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Iowa elections official did not disclose side business

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate did not disclose his role in a new corporation that has recently spent around $2 million to open a storage rental business and purchase a strip mall. In an ethics filing last week, Pate affirmed that the only outside business in which he engaged during 2017 was the eastern Iowa asphalt paving company he has long owned.

But business and government records reviewed by The Associated Press show Pate formed a company days before the 2016 presidential election, PRG Group LLC, and it worked throughout 2017 to open a new mini-storage business in Cedar Rapids. In a February filing, Pate called himself its “managing partner.”

An aide said Tuesday that Pate was “preparing a response” to questions about the matter.

Iowa Senate updates policies and rules on sexual misconduct

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate have updated employee policies and ethics rules to better address allegations of sexual misconduct and other harassment within their half of the state Capitol. The Republican-controlled chamber held last-minute procedural votes Tuesday amid the expected final days of the legislative session.

The changes are a culmination of growing public scrutiny over how the Iowa Capitol, particularly Senate Republicans, should handle such allegations. Last year, the state agreed to pay $1.75 million to a former Senate GOP staffer who says she was fired after reporting misconduct in the office that included the use of sexually explicit language.

The chamber’s updated employee handbook expands the process for how people who work in and around the Senate can report misconduct. Democrats and Republicans say the changes add clarity.

3 arrests in Harlan

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Harlan Police Department, Tuesday, released a report detailing three separate arrests. On Sunday, Officers arrested 32-year old David Allen Coenen, of Harlan, following traffic stop. Coenen was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with operating while intoxicated, interference with official acts, and careless driving. That same day, 28-year old Brooke Rene Scheffler, of Harlan, was arrested following a call for a disturbance in the 900 block of Court Street.  Scheffler was transported to the Shelby County Jail where she was charged with domestic abuse assault, possession of a controlled substance, and prohibited acts.

And, last Friday, following a traffic stop, Harlan Police arrested 30-year old Dustin Allen Hansen, of Harlan.  Hansen was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with operating while intoxicated, carrying weapons, and speed.

Atlantic City Council to hear news about the YMCA, & receive an update on Business Recruitment & Retention

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council is set to meet 5:30-p.m. Wednesday (April 18th) in their Chambers, at City Hall. Among the items on their agenda, is a presentation by Nishna Valley YMCA Director Dan Haynes, with regard to upcoming improvements to the YMCA building, and discussion with regard to a possible contribution to the YMCA Iowa West Foundation Grant. A number of improvements at the Y will be financed through the grant. City Administrator John Lund says a contribution from the City, will reflect well on the YMCA’s application to the Foundation. If the Council chooses to make a contribution, Lund says it could appropriate those funds from the Recreation Center Improvement Reserve (YMCA) Fund, for which Local Option Sales Tax and the contribution from AMU are deposited. The fund is expected to close the end of FY2018 with a balance of slightly more than $139,540.

In other business, the Council will hear from Atlantic Chamber Director Bailey Smith, and CADCO Executive Director Russell Joyce, with regard to a working group having been formed to address concerns over the recent loss of several businesses in the downtown district. They are expected to showcase many of the current programs in-place to help recruit new businesses and expanding businesses, as well as some new initiatives and a proposal to jump start entrepreneurial enterprises, including a plan by several independent business leaders, to partner in pledging money to persons looking to start a business in the community. The program, vetted through a local bank, will help business owners by inventory, cover building costs, and more.

The Council will also act on the third and final reading of an Ordinance removing the north/south only STOP signs on Sunnyside Lane, at the intersection with 6th Street. As previously mentioned, the move, if approved after the third reading, is designed to improve traffic flow through the area, in light of the increase in traffic for the ethanol plant.

The Atlantic City Council will also act on approving the Mayor’s appointment of Joyce Jensen to the Board of Adjustment to fill a vacancy, and the re-appointments of Mary Ward and Christina Bateman to the Board of Adjustment. At the beginning of their meeting, the Council will receive a presentation from Dolly Bergman, with regard to the City’s having received a “Tree City USA” award for the 22nd year running. The award ceremony took place April 4th. Bergman has been instrumental to the City’s receiving the honor.

Atlantic Police report (4/17) – 4 arrests

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department has released a report on recent arrests. On Monday, 23-year old Nicholas Renner, of Atlantic, was arrested for Simple Assault. And, 18-year old Peyton Hill, of Menlo, was arrested for Theft in the 5th Degree (Shoplifting). On April 9th, 29-year old Brittney McMartin, of Atlantic, was arrested for OWI. And, on April 6th, 37-year old Tabitha Clark, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant for Probation Violation. Three of the subjects were booked into the Cass County Jail, while Peyton Hill was cited into court and then released.

Kick-off for Audubon County Relay For Life set for April 26th

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon County Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society and their work on researching a cure for cancer, will be held June 8th in Audubon County, at the Exira City Park. It will be held from 4:30-until 8-p.m., that day. Before that, though, and in a little over a week and a half, a Relay For Life Kick-off event is planned to help raise funds and provide entertainment. Anna Elmquist is one of the event organizers. She says the event takes place April 26th at the Danish Countryside Vines and Wines – between Elk Horn and Kimballton, off County Road F-58 – from 6-until 9-p.m., and features musical entertainment from Loren Christensen, pizza by the slice and desserts, from the Flour Mill and Christensen will of course be selling the wine they produce at the vineyard, along with beer.

