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House GOP to seek ban on pop, candy purchases with SNAP benefits


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A key Republican lawmaker says the Iowa House will not move forward with a proposal that would have prevented Iowans from using government food assistance to buy things like fresh meat, butter or flour. Representative Ann Meyer of Fort Dodge says they’ll instead rewrite the bill to try to bar SNAP recipients from buying candy and soda. “SNAP is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. These are not nutritional items,” Meyer says. “We can’t take it out of a state. What we’re asking for is a waiver.”

The federal government has twice denied Maine’s request to prohibit food assistance benefits from being used to buy sugar-sweetened drinks or candy. The beverage industry successfully blocked attempts to include the prohibition in the 2018 Farm Bill, where the rules for what are commonly called food stamps are written. Iowa Hunger Coalition chair Luke Elzinga says he’s glad the severe restrictions on how poor Iowans may use food assistance are being removed, but he’s concerned about other parts of the bill, like asset limits which would make it hard for families with two vehicles to qualify for food assistance.

“We think it’s a really misguided and harmful bill that would results in Iowans being kicked off the program,” he says. A public subcommittee hearing on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow at the Iowa Capitol.

(Reporting by Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)

Cedar Rapids man found guilty of killing his family


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The jury delivered a verdict this morning (Wednesday) in the trial of the Cedar Rapids man charged with killing his parents and sister in June of 2021. K-C-R-G T-V streamed the decision as Judge Lars Anderson read the verdict for all three murder counts. “We the jury find the defendant Alexander Jackson guilty of the offense of murder in the first-degree,” Anderson says. The 22-year-old Jackson watched without emotion as the verdict was read. Jackson told police that an intruder broke into the family’s home and shot his 61-year-old father Jan, 68-year-old mother Melisa and 19-year-old sister Sabrina. He said the intruder then shot him in the foot and fled. Prosecutors argued the evidence at the home and videos from the neighborhood did not back up Jackson’s story.

He is facing a mandatory life sentence following his conviction, and Judge Anderson says the sentencing will be in March.

“At this point based upon the verdicts entered, I am setting this matter for a sentencing hearing sentencing will be held on March 3 of this year at 1:30 p-m. Mr. Jackson, I need to advise you, sir, that you have a right to file, both a motion and arrest of judgment and a motion for a new trial,” Anderson says. Jackson has 45 days to file the motions. The jury got the case just after lunch Tuesday and returned the verdict around 10 a-m today (Wednesday).

Bill would exempt child care workers’ pay from state income taxes


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowans paid to work in registered child care centers would not have to pay state taxes on that income if a bill introduced in the Iowa House becomes law. Brad Hartkopf of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry says his group supports the bill. “We certainly don’t think there’s a silver bullet out there to address child care, but we think this could make a difference.” Dave Stone of United Way of Central Iowa says it could help retain child care workers. “There’s a lot of different options for them to go to different industries that are more lucrative considering this is very challenging, difficult work taking care of kiddies eight hours a day, five days a week,” Stone says, “so this is great that we’re moving the needle for them to make sure that they can have a little bit more money in their pockets to be rewarded for the hard work that they’re doing.”

A House subcommittee has voted to advance the bill, but members of the panel are considering changes, like exempting the OWNERS of registered child care centers from state income taxes as well. Dustin Miller of the Iowa Chamber Alliance says that could spur investment in child care centers. “It can be pretty common for somebody to own it and work there,” Miller says, “but it’s not uncommon for a group of investors that see a need — there’s one going up in Van Meter right now that they will not be involved in the day-to-day. They’ll just own it, so I think it’s good to think about it from the investment side.”

Legislators working on the bill hope to ensure the additional take home pay for child care workers doesn’t affect their Earned Income Tax Credit. Iowa Womens Foundation president Deann Cook says that’s key. “Remember that these are very low income individuals, so just whatever implications it might mean to their overall taxes, we would be curious to know that,” she says, “to make sure it didn’t pull them out of any other tax benefits they might be receiving.”

Some bill backers say people who run child care businesses don’t make huge — if any profits — and exempting registered child care centers from property taxes might be another way to boost investment.

Update: Fatal accident in Page County


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Clarinda, Iowa) – Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer reports one person died during the crash of a pickup truck, Monday afternoon. Palmer says on January 23, 2023 at approximately 3:54 PM, the PAGECOMM dispatch center was notified of a vehicle found in a ditch on the west side of E Avenue in the 2000 block. PAGECOMM dispatch center was also told of a male lying in the ditch near the vehicle possibly deceased.

An accident investigation conducted by the Page County Sheriff’s Office showed that 25-year-old Levi Gary Glines-Racine, of Shenandoah, was driving a 2006 Chevy K1500 northbound on E Avenue approximately .6 mile north of Highway 2.  The vehicle crossed the center line and continued into the west ditch, where it impacted a concrete culvert / north bank of the Creek.

Glines-Racine was ejected from the vehicle, which fell back to the bottom of the creek. Glines-Racine was pronounced deceased at the scene.

