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Harlan Judge named as nominee for Iowa appeals court


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Judicial Nominating Commission has selected three nominees to fill a vacancy on the Iowa Court of Appeals and sent the names to Gov. Terry Branstad. The commission on Tuesday named the finalists from a group of 25 applicants, who were interviewed this week.

The finalists are 49-year-old Susan Christensen, of Harlan, a district associate judge in the Fourth Judicial District; 55-year-old Bruce Kempkes, of Earlham, an assistant attorney general; and 58-year-old Michael Mullins, of Washington, a district judge in Iowa’s Eighth Judicial District.

Branstad has 30 days to fill the vacancy, which was created when Edward Mansfield was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Page County Man sentenced to 12 ½ years in prison on meth conviction


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A man from Shenandoah was sentenced Monday to more than 12-years in prison for his role in a methamphetamine operation. In addition to the 150-month sentence, U-S District Judge James Gritzner also ordered 49-year old Michael Thomas Shane to serve a five year term of supervised release, following incarceration.

On February 3rd, Shane plead guilty in a Council Bluffs Federal Court, to a charge of Conspiracy to Manufacture more than  500-grams of Methamphetamine. His actions occurred from January of 2009 to July 17, 2010, in the amount of 500 grams or more.

On July 17, 2010, Shane was found to have an active methamphetamine lab in his residence. An investigation by law enforcement found that Shane had worked over a lengthy period of time with a group of people to gather the items needed to manufacture meth. Prosecutors with the U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa say Shane would then manufacture, or help others manufacture, methamphetamine at various locations in and around Page County.

The investigation into his activities was conducted by the Shenandoah Police Department, the Page County Sheriff’s Office, the Mills County Sheriff’s Office, the SWIN Task Force, the Page County Attorney’s Office and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement

Man wanted for questioning in Carroll woman’s disapperance dies after pursuit


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa police chief says a man sought as a witness in the disappearance of a Carroll woman has killed himself in Kansas. Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler said Tuesday that James Snovell, of Rolfe, shot himself as he was being chased by Kansas officers.

Cayler says his investigators knew Snovelle had some connection to Coffee County, Kan., so they asked authorities there to watch for him. Cayler says Kansas officers found Snovelle at a rural Coffee County property on Monday evening. He took off on foot but was soon spotted crossing a stream. Cayler says Snovelle then pulled out a gun and fatally shot himself.

Cayler says Snovelle’s suicide raises more concerns, but the disappearance of 50-year-old Dawn Allen last week is still being treated as a missing person’s case.

Work continues on West Central’s Hamlin project


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with West Central Cooperative say construction continues on their storage building project in Hamlin. Unexpected rains late last month slowed progress on the 200-by 400-foot flat storage building, but officials said Monday, that recent dry weather has allowed concrete work to resume on the foundation for the structure.

West Central grain division’s executive Vice President Roger Fray says crews began pouring the foundation last week, and are expected to finish-up this week. The next step is to form and pour concrete for the walls. A foundation for the tower has also been poured and is complete.

Fray says while that’s being done, excavation continues for the tunnel and dump pits. Once that’s complete, a second concrete crew will form and pour the tunnel and dump pits for the grain storage facility.

The Hamlin site is scheduled to open for business by the time the Fall harvest begins. A community open house is tentatively set to take place in early September.

Update in Carroll missing person’s case


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

50-year old Dawn Allen. Missing since May 4th

54-year old James Snovelle

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say they’ve found a 54-year-old man they wanted to question about the disappearance of a Carroll woman whose car was abandoned in a nightclub’s parking lot. Law enforcement officials said Monday that they consider James Snovelle, of Rolfe, a witness in the disappearance of 50-year-old Dawn Allen.

According to The Des Moines Register, Carroll police did not say later Monday what, if anything, investigators have learned from Snovelle.

Allen was last seen at her home on Wednesday. She did not show up for work the next day, when her vehicle was found in the Piranha Club’s parking lot, on the east side of Carroll.

Police want to question man about missing Carroll woman


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are looking for a 54-year-old Iowa man they want to question about the disappearance of a woman whose car was abandoned in a nightclub’s parking lot.

Law enforcement officials said Monday they consider James Snovelle, of Rolfe, a witness in the disappearance of 50-year-old Dawn Allen, of Carroll.

Law enforcement officials say Snovelle may be traveling in Iowa, Missouri or Kansas in a red Mercury Sable with a license plate number of 542MFO. They say anyone who has knowledge of his whereabouts should contact the Carroll Police Department.

