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IA Public Info. Board dismisses News Telegraph complaint against Atlantic School Board

News

April 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Public Information Board has dismissed a complaint made by Jeff Lundquist, the publisher of the Atlantic News Telegraph, against the Atlantic Community School District, which was subsequently withdrawn. The Daily NonPariel reports the Telegraph had challenged the timeliness of information being released by the Atlantic Community School District. Lundquist said previously the paper was not receiving information until hours before public meetings, and the school district said it would address the complaint’s concerns.

The IPIB said also, it will continue to study a complaint made from Red Oak into what legally constitutes an “advisory body” and whether current guidance is conflicting. Charlie Smithson, executive director of the IPIB, asked to defer a compliant by Margaret Stoldorf against the Red Oak Community School District until the board’s May meeting. He said a bill before the General Assembly could still be acted on that would determine how the law applied to the complaint.

Stoldorf’s complaint includes five specific allegations, including challenging whether appropriate notice was given for a Jan. 5th meeting of the Red Oak School Improvement Advisory Committee and whether a subcommittee of school board members and others that met on Jan. 30th should have had a public agenda – both issues related to the status of advisory groups.

An attorney representing the school district said the Red Oak school board met its legal requirements and asserted that neither the Jan. 5th nor the Jan. 30th meetings fell under the state’s open meeting regulations.

The IPIB resolved several complaints against the Red Oak school board last year, and Stoldorf was one of those Red Oak residents who brought concerns to the state agency. Smithson said he wants to meet with both sides to ask what is going on and how to prevent continued complaints from the community. The Superintendent has since resigned, and a new administration will be in place.

1 dead, 2 hurt in a pickup vs. tractor accident in Audubon County

News

April 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A man from Central Iowa is dead and two other men were injured during a collision Thursday evening, about two-miles north of Audubon. The Iowa State Patrol says the driver of a 2013 Chevy pickup, 42-year old Kurt Robert Sulzman, of Polk City, who was wearing his seat belt, died in the crash that happened just after 7-p.m. on Highway 71 at the intersection with 170th Street.

Officials say Sulzman was traveling northbound at the same time a John Deere tractor driven by 45-year old Cory David Handlos, of Audubon, was traveling southbound. The tractor was pulling a planter. After the vehicles collided, each ended up in the southeast ditch near the intersection.

Handlos, and a passenger in the pickup, 24-year old Caleb Shawn Deist, of Grimes, who was wearing his seat belt, were transported to the Audubon County Hospital by Audubon Rescue. Deist was later flown by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. The accident remains under investigation.

Home Loan Financing Available Through USDA Rural Development

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Spring in Iowa is a time for new beginnings as trees, plants and yards awaken from the cold of winter. Spring is also a time when many Iowans make plans to begin a new chapter in their lives by purchasing a home. USDA Rural Development currently has $10 million available for loans for Iowans to purchase or refinance homes in rural Iowa through its Direct Home Loan Program. The program offers 100 percent financing, a 33-year loan term and payment assistance for eligible applicants. This funding will remain on a first come first served basis through September 30, 2015.

“Each year USDA Rural Development invests more than $200 million in loans and grants that provide rural Iowa residents with decent, safe and sanitary housing,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “It’s through housing
programs like this one that we work to ensure that as many rural Iowans as possible
have access to adequate housing.”

Recently a rural Iowa family of seven was living in a rental property that was not
suitable for occupancy. They made an offer on a home that was move-in ready. USDA
Rural Development received their purchase agreement on March 19. Their loan closed
and the family moved into their new home just 19 days later on April 7. The family
is ecstatic with their improved living conditions, and their house payment is $80
less than what they were paying for rent.

To learn more about USDA Rural Development’s housing programs please call (515)
284-4444, email DirectIA@ia.usda.gov or visit www.rd.usda.gov/ia.

USDA Rural Development also has a loan and grant program to help eligible homeowners make essential repairs such as a new furnace, roof, siding, or accessibility improvements, Homes repaired with these funds must be located in communities of less than 20,000 people or in rural areas.

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural areas and communities. Office locations include a State
Office in Des Moines, along locally, with an Area Offices in Atlantic.

Survey suggests economy slowing in rural areas of 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economic outlook for rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West remained negative in April even though it improved slightly from the previous month. Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet index grew to 46 in April from March’s 43.6, but any score below 50 suggests a decline. The indexes range between 0 and 100.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the strong U.S. dollar continues to hurt exports of agriculture and energy products. And demand for farmland remains weak, so land prices are declining. The farm equipment sales index sits at 15.6, up slightly from March’s 15.2, but well below the neutral level of 50.

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

Madison County man arrested on warrant for probation violation

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Union County say a Madison County man was arrested Wednesday night at the Union County Jail. 31-year old Joshua James Koder, Winterset, was arrested on a Department of Corrections warrant for probation violation. Koder was being held in the Union County Jail without bond until he appears before the Magistrate.

Ernst says gyrocopter incident raises some concerns

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she was aware of the landing of the gyrocopter on the west lawn of the U-S Capitol Wednesday. “This was just a very, very odd situation,” Ernst says, “and so we were tracking it of course. We were moving about the capitol throughout the day.” Ernst says she did not feel that she was in any danger. “It was very unfortunate and it does raise some different issues on security, which I think the capitol police did do a good job of handling this situation. But again, we have lots of visitors who come to the capitol every day. We have our lawmakers busy at work, we have a number of administrative workers who come to the capitol, and we must make sure that they are secure,” Ernst says.

