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Fight in progress leads to burglary arrest in Hamburg

News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says a report about a fight in progress Thursday night in Hamburg, resulted in the arrest of man on a burglary charge. Responding deputies learned the subject allegedly involved in the incident, 28-year old Michael McKibben, of Hamburg, had fled the scene.

A short time later, Deputies found McKibben hiding in a nearby apartment. He was arrested and charged with Burglary. McKibben was being held in the Fremont County Jail on $5,000 bond.

Michael McKibben

Michael McKibben

June 30th marked the end of Iowa’s “peak” tornado season & the numbers are way down

News, Weather

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Thursday was the last day of June. It also marked the end of the peak season for tornadoes in Iowa. National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Cogil says the state’s only had about a dozen confirmed tornadoes this year, way below the average of 35 by the end of June. Cogil says it’s been a relatively quiet year so far. “In general, we haven’t seen a lot of stormy activity across the state,” Cogil says. “We’ve seen low numbers with hail and wind damage as well. It’s just not been a really active storm season for the state.”

After a lot of hotter-than-normal days during June, Cogil predicts something of a cool-down to start off July, along with maintaining the generally quiet weather year. “We’ll still see storms on and off but nothing real widespread and temperatures certainly look to be at least at normal,” he says. “I’m certain as we head out, we’ll have a few periods of warmer than normal.”

A National Weather Service survey team has confirmed one tornado impacted parts of Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties, Wednesday evening. The twister, rated as an EF-zero on the Fujita scale, packed peak wind gusts of up to 85 mph. On the ground it traveled 4 1/2 miles,  damaging crops and trees in an area stretching from around Interstate 680 a little more than 7 miles southwest of Persia, and ended slightly over 5 1/4 miles west of Neola. No structure damage was observed by the Storm Survey Team.

And, while the peak season is wrapping up, Cogil reminds tornadoes can strike any month of the year and we may still get several. “On average, about another 20 or at least 15 to 20,” he says. “It’s the end of the peak season but certainly still a threat of seeing additional (tornadoes) through the end of the year.” On Veterans Day last November, there was an outbreak of tornadoes with 10 twisters being reported in Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Criminal sentencing reforms go into effect today (7/1)

News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A series of criminal justice reforms officially takes effect today (Friday). Supporters hope some will help reduce racial disparities in Iowa’s prison system.  Governor Terry Branstad signed the bills outlining these new policies into law this spring. One change will make inmates doing time for robbery — a crime committed without a gun — eligible for parole sooner.

Officials estimate it could save the state more than 750-thousand dollars a year by 2018. A new state law also shields most juvenile delinquency records from the public from now on. It does not apply to felonies and a judge could order that any record be made public. The governor agreed there are many situations where allowing a teenager’s minor offense to be a public record has kept them getting a job or going to college.

A new law also calls for erasing convictions for public intoxication and alcohol consumption in public after two years — but only if the person guilty of THAT crime has a clean record. A traffic ticket wouldn’t be enough to stop the process of scrubbing the public “intox” or alcohol consumption conviction off a person’s record.

(Radio Iowa)

New laws in guns and illegal dumping take effect in IA today (7/1)

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

It’s July 1st, which means a string of new state laws go into effect today (Friday).

Iowa landowners can legally carry a loaded gun while they’re driving an A-T-V on their property. The bill that goes into effect today lets A-T-V operators on someone else’s property carry a gun, but the gun cannot be loaded and must be in a case. The law does NOT let you stay ON the A-T-V while shooting. You have to get off the vehicle to shoot. Another gun-related law about “suppressors” went into effect in March, on the day Governor Branstad approved it. It is now legal to have “suppressor” or “silencer” on a gun in Iowa.

Tougher penalties are also in effect beginning today, if you’re caught littering or illegally dumping garbage. The crime of illegal dumping covers getting rid of things like old television sets, refrigerators and tires in ditches, fields and other places that are NOT legal dump sites. If you’re caught illegally dumping something that weighs more than 10 pounds or something larger than 15 cubic feet, the fine will be a thousand dollars for a first offense. If you’re caught a second time, the fine doubles. It triples on a third offense. The crime of littering things like a pop can or a candy wrapper is a simple misdemeanor, but because of this new law fines can now go as high as 625-dollars.

The Keep IOWA Beautiful organization estimates the State of Iowa spends 35 million dollars each year to pick up the garbage that’s tossed out of moving vehicles. A Keep AMERICA Beautiful survey concludes nearly 22 percent of all litter is paper, about 20 percent is plastic and nearly six percent is glass. The largest share of litter, though, comes from smokers. Nearly 38 percent of litter comes from cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.

