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Exira woman arrested on an Assault charge; Audubon man arrested on a bench warrant


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Audubon, Iowa) – Officials with the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office report the arrest on January 15th, of 30-year-old Courtney Cooper, from Exira. She was arrested on a charge of Domestic Abuse Assault/1st offense. Cooper appeared before the magistrate and was released on her own recognizance.
And, 37-year-old Payton Watzke, of Audubon, was arrested January 19th, on a Bench Warrant for Violation of Pre-Trial Release. Watzke was being held on a $25,000 cash only bond in the Audubon County Jail.
Note: Criminal Charges are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Atlantic Police report (covers Dec. 26, 2022 through Jan. 23, 2023)


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Atlantic Police Department reports four people were arrested on separate warrants from Dec. 26, 2022 through Jan. 11, 2023:

  • This past Saturday (1/21), 29-year-old Benser Mark, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant for Failure to Appear, and 25-year-old Ason Pisalil, of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County warrant along with a Public Intoxication.
  • On Jan. 11th, 28-year-old Nicholas Renner, of Atlantic, was arrested on Cass County warrants for Violation of Probation (2 counts). And…
  • On Jan. 8th, 39-year-old Larry Oles, of Kimballton, was arrested on an Audubon County warrant for Simple Assault.

The following persons were arrested for Public Intoxication:

  • On January 23rd (Today), and on Jan. 14th, 23-year-old Tarek Bunan, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intox.
  • 19-year-old Tarzan Kochiro, of Atlantic, was arrested Jan. 21st, for Public Intoxication.
  • and, on Jan. 8th, 43-year-ol Kierstian Takis, of Atlantic was arrested twice, at 2:02-a.m. and again at 9:15-p.m., both times for Public Intoxication.

On January 21st, 33-year-old Benjamin Sonish, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault. One day earlier (Jan. 20th), Atlantic Police arrested 31-year-old Cody Pleis, of Atlantic, on charges of Harassment in the 1st Degree, Simple Assault, and False report to public entity. On January 15th, Atlantic Police arrested 29-year-old TR Takauo, of Atlantic, was OWI/1st offense. The A-PD reports two people were cited and released for different, alleged offenses: On Jan. 10th, 59-year-old Debra Frazier,of Atlantic, was cited for Theft in the 4th, in connection with an incident that occurred in Dec., 2022. And, 24-year-old Allen VanAernam, of Atlantic, was cited for Simple Assault.

Cass County Supervisors to discuss the future of the Willow Heights facility


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday (Jan. 24, 2023), will discuss the future of the former Willow Heights care facility. The building and grounds for the facility are owned by the County. Both failed to sell during an auction held last Saturday. The minimum asking bid was $250,000. The other tracts offered during the auction did sell, for a total of $1.7-million.

Their discussion on the matter will take place during the Supervisors’ regular weekly Board meeting at 9-a.m., Tuesday, in their Boardroom at the Cass County Courthouse, in Atlantic. In other business, the Board will act to approve the resignation of Robert Vernon, Grove Township Trustee, the appointment of Mike Kennon, as Zoning Administrator, and the appointment of a Yardman’s position.

During Cass County Engineer Trent Wolken’s report, the Board will act to approve a Resolution for a bid on a County Bridge Project.

Lengthy strikes end in Burlington, Cedar Rapids

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Two long-running strikes at eastern Iowa factories ended over the weekend. Some 11-hundred U-A-W workers at Case New Holland plants in Burlington and Racine, Wisconsin ratified a new contract on Saturday, ending a strike against the ag equipment maker that started last May. On Sunday, nearly 120 workers at Ingredion in Cedar Rapids agreed to a new four-year deal with the grain processing plant.

Those workers are represented by the Bakery Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G, and they’ve been striking since August. Statements from both groups say the strikes ended with wins on wages and insurance premiums.

