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Effort underway to rename Cedar Rapids post office for Iowa soldier

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation are supporting a measure to re-name the main Cedar Rapids post office in honor of an Iowa National Guard soldier who died in Afghanistan. U-S Senator Joni Ernst, from Red Oak, talked about Sgt. 1st Class Terry L. Pasker during her weekly conference call with reporters. “Sergeant First Class Pasker was born in Anamosa, Iowa. He enlisted in the U-S Army in 1990, and later joined the Iowa National Guard in 1995. While serving in the guard, he served two tours in Afghanistan — in 2005 and 2011,” Ernst says.

The 39-year-old Pasker was killed in July of 2011 during his second tour in Afghanistan when an Afghan security officer shot and killed him at a roadway checkpoint.  “While we will never be able to say thank you enough to Sergeant First Class Pasker and his family. This post office would honor his legacy and serve as symbol throughout the community of his unwavering heroism” according to Ernst.

Ernst says the re-naming now just needs the approval of the rest of Congress. “It should not be a long process. It should be as simple as passing the legislation and that would rename the post office. We feel it’s the right thing to do for Sergeant Pasker,” Ernst says. The measure in the Senate sponsored by Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley, is companion to a House bill introduced by Representative Rod Blum and co-sponsored by Iowa’s three other Representatives Dave Loebsack, David Young and Steve King. Pasker is survived by his wife, Erica; parents, Mary and David; brother, Andrew, and two sisters, Christine and Rebecca.

(Radio Iowa)

Director of ICE testifies about death of SW Iowa woman in Omaha crash

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was questioned before Congress this week about the death of an Iowa woman in a “horrific” car crash in Omaha. The January accident was allegedly caused by an undocumented immigrant who was released from jail and has vanished. Nebraska U-S Senator Ben Sasse questioned ICE director Sarah Saldana, saying Omaha police asked ICE to hold the suspect, but ICE refused. Saldana denied that.

“I don’t understand where you got the information with respect to our ‘refusing’ to deal with this individual,” Saldana said, “that’s not my understanding of the facts.” Sasse replied: “This is ICE’s public comment. ICE said that in response to Omaha law enforcement who said they requested that ICE detain him.” Saldana responded: “I am ICE and I don’t recall making that statement. I would not have said that.” The suspect, 19-year-old Eswin Mejia of Honduras, posted bond and hasn’t been seen since. It’s feared he fled the country to avoid prosecution, as he was in the U-S illegally. Police say Mejia was street racing while driving drunk and rear-ended the S-U-V driven by 21-year-old Sarah Root, of Council Bluffs, killing her. Senator Sasse told Saldana that Root’s family and many others want to know why the feds wouldn’t hold the suspect after he met bail, as he was clearly a flight risk.

“This is my letter to you February 29th,” Sasse says. “I’m quoting your agency’s public statement. Your agency said in response: ‘At the time of his January 2016 arrest in Omaha on local criminal charges, Eswin Majia, 19, of Honduras did not meet ICE’s enforcement priorities.'” Due to the suspect’s immigration status, Omaha police requested ICE detain him but that was denied as ICE said it would not be consistent with the president’s executive actions. Saldana says it’s unclear exactly what happened and she’s still investigating the case.

“Quite frankly, sir, it’s very easy to look back and say, ‘That person’s judgment was incorrect,’ and I have some concerns about that,” Saldana says. “Every situation we have that results in something as horrific as this, we always try to learn from it. I’ll be following up to look at the specific individuals involved, how the judgment was formed and why that was done.” When asked if if she thought someone who street races while drunk and kills another person is a threat to public safety, Saldana said, “Yes.” The suspect is accused of motor vehicle homicide but the judge set bond at $50,000. He was able to secure 10-percent of that and was freed. Sasse says Omaha police moved as quickly as possible to have ICE take Majia into custody.

“We tried to act, sir, but I believe there was a matter of hours between the time that we were contacted and the actual release,” Saldana says. “It is very hard for us to get to every inquiry that is made by law enforcement and unfortunately, it had a horrible consequence here.” Police say Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he was driving on a suspended license when he was racing and rear-ended Root’s vehicle. Saldana testified on Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 3/17/2016

News, Podcasts

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Atlantic Area Chamber announces 2016 events, including Ice Skating

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce have announced the 2016 schedule of community events. The events include:

April 29th: The Young Professionals of Atlantic (YPA) Dessert Gala at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club (AGCC). Young professionals in the area will be recognized for their commitment and outstanding work in the community.
June 17th: Nine and Wine at the AGCC, a 9-hole golfing event where teams of 4 play best ball while enjoying a wine tasting and appetizer at every hole.
July 16th: Crazy Daze, where local businesses will offer “crazy” deals for the weekend.
Aug. 13th: AtlanticFest, sponsored by 1st Whitney Bank & Trust, featuring car and motorcycle shows, a Bags Tournament, crafters, road race, pedal pull, & more.
June thru September: Produce in the Park every Thursday from 4:30-to 6:30-pm at the Atlantic City Park, offering fresh vegetables, fruits, baked items and other products from local producers and crafters.
Sept. 23-24th: Coca Cola Days, featuring a Tailgate Party, and the Iowa Chapter of Coca-Cola Collector’s Show, Swap and Sell meet.
Oct. 15th: The Annual Fireman’s picnic at the city park, featuring smoke brisket sandwiches and activities, including the Fireman’s parade later that evening.
Grand Lighting Ceremony: Nov. 17th.
Ice Skating Rink on a synthetic rink, with skates provided at a low cost, Nov. 26-27 during the “Small Business Weekend,” with a VIP skate night Nov. 25th for sponsors.
Lighted Christmas Parade: Dec. 3rd.
Annual Holiday Concert: Dec. 4th.

