Sioux City officer says being shot made her more cautious

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Sioux City officer who was shot in the face by a man who later took his own life says she knew she was ready to return to work. Officer Jill Ohm said on Thursday that, “I believe I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing – my job. I wouldn’t have come back if I wasn’t ready to come back.” She returned to duty on Jan. 6th. Ohm also said at a news conference in Sioux City that her ordeal has made her more skeptical of people.

Ohm was shot Oct. 3 by 27-year-old Noah Ironshell after Ohm responded to a report about a suicidal person. Ironshell was found later in an abandoned home, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died Oct. 12 in an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital.

(Podcast) Skyscan Forecast: Fri., 1/16/2015

Podcasts, Weather

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Freese-Notis forecast for the KJAN listening area, and weather information for Atlantic.

Bluffs house fire may have been racially motivated

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Corrects source as Omaha World-Herald, not KETV)

A residential fire in Council Bluffs early this (Friday) morning, may have racially motivated origins. The Omaha World-Herald reports the call about the blaze in northeast Council Bluffs came in at around 3:35-a.m. from a Bluffs police officer who noticed heavy smoke in the area and went to investigate.

Reports to Pottawattamie County emergency 911 dispatchers indicated that firefighters had the blaze at a home near North 29th Street and Avenue G was “knocked down’’ about 20 to 25 minutes after it was reported. No injuries were reported.

Some reports to dispatchers indicated that the home had swastikas and racial slurs spray-painted on its garage. WOWT reports a woman in her 60s lives in the home, and has a daughter of mixed race.

ELWOOD HANSEN, 67, of Atlantic (Svcs. 1/21/15)

Obituaries

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

ELWOOD HANSEN, 67, of Atlantic, died Thu., Jan. 15th, at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic. Funeral services for ELWOOD HANSEN will be held 10:30-a.m. Wed., Jan. 21st, at Zion Lutheran Church, in Atlantic. Hockenberry Family Care funeral home, in Atlantic has the arrangements.

Visitation with his family is from 5-until 7-pm Tuesday (1/20), at the funeral home.

There will be a private burial for ELWOOD HANSEN.

MAXINE RUTH HALL, 81, of Atlantic (Svcs. 1/19/15)

Obituaries

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MAXINE RUTH HALL, 81, of Atlantic, died Thu., Jan. 15th, at the Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha. Funeral services for MAXINE HALL will be held 2-p.m. Mon., Jan. 19th, at the 1st Assembly of God Church, in Atlantic. Hockenberry Family Care funeral Home, in Atlantic has the arrangements.

Visitation with her family is from 4-until 6-pm Sun., Jan. 18th, at the funeral home.

Burial will be in the Atlantic Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to the Open Door Missions.

MAXINE HALL is survived by:

Her son – Kirk (Beverly) Hall, of Atlantic.

Her daughters – Charlotte Auerbach, of Ozark, MO., & Darla Hall, of Kirkman (IA).

Her brother – Wayne (Elenanor) Musser, of Torrence, CA.

Her sister – Betty Demain, of Omaha.

9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

NWS weather forecast for Cass & area Counties, 1/16/15

Weather

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Today Sunny, with a high near 52. South southwest wind 8 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Tonight Partly cloudy, with a low around 33. South southwest wind 8 to 13 mph.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Windy, with a west northwest wind 11 to 16 mph increasing to 21 to 26 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 36 mph.
Saturday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 25. Windy, with a west wind 14 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 44. West wind 10 to 13 mph.
Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 25.
Monday (M.L.King Day) Mostly sunny, with a high near 44.

IA West Foundation announces $5.2-million in grants

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa West Foundation, headquartered in Council Bluffs, has announced that its board awarded more than $5.2 million in grants to close out 2014. Those grants will assist 22 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities with funding for projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

Among the list of award recipients is:  Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, community-based mentoring for children in Mills and Pottawattamie counties, $40,000; City of Council Bluffs, transformation of historic trolley building into a park shelter, $15,000; City of Council Bluffs, operating support to city arena, $100,000; City of Glenwood, lazy river feature for the Charles E. Lakin Aquatic Center, $50,000; Heartland Family Service, Children’s Center to address the behavioral health needs of children in our community, $100,000; Iowa JAG Inc., dropout prevention programs in Council Bluffs schools, $40,000; Iowa Newspaper Foundation, newspapers in southwest Iowa school libraries, $18,500; Iowa West Foundation Initiative, Iowa West Opportunity Scholarship Program for first-generation college students administered by the Iowa College Foundation, $400,000; Malvern Area Betterment Association, Main Street revitalization project in Malvern, $40,000; Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors, CITIES program to support rural economic development, $665,000; Sons and Daughters of Imogene Inc., improvement to the baseball complex in Imogene, $10,000; City of Council Bluffs, support of events for 2015 LoessFest at River’s Edge Park, $175,000.

The next opportunity to apply for funding will begin Feb 1st. Interested organizations should visit the foundation’s website at www.iowawestfoundation.org to learn more about the application process. Funding for the foundation’s grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association, which receives contracted license fees from casino operators Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization under the IRS Code. The foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

IPIB won’t pursue charges against a western IA City

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Public Information Board found Thursday the Pacific Junction City Council failed to keep adequate records of public meetings but used its administrative discretion to not pursue charges for those violations. The Daily NonPareil says members of the IPIB approved a remediation plan with Pacific Junction to resolve a complaint brought by Councilman Earl Smith, who had an initial complaint dismissed but sparked new concerns based on a Sept. 2nd meeting.

