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Father’s Day is Iowa’s deadliest day to take a drive


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sunday is Father’s Day and while it’s usually a time reserved for celebrating our dads with gifts of neckties and golf putters, a study finds it’s the most dangerous day of the year to take a drive in Iowa. Alex Murphy, spokesman for the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says new figures show Father’s Day has become the state’s highest single fatality holiday.

“When we started looking through this data, it surprised all of us in the office and we thought if it surprised us, it has to surprise everyone across the state,” Murphy says. “Nationally, the 4th of July is the deadliest holiday on roadways, but then we started looking closer at Iowa’s numbers and it turned out Father’s Day is the deadliest.” Murphy calls it an “alarming” traffic safety trend. During the past 10 years, Iowa has recorded 19 traffic fatalities and 23 serious injuries in crashes on Father’s Day, Murphy says, “also, on June 22nd, that single day is the single most deadly day on Iowa roadways.” While New Year’s Eve is also a dangerous night to drive, given the typical winter weather combined with a higher potential for drunk drivers, Murphy could only speculate why Father’s Day has moved to the top spot of the deadliest days list.

“It’s nicer out, you have a lot more motorcycles on the roads, many more people are out traveling,” Murphy says. “It’s really hard to attribute it to anything specific but the nice weather could play a role in that, having more people out on the Iowa roadways.” For travelers this weekend, he reminds Iowans to buckle up, obey the speed limit and other posted signs and laws, watch for pedestrians and motorcyclists, don’t drink and drive, and avoid distracted driving.

(Radio Iowa)

(Updated 10:52-p.m.) Transient woman sought in connection with vehicle theft and crash


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 10:52-p.m.)

Police in Council Bluffs have apprehended a 35-year old female transient and her alleged male accomplice, who were said to be involved in the theft of a tow truck from a convenience store. Sgt. Darren Budd with the Council Bluffs P-D, said at about 9:06-p.m., Friday, uniformed officers of the Council Bluffs Police Department with the assistance of Adult Probation officers, located and arrested Jennifer Rae Malone, of Oakland (IA), without incident. Malone was taken into custody on a warrant for the following charges:
1.Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree
2.Theft 1st Degree
3.Conspiracy to Commit a Non-Forcible Felony
4.Control of a firearm by a felon
Bond on the warrant was set at $500,000.00. No additional charges have been filed.

Suspect Jennifer Rae Malone, 35, from Oakland.

The incident leading officials to suspect her in the case began at 9:48-a.m., Friday, when Todd Gochanour, the owner of Action Towing reported that his tow truck had just been stolen from the lot of Casey’s at 2301 S. 24th Street, in Council Bluffs. According to Gochanour, he had been called to Casey’s to unlock a car door. As he pulled into the lot, a female (later identified as Malone) waved him over to a white car. As Gochanour was getting out of his truck, a man standing near the white car stated, “I got it, we don’t need it unlocked”.

The woman that had waved Gochanour down became apologetic and asked him how much they owed him. When he told her that there was no charge, she offered to buy him something to drink. The two of them went into Casey’s, got a soda and approached the register for payment. The female then stated that she had forgot her money in the car and would be right back. The female exited Casey’s and got into the unlocked and running tow truck and sped off. The man who was with the female was seen following the tow truck on a black motorcycle. The white car in the parking lot actually belonged to one of the Casey’s employees and was not associated with the either of the suspects.

A customer inside Casey’s, who had witnessed the theft, followed the stolen tow truck into Omaha, where he witnessed the truck become involved in an accident near 13th and Dodge and then leave the scene. Minutes later, the tow truck was found abandoned in Council Bluffs, near 38th Street and Avenue C. Missing from inside the truck was an undetermined amount of cash and a .45 caliber Glock handgun that belonged to Gochanour.

At 10:25-a.m., another witness reported seeing a black motorcycle circling the parking lot at Ameristar Casino. As Officers approached the man, he fled on the motorcycle, leaving Ameristar’s property and traveling south on River Road, which dead ends under I-80. Once the man came to the dead end, he went off road and onto the bike trail system, traveling in a south easterly direction. A short time later, he was located on the motorcycle near an apartment complex in the 3200 block of Renner Drive. The man then abandoned the motorcycle and a short foot pursuit ensued, with him being apprehended in that same general area.

He refused to speak with the Police, or identify himself. Video from Casey’s General Store was used to positively identify him as the same man involved in the theft of the tow truck. The black motorcycle that the man had been riding was stolen out of Omaha. The man, who was booked into Pottawattamie County Corrections under the name John Doe, faces charges that include: Conspiracy, Theft 1st Degree, Theft 2nd Degree, Eluding, Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Authorities were in the process of positively identifying the man through fingerprint comparisons.

New York company agrees to pay restitution for psychic fraud


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A New York City company the Iowa attorney general says was running a fraudulent psychic mail campaign targeting elderly Iowans has been ordered to pay $200,000 to a state consumer protection fund.

Court documents filed Friday say Faircom New York Inc. and company senior account director Audrey Corvino agreed to the restitution and will permanently halt mailings to Iowans. Faircom was further ordered to ensure that no one else uses Iowa mailing lists it compiled.

Attorney General Tom Miller says the company helped fraudulent operators in Switzerland, France, and the United Kingdom distribute mailings to older Iowans and people in other states promising psychics would miraculously deliver health, wealth and happiness for a fee of $20 to $35. He says Faircom acknowledges helping with hundreds of thousands of mailings nationwide.


Sen. Joni Ernst Announces Town Meetings in Adams, Union Counties


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today (Friday) announced she will host town meetings in Adams and Union counties next Saturday (June 27) as part of her 99 county tour. These town meetings are open to the public.

