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7AM Newscast 02-12-2013

News, Podcasts

February 12th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Confession made in 2012 Anita and Atlantic burglaries

News

February 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports a former Anita resident faces charges in connection with four burglaries and theft that took place in Anita and Atlantic, during a period spanning August 28th, 2012 through Sept. 25th, 2012. 30-year old Riley Dale Metheny, of Newton, faces three counts of Burglary 3rd Degree and one count of Theft 2nd Degree.  A court date in his case has not yet been set.

Future of the Link Center Hospital School in Atlantic depends on cuts & compromise

News

February 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A facility which is designed to provide Kindergarten through 8th grade students in the Atlantic Community School District with serious psychiatric conditions a safe and therapeutic environment for evaluation and treatment outside of a regular classroom setting, is in danger of facing cutbacks or elimination altogether. Just under a dozen people appeared at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Atlantic Board of Education Monday night at the High School, to ask the Board not to make any cuts or eliminate the Link Center Hospital School at the Cass County Memorial Hospital, which was created in the mid-1990’s.

Dr. Ivan Delgado, a child and adult psychiatrist at Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center and who provides services for the Link Center, said now is not the time to cut the school out of the district’s budget, because the State itself is facing a budget and mental health crisis, and “it’s bound to worsen.” Delgado said as an example, the number of public psychiatric beds in Iowa is back down to the levels seen in 1855, when the public began to realize they had to do something to serve the needs of psychiatric patients in a “humane” manner.  He says if there isn’t a school program in Atlantic there will be an increased need for Emergency Room visits, hospitalization, and an increased utilization of local law enforcement services in the community. He also warned of “disruptions in academic goals of students and family disruptions,” because the students will have to be transported across the state.

He warned that “psychotic, delusional patients, those with homicidal thoughts and severe mood disorders will end up being back in the school setting and disrupting the school environment.  Delgado says he’s “Not engaging in hyperbole or an alarmist rhetoric,” when he says that the program over the year “May have prevented catastrophic events in the community,” the likes of which are heard about in national media. He said “We must maintain our psychiatric services for our public school kids,” and not dismantle those resources. Cass County Memorial Hospital Assistant Administrator and CFO Steve Lewis said he understands the financial burden the School District faces, but the program at CCMH is very unique and shows that two entities that are important to the community can come together to provide services for “Some of our most delicate kids.” Roger Herring, former Atlantic High School Principal and member of the hospital Board of Trustees, suggested costs could be saved by using those services for Atlantic School District only, and eliminating sharing of the program with other school districts.

Atlantic Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein, said the district paid $404,000 out of the General Fund for the hospital school. What’s hidden from the cost, it that the district doesn’t get the spending authority for it. This year it’s anticipated the price will be $375,000, again, without any spending authority. He says continuing to fund the hospital school as it has for the past couple of years will cause the district to quickly approach $800,000 from the General Fund, which means the eroding of the “spending authority.” Amstein said there is no doubt the hospital school is not a good program, but in order to continue with it, the board needs to find a way to pay for it without draining the cash reserves in the General Fund and also losing same amount of money in the spending authority. Amstein said he would be meeting with Department of Education officials to see if the costs could be billed to the Special Education program, and, they can look at eliminating hospital school services for other districts outside of Atlantic.

Grants will pay for thousands of smoke alarms

News

February 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — The state fire marshal plans to join with firefighters from around Iowa to announce two grants totaling nearly $300,000 that will fund the purchase and installation of smoke alarms. State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds will announce the $245,000 federal smoke alarm grant and a $50,000 grant from State Farm Insurance. Reynolds says it’s his goal that every Iowa child grow up in a home with a smoke alarm.

The announcement will be this (Tuesday) morning at a Casey’s General Stores warehouse in Ankeny. The business has helped the effort by letting officials make use of its statewide distribution network to deliver smoke alarms to firefighters across the state. The grants ultimately will pay for more than 11,600 smoke alarms in 2013.

Democrat Sherzan to run in 3rd District

News

February 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — West Des Moines Democrat Mike Sherzan is announcing his candidacy for U.S. House in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. The 61-year-old financial services broker’s announcement in a Monday press statement makes him the first 2014 candidate for the district, which includes Polk County and all of southwest Iowa. Ten-term Republican Rep. Tom Latham of Clive was elected in November to the seat. Latham is considering a bid for U.S. Senate. A Latham Senate campaign would likely prompt other Democrats to consider running for his House seat.

