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Cass County Conservation crews deal w/vandalism

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Conservation Dept. personnel are dealing with vandalism that has taken place over the past month. Conservation Director Micah Lee, during his quarterly report, told the Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, that the incidents have taken place along the T-Bone Trail, where people have been run over posts designed to prevent vehicles from entering the trail, at the trail heads.

He says someone is breaking off the two-by-two, 1 ½ inch square tubing. They’re snapped off near the ground, which makes it very difficult for crews to replace. Supervisor Chuck Rieken suggested they use solid railroad-type beams to make it more difficult for vehicles to break the posts. Lee agreed it would cause more damage to the culprits’ vehicle(s) and maybe dissuade them from causing more damage. Micah says other than garbage that’s occasionally being dumped in that area, that’s the first real case of vandalism perpetrated to the T-Bone Trail.

In other news, Lee said the main thing they’re working on during the off-season, is renovating the inside of their offices near Lewis. At the West Nodaway Recreation area near Cumberland, they’ve removed some Cedar Trees in hopes of bringing back some native grasses in the future. And, there are plans for the Outdoor Classroom shelter near Massena to be expanded to include running water, thanks to donations and grants secured from a non-profit Friends group.

No County funds will be used for the upgrades. The Conservation Board gave its blessing to the project, which will include a mini-kitchen and wildlife/nature-related resource library. The improvement’s he said, will add somewhere from 300-to 500-feet to the shelter.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 1/13/2016

News, Podcasts

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

College Savings Iowa donation deadline extended

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

If the end of the year came up too fast and you didn’t put any money in your child’s College Savings Iowa account, you can still do so and get a break when you file your state taxes. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says the rules that required you to get the contributions to the state program by the end of the year have changed.

“It was a made scramble, December 31st was the cutoff, had to be done by that date. But the legislature changed it just this past year — so now Iowans have the benefit of being able to wait until May 2nd this year when the tax filing deadline ends,” Fitzgerald says. “They can still make a contribution to their College Savings Iowa account and take that off their 2015 taxes.”

You don’t have to have an existing account to take advantage of the tax break. You can open a new account before the May 2nd deadline and deduct whatever you put in on your 2015 taxes. “It only takes 25 dollars to start a College Savings Iowa account. So, you can put money in and deduct it from your taxes this year,” Fitzgerald says. The maximum tax break for 2015 is three-thousand-163 dollars. Fitzgerald says you can double that if both parents have an account for their kids.

“A married couple with two children putting in the maximum amount could put in 12-thousand-752 dollars for their children and deduct that from their Iowa taxes this year,” Fitzgerald says. “So, it’s just a phenomenal tax break to help families send these kids to college.” The maximum amount you can deduct is adjust each year based on inflation — so you will be able to deduct a little more from your 2016 taxes.

)”Next year it will be three-thousand-188 dollars. It’s not much, but inflation hasn’t been much,” Fitzgerald says. Fitzgerald says you can easily create an account online. “Just log on to College Savings Iowa-dot-com. It’s very simple, just your name, your Social Security number, the child’s name the child’s Social Security number that you are saving for, and you’re in,” according to Fitzgerald.

He says you can start an account for a child as soon as they are born and let it build until they are ready for college. You can withdraw the funds from the account for qualified college expenses, such as tuition, books, supplies and room and board at any eligible college, university, community college or accredited technical training school in the United States or abroad.

(Radio Iowa)

Slain Walnut native’s family to meet w/President Obama today

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The family of Kerrie Orozco, a native of Walnut who served as an Omaha police officer and who died in the line of duty last year, are scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama during the president’s visit to Omaha, today. The Omaha World-Herald reports Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer contacted Nebraska Democrat Rep. Brad Ashford last week to see if he could arrange the meeting. Ashford’s office then contacted the White House, which set up the meeting between Obama and Hector Orozco and his children, Natalia, Santiago and Olivia Ruth.

An attorney for Hector Orozco says Orozco hasn’t been told many details, but was looking forward to talking with the president. Orozco plans to hand the president a letter asking him to support the Kerrie Orozco Act. The bill, sponsored by Ashford, would speed the naturalization process for spouses, children and parents of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Current law allows an individual with a green card to immediately apply for citizenship if a spouse was a member of the military who died while in service. Ashford’s bill basically would offer first responders the same benefit. Representative David Young, a Republican who represents southwest and central Iowa, is one of the bill’s sponsors.

Hector Orozco came to the United States illegally in 1999 but has legal work status today, because of a visa issued in 2012. He was named a legal, permanent U.S. resident late last year. Absent a change in U.S. law, he now must wait five years to apply for citizenship. Ashford said Hector would have become a citizen quicker, had his wife lived.

Kerrie Orozco was 29 when she was shot and killed May 20th by a felon whom she and fellow fugitive task force officers were trying to arrest. She was killed on her last day of work before taking the remainder of her maternity leave to spend with Olivia Ruth. Her daughter had been born prematurely and was ready to be released from the hospital.