A 61-year-old postal worker from Florida piloted the gyrocopter onto the capitol lawn in what he says was a way to draw attention to campaign finance corruption.  “I think that could have been done in a much better forum. I am anxious to see what the fallout is with the actions he took,” Ernst says. She says the man’s ability to fly through protected airspace raises some questions that she hopes will be answered in the follow up.

“I know that the capitol police are going to be doing after-action reviews on this incident — and again I will have to wait and see what their response to the situation is — but that does give me concern,” according to Ernst. The Republican from Red Oak has just finished her first 100 days as a U-S Senator.

(Radio Iowa)

SW IA man arrested on attempted kidnapping & other charges

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A southwest Iowa man was arrested on kidnapping and other charges, following an incident that occurred Wednesday evening in Page County. Authorities say 26-year old Shaun Michael Savala, of New Market, faces charges that include 2nd Degree Kidnapping, 1st Degree Harassment, and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

Shaun Michael Savala. (Photo courtesy Page County Sheriff's Office)

Shaun Michael Savala. (Photo courtesy Page County Sheriff’s Office)

His arrest followed a report to authorities that Lacey Malson, of Page County, was being held against her will in a vehicle driven by Savala. A knife was allegedly used during the incident. Malson was later found safe in Clarinda.

Savala was located and taken into custody without incident in Taylor County, with assistance from the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. He was being held in the Page County Jail on $25,000 cash bond.

Clarinda Police and the Iowa State Patrol also assisted Page County authorities in handling the incident.

Iowa Legislature OKs bill to expunge dismissed charges

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Legislature has passed a bill that would expunge the records of people with not-guilty verdicts and dismissed criminal charges. The Senate voted 42-0 Thursday for the bill. The chamber already had approved the bill but had to vote again after the House made changes, including adding a 180-day waiting period for the records to be expunged. The House approved its version 96-0 Tuesday.

Current law allows such information to remain on a person’s records indefinitely. Supporters say the bill would help people applying for a job or renting a home, since those actions often require some type of background check. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad. A spokesman says the governor will review the bill.

Red Cross offers new all-in-one emergency app

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Whether you need to find immediate shelter in a flash flood, you need to know what to do in an earthquake or you want to learn how to give a dog C-P-R, a new all-encompassing emergency smart phone app is available. Kara Kelly, spokeswoman for the Iowa office of the American Red Cross, says the free application aims to answer just about every possible question you’d have about urgent situations, from fires to first aid.m40340177_everyday_apps_763x260

“The great thing about this app is it really is an all-in-one emergency app,” Kelly says. “It has preparedness information, weather alerts, safety tips for 14 different emergencies. It’s really a great tool to have on your phone.” Life-saving information is just a few taps away on your mobile device with the app, which Kelly says is designed so you can familiarize and prepare yourself ahead of time for a host of emergencies, or to use during the real thing. It also lets users customize more than 35 emergency alerts so they will know what to do no matter where they live or travel.

“If you have a smart phone or a tablet, this is a really easy thing you can set up for yourself,” Kelly says. “What’s really cool about this app is you can actually monitor your friends and family members who maybe don’t live by you. You can set up alerts and there’s a ‘family safe’ feature so you can keep track of folks in your family who don’t live nearby.” The Red Cross has released several apps in recent years and Kelly says this new one can replace them all.

“The emergency app is free for Android and Apple devices, either on iTunes or the Google Play store,” she says. “You don’t necessarily need to get rid of all the other Red Cross apps if you have them, but this certainly could free up some room on your phone as it truly is all-in-one.” There’s also a “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes. Learn more at: redcross.org/apps

(Radio Iowa)

(Update) I-80 reopened after fiery semi crash

News

April 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Both lanes of Interstate 80 westbound in Cass County were closed for several hours this (Thursday) morning, following a fiery, semi tractor-trailer accident. The Iowa State Patrol reports a Freightliner semi driven by 31-year old Fernando Hernandez, of Montebello, CA., was westbound on I-80 near the Wiota turn off (exit 64), when the left front tire on the tractor blew out, causing the semi to go out of control. The accident happened just after 3:30-a.m.Wreck2 Wreck1

All photos courtesy Richter and Sons Towing.

All photos courtesy Richter and Sons Towing.

When the rig hit a concrete bridge barrier, the semi exploded into flames that destroyed both the tractor and trailer. Anita Fire and Rescue and Wiota Fire responded to the scene. The State Patrol was also assisted by deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Hernandez, and a passenger in the cab were not injured. Both lanes of traffic were officially re-opened as of 8:30-a.m. today (Thursday). Traffic caught between the 64-and 70-mile markers waited for about 3 1/2 hours until it was allowed to proceed slowly in the left lane through the scene. The remaining flow of traffic was re-routed off I-80 at exit 70, south to Anita, west to Wiota, and back north to I-80, around the crash scene. The Exit 64 exit ramp westbound is currently, temporarily closed.