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Utah truckers injured during I-80 accident in Cass County

News

February 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A semi driver and his passenger were injured during an accident late Saturday night on Interstate 80, in Cass County. The Iowa State Patrol reports 69-year old Bruce Dale White, of Ogden, Utah, was driving a Freightliner double-bottom Fed-Ex semi eastbound on I-80 at around 10:55-p.m., when for reasons unknown, he lost control near the Olive Street Exit to Atlantic (Exit 57).

Photo's courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County Emergency Mgmt. Agy.

Photo’s courtesy Mike Kennon, Cass County Emergency Mgmt. Agy.

The semi  entered the median and ended-up in the north ditch. White, and his passenger, 57-year old J. Max Robinson, of Palin City, Utah, were injured. Both men were transported by LifeNet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha.

Soon after the semi crossed through the median, a pickup driven by 20-year old Jakob Quibell, of Dansville, Kentucky, struck debris from the median. His 2007 Dodge sustained minor damage, and came to rest on the westbound, right shoulder of I-80.12791060_10153946920811948_7918877094095391226_n 12800395_10153947032961948_1848561295957464284_n 12806242_10153947033006948_614455134853931194_n

Suspect in fatal crash fails to show for court hearing

News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A man suspected of being drunk and drag racing when he caused a fatal crash has skipped court. A judge revoked 19-year-old Eswin Mejia’s $50,000 bail on Friday when Mejia failed to show for his preliminary hearing. Officials weren’t surprised, as Mejia earlier this month skipped urine tests required for him remain free on $5,000 bond. Police have not been able to find Mejia – a Honduras national believed to have been in the country illegally.

Police say Mejia’s blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit when he crashed on Jan. 29 into an SUV, killing its driver, 21-year-old Sarah Root, of Council Bluffs.  Criticism has been levied at legal officials for allowing Mejia’s $5,000 bond to go unchallenged, as well as federal immigration officials for not seeking to hold Mejia.

Adair & Guthrie Storm Spotter Class March 16th followed by Severe Weather Awareness Week

News, Weather

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Adair and Guthrie County Emergency Management Agencies will host a joint 2016 Storm Spotter Class at the Menlo Community Center, beginning at 7:00 PM on March 16th. Robert Kempf, Coordinator for the agencies, says the class is free and open to the public.

The following week, March 21st-throught the 25th, is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. The highlight of Severe Weather Awareness Week is the annual statewide tornado drill scheduled for 10-a.m. Wednesday, March 23rd.  Schools, businesses, state and local governments, and individuals are strongly encouraged to participate in the drill. Additional information about the tornado drill can be found on local National Weather Service (NWS) website.

During Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will post information on individual and family preparedness at www.BeReady.iowa.gov, including podcasts, public service announcements and videos. The NWS will promote severe weather safety on their websites and by issuing informative public information statements.

Judge to announce verdict Monday in stabbing death trial

News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A judge says she will announce next week the fate of a Council Bluffs woman accused of fatally stabbing her ex-boyfriend. The Daily Nonpareil reports that District Judge Kathleen Kilnoski will announce a verdict Monday in Jodie Sherman’s case after the trial ended Friday.

Sherman is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2014 death of Douglas Richt, her ex-boyfriend. Sherman is accused of stabbing Richt in the throat during an argument after he picked her up in a car. Richt died while being taken to a hospital.

Her attorneys have argued that she’s not guilty by reason of insanity. Kilnoski is weighing a verdict because Sherman waived her right to a trial by jury.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 2/27/2016

News, Podcasts

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

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

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(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, Saturday, 2/27/2016

News, Podcasts

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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Red Oak woman arrested for OWI Sat. morning

News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop early this (Saturday) morning in Red Oak resulted in a woman being arrested on alcohol-related charges. Police say 56-year old Jo Beth Blay, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 2:20-a.m. and charged with OWI/1st offense. Blay was being held at the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center on a $1,000 cash bond.

Branstad willing to accept $95 million tax break for one year only

News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says he could go along with House Republicans’ plan to extend 95-million dollars in state tax breaks to Iowa small business owners and farmers who purchased assets in 2015. “It will be tight and it will use up a lot of the surplus over and above what we have in the economic and cash emergency account,” Branstad says, “but we could accept for one year.” Branstad did not include this recommendation in the plans he submitted to legislators in January.

Republicans in the House have voted to make this tax break available to about 177-thousand Iowa small business owners and farmers who’re filing their taxes right now and Republicans in the legislature would like to make it permanent, but Branstad says he’ll only accept a one-year extension. “We’d lose too much revenue,” Branstad says, “and it would put us in a financial position that we couldn’t sustain it for the long term.” The tax break under discussion is a credit for the depreciation of assets and would be available to small business owners and farmers who buy things like computer software, machinery, equipment and on-farm storage structures.

State officials in the past several years have aligned state tax law with federal tax policy in this area. The leader of Democrats in the Iowa Senate says there are private discussions among key legislators to determine what might be possible this year.

(Radio Iowa)

Branstad would consider minimum wage hike, but doesn’t expect legislature to pass one

News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Johnson County currently has a minimum wage that’s higher than the state’s and officials in neighboring Linn County are considering a similar move. Governor Terry Branstad says it “would be better” if the base rate for hourly wages was set on a “statewide basis.” “But I understand we have a legislature that’s divided and there’s not a consensus on that issue, so I’ve indicated a willingness to consider it, but I just don’t perceive that there is a consensus in the legislature between the parties addressing increasing the minimum wage,” Branstad says.

Branstad made his comments today Friday, during a taping of Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press.” Last fall, Johnson County officials passed an ordinance that raised the minimum wage to eight-dollars-and-20 cents an hour. It will go up to 9-dollars-and-15 cents an hour on May 1st in Johnson County, although some communities in the county were allowed to “opt out” of the minimum wage hike plan.

On January 1st of next year, the minimum wage for most of Johnson County will rise to ten-ten ($10.10) an hour. Officials with the board that governs the University of Iowa are discussing a move to “opt out” of the higher minimum wage rate for Johnson County, because students in work study programs at Iowa would be paid more than work study students at Iowa State and U-N-I.

(Radio Iowa)

Ethanol industry advisor expects more mergers in 2015

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A biofuels industry advisor says the ethanol industry is “ripe for consolidation.” Bruce Comer, director of California-based Ocean Park Advisors, says if tight ethanol margins continue, more companies will be evaluating their options. “If margins stay where they are, more owners, more board members, and more managers are going to take a harder look at whether to continue to own and continue to fight the fight, or to look at other opportunities,” Comer said. “At a minimum, checking the market for what their assets might be worth.”

Comer notes that there are still 94 “stand-alone” ethanol plants that account for more than five billion gallons, or 36 percent of domestic production. “That steady march of consolidation of those 94 independent plants, I think we can expect to see that (continue) for the next several years,” Comer said. “And depending on how this year turns out with margins and inventory and exports and some of those other factors, it could push that number up and we could see a very active year.”

Comer says the pace of ethanol exports will be one of the key factors to watch over the remainder in 2016.

(Radio Iowa)