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Red Oak Police report, 7/1/22


July 1st, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Red Oak, Iowa) – Police in Red Oak report a woman was arrested late Thursday night, for Driving While Suspended. Authorities say 27-year-old Aniessa Rae Baylor, of Red Oak, was taken into custody at around 11:03-p.m. and transported to the Montgomery County Jail, where she was being held on $491.24 bond.

Fireworks already generating calls


July 1st, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Fireworks are legal to buy in Iowa — but most cities have restrictions on their use or outright bans. Locally, fireworks may be used in Atlantic from July 2nd through the 4th, from Noon until 11-p.m. each day. Police have been issuing warnings to violators of the Ordinance for at least the past two weeks.

In Sioux City, Police Sergeant Jeremy McClure says the sounds of bottle rockets and other fireworks are already being heard there, even though they are not yet legal to shoot off. Mcclure says the number of complaints about fireworks is not as high as in previous years. “So far in the month of June here we’ve had about 94 complaints come in and that’s down about 42 percent from the previous year,” he says, ” and it’s down pretty significantly from 2020 where we saw over 600 complaints in about the same timeframe.” He says there have been no citations issued — as officers have to answer other calls first.

“We’re still getting the same number of calls that we get for everything else, whether it’s crimes or accidents and other emergencies,” according to McClure. “We have to prioritize our calls. And we’re going to respond to crimes in progress involving, you know, assaults and thefts and accidents and such. And then try to get to the fireworks when we can. Do the fact that we can’t always respond to fireworks right away. We don’t always catch people in the act. Mcclure says if they do catch you in the act, it could cost you.

“It’s 250-dollar fine if you’re discharging outside of the legal times and then if you discharge in city parks and the such it can be up to 500-dollar fine,” he says. McClure says the department hopes people will follow the law and be respectful of people who may be affected by the loud blasts such as some military combat veterans or pet owners. You can shoot off fireworks in Sioux City from 1 p-m until 11 p-m on Sunday, July 3rd, and from 1 p-m until midnight on Monday, July 4th.

You should check with your local officials to determine when you can legally use fireworks.

Lottery sees big fiscal year, with potential slowdown ahead


July 1st, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Lottery C-E-O, Matt Strawn, says the fiscal year is ending Thursday on a very good note. “The Iowa Lottery will post its second-highest gross sales total in history, as well as delivered the second-highest amount of proceeds ever returned to the state of Iowa, trailing of course only last year’s record performance that saw lottery revenues rise 22 percent and lottery proceeds rise 25 percent from the previous fiscal year,” Strawn says.

Strawn told the Lottery Board this completes the most successful two years of sales in the 37-year history of the Iowa Lottery — with only two years in which total lottery sales have surpassed 430 million dollars.  “This positive news does come with a note of caution for the future, as the Iowa Lottery is not immune to the strong economic headwinds generated by higher gas prices and inflationary pressures on Iowa households,” he says. He says things started to slow near the end of the fiscal year.

Iowa Lottery chart showing gas and scratch ticket sales.

“The month of May was the first month this fiscal year and the first month since March 2020, which was the onset of the pandemic, in which actual lottery sales failed to exceed that five-year monthly sales average,” Strawn says. Scratch tickets make up two-thirds of the Lottery’s revenue and May scratch ticket sales were down 17-point-five percent compared to the previous May. Strawn says that closely coincides with rising gas prices.

“May of 2022 was the first time this fiscal year that average fuel prices in Iowa exceeded four-dollars per gallon. And I can share with the board that this downward year over year trend and scratch sales has continued into June as gas prices cleared the four-dollar and 50 cent per gallon threshold,” Strawn says. He showed the Lottery Board a chart comparing gas price increases and the drop in scratch ticket sales.

“This data helps validate what we have been hearing anecdotally, from Iowa retailers regarding reduced store foot traffic as gas prices have increased. You know, essentially fewer folks are coming into the store after they’re filling up. And as you all know, the only way in Iowa can buy a lottery product is by walking into the store. Strawn says a June survey in Convenience Store News shows 53 percent of convenience retailers surveyed expect sales to be lower this summer compared to last summer.

Strawn says this is a note of caution that the Iowa Lottery will continue to face a challenging economic environment in the new fiscal year.