If you are interesting in sponsoring or volunteering for any of the events, contact the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-243-3017, or visit www.atlanticiowa.com, on the web.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 3/17/2016

News, Podcasts

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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2 arrests overnight in Montgomery County

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports two men were arrested on separate charges overnight Wednesday into early this (Thursday) morning. At around 12:30-a.m. (Today/Thursday), 28-year old Bradley Edward Sorensen, of rural Essex, was arrested in the 2500 block of 250th Street. Sorensen was charged with OWI/1st offense. His bond at the Montgomery County Jail was set at $1,000.

And, at around 10:35-p.m. Wednesday, 46-year old Troy Daniel Smith, of Emerson, was arrested in Emerson on a valid Montgomery County warrant for Theft in the 5th Degree. Smith was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $300 cash bond.

3rd man arrested in connection w/March 7th murder in Council Bluffs

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Council Bluffs said late Wednesday night that they have arrested a man wanted in connection with a March 7th murder, but are still looking for a woman who is a person of interest in the case. At Around 4-p.m. Wednesday, Detectives with the Council Bluffs Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, located 30-year old Markis Davis, of Council Bluffs, in 3500 block of West Broadway in Council Bluffs. The man had been considered armed and dangerous.

Davis was taken into custody without incident and brought to the Criminal Investigation Division where he was interviewed. Upon the conclusion of the interview, Davis was transported to Pottawattamie County Corrections and booked on the charges of 1st Degree Murder, Attempted Murder and 1st Degree Robbery. Two other men were arrested within hours of the March 7th murder of 22-year old Anthony J. Walker, and the attempted murder of another man inside a Council Bluffs home.

Authorities however, are still looking for 22-year old Rachel Lewis, of Council Bluffs, and are again asking for the public’s help in locating her for questioning in the continuing investigation. Anyone with any information on her location may contact Crime Stoppers at 712-328-7867.

Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis

Markis Davis

Markis Davis

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., March 17th 2016

News

March 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Police have located a third suspect wanted in connection with a March 7th murder and attempted murder. A female “person of interest” remains missing and is wanted for questioning.

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Authorities have arrested the a man in connection with the murder of two women whose bodies were found Wed. morning in their home. The women were the mans’ mother and grandmother.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of a House legislative committee said Wednesday he intends to introduce legislation that would strengthen oversight of boarding schools in Iowa that are able to operate with little state regulation. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Wilton Republican and chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, says the bill is in response to abuse allegations at the now-closed Midwest Academy in Keokuk.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A panel of state budget experts has maintained its earlier projection on Iowa’s revenue for the current fiscal year, but a state official says revenue for the upcoming year is lower than expected. The three-member Revenue Estimating Conference said Wednesday it predicts the state will take in about $7.04 billion for the fiscal year that began last July.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Dubuque radio DJ is being credited for helping alert sleeping college students to an early morning residence hall fire. KCRG-TV reports WVRE DJ Josh Crowell noticed flames coming from the top of Visitation Hall on the Loras College campus early Wednesday. Crowell, who usually arrives at work between 4:30 and 5 a.m., called 911 and ran inside the building to wake up students.

Atlantic City Council approves 2016 Street & Alley improvement project; Mayor warns about cracking down on “crotch rockets”

News

March 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, approved an Engineering Agreement with Snyder and Associates Engineers, for the City’s 2016 Street and Alley Improvement Project. The total cost of the projects is estimated at $1.4-million. It will be paid for in-part, through bonds and as a transfer from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) fund. Any surplus funds will be directed to handle change orders, and anything remaining from that point will be moved into the 2017 Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Fund, to reduce future bonding needs and save interest costs.

In other business, Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones said persons who ride high speed motorcycles , or “crotch rockets,” as they are commonly called, need to be aware they won’t be getting away with warnings like they did last year, for racing through and around town. Often times last summer, those “bikes,” as Jones referred to them, can be heard all the way across town.

The Mayor said citizens are concerned for about the noise and public safety. He said he’s spoken with Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green and Lt. Dave Erickson, and even to a couple of the speed racers themselves, and is warning those and other such motorcycle enthusiasts, that “There are not going to be a lot of special favors this year,” (such as verbal or written warnings). Jones says “They’re fair game, [for tickets, but] we don’t want them getting hurt in town, on a bike,” either.

Jones also spoke about disparaging comments being made around town, in the paper and elsewhere, about the Atlantic High School, especially in light of the recent sports losses, and in-fighting among School Board members. He said “All I hear is negative stuff…but the last month or month and a-half, the Archery Club did a great job, the Swim Team did a tremendous job again. The basketball team [did well],” and last weekend’s play was well received. Jones said performing in that way inspires confidence and is very good for them.” He added that while other districts are cutting their arts programs, “There’s things that are happening up there at the high school that somebody’s doing something right…a lot of good things are happening up there.”

Wendy Richter files nomination papers for Cass Co. Auditor

News

March 16th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Long-time Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman will face a challenge for his post in the June 7th Primary election. On Wednesday, Atlantic resident Wendy Richter filed her nomination papers seeking the Republican party vote. Sunderman is also a Republican. With Richter throwing her hat into the ring, there are now four Republican races to watch on June 7th, in Cass County.

Two men, incumbent Frank Waters, of Cumberlan and J. Ford Lillard are running for the District 5 seat on the Cass County Board of Supervisors. Republicans Steve Baier and Barry Moore, of Griswold, and Todd Hansen, of Atlantic, are all in the running for the District 4 Supervisor’s seat, and Republicans Steve Green, Dave Jones and Dale Retallic, all of Atlantic, are running in District 1.

No one has filed papers to run against Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren, and no Democrats have filed to run for any of the open seats. The deadline to file nomination papers with the required number of signatures, is March 30th.