Sen. Tom Harkin’s decision to retire at the end of 2014 has already prompted 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley to give up his U.S. House seat to seek higher office. Braley, a four-term Democrat from Waterloo, announced his candidacy for Harkin’s Senate seat on Thursday.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Feb. 12th 2013

News

February 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the nation’s largest trucking companies has settled a closely watched sexual harassment lawsuit for $50,000. Now, it might try to recoup millions of dollars in legal fees. CRST Van Expedited has agreed in a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay the lone female driver remaining in what had been a class-action case the EEOC filed in 2007. The agency once sought relief for up to 270 women who were allegedly harassed by male instructors or drivers for company. But a federal appeals court ruled that the EEOC erred by filing the lawsuit before it identified every affected worker, investigated their claims and sought informal settlements.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has high expectations for Iowa’s students. He wants the state to be in the top 10 states for student standardized reading and math scores by 2019. Branstad laid out the goal yesterday as he continued to push lawmakers to approve his $187 million education reform plan. Lawmakers are reviewing Branstad’s proposal, but there has been some conflict with Democratic legislators who want to first set a general level of school funding.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Democratic proposal to expand Medicaid in Iowa had plenty of backing at a packed legislative hearing. All those who testified yesterday at the human resources subcommittee favored the legislation, which would broaden state eligibility requirements for Medicaid and add up to 150,000 Iowans to the program. The subcommittee will hold another hearing on the proposal later this month.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The president of the University of Iowa says she’ll push for a tuition freeze for undergraduate students. That’s as long as the Legislature approves inflationary increases in the school’s budget. Iowa President Sally Mason told The Des Moines Register that she’ll back a tuition freeze for undergraduates as long as she’s president.

BREAKING NEWS: Cherokee man pleads guilty attempted murder charge in Atlantic

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A northwest Iowa man facing felony charges in connection with the assault of an Atlantic man in September 2012 has pleaded guilty to charges, and WILL NOT stand trial Tuesday as previously announced. Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner announced Monday afternoon, 38-year old Timothy Leigh Russell, of Cherokee entered a voluntary guilty plea and was sentenced to prison. Additional details will be released later this afternoon.

Russell was set to stand trial on felony charges of Attempted Murder, Willful Injury causing bodily injury, Going Armed with Intent and Willful Injury causing serious injury, for an altercation which occurred during the early morning hours of  September 3rd 2012 Atlantic, during which the victim of the attack was stabbed with a shop tool, which was reportedly a screwdriver. The victim was never identified. They were initially taken to the Cass County Memorial Hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Omaha for surgery.

Russell remains in the Cass County Jail on $100,000 cash bond.

Underage Party revelers busted over the weekend in Shelby County

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office report 14 teenagers were arrested over the weekend, and cited for being a Minor In Possession of alcohol, after a carload of juveniles yelled to another a Police Officer about where the beer party was being held. When a Sheriff’s Deputy went to the home of Chris and Joni Larsen, at 2020 900th Street in Shelby County, he failed to get an answer at the door. The deputy walked around the side of the home and saw several individuals allegedly playing a game of “beer pong.” The homeowners were out of town, but after authorities contacted them, permission was granted for deputies to enter the home at around 11:20-p.m.

Among those cited for the offense was: 18 year old Lauren Larsen, 18 year old Ethan Williams, 18 year old Austin Hess, 17 year old Rachel Pauley, 16 year old Derek Leinen, 17 year old Anna Buman, 17 year old Elijah Williams, and 17 year old Jena Rasmussen, all of Harlan; 18 year old David Ratigan of Panama; 18 year old Bradley Freund of Earling; 18 year old Nathan Kloewer of Defiance; 17 year old Brooke Schulte of Portsmouth; 17 year old Steve Gross of Earling, and 17 year old Samuel Rivera of Defiance.

Three other persons attending the party were not charged.

Flat Screen TV stolen from Coin residence

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the recent theft of a flat screen tv from a residence in Coin. The resident at 10 Main Street in Coin reported to authorities someone entered her home and   cut a paddle lock on her bedroom door, before stealing a new, in-the-box, 32-inch Emerson flat screen tv. The theft occurred sometime between the hours of 10-a.m. and 3-p.m., Saturday.

Red Oak car dealership theft under investigation; Drug arrest reported

News

February 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a theft which occurred at a Red Oak car dealership. Authorities say sometime prior to Saturday, Feb. 9th, someone took a tailgate from a 2010 Ford F-250 pickup parked on the lot at Hawkeye Ford in Red Oak. The tailgate, which was white in color and had a backup camera installed in it, is valued at $4,000. Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials report also, the arrest of a Villisca man on drug charges. 25-year old Jessie Bruce Fitzwater faces a felony Delivery of Marijuana charge. Fitzwater was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond.