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Red Oak structure fire under investigation


January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Red Oak, Iowa) — An unoccupied home in rural Red Oak was destroyed Monday evening. According to Red Oak Fire Chief John Bruce, the Fire Department received a call around 7 p.m. from the property owner at 2439 Aspen Avenue, stating he was advised that the house on the property had burned down.

By the time firefighters from Red Oak and Emerson arrived on the scene, the house was a complete loss. The incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 712-623-5107 or the Red Oak Fire Department at 712-623-6504.

Former Gov. Branstad is now president of World Food Prize

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 25th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is the new leader of the Des Moines based foundation that awards the annual “World Food Prize.”  “I don’t intend to do this for a long time,” Branstad says, “but I intend to do it, say, at least for a year.” In October of each year the foundation presents the World Food Prize and it’s 250-thousand dollar award to people at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality, quantity and availability of food.

“I’ve seen all the international leaders who have received this award,” Branstad says. Branstad, who served as U-S Ambassador to China, was governor when Des Moines businessman John Ruan donated the seed money for the World Food Prize and its headquarters in Des Moines. Norman Borlaug, the Cresco native who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his research that developed high-yielding wheat, took the lead in creating the World Food Prize in 1986.

“I knew both John Ruan and Norman Borlaug very well. I have the greatest respect for what they did and I want to maintain that legacy,” Branstad says. “Also, I’m a farm kid, from Iowa, and I want Iowa to be recognized as the local for this Nobel like prize for food and agriculture.”

Branstad, who is 76, is America’s longest serving governor. He was U.S. Ambassador to China from mid-2017 to the fall of 2020. As president of the World Food Prize, Branstad will be a lead fundraiser and host of the annual World Food Prize symposium. The event attracts global leaders in research, government and commerce to Des Moines for discussions about advances in food production and food security.

Barbara Stinson, who had 30 years of experience in environmental policy and business management, stepped down last week after three years as president of the World Food Prize.

Southeastern Iowa Mayor charged with Felony Sex Abuse


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Washington, Iowa) –  Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety report Jaron Rosien, the Mayor of Washington (Iowa), turned himself-in this (Tuesday) afternoon. Rosien was wanted by Washington County Law Enforcement authorities on criminal charge of Sex Abuse 3rd Degree (Class C Felony).

The charges are a result of an investigation into an incident that allegedly took place January 8th. On January 11th, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) conducted an interview with a 27-year-old male who alleged he was sexually abused by Rosien at a bar on January 8th. Iowa DCI obtained a search warrant for the internal security surveillance footage of the bar on January 12th.

Investigators say footage from the bar shows an individual believed to be Rosien approaching the victim at approximately 1:39 am. Footage shows the individual making sexual contact multiple times with the victim. According to the criminal complaint, Rosien told officials he had behaved “flirtatiously” with an individual matching the victim’s description, but that he could not recall specific incidents due to his own level of intoxication.

Rosien has served the city of Washington since 2014, first as a council member from 2014-2018 and as Mayor from 2018 to present. He released the following statement in response to the allegations:

“I take these allegations very seriously. I also take this job, its duties, and those that rely on me to complete them, very seriously. For this reason I will respectfully step back from the formal role in order to focus on what is required. During this time I think of and wish to thank my family, friends, and community for their support.”

Millie Younquist will step in to carry the duties of mayor during this time.

The investigation into this matter was conducted by Agents within the Major Crime Unit of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; assisted by the Office of the Washington County Attorney and the Office of the Iowa Attorney General – Area Prosecutions Division.

Link to Complaint/Affidavit

Fort Dodge Police investigate Threat of Terrorism at Saint Edmond School: 16-year old detained


