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Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., 12/10/15

News

December 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Fire chiefs in four Des Moines suburbs have begun discussing consolidating fire department services with the primary goal of reducing response times. The Register reports that the fire chiefs in Clive, Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines say that plans must be made before services become overwhelmed.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities hope to have the vandalism cleanup completed so the Webster County Courthouse can be reopened for public business by Friday or Monday at the latest. The Messenger reports that a vandal or vandals sprayed fire extinguishers early Tuesday morning throughout the third and fourth floors.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Sioux City park officials say an all-season park planned to open next year could get more than $300,000 from a state tourism program. The Sioux City Journal reports city officials pitched the Cone Park project to the Vision Iowa board on Wednesday. The city has requested a $318,000 grant from the state program that funds cultural, entertainment and education attractions.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Clinton accused Republicans of undermining American efforts to fight Islamic terrorism, saying Wednesday that the “hateful” campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican field is providing new material for Islamic State propaganda. “Instead of showing leadership some of the leaders in this campaign are resorting to really hateful rhetoric,” Clinton said at a town hall meeting in Waterloo, Iowa. “Donald Trump, he does traffic in prejudice and paranoia.”

 

Survey finds increase in texting and surfing the internet while driving

News

December 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A survey by an insurance company finds uses other than talking are becoming bigger issues for the distraction of drivers on cellphones. State Farm Insurance spokesperson, Ann Avery, says the have data from seven years of driver surveys. “Talking on a hand-held cellphone has decreased while driving from 65 percent in 0-9 to 51 percent in 2015,” Avery says. “Texting while driving has stayed about the same — a slight increase — but accessing the internet while driving has more than doubled, from 13 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2015.”

There are some other numbers in the survey that raise concern. “Some significant increases in drivers who report they’re using G-P-S, or reading and responding to emails, or reading and updating social media networks,” according to Avery. The survey found 88 percent of drivers now have a smartphone. People in the 40 to 49 year old category saw the biggest jump from a regular phone to a smartphone, moving from 47 to 92 percent. Ninety-nine percent of the drivers aged 18 to 29 have smartphones.

Avery says as the number of smartphones has increased, so have the things you can do with them.”The number and types of distractions that are available on cellphones have grown over the years and that’s worth noting and could be something that is reflected in the numbers,” Avery says. “But regardless of what the distraction is — we want to remind people — that despite what the demands on your attention are, please stay focused all the time on your driving.”

Drivers were asked in the survey what it would take to get them to put their phones down while on the road. “And their answers were: causing a crash while reading or responding to a text message, financial and/or legal consequences that might result, and thirdly, getting caught by police. So, these responses do highlight that there are some things that will deter people. It encourages us to consider a multi-pronged approach to curbing distracted driving.”

Talking on the cellphone while driving is legal in Iowa. Texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means police can’t pull you over just for texting. Police must stop you for something else before they can ticket you for texting while driving.

(Radio Iowa)

Appeals Court leaves restitution for juveniles in place

News

December 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Court of Appeals rules banning restitution is not part of a ruling that bans mandatory life sentences for juveniles. The case involves Shannon Breeden, who helped her boyfriend murder Paula Heiser of Davenport in 2002. Breeden, who was 16 at the time, was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of attempted murder in exchange for testimony against her boyfriend. She was given a mandatory sentence of 25 years and ordered to pay 150-thousand dollars restitution to Heiser’s estate.

Breeden was later resentenced to a prison term not to exceed 25 years after the U-S Supreme Court and subsequent Iowa Supreme Court rulings that mandatory sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. The restitution amount stayed the same, and Breeden appealed, saying the restitution should be unconstitutional for juveniles the same as mandatory sentences.

The Iowa Court of Appeals says it will not expand the ruling on mandatory sentences to include restitution, as that is an issue for the Iowa Supreme Court to decide. The appeals court issued a similar ruling in another case involving Diamonay Richardson of Cedar Rapids. She was 16 when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2013. She also appealed the restitution in her case.

(Radio Iowa)

Sioux City seeks Vision Iowa grant for all-season park

News

December 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Sioux City park officials say an all-season park planned to open next year could get more than $300,000 from a state tourism program. The Sioux City Journal reports city officials pitched the Cone Park project to the Vision Iowa board on Wednesday.

The city has requested a $318,000 grant from the state program that funds cultural, entertainment and education attractions. The $4 million all-season park near the IBP Ice Center will include a sledding hill, ice skating pond and splash pad.

