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Former Dubuque Catholic schools employee sentenced to prison for theft


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The former technology director at a private Catholic school in eastern Iowa is sentenced to more than three years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars. Fifty-year-old Todd Wessels of Dubuque pleaded guilty in November to one once of wire fraud. He admitted that when he was the technology director for the Holy Family Catholic Schools he purchased prepaid debit cards. Wessels then transferred the balances on the cards to his personal account.

He admitted he used more than 500-thousand dollars for things like food and travel expenses for himself and his family. The school district was experiencing financial difficulties and closing a number of schools as a result. Wessels was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay more than 503-thousand dollars in restitution and nearly four-thousand dollars in the district’s legal expenses.

Governor plans to reassess after Iowa courts rule on two abortion-related matters


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Governor Kim Reynolds says she has to pursue legal options on two abortion-related laws that were challenged in court before deciding whether to call legislators back in special session to pass abortion restrictions.

“Right now it wouldn’t do any good to call a special session,” Reynolds said late this morning. “This is the route that we need to take. We’ve got two laws in place and so we’re going to move forward with that. We’ll wait to see what the ruling is…and then we’ll reassess after that point.”

Reynolds signed a bill into law in 2018 that would forbid abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually the sixth week of a pregnancy, but it never took effect due to a court injunction. She’s asking the courts to remove that block.

“We have the ‘heartbeat bill’ on the books and so let’s lift the injunction and let’s make that, you know, a law that it is and so we’re going to start with that,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to ask the Supreme Court to rehear the case and we’re also going to ask the district court to lift the injunction and we’ll take it from there.”

Reynolds faced a Friday deadline to file her requests with the court.
She’s asking the Iowa Supreme Court to revise its recent ruling that upheld a 24-week waiting period for abortions. Reynolds is making the legal argument that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v Wade should make it more difficult to challenge Iowa laws that restrict abortion in the future.

“We’ll see what happens,” Reynolds said. “We’ll go through the system and, based on what the outcomes are from that, we’ll take our next steps.”

Reynolds, who spoke with reporters in Belmond before a meeting in th community’s hospital, said the timeline for resolving her legal requests on abortion policy is up to the court.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has declined to represent the state in these matters. The governor has hired former Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren to argue the cases. Ostergren most recently represented Republicans challenging Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer’s nominating petitions.

One of the Midwest’s largest car shows is coming to Iowa


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – For Iowans who love glistening paint, shiny chrome and loud engines, one of the Midwest’s largest car shows will take over the Iowa State Fairgrounds this holiday weekend. Stephanie Schoennagel, spokeswoman for the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, says this will mark the 31st annual Heartland Nationals in Des Moines.

“We’re expecting over 5,000 cars to come from about 15 different states,” Schoennagel says. “This is one of our biggest shows that we put on throughout the year and right now we’re pacing to beat last year, and last year was a record-breaking year for us so we’re really excited to come back to Iowa State Fairgrounds.” The event will feature custom hot rods, muscle cars, restored classics and trucks from way back in the 1920s up through 1997 — as 1997-model cars are now considered “classics”.

“That is new for this year. It’s a way for us to open our gates to a new generation of vehicle and then hopefully a new generation of automotive enthusiast,” Schoennagel says. “It’s a 25-year rolling cut-off so that’s going continue to change. So next year, we’ll open our gates to 1998, but yeah, it is kind of hard and crazy to think that 25 years is considered classic.” In addition to the thousands of stunning vehicles on display, other attractions include a remote-control car demo, the Central Iowa Railroad Club miniature train museum, and a “twilight cruise” down historic Grand Avenue.

“We’ll have live autocross racing action all weekend long. We’ll have the Burnout Competition on Saturday, Nitro Thunder Fest lighting off all weekend long. We’ll have the fireworks display taking place Saturday night. We’ll have fun stuff for the kids, the Good Gals Gallery, it’s really a fun, family-friendly event.”

The event runs Friday through Sunday.

