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Bluffs man dies in Friday night crash


April 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The driver of a van is dead following a crash late Friday night, in Council Bluffs. Authorities say 67-year old William D. Snyder, of Council Bluffs, died at the scene of the crash that took place at around 11:38-p.m. in the vicinity of 23rd Avenue and S. 35th Street.

Council Bluffs Police say Snyder’s 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager was west bound on 23rd Ave when it lost control and struck a power pole, sheering off the pole. The van sustained heavy front driver side damage before coming to final rest in a field to the west of the roadway. Power was knocked out to several businesses in the area, but crews were working early Saturday morning to restore power to those affected.

South 35th and 23rd Avenue were shut down and traffic was diverted. South bound South 35th to East bound 23rd Ave was still closed this (Saturday) until Mid-American Energy can repair the power poles. The crash is still under investigation by the Council Bluffs P-D’s Special Operations/Traffic Unit, and factors contributing to the accident are not yet clear.

Red Oak residents arrested on Theft charges


April 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Friday night in Red Oak, on Theft charges. Red Oak Police say 32-year old Robert Benjamin Harris was taken into custody at around 7-p.m., and 46-year old Shelby Joann Olivares was arrested at around 7:40-p.m.  Both are from Red Oak. Harris was arrested for Theft in the 5th Degree, while Olivares was arrested for Aiding and Abetting Theft in the 5th Degree.

Both were brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 each bonds, each.

No April Fooling: this is invasive species month in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

We kid you not on this April 1st: Governor Branstad has declared April “invasive species” month to raise awareness about the problem. “Millions of dollars, both public and private, are spent each year for the control of invasive plants, insects, diseases and animal species in Iowa woodlands and urban areas,” Branstad says.

Oriental bittersweet, for example, has spread into Iowa. Its vines climb over and smother trees. “Iowa’s woodlands, wild lands and waterways draw hundreds of thousands of tourists and recreational users each year,” Branstad says. “…Awareness of invasive species is an important first step towards behavioral change which can prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.”

Members of the Trees Forever group and other advocates circled Branstad’s desk as he signed the proclamation. One of them was in costume. “Oh my God, we do have an invasive species here!” Branstad quipped as the woman walked into his office for the event. A man in the crowd then asked Branstad: “Do you have any ash trees up in your place?”

You may have guessed what she was wearing based on that quip. The woman was dressed as an emerald ash borer. By the way, Branstad indicated he’s “not 100 percent sure” on what species of trees are planted at Terrace Hill, but he believes most are shagbark hickory.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the five MOST COMMON invasive species in Iowa are Bush Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, European Buckthorn, Multiflora Rose and Reed Canary Grass. There are some state laws targeting the introduction of invasive species by land AND by water. For example, it’s illegal to transport an invasive species by boat, so boat owners are to clean off any plants, animals or mud that may be stuck to the boat before leaving a body of water in Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Saturday, April 1st 2017


April 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

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

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of acres planted in wheat this year will be the lowest on record and much of that will be planted instead in soybean which will be at a record high of 89.5 million acres. Four years of good wheat growing weather led to a global glut pushing prices low making it unprofitable for farmers to grow.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that would have prohibited so-called sanctuary cities and legislation that would have banned most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected are among measures not advancing beyond a procedural deadline in the Iowa Legislature. The deadline Friday required policy bills to have secured several procedural votes. Bills moving forward include proposed restrictions on how authorities can seize money from people suspected of illegal activity.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two young children in Des Moines escaped serious injury when a car crashed through their bedroom wall and landed on the bed on which they were sleeping. The Des Moines Register reports that the crash into the ground-level apartment happened Friday morning. The driver told police she went to back out of a parking spot, but put the car in drive instead of reverse, sending her into the building.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A former executive of a western Iowa transportation company has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for wire fraud. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Bradley Cornelsen, of Council Bluffs, was sentenced Friday in a federal courtroom in Council Bluffs and also ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution to MV Transportation.

Sanctuary cities ban among bills dead at Iowa Legislature


March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill that would have prohibited so-called sanctuary cities in Iowa and legislation that would have banned most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected are among measures not advancing beyond a procedural deadline in the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature. The deadline Friday required policy bills to have secured several procedural votes. Some bills have been selectively kept alive and their futures are unclear.

Bills moving forward include proposed restrictions on how authorities can seize money from people suspected of illegal activity. Other legislation would dismantle Des Moines Water Works, moving the water utility’s oversight to local officials.

Gov. Terry Branstad recently signed into law a ban on local governments raising the minimum hourly wage and reductions in compensation for workers injured on the job.

Farmers to plant record low wheat acres, most soybeans ever

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The amber waves of grain are about to turn into bean pods as farmers report they’ll plant millions of acres in soybeans instead of wheat this year as a global glut of the grain has made it unprofitable to grow.

In its annual prospective plantings report released Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said wheat acres will be the lowest on record this year at 46.1 million acres and soybean planting will be at a record high of 89.5 million acres.

