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Legal questions over Iowa farm drainage headed to high court

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — 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.

Judge Mark Bennett said the novel legal issues deserve the attention of the state’s highest court. The decision comes in the lawsuit that Des Moines Water filed last year against three northwest Iowa counties that oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts. Farm drainage district attorneys say Iowa’s constitution has long protected them from legal liability.

Human remains identified in Sac County house fire


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

BREDA, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified the man whose remains were found last week in a burned house in Sac County, north of Breda. The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says the man has been identified as 48-year-old Daniel Robert Mielk, who lived in the home alone. The State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the identity using dental records.

On Jan. 8 deputies and firefighters from Auburn responded to a rural home and found that it had been burned to the ground. Authorities later found human remains inside the house. The cause of death has been listed as smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. No foul play has been suspected.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating the cause of the fire.

Sunderman will run for re-election


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Republican Auditor Dale Sunderman, Tuesday evening, announced that contrary to some reports, he WILL be seeking another term as Auditor. The primary election for the position will take place June 7th, 2016. Sunderman faces a challenge from Wendy Richter, who announced on Jan. 8th she intends to seek the seat held by Sunderman since 1984.

Iowa panel to look into state lotteries’ jackpot-fixing case


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A legislative committee in Iowa plans to look into the jackpot-fixing scandal that started in the state and has spread to several other state lotteries. Rep. Bobby Kaufmann says the Iowa House government oversight committee will investigate how it was possible for an employee at the Multi-State Lottery Association to allegedly fix jackpots. He says lawmakers want to prevent it from happening again.

Kaufmann said lawmakers may seek documents and testimony from the Urbandale, Iowa-based lottery association, which runs the popular Powerball game and is governed by 37 lotteries in U.S. states and territories.

The alleged scheme didn’t affect Powerball, which uses balls instead of computers to draw numbers. That game is expected to set a world jackpot record in Wednesday’s drawing of $1.5 billion.

Guthrie County S/O partners w/Iowa ABD for tobacco, Alt. nicotine & vapor education


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says it has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Guthrie County’s youth.
Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws.

Due to a change in Iowa law, alternative nicotine and vapor products are now considered age-restricted products and will be part of the I-PLEDGE program’s compliance initiatives this year.Guthrie S-O patch Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 93%. By participating in the program, the Guthrie Co Sheriff’s Office has committed to do its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.

I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use and affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale. Although not required to retake the training if currently certified, ABD encourages clerks to repeat the training after October 3rd, in order to familiarize themselves with the newly age-restricted products.

Guthrie Co Deputies and Reserve Officers will also be conducting compliance checks on local establishment as part of the I-PLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter illegal sale will be cited on the spot. Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for a third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.

Sheriff Marty Arganbright says “By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community. Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.”

To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to www.iowaabd.com

VA couple robbed of vehicles & more in Council Bluffs


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are asking for your help in solving the theft of vehicles from the parking lot of the Harrah’s Casino Hotel. Officials say Nicolas Craig and his wife, Rochelle, were in the process of moving from Virginia Beach, Virginia to the state of Washington. They stopped in Council Bluffs Monday evening and got a room at Harrah’s Casino Hotel. When they awoke this morning, they discovered their vehicles, a trailer and many of their personal belongings were missing.

The Craig’s had a red 2005 Ford F-350 crew cab pickup that was pulling an orange and grey tandem axle trailer, which had a blue 2003 Jeep Liberty on it. In the bed of the pickup, was a black 2008 Yamaha R6S Motorcycle.

Harrah's Casino surveillance still photo images of missing vehicles & trailer.

Harrah’s Casino surveillance still photo images of missing vehicles & trailer.

truck motorcycle truck trailer motorcycle jeep jeepThe license plate information for each vehicle/trailer is listed below:
2005 Ford F-350 Washington Plate C95260E
2003 Jeep Liberty Washington Plate AKE6206
2008 Yamaha M/C Washington Plate 1D9964
2004 U Haul Trailer Louisiana Plate L832249

Nicholas Craig had just retired from the Navy and the Craig family was on their way home when the theft occurred. The Council Bluffs Police Department is asking for the communities help in locating the Craig’s possessions.

If you have any information about the theft, call 712 328-5737, and select Option 1.

Branstad addresses education, water quality in annual speech


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has told Iowa lawmakers he wants to invest more money in education and water quality initiatives for the upcoming fiscal year.  Branstad made the remarks during his 2016 Condition of the State speech to the Iowa General Assembly on Tuesday. He says he wants more money for schools and seeks to improve the state’s water supply. He is proposing a state general fund budget of roughly $7.4 billion for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Branstad stressed it would be a “tight” budget year and growing Medicaid costs put a strain on state finances. School funding could once again be a contentious debate in the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-majority House. Democrats want more funding for education, while Republicans are skeptical of spending increases.

Powerball jackpot increases again to $1.5B on strong sales


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The world’s largest lottery jackpot has grown to $1.5 billion because of continuing strong Powerball ticket sales. Lottery officials increased their estimate of the huge jackpot for the second day in a row Tuesday because of immense interest in the prize.

The record-breaking Powerball jackpot could grow yet more before Wednesday’s drawing if ticket sales continue to exceed expectations. Officials reassess the estimate daily. The odds of matching all six numbers to win the jackpot are one in 292.2 million.
The $1.5 billion prize would be paid in annual payments over 29 years. Or the winner could opt for a lump-sum payment of $930 million.

91-year-old Holocaust survivor dies in Des Moines


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa woman who survived the Holocaust has died in Des Moines. Connie Griffin of Dunn’s Chapel said Tuesday that Jennie Wolnerman died at home Saturday. Wolnerman was 91. Her obituary says she was born in Poland, survived the brutalities of a concentration camp and eventually married another Holocaust survivor, David Wolnerman, who survives her. They moved to the United States in 1950.

The Des Moines Register reports that she was believed to have been one of Iowa’s last Holocaust survivors. Her grandson Daniel Wolnerman gave the eulogy at Monday’s funeral and said she’d survived a death march by stealing a loaf of bread. He says a guard told her that if she had the ability to steal from a Nazi guard, she would make it through her ordeal.

(update) Atlantic woman injured during Accident on Hwy 83 n.w. of Atlantic


January 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Fire and Rescue and Marne 1st Responders were called to the scene of a collision this (Tuesday) morning, northwest of Atlantic. The crash, which happened on the Marne Road (Highway 83), near the intersection with Glacier Road, was reported at around 8:55-a.m.

According to Cass County Sheriff’s Office, a 1970 Chevy pickup, driven by 64-year old Leroy Merel Osbahr, of Avoca, was traveling northbound on Highway 83 when the brakes locked-up on the vehicle. The action caused the pickup to enter the southbound lane, where the pickup collided with a 2016Chevy Equinox. The crossover SUV was pushed into the ditch during the collision.

The driver of the SUV, 35-year old Stacie Rae Hansen, of Atlantic, suffered minor injuries and was transported to Cass County Memorial Hospital by Medivac Ambulance. Osbahr was not injured. Damage from the collision amounted to $2,000.

The Osbahr’s report a dog traveling with them at the time of the accident, is missing. The 50-lb. female boxer, light brown in color, jumped out of a pickup after the crash. She has a blue leather collar w/Avoca and Shelby Veterinary tags. If found, call 402-680-1949.