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(Podcast) KJAN News, Dec. 22nd 2014

News, Podcasts

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The 7:06-a.m. Newscast with KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Home sales down, prices up in November

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Association of Realtors found the number of homes sold in November were down from one year ago. Association president, Jon Yocum, says that’s only part of the story. “We did have a decrease over a year ago in the number of homes sold, but our sale price is up, so that’s telling us that the market is still strong,” Yocum says. Home sales were down nearly 11 percent from the same month last year to 26-hundred homes. He says several factors held back sales in November, including the election.

“Everybody was bombarded with advertisements on a regular daily basis. Every time you watched a program it seemed like you had to watch what seemed like five hours of election coverage,” Yocum says. “I think that just weighed heavy on peoples’ decision to say ‘hey let’s see what happens, see what plays out’.” Yocum says the weather also had an impact. He says the temperatures were a little colder in October and early November than usual and that kept people from getting out.

The average sale price of a home sold in Iowa was up four-point-one percent over November of last year. Yocum says the November numbers are based on the sales that closed, so the transactions that started in late November aren’t reflected. He says it appear business picked up late in the month and into this month. “A lot of agents are busy, even though it is the holiday season. So, there’s still a lot of activity going on,” Yocum says. He says the little warm spell we had recently should translate into some more sales.

Gas prices have been steadily going down, and Yocum says that impacts one segment of the housing market. “When you get into your smaller rural communities where people want to live in that rural area, but the drive time and fuel cost weighs heavy on their decision, ” Yocum says. “With the fuel prices dropping as much as they have, that’s opening the doors for people to say now is maybe the time to make the purchase out in the smaller communities.” Yocum says interest rates remain very low, which also continues to be a factor in people making a decision on home ownership.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., Dec. 22nd, 2014

News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Governor Rick Perry will attend a conservative summit in Iowa next month. Jeff Marschner, a spokesman for the conservative group Citizens United, said yesterday that Perry will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24th in Des Moines. The event is being sponsored by Citizens United and Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The future of the former Iowa Juvenile Home facility in Toledo remains murky, and questions about how the state will care for delinquent girls linger. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports supporters of the facility hope the state will decide soon what to do with it, but lawsuits related to the closure of the juvenile home complicate the situation. Bill Skow says it’s sad to see the facility set empty like a ghost town.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A 22-year-old man is dead after police say he accidentally shot himself in the face inside a Des Moines apartment. KCCI reports the incident happened shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. According to police reports, investigators believe Fabiano Aguiniga accidentally shot himself with a shotgun while five other people were in the apartment.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Samantha Logic’s contested drive through traffic with less than 3 seconds remaining gave Number 23 Iowa a wild 100-98 win over Drake on Sunday in a game that saw the teams combine for 24 points in the last 65 seconds. Melissa Dixon hit 10 3-pointers and scored 31 points for the Hawkeyes.

Structure Fire in Harlan Sun. evening

News

December 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A fire late Sunday afternoon in Harlan resulted in the destruction of the former St. Michael’s Catholic Church, despite the efforts of firefighters from Harlan and at least four other communities, to limit the damage. The blaze at the vacant building on 8th Street took several hours to bring under control, but no injuries were reported. Crews from Harlan, Denison, Kirkman, and elsewhere responded to the scene. Crews were called-out again Monday morning to deal with a rekindle of the flames. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

From the Harlan Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

Courtesy Jim Wolf

Courtesy Jim Wolf and Rita Knights

Photo courtesy Jim Wolf

Photo courtesy Jim Wolf and Rita Knights

Audubon man charged with Possession of Stolen Property

News

December 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Several arrests were made recently, in Audubon County. Sheriff Todd Johnson reported on Sunday, that 33-year old Joshua Lee Larsen, of Audubon, was arrested Friday evening and charged with Possession of Stolen Property. The charge stems from an ongoing investigation and a second search warrant executed at Larsen’s residence at 311 South Division Street, in Audubon. Larsen was booked into the Audubon County Jail, and later released after appearing before a magistrate. Audubon Police assisted in the execution of the search warrant and arrest. The incident remains under investigation.

Also arrested Friday, was 24-year old Rhiana Marie Christensen, of Cumberland. She was taken into custody at around 8-p.m. in Monona County, on an outstanding Audubon County bench warrant issued for Contempt, when she failed to appear for a court hearing. Christensen was being held in the Audubon County Jail on $1,500 cash bond.

28-year old Ryan Bryce Nichols, of Gray, was arrested at around 9-p.m. Friday for Driving while Suspended. The arrest stems from a traffic stop on Highway 71, near North Division Street. Nichols subsequently posted a cash bond and was released. A passenger in the vehicle, 29-year old Benjamin Daniel Jobe, of Audubon, was arrested for Possession of Marijuana. He was later released, after appearing before a magistrate. Audubon Police assisted in making both arrests.

And at around 2-a.m. Sunday (Dec. 21st), 25-year old Matthew Steven Randeris, of Hamlin, was arrested on a charge of OWI/2nd Offense, following a traffic stop in the 1900 block of Highway 44. Randeris was booked into the Audubon County Jail and later released after appearing before the magistrate.