The United States has more than 1 billion bushels of surplus wheat in storage and the oversupply has driven wheat farmers in several states including Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota to shift previously planted wheat acres to soybeans.

“The big trend there is that wheat is grown in just about every continent around the world except Antarctica so those acres elsewhere have increased dramatically. The U.S. has lost production to the rest of the world,” said Todd Hultman, a grain market analyst for DTN, an Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider.

He said wheat overproduction caused prices to collapse and made production unprofitable. Good growing weather for wheat worldwide for four consecutive years has been a contributing factor, he said. Corn has experienced a similar trend leading farmers to cut corn acres 4 percent from last year to 90 million, the USDA report said. If this year’s planting weather favors soybeans and more acres are shifted out of corn, this could be the first year since 1983 that farmers planted more acres in soybeans than corn.

Soybeans have produced large harvests too, but it is a hot commodity around the world with demand highest in China where soybean meal feeds pigs, cows and fish in a culture increasingly seeking to eat more meat. The record global demand has maintained more favorable prices for soybeans making them more profitable to grow than corn or wheat, said Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.

It all shouldn’t change much at the grocery store except that plentiful grain and soybean supplies lead to low livestock feed prices which help keep the cost of producing beef lower. Friday’s report is based on a survey of farmers and is the first indication for the year of planting intentions.

IA SUPCO makes ruling on secret recordings


March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Supreme Court says a central Iowa woman should be paid damages for secret recordings made by her ex boyfriend. Brenda Papillon and Bryon Jones lived together in Waukee and had twin infants before breaking up in 2014. Jones put a recording device in the home and recorded several conversations Papillon had, including strategy sessions about custody of the children. Jones gave the recordings to his attorney to use to prepare for the custody hearing.

Pappillon sued Jones for actual damages, attorney fees, and also punitive damages for what she said were his illegal use of the recordings. The district court awarded her actual damages, attorney fees and punitive damages of 18-thousand dollars for Jone’s use of the recordings. The Court of Appeals reversed the punitive damages, saying Jones did not knowingly violate the law.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Jones did knowingly break the law in using the recordings because Papillon had previously threatened to sue him over their use and ordered the case back to district court to refigure the damages.

(Radio Iowa)

ACLU opposes bill keeping many 911 calls secret in Iowa


March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is opposing a bill moving quickly through the Legislature that would block public access to 911 calls involving injuries. The nonprofit registered against the bill Friday, one day after The Associated Press reported about the legislation.

The bill would declare that audio, video and transcripts of 911 calls involving injured victims of crimes or accidents are confidential medical records and exempt from the Iowa open records law. Calls involving minors would automatically be confidential.

Republican Rep. Dean Fisher says the bill was crafted after the AP sought 911 calls that shed light on gun violence in an Iowa county. Fisher says medical privacy outweighs the public’s right-to-know.

ACLU legal director Rita Bettis says 911 calls provide accountability on law enforcement and private organizations.

Stuart man arrested on Sex Abuse charges


March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office report the arrest today (Friday), of a rural Stuart man on sex abuse charges. 36-year old Dr. Justin Hillock, D.D.S, who is with the Guthrie Center Family Dentistry office, was taken into custody based on trial information, charging him with two counts of Sexual Abuse in the 3rd degree, and two counts of Indecent Contact with a Child.The identity of the alleged victim is being withheld according to Iowa law.

Dr. Justin Hillock

The Sexual Abuse charges are Class C felonies, punishable if convicted by up to 10-years in prison, while the Indecent Contact charges are Aggravated Misdemeanor’s, punishable by up to two-years in prison.

Hillock is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge April 17th, at 9-a.m. The charges are merely accusations, and the man is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Pottawattamie County Resident Sentenced to Prison for Scheme to Defraud Former Employer


March 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said Friday (today), a judge has sentenced 40-year old Bradley R. Cornelsen, of Council Bluffs, to four-years in prison, based on his convictions on five-counts of wire fraud. United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose today (Friday) also ordered Cornelsen to serve 3 years of supervised release to follow the term of imprisonment, and ordered him to pay more than $1.4-million in restitution to the victim of his scheme to defraud.

A jury convicted Cornelsen at his trial on November 1st, 2016, finding him guilty of five counts of wire fraud. The case was the result of an investigation by law enforcement of Cornelsen’s scheme to defraud his former employer, MV Transportation, where he was employed as Chief Financial Officer.

The scheme involved paying himself large, unauthorized monetary bonuses amounting to more nearly $298,000. Additionally, in furtherance of the scheme, Cornelsen used his company credit card and company manual checks for multiple personal expenses, including Rolex watches, collector baseball cards, Louis Vutton luggage, and furniture for his personal residences in Council Bluffs and Okoboji, Iowa. The estimated loss to MV Transportation arising from this fraudulent conduct was determined to be approximately $1.4 million dollars.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.