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Fort Dodge, Iowa) – Officials with the Fort Dodge Police Department report that around 6:30 this  (Tuesday) morning,  members of the Fort Dodge Police Department began to investigate information that had been received concerning a potential threat involving the use of a firearm by a student on the Saint Edmond school campus.
Members of the Fort Dodge Police Department Patrol Division as well as the Criminal Investigations Division, and Webster County Attorney’s office responded to the school to investigate this threat. The student who is suspected of making the reported threat was quickly detained. Following the initial investigation and based on information received, there is no credible evidence to suggest that a firearm ever was in the possession of the student in question, nor did a firearm ever make it onto the Saint Edmond School property. At this time there is no reason to believe that the physical safety of any student or staff was ever in danger.
In response to this threat, a sixteen (16) year old male student has been detained by law enforcement officials and held on the following charges:
* Threat of Terrorism (D Felony)
* Harassment 1st Degree (Aggravated Misdemeanor)
The suspect was transported to Central Iowa Detention in Eldora with this matter being referred to the Webster County Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Court Services for further action. The Fort Dodge Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident and encourages anyone with information to contact police immediately. Information may also be submitted anonymously via Crime Stoppers. As in all matters, the suspect is considered innocent of all charges until proven guilty by a court of law.
Authorities say “This incident highlights the importance of the idea of ‘If You See Something, Say Something”. The combination of students and parents, along with a collaborative effort by the Saint Edmond School System, Fort Dodge Police Department, and Webster County Attorney’s Office led to this swift resolution. We would like to thank the parents and students impacted by this unfortunate incident for their patience and understanding while local law enforcement conducted the investigation.

Tax filing season is now underway if you e-file


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa)  – It’s officially tax season as the Internal Revenue Service has started accepting digital tax returns. Christopher Miller, the I-R-S spokesman for Iowa, says most Americans qualify to file their taxes online for free. “Each software provider in the Free File program sets up their own eligibility requirements, so it’s important to check them out,” Miller says. “We have a special tool on the Free File site that will help you decide.” Miller says electronic filing of your taxes is the safest, easiest, fastest method to use, and it also means a speedier refund check, if you’re due one.

Miller says, “You could do your taxes 24/7 in the comfort of your own home, using a smartphone or a tablet, or of course, your computer.” Miller says there’s a wide variety of free e-filing software available online. “Free File lets anyone who earned $73,000 or less in 2022 use brand-name tax software to file their taxes online for free,” he says.

Learn more at I-R-S-dot-gov. This year’s tax filing deadline is April 18th.

Governor to speak with victim of Monday’s shooting in Des Moines


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa’s governor says she hopes to speak soon with the leader of a Des Moines youth program who’s in serious condition after a shooting at the facility. Des Moines Police have identified the two students who were killed yesterday.

In 2017, Governor Reynolds was in an anti-crime video produced by Will Holmes, the founder of Starts Right Here. “He’s a really good friend of mine and this is a man that has fought every single day to really help these kids that are at risk,” Reynolds said, “to help them get a GED, to help them get training, to help them get a job.”

Holmes, who raps under the name Will Keeps, founded Starts Right Here for Des Moines Public Schools students. In 2021, Reynolds held a public event at the facility in downtown Des Moines. “It was so important to Will that they had a beautiful facility to go to so that these kids felt that this was better than being on the streets and being involved in a gang and being involved in drugs,” Reynolds said.

Will Keeps talks about his anti-crime video in 2017 as the governor looks on. (RI photo)

Des Moines Police have charged an 18-year-old with two counts of first degree murder for killing students Gionni (jee-AH-nee) Dameron, who was 18, and 16-year-old Rashad Carr. Des Moines Police say 18-year-old Preston Walls was also a student at Starts Right Here and he’s been charged with attempted murder for seriously wounding the program’s founder. Holmes is in serious, but stable condition and has a long recovery ahead, according to a statement from his family. They said he’s “more determined than ever” to continue working with at-risk youth.

Reynolds signs her ‘school choice’ bill into law


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Governor Kim Reynolds says a state website will be available later today to provide information to low income parents who want to sign up for nearly $7600 in state funding to cover their child’s private school expenses. “They can put their name on a list…a place where if they have questions, they can get those answered as well,” Reynolds said early this afternoon.

Reynolds spoke with reporters shortly after signing the bill creating the new program for parents with kids in private schools this fall. In 2026, the state funding will be available for all Iowa families with a student in a private school. “What an amazing day for our children and parents!” Reynolds said.

A crowd of legislators as well as state and national activists who’ve lobbied for the bill cheered as Reynolds spoke in the Capitol. “Major progress often comes from being willing to challenge the status quo, to think outside of the box, to be open to change, to lead,” Reynolds said. “…We’re rejecting the idea that the answer to improving education is simply pumping more money into the same system year after year without making significant changes.”

Supporters of the bill surround the governor. (RI photo)

Reynolds proposed far smaller programs in 2021 and 2022, but neither could win enough GOP support in the Iowa House. In the June Primary, the governor campaigned against some House Republican opponents and the bill easily cleared the House last night with 54 Republican “yes” votes. House Speaker Pat Grassley said it’s the culmination of what Republicans have been telling voters.

