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Politicians ponder property tax reform deal

News

January 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa lawmakers have been quibbling over the proper way to reduce commercial property taxes for years and the issue is again at the top of the 2013 Iowa legislature’s agenda. Republican Governor Terry Branstad considers it his number one priority.  “Significant property tax reduction and replacement,” Branstad says. It’s that last word — replacement — that has Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs suggesting a corner may be turned, as Branstad is making it clear he supports sending state tax dollars to cities and counties — to replace reduced commercial property tax revenue.

“The key for us was that there be reimbursement of local governments because it there isn’t reimbursement, there is a tax shift,” Gronstal says, “and residential picks up the tab.” House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, the top-ranking Republican in the legislature, says he’s been careful about what he’s saying in public about the negotiations. “To see if we can find some opportunities here,” Paulsen says. “I mean I never professed that the House Republican plan was the perfect plan. We obviously like it…but we have a willingness to be flexible, as long as our overall goals are met.” Gronstal says the details are still being debated in private. “There’s no deal at this point,” Gronstal says. “There’s a lot of discussion points going on.”

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock is pessimistic about prospects for agreement.  “If you’re going to solve problems, you have to listen to people,” Dix says. “I don’t necessarily believe that it’s not possible, but it seems to me in listening to the Senate Democrats, they appear to be more dug in than ever on insisting that the solution lies in a new tax credit.” Last year Senate Democrats proposed a new property tax credit for small business owners. House Republicans, meanwhile, proposed rolling back property tax rates for all commercial property owners.

House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says everyone has to be prepared to compromise.  “I have suggested that we should do something that is modest but meaningful, to get our foot in the door and then maybe have a longer phase-in period over time so that communities can absorb this change,” McCarthy says. According to McCarthy, the odds are better than 50-50 that the legislature will, finally, take some step toward property tax reform in 2013.  “People have to be willing to take something that is not all they want, but that is politically do-able,” McCarthy says.

The Iowa legislature convenes Monday, January 14th.

(Radio Iowa)

Western Iowa group finds homes for donkeys

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Groups that rescue donkeys in Iowa and Nebraska are working together to find homes for several animals. Stephanie Shehan is one of the directors at Lusco Farms Donkey Rescue in Malvern, Iowa. That organization recently teamed up with Epona Rescue near Crete, Nebraska, to save the creatures.  Shehan says a Nebraska woman called after her father died and she didn’t know what to do with a donkey. Lusco Farms rescued two donkeys, while coordinating with Epona to find homes for a mule, a pony and her colt. Shehan says the animals were in good health and had received great care, in fact, they’d been spoiled a bit too much.

“Only one has hoof issues and other than that, they’re just a little, well not a little overweight, they’re quite overweight,” she says. “The gentleman was feeding them Twinkies.” They’re on diets now, thanks to a vet’s advice. She says it’s fortunate for the animals the groups were able to work together, if nothing more than to save money on feed. Hay prices due to drought have skyrocketed. Shehan says more people are contacting Lusco Farms Rescue and to surrender their donkeys, mules and horses because they can no longer afford to feed them.

“The hay issue has become a very wide problem,” she says. “We’ve had numerous people email. We’re mainly trying to find foster places for these animals.” Learn more at: www.luscofarmsrescue.org

(Radio Iowa)

No injuries following Tuesday morning crash in Lenox

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Lenox Police Department says no injuries were reported following a single vehicle accident early Tuesday morning.

Photo courtesy the Lenox Police Dept.

The crash took place just before 7-a.m. at the intersection of Brooks and Ohio Streets, when Tuesday a 1997 Chrysler owned by Debra Morehouse of Prescott and driven by 20-year old Jesse Harrison, of Prescott, crashed into a utility pole.  The accident happened as Harrison was northbound on Brooks when he fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle, which hit a utility pole and a sign pole. The damage amounted to $10,000.Harrison was cited for failure to maintain control.

(Podcast) – Local/area News: Jan. 1st 2013

News, Podcasts

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

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A trio of arrests in Red Oak

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Three people have been arrested on unrelated charges in Red Oak, recently. Two men were arrested this (Tuesday) morning, 47-year-old Joseph Larry Martin, of Clarinda, was arrested for Driving While Suspended. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $300 bond.  And, Sean Duane Elston, of Red Oak, was arrested on a charge of Domestic Assault and six counts of Child Endangerment. Elston was being held in the jail without bond.

