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Felony arrest warrant issued for Eswin Mejia


February 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA – A felony arrest warrant has been issued for a 19-year-old Omaha man accused in a motor vehicle homicide after he failed to show up for his twice-daily Breathalyzer tests. The Daily NonPareil reports the tests were part of the terms of Eswin Mejia’s release from custody. Mejia was charged Feb. 3rd with motor vehicle homicide and drunken driving in connection with the death of 21-year-old Sarah Root, of Council Bluffs.

Eswin Mejia

Eswin Mejia

Mejia was freed Friday after paying 10 percent of the $50,000 bond. The judge set bail on the condition that Mejia participate in a 24/7 sobriety program that requires him to appear twice a day for Breathalyzer testing. Mejia’s attorney said at a hearing that his client had lived in Omaha about three years and had many relatives in the area. The warrant was issued for Mejia on Tuesday.

Root, an Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School graduate, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada east on L Street about 2:15 a.m. Jan. 31 when her vehicle was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by Mejia. Root’s sport utility vehicle was stopped or slowing when it was rear-ended near 33rd and L Streets. Root died at the Nebraska Medical Center. Mejia, who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license, was treated at the medical center for a leg injury before he was booked into the Douglas County Jail.

Following a blood draw at the hospital, police said Mejia had a blood alcohol content of .241 percent, which is more than three times the legal driving limit. If convicted of felony motor vehicle homicide, Mejia faces up to 20 years in prison. Police said Thursday, the Metro Fugitive Task Force has been attempting to locate Mejia without success. Anyone who knows where he is should contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at (402) 444-STOP or at omahacrimestoppers.org.

An arrest warrant also was issued for Mejia in May 2015 for failure to appear for several traffic infractions, according to Douglas County Court records. He appeared in court a day after his arrest and pleaded guilty to driving while his license was suspended and failure to secure a child’s safety seat.

Iowa man gets 7 years in prison for impersonating officer


February 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man accused of impersonating a police officer and enticing young girls and inappropriately touching them has been sentenced to seven years in prison. The Sioux City Journal reports that 31-year-old Joey Alberts pleaded guilty Wednesday to enticing away a minor, indecent contact with a child and three counts of impersonating a public official.

According to court documents, Alberts was arrested in March 2014 after authorities say he approached girls in 2012 and 2013, telling them he was a police officer. Alberts was accused of inappropriately touching two 13-year-old girls on separate occasions, and trying to lure a 12-year-old and 13-year-old girl into his car in separate incidents.

Alberts must register as a sex offender upon release from prison.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., Feb. 12th 2016


February 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A U.S. magistrate from Sioux City has been approved to serve as a judge on one of Iowa’s federal courts. Senator Chuck Grassley announced Thursday that the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Leonard Strand to serve as a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Iowa.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — A southeast Iowa jury has awarded seven former nursing students of Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant $75,000 each after the nursing program lost national accreditation just prior to their graduation in the spring of 2013. The students filed a lawsuit with several allegations including breach of contract and negligence. A Henry County jury returned the verdict on Wednesday.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The owners of a private northeast Iowa zoo must remove their tigers and lemurs after a federal judge ruled that they failed to provide appropriate living conditions for the endangered animals. In a ruling issued Thursday, Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart ordered the owners of the roadside Cricket Hollow Zoo, near Manchester, to transfer the tigers and lemurs to U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed facility within 90 days.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell scored 14 points and Troy Williams added 13 and Indiana rallied to upset Number 4 Iowa 85-78 on Thursday night after blowing a big lead. Jarrod Uthoff led the Hawkeyes with 24 points, and Mike Gesell had 17. Iowa lost for the first time in four games.

Anita man turns himself-in on drug-related warrant


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports a man wanted on a Cass County Sheriff’s warrant for drug charges, has turned himself-in. 54-year old Blake Ted Cooley, of Anita, was arrested on the warrant charging him with Felony, Possession with Intent to Deliver, and an aggravated misdemeanor Prohibited Acts, charges. Cooley was booked at the Cass County Jail on Tuesday and released later that day on $7,000 bond.

And, on Wednesday, Deputies in Cass County arrested 38-year old James Matthew VanScoyk, of Council Bluffs, on a District Court warrant for Failure to Appear. VanScoyk was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $5,000 bond.

Faces of Agent Orange Symposium to be Held in Des Moines


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Johnston, Iowa) Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Colonel Robert King (Ret) announces Vietnam Veterans of America will hold a symposium to address the birth defects, diseases, and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of our nation’s veterans. The Faces of Agent Orange Symposium will be held Saturday, 23rd April 2016, at Hy-Vee Hall, Iowa Events Center, 730 3rd Street, Des Moines, Iowa. There will be two sessions – the first from 9:00 am to noon, and the second from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. IA Dept of Veterans Affairs

“Our American soldiers returned from Vietnam and associated areas with a number of issues that they have had to contend with since their return years ago. Evidence is now connecting their battlefield exposures to Agent Orange with many diseases and birth defects that are afflicting their children and future generations. It is important that we make the families and communities more aware of the lingering effects of their exposure,” said Colonel King.

The goal of the symposium is to bring attention to the hidden cost of our service and to encourage the government to assist our doctors in finding ways to diagnose and treat these birth defects. Veterans of all wars are subjected to many contaminates, and most were not aware of what was being used or what effects these would have on their health.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. is a national non-profit corporation founded in 1978 in the United States that is committed to serving the needs of all veterans. It is funded without any contribution from any branch of government.