PAGECOMM dispatch center, Page County EMA, Shenandoah Fire Department, Shenandoah Ambulance Service, and the Shenandoah Police assisted at the scene of the accident.

Adair County Supervisors actions, 1/25/23


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Greenfield, Iowa) – The Adair County Board of Supervisors took action on several, administrative matters during their meeting this (Wednesday) morning. The Board acknowledged receipt of OSHA Form 300A, which shows the total number of work-related injuries and illnesses for the year past, in any given category. In Adair County, there were four injury incidents, and one hearing loss incident, reported.

The Board acknowledged the receipt also, of a Manure Management Plan (MMP) update for a Prestage Farms livestock facility at 2885 Gibbon Avenue. And, they approved 13 Homestead and 11 Military Disallowances. The Board also approved a Courthouse Fire Alarm Agreement with Johnson Controls, after a spokesperson for Johnson Controls reported on the condition of the current alarm system, and the need for an upgrade.

The agreement renews a service contract in-place, and replaces 15 smoke detectors that are aging-out. The cost of replacing them at $3,919.99, plus $2,392.57 for the annual service contract.

Afterward, the Adair County Supervisors heard from Brittany Palmer with Crossroads Behavioral Health, with regard to Iowa Opiod Settlement Remediation uses.

And, Michelle Wilson with Southern Iowa Resources Conservation and Development (RC&D), in Creston, presented the organization’s Annual Report. She also made a budget funding request from the Board, in the amount of $5,000. SI RC& D serves seven counties in southern Iowa, including Adair.

Glenwood man arrested for Disorderly Conduct


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Glenwood, Iowa) – The Glenwood Police Department reports a man was arrested Tuesday on a Mills County warrant. 26-year-old Kameron Myers, of Glenwood, was arrested on the warrant for Disorderly Conduct. Myers was being held in the Mills County Jail on a $300 cash-only bond.

Reminder: Joint Griswold/Lenox CSD Boards to meet this evening (1/25/23)


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Lenox, Iowa) – A joint meeting of the Griswold and Lenox Community School District Boards of Directors will take place today (Wed., Jan. 25) at 6-p.m., in Lenox. The Board will gather in the Lenox High School Commons at 600 S. Locust Street, to consider extending the sharing agreement for the position of Superintendent – currently held by Dave Henrichs – and consider extending his individual contract. The meeting was postponed from last Wednesday, due to the weather.

Following discussion and a public comment period on the matter, the Boards will consider entering into a closed session. Upon return from the closed session, they will consider/act on renewal of the sharing agreement and consider/act on Henrich’s individual contract.

Campground hosts needed for upcoming recreation season

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it is seeking people who enjoy the outdoors, camping and meeting new people, to consider becoming volunteer campground hosts for the upcoming recreation season. Volunteer campground hosts live in state parks from one to five months assisting DNR staff with light maintenance duties, checking in campers, and being a resource for visitors enjoying state parks and forests. Campground hosts are provided a free campsite while they are actively hosting during the camping season. Hosts volunteer 20 – 40 hours per week, including weekends and holidays, while living on site in their own camper.

Host positions in the KJAN listening area are available at the Springbrook State Park.

Information about campgrounds and state parks is available online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/about-dnr/volunteer-opportunities To discuss the host position, contact the state park directly, or call 515-443-2533.

Griswold woman arrested in Montgomery County


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Rural Villisca, Iowa) – A traffic stop Tuesday evening in Montgomery County, resulted in the arrest of a woman from Cass County (IA). The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports 45-year-old Jessica Craddock, of Griswold, was taken into custody at around 6-p.m., in the 2300 block of Highway 71 (north of Villisca), on a Benton County warrant for Operating a Vehicle without the owner’s consent. Craddock was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $2,000 bond.

New Woodbury County jail using modular cells constructed out of state


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The new Woodbury Jail construction is moving along with early work happening out of state. Jail Authority chairman, Ron Wieck, says the new cells are modular units.  “The cells were actually built north of Atlanta in Georgia and they have been built we were able to buy the material early on and get the cells built so that saved us some money in the project,” Wieck says. He showed off pictures of the cells to the media, and says they are self contained.

“Every cell has its own shower in it, as well as the bunks you could see the little workbench, you could see a mirror and a combi unit — which is a combination toilet lavatory,” he says. There are different sized cells that can hold two or four inmates, and some are designed for handicapped inmates. Shane Albrecht of the Baker group is overseeing the jail construction, and says the new cells will be very different than the ones in the current jail.

“These cells have a polyurea coating on them that allows for easy cleaning, and easy maintenance. It’s all assembled so the cell is actually finished. This is all assembled off site ahead of time. It’s all inspected before it comes. You’re rolling in a finish cell,” according to Wieck. “It’s part of the modulized construction that’s going on, where we build things off site, bring them to the site that was done under higher standards, higher scrutiny, and you know, everyone’s built the exact same.”

The cells will nearly double the current capacity of the jail, which can hold 236 inmates. The cell modules are expected to be delivered on February 6th, with jail construction slated for completion by September 1st.