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Public Hearing set for April 18th on proposed Montgomery County Budget


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Red Oak, Iowa) – Montgomery County Auditor Jill Ozuna reports the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will conduct a Public Hearing on the proposed Budget (see the pdf. link below), April 18th at 5:45-p.m., in the Montgomery County Courthouse’ Supervisor’s Meeting Room. During the hearing, any resident or taxpayer may present objections to, or arguments in favor of, any part of the proposed budget. The budget calls for proposed tax rates of 8.14979/$1,000 taxable valuation for Urban Areas, and 12.72979/$1,000 taxable valuation, for Rural Areas.

Proposed Budget Notice

DOT winter crews are prepped for spring snowstorm (and anything else!)


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – We’re a dozen days into spring, but winter weather is possible later today (Friday) as a powerful system approaches, threatening to bring severe thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes — and yes, snow. Craig Bargfrede, the winter operations administrator for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says his crews are prepared for just about anything Mother Nature may toss at them. “This is quite unique seeing all the different types of weather — potential impacts — we can see over the next day or so,” Bargfrede says, “it is quite unusual.”

Temperatures may fall from the 70s this afternoon into the 20s and 30s tonight, switching the rain to ice, sleet and snow, but flash flooding is also possible, so D-O-T teams have barricades at the ready in cases roads are washed out. Add to the weather mix the potential for very strong straight-line winds, so some crews will have chainsaws gassed up in case their path is blocked by fallen trees.

“We’re going to be prepared to respond to whether or not we have snow, snowing, icy conditions or whether or not we have other types of conditions or damage out there as a result of the weather,” Bargfrede says. “The guys in the garages are prepared to respond and handle pretty much any situation that we have out there.” Last fall, the agency hired about 370 temporary workers for the winter, but are they still working for the D-O-T now, on March 31st? Absolutely, says Bargfrede, they’re on staff — and on stand-by — for another few weeks.

“They will be on board until April 15th, thereabouts,” Bargfrede says. “October 15th to April 15th is what we consider our winter season, and so those temporary seasonal folks are employed through that time period.” Weather forecasters say today’s storms may be moving at 50 to 60 miles an hour, leaving little time to take cover if a warning is issued. Bargfrede implores Iowans to stay on the ball throughout the day, keeping the radio on and their smartphone weather apps enabled.

“Today is going to be one of those ‘weather wise’ days with a couple of exclamation points behind it,” Bargfrede says. “So, really stress to the public that they need to be weather aware and be prepared for any kind of condition that we could see today.” A Winter Weather Advisory is posted for seven counties across northwest and north-central Iowa, where up to three inches of snow may fall tonight.

Monitor road conditions at 511-i-a-dot-org and keep up with the changing forecast at weather-dot-gov.

Moore on the Issues: 3/31/23


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – As we turn the calendar from March into April, Griswold District 18 Republican Representative Thomas Moore, Friday, issued a summary of bills that passed this week, and other matters discussed in the Iowa House. Moore said week 12 of the legislative session was the second and final funnel week. Friday March 31st is the final day for bills to pass through committee in order to advance. His higlighted bill of the week was SF228, which as amended, caps the amount each individual plaintiff can recover for non-economic damages in a case of personal injury or death in a civil action at $5 million dollars. Caps shall not apply if the trial court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the negligent act involved the following which are a few of the exceptions:

It also clarifies when an employer can be held liable for negligent hiring. Economic damages (medical costs, loss of wages, etc.) and punitive damages still apply and are not capped. It’s only non-economic damages which are those that can’t be calculated such as: pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional pain, etc. The bill was approved in the Iowa House as written.

Moore said the health and human services committee met Wednesday morning and passed two bills through committee, SF219 and SF326. Moore served on the subcommittee for SF219.

He said SF326 adds Epi pens and contraceptives to the list of allowed pharmacist statewide protocols for those 18-years and older. Moore said also, the education committee met Thursday morning and passed four bills. SF250 changes the date to September 30 of the following year for a recipient of a Computer Science PD Fund grant. SF484 deals with the School Finance Review Committee being approved. SF252 requires the regent institutions to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant persons or those who recently gave birth.

Lastly, Moore said the Medicaid Public Health Emergency is finally set to end.

He said “The law requires states to publish monthly reports on those individuals disenrolled and if they were connected with alternative health insurance. Now, till the end of the year, Iowa will continue to receive some enhanced federal funding as those ineligible members are gradually taken off the program.” Moore reports Iowa Medicaid is prioritizing work on redeterminations for those who have not had a successful renewal completed in the past 12 months.

Also included in his weekly report, Representative Thomas Moore mentioned Adam Bierbaum of the Cass County Corn Growers Association visited the Capitol Wednesday afternoon. He said “We had a great discussion about the Grain Indemnity Fund and the bill from the Senate that scoops money from the Corn Growers Fund. We also discussed the CO2 pipeline bill which has died in the Senate and its effects on Iowa’s farmers.”

