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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Feb. 20th 2013

News

February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has started debating a Republican plan to water down Gov. Terry Branstad’s education reform plan. Discussion started Tuesday evening. The governor’s education plan aims to improve Iowa schools by boosting minimum teacher pay and offering bonuses to senior teachers who take on tasks such as mentoring.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport man accused of threatening to shoot people has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says T. Wayne Allen, Sr., was sentenced Friday to 180 months in prison, as well as four years of parole. He has been ordered to pay $100 into a crime victim fund.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a former University of Iowa administrator that claimed a St. Louis law firm defamed him in a report criticizing his handling of a 2007 sexual assault. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt on Tuesday dismissed former general counsel Marc Mills’ claims against the Stolar Partnership. Pratt dismissed Mills’ claims against university officials last fall.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that toughens Iowa’s restrictions against texting while driving. A subcommittee debated the legislation Tuesday. Under the bill, distracted driving — including texting on a mobile phone — would become an offense that police could use to make a traffic stop.

New Market Iowa included in FBI Child Exploitation Investigation

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced Tuesday, that the agency is asking for the public’s assistance in obtaining information that may help identify two unknown individuals who may be able to provide valuable details regarding the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation.The southwest Iowa town of New Market, in Taylor County, is one of nearly a dozen communities or schools with the name across “New Market Basketball” across a T-shirt that is part of the investigation.

T-Shirt which sparked the FBI Investigation

Officials say initial images of a child being photographed in sexually explicit positions were first recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in February 2003 and are still being circulated in numerous child pornography forums across the Internet. Clues gathered from images relevant to the case, including a yellow T-shirt containing the outline of a basketball along with the written text “New Market Basketball,” have led to the belief that the individuals with whom the FBI would like to speak might possibly have a connection to one of the communities or agencies with the name “New Market.”

Also visible in some of the images is a home with what appears to be yellow siding and an above-ground swimming pool.

Above ground swimming pool & home with yellow siding

If recognized, these items could also assist in providing valuable information leading to the geographic location of the abused child. The individuals’ identities and whereabouts are currently unknown.

John Doe 23

The first individual is described as a white male, likely between the ages of 25 and 35, with dark hair and glasses.The second individual is described as a white male, likely between the ages of 35 and 45, with dark hair. The individuals are being sought as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) initiatives, both of which represent strategic partnerships between the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The FBI is seeking to find them because it appears they have been in contact with the victim and can assist the FBI with identification efforts. No charges have been filed in the case, and the individuals wanted for questioning are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. Anyone with information to provide should contact their local FBI office, submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov/ , or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

 

Atlantic City Council to Act on improvement projects and Southern Heights rezoning

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Please note: The meeting will be held at the Atlantic Senior Citizen’s Center, NOT in the Council’s Chambers)

The Atlantic City Council will gather during a regular session today (Wednesday), at the Senior Citizens Center in Atlantic, instead of in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, due to renovation work.

During their meeting, their Council will hold public hearings on the 7th Street Traffic Signal Improvement – and, Sunnyside Tennis Court Reconstruction – Projects. The hearings will be followed by action on resolutions approving the awarding of a contract for those projects. City Administrator Doug Harris, who spoke with the traffic engineer associated with the project, will ask the Council  approve a resolution awarding the contract for the traffic signal improvements, to KWS, Incorporated, whose bid of $139,900 was the lowest out of the three received. All three bids were under the Engineer’s projected cost estimate for the project.

The Council will also hold the second reading of an ordinance amending the current ordinance, with regard to a change in the zoning classification of some lots in the Southern Heights 2nd Addition. The change proposes rezoning from R-2  (Single family) to R-4 (multi-family) housing. While the City of Atlantic’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved developer Don Sonntags’ stipulation that he not be required to provide any street connections which were envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan and shown on the original plat, City Attorney Dave Wiederstein is researching the matter and will advise the Council on their options, during Wednesday’s meeting.

Following a public hearing, the Council will also act on approving a “General Corporate Purposes Loan Agreement” not to exceed $90,000, for financing improvements and repairs to the City Hall. The improvements are part of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan. The Council will also hold a public hearing on an “Essential Corporate Purposes Loan Agreement” not to exceed $2.63-million, for the financing of construction and improvements to the streets and storm sewers, and the purchase of traffic control devices as well as police and street department equipment. A vote on the loan agreement will follow the public hearing. They’re also expected to act on approving a resolution expressing the intent to enter into a loan agreement and bond purchase agreement with Ruan Securities, that provides for the Debt Service Levy for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

The Atlantic City Council meeting begins at 5:30-p.m.