Griswold man faces OWI & weapon charges


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – A call for service Tuesday evening in Griswold resulted in a brief pursuit and an arrest. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says Deputies arrested 48-year-old Christopher Putnam, of Griswold, on charges of OWI 1st Offense, Carrying a Weapon While Intoxicated, Eluding and Interference with Official Acts.

During an investigation resulting from the call for service, Putnam entered a vehicle and drove away from Deputies.  A short, normal speed pursuit ensued.  Eventually, Putnam complied, was detained and transported to the Cass County Jail where he was booked and held.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Atlantic Police Department.

Welcome to Medicare Seminar – RSVP Deadline June 30


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa)  –  Are you going to be eligible for Medicare in the near future?  Have you been on Medicare for a while and want to better understand what it offers?  Do you have a family member you help with Medicare issues? If so, “Welcome to Medicare” is for you!  This free seminar offered by Cass Health’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselors will be held on Thursday, July 7th from 5 to 7 pm.  The seminar will be held at 1500 East 10th Street in the Senior Life Solutions building.  Registration is needed by June 30th, by calling 712-243-7545.

“Welcome to Medicare” will cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, the prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement insurance.

SHIIP is a service of the State of Iowa. SHIIP services are free, confidential, and unbiased. SHIIP counselors are trained by the state and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies or agents.  Cass Health is a local sponsor for SHIIP in Cass County.

Bedford women arrested for child endangerment associated w/drugs


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Bedford, Iowa) – Sheriff’s Deputies in Taylor County, Tuesday (June 28, 2022), arrested two women from Bedford, following an investigation into an anonymous tip saying that the pair had allegedly used drugs in front of children at their residence. Authorities say 28-year-old Julia Sheler and 26-year-old Kaitlin Puckett, were arrested on outstanding Taylor County Warrants.
Deputies along with Iowa Department of Human Services – Child Protective Services worked a joint investigation into the matter. Sheler and Puckett were charged with possession of a controlled substance marijuana, possession of a controlled substance methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment.
*All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Investigator says police haven’t given up on Huisentruit case


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – An investigator with the Mason City Police Department says they continue to explore every lead in the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit. Monday was the 27th anniversary of the former K-I-M-T T-V morning anchorwoman’s disappearance. Officer Terrance Prochaska has been working on the case for 12 years. “I just want everyone to know that this case is very much alive with us. We continue to investigate this case like it happened just here recently,” he says. Prochaska says he’s talked and interviewed hundreds of people since taking on the case and hopes to someday find the right piece of evidence that solves this puzzle.

“In my 12 or 13 years I’ve investigated this case, it’s countless people that I’ve talked to, met, interviewed, and I want you to understand is that we focus on the new technology that comes about all the time. We keep trying to figure out a way to put this case into our technology that keeps advancing, to hope one day find an answer to what happened,” Prochaska says. He encourages people who think they have any information to call his office.  “Ultimately what this is going to lead to is, what the team has been saying all along, is if you know something, say something. If you want to just give us a call with your thoughts, we’re welcome to listen,” Prochaska says. “You’ll talk to me directly if you do make that call, and I will be happy to listen to you and answer what questions I can.”

Prochaska says trying to solve the case has become a part of his life and can understand some people’s frustrations when they think their tips don’t result in anything. “Some of the feedback that we’ve heard over the years is that ‘we don’t ever get a result of what happened when I called in’. On cases like this, what you have to understand is, we’re playing a small game with whoever did this, and the more information we tell, the information that person could be receiving to try to hide even further, if you understand what that means,” he says. “Understand that we take this case as serious as any other case.”

If you possibly have any information regarding Huisentruit’s disappearance, you can call Prochaska at the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636. It is believed Huisentruit was abducted from the parking lot of her apartment complex in 1995 Her body has never been found and she was declared legally dead in 2001.

