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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 7/26/17


July 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation for four counties in northern and eastern Iowa ravaged by severe weather, heavy rains and flash flooding. The governor’s office said Tuesday that the proclamation covers Chickasaw, Dubuque, Floyd and Kossuth counties affected by weather Friday and Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s largest public pension system says the trust fund that pays out retirement benefits is “sound,” but at least one GOP lawmaker thinks changes might be needed. Donna Mueller, chief executive officer for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, says her assessment is based on industry standards. She spoke Tuesday to lawmakers at the Capitol. Sen. Charles Schneider says he’s exploring whether to hold legislative meetings to discuss possible changes to the system.

NORTH ENGLISH, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor has declined to charge a southeastern Iowa police officer in the shooting death last month of a North English man. Iowa County Attorney Tim McMeen said in a written statement Tuesday that an investigation showed Police Officer Blake Heller was justified in shooting 53-year-old Robin Blaylock on June 10. McMeen says Blaylock pointing a gun twice at officers and refused to obey officer commands.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A national report has found that Iowa is lagging behind much of the U.S. in foreign language instruction for K-12 students. The Des Moines Register reports the study was conducted by the American Councils for International Education and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. It says slightly more than 15 percent of Iowa’s K-12 students were enrolled in a foreign language course in 2014-15. Iowa ranked 35th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for such instruction.

Cass County Board accepts 911 Director’s Resignation


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Public Safety Commission Board, Tuesday evening, accepted the resignation of 911 Director Rob Koppert. Cass County Attorney David Wiederstein said he and Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren had met with Koppert Monday morning at his request. At that time, he submitted his letter of resignation to them. Wiederstein said there was some brief discussion, but nothing further.

Koppert has been the 911 Director for Cass County since the mid-1990’s. He has been experiencing health issues lately, but it’s not clear if that was the reason behind his resignation. McLaren and Wiederstein would only go on record as saying Koppert resigned at his request, and was NOT asked to do so.  Both Wiederstein and McLaren stated that there is no investigation underway by their respective offices. That does NOT rule out the possibility however, that state or federal agency is conducting an investigation.

The Board appointed Cass County Emergency Management Director Mike Kennon as Interim 911 Director. The process will now begin to revise the position’s job description and then seeking applicants.


Official says Iowa’s largest public pension fund is “sound”


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s largest public pension system says the trust fund that pays out retirement benefits is “sound,” but at least one GOP lawmaker thinks changes might be needed.

Donna Mueller, chief executive officer for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as IPERS, says her assessment is based on industry standards. She spoke Tuesday to a handful of lawmakers at the Capitol.

Republican Sen. Charles Schneider of West Des Moines says he’s exploring whether to hold legislative meetings to review IPERS because of long-term unfunded liabilities. He says he’s not suggesting specific changes. Gov. Kim Reynolds has said she supports Schneider’s efforts.

The IPERS trust fund has unfunded liabilities of about $5.6 billion and could increase to about $7 billion in the next several months. But it has assets of about $28 billion, and IPERS officials say they expect the shortfall to be paid off. About 350,000 public employees benefit from the system.

Multi-vehicle accident in Harrison County Tues. morning 6 injured


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Six people were injured during a crash that involved multiple vehicles in Harrison County Tuesday morning. The accident happened about one-half mile east of Logan on Highway 30, at around 8:50-a.m. The Iowa State Patrol says a 2001 Ford Taurus, driven by 60-year old Mary Hall, of Dunlap, for reasons unknown, crossed the center line as it was traveling eastbound, and struck the rear dual wheels of a 2015 Freightliner semi that was westbound on Highway 30.

The semi was driven by 24-year old Rigoberto Rojas Reyes, of Omaha.  After striking the semi, Hall’s car continued eastbound and struck a westbound 2008 Chrysler Town and Country van driven by 22-year old Janet Castro, of Storm Lake. The van was then struck in the rear by a westbound Buick Enclave driven by 86 year old Robert Mitchell, of Dunlap.

Hall had to be mechanically extricated from the Taurus and was sent by Life Net Helicopter to UNMC in Omaha with unknown injuries.  The driver and three passengers in the van were also injured, including the driver, Janet Castro, and 30-year old Jennifer Driesen of Cherokee, both of whom were transported by Logan Rescue to the Missouri Valley Hospital. Jacob Goodwin and Logan Phelps, of Storm Lake, who were also in the van, were transported by Midwest Medical Ambulance to Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha.

Robert Mitchell was transported to the Missouri Valley Hospital by Missouri Valley Rescue.  The driver of the semi was not injured.  The accident remains under investigation.

(Thanks to our sister station KNOD is Harlan for preparing this report)

East Pottawattamie County Fair Results

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 25th, 2017 by Jim Field

The results from the shows and judging at the East Pottawattamie County Fair in Avoca are complete.  CLICK HERE for all the details!