In keeping with Vietnam Veterans of America’s (VVA) founding principle, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Vietnam veterans throughout the state of Iowa and across the nation continue to fight for the welfare of our nation’s veterans from all wars.

For more information on this event, please contact Dan Gannon at 515-991-5257 or gannonobx@aol.com.

Iowa Senate OKs bill to dismantle Medicaid privatization


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Democratic-controlled Senate has passed legislation that would dismantle plans to switch Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid program into private management, though the bill isn’t expected to advance in the divided Legislature. The chamber voted 29-19 Thursday for the bill, which would terminate Iowa’s contracts with three private companies.

The bill was introduced amid growing tension in the Legislature over the future of Iowa’s Medicaid program, which provides health care to roughly 560,000 low-income and disabled residents. Senate Democrats recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama and other federal officials asking them to end the privatization move, set to take effect March 1st.

Although three Republican senators voted for the bill, the GOP-majority House isn’t expected to take up the measure, which has also been criticized by Gov. Terry Branstad.

A-PD partners w/Gov.’s office of Drug Control Policy for med drop-off sites


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green has announced a permanent Medication Dropbox is now located in the lobby of the Atlantic Police Department, at 23 East 4th Street. Green said the drop box was made possible through a small grant from the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy’s (ODCP) Iowa Take Back Prescription Drug Drop Box Program, and is a way to address the increasing problem of prescription drug abuse. The dropbox will be accessible to the public during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8-a.m. to 4:30-p.m., or by contacting any Atlantic Police Officer

You can bring your unwanted prescription meds to the dropbox, but you’re asked to first, remove any labels with your personal information, seal the medications in vials or clear plastic bags, and leave them anonymously.

dispose_drugsChief Green says the dropbox is an opportunity for families to legally and responsibly dispose of prescriptions and remove the temptation for abuse. “Many people,” he says “become addicted to prescription drugs because they started using a family member’s leftover prescriptions. Once addicted, some of these individuals may eventually move to other drugs [such as heroin], to fulfill [their] addiction.”

The prescription dropbox is secured inside the lobby of the Police department and there is no formal paperwork required when making a drop. Needles, other sharp objects and liquids are not allowed in the dropbox. Green says his Officers will take liquid meds from you, if you request it.

Gardening with Children Child Care Provider training to be offered in Atlantic


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers child care provider training, which has been approved by the Department of Human Services and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The training helps providers identify, recognize and implement best practices relative to nutrition, physical activity, health and safety for children under their care. An upcoming training, Gardening with Children, will be held in Atlantic on March 29th.ISU Extension

Gardening promotes healthy lifestyles, early learning experiences, social development, and environmental stewardship among preschool children. Childcare providers will engage in experiential learning gardening activities (crafts, learning activities, literacy, container gardening basics, and taste testing).

This will be offered at the ISU Extension and Outreach office, Cass County in Atlantic on March 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. There is a $15 fee and is partially funded by a Boost for Families (Cass, Mills, Montgomery) Early Childhood Iowa grant for professional development.

Registration is required by March 22, using the online DHS training registry or by calling 712- 623- 2592 (ISU Extension and Outreach- Montgomery County). The class will be taught by Barbara Fuller, MA, RD, LD Nutrition and Wellness Specialist and Kim Brantner, Family Life Specialist, ISU Extension and Outreach.

(Press Release)

Southern IA man convicted of 2 murders in late 2015 dies in jail


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Union County man who pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder back in January is dead, in what appears to be a suicide. An official with the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale, told WHO-TV in Des Moines, that 37-year old Jerry Dillinger was found hanging from a bed sheet, in his cell.

Dillinger was brought to the University of Iowa Hospitals where he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. Foul play is not suspected, but an investigation into the death is underway.

Dillinger plead guilty January 22nd to the murders of Michael Robinson and Loretta Dillinger. Loretta Dillinger’s body was found Dec. 2nd in a farm pond near Lorimor. Robinson’s body was found near a house in Thayer.

Authorities said Loretta was Jerry Dillinger’s ex sister-in-law. Robinson was the boyfriend of Dillinger’s niece.

Greenfield, Orient featured in Dream Trip Giveaway


February 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with TravelIowa.com say the communities of Greenfield and Orient are currently being featured as iconic American destinations as part of a Dream Trip Giveaway. Shawna Lode, Director of the Iowa Tourism Office, says “We know that travel in Iowa has the power to help families reconnect through meaningful experiences. This Dream Trip Giveaway is a great way for the Iowa Tourism Office to showcase our communities and family travel opportunities in front of a national audience.”

The Iowa Tourism Office partnered with publisher Meredith’s Midwest Living magazine to grant a dream trip to Iowa. The five-day, four-night getaway will wind the winner through communities that exemplify Americana – like Greenfield and Orient. The winning traveler will stay at a variety of boutique hotels; dine in restaurants that range from gourmet to local comfort; and adventure across Iowa via land, water and air. Winners will also receive a $2,000 VISA gift card.

Travel IowaCommunities featured in the Dream Trip Giveaway include: Urbandale, Winterset, Orient, Greenfield, Indianola, Pella, Eldon and Moravia. Featured attractions include the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum, National Balloon Museum, American Gothic House and many more. Read the full itinerary at traveliowa.com

To find out more about the trip and register to win, visit traveliowa.com. Entry deadline is February 29. TravelIowa says tourism in the state generates more than $8.06 billion in expenditures, employs 66,500 people statewide and generates $374 million in state taxes.

For more information, visit traveliowa.com, call 800.345.IOWA, or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center. Travelers can find additional Iowa travel inspiration on the Iowa Tourism Office blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, Google+ page, Instagram, or YouTube channel.