Iowa DOT Uses Message Signs to Get More Eyes On the Road’

News, Weather

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation has a wide network of dynamic message boards on state highways. During emergency situations like the impending winter storm, the boards will show safety messages to assist motorists. Prior to the winter storm, the Iowa DOT is using the boards to gain additional eyes on the roadway by encouraging drivers to follow the Iowa DOT’s twitter feed at @iowadot. By following the twitter account, followers will also have access to information on the @statewide511 twitter feed.

Other ways to connect to the Iowa DOT via social media include:

•Geotag photos and video: All smartphones have a global position system because of enhanced 911 service. If you are a social media user who likes to share photos and video during winter storms, be sure your geotagging is enabled on your mobile device. Then the location of where your photo or video was taken will be tagged. Geotagging helps the Iowa DOT and travelers stay informed about traffic incidents and road conditions based on citizen observations.

•Use the traffic hashtag: The Iowa DOT will be using the hashtag #iatraffic during this event and recommends that other Twitter users do the same to find relevant tweets using that key phrase.

•Tell the DOT what you are seeing: Your information could be invaluable to others who are considering travel. You can also be another set of eyes for the Iowa DOT. When posting to Twitter reference @iowadot in your post. Tag them in your posts and photos on Facebook.

Mills County arrest report: 2/19/13

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday, released its most recent report on arrests and incidents. Authorities say two people were arrested Monday. 30-year old Justin Joseph McConnell, of Humphreys, MO., was arrested on a Woodbury County warrant for OWI/2nd offense, following a traffic stop on Interstate 29 at around 12:10-a.m.  McConnell’s bond was set at $1,000. And, 20-year old Jessica Kay Scott, of Malvern, was arrested in Malvern at around 7:30-p.m., on a warrant for Failure to Appear on an Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drug charge. Her bond was set at $5,000.

On Sunday, deputies in Mills County arrested 36-year old Matthew Mark Blue, of Council Bluffs, on a charge of OWI/1st offense. His bond was set at $1,000. The arrest took place on I-29 at around 2:25-a.m.  And, there were two arrests last Saturday in Mills County.

Officials say 21-year old Kristina Mae Reeve, of  Silver City, was arrested Saturday night, for Driving Under Suspension. Bond was set at $566. Earlier that same day, 18-year old Dylan Ray McKeown, of Council Bluffs, was arrested in Glenwood on a charge of  Possession With Intent to Deliver Controlled Substance. Ray’s bond was set at $50,000.

Bill that would regulate Iowa strip clubs advances

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cities could pass ordinances restricting how strip clubs operate if a bill that’s advancing in the Iowa House becomes law. Representative Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, says the controversy began when justices on the Iowa Supreme Court ruled state law “pre-empted” the City of Hamburg from enacting any restrictions on a local strip club. “The city passed some regulations, didn’t prohibit them from doing businesses, but it regulated, had provisions about no alcohol on the premises,” Garrett says. “You couldn’t touch the patrons…there were just a lot of restrictions on what you could do at the club.”
The bill which has cleared a House subcommittee would let Iowa cities enforce those kind of regulations on the conduct of employees and customers inside businesses that feature nude dancers. Rita Bettis of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says if the bill becomes law, it may be challenged in court on constitutional grounds — as a violation of free speech. “Theorhetically under that Hamburg ordinance, it would sweep up a scientific display of early humans in a state of undress or any number of Broadway shows like ‘The Lion King’ that have elements of nudity,” Bettis says.
The owner of “Shotgun Geniez” in Hamburg filed a lawsuit against the city’s ordinance in December of 2008. Under the city’s rules, performers were barred from stripping ’til they were completely nude and the strippers were not allowed to accept tips. The ordinance was never enforced, however, given the pending lawsuit. In the summer of 2012 the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the Hamburg strip club fell under the provisions of a state law that allows nudity in theaters.
(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Senate considers tougher texting driving bill

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that toughens Iowa’s restrictions against texting while driving. A subcommittee debated the legislation Tuesday. Under the bill, distracted driving — including texting on a mobile phone — would become an offense that police could use to make a traffic stop. The legislation did not advance Tuesday. Lawmakers expressed concern the language was too general, while a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said the broad definitions could lead to racial profiling.