(Radio Iowa)

Players have shot at $415 million Mega Millions prize

News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Tonight’s (Friday’s) Mega Millions drawing will give lottery players a shot at the 10th largest jackpot in U.S. history. Because no one has won a Mega Millions jackpot since March 8, the prize has steadily grown to an estimated $415 million. That makes it the largest jackpot since a $430 million Powerball prize won by a New Jersey family May 7th. The record prize was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won in January by players in three states.

Winning numbers in the Mega Millions game will be drawn at 11 p.m. Eastern time. The odds of picking the correct numbers on five white balls and one yellow ball are one in 259 million. Mega Millions is played in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Council Bluffs couple accused of using meth around children

News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Council Bluffs couple faces child neglect charges after their three children tested positive for methamphetamine. The Daily Nonpareil reports that Craig and Crystal McConnell were arrested Wednesday and charged Thursday with three counts of abandonment of a dependent person. Crystal McConnell is also charged with third-degree burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

Court documents say the children’s hair follicles tested positive for meth. Craig and Crystal McConnell also tested positive for the drug on May 12th. Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Dawn Landon says the children have been removed from the home and are safe.

The couple remains in the Pottawattamie County Jail. Bail is set at $10,000 for Craig McConnell and $15,000 for Crystal McConnell. They have a court date scheduled for July 8th.

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, July 1st 2016

News

July 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 2:40 a.m. CDT

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Council Bluffs couple faces child neglect charges after their three children tested positive for methamphetamine. The Daily Nonpareil reports that Craig and Crystal McConnell were arrested Wednesday and charged Thursday with three counts of abandonment of a dependent person. Crystal McConnell is also charged with third-degree burglary and possession of a controlled substance. Court documents say the children’s hair follicles tested positive for meth.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — For years, critics have regarded Iowa’s policy of disenfranchising felons as an outrage in a state known for landmark civil rights rulings on slavery, gender equality and gay marriage. Now the practice of stripping felons of their voting rights looks likely to remain in place, probably for years. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld it Thursday as constitutional.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The owner of six Iowa cosmetology schools will forgive some student debt, pay a fine and submit to outside oversight to settle a lawsuit filed by the Iowa attorney general’s office. The Des Moines Register reports La’ James International Colleges agreed to forgive $2.1 million in student debt and pay a $550,000 fine. The settlement also requires former U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt to serve at least three years as an independent settlement administrator overseeing the company’s compliance.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Tonight’s (Friday) Mega Millions drawing will give lottery players a shot at the 10th largest jackpot in U.S. history. Because no one has won a Mega Millions jackpot since March 8, the prize has steadily grown to an estimated $415 million. That makes it the largest jackpot since a $430 million Powerball prize won in May.

Escaped Ft. Madison fugitive captured in Stuart

News

June 30th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An escapee from the Ft. Madison Correctional Facility was captured Thursday afternoon, in Stuart. Stuart Police said in a Press Release, that a Stuart Police Officer was investigating the reported sighting of escaped fugitive, 31-year old Joseph Leclair, Jr., at around noon, in the 300 block of N. Main St. A female resident in the area answered the door when the officer knocked but refused to cooperate with the officer.

Joseph LeClair, Jr.

Joseph LeClair, Jr.

The woman then left the property. The same female is suspected of then making a false 911 call reporting the fugitive at a different location. The officer called in assistance from Guthrie County, Adair County and the State Patrol to surround the house, while he prepared a search warrant. At approximately 3:30-pm officers entered the house with a search warrant and found the fugitive hiding inside.

LeClaire was arrested and transported to the Guthrie County Jail. The female involved is facing charges in the incident as well. LeClaire was involved in a similar incident last year when he escaped from work release for over a two month period from May-July. He was subsequently arrested in Polk County following that incident.

Sioux City man sentenced to probation for sex with child

News

June 30th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man has been ordered to serve five years’ probation for having sex with a 12-year-old girl. The Sioux City Journal reports that 25-year-old Willie Williams pleaded guilty Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court to lascivious acts with a child and failure to appear for an earlier court hearing.

As part of a plea agreement, Williams received a 15-year prison sentence, which was suspended, and was placed on probation for five years. Williams must register as a sex offender and serve lifetime parole. If he were to violate terms of the special sentence, he could be sent to prison. Prosecutors say Williams had sex with the girl at a house in 2011, when he was 20.

Owner of 6 Iowa beauty schools settle suit with AG’s office

News

June 30th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The owner of six cosmetology schools in Iowa will forgive some student debt, pay a fine and submit to outside oversight to settle a lawsuit filed by the Iowa attorney general’s office. The Des Moines Register reports La’ James International Colleges agreed to forgive $2.1 million in student debt and pay a $550,000 fine. The settlement also requires former U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt to serve at least three years as an independent settlement administrator who can oversee the company’s compliance.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed in 2014 that had contended La’ James engaged in deceptive and unfair practices in its marketing, enrollment and instruction. La’ James has schools in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Iowa City and Johnston. The company didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement.