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Judge blocks Iowa governor’s deposition in firing of agent

News

March 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A judge says Gov. Terry Branstad doesn’t have to testify under oath in a lawsuit filed by a fired Division of Criminal Investigation agent who blames Branstad for destroying his career. Judge William Kelly, a Branstad appointee, rejected Larry Hedlund’s request to depose Branstad in Hedlund’s wrongful termination lawsuit.

Kelly ruled Friday in favor of the Iowa attorney general’s office, which is representing Branstad and argued the governor was too busy to face a two-hour deposition. Kelly says Hedlund can seek information from Branstad in written questions but requiring the governor to be deposed “would be an incredible burden” while he’s preparing to become U.S. ambassador to China.

Hedlund is suing Branstad and Iowa Department of Public Safety officials. He contends he was defamed and fired for reporting wrongdoing, including a 2013 incident in which he reported Branstad’s speeding SUV.

Iowa early News Headlines: Monday, March 27th 2017

News

March 27th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in central Iowa say Chicago Bears cornerback Deiondre Hall and Green Bay Packers cornerback Makinton Dorleant were arrested outside a bar in Cedar Falls. Hall was cited for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and interference with official acts. Dorleant also was cited for interference. A police affidavit says Hall spit in the face of the officers during Saturday night’s incident.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The death of a 16-year-old Iowa girl has led to finger-pointing at the Legislature and is an indication of how much has changed in the 17 years since the death of another child prompted a bipartisan inquiry. Following the death of Natalie Finn, lawmakers have been split about how to respond. It was much different after the 2000 death of 2-year-old Shelby Duis. Her killing prompted then-Gov. Tom Vilsack to speak at a public hearing, and the matter dominated that year’s legislative session.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Black Hawk County officials are struggling to decide how to pay for the replacement of a bridge crossing the Cedar River without raising property taxes or limiting funding for other road projects. The Courier reports the 55-year-old bridge has been deemed structurally deficient and needs to be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $6.5 million to $7.3 million. The supervisors are expected to consider the funding options in coming weeks.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrat Kim Weaver wants a rematch against U.S. Rep. Steve King after losing to the Republican congressman in 2016. The Des Moines Register reports Weaver announced Sunday she would challenge King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in 2018. In the last election, Weaver lost in 38 of the 39 counties in the district, but she remains optimistic about her chances against King.

Reminder: Hwy 173 off/on-ramps to/from I-80 in Cass County will close Monday morning

News

March 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A reminder from Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon: The eastbound entrance ramp and westbound exit ramps will closed tomorrow (Monday) morning at 7:00 AM and are scheduled to reopen on April 28th at 3:00PM. The EB entrance ramp detour is to take I-80 WB to US 71 and turn around. The WB exit ramp detour is also to go west to US 71 and take it back to exit 54.

At this time it appears it will stay open over I-80 but will be single line alternating with flaggers during the day. The exit and entrance ramps will be closed 24/7 starting Wednesday at 7AM until April 28th at 3PM. I attached a picture of the detour for the ramp closures.

Democrat who faced Rep. King in 2016 election wants rematch

News

March 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Democrat Kim Weaver wants a rematch against U.S. Rep. Steve King after losing to the Republican congressman in 2016. The Des Moines Register reports Weaver announced Sunday she would challenge King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in 2018.

In the last election, Weaver lost in 38 of the 39 counties in the district, but she remains optimistic about her chances against King. The 52-year-old Weaver of Sheldon has criticized King in the past for his comments on minorities, immigration and same-sex marriage.

2 abuse cases, 2 very different responses by Iowa lawmakers

News

March 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The death of a 16-year-old Iowa girl has led to finger-pointing at the Legislature and is an indication of how much has changed in the 17 years since the death of another child prompted a bipartisan inquiry.

Five months after the death of Natalie Finn, Republican lawmakers have been split over whether to investigate her treatment and Democrats have accused GOP leaders of being reluctant to take up the matter because of possible questions about state staffing.

The response was different after the January 2000 death of Shelby Duis, a 2-year-old from Spirit Lake. Her killing prompted then-Gov. Tom Vilsack to speak at a public hearing in Storm Lake, and the matter dominated that year’s legislative session.

Sen. David Johnson said both parties worked together in 2000 to improve the child welfare system.

