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Murdered Springfield, MO. girl has ties to Red Oak

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Springfield, Missouri girl who was kidnapped and murdered Tuesday afternoon, allegedly by a middle school football coach, has ties to southwest Iowa. The Red Oak Express reports 10-year old Hailey Owens is the daughter of Markus and Stacey Owens, of Springfield, MO., and granddaughter of Mark Scanlan, of Red Oak. Hailey’s great-grandmother, Connie Sparr, also lives in Red Oak.

Photo from the Porch lights for Hailey Owens Facebook page.

Photo from the Porch lights for Hailey Owens Facebook page.

The 4th grader was abducted as she was walking home from a friend’s house less than two-blocks away. Her body was found four-hours later inside Craig Woods’ basement. Woods has been charged with 1st degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action. He plead not guilty to the charges this (Friday) morning. Woods was being held without bond in the Greene County, MO, jail. Authorities have said there is no known connection between the girl and Wood.

Local residents are urged to leave their porch light on overnight for the next couple days and wear pink and purple Friday in memory of Hailey.

Since Owens’ death, several Facebook sites have been created to pay tribute to her and  honor her memory. One is “Porch Lights for Hailey Owens,” which encourages people to  to leave their porch light on overnight until Sunday. Another site, “Wear Pink/Purple Friday in Honor of Hailey Owens” encourages people to dress in Hailey’s favorite colors for the day, on Friday.

 

Braley stops in Atlantic, Wednesday

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Democratic Party Chair Sherry Toelle reports U-S Congressman Bruce Braley held a spirited discussion with 31 citizens from different counties Wednesday, at the Atlantic Family Table Restaurant.

Bruce Braley (Sherry Toelle/photo)

Bruce Braley (Sherry Toelle/photo)

Braley talked about his years growing up in Brooklyn, Iowa before moving to Waterloo where he and his wife raised their three children and where he practiced law for 23 years until he was elected to the US House of Representatives from Iowa’s First District. He called himself a “passionate spokesperson for the middle class, fighting for those people who have been marginalized and pushed out of the middle class”.

He talked also about the effects of Citizens United on his campaign, citing the monetary influence that unknown people are using to formulate negative ads against him. Topics discussed during the 50 minute event included mandatory minimum sentencing for federal crimes, the Affordable Care Act, and getting the youth and minorities of the country involved in politics.

Some in the crowd cited issues with the ACA, saying that they could get insurance at a lower cost outside the exchange. Others cited family members benefiting from the ACA, receiving insurance for conditions that they could not previously have had covered. Braley said that the bottom line to the ACA is that “people have benefitted from the the ACA, giving people a new lease on life”, allowing people to change jobs without worry that they will lose their health care coverage and allowing people with pre-existing conditions to have health care coverage for the first time.

Braley is running for the US Senate seat that will be open due to Senator Tom Harkin’s planned retirement at the end of his current term.

USDA releases key Census of Agriculture report

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of farms in Iowa has fallen but the total land farmed in the state has remained stable. The Census of Agriculture, a report released every five years, says the number of Iowa farms fell 4.5 percent to 88,631 in 2012 from 92,856 in 2007. The report released Thursday updates a wide range of agricultural statistics as of 2012.

The average size of a farm grew to 345 acres from 331 acres. Land farmed in the state declined by just over 130,000 acres to 30.6 million acres. The average age of an Iowa farmer increased to 57 from 56. The value of Iowa’s agricultural products rose 50 percent to $30.81 billion from $20.41 billion in 2007.

Bus crashes on I-80 in Adair County, Thursday

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Three people were injured when a bus carrying passengers from Omaha to Des Moines was involved in an accident Thursday afternoon, in Adair County. KCCI in Des Moines reports a MegaBus went out of control and crashed at around 12:25-p.m., near the Greenfield ramps on eastbound Interstate 80.The bus’ wheels became separated from the axle and the windshield was smashed.

Two Megabus employees and two passengers were on the bus at the time of the crash. Stuart and Menlo rescue crews took three people to a hospital to be checked out.

2 women injured in Cass County accident

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two women were injured during an accident Thursday afternoon on Interstate 80 in Cass County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 2007 Chevy van driven by 19-year old Diana Cabanas, of West Covina, CA, was traveling west on I-80 near the Anita exit at around 2-p.m., when the van went out of control on the icy road, entered the median. The driver’s side impacted the guard rail causing Cabanas, and her passenger, 21-year old Danielle Perkins, from Offutt Air Force Base, to be injured. Both women were wearing their seat belts.

The women were transported by Anita Rescue to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for treatment.