Allen was last seen at her home last Wednesday. She did not show up for work the next day, when her vehicle was found in the Piranha Club’s parking lot.

Gronstal thinks there’s a way to keep Carhart out of Council Bluffs


May 10th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The top Democrat in the Iowa Senate says he “thinks there’s a way” to ensure a Nebraska doctor who performs so-called “late-term” abortions cannot open a clinic in Council Bluffs. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, who is from Council Bluffs, says work is underway to make changes in a bill that already cleared the Iowa House, a bill that would ban abortions in Iowa after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

“The legislation as drafted by the House I think significantly invites a very serious court challenge,” Gronstal says. “So I think we’re trying to look at some ways to fix that up in such a way that we can guarantee a new, late-term abortion clinic doesn’t open in Council Bluffs.” Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, was asked last week to examine the House-passed bill and lead the process of making changes.

“So I’ve spent part of last week and other the weekend studying the bill and working to craft some amendments that deal with what we think is the number one concern that the bill tries to address and that’s the establishment of a clinic by Dr. LeRoy Carhart in Council Bluffs,” Bolkcom says. Carhart is no longer able to perform so-called “late term” abortions at his clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska because a Nebraska law that took effect in mid-October bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Other states like Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho have recently passed similar laws and Iowa is among nearly a dozen other states with similar legislation pending, Bolkcom says there are concerns those laws are unconstitutional.

“I don’t think we should be about passing laws that we know on their face are unconstitutional,” Bolkcom says, “especially looking at the 20-week outright ban.” Bolkcom hopes to release details of the alternatives he’s exploring “within the next few days.”

“The issue we’ve heard repeatedly from people who care about this issue is the establishment of this clinic in Council Bluffs,” Bolkcom says. “And we are focused on that issue primarily.” Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, worked in 2003 to pass federal legislation that bans so-called “partial birth abortions.” King is urging state legislators in Des Moines to take the next step and pass a state law that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

“I know a little bit about LeRoy Carhart and I’ve looked that man in the eye and it’s a disturbing experience, let me tell you,” King says. So far, the four other state laws that ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy have not been challenged in court. Indiana’s governor last week indicated he’ll sign a similar abortion ban for his state.

(From Radio Iowa)

Audubon County drug arrest & other activity


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Audubon County report four people were arrested over the weekend. 47-year old Bonnie Faye Wiggins, of Pomeroy, was arrested Friday night following a traffic stop near 235th Street and Highway 71. Wiggins faces charges which include Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Keeping a Place for Possessing Controlled Substances, and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp. She was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later posted bond. 

32-year old Joshua Robert Saunders, of Gray, was arrested early Sunday morning, after he turned himself in to the Audubon County Sheriff’s office. Saunders was wanted on a warrant issued on April 21st, for failure to appear on a Driving While Suspended charge. He was held in the Audubon County Jail until making an appearance in front of the magistrate. 

19-year old Dilan Seth Olesen, of Audubon, was arrested Saturday night by Exira Police, on a charge of OWI 2nd Offense. Olesen was taken into custody following a traffic stop in Exira. He was brought to the Audubon County Jail and later posted bond.

And, Sheriff officials in Audubon County say Jodi Kay Bails faces charges of OWI 2nd offense and Driving While Revoked, following an investigation into an accident which occurred on April 16th, near Mockingbird Avenue and 250th Street. Bails was scheduled to appear in court today (Monday).

Hurried Iowa theft suspect arrested for theft


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A woman who was stopped on suspicion of shoplifting makeup items at a grocery store in Council Bluffs was in a hurry, so she asked the officer for a citation.

The Daily Nonpareil says the officer asked the woman last week: What’s the rush? The woman said she didn’t want to be late to court. Court? For what? Her reply: Theft.

The officer then arrested the woman on another theft charge.

Emerson woman injured in rollover accident


May 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say a Mills County woman suffered possible, unknown injuries during a rollover accident Sunday night. Sheriff’s officials say 43-year old Rebecca Ann Cates, of Emerson, was found at around 8:45-p.m., a short distance away from the crash site, near 200th Street and “A” Avenue.

Cates was driving a 1996 Geo Metro westbound on 200th Street, when the car crossed the center line of the road as it was rounding a curve. Cates overcorrected, sending the vehicle into the north ditch, where it rolled for an undetermined number of times before coming to rest on its top in a field.

Cates was transported to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital in Red Oak, by Red Oak Rescue. Officials say the car was a total loss.

The accident remains under investigation, and charges are pending.