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2 arrests overnight in Montgomery County

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Tuesday night on separate charges, in Montgomery County. The Sheriff’s Office reports 41-year old Jeffrey Dean Eller, of Red Oak, was arrested by deputies assisted by Red Oak Police, at around 6:30-p.m.  Eller faces charges that include OWI-drugged/3rd offense, Possession of Methamphetamine, Providing False Information, and Failure to have a Valid Driver’s License. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 cash bond.

And, officers with the Red Oak Police Dept. arrested 31-year old Natasha Suzanne Loftesness, of Red Oak, at around 5:15-p.m., Tuesday. Loftesness was charged with Theft in the 5th Degree. She was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $300 bond.

Miscalculation means some school districts will get more money, some will owe

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A miscalculation by the Iowa Department of Revenue will result in more money for infrastructure projects for several southwest Iowa school districts. The Daily NonPareil reports the mistake was traced back to a faulty computer program that could not handle as much sales tax revenue as was collected last summer. Victoria Daniels, the public information officer for the department, said the miscalculations happened in November when a final reconciliation of payments for the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education program, which distributes one cent of state sales taxes on a per-pupil basis to Iowa public schools.

According to Daniels, this year saw an unusually large payment because of strong sales tax growth in the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2014. She said the computer used to determine the final distribution was not programmed to handle a situation where the actual per student payment exceeded the estimated payment. The results was that most school districts received the wrong amount. Every district in the state was affected by the miscalculation, although the dollar amounts varied dramatically.

Daniels said the miscalculations total to $9,138,855 to be redistributed among the state’s districts, with 234 losing money and 112 receiving funds. Among the districts in southwest Iowa which will be receiving additional funds in the near future, are Underwood, Riverside, Treynor, Tri-Center, Walnut and AHST. Other southwest Iowa districts, including Atlantic, Clarinda, Elk Horn-Kimballton, Glenwood, Griswold and Harlan…to name but a few…will owe a balance to the state. Daniels said those debts will be collected by reducing future monthly payments.

Oakland man faces sentencing today in the shooting death of Atlantic woman

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A judge in Pottawattamie County has denied motions from lawyers for 63-year old Robert A. Reynolds that could have granted him a new trial. The Oakland man was found guilty of 1st Degree Murder late last November in the shooting death at his home, of 64-year old Patricia Kinkade-Dorsey, from Atlantic. The Daily NonPareil reports that on Tuesday morning, Fourth District Court Judge Greg Steensland denied the motions filed on Jan. 15th, by Reynolds’ defense attorneys, that had questioned the admissibility of a voice recording entered as evidence during Reynolds’ trial, questioned statements by Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber at trial and questioned the jury selection process.

Steensland denied all motions. Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today (Wednesday), at the Pottawattamie County Courthouse.

Page County Sheriff’s Office weekend report (issued 1/20/15)

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, issued a report on incidents and accidents they covered from over the weekend. Sheriff Lyle Palmer says on Saturday, (Jan 17) at approximately 3:34 AM, the Page County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a vehicle in the ditch north of Clarinda,  on Redwood Avenue. Deputies found a 2005 Chevy extended cab pickup on a bridge abutment / guardrail at the intersection of Redwood and 180th street unoccupied. Deputies checked the area and nobody was found in the area. A check of the license plate revealed the vehicle registered to 23-year old Jordan Michael Barr, of Villisca. Deputies made contact with the registered owner’s parents, who said that they had spoken with Jordan since the accident and he was not injured, but his whereabouts was unknown at the time. Barr was issued citations for Failure to maintain control and Leaving the scene of an accident.

On Sunday., January 18th, the Nodaway County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office notified the Page County Sheriff’s Office of a stolen 2002 Chevy Standard cab pickup with Missouri plates. Page County Deputies recovered the vehicle shortly thereafter in a trail area of Nodaway Valley Park just north of Clarinda. The vehicle was held for processing and turned over to the Nodaway County Sheriff for the processing.