Most of the money will come from philanthropist Ruth Cone who left $2.6 million when she died in 1981. The city, Woodbury County and Missouri River Historical Development group are also providing funds. The Vision Iowa board is expected to vote on the proposal in January.

 

Atlantic Developer offers reduced price on lots for new homes in 2016

News

December 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Citing a shortage of lots available to construct new homes in Atlantic, and in an effort to spur the construction of new homes in the community, local developer Don Sonntag told the City Council Wednesday, that he and his grandson will offer incentives with regard to the purchase of lots he owns for the purpose of new home construction.

Don Sonntag (Standing) speaks about a shortage of housing lots in Atlantic.

Don Sonntag (Standing) speaks about a shortage of housing lots in Atlantic.

Sonntag has purchased lots along Olive Street on the south end of town, and will start next year getting houses built in the area next year. He will also donate at a reduced price, those lots that remain available, to anyone who wants to build a home in 2016. The project does not have to be associated with Sonntag Development in order to qualify.

Sonntag said he would also donate certain right-of-way areas to the City if it will help create more lots for home construction. He also has a few lots in the Mollett Addition (3rd Street Place, off Mulberry Street), that he would give away for free, to someone who promises to build a house in the subdivision beginning in 2016.

Cass County Supervisors look to take applications for various boards and commissions

News

December 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors is taking applications for various county board and commission appointments to be made at the organizational meeting January 4, 2016 and during calendar year 2016. Auditor Dale Sunderman says the County looks for diversity in the appointments and welcomes all applicants at least 18 years of age. Terms and dates of appointments vary. The positions are unpaid.

A brief description follows:

  • Board of Health: Five member board to provide guidance and oversee operations of county Public Health department.
  • Cass-Audubon Border Economic Development Agreement Board: Six voting members and two non-voting members. One at large member appointed by Cass County Board of Supervisors. Promote development of Valley Business Park property.
  • Cass County Food Policy Council: Approximate ten member council that serves the entire Cass County area and works to bring together community members and organizations to promote stable food systems and access to healthy locally produced food for all the residents of Cass County.
  • Civil Service Commission: Three member commission to oversee examinations, promotions, and discipline issues relating to Deputy Sheriffs.
  • Compensation Board for the Condemnation of Private Property: 28 member commission representing realtors, farmers, bankers, auctioneers and city property owners to be available to the chief judge of the judicial district to assess damages to property taken by eminent domain.
  • Conservation Board: Five member board to provide guidance and oversee operations of county Conservation department.
  • Judicial Magistrate Appointing Commission: Six member commission (three appointed by the board) responsible for appointing two county magistrates. Magistrates are required to be attorneys and have jurisdiction over simple misdemeanors, including scheduled violations, county and municipal infractions, and small claims.
  • Township Trustee/Clerk: Four member board (three trustees and one clerk): townships of Benton, Bear Grove, Brighton, Cass, Franklin, Grant, Grove, Lincoln, Massena, Noble, Pleasant, Pymosa, Victoria, and Washington (townships of Edna and Union elect officers). Township governments responsible to provide vital functions such as fire protection/emergency medical service and responsible for any township owned public cemeteries. The xext appointments will be in January of 2017 (one township trustee and one township clerk).
  • Veteran Affairs Commission: Three member commission to provide guidance and oversee operations of Veteran Affairs department. Terms begin July 1.
  • Zoning Board of Adjustment: Five member board to review county zoning ordinance and hear requests for variances or special exceptions to the ordinance.
  • Planning & Zoning Commission: Five member commission to review and enforce county zoning ordinance and make recommendations on any proposed changes to same.
  • Weed Commissioner: Supervise the control and destruction of all noxious weeds in the county. Term March thru February.
  • Western Iowa Tourism Council Region #1: Promotion of Tourism in Tourism Region #1 This list is not all inclusive.

Applications for the various positions are required and can be obtained at the office of the Cass County Auditor and are also available on the county website: http://www.casscountyiowa.us/. Additional information may be obtained by calling the office of the Cass County Auditor: 712-243-4570.

At the organizational meeting to be held Monday, January 4, 2016, the Cass County Board of Supervisors will be making appointments to: Cass County Food Policy Council (if new applicants); County Weed Commissioner (1); County Civil Service Commission [for appointment of deputy sheriffs] (1) County Conservation Board (1); County Resource Enhancement Committee (1); County Zoning Board of Adjustment (1); County Zoning Commission (1); County Board of Health (2); Cass County Housing Commission (3); County Condemnation in Eminent Domain (28+); Cass-Audubon Border Economic Development Agreement Board (1); Western Iowa Tourism Council Region #1 (1 and 1 alternate) Mid-year appointment: Veteran Affairs Commission (1) in June, 2016.