On Monday, 19-year-old Mason Philip Roach, of Red Oak, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and,  46-year-old Robert Wayne Clark, of Red Oak, was arrested for 5th Degree Criminal Mischief. Clark’s bond was set at $300.

Red Oak man arrested on assault/interference charges

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says one person was arrested early this (Tuesday) morning, on assault and other charges. 29-year old Christopher Robert Fowler, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 2:25-a.m., following an incident in the 14-hundred block of 210th Street, west of Red Oak.

Officials say Fowler was charged with Simple Domestic Assault, and Interference with Official Acts. He was being held without bond in the Montgomery County Jail, pending an appearance before a magistrate.

Adair County man cited for Possession in Adams County

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office says an Adair County teen was cited for Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age, and Speeding, following a traffic stop Monday night. Officials say 19-year old Zachary Chumbley, of Greenfield, was stopped for speeding on Highway 34 at around 10-p.m. An investigation determined Chumbley was allegedly in possession of alcohol.

Iowa’s oldest veteran dead at age 106

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s oldest veteran has died at age 106 at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. A spokesman for the home says Floyd Teske died Monday morning. Mike Hines, staff assistant to the home’s commandant says Teske had lived there since 2007. Teske’s death was first reported Monday by the Des Moines Register.

A photo of Teske hangs in the Iowa Gold Star Memorial Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston among 40 notable Iowa veterans. Teske was born July 10, 1906, on a farm north of Decorah. He was married to Helen Holze for 32 years. They had no children. Teske entered the U.S. Army in May 1942 at age 36 and was discharged in October 1945.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., Jan. 1st 2013

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Capitol’s flag has been lowered to honor a former legislative page who was killed with her husband in Nebraska. KTIV-TV in Sioux City reports that the flag was lowered yesterday, on what have would have been Victoria Vargas’ 26th birthday. Vargas and her 30-year-old husband, Gabino Vargas, were found slain on December 9th in a mobile home near the northeast Nebraska town of Ewing.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa fisherman will be able to drop a third line in the water on the same fishing license beginning Tuesday. The law is among a handful taking effect today. It allows anglers to fish with three poles and a total of six hooks, up from two poles and four hooks. Another law would allow hunters and anglers to use three-year licenses. A separate law allows combined licenses for hunting and fishing.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Police are investigating an eastern Iowa home day care center that may have been used to make methamphetamine. The Quad-City Times reports that 34-year-old Dale Blumer was arrested Sunday on a felony drug-manufacturing charge. He was still in the Scott County Jail yesterday on a $100,000 bond.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) —Alex Singleton ran for three scores and Tulsa beat Iowa State 31-17 yesterday in the Liberty Bowl, avenging a season-opening loss to the Cyclones. Iowa State rallied to beat Tulsa 38-23 on September 1st, but the Golden Hurricane put together the comeback Monday in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mortgage delinquencies in Iowa lower than in US

News

January 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A representative of the Iowa Bankers Association says the latest facts and figures show Iowans, in general, are doing better than borrowers in other states. Sharon Presnall is a senior vice president for the Iowa Bankers Association. “Mortgage delinquencies have been and remain consistently lower than the rest of the nation,” she says, “and Iowa consistently has the lowest credit card debt than all of the states.” There has been “steady improvement” in Iowa banks, according to Presnall. “Total deposits in Iowa institutions increased to $57.6 billion year to date, which is an increase of $3.1 million from the third quarter of 2011,” she says.

Iowa banks have more than 42-billion dollars worth of loans on the books, a slight increase of about three billion over the third quarter last year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s third quarter report indicates less than one-point-five percent of loans in Iowa have reached the 90-days-past-due stage. The national delinquency rate is double what it is in Iowa. Presnall is the Iowa Banking Association’s chief statehouse lobbyist. About 18-thousand Iowans are employed at the 340 banking institutions that are part of the Iowa Bankers Association.

(Radio Iowa)