Supreme Court denies Stanley Liggins’ latest appeal


July 1st, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected the appeal in the first-degree murder conviction of a Davenport man in his fourth trial. Stanely Liggins was found guilty in the 1990 death of nine-year-old Jennifer Lewis after her burning body was found in a field near Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport. The Supreme Court denied Liggins’ claims there were jury misconduct, due process violations, and some witness testimony should not have been included in his fourth trial. Scott County Attorney Mike Walton is pleased with the court’s ruling and hopes it might end the case.

“The legal proceedings will probably go on forever, or as long as Mr. Liggins is alive or incarcerated, but this ends the current matter. There are proceedings called post-conviction relief that can pretty much continue forever,” Walton says. He credits the Davenport Police Department for its thorough investigation that made the latest conviction possible, and Thursday’s court decision, 32 years after Lewis’ death.

Liggins’ first two convictions were overturned. A third trial ended with a hung jury, and he was again convicted during a retrial in 2019.

Peak tornado season is ending, but Iowans shouldn’t let down their guard

News, Weather

June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Peak tornado season in Iowa usually runs from early April through the end of June, and even though this is the final day of the season, Iowans are warned to stay vigilant. Meteorologist Mike Fowl, at the National Weather Service in Johnston, says it was a busy season, to a degree. “The preliminary statistics that we have across the state, a very active March and April period where we had 28 tornadoes reported in those two months,” Fowl says. “Fifteen of those occurred on March 5th, that was the big outbreak that we had that included the Winterset tornado, the EF-4 that unfortunately resulted in some fatalities.”

Tornado damage near Winterset. (Radio Iowa file photo)

Since April 12th, however, zero twisters have been confirmed touching down anywhere in the state — none during May or June. Still, Fowl says Iowans have to remember that tornadoes can strike at any time of day and on any day of the year. “We can’t let our guard down,” he says. “We’ve seen a number of events that have been in the ‘offseason’ of tornadoes, so we’ve seen tornadoes in July and August, even into the fall as late as December. There really is no offseason for tornadoes in Iowa.” While there’s a long holiday weekend ahead, Fowl urges Iowans to keep an eye on the sky and an ear to the radio.

“Even this Fourth of July weekend, a lot of folks are going to be out and about, camping and outdoor activities,” Fowl says. “We do have at least a threat for some scattered strong, possibly severe storms. Just have a way to get your weather information, whether it be a weather radio, your phone, your favorite media source, just stay up with the weather.”

While tornadoes are rare during the colder months, Iowa reported a total of 61 tornadoes during the “derecho” last year on December 15th.

Mills County Sheriff’s report, 6/30/22


June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Glenwood, Iowa) – The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports two recent arrests. At around 1:30-a.m. today (Thursday), 31-year-ol Shane Jamal Peterson, of Council Bluffs, was arrested following a traffic stop on I-29 at the 39 mile marker. Peterson was charged with Driving Under Suspension, with a $300 bond. And, at around 7:30-p.m. Tuesday, 58-year-old John Paul Scott, of Council Bluffs, was arrested on a warrant for Theft in the 2nd Degree. Bond was set at $5,000.

One person suffered suspected minor injuries during an accident Tuesday afternoon, in Mills County. The Sheriff’s Office said a 2009 Pontiac driven by 21-year-old Linley Chickering, of Malvern, was traveling east on Highway 34 and entering a construction zone. A 2007 GMC truck driven by 58-year-old Dennis Greene, of Malvern, was stopped on the highway, waiting for the construction pilot car. The Pontiac hit the rear of a trailer being pulled by the truck. Chickering was transported to the hospital.

Cass County Supervisors approve Treasurer’s office employee wage & EMA ARPA funds


June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Thursday (today), received a request for ARPA (Covid relief) funds to purchase a new pickup for the Dive Team, which has eight certified members. Eric Steffensen appeared before the board to make the request for $50,000. He said their current truck is 20-years old. Their current one-ton, 4 wheel-drive truck is used to respond to water incidents in southwest and western Iowa, as well as for training dives. Because the County’s first-half ARPA funds are already spoken for, the Board agreed they would take action on passing a Resolution for the Dive Team when the second-round/second-half funding is received. That could take six-months or more.

Board Chair Steve Baier….

