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7AM Newscast 02-18-2014

News, Podcasts

February 18th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Significant Winter Storm expected to hit Thursday

News, Weather

February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Mild conditions with highs in the 40s and 50s will be common today. It will remain mild but cooler on Wednesday. Precipitation will overspread the area Wednesday night in the form of rain with a few thunderstorms possible south.storm The rain will change to snow from northwest to southeast late Wednesday night through Thursday. Several inches of snow is possible over central and north central Iowa. In addition…strong northwest winds will develop by Thursday after with significant blowing and drifting of snow possible. For this reason, a blizzard watch has been issued for portions of the area Thursday and Thursday night. Hazardous travel conditions will extend over the entire area during this period.

(Nat’l. Weather Service/Des Moines)

2 arrests in Montgomery County after authorities investigate suspicious vehicle


February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Monday night in Montgomery County following an investigation into a suspicious vehicle, and the subsequent search of a nearby rural residence. Sheriff’s officials say 57-year old John W. Goodall, of Red Oak, was located by a K-9 Unit hiding in a cornfield near the intersection of D Avenue and 130th Street, at around 8-p.m. Goodall faces charges that include Criminal Trespass, Attempted 3rd degree burglary, and Possession of Burglar’s tools. While transporting him to the Montgomery County Jail, the driver of the suspicious vehicle, 28-year old Kendra S. Harlow, of Omaha, who was earlier cited by a deputy for Failure to provide proof of insurance, was observed walking along Highway 34 towards Red Oak. Harlow was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. She was arrested and held in the Montgomery County Jail on $300 bond. Goodall’s bond was set at $2,000.

Sheriff’s Deputies were assisted by officers with the Red Oak Police Dept., along with those persons who called to alert authorities to a possible crime in progress.

Iowa early News Headines: Tue., Feb. 18 2014


February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press …

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers have approved legislation that would help veterans more easily obtain occupational licenses or own a home. The unanimous approval by the House Veterans Affairs Committee means the bills are now up for debate on the House floor.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The value of crops fell last year as corn and soybeans prices declined from record highs the year before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in an annual report the value of 2013 field crops fell 9.8 percent to nearly $167 billion from $185 billion in 2012.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Police in Pennsylvania are asking for help in finding a man in connection with the shooting deaths of Iowa state representative Mary Wolfe’s two sisters in their Pittsburgh home. Police stress that the man is considered a witness, not a suspect. Pittsburgh police homicide detectives on Monday distributed pictures of a man they say was on board the same city bus one sister rode the night before the two were killed.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate are working on legislation that would establish more rules for dealing with sexual abuse in the state military. A Senate subcommittee gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would require that the Iowa National Guard provide an annual report to the state legislature about the sexual abuse allegations reported the previous year.

10-year old Council Bluffs crime solved through DNA evidence


February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska man is in custody in Pottawattamie County, accused of committing a murder 10-years ago that was recently solved through DNA evidence. The Omaha World-Herald reports 47-year old Thomas Sanchez of La Vista, NE is charged with first-degree murder in the July 31st, 2003 stabbing of 33-year old Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez, an Omaha meatpacking plant worker who dressed as a woman, going by the name of “Selena.” Sanchez had pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin in April.

On Sept. 23rd, 2013, officials with the Iowa DCI lab contacted Council Bluffs Police to inform them a DNA sample from blood on a $5 bill laying next to the victim’s body, matched that of  Sanchez, who was an inmate at the Douglas County, NE., jail. Sanchez had been sentenced last July to one-year in prison after pleading no contest to the attempted distribution of methamphetamine. He was arrested on a Pott. County warrant in December and is being held in jail on $1-million bond.

Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber told the paper there was no indication that Alvarez-Hernandez’s death was a hate crime. Wilber said investigators are seeking to identify more suspects. Sanchez told investigators he did not know Alvarez-Hernandez and had never been to the scene of the crime. He said he had no idea why his DNA might be at the crime scene.

Court documents allege that Sanchez and Alvarez-Hernandez were both known drug users and that the location of the slaying was a drug house.

Bluffs woman faces OWI charge following a rollover accident


February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs say the driver of a Mazda faces a 1st offense OWI charge following an accident on Interstate 29 over the weekend. The Daily NonPareil reports the driver, 22-year old Elizabeth E. Cox, and her passenger, 22-year old Nathanael Long, both of Council Bluffs, were injured during the crash that happened at about the 55-mile marker of I-29 at around 3:30-a.m., Saturday.

Authorities told the paper Cox had just entered the southbound I-29 on ramp off I-480 in a 2006 Mazda 3 when she lost control of the vehicle and made contact with the right hand curb. The vehicle left the roadway, entered the grassy portion off the right hand of the interstate, and continued down the hill. The car rolled and hit a tree and a fence at the bottom of the hill before coming to rest.

Cox, who was trapped in the car, was extricated by mechanical means. She suffered a broken neck and lacerations, and was transported by Council Bluffs Rescue the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where officials were unable to release information on her condition. Long  was able to get out of the wreck on his own. He complained of back pain and was transported by Council Bluffs Rescue to Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital for treatment. Both occupants of the vehicle were wearing seat belts.

