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Mountain lion killed Tuesday in N.W. Iowa’s Ida County

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officers with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today (Tuesday), were called to dispatch a mountain lion from a farm near Galva, in northeast Ida County. The situation arose after a neighboring livestock producer discovered a dead calf that showed evidence consistent with an attack by a large cat late last week. Repeated calls were placed to 911 Monday evening by a nearby landowner who discovered the cat.

DNR officers use lethal action as the last resort option in these situations and every effort is made to humanely remove the animal. Bruce Trautman, deputy director with the Iowa DNR, said “White-tailed deer and other wild animals, particularly the weak or injured, are often the preferred prey. But in this situation, it appears this mountain lion has targeted young livestock and livestock producers are well within their rights to protect their livelihood.”

This is the first confirmed female mountain lion in Iowa. There is no physical evidence that she has produced any young. The Iowa DNR will collect teeth, tissue samples for genetic analysis and examine the stomach contents of the 88 pound animal. This is the fourth mountain lion killed in Iowa and the most recent since 2013 when a four year old male was shot in Sioux County. Since 1995, there have been 21 confirmed mountain lions in Iowa.

Western South Dakota and Nebraska have been the genetic source for the lions killed in Iowa. Mountain lions are not listed as a furbearer and have no protected status in Iowa.

Notorious AK-47 Bandit may now be in custody


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A notorious criminal who robbed a Mason City credit union two years ago and committed other crimes in Nebraska and across the western United States -may- be in custody. In 2012 and 2014, a man the FBI called the “AK-47 Bandit” robbed several banks, as well as shot and wounded a police officer in Chino, California. 39-year-old Richard Gathercole was arrested last week in Dawson County, Nebraska after allegedly firing shots from an AK-47 rifle at a Kansas state trooper.

FBI Los Angeles spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says numerous agencies are investigating whether evidence found in the search of a Roundup, Montana home is linked to the suspect. A jailhouse phone call transcript submitted to a judge by federal officials seeking a search warrant for the Montana home shows Gathercole asked his mother a few days after his arrest to clear his home of guns. Federal agents say homemade bombs were found at the home.

Court documents show that Gathercole is accused of stealing $126-thousand from the Iowa Heartland Credit Union in Mason City on July 28th, 2015 after informing tellers he had a “pressure bomb.”

(Radio Iowa)

Special Investigation into former City of Harlan Administrator Terry Cox


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Auditor of State Mary Mosiman today (Tuesday), released a report on a special investigation of the City of Harlan for the period July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2016. The special investigation was requested by City officials as a result of concerns regarding certain travel reimbursements issued to the former City Administrator, Terry Cox.

Mosiman reported the special investigation identified $144,872.32 of improper and unsupported disbursements. In addition, Mosiman reported the City frequently provided meals, snacks, and/or drinks for City Committee, City Council, or City employee meetings involving volunteers from the community. However, the City does not have a written policy addressing the public purpose of such disbursements. For the period June 1, 2011 through June 30, 2016, $5,703.61 of disbursements for food, drinks, snacks, decorations, and plastic dinnerware were identified for which there is no documentation of the public purpose served.

The $123,543.67 of improper disbursements identified includes $33,953.88 of payments issued to Mr. Cox for travel reimbursements primarily for excess mileage claimed, expenses reimbursed by third parties, expenses for events not attended or for events which provided no public benefit, expenses supported by altered documentation, and alcoholic beverages included on meal receipts.