Former IPIB Executive Director Keith Luchtel found the council had “ongoing actions” that appeared to be violations of Iowa Code as well, including “vague and non-descriptive agenda, votes on matters not on the agenda and deliberation on matters not on the agenda,” according to a report. The council acknowledged “prior minutes and agendas lacked items discussed or were insufficiently described” as required by Iowa Code, according to a remediation plan approved by the public body and the IPIB. An IPIB report said the council acknowledged “non-emergency discussions and votes” took place at meetings that were not listed on publicly distributed agendas.

The plan, which was approved by the IPIB on Thursday afternoon, requires all council members, the city clerk and the mayor of Pacific Junction to review training provided on the IPIB website. The board will also provide council members copies of reference materials. Pacific Junction also pledges to “strive to describe future agenda items” sufficiently enough to meet legal requirements.

Complaints against Red Oak School District resolved in a heated forum

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A contentious series of complaints against the Red Oak Community School District were resolved Thursday afternoon, but not before new allegations and heated testimony were brought before a state agency. According to the Daily NonPareil, the Iowa Public Information Board closed the books on three complaints after the Red Oak district submitted documentation of its completion of requirements of a remediation plan approved in October. However, all three complainants expressed concerns in letters submitted to the IPIB as part of a report provided to the agency’s board members.

Jedd Sherman and Margaret Stoldorf called attention to a Dec. 15 school board meeting – held after board members received training from the Iowa Association of School Boards – where they describe a “huddle” of board members during a recess prior to a vote on a $13 million high school project. Stoldorf, who spoke at Thursday’s meeting, said the Red Oak school board should have had the conversation in open session.

Red Oak Superintendent Terry Schmidt said he was part of that discussion among three board members and two district officials. He said the exchange was “innocuous,” asking who should respond to questions from the public about the proposed facility project. But when a radio station representative challenged the discussion, they agreed they should reconvene in open session. A call was placed to the IPIB following the meeting to report the incident and solicit guidance, according to both district and IPIB officials.

Addressing a separate matter, Sherman said he was unsatisfied with the process because he never could access the rationale the board had to consider terminating his contract as principal of Red Oak High School. Sherman eventually resigned as principal, accepted a settlement payment and took a job teaching at St. Albert High School.

Don Rogerson, the third complainant, asked the IPIB to consider the “paradox” of needing to know which of a series of closed sessions contained an inappropriate discussion to successfully object to the meeting. Those letters – along with the fact the IPIB solicited the input – drew a sharp reaction from Rick Engel, an attorney representing the Red Oak district. He said the agency was sending a different message to public bodies, one inviting prejudice of the school board’s actions.

Engel said he questioned using those who file complaints to monitor compliance with remediation plans, which he said should be up to the IPIB itself. In the Red Oak cases, the complainants had already approved of the plan. In the final report for the cases, IPIB Deputy Director Margaret Johnson said any future violation of open meeting requirements by the Red Oak school board should be viewed as done knowingly, which could carry additional consequences.

Engel said the language suggests the district is not trusted. He asked if that was what the IPIB intended to do and whether it’s fair to do so. Johnson clarified during and in an interview after Thursday’s meeting that she intended that comment to be a notice the board has now had training, but she said determinants an action was knowingly done would not be automatic.

In response, Engel said he was happy with the board’s decision to dismiss the three cases as resolved and not use the “knowingly” language in its orders. Schmidt, the Red Oak superintendent, said the district has learned from the process.

No decision yet on a motion for a new trial in the Robert Reynolds murder case

News

January 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Attorneys for Robert Reynolds argued for a new case at a hearing Thursday afternoon, but the judge didn’t issue a decision on the request. The Daily NonPareil reports in a trio of motions, defense attorneys questioned the admissibility of a voice recording entered as evidence during Reynolds trial, questioned statements by Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber and questioned the jury selection process. Fourth District Court Judge Greg Steensland listened to arguments Thursday and is expected to make a decision today (Friday) or Monday.

In late November, a jury convicted the 63-year old Reynolds of first-degree murder for the death of 64-year old Patricia Kinkade-Dorsey, of Atlantic. Around 3 a.m. on April 8 at his Oakland home, Reynolds fatally shot Kinkade-Dorsey just above the right eye with a 9-millimeter handgun. Kinkade-Dorsey was a friend of Reynolds’ wife, Theresa, and was staying at the couple’s home.

The three had spent the previous evening drinking with the Reynolds’ neighbors, who left around 10:30 p.m. Around 3 a.m. Theresa Reynolds awoke to find her husband screaming at Kinkade-Dorsey in the kitchen. The fight escalated and ended with Robert Reynolds shooting Kinkade-Dorsey.

Joseph Reedy, who defended Reynolds with Eric Nelson, told Fourth District Court Judge Greg Steensland that a call allegedly made by Reynolds to his family after his arrest shouldn’t have been allowed at trial. The motion for arrest of judgement, asks the court to stop the judgement against the defendant.

At trial, during testimony from Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Ambrose the prosecution played a jailhouse call from Reynolds to his mother and stepfather’s home. Ambrose had instructed crime scene technician Katie Pattee to pull audio from the call, which Reynolds made around 11:30 a.m. while in the holding section of the jail on April 8. As they did at trial, the defense argued that to verify the veracity of the call, the prosecution should’ve called an employee with the contractor that handles such recordings for the jail to testify.

During the trial, Steensland ruled that the call and Pattee’s testimony about the call would be allowed. Reynolds’ other attorney, Nelson, then made two other arguments as part of a motion for a new trial.The last argument centered on the jury. Nelson said that the jury selection process – culling jurors from east Pottawattamie County – systematically excluded minorities from the jury. He cited precedent that the defendant need not be a different race to file a complaint about a lack of minorities on a jury.

Steensland told the court he’d take the motions under advisement and make a decision in the coming days.