Authorities arrested Cox on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol-first offense and failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

Shot fired in Council Bluffs over a cell phone bill


February 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs say a dispute between a father and son over a cellphone bill escalated into gunfire Saturday afternoon. According to the Daily NonPareil the incident happened at around 3-p.m. in an alley outside a residence at 16th and High Streets. Sgt. Chad Meyers told the paper 28-year old Jonathan F. McDowell and his father were arguing when the father allegedly came at his son with a clenched fist, and the son, feeling threatened, pulled out a .45-calber handgun before firing a single round into the ground.

A neighbor called police, who arrived to find the father had fled the scene.Meyers said McDowell legally owned the gun and had a concealed carry permit. Officers cited the 28-year-old for unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board looks to create activities for Senior Citizens


February 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A couple of local groups have stepped forward to offer their labor and funds to construct a horseshoe pit at Sunnyside Park in Atlantic, as one of many activities designed for those 55 and older, looking for outdoor fun. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring spoke to the Parks Board Monday evening about the potential uses for a 63-by 100-foot area south of the new Maintenance Building on the park grounds. Herring said the Trevor Fredericksen Foundation and Dean Orstad family have agreed to make the horseshoe area a reality.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring talks about the proposed Senior Activities Area at Sunnyside Park.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring talks about the proposed Senior Activities Area at Sunnyside Park.

The Board approved Herring moving forward with plans for a Senior Activities Area at Sunnyside, which will include getting the costs for engineering grading the site in preparation for use. Herring said there is money set aside in the budget specifically for Senior Activities, and with the two groups agreeing to provide the labor and expertise for the horseshoe throwing pit, there shouldn’t be any extra costs involved.

In other business, the Parks and Rec Board approved the 2014 Summer Recreation Program, which includes men’s slow pitch softball and the possibility of merging that with a group from Marne, and swimming pool fees along with the hiring of an on-site manager for the pool. Herring proposed opening the pool on Memorial Day weekend (the day after school closes) and closing it the day before school begins. In the past, the pool was open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The hours of operation would also be reduced,  from 1-to 6-pm, which is a change from last years hours of 1-to 8-pm, due to a lack of demand for the later hours. Options will be available for those groups wishing to hold parties at the pool outside normal hours of operation, such as from 6-to 8-pm.

Rates for the pool would be $4 per day for persons 12 years of age and up, and $3 for ages 3 to 11. Under three would be admitted free. There would also be a reduction in the price of a family pass from $105 per season to $90, and the single adult fee would go from $70 to $60 for the season. Herring also proposed, and the board agreed, to cut the number of life guards from 11 to 8, and eliminate the concession stand workers, with the idea being to save money by giving the lifeguards longer shifts or more hours, and rotating some of them into the concession stand operations when the number of persons in attendance at the pool is less.

The Board also agreed to raise the fee for youth tennis by $5, but the swim teams fees would remain the same. The Special Recreation Playground program would be eliminated because the YMCA currently offers that service.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board tables Tobacco Free Skate Park issue


February 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, tabled action on a request by Cass County Public Health Tobbaco Prevention Coordinator Karla Akers, for the implementation of a policy to make tobacco free the skate park portion of Sunnyside Park.Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said the skate park should not be “singled out,” as an area of bad influence for kids, just because there are persons who are of legal age smoking there.

Akers said she doesn’t see the skate park as a “bad area,” but it is an area where kids can go to remain tobacco free or away from tobacco influences. Last month, the Atlantic City Council voted against passage of an ordinance with would have made the entire park tobacco free, because the laws already in-place with the Smoke Free Air Act were not being followed, with regard to signage in the park, and, they were of the opinion that it is not the City’s responsibility to send a message to kids not to smoke or use tobacco. The Park Board feels the same way.

It was obvious during the meeting there is still a great deal of confusion among the Park Board about what the Smoke Free Air Act covers as far as outdoor venues. Akers suggested she could bring in a representative from the Iowa Department of Public Health to clarify the law, but Board member Charlene Beane said the Parks Board has heard from the City Council and the Park Board has stated its position, and its time to let it rest for a while.

Beane said “To make it any more of a big deal than it’s already been made…is just making a mountain out of a mole hill.” Herring said he wanted to get more information from the National Parks Board with regard to tobacco policies in city parks. The Board agreed to hold-off on any further discussion until more information is available on ways to proceed.

Crop values decline on lower corn, soybean prices

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The value of crops fell last year as corn and soybeans prices declined from record highs the year before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in an annual report the value of 2013 field crops fell 9.8 percent to nearly $167 billion from $185 billion in 2012. The 2012 drought reduced the corn and soybean harvest and drove prices to record highs which resulted in increased crop value.

Friday’s report says the average price of corn for 2012 was $6.89 per bushel and the value of the crop that year was $74.3 billion. Last year’s average price was $4.50 and the overall value fell to $62.7 billion.  Top crop producers last year were Illinois with crops valued at $16 billion, Iowa at $15.9 billion, and Nebraska at nearly $12 billion.