 

Survey suggests Midwest economy losing steam

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An economist says a survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Plains states suggests the regional economy is losing steam. The Rural Mainstreet Index dropped below growth neutral in the February survey, hitting 48.4, compared with 50.8 in January and 56.1 in December. The survey indexes range from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in that factor in the months ahead.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the overall index’s decline shows that “areas of the nation highly dependent on agriculture and energy are losing economic steam.”

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

3 vehicle accident in Atlantic

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

At least one person suffered possible injuries during a three-vehicle accident this morning, in Atlantic. According to the Police Department, the crash occurred near the Turkey Creek Lodge on east 7th Street, at around 10:37-a.m. The accident remained under investigation late this morning, and no other details were available.

Roadways in the area at mid-day were 100-percent snow covered. The Iowa DOT reports an accident on the I-80 eastbound off ramp to U-S Highway 59 at Avoca, was closed due to an accident at that location.

A tow ban is in effect for Cass and Adair Counties until further notice. Vehicles that slide-off the road will not be removed until the weather has cleared and the ban is lifted. Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren said there was one accident in the County as of mid-day. The Sheriff warns motorists to slow down and only travel if necessary.

Harlan native in the running for Senate seat

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A native of Harlan who’s running for the U-S Senate seat being vacated by Iowa Democrat Senator Tom Harkin, says he’s “An every day Iowan…ready to represent every day Iowans every day in the Iowa Senate.” Scott Schaben, of Ames, a former luxury car salesman and car sales manager, told KJAN News, when he entered the campaign, he received advice similar to that which he heard when he first got into sales.

Scott Schaben

Scott Schaben

That advice was to “Be a good listener.” Schaben says the rest of the field of candidates includes some “professional talkers,” and he posed the question “Do you want a candidate that’s going to talk to you, or one that’s going to listen to you?”

Schaben is one of several Republicans vying to run against the only Democrat in the race, Representative Bruce Braley. He says while the other candidates talk about ending the partisan bickering and moving the country forward, he can get things done in Congress because of his Blue Collar background and retail sales experience.

He says he’s “Bi-lingual” because he speaks “The language of employer and employee,” therefore he understands the needs of both. Schaben says if elected to the Senate, he’ll focus his energies on the budget and national debt. He says he’s the only candidate that will focus on creating a “Path to solvency.”

Schaben says the last time there was a Senate seat as open as the one being left vacant by Tom Harkin, the entire national debt was 500-billion dollars. Currently, he says the nation is spending over 200-billion per year on interest alone. The figure will grow in the next 10-years to over 500-billion dollars, according to Schaben. He says the “Pathway to solvency is an all-of-the-above approach,” which includes raising revenue by either raising taxes or get more get more people to pay taxes by putting them to work.

That is accomplished he says, by creating an environment where people want to hire and pay people a decent salary, or making reforms in entitlement programs which are part of mandatory spending. Schaben says creating an environment where people are willing to take the risks and become successful entrepreneurs is essential to growth of the economy.

Sun blindness said to be the cause of an accident in Atlantic

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An accident in Atlantic Wednesday morning was said to be caused by temporary sun blindness. The Atlantic Police Department says Florence Hildebrand, of Atlantic, was traveling east on 5th Street at around 7:45-a.m., when she was blinded by the sun. When Hildebrand couldn’t see a vehicle parked near the intersection with Hazel Street. Her vehicle ran into the parked car registered to Maria Swope, of Atlantic. The collision caused Swope’s vehicle to be pushed into another parked car, registered to Alanda Marshall, of Atlantic.

Damage from the mishap amounted to $2,200. There were no injuries, and no citations issued.

(9-a.m. News)

High Speed chase ends in C.Bluffs w/Omaha man hit w/stun gun

News

February 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County says a high-speed vehicle pursuit ended early Wednesday when the Omaha man accused of driving the vehicle was found hiding in the grass. According to the Omaha World-Herald, 33-year old Neal S. Okerbloom, was taken into custody following a chase that began near Highway 92 at Concord Loop, and ended at the Valley View Apartments in Council Bluffs.

Officials told the paper a little after 1 a.m. a sheriff’s deputy spotted Okerbloom running a stop sign. When the deputy attempted to pull over the SUV Okerbloom was driving, he failed to stop and the high-speed chase was underway. Stop sticks were deployed at Mall and Valley View drives to slow Okerbloom down. The SUV eventually pulled into the parking lot at Valley View Apartments. Okerbloom took off on foot and hid in nearby tall grass.

After a police helicopter from Omaha saw Okerbloom and authorities converged on his location, he refused to show his hands when ordered to do so. A stun gun was deployed and Okerbloom was  subsequently arrested. Okerbloom faces charges of eluding, possession of marijuana and will likely face drunken driving charges according to authorities, as  deputies noted he  smelled of alcohol upon his arrest.