Atlantic School Board Special meeting to act on Real Estate matters

News

March 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will meet 9-a.m. Monday in the ICN Room at the High School, to act on approving the purchase of certain real estate, and the termination of a lease for another property.

During their meeting on January 24th, the Board voted to enter into negotiations to purchase the Cass, Incorporated building at 1406 S.W. 7th Street (on the west side of Atlantic). Board Secretary/Business Manager Mary Beth Fast has said the building could serve many purposes, including bringing back the K-through 6 Behavioral Program which was cancelled a couple of years ago due to a lack of students. The building space would allow the program to be expanded to include 10 slots for students, one full-time Behavioral Education teacher and one para-educator.

She said they could also use the 27,000 square foot building for an Alternative High School, Career Tech classes, office space, and/or rent or lease the space to other entities.

The Board is expected Monday morning to terminate a 5-year building lease with the Car Guys, LLC, for a facility at 1209 Sunnyside Lane, effective June 30, 2017. The facility currently serves as the site for the Behavioral Program and Alternative High School. Ending the lease agreement would save the District more than $51,253 per year.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sunday, March 26th 2017

News

March 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 4:25 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Newly released documents show Iowa officials have agreed to help private Medicaid management companies shoulder huge losses they’ve suffered in covering more than 500,000 poor or disabled Iowa residents. The Des Moines Register reports that the three national companies have complained losing about $450 million in Iowa’s shift to private Medicaid management, which started last April. The agreements are expected to cost the state roughly $10 million, which would be paid more than a year from now.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City police officer is recovering after his patrol vehicle was broadsided by a pickup truck. The Sioux City Journal reports that the crash happened around 2 a.m. Friday when Sgt. Terry Ivener was traveling northbound on a city street and was hit by an eastbound pickup. Police believe the 29-year-old woman driving the pickup had been drinking and say charges are pending.

TAMA, Iowa (AP) — A Tama County man has died after being hit by a minivan on Highway 30 near Tama in east-central Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol tells Cedar Rapids television station KCRG that 41-year-old Randolph Papakee Jr. died in the Friday night incident. The patrol says Papakkee and a woman were walking across the highway when Papakkee was hit.

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified a man whose body was found in a submerged sport utility vehicle in the Des Moines River near Keokuk. Authorities tell the Hawk Eye that the body of 46-year-old Sean Junior O’Day, of Keokuk, was found in the SUV Tuesday. Keokuk Deputy Police Chief Jay Whitaker says O’Day was identified through an autopsy. Whitaker says foul play is not suspected, but the investigation continues.

Iowa officials agree to help Medicaid firms with shortfall

News

March 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Newly released documents show Iowa officials have agreed to help private Medicaid management companies shoulder huge losses they’ve suffered in covering more than 500,000 poor or disabled Iowa residents. The Des Moines Register reports that the three national companies have complained losing about $450 million in Iowa’s shift to private Medicaid management, which started last April.

Documents obtained by the Register through an open-records request show that Department of Human Services leaders signed contract amendments in February, under which the government agreed to shoulder some of the losses. Department of Human Services spokeswoman Amy McCoy said Friday the agreements are expected to cost the state roughly $10 million, which would be paid more than a year from now. She says the federal government would also contribute.

Authorities ID 2 people found dead inside Boone home

News

March 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

BOONE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified two people whose bodies were found earlier this week inside a central Iowa home. Police say the bodies of 68-year-old Joyce Richeson and 39-year-old Jason Richeson were found inside the Boone home late Wednesday. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has called their deaths suspicious and says a handgun was found inside the home. Police did not specify the Richesons’ relationship, but a neighbor told Des Moines television station KCCI that a woman and her son lived in the home.

Boone police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating. Authorities say they believe the deaths are an isolated incident and that the public is not in danger.

Sioux City police officer hurt when pickup hits his SUV

News

March 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City police officer is recovering after his patrol vehicle was broadsided by a pickup truck. The Sioux City Journal reports that the crash happened around 2 a.m. Friday when Sgt. Terry Ivener was traveling northbound on a city street and was hit by an eastbound pickup.

Police believe the 29-year-old woman driving the pickup had been drinking and say charges are pending. Investigators say the woman ran through a yield sign and hit the patrol SUV. Sioux City Fire Rescue was called to cut Ivener from the mangled SUV by cutting off the driver’s side doors. Ivener was taken to a Sioux City hospital, where he was treated and released. The woman was also taken the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.