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Red Oak man faces three charges


December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak say a man arrested Tuesday night for Violation of a No Contact Order and Felony Theft in the 2nd degree (Burglary), was also charged with Felony, Possessing contraband in a correctional facility. The additional charge came after officers discovered during the booking process, that 35-year old David Ray Sturgis, of Red Oak, had a weapon in his possession. Sturgis’ bond was set at $10,000 on the Contraband charge, and $5,000 for the other offenses.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 12th 2018


December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:54 a.m. CST

PRINCETON, Iowa (AP) — Eastern Iowa officials are investigating the death of a person whose body was found in the rubble of a house fire. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office says the fire happened early Monday morning at a rural Princeton home. Arriving firefighter found the house fully engulfed in flames, and firefighters and emergency crews from seven different departments responded to the scene. After the fire was extinguished, a search of the debris turned up a body. Officials have not released the victim’s name.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has named a new chief of staff as she assembles an administrative team to run the office after winning election in November. A statement released from the governor’s office on Tuesday says Sara Craig Gongol will begin work on Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s cost for a children’s health insurance program is set to soar from $7 million to $37 million over the next two years because of changes approved by Congress that reduce federal funding. The Des Moines Register reports that the HAWK-I provides health insurance to 70,000 children from families with moderate income. Congress in January decided to phase out extra federal financing for children’s health insurance programs, which had been part of the Affordable Care Act.

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Ankeny police have arrested a man suspected of engaging in a drag race that ended when one of the vehicles crashed, killing its two occupants. A news release says 21-year-old Brandon Ferin, of Johnston, was arrested Tuesday. Court records don’t list an attorney for him. Police say Ferin was racing his pickup truck against another the night of Aug. 25 when the other truck went out of control and crashed into another vehicle in a restaurant parking lot. The two occupants in the other truck died.

IWCC $11.5-million bond issue approved


December 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Voters in 13 area counties went to the polls Tuesday and, according to unofficial results, for the most part, overwhelmingly approved an $11.5-million bond issue to finance infrastructure improvements on the main campus of Iowa Western Community College, in Council Bluffs. The main focus is on replacing the steam lines with a hot-water system that provide heat to campus facilities. The bond measure passed 2,763Yes  votes, or 68.1 percent, to 1,294 No votes, or 31.9 percent.

Iowa western officials have said that issuing the general obligation bond will not result in a tax increase for residents of the college’s service area, instead it takes the place of a bond that is set to expire.

In Cass County, Auditor Dale Sunderman reports the IWCC Bond issue passed with 197 Yes votes (77%) to 60 No votes (23%).

Other Counties’ unofficial preliminary results:

  • Shelby County: Yes – 607 votes, or 47.4 percent; No – 674 votes, or 52.6 percent.
  • Pottawattamie: Yes – 1,375 votes; No – 329 votes
  • Mills County: Yes – 133 votes, No – 41 votes
  • Harrison County: Yes – 139 votes; No – 98 votes
  • Page County: Yes – 221 votes; No – 62 votes
  • Fremont County: Yes – 91 votes, or 75.2 percent; No – 30 votes, or 24.8 percent

Update: No hogs lost, no injuries following Audubon County Hog Confinement fire

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Audubon and Exira responded to a hog confinement operation fire this (Tuesday) morning, about three-miles east of Ross. The incident at the Lawrence Handlos farm at 1599 Mockingbird Avenue was reported at around 10:15-a.m., according to the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office. Audubon Fire Chief Tyler Thygesen told KJAN News the first crews arrived around 12 minutes later, and found the flames confined to the southwest part of one of the confinement buildings and got the flames knocked down.

A firewall operated as it should and kept the damage to that part of the building, still the structure contained a significant amount of interior damage. The fire was declared under control at around 11:25-a.m. Audubon firefighters remained on the scene overhauling the site until around 12:45-p.m.

Thygesen said Exira Fire provided extra water to fight the flames, and everyone worked well together, including the owners, who worked to shut-off the power and gas. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. All the confinements were empty fortunately, so no animals died, and no firefighter injuries were reported.

Survey shows 26% of Iowa businesses plan to add workers to start 2019


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Just over one-quarter of Iowa employers plan to add more workers over the first three months of 2019. That’s according to a survey released today (Tuesday) by ManpowerGroup. Spokesman Dave Wheeler says over 12,500 businesses across the U.S. took part in the survey.  “In the state of Iowa, of all the employers we surveyed, 26-percent plan to hire additional employees from January through March,” Wheeler said. “That is only offset, marginally, by six-percent that plan to reduce payrolls.”

Another 67-percent of Iowa employers responded by saying they plan to maintain current staffing levels over the first quarter of next year. Manpower’s last survey, covering hiring intentions for October through December, found 21-percent of Iowa businesses expected to add workers.

“Q1 is looking to be a very strong quarter for Iowa, even up from what was considered a good fourth quarter in 2018,” Wheeler said. The Manpower survey shows, nationwide, 23-percent of U.S. businesses expect to add employees between the months of January and March. Another five-percent anticipate a decline in their payrolls.