Red Oak Man arrested on multiple warrants

News

December 9th, 2015 by Chris Parks

A Red Oak man was arrested on Wednesday on multiple warrants by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.  At 3:50pm Deputies arrested 34-year-old Jacob A. Cochran of Red Oak on the following warrants: 2 for Violation of Probation, 1 for Burglary 1st Degree, and 1 for Domestic Abuse Assault.  Cochran was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $140,000 cash bond.

Harlan Arrest Report

News

December 9th, 2015 by Chris Parks

On Wednesday the Harlan Police Department released details on a number of recent arrests.

On December 3rd Harlan Police arrested 27-year-old Theodore Behrens of Harlan following a traffic stop.  Behrens was taken to the Shelby County Jail and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Failure to Have a Valid Driver’s License.

Also on December 3rd Officers arrested two individuals from Harlan following a traffic stop.  24-year-old Shawn Mosher and 26-year-old Sarah Koester were taken to the Shelby County Jail facing multiple charges.  Mosher was charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Aiding and Abetting in the Delivery of a Controlled Substance, and Ongoing Criminal Conduct.  Koester was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Prohibited Acts penalties.

Finally on December 3rd Harlan Police responded to a call of a disturbance at the Harlan Community School that occurred during the elementary students’ Christmas program.  Questioned in the incident were 53-year-old Kenneth Smith of Harlan and 47-year-old Demetrius Moungo of Harlan.  Smith was later cited for Disorderly Conduct.

On Tuesday, December 8th Harlan Police arrested 61-year-old James Todd for Trespassing.  Officers were called to Casey’s General Store for a man that had been banned from the store and property and Todd was arrested.

Iowa Chamber Alliance releases wish list for 2016 legislative session

News

December 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The 16 largest chambers of commerce in Iowa are urging legislators to allow state officials to offer cash rather than just tax incentives when trying to lure new business to the state. The Iowa Chamber Alliance is also advocating tax cuts for individuals and corporations as well as incentives to expand broadband access in Iowa. Iowa Chamber Alliance executive director John Stineman admits those goals may be out of reach in 2016 as legislators struggle with a tight state budget.

“It’s certainly in the pathology of the Iowa Chamber Alliance to be optimistic,” Stineman says. “We’re not afraid to take on issues that are challenging or take a longer period of time to affect.” Greater Burlington Partnership president and C-E-O Jason Hutcheson says a “new, front-end incentive fund” to provide CASH incentives to lure new business to Iowa “ought to be a top budget priority” for lawmakers.

“While there is always competiton among different priorities,” Hutcheson says, “the incentives that help fuel economic growth and job creation are critical as they drive economic opportunity for Iowa families and enhance government revenue at all levels to help fund other public priorities.” Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, says Iowa’s corporate income tax is “among the highest” in the country and Iowa’s personal income tax is overly complicated.

“Explaining a cumbersome tax system to prospective businesses can be an obstacle to closing a deal,” McGowan says. “It is worth reiterating — as we have said in the past — in economic development, if you are explaining and defending, you are losing.” The Iowa Chamber Alliance is calling for a “comprehensive study” of Iowa’s workforce to identify problems and solutions.

“Iowa needs to keep more Iowans in the state, attract new Iowans and welcome new Americans to make their home here in Iowa and contribute to Iowa’s economic growth.” That’s Dee Baird, president and C-E-O of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. She is this year’s chair of the Iowa Chamber Alliance. The group’s leaders say they would “encourage a dialogue” about immigration that’s “more constructive” than the debate that’s occurring on the campaign trail.

The Chamber Alliance says immigrants can be a “central part of our economy” because there aren’t enough Iowa residents to fill the jobs “of today and tomorrow.” In addition to the economic development groups from Cedar Rapids, Burlington and Sioux City, chambers of commerce from Ames, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Muscatine, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Mason City and the Quad Cities are part of the Iowa Chamber Alliance.

(Radio Iowa)

Athena Award Nomination Deadline extended

News

December 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce has extended the Athena Award nominations until Friday, December 11th at noon. The Chamber continues the partnership with Deter Motor Company to present the ATHENA Award.

Athena Award

Athena Award

The award recognizes an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in her/his business profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills.

If you know someone who has had a meaningful impact on the lives of others nomination packets can be picked up at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, 102 Chestnut Street. Nominations are due by December 11, 2015 at noon to the Chamber Office. The ATHENA Award will be presented at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Saturday, January 23, 2016.