The letter to the president also will express Hector Orozco’s disappointment that the woman convicted of buying the gun that killed his wife was sentenced to one year probation instead of prison. In November, a federal judge in Atlanta sentenced 26-year old Jalita Johnson to one year of probation for lying when she bought the gun in April. Prosecutors said Johnson’s boyfriend, 26-year old Marcus Wheeler, a felon, gave her money and told her what to buy.

Wheeler fired nine rounds from the handgun. One shot struck Kerrie Orozco. Wheeler was killed when Sgt. Jeff Kopietz returned fire.

Creston teens face burglary charges

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Two teenagers from Creston face burglary charges. Creston Police say 14-year old Jeremiah Whitney and 13-year old Michael Morgan, were referred Tuesday, to Juvenile Authorities. The teens face charges of 3rd Degree Burglary. They were subsequently released to the custody of their mothers.

And, Creston Police report a resident of an apartment in the 600 block of N. Maple Street told authorities Tuesday someone broke into his apartment sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning. An 8-inch tablet and sword in a leather case were reported missing, but later recovered by police. The initial loss was estimate at $135.

Woman gets probation for setting fires in Council Bluffs

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A 25-year-old woman has been given three years of probation for setting fires in Council Bluffs. Court records say Rebecca Myers pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of arson and two of child endangerment after making a deal with prosecutors. On Tuesday a judge sentenced Myers to a total of 10 years in prison but suspended them in favor of probation.

The Daily Nonpareil reports that Myers was charged with child endangerment because her two children were nearby when she set a fire Oct. 11 in a basement near Myers’ home.  Investigators say Myers set six fires between Oct. 4 and Oct. 20. No injuries have been reported.

Red Oak woman arrested on assault warrant

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak, Tuesday night, arrested a woman on a Red Oak Police Dept. warrant charging her with assault. Officials say 36-year old Meri Ellen Kling, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 9:45-p.m., and brought to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, where she was being held on a $300 cash bond.

The Latest: Powerball prize up to $1.5 billion, could grow

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The latest on tonight’s (Wednesday’s) Powerball drawing: The largest lottery jackpot in the world is up for grabs in the latest Powerball drawing. The prize has climbed to an estimated $1.5 billion, easily surpassing all other lotteries. The jackpot estimate is reviewed daily, so it could increase before tonight’s drawing if ticket sales continue to exceed expectations.

The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4. No one has matched all six Powerball numbers since then, so the prize kept growing. Lottery officials expect at least 80 percent of the 292.2 million number combinations will be purchased before the drawing.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Jan. 13th 2016

News

January 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It is a record year for Iowa and Nebraska crop farmers. The final harvest report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa farmers brought in 2.5 billion bushels of corn, 4 percent higher than the 2009 record. Iowa has led the nation in corn production for 22 consecutive years. The average per-acre yield of 192 bushels also is a new record.

A federal judge says the Iowa Supreme Court should settle legal questions about whether farmland drainage districts can be held liable for water pollution downstream before a lawsuit filed by a Des Moines water utility can proceed. Questions such as immunity for drainage districts and which constitutional protections might apply to parties challenging drainage systems have not been decided by state or federal courts in Iowa. The drainage districts have been around since the late 1800s.

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors has accepted a $15,000 grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa to study possible uses for the county’s historic jail. The grant, along with a $5,600 cash match from the county, will pay for a consultant to assess the condition of the Old Jail, which was built in 1857. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Muscatine County must also provide a $5,000 in-kind match.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa legislative committee plans to look into the jackpot-fixing scandal that started in the state and has spread to several other state lotteries. State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann said yesterday that the Iowa House committee will investigate how it was possible for an employee at the Multi-State Lottery Association to allegedly fix jackpots. The alleged scheme didn’t affect Powerball, which uses balls instead of computers to draw numbers.

Charges dropped against 2 people in connection w/Sept. brawl in Glenwood

News

January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Daily NonPareil reports charges have been dismissed against two people involved in a brawl sparked by a racial slur on a residential Glenwood street in September, 2015. 19-year old Denver Cook, had been charged with willful injury, a felony, and assault causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor. 21-year old Colton McDaniel, had been charged with assault causing bodily injury. The charges stemmed from a fight involving several people, including Cook, McDaniel, 42-year old Hurl Beechum III and Beechum’s stepfather, Glenwood High School Principal Richard Hutchinson.

Court orders filed Monday indicated the charges against Cook and McDaniel were dismissed because of lack of evidence. Beechum remains charged with three felonies – intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury and going armed with intent – and two misdemeanor counts of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon. His trial begins next week.

According to court documents, McDaniel, Cook and four others were walking on Myrtle Street near Hutchinson’s home. Hutchinson and his wife, Randi Hutchinson, were cleaning their car in the driveway. One of the girls with McDaniel and Cook was on her cellphone, talking to her boyfriend, when she uttered a racial slur. As the group passed his house, Hutchinson, who is black, made contact with them and asked why someone had used the slur.

The group began to argue with him. Randi Hutchinson went to get Beechum. A fight ensued. Hutchinson, who was knocked unconscious, suffered a fractured bone in his face. Beechum was later treated for abrasions and a laceration to the back of his head. McDaniel was shot in his left thigh and right ankle.

Beechum is a former Iowa State University basketball player who played in the early 1990s. None of the juveniles had been charged in the case.