The first meeting is in Corning, 12:30-p.m. June 27th, at the Corning Opera House (800 Davis Avenue). The second meeting is in Creston, beginning at 5:30-p.m., at  the Southwestern Community College Performing Arts Center, Multi-purpose Room 124 (1501 W Townline Road).

Cass County Landfill road to be closed beginning next week


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Landfill near Atlantic, have received notice the County intends to closed the landfill (Jackson) road, west of the landfill, effective June 24th. The closure, which will last about three months, is necessary due to a bridge replacement project. Persons seeking to drop off items at the landfill should seek an alternate route. If you have questions, call 712-243-1991.

Relay for Life tonight (Friday), in Atlantic


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 17th Annual Cass County Relay for Life takes place this evening at the Atlantic High School track. The event sponsored by the American Cancer Society is a celebration of life in support and memory of those whose lives have been touched by cancer.

A tractor ride kicked-off the day’s activities, that continue this evening, with a 4:30-p.m. check-in for a free, cancer survivor’s meal, provided by Hy-Vee. The meal begins at 5-p.m., and will be served to all cancer survivors and one guest, each.

At 6-p.m., is the Survivor’s Lap. Cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to walk around the track, with wheelchairs available upon request. Several teams have formed to take turns walking or running around the track, with the proceeds benefiting the fight against cancer.

Also getting underway at 6, is a bid on the silent auction angel food cakes in the Education Tent. You can purchase luminaries in memory of those lost to cancer until 8-p.m. Entertainment gets underway at 6:30, with Salute Gymnastics, kids play in the bounces house until 8-p.m., and at 7-p.m., there’ll be a performance by Villa Dance, along with a Scavenger Hunt, with a $20 first prize.

The Kids’ Cake Walk starts at 7:30 on the south end of the field, and at 8-p.m., Zumba with Allison Knox-Westmeyer, will be featured. The Luminaria Ceremony begins at 9-p.m., followed by Music to Walk by, at 10-p.m.  For more information, call Carole Schuler at 712-243-7545, or check out the Cass County Relay For Life on Facebook.

Tractor-trailer rollover in Fremont County


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Fremont County investigated a rollover accident Thursday near the intersection of Highway 2 and Interstate 29. Authorities say a 1998 Freightliner semi owned by Lone Star Transportation out of Ft. Worth, TX., was hauling an over-sized load westbound on Highway 2, when the driver, Kenneth Brock, of Rincon, GA, attempted to pull off onto the shoulder of the road.

The trailer sank into the shoulder, causing the semi to roll onto its side and hit a highway sign before coming to rest. No injuries were reported. Assisting the sheriff’s department at the scene, were personnel with the Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, along with the Percival and Sidney Fire and Rescue Departments.

2 accidents in Atlantic this past week


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police investigated two separate accidents this past week. Officials say on Sunday (June 14th), vehicles driven by Kenneth Searls, of Audubon, and Judith Collins, of Atlantic, collided near the intersection of 7th Street and Hospital Drive at around 9:20-a.m., after Searls, who had stopped at the traffic light, turned right on a red light and struck Collins’ vehicle as she was traveling north on Hospital Drive and entering a parking lot. No injuries were reported. Damage amounted to $2,000.

And, on Wednesday, vehicle driven by Robert Harlan and Kayla Kessler, both of Atlantic, collided at 10th and Walnut Streets at around 9:15-a.m., as Kessler was traveling east on 10th and Harlan was traveling south on Walnut. Harlan stopped at the intersection but then proceeded forward, striking Kessler’s driver’s side door. Kessler was transported by Medivac Ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Damage from the collision amounted to $3,000. Harlan was cited for Failure to Yield upon making a left turn.

Atlantic Police report 11 arrests


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Corrects original post to add more arrests)

Eleven people were arrested on separate charges over the past week, here in Atlantic. The Police Department reports four arrests took place on June 10th:

  • 37-year old Charles Sharpback, of Atlantic, was arrested for OWI/1st offense.
  • 24-year old Benjamin Galles, of Atlantic, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication.
  • 38-year old Terry Frazier, of Atlantic, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, & Public Intoxication.
  • 32-year old Kyle Archibald, of Walnut, was arrested in Atlantic on an Audubon County warrant for Probation Violation. He was later transported to Audubon County.
  • and 51-year old Tim Planck, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Warren County warrant for Probation Violation. He was later transported to the Warren County Jail.

On June 11th, Atlantic Police arrested 34-year old Ameli Williams, of Atlantic, on a warrant for Failure to Appear in court. And on June 14th, 47-year old Curtis Nelson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Burglary in the 1st Degree, Assault Causing Bodily Injury, and Assault While Displaying a Dangerous Weapon.

On June 16th, 22-year old Jason Mark, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intox and Interference with Official Acts. And, three people were arrested on Thursday, June 18th:

  • 33-year old Juane Anaya Mendez, of Atlantic, was arrested for Theft in the 5th degree (Shoplifting). He was cited and then released from custody.
  • 39-year old Jeremy R. Peterson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Failure to Pay Attorney Fees and Cost.
  • and, 33-year old Jennifer Claussen, of Lewis, was arrested for OWI.

With the exception of Archibald, Planck and Mendez, each of the persons mentioned were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Iowa court allows remote dispensing of abortion pill


June 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a ruling that allows doctors to continue dispensing abortion-inducing pills remotely via a video teleconferencing system.  The high court released its unanimous opinion Friday.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the local affiliate, had sued the Iowa Board of Medicine over its 2013 decision that would have required a doctor to be in the room with a patient when dispensing abortion-inducing medication. The board cited safety concerns over a required physical examination.

The court agreed with Planned Parenthood’s argument that the rule would have placed an undue burden on women by requiring a doctor’s physical presence. The court’s opinion was important for the future of the fairly unique procedure. Iowa is one of only two states offering it.