State Patrol looking to upgrade planes


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The Iowa State Patrol is looking to replace some of its aging aircraft. Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Roxann Ryan, says they are asking for three-point-five million dollars outside their general budget for the planes. “We currently have seven airplanes, we are the only law enforcement agency with aircraft available to us. Of those seven planes we have — two of them have reached end of life — we can’t rebuild them anymore and still run them safely,” Ryan explained.

Ryan says they will swap out the older planes as they buy new ones. “When we have another one that goes out we will not replace that one, because if we can replace the two that have reached end of life, they are different kinds of aircraft. We will be able to fly them more often in weather that we can’t currently fly in,” Ryan says. She says the airplanes are a valuable resource.

“I think a lot of times people assume that we are using the planes primarily for enforcement action — speed enforcement,” according toe Ryan. “what we’re find is, more and more it’s not being used for speed enforcement as it is for surveillance of particular activities, and looking for missing people.” Ryan says the aircraft have been used to find missing elderly or young people, as well as helping find suspects.

“There are times when we will do speed enforcement as well, but most of the time it is something completely different,” Ryan says. Ryan says another request they have is to upgrade their technology. Getting more storage is part of that. “Because now when we have so much digital evidence that we have to deal with — when everybody has multiple devices and they take pictures of apparently everything the world — it requires a lot more effort to be able to maintain all of the storage that we need,” Ryan says.

Ryan is proposing a general budget that is similar to last year at around 103 million dollars. Ryan recently announced she is going to retire. She says it is time to focus on some other things. “I feel like a I know an awful I have aging parents and young grand kids, and this is truly a 24-seven type of job,”Ryan says. Ryan joined the Department of Publice Safety in 2006 as a lawyer and was appointed Public Safety Commissioner in 2015 by then Governor Terry Branstad.

Iowa governor names consultant Sara Gongol chief of staff


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has named a new chief of staff as she assembles an administrative team to run the office after winning election in November. A statement released from the governor’s office on Tuesday says Sara Craig Gongol will begin work on Saturday.

Craig Gongol, a political consultant and fundraiser, has worked with Reynolds since 2014 and was a general consultant to Reynolds’ successful campaign to win the governor’s office in November.
Craig Gongol also managed Mitt Romney’s 2012 Iowa caucus presidential campaign.

Reynolds says she’s bringing together a new team to help implement her vision for Iowa.
Reynolds has been governor since her predecessor Terry Branstad left in May 2017. She defeated Democrat Fred Hubbell in November to become Iowa’s first woman governor. Current Chief of Staff Ryan Koopmans, a lawyer, will return to the private sector.

Iowa Transportation Commission approves Fiscal Year 2020 Traffic Safety Improvement Program projects


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Today (Tuesday), the Iowa Transportation Commission approved $7,930,800 in total funding for 44 separate projects from Iowa’s Traffic Safety Improvement Program. The program was created in 1987 for the purpose of increasing traffic safety on all of Iowa’s roadways. This funding is available for use on city, county, or state roads through an annual application process.

In this area:

Under Site Specific Projects:

  • Montgomery County received a requested $500,000 for County Road H-34 edge treatments. The total project cost is estimated at $1.265-million.

Under the Traffic Control Devices category:

  • The City of Griswold received $8,000 toward a project cost of $18,075 for pedestrian improvements.
  • The City of Council Bluffs received $50,000 toward the $78,930 cost of signal head updates.

IA Transportation Commission approves $7-million in funding for rural transportation


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission today (Tuesday) approved $7 million in funding for 91 new rural public transit vehicles that will replace vehicles past their useful life.  Funds are granted through the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facilities Formula and Discretionary Programs. These vehicles were part of the Iowa Public Transit Vehicle Replacement Project. Vehicle replacement projects were approved for 18 different public transit systems.

In Region 13 (Atlantic), nine light duty buses and four mini-vans are being funded for a total cost of $1.11-million dollars. In Region 14 (Creston), two light duty buses and one mini-van are being funded for a total cost of $235,720. And in Region 12 (Carroll), six conversion vans and one light duty bus are being funded for a total cost of $429, 100.

Harlan Police report (12/11)


December 11th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department has released a report on arrests. Officials say on Sunday, 40-year old Angela Gail Ahrenholtz, of Manilla, was arrested following a traffic stop at Highway 44 and Oak Road.  Ahrenholtz was transported to the Shelby County Jail where she was charged with operating while intoxicated and speed.

On Dec. 4th, 29-year old Jeremy Kane Johnson, of Harlan, was arrested following a call for service.  Johnson was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with domestic abuse assault.

Nov. 30th: 36-year old Richard Joseph Graeve, of Harlan, was arrested following a traffic stop in the 1300 block of Pine St.  Graeve was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with speed, reckless driving, and operating while intoxicated; 49-year old David Lee Stout, of Harlan, was arrested following a call for a noise complaint in the 1600 block of Farnam St.  Stout was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with prohibited acts, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Nov. 29th, 46-year old Larry Monroe Lange, of Harlan, was arrested following a call for a disturbance in the 500 block of Durant St.  Lange was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with trespassing. And, 24-year old Joshua Michael Haggerty, of Harlan, was arrested on an active warrant.  He was taken to the Shelby County Jail.