That same day, at approximately 2:15 PM, deputies from the Page County Sheriff’s Office arrested 23-year old Thomas Jeffrey Engstrand, of Braddyville, for driving while barred. The arrest stems from a traffic stop on Highway 71 just north of Clarinda, where Engstrand was operating a 2007 Chevy Colorado pickup. Engstrand was taken to the Page County Sheriff’s Office where he was unable to post the $2000 bond, and was booked into jail. Engstrand was also cited for Depositing litter onto the highway.

2 accidents in Page County, Monday, 1 with multiple victims

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, said two separate accidents occurred Monday, the first of which resulted in several people being transported to the hospital. Just before 5-pm., deputies with the Page County Sheriff’s Office responded to a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Highways 2 & 59. An investigation showed 18-year old Isiah Michael Still, of Coin,  was driving a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass southbound on Highway 59, and attempting to make a left (east) turn onto Highway 2, across traffic.

61-year old Steven Craig Roby, of Red Oak, was driving a Ford F-150 pickup northbound on Highway 59. Still said that he didn’t see the Roby vehicle when making the turn. Due to Still turning into the path of Roby, both vehicles collided causing disabling damage to both.  Still was cited for No proof of Insurance, Failure to have a valid driver’s license, and Failure to yield upon a left turn.  Several people from the vehicles were transported to Shenandoah Medical Center for treatment of unknown injuries. The Page County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Shenandoah Police Department, the Shenandoah Fire Department, and the Shenandoah Ambulance Service.

And about three hours later, deputies in Page County responded to a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 71 and 120th Street which is approximately 9 miles north of Clarinda, Ia. When Deputies arrived they found a 2011 Chevy K-1500 pickup that had what appeared to be totaling damage. There was nobody around the vehicle. Deputies made contact with the owner, 45-year old Lynn Lamar Scott, of Villisca, who said that he was driving at the time of the accident and had swerved to miss a deer and then went into the ditch, striking posts, debris and a power pole before coming to rest. Scott was uninjured. The vehicle received severe disabling damage. No citations were issued.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 1/21/15

News

January 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — A woman from Atlantic who tricked people into thinking her daughter had cancer is avoiding jail time. A judge has sentenced Leatha Slauson to five years of probation and ordered her to continue mental health treatment. Donations for Slauson’s five-year-old daughter poured in after she pulled the hoax on Facebook.

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a previously convicted child sex offender has been arrested for violating his sex offender registry regulations. Police records say 45-year-old Kenneth F. Orr was arrested Monday at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville for being within 300 feet of the mall’s ice rink and the Iowa Children’s Museum. Iowa law prohibits sex offenders from being within 300 feet of any place intended primarily for the use of minors.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Freshman Republican Sen. Joni Ernst says the newly empowered GOP-led Congress heard the voters’ message in November and will work to change the direction in Washington. Ernst delivered the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. In excerpts released in advance, the Iowa senator says Republicans will make Washington focus on Americans’ concerns. She is criticizing Obama’s health care law as a failed policy.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill has been introduced in the Iowa Legislature that would force casinos to comply with the state’s smoking ban. Casino floors in Iowa are now exempt from following a 2008 law that prohibits smoking in public places. A bill sponsored by Sen. Herman Quirmbach, of Ames, would eliminate that exemption. The bill could face strong opposition from the casino industry. A spokesman for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad says the governor favors such a measure and would sign it into law.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A north-central Iowa man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to drug use and illegal firearm possession charges. Officials say 32-year-old Mark Harken, of Aplington, received the prison term. The sentence comes after his August 2014 guilty plea to one count of being a felon and illegally using methamphetamine while in possession of firearms and ammunition. Harken said he had five firearms, including one semi-automatic rifle.

