rhode Island (23%) have higher rates of rural bridges that are structurally deficient. Neubauer says it’s possible many Iowa counties in the coming years will direct more money toward repairing or replacing old bridges from funds generated by this year’s increase in the state’s gas tax.

(Radio Iowa)