In addition, Mosiman reported the improper disbursements identified include $35,197.60 of payroll checks issued to Mr. Cox for hours recorded on the payroll register which Mr. Cox did not work. The City incurred additional FICA and IPERS contributions for the improper payroll totaling $5,501.30.
The improper disbursements identified also include:
• a $9,457.60 vacation payout issued to Mr. Cox which he was not entitled to,
• $12,600.00 of payments issued to Mr. Cox for a monthly car allowance, which was previously discontinued,
• $1,315.88 of unauthorized salary issued to Mr. Cox,

• $15,364.72 of payments to vendors,
• $4,811.78 of purchases made on the City credit card issued to Mr. Cox,
• $1,792.48 of purchases made on another City credit card,
• $114.51 of fees including finance charges, late fees, and foreign transaction fees on City credit cards,
• $1,055.00 of payments issued on behalf of City employees for eyeglasses, which did not comply with the City’s policy, and
• $169.85 of payments issued to Harlan Municipal Utilities for the HBO Multiplex package for Mr. Cox’s office included with the cable television services provided at City Hall.

In addition, because the payments issued to Mr. Cox were processed through the City’s payroll system, the City incurred additional FICA and, in some cases, IPERS contributions for the improper payouts, car allowance, and salary totaling $1,788.06 and $112.40, respectively. Although limited records were available for the period prior to July 1, 2004, an additional $308.61 of improper disbursements for the period November 1, 1999 through June 29, 2001 were identified for improper purchases made on the City fuel card issued to Mr. Cox.

Mosiman reported the $21,328.65 of unsupported disbursements identified includes:
• $15,391.26 of reimbursements for Mr. Cox,
• $3,111.15 of purchases made on the City credit card issued to Mr. Cox, and
• $2,826.24 of purchases made on another City credit card.

In addition, Mosiman reported it was not possible to determine if additional amounts were improperly disbursed because adequate documentation was not available.
The report includes recommendations to strengthen the City’s internal controls, such as improvements to segregation of duties, performing independent review of utility billings, collections, and delinquencies, and ensuring all disbursements are properly supported, approved, and paid in a timely manner.

Copies of the report have been filed with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Shelby County Attorney’s Office, and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. A copy of the report is available for review in the Office of Auditor of State and on the Auditor of State’s web site at https://auditor.iowa.gov/reports/1620-0790-BE00.

Mills County Sheriff’s report (6/27)


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Five people were arrested on separate charges over the past week, in Mills County. Sheriff’s officials say 32-year old Moo Gay, of Omaha, was arrested June 22nd, for Possession of a Controlled Substance. His bond was set at $1,000.

On Monday, June 26th, 40-year old Richard William Finn, of Pacific Junction, 26-year old Dylan Michael Frazier, of Malvern, and 37-year old Sara Alayne Johnson, of Glenwood, were each arrested for Driving Under Suspension. Their bonds were set at $300 each. And, 21-year old Kayla Shae Richardson, of Glenwood, was arrested Monday at the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, on a warrant for Failure to Appear in Court on an “other” Violation, or Chapter 321a of the Iowa Code (Motor Vehicle Financial responsibility). Her bond was set at $2,000.

Clarinda man arrested last week on an assault charge


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports a man was arrested last week on an assault charge. 22-year old Travis Cole Sunderman, of Clarinda, was taken into custody the evening of June 22nd, on a Page County on a warrant for Domestic Abuse Assault/1st Offense.  Sunderman was transported to the Page County Jail. He posted a $300 bond the following day and was released pending further court proceedings.

Travis C. Sunderman

Ex-Sioux City bus driver pleads not guilty in OWI case


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A longtime Sioux City transit bus driver has pleaded not guilty to a charge of operating under the influence. Court records say 64-year-old Howard Barrett entered the plea Monday. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 25.

Authorities say police stopped Barrett in a parking lot on June 15 while he was still on the clock for Sioux City Transit. Police say a preliminary breath test showed Barrett had a blood alcohol concentration over the limit of 0.08 percent.

City Attorney Nicole DuBois says Barrett submitted his retirement papers the following day. Barrett joined the city staff in 1983.

US Ag Secretary to join Branstad in Beijing to promote US beef

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The U-S secretary of agriculture and U-S Ambassador Terry Branstad, the former Iowa governor, will meet in Beijing Friday for a ceremony “to formally mark the return of U.S. beef to the Chinese market.” According to the U-S-D-A, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue will arrive in China with a shipment of beef from the Greater Omaha Packing Company. The beef is from cattle that were raised in Nebraska.