Creston Police report: 2 men arrested on warrants; Creston man loses his shotgun


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Creston, Iowa) – The Creston Police Department reports two men were arrested on separate warrants, recently. Late Sunday morning, 37-year-old Robert Eugene Kibbe III, of Creston, was arrested at his residence on two Union County Warrants. One was for Violation of Probation on an original charge Harassment/1st Degree  – No Bond. The second was for Violation of Probation an original charge Domestic Abuse Assault Display or Use of Weapon/1st Offense  – No Bond. Kibbe is being held in the Union County Jail.

And, 40-year-old Jacob Jeffrey Fry (No known address) was arrested at a residence in the 300 block of N. Jarvis Street, in Creston. He was arrested Friday morning on a Department of Corrections Felony Warrant for Possession of Products Intended for Manufacturing Any Controlled Substance. Fry was taken to the Union County Jail and held on a $5,000 cash-only bond.

A Creston man reported to Police, Wednesday afternoon, that on Jan. 14th, between 5:30- and 6-p.m., he lost his Camo Winchester SX4 shotgun, while hunting at the Gator Farm. The loss was estimated at $1,000.

Connections Area Agency on Aging offers online workshops for Family Caregivers


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Council Bluffs, Iowa) – Do you help take care of an adult with chronic conditions? If so, you are not alone. Over 43.5 million family caregivers in America provide a vast array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking and other services on a daily or an intermittent basis. Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an online educational series designed to provide tools you need to take care of yourself.  If you take good care of yourself, you will be better prepared to take good care of your loved one. As a participant you will learn how to: reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate your feelings, balance your life, increase ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is brought to you by Connections Area Agency on Aging in cooperation with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach starting Thursday, January 26, 2023 from 6:30-8:00 PM (https://connectionsaaa.tiny.us/PTevening) OR Tuesday, January 31, 2023 (Register: https://connectionsaaa.tiny.us/PTafternoon).  Classes consist of six, 90-minute sessions held once a week.  Class size is limited, and registration is required.

The Caregiver Helpbook and handouts will be mailed. There is no cost for the program but participants will receive an opportunity to donate.  Two experienced leaders conduct each class. Interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming help you take the “tools” you choose and put them into action for your life. For more information, contact Jan Schnack, Family Caregiver Community Engagement Specialist at Connections Area Agency on Aging at 800-432-9209, Ext. 8116 or JSchnack@connectionsaaa.org

Connections Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Program supports people who care for their parents, spouses, or others aged 60+ by providing information, resources, and support.

New website for U.S. 71 project gives you the inside scoop on updates in the Iowa Lakes region


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa –  If you’re one of the thousands of tourists who flock to Iowa’s Great Lakes region each summer, a new construction project will help make getting around the area between Arnold’s Park and Okoboji a lot easier. The project led by the Iowa Department of Transportation is planned to be completed in 2024 and will improve pavement, intersections, and sidewalks. Details of the project are now available on a new Iowa DOT website. The DOT says they will do their “best not to interrupt your summer plans in the area by completing the road work during “off-peak” tourist season (before Memorial Day and after Labor Day). The work is scheduled to be completed in four phases over two years.

The website includes more information on the schedule and details of the project including how the project will affect your travel. Improvements you can expect to see in the area when the project is done include:

  • New pavement on U.S. 71 from Okoboji Grove Road in Arnolds Park through Okoboji View Avenue in Okoboji
  • Extension of the three-lane section of U.S. 71 to the south of Lake Street.
  • Improved mobility in the area by updating the sidewalks to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • New barrier rail that separates vehicles from pedestrians on the causeway
  • Aesthetic enhancements on the causeway barrier rail and updated pavement in the space between the road and the barrier rail
  • New traffic signals at Lake Street and Linden Street in Arnolds Park

For questions, contact Dakin Schultz at Dakin.schultz@iowadot.us or 712-274-5837

Governor’s ‘school choice’ bill likely to come up for a vote in legislature this week


January 23rd, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – This could be a pivotal week for Governor Kim Reynolds’ top legislative priority. Speaker Pat Grassley says the goal is for the House to take some level of action on the governor’s new bill to give state money over the next two years to low income parents sending kids to private school. In year three, all private school parents could apply for the state payment. Governor Reynolds told Radio Iowa state money spent on education should benefit all students.