Iowa law forbids texting while driving as a secondary offense, so police cannot pull drivers over simply for texting and driving. The proposed bill would expand the banned behavior beyond just texting, to include any activity that could distract drivers.

Shelby County Supervisors approve budget – frustrated over Hotel-motel tax issue

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Board of Supervisors approved the fiscal year 2014 budget. In a meeting this (Tuesday) morning, the Supervisors held a public hearing during which there were no comments from the public on the proposed Budget. In other business, the Supervisors gave an update on the Hotel/Motel Tax Dollars.

The fiscal agent, the Shelby County Auditor, received the remaining dollars, almost $56,500, from the Shelby County Chamber. The Supervisors also approved the hiring of Williams and Company to expand an analysis of the hotel/motel tax money from September 30th, 2012 through February 14th, 2013. The City of Harlan had hired Williams and Company for the previous audit of tax dollars and found no discrepancies.

Discussion about the audit centered around how the Supervisors planned to pay for it. Dawn Cundiff, Shelby County Chamber Director said an audit is not for tourism. She said“It is an audit. It is not directly, according to you guys, it’s used for 100% of tourism. That is an expenditure that is not geared toward tourism. That was your big thing with us on the 20% was not a tourism expense.”

Shelby County Auditor Marsha Carter contacted the Department of Revenue and indicated an audit would be a valid expense out of the tax money. The board approved the analysis. Afterward, Cundiff told the Board the Chamber did get legal council because their questions were not answered. Tensions mounted when it was mentioned that the Chamber did not receive their 20 percent administration fee from the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012. ” You have acknowledged through your representation on the old committee on the 20 percent. You made a statement that pretty much you accused us of absconding with this money. Okay, my opinion,” said Cundiff.

Supervisor Schmitz told Cundiff they will not be receiving funds for those quarters. County Attorney Marcus Gross said the administration fee was found to be an improper expense and therefore stopped. Cundiff said the issue will have to go through the attorneys. At that point, a frustrated Supervisor Steve Kenkel chimed-in to ask the group to move forward and do what’s best for the people of the County.  He said “It is a negative cloud on the whole damn community. It is not just one entity. We all have to take ownership. If we have winners and losers, the whole county loses. It is time we move forward and work cooperatively together. I have a huge issue with the lack of cooperation. This whole county was built around working together and that is not what is going on now. It is very frustrating. As a group we have to move forward. It seems we take one step forward and then three steps back because someone else throws something else out there. We are trying to provide grants and good things for the whole community. That’s what this should be all about. And when I mean county, I don’t mean the supervisors and what we represent. I mean the people and what we stand for in this county.”

No other board action was taken on the matter.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Winter storm watch out for Thursday: Worry about the wind – not the snow

News, Weather

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service Tuesday (Today), issued a winter storm watch for Thursday morning into Friday morning for much of the state. N-W-S meteorologist, Jim Lee, says the storm has been steadily heading for the state. “We’ve been watching this for several days — in fact all the way since last week — and things remain more or less on track,” Lee says. “We’re looking at a potentially significant winter storm coming up. Mostly on Thursday and then lingering into Thursday night and into Friday.”

Snow forecast totals range from six to 12 inches with this storm, but Lee says the snow won’t be the biggest concern.  “We’re not really trying to focus on the amounts too much. Most of the impact of this storm will come with the initial swath of snow moving across the state on Thursday. In which most of your accumulation is going to fall, but also there will be very strong winds,” according to Lee. “So for several hours as that moves through it’s gonna be near-zero visibilities, drifting snow, very dangerous conditions to be outside.”

Things will calm down as the storm pulls out Friday. Another storm is expected to move through early next week. “However with that system, the temperatures are quite a bit warmer — so there’s a question of how much will be rain and how much will be snow. Right now I wouldn’t necessarily say we are anticipating any high snow accumulations until we see how that pans out. We’ll keep an eye on that one,” Lee says.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man arrested on Audubon County warrant

News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Audubon County report the arrest on Sunday, of 36-year old Ezra Sedina, of Atlantic. Sedina was taken into custody at around 8-p.m., on an Audubon County warrant for OWI and Failure to Maintain Control. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office assisted in making the arrest.

The charges against him stem from an investigation into an accident which occurred on January 25th, in the 1600 block of 320th Street in Audubon County. Sedina was brought to the Audubon County Jail. He posted a $1,000 bond on Monday, and was released from custody. No court date has been set.