Long haul trucker involved in immigrants’ deaths shouldn’t have been driving


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 7/26 6:45-a.m.) — A congressman says a truck that carried dozens of immigrants, 10 of whom died, passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint around two hours before it was discovered in the parking lot of a San Antonio, Texas Walmart. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had been informed by law enforcement that the truck driven by James Matthew Bradley Jr. cleared the Interstate 35 checkpoint north of Laredo around 10 p.m. Saturday. Police arrived at the Walmart parking lot at 12:23 a.m. Sunday. Cuellar said he didn’t know whether immigrants crossing into the United States illegally were loaded into the truck before or after it crossed the checkpoint. The station is 29 miles north of the border, along the interstate that links Laredo and San Antonio and is a primary north-south route in the United States. It’s equipped with license plate readers and dogs that sniff vehicles heading north.

Court records show James Bradley, Jr., had been cited repeatedly for violating federal motor carrier safety regulations in Iowa dating back to 1995. At least two of the tickets were for logging more hours than allowed.  His most recent infraction came in April 2013. He was ticketed for violating a rule that bars truckers from driving longer than 14 hours without a break. The citation shows that he was driving for Pyle Transportation. He was fined $127.50. The records show Bradley also received tickets for violations of federal safety rules following stops or inspections in 2011, 2010 and 1995. They included a “maximum hours of service violation” for driving too much without rest in 2010.

And, the state of Florida had suspended commercial driving privileges for a truck driver three months before he was arrested for driving a tractor-trailer so hot and so crammed with immigrants that 10 people died. Alexis Bakofsky, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, confirmed Tuesday that the agency disqualified James Matthew Bradley Jr.’s commercial driving privileges in April when he failed to file an updated medical card. Federal law requires commercial drivers supply the card to show they are physically fit for the road. Bradley’s driving record shows he was issued a commercial driver’s license in Florida in 2004. Bakofsky confirmed the Florida license was disqualified indefinitely. Bakofsky also says it would have been illegal for him to have held a second license from another state.

Red Oak man arrested after dispute Tuesday


July 25th, 2017 by Chris Parks

The Red Oak Police Department reports the arrest of a Red Oak man on Tuesday after responding to a 911 hang-up that was believed to be a possible domestic assault. At 11:50am officers responded to the call location at 1800 E Summit Street.  After investigation Officers arrested 23-year-old Zachary Nathan Gobert, of Red Oak, for Violation of a Protective Order. He was also charged with Obstruction of Emergency Communications.  Gobert was taken to the Montgomery County Jail and held on no bond. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted Red Oak Police at the scene.

2 from Omaha charged after shots fired incident at Lake Manawa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says two Nebraska hunters were charged by state park Rangers, after a tip was reported by a fisherman, of shots fired at Lake Manawa, in Pottawattamie County. Officials say 37-year old Sein Ram and 17-year old Gungsar Yungtang, both of Omaha, face numerous charges associated with the incident.

The men were initially cited for hunting by artificial light, hunting without a non-resident hunting license and illegal attempt to take game (Rabbits), after their vehicle was pulled over at around 12:52-a.m. July 22nd. The men admitted to hunting rabbits using a flash light. a 22-caliber rifle, ammunition and flash light were seized during the traffic stop.

Upon further investigation of the scene, a deceased female whitetail deer was found with multiple gunshot wounds. The DNR found a blood trail consistent with being shot from the roadway, and a .22 caliber bullet was recovered from the deer carcass.

Iowa DNR park rangers met with Ram later that day, and charged him with Failure to have a non-resident antlerless deer license, abandonment of dead or injured wildlife, illegal method of take, shooting a firearm over a roadway, and trespassing. Ram also received warnings for prohibited hunting near an occupied building, refusal to exhibit catch to an officer, shooting a deer out of season, use of a motor vehicle for deer hunting, and manner of conveyance for having a loaded weapon in a vehicle.

Yungtang was fined $450, and Ram was fined $3,808. The DNR encouraged the public to report any suspicious activity through the DNR Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline, at 1-800-532-2020.

Atlantic Police report (7/25) – McDermott charged with OWI/DWL revoked


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

In a follow-up to our report on June 29th, Atlantic Police Chief Dave Erickson today (Tuesday), said 50-year old Rex McDermott, of Atlantic, was arrested July 17th, on charges of OWI/2nd offense, and Driving While License Denied or Revoked. The charges are the result of an investigation into a UTV accident that occurred June 29th. McDermott was seriously injured during the incident. He was later taken into custody by Sheriff’s Deputies and transported to the Cass County Jail. Also arrested July 17th, was 54-year old Larry Will, of Atlantic. Will was charged with OWI and Driving While License Denied or revoked. He was also booked into the Cass County Jail.

On July 20th, Atlantic Police arrested 37-year old Dicey Christensen, of Atlantic, on a Cass County warrant for Violation of Probation. And, 52-year old Randall Conry, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication/3rd or subsequent offense.

And, last Saturday, 26-year old Mark Fredericksen, of Atlantic, was arrested by Atlantic Police, on a Cass County warrant for Gathering where controlled substances are used. Each of the subjects mentioned were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Oakland man arrested on OWI charge in Shelby County


July 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reports a Pottawattamie County man was arrested Sunday night. 48-year old Randy Rex Foster, of Oakland, was taken into custody at around 7:30-p.m. for OWI/2nd offense. He was also cited for speeding, and Failure to provide proof of registration. Foster was brought to the Shelby County Jail without incident, and posted bond later that morning with a pending court date setup for July 25th 2017.