Perdue and Branstad plan to cut into a piece of prime rib at the ceremony in Beijing.Thirteen years ago China forbid shipments of U.S. beef after a case of Mad Cow disease was confirmed in Washington state. Secretary Perdue says there’s no doubt in his mind that “when the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S beef, they’ll want more of it.”

The U-S-D-A’s Export Verification Program so far has confirmed processing facilities in Nebraska and Kansas are now eligible to ship U-S beef to China. According to the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the requirements to export beef to China are “more stringent” than for other countries. Iowa ranks seventh among U-S states in beef production. China imported two-and-a-half Billion dollars worth of beef last year, none of it from the United States.

On Friday at noon, Perdue and Branstad will host the event promoting U.S. beef at the huge new InterContinental hotel in Beijing. On Saturday, Perdue will be in a Shanghai supermarket for a “cooking demonstration” to promote U-S beef.

(Radio Iowa)

NE man arrested on drug charges following traffic stop Tue. morning in Pott. County


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office say a Nebraska man was arrested at around 12:30-a.m. today (Tuesday), following a traffic stop near the intersection of Highways 92 and 59. 22-year old Tyler Joseph Schliechardt, of Omaha, was pulled over for speeding 69 in a 55 zone. The Deputy observed Schliechardt showed signs of impairment. A search of his vehicle resulted in the recovery of 6.6-grams of marijuana. Schliechardt was taken into custody for Possession of a Controlled Substance, with an OWI/1st offense charge, pending.

And, a man from Underwood was arrested Monday evening for OWI/2nd offense, after a Pott. County Deputy on patrol in the area of 230th Street and Juniper Road, stopped to assist a motorist. 60-year old Roger Hough was subsequently taken into custody and brought to the Pott. County Jail.

Sheriff’s officials said also, 26-year old Michael Lee Chase, of Council Bluffs, turned himself-in to the Sheriff’s Department, Monday. Chase was wanted on a warrant out of Pott. County based on new evidence with regard to a Parole Violation.


Sen. Grassley still uncommitted on Senate’s health care bill


June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s U-S Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley are releasing noncommittal statements about the Senate’s version of the health care bill. Neither have expressed whether they’re leaning toward voting for or against the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Grassley says he’s getting many hundreds of email, calls and letters from Iowans about the legislation. “I’m still continuing to study this 144-page draft bill over the next few days and I hope we make a decision this week,” Grassley says, “but if we don’t, then I’m going to have another couple weeks to study the 144-page bill.”

Grassley, a Republican, says there were many promises made with the A-C-A that simply were not kept and changes need to be made. “We were promised 25% reductions in premiums in 2009 and they’ve gone up over 100%,” Grassley says. “We were promised if you like your doctor, you can keep it. A lot of people have had to change doctors. If you like your insurance, you can keep it. A lot of people have changed it.”

While many Iowans are pleading with their senators to leave the A-C-A intact, Grassley says action is needed to correct problems that were created by the earlier health care plan. “Currently, if nothing is passed, 72,000 Iowans on Obamacare will face hardship keeping their insurance this fall,” Grassley says. “You know, 94 or 95 counties only have one, Medica. If it stays in Iowa, they’re going to have increases in premiums of 43-and-a-half percent.”

While Grassley hasn’t said how he’d vote on the Senate version of the bill, he is convinced the A-C-A needs to be repealed and replaced, he’s just not sure yet if this is the best way to do it. Grassley says, “Even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, the Democrats are admitting now there would be a lot of changes having to be made to Obamacare.”

Five Republican senators have already said they will vote against the bill. If all Democrats vote no, which is expected, there won’t be enough support to pass it. The U-S House has already passed its own version of the health care bill.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 6/27/2017

News, Podcasts

June 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.