The Board did approve a request for $10,000 in ARPA funds from the Cass County Emergency Management Agency, for two portable radios. Baier explained why this request was approved and the Dive Team’s request, was not.

In other business, the Cass County Supervisors approved a 2022 ISAC HIPPA contract. Cass County Treasurer Tracey J. Marshall requested the Board approved of a person for the potential position of driver’s license examiner or some other purpose that was not made clear, at a rate of $20 per hour, since the candidate is making $40 per hour in her current position. The Board was adamant that the person should be hired at $18/hour. Supervisor Mark O’Brien…

Marshall told Baier and Board they are responsible for her office being short-handed and forced to close to train new staff.

The Supervisors approved a rate of $18/hour for the candidate, with the required 90-day probationary period and the other requirements. Cass County Engineer Trent Wolken reported a low bid for a box-culvert construction project from Gus Construction of Casey, was $443,631.64. The culvert will installed on Boston Road, about one-half mile east of Olive Street. The Board passed a Resolution authorizing awarding of the project. They tabled action on the Natural Resources Conservation Service request for a pipe replacement project on Crooked Creek, due to the fact their was only one bidder that met the deadline, but the total bid was much higher than the engineer’s estimate. Labor alone in the bid came in at nearly $22,500. The piping was an additional $23,000.

The Supervisors approved a three-year employment contract for Engineer Wolken. And, they approved a contract for a Secondary Roads Department employee.

National School Resource office training planned for northwest Iowa


June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting a National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Basic School Resource Officer training course this summer. Sioux County School Resource Officer Waylon Pollema is part of the Iowa S-R-O Association and he looks forward to the training. “They have an advanced course, they have an adolescent mental health class they’ve got a supervisor one. They just they offer a ton of school resource officer training the best in the nation,” according to Pollema. Sioux Center is considering adding an S-R-O and Pollema says that’s another reason he thought it would be good to have the training in the area. The course is a forty-hour block of instruction designed for law enforcement officers and school safety professionals working with school administrators. Pollema says role of an SRO has three directives.

“You’d have a uniformed officer with a marked vehicle in front of the school, you’re helping the safety and security crisis planning and policy and stuff like that helping the school administration,” Pollema says. The second is teacher & law related education which Pollema says is when officers come into the classroom and help in the class with whatever the teacher wants. Pollema says the third part of the triad is the most important, and his personal favorite, counseling students. With school shootings in the news recently, Pollema says S-R-Os play a role, but the majority of planning for serious situations like that start at the local level.

“Obviously, school resource officers are involved in the planning and stuff like that in the school building center there’s a component to that but that’s a whole other thing where you can probably have a whole other week’s training to train an officer to do that,” he says. Pollema says NASRO provides top-notch training in all three of those concepts. The training course will be held August 8th-12th at the new Sioux Center Community High School.

Iowa DOT clarifies information on new law related to annual overweight permits


June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

ANKENY, Iowa – June 30, 2022 – The Iowa Department of Transportation has received many questions about a law passed in the 2022 Legislative Session related to overweight loads moving on Iowa roadways. The new provision will allow motor carriers who need to haul loads over the legal weight limit to apply for a new annual overweight permit applying to many roads in the state beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

To clarify a few common misconceptions:

  • All loads that exceed the current legal weight limit need a permit; currently, overweight permits are issued for specific routes.
  • The new statewide permits will not be available until Jan. 1, 2023.
  • This new law does not impact other existing overweight or oversize permit types.

The permit will be valid on all state and U.S highways. It is not valid on the interstate. According to the law, cities and counties have until 2025 to determine what roads in their jurisdiction will allow permitted overweight loads.

There has been some confusion between the new permit and the emergency proclamation typically signed during harvest by the governor. This new permit is different from the emergency proclamation. The new annual overweight permit is an annual permit and is not limited to agricultural commodities, as is the case with the emergency overweight proclamation during harvest.

More details on the specifics of the statewide overweight permit will be coming in the next few months.

Vehicle break-in in Creston


June 30th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Creston, Iowa) – Officials with the Creston Police Department say a woman residing in the 1000 block of S. Sumner Street reported Wednesday, that someone had broken into her 2007 Kia Spectra. The victim said $25 in cash and her debit card was missing. The loss was estimated at $25, as of the latest report.

(8-a.m. News)