“We said the Republican Party of Iowa is going to take the lead of education issues in Iowa and I think this is just one more example of us delivering on that promise,” Grassley said, and the governor let out a whoop and led the crowd in applause.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver credited Reynolds for being “tireless” in pursuing this goal. “I also want to thank the many Senate Republicans who fought through the noise and misinformation — as you hear it — in some cases for decades and advocated for all parents to have the same choice in education as parents with the means to afford it,” Whitver said.

Democratic Senator Claire Celsi of Des Moines was the lone protestor, shouting, “Nobody wants vouchers,” during Whitver’s remarks and a few times during the event.

The new program to provide state money to cover private school expenses is on a fast track. The governor said companies that want to compete to manage the state-funded accounts will be able to submit bids later today.

Western Iowa Networks Attends Legislative Welcome Back Reception


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Breda, Iowa) – Iowa’s 2023 Legislative Session began Monday, January 9th. Following the start, broadband’s state association, Iowa Communications Alliance (ICA), co-hosted a Welcome Back Reception with other rural entities. Western Iowa Networks (WIN) attended welcoming Iowa’s legislators. The event allowed for connections to be made with both seasoned and new legislators and discuss the importance of ICA’s mission for broadband in Iowa.

Reliable broadband in Iowa is imperative to the state’s success. Not only for businesses but healthcare, schools, farming, and work-from-home employees. The WIN representatives in attendance discussed the importance of funding for rural broadband providers and the current legislative issues that may arise in the 2023 session. WIN is eager for Representative Best to dive into new laws benefiting the communities they serve.

Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation Presents $125,000 to Pottawattamie County Board


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County, Iowa – The Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation presented an oversized check for $125,000 to the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, January 17th.

The ceremonial presentation took place at the weekly County Board meeting, recognizing partial repayment of a recent Pottawattamie County Conservation acquisition of 93 acres of land adjacent to Hitchcock Nature Center. The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase in November, with the agreement The Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation would commit $125,000 of its cash reserve towards the $1,175,000 investment.

“This was a parcel our department had been interested in for quite some time,” said Mark Shoemaker, Executive Director of Pottawattamie County Conservation. “It’s a beautiful piece of land, that we’ll be able to preserve and protect for years to come.”

Photo/story are courtesy Craig Carlsen; Public Relations Manager

Doris Ferguson, the previous landowner, had expressed interest in selling to the county when she could no longer take care of the property. Upon her passing, the land was gifted to the Doris Ferguson Estate and the long-term vision was kept alive by her son Mark Ferguson.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity Doris Ferguson and her family have provided our county,” said Shoemaker. “This wouldn’t have been possible without their support, the support from our Board of Supervisors, and the shared outlook towards the future with the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation. It’s rewarding to be a part of all of it.”

Prior to approaching the Board of Supervisors for assistance, Pottawattamie County Conservation drafted a funding strategy to pay back land acquisition funds used by the Board for the acquisition. The strategy identified several partners, grants, and internal funds to replenish the land fund for Pottawattamie County. Shoemaker says he hopes to repay those funds over the next nine months.

For more information and the latest news and events from Pottawattamie County Conservation visit

Mills County Sheriff’s report, 1/24/23


January 24th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Glenwood, Iowa) – The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports three arrests and a non-injury accident. Authorities say at around 6:52-p.m. Monday, 39-year-old Travis Jack Davis, of Omaha, was arrested on an out-of-state/out-of-county warrants. He was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail. Saturday afternoon, 22-year-old Dylan Ray Janssen, of Council Bluffs, was arrested at the Pottawattamie County Jail, on a Mills County warrant for Violation of Probation, with bond set at $10,000. And, on Jan. 18th, 36-year-old Zachariah Matthew Boyd, of Elk Horn (IA), was arrested on I-29 in Mills County, for Child Endangerment and OWI/1st offense. His bond was set at $3,000.

Mills County Sheriff’s officials said also, 90-year-old Roland Albright, of Omaha, was driving a 2006 Chrysler southbound on 221st Street at around 10:24-p.m. Saturday, when his vehicle went out of control due to the extreme snow and slick road conditions. The vehicle went into the north ditch and struck multiple trees before it came to rest on its wheels. Albright was checked out by medics at the scene, but refused transport to the hospital.