Cass County Attorney statement on Slauson sentence

News

January 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Attorney David L. Wiederstein, late Tuesday afternoon, issued a statement to the press about the sentencing earlier in the day of 30-year old Leatha Kaye Slauson to a term of 5-years probation, in association with a child cancer hoax. Wiederstein said “The Court clearly set forth the rationale for the sentence and I am not going to comment any further on the Judge’s ruling. The biggest form of punishment levied against Leatha this morning is further removing her from her status as a mother.”

“Atlantic and Cass County should not be ashamed with the overwhelming giving spirit it showed when the child was purportedly sick, and even more so the community-wide show of support to Riley since her mother’s criminal scheme was revealed. The longer that Leatha is not able to stand in the shoes of a parent, the more justice will be served.”

Grant Helps Communities Inventory Public Trees

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This year, 10 Iowa communities, including Atlantic, will participate in a public inventory of their trees through a U.S. Forest Service grant called Sustainable Urban Forestry Training and Assistance (SUFTA). The grant will fund training to municipal staff, non-profits and interested citizens, so communities can complete a public tree inventory, prepare for emerald ash borer and create a sustainable urban forestry program.

A volunteer participates in the Iowa Tree Inventory.

A volunteer participates in the Iowa Tree Inventory.

The eight-session training, administered by the DNR forestry bureau, will include tree identification, risk assessment, forest pest identification, technology training, tree planting, pruning/maintenance and inventory data collection.

Attendance at all eight training sessions is mandatory to take part in the community tree inventories.  Interested individuals, civic groups and clubs are asked to contact the local coordinator at the respective phone number for further details. In Atlantic, the training sessions begin Feb. 24th. For more information or to participate, call John Lund at 712-243-4810.

For more information about the Sustainable Urban Forestry Training and Assistance (SUFTA) grant program, contact Laura Wagner, grant coordinator at 515-725-8456 or laura.wagner@dnr.iowa.gov.

Acres Remain for Landowners wanting to Improve Pheasant Habitat

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Time is running out for landowners in Iowa’s 46 best pheasant counties to secure funding to restore pheasant habitat in Iowa’s core pheasant range. The Iowa Pheasant Recovery – State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program is for Iowa landowners who want to restore top notch pheasant habitats to their property. It is a new USDA continuous CRP practice designed to restore native grasslands and wetlands where they will be the most beneficial for ring-necked pheasants.DNR logo

Iowa received 50,000 acres split between the 46 primary pheasant counties (37,500) and the 31 secondary pheasant counties (12,500). The 31 secondary counties enrolled all 12,500 acres before the 2014 pheasant season opened. An estimated 20,000 acres remain in the 46 primary pheasant counties.

Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “We are getting a lot of pressure from landowners in the secondary counties to release these acres so they can make offers to enroll. Landowners in primary pheasant counties who are interested in this program shouldn’t wait to contact us because acres may be shifted to the secondary counties.”

Primary pheasant counties include (locally): Adair, Adams, Audubon, Carroll and Cass. Pheasant and other grassland birds are particularly vulnerable to harsh winters and wet springs. Restoring top quality winter and nesting/brood-rearing habitat will help pheasant populations recover and could boost annual harvest by 100,000 roosters.

CRP rental rates are at an all-time high in Iowa. Landowners should contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau private lands staff to discuss eligibility and cost share assistance. A map of DNR staff contacts and a factsheet on the Iowa Pheasant Recovery program is available at www.iowadnr.gov/habitat

Council Bluffs plans renovation of historical building

News

January 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A Council Bluffs historical structure that’s stood vacant for years will soon undergo renovation. City parks director Larry Foster tells the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil of plans to create an open-air pavilion at a local building formerly used as a trolley equipment repair shop. The project will be funded by both public and private grants.

Foster says the Council Bluffs Public School District initially developed the idea for the space as the district’s summer lunch program needed a shelter in order to continue. Renovation includes removing three brick panels on two sides of the structure to open the building up and installing windows and the other two sides. Foster says the pavilion will be open to the public.

Foster says he’s unsure when construction will begin.