OWI arrest in Red Oak Sunday morning

News

December 21st, 2014 by Chris Parks

A Red Oak man was arrested early this (Sunday) morning, on an OWI charge. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports 43-year old Kipp Michael Brower, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 2:25-a.m. on a charge of OWI/1st Offense. Brower was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond.

Fire in Casey last August likely caused by arson

News

December 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A fire last August in Casey that destroyed the City Hall there, was likely caused by arson. And, while arson is suspected as the reason for the blaze, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, Ron Humphrey, Iowa’s  chief fire investigator said the damage was so extensive that the cause might never be officially determined.

The combination City Hall and Community Center burned down early Aug. 20th, the day that state auditors were scheduled to arrive to look at the city’s books. Flames were first spotted in the part of the building where the city offices were located. Humphrey said while all the signs point to arson, proving it is difficult.

Investigators, including those from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are awaiting the release of the state audit, which is likely months away. The city’s records burned in the fire, making the audit far more difficult.

There have been no arrests. A search warrant, which remains sealed, was executed shortly after the blaze at the home of the longtime city clerk, Dorothy Dillinger. Casey Mayor Forrest Schnobrich said Dillinger was interviewed by investigators a few days after the fire. He said she never returned to work after the interview and later resigned. Humphrey said Dillinger was very cooperative and denied having anything to do with the blaze.

Local officials knew the state auditors were scheduled to arrive that day. The audit of city finances was being done as the result of a petition signed by more than 160 local residents. While larger communities in Iowa are audited annually. The City of Casey hadn’t been audited in more than 20 years. Residents in Casey and three other small communities petitioned for an audit in the 2014 fiscal year.

Judi Zimmerline, who owns a hair salon in Casey, was an organizer of the petition drive. It was circulated, she said, because an audit hadn’t been done for so long and because there were suspicions of shoddy bookkeeping. Casey’s mayor has described the call for an audit as a “fishing expedition.” He believes the timing of the fire to be a coincidence.

Joh Ham, spokesman for the ATF’s Fire Research Lab in Maryland, told the paper evidence from the fire is being tested. Meanwhile, a new city clerk is on the job. The city offices have moved temporarily to the basement of the Rolling Hills Bank & Trust across the street. Schnobrich says he hopes the city can rebuild a new city hall-community center on the site of the old one. The city is insured to cover the cost up to $1.2 million.

Prostitution sting in Council Bluffs nets 11 arrests

News

December 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Eight women and three men face charges after a prostitution sting in Council Bluffs. The Daily NonPareil reports the Council Bluffs Police Department conducted a covert operation last Wednesday, at an area hotel. Sgt. Bob Christensen said undercover officers set up meetings with clients and prostitutes via the Internet.

Those arrested on suspicion of prostitution included: 30-year old Holly Marks, of Omaha – who was also cited for possession of marijuana; 33-year old Misty S. Cook, of Council Bluffs; 25-year old Amanda D. Spencer, (no address listed); 27-year old Ashley T. Moss, 23-year old Antwanette L. Tyson, 28-year old Tara D. Marie, and 22-year old Romesha Brown, all of Omaha; 20-year old Latosha Jones, of San Antonio, TX; 49-year old James D. Alexander, of Deerfield, Ill.; 25-year old James C. Welty, of Elkhorn, Neb.; and 49-year old Andrew J. Korenak, of Blair, Neb.

Christensen said undercover agents pretend to be both clients and workers. About 15 officers involved in the operation were at the Council Bluffs hotel from 10 a.m. until midnight on Wednesday. Prostitution is an aggravated misdemeanor, according to Iowa Code.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sunday, Dec. 21st 2014

News

December 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — State and local Iowa officials have approved $3.1 million in incentives for an Omaha, Nebraska soybean processor to build a $90 million vegetable oil refinery in northwestern Iowa. The Sioux City Journal reports that an agreement approved Friday by the Woodbury County board will exempt Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha from $2.1 million in county property taxes through 2024. At a separate meeting in Des Moines, the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved another $1 million in loans and state tax credits for the project at AGP’s complex near Sergeant Bluff.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Sioux City are keeping an eye on winter weather to help determine when a new children’s museum under construction will be ready to open to the public. The Sioux City Journal reports that the Children’s Museum of Siouxland was scheduled to open by next summer.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa health officials say the number of Iowans hospitalized for flu complications has more than doubled in recent weeks. The Des Moines Register reports that senior citizens in Iowa are being hit especially hard. A report released Friday by the Iowa Department of Public Health says more than half of Iowans being hospitalized for the flu are 65 or older.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Applications are now being accepted for the Citizen’s Police Academy in Dubuque. The Telegraph Herald reports that the annual program aims to give residents a better understanding of how police work.

Iowa flu hospitalization doubles in recent weeks

News

December 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa health officials say the number of Iowans hospitalized for flu complications has more than doubled in recent weeks. The Des Moines Register reports that senior citizens in Iowa are being hit especially hard. A report released Friday by the Iowa Department of Public Health says more than half of Iowans being hospitalized for the flu are 65 or older.

The latest report says that through Dec. 13, 65 Iowans were hospitalized for the flu at a set of hospitals monitored by the department. That was up from 50 the previous week, and 26 the week before that. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the department’s medical director, says the Type A H3N2 is the most common strain of the flu hitting the state.