She says “It’s just a great evening of a bunch of people getting together and for a good cause.” Christensen will be performing a variety of music that evening. Last year, they raised $500 through tips for Christensen while played. All the tips were donated to the American Cancer Society.

Last year, the Relay For Life in Audubon County raised almost $38,000, which is not bad, when you consider the comparably smaller population of the County to other counties that have raised more, and the level of contributions. Elmquist says they hope to bring in more this year. The event hits home for Anna Elmquist, whose four-year old grandson was diagnosed last year, with leukemia.

Governor signs bill banning ‘lunch shaming’ in Iowa schools

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa children should no longer face so-called “lunch shaming” in school cafeterias under a new law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Reynolds announced Tuesday that she signed the bill, which lawmakers approved unanimously. Iowa is following the lead of several other states that have passed similar legislation banning staff from throwing away meals that were already served or publicly identifying students whose parents owe money.

Iowa schools are encouraged, but not required, to provide meals to students who can’t pay for them. Many students living in poverty can receive free meals through a federal program, and schools will expand efforts to sign up those who qualify. Schools will also be able to accept private donations to pay off unpaid meal debts. The bill didn’t include any new funding.

Bluffs man arrested for violating sex offender registry

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office reports a man was arrested Monday on a warrant for Failure to Comply with Iowa’s Sex Offender Registry, and for Possessing a Weapon (a knife exceeding 5-inches), after he was found hiding in a closet. Pott. County Deputy Steven Maguire, who was conducting routine surveillance checks at the Regal Towers arrested 43-year old Shane Elam Rouse, of Council Bluffs, a resident of the complex. Rouse was seen on video entering a room and remaining in the room until just before 1-p.m., when he left and began walking toward the elevators on the 6th floor. The Deputy waited at the elevators on the first floor for Rouse to exit the elevator, but he failed to do so.

Probation Officers Dan Newby and Tyson Howard were en route to assist with taking Rouse in to custody. Newby and Howard arrived on scene and the Deputy began watching the surveillance cameras again. He discovered that Rouse did not get on the elevators but instead hid in the 6th floor trash closet. Newby, Howard and the Deputy went to the 6th floor and opened the trash closet door where Rouse was hiding and took him into custody without further incident. While searching Rouse’s person, he was discovered to have a knife exceeding 5 inches in length but not exceeding 8 inches on his person. The knife was seized as evidence. Rouse was transported to Pott. County Corrections and booked-in on the warrant.

The Sheriff’s Department reports also, 36-year old Michael Angelo Collins, of Council Bluffs, was served with a warrant Monday afternoon, failure to appear on a charge of Domestic Abuse Assault with Injury/mental illness.  Collins was being held in the Pott. County Jail. He was read the warrant and then returned to his cell by Corrections Staff.

Man pleads guilty to hammer slaying of Burlington man

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A Burlington man accused of using a claw hammer to fatally beat another man has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Court records say 26-year-old Layton Tapscott entered the plea Monday to a charge of second-degree murder in the October 2016 slaying of 32-year-old Julian Menke at Menke’s home. Tapscott had been charged with first-degree murder and was scheduled to begin trial May 15. His sentencing is set for June 8.

The Hawk Eye reports that Tapscott told the judge he was angry at Menke because he thought Menke had made unwanted sexual advances to the mother of Tapscott’s child.

Audubon School Board reaches agreement w/Ed Assoc.

News

April 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Audubon School District’s Board of Education, Monday night, approved a negotiated agreement with the Audubon Education Association. Superintendent Brett Gibbs told KJAN News the agreement covers contract language for the next two-years, and the financial aspect for the coming school year. The 2.66% increase was approved by the teachers last week, and by the Board Monday night. Gibbs said ordinarily, he hates the bargaining process, but the process here has been “Pretty painless.” The teachers and board, he said, have a good working relationship, one that is traditionally non-controversial.

The Audubon School Board also approved several new hires for teaching and coaching positions. Included among the new hires was Brandi Buetel as one of the district’s Special Education teachers and assistant high school volleyball coach. Kara Shanks will be a 2nd grade teacher. Brooke Selvage will serve as a new Kindergarten teacher. Tyler Christensen, who was hired last month as a 4th grade teacher, will also serve as one of the Assistant High School Football Coaches. Sean Birkes will be the Head Coach.

Two co-lead teachers were also hired for the District’s Summer Launch Program. They hired Jamie Christensen and Taylor Duvall will replace Jason Walter who requested the summer off to spend time with his family. More information about this year’s Summer Launch and Food Programs will be released in the coming weeks. Gibbs said they’re still looking for a Spanish Teacher for next year. In other business, Superintendent Gibbs said the Board set May 21st at 6:30-p.m., as the date and time for a Public Hearing on an Amended Budget. The Budget session takes place prior to the start of the regular Audubon School Board meeting on that date.