Adam Bierbaum & Rep. Moore (photo submitted by Tom Moore) – Click to enlarge

Suspect sought in Thursday Ft. Dodge homicide


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(UPDATE: The suspect shot and killed himself as a gas station in Des Moines, Friday, as police were closing-in.)

(Fort Dodge, Iowa) – Police in Fort Dodge are searching for a suspect in another homicide.

Adarius Clayton

(see the press release below)

Federal Search Warrants Executed


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IA – Officials with the U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa report that on Thursday, March 30, 2023, federal search warrants were executed at seven  locations in Des Moines:

• 2500 block of Maury Street,
• 2500 block of East 23rd Street,
• 3600 block of Amherst Street,
• 1500 block of King Avenue,
• 3400 block of Southwest 8th Street,
• 4100 block of 11th Place, and
• 1600 block of Washington Avenue.

The searches at those locations were an official law enforcement action involving officers, agents, and investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (MINE), United States Marshals Service, Des Moines Police Department, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE), Iowa State Patrol (ISP), Suburban Emergency Response Team (SERT), and Metro Special Tactics and Response (STAR).

Additional details/information was not released.

Polk County Man Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, Iowa – Officials with the Iowa Insurance Division report a Des Moines man, 25-year-old Alexander Cajuste-Tate, recently pled guilty to one count of Insurance Fraud (Class D Felony) following an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau.

The investigation began in October of 2022 after the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau received information indicating Cajuste-Tate had presented to an insurer a written document in support of payment knowing such document contained false information. Cajuste-Tate was arrested on January 1, 2023 and pled guilty to one count of Insurance Fraud on March 23, 2023.

Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Following his guilty plea, Cajuste-Tate was placed on supervised probation for two years. Cajuste-Tate was also ordered to pay a civil penalty of $1,025. Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at 515-654-6556.

Former National Guardsman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Child Pornography Possession


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Davenport, IA – A Salem, Iowa, man was sentenced Wednesday to 100 months in prison for possession of child pornography. According to court records, law enforcement began investigating 39-year-old Jason Robert Wesely, a former member of the Iowa National Guard, after receiving a cybertip from a social media platform in May 2020. The tip included descriptions of Wesely’s sexual conversations with an undercover agent, pretending to be a 14-year-old child. Further investigation revealed that Wesely belonged to a chat group where child pornography was shared among its members.

Wesely admitted to belonging to the group and to viewing and sharing child pornography. Wesely was ultimately discharged from the Iowa National Guard.

Following his prison term, Wesely was ordered to serve eight years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Homeland Security Investigations and the Iowa State Patrol investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Clinton Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Production of Child Pornography and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, IA – A Clinton man was sentenced Tuesday to 27 years in federal prison for production of child pornography and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents and evidence presented at sentencing, 49-year-old Timothy Craig Geerts sexually abused a child and recorded the abuse. Geerts also surreptitiously recorded that child, and two other children, naked, in the bathroom. As a part of the investigation, officers also located videos of Geerts sexually assaulting an incapacitated adult, who he admitted to drugging. Geerts was previously convicted in state court of sexually assaulting one of the child victims.

Geerts also possessed three firearms. He was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was a drug user.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Geerts will be required to serve five years of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. Hi case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Clinton Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Iowa City Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Child Pornography Charge


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, IA – An Iowa City man was sentenced recently to 204 months in prison for receiving child pornography. Law enforcement identified 31-year-old Jesus Rafael Diaz-Figueroa after the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a cybertip from KIK that videos depicting child pornography were uploaded using IP addresses found to be associated with Diaz-Figueroa. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Diaz-Figueroa’s residence and seized multiple electronic devices, which contained more than 3,300 images and videos depicting child pornography. Diaz-Figueroa admitted he had been viewing child pornography since high school.

Following his term of imprisonment, Diaz-Figueroa was ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. He was also ordered to pay $48,000 in restitution.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nationwide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness in order to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc and click on the resources tab.

Oral Surgeon Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Fentanyl Tampering


March 31st, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, IA – An Iowa City man was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison, for tampering with his dental practice’s fentanyl supply by removing the medication from vials for his own personal use. The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says 55-year-old Dr. Andrew Charles Hartwig previously worked as an oral surgeon in Iowa City and Mt. Pleasant.

According to court documents, Hartwig diverted fentanyl from his previous employer, Oral Surgery Associates of Iowa City, also known as Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center of Iowa City, beginning at least as early as April 2019 and until at least July 10, 2019. Hartwig admitted that his actions resulted in the dilution and contamination of the fentanyl supply. Hartwig admitted he acted with reckless disregard that dental patients would be placed in danger of death and bodily injury and manifested extreme indifference to such risk. In October 2022, Hartwig pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with consumer products, in violation of the United States Code.

The Court imposed a term of supervised release of two years, a fine of $50,000, and a $100 special assessment.

“Patients rely on receiving the proper FDA-approved medications from those entrusted with their medical care,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian G. McClune, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. “We must hold medical personnel accountable when they take advantage of their unique position and tamper with medications their patients need.”

The Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case.