“We made that decision a long time ago when it came to education. We just said we’re going to fund education for students, people that have the means and people that don’t. We fund Social Security the same way. It’s not based on whether you have money or you don’t,” Reynolds says, “so I feel like this is the status quo.” Some House Republicans have publicly said they will not vote for the plan. It would require “no” votes from at least 14 of the 64 Republicans in the House, though, to prevent its passage.

The governor’s bill is eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate this week as well. None of the Democrats in the Senate or the House will vote for the plan. Senator Claire Celsi of Des Moines says the core mission of the the legislature is to fund public, not private schools. “It’s an embarrassing overreach,” Celsi says. “It’s an embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars for a very small portion of our population.” Senate President Amy Sinclair of Allerton says Republicans in the Senate have been supporting this move for years.

“I don’t think I’ve been shy in six years of introducing possibility after possibility on parents rights and choice in education,” Sinclair says. “For six years I’ve been singing this same song.” Governor Reynolds issued an open letter to Iowans late Friday, calling her plan a worthy investment in the future. The top Democrat in the Senate says the governor’s plan diverts state funding for public education to wealthy Iowans who don’t need the subsidy to pay private school tuition.

Applicants sought for Homeownership Assistance Program from the Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund


January 21st, 2023 by Chris Parks

Atlantic, Iowa – The Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund (SWIHTF) is seeking applicants for its Homeownership Assistance Program. The program is made possible
by a $100,000 grant from the Iowa Finance Authority to SWIHTF which is administered by Southwest Iowa Planning Council (SWIPCO). Over the past 5 years, this program
has assisted more than 100 homebuyers secure $8 million in home mortgages that would have not been able to happen without this program.

The Iowa Finance Authority provides grants and low-interest loans through several programs, many of which are available to southwest Iowans who wish to purchase a
home but may otherwise struggle to obtain resources.

SWIPCO Grant Specialist Ann Anstey says the Homeownership Assistance Program is a little-known but valuable option for homebuyers. “This is a great program for folks who want to own a home of their own,” said Anstey. “A lot of times, people qualify but don’t
even know the program’s there for them to use.”

Anstey said the program is available to individuals and families who earn up to 80% of the area median income where they live. The area median income is calculated each
year in each city or municipality. Applications are approved subject to income eligibility and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program can assist potential homebuyers of new and existing housing with down payment assistance. The grant can fund up to 7% of the purchase price up to $8,000.
The first $5,000 is a 5-year forgivable loan, forgiven at 20% per year. The remaining amount is a 1% loan for up to 5 years.

The Homeownership Assistance Prgram can help a home buyer cut down on monthly mortgage payments and also ensure that they pay much less overall for the price of
their home. If a home buyer purchases a home for $150,000 at a fixed rate of 7% over 30 years and pays a $15,000 downpayment, they will mortgage a total of $135,000 for their home with a monthly payment of $898 and will pay $323,337 total for the 30 year loan. If a home buyer uses the Homeownership Assistance Program for that same home purchase, they will mortgage a total of $127,000 for their home with a monthly payment of $844 and will pay $304,176 total for the 30 year loan. This means the home buyer will save $19,161 total through the life of their loan.

To apply, homebuyers must have a signed purchase agreement in effect and have a mortgage application in process with a lender. Please allow a minimum of two weeks from application submittal for final approval prior to closing. Applicants can request an application from ann.anstey@swipco.org or call SWIPCO at 712-243-4196.

Cabin Fever Escape program cancelled due to poor road conditions

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 21st, 2023 by Chris Parks

The Cass County Conservation Board regretfully must cancel the Cabin Fever Escape program due to poor road conditions inside the park. The program/open house was to be held on Saturday, January 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Outdoor Educational Classroom near Massena.