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2 Californians accused of trying to defraud Iowa banks

News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two Californians are accused of using fake credit cards and identification in a scheme to defraud Iowa banks and credit unions. The Sioux City Journal reports the 45-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were arrested Thursday. Both face several forgery charges and one charge each of ongoing criminal conduct.

Court documents say the pair visited two credit unions in Sioux City and requested $9,800 cash advances on credit cards. When the bank called to verify the credit card, an accomplice would provide answers.

When police searched the car they rented, the pair had a map of credit unions throughout Iowa. Authorities say the pair had attempted to get cash from Iowa credit unions and banks more than 100 times in the past three weeks.

Iowa making plans to close 2 of its 4 mental institutions

News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Closing some of Iowa’s four state mental hospitals might be needed, but people who work in the field warn that any changes should be made carefully.  Gov. Terry Branstad said last month he plans to close state mental institutions at Clarinda and Mount Pleasant and move any remaining patients to the other two state institutions this summer.

Ron Honberg with the National Alliance on Mental Illness told the Des Moines Register it can be dangerous to close facilities like this quickly. Suzanne Watson is CEO of the new, nine-county Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region. She hopes to open a crisis center by the time the Clarinda hospital closes, but she would like to have more time to prepare.

Providers: Iowa’s broadband expansion will take time, money

News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Even as lawmakers work through Gov. Terry Branstad’s latest proposal to expand broadband Internet in Iowa, officials and service providers say the effort will last for years and cost far more than the $5 million now under discussion. Supporters of Branstad’s legislation say it’s intended to bring attention and jumpstart work on a long-term broadband expansion the governor believes is vital to ensuring Iowa’s rural economy remains competitive as the nation relies more heavily on technology.

Under Branstad’s bill, Robert von Wolffradt, the state’s chief information officer, will oversee a grant program to help service providers with costs. Von Wolffradt says the $5 million program never was intended to pay for all Iowa’s broadband needs. Service providers say Branstad’s bill would help with an initiative that’s been ongoing for years.

5 injured during a head-on collision in Council Bluffs, Friday

News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A head-on collision in Council Bluffs Friday night resulted in five people being injured, with one said to have been in critical condition, but expected to survive. Police told the Omaha World-Herald the 78-year old driver of a Chrysler mini-van passed out behind the wheel at around 10-p.m., Friday, near West Broadway and 17th Street.

The van crossed the center line and struck a Hyundai Elantra. A passenger in the minivan was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and was in critical condition Saturday morning, but authorities say she was expected to pull through.

The driver and three passengers in the Elantra were treated for minor injuries at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. No names were available as of this (Sunday) morning.

Wildlife refuge north of Omaha offers winter programs

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — A federal wildlife refuge north of Omaha is offering opportunities to learn more about nature during winter. The DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges are offering several different programs in February and March. The refuges are about 30 miles north of Omaha near the Iowa border.

Tours of the area are offered at 10 a.m. on the following Saturday mornings: this Saturday, February 28th, March 7th and March 21st. Tours are also offered at 2 p.m. on February 15th, March 1st and March 15th.

The story of the Steamboat Bertrand and its passengers is retold at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The 150th anniversary of Bertrand’s sinking will be celebrated on the last weekend of March. Anyone visiting the refuges must have a $3 entrance permit.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sun., Feb. 15th 2015

News

February 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Even as lawmakers work through Governor Terry Branstad’s latest proposal to expand broadband Internet in Iowa, officials and service providers say the effort will last for years and cost far more than the $5 million now under discussion. Supporters of Branstad’s legislation say it’s intended to jumpstart work on a long-term broadband expansion.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing two other men at an apartment near Hawkeye Community College. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that the altercation happened around 8 p.m. Friday, leaving two men and the suspected assailant injured. Two men were hospitalized, and the 27-year-old suspect, who had also been cut, was treated at a hospital before being taken into police custody.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Police say no one was seriously injured when a sport utility vehicle driven by a teenager crashed through a Des Moines storefront. The crash happened Friday morning when an SUV driven by a 17-year-old girl went over a sidewalk and through the glass and brick front of Jim’s Appliances.

RIVERDALE, Iowa (AP) — A couple of the world’s most-watched eagles have welcomed an egg to their nest. The Quad-City Times reports that the egg was spotted by the Alcoa EagleCam in the nest of the eagles, dubbed Liberty and Justice. The nest is on the property of the Alcoa Davenport Works in Riverdale. The birds can be seen at WWW DOT Alcoa DOT com SLASH EagleCam.

Iowa casino plans new hard-surface area for outdoor events

News

February 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A new downtown Sioux City casino has announced plans to convert a grass-covered outdoor spot into a hard surface that will be used for outdoor events, such as concerts, as well as more parking. The Sioux City Journal reports that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in downtown Sioux City plans new landscaping, decorative street lamps, a beer garden, an expanded restaurant patio and a barrier to control concert noise also are part of the $850,000 project.

The project is awaiting city approval. The plan would create 102 spaces to park vehicles on days when there are no outdoor events.

Red Oak man arrested for Trespassing

News

February 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Red Oak man was arrested Saturday morning for Trespassing, in Red Oak. 31-year old Zachariah Michael Holland was taken into custody at around 2:20-a.m. in the 400 block of north 4th Street. His bond was set at $300.

Portsmouth man injured in Pott. County crash, Saturday

News

February 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A man from Shelby County was injured during a rollover accident Saturday morning, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol reports 28-year old Nikolas Schaben, of Portsmouth, was traveling east on Interstate 80 at around 5-a.m., when he lost control of the 2004 Mercury Sable he was driving, about 5 miles west of the Neola Exit.

The car went out of control and rolled over. Schaben traveled to a nearby residence and was transported by private vehicle to University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha.

Deadline approaches for health care coverage

News

February 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa residents seeking health care coverage on the federal exchange have until Sunday to sign up. This is the second open enrollment period under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act. For the most part, enrollment has gone more smoothly this time, with fewer complaints about technical glitches.

Federal authorities say nearly 40,000 people in Iowa had signed up or had been re-enrolled in a plan as of last week. In Iowa, some consumers have been scrambling to find new coverage since the state took over a cooperative that was selling insurance to residents in Iowa and Nebraska.