Poop in the pool can spread illnesses and force expensive disinfection procedure


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – It’s a scene reminiscent of the movie “Caddyshack,” but in this case, it wasn’t a Baby Ruth bar spotted floating in the clear water, causing swimmers to panic. Hamilton County’s public health director Shelby Kroona has a reminder for parents everywhere in Iowa to keep their kids home if they’re sick, especially from public swimming pools. “We’ve had two pools in Hamilton County that have had poop in the pool,” Kroona says. “Please remember, if your children are ill, do not send them to the pool. Oftentimes, there’s bacteria or viruses in that poop and it can spread to other people through the water.”

She says the risk of making someone else sick isn’t the only problem with the situation. “It also causes a lot of issues for the pool owners and operators because they then have to disinfect their entire pool,” Kroona says. “Just like absolutely any other time of the year, if your kid has a fever, diarrhea, illness, be conscious of where you send them.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health says there are about 1,300 pools, more than 420 spas, 260 wading pools, and 260 water slides at about 1,260 locations statewide that are inspected every year.

DeJear says she’d make reproductive rights a priority as governor


June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear says her Republican opponent’s legal push to revive a six week abortion ban shows Governor Reynolds is determined to stand against the will of the vast majority of Iowans. During an appearance in Sioux City just before Reynolds made her announcement, DeJear denounced last Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. “We know what happened just a few days ago,” DeJear said, “that decision that compromises the integrity of a woman’s right — I won’t even say: ‘Right to choose’ — right to be.”

campaign photo

DeJear says reproductive rights will be a centerpiece of her campaign. “To ensure that each and every person that lives in this state has that freedom to life, liberty and happiness,” DeJear said, “and we can do that.” In a written statement released last (Tuesday) night, said instead of focusing on abortion restrictions, it’s time for a governor who instead will address pressing issues like education, healthcare, housing and the workforce shortage.

(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Kendall Crawford; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)

Bateman Steps into Cass County Youth and 4-H Role: Alumni brings experience and enthusiasm to local program

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 29th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) –  Cass County Extension Director Kate Olson reports Katie Bateman is the new, Youth Programs Coordinator at the Cass County Extension Office. Olson says Bateman is no stranger to the 4-H program, and that knowledge will serve her well in the role she began in Mid-May. She’s has jumped right in to working with youth, parents, volunteers, and partners across the county, Olson says. The Youth Program Coordinator role is a full-time position, with responsibility for youth outreach programming and 4-H program management in Cass County. Katie’s first month on the job has been a flurry of activity with livestock weigh-in and entries, county fair preparation and summer daycamps and programming.

Katie is a graduate of Atlantic High School and was active in the Cass County 4-H program throughout her early years, serving in leadership roles at the club and county level. She remained involved in college, interning for several years at the Cass County extension office during the summer and helping form a collegiate 4-H club at the University of Northern Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in Leisure Youth and Human Services. Following graduation, she worked as a CYC in the Story County extension office for two years, in addition to other work experience with youth organizations and senior living communities around Iowa. She has also stayed involved as a volunteer in 4-H programs as she has moved across the state. Katie is excited to get back involved with the Cass County 4-H program to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Katie Bateman, Cass County Extension Youth Programs Coordinator.

Bateman says “As a Cass County 4-H Alumni and previous 4-H Staff member, I’m excited to be back in Cass County and leading a program I love! I’m looking forward to stepping back into the Cass County 4-H program and getting to work with our youth, volunteers and partners to keep our local program strong and continuing to grow.”

Kate Olson invites you to stop by the Cass County Extension Office at 805 W. 10th Street in Atlantic and welcome Katie to her new position, or give her a warm welcome as you see her at upcoming programs and around the fair this summer.  She is available to answer questions regarding 4-H and youth programming or share information on resources available through Iowa State University Extension in Cass County.

Katie can be reached by calling the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132 or by email at For information on upcoming youth and 4-H activities in Cass County, visit, follow @CassCoIAExt on Facebook or @casscountyiowa4h on Instagram.