September 2, 2015

Wisconsin woman accused of stealing from elderly Newton woman

Police-lightsA Wisconsin woman appointed to manage the financial affairs of an elderly Iowa woman is now charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the woman, who lives in Newton.

Newton Police say they have made an arrest in the financial exploitation of a 77-year-old woman from January of last year through early April this year. Police believe 47-year-old Renee Goeldner made personal purchases from the victim’s bank account. The loss for the victim is said to be just over $23,500.

The Newton Police department began the investigation April 6. Officers say Goeldner, who lives in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was the conservator for the victim. She is charged with first degree theft and dependent adult abuse and is free on a 10-thousand dollar bond.

(Reporting by Randy Van, KCOB, Newton)

Police make arrest in murder, assault of Dubuque woman

Helmon Betwell

Helmon Betwell

A 19-year-old from Dubuque has been charged with first degree murder for causing the death of a woman found beaten and lying on the ground outside a Dubuque apartment building early Tuesday morning.

The adult woman was alive when police arrived on the scene just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, but she died later at a Dubuque hospital. Dubuque police say the woman had been sexually abused and authorities say Helmon Betwell admits he assaulted her. He’s been charged with first degree sexual assault and two counts of third degree burglary as well as first degree murder.

The name and age of the victim has not been released.

Iowa Business Council survey shows ‘tempering of enthusiasm’

Business-councilThe latest survey of the CEOs of Iowa’s largest companies shows they’re expecting the state’s economy will be cooling off in the coming six months. Elliott Smith is executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC).

“The release of our third quarter survey did indicate a bit of a tempering of enthusiasm, I think, for some of the economic activity that we’ve seen lately,” Smith said. The survey employs a 100 point scale, with a score over 50 considered “positive sentiment.”

The IBC’s third quarter Overall Economic Outlook Survey Index was 59 — eight points lower than last quarter and six points lower than one year ago. “I think we are seeing some impact of international economic activity finally resonating here in the state, simply because so much of Iowa’s business activity itself rests on export trade and international business,” Smith said.

The survey shows most of the CEOs anticipate steady or increased hiring levels, sales and capital spending between September and February. But, Smith notes the numbers in all three of those categories are down from previous surveys. “Yes, the survey did back off a little bit from its previous optimism, but I think we’re still in for a decent remainder of 2015,” Smith said. ”

The numbers still remain solidly in positive sentiment territory, so I don’t know if there’s any need to raise red flags of warning yet.”



Mississippi woman remembers Iowa’s help after Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane_KatrinaTen years ago this week, a semi from Iowa that was packed with relief supplies arrived in Gulfport, Mississippi, one of the many communities reeling from Hurricane Katrina. The shipment from Webster City was sent directly to the Children and Infants Division at Gulfport Memorial Hospital, the only medical facility in town to stay open after the storm.

Hospital director Amy Haulsee remembers that truck well. “The impact was huge,” Haulsee says. “We can never repay you or thank you enough, it meant so much. And then to know it came specifically for the women and children’s division. They knew our needs and really took care of us as far as everything that came was used. There was nothing that went to waste.”

In addition to being packed with items for infants and children — from diapers and formula to clothes and blankets — the shipment included all sorts of canned food, toiletries and personal items for hospital staff members, some of whom had lost everything in the powerful hurricane.

“I’m so thankful that y’all are thinking about us and at the same time, we’re thinking about you during this week,” Haulsee says. “It seems like such a short time ago but ten years ago, what we were all facing and our fears. Y’all really helped by letting us know we would have something to eat, we would have diapers for our babies.” Haulsee said

Gulfport continues to bounce back after Katrina’s destruction. “You can still ride down the beach and still see slabs and you can tell someone did live there and they have not built back for whatever reason,” Haulsee says. “Rebuilding, it’s been slow, but over the past year or two, I’m noticing a lot more that it just looks good. Things are built up higher.”

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in American history — and one of the most deadly. At least 1,200 people died in the hurricane and floods, and property damage alone topped $108 billion.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)


U-I presidential candidate challenged over his business background

Bruce Harreld speaks during his public forum in Iowa City.

Bruce Harreld speaks during his public forum in Iowa City.

The fourth candidate for the University of Iowa president’s job took a lot of questions Tuesday about his background during a public forum on the Iowa City campus.

That’s because Bruce Harreld comes from a mainly business background, not academic. Harreld manages a business consulting company and his past experience includes teaching at the Harvard Business school, he was a senior vice president at IBM, and president of the Boston Market food chain.

Harreld addressed the issue of his background right away, saying he believes he has experience from the business world that would help improve the university. He was asked if his approach would treat the school too much like a business.

“There’s a tendency to believe that institutions like the University of Iowa have customers, and the customers are the students. And I think part of this arms race (for students) is in that spirit,” Harreld says. “There’s something very different about an institution like this — it clearly serves the state, we have a clear role in that. And that may be more important than any set of students.”

He says he can understand how people might think his approach would treat the school simply as a business, but says that’s not what he would do. “I would fight vociferously to differ with all due respect, to the notion that I’m just going to be another corporate guy and come in here and slash and burn. I actually think part of the answer here is…going from great to greater, because we can actually start talking about outcomes and be damn proud of what’s going on, tell the story,” Harreld says.

Harreld was asked about the new Board of Regents “performance-based” funding proposal which has the University of Iowa losing funding to the other two state schools. He says he could see a scenario where he could support it because of the limited amount of state funding available. “It could actually be that there are legitimate needs at the other institutions and there may be a period of time where they need more funding,” Harreld says. “It could actually come back the other way…there might be a time when some of that money might come back to us when we need it more. I would say to the other schools scoot over and support us as we supported you. So yes, I can imagine reasons for that.”

Harreld says he doesn’t know enough about the details of the plan to take a stand on it right now. “I actually think from what I’ve read, is that the title sounds great, but there’s potential for a lot of for mischief down underneath there. And I wouldn’t put it in the context of fairness — I would put it in the context of is it right for the state?,” Harreld says.

The issue swung back to Harreld’s qualifications again when a woman named Sarah Riley who says she is an attorney in Cedar Rapids and a second-generation Hawkeye stepped to the microphone. She says she was furious to see a finalist who had never had any leadership or administrative role at an institution, and says she didn’t change her mind after hearing his remarks. “Why did you even apply for this job?,” Riley asked. “Good, question and I’ve tried to answer that question. I think I can help, and if you don’t think I can help, I totally respect that,” Harreld answered. “But why do you think you can help if you have no background?,” Riley continued. “Because I’ve worked through transformation and taking an institution from whatever the numbers are to something higher,” Harreld responded.

Harreld was the last of four finalists to visit campus. You can see the full forum on-line at the University of Iowa Presidential search page. The Board of Regents plans to interview the four candidates on Thursday and then select one as the new president.


Dubuque police investigating death of woman

Police car lightsA woman’s death is under investigation in northeast Iowa. Police in Dubuque say a woman died at a hospital this morning not long after officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a home.

Officers found the woman on the ground suffering from severe injuries to the face. The victim’s name has not been released and there’s no word of any arrests in the case.


2015 dove hunting season opens

doveIowa’s dove hunting season opens today for its fifth year. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says dove hunting has steadily gained popularity.

“Our hunter numbers have grown each year, I think our harvest has as well. Of course it was a brand new sport to Iowa, so we didn’t have any history of it. I think it’s tracking about like we thought,” Bogenschutz says. ” We had as many hunters and as much harvest as we’ve ever had in last year’s.”

DNR numbers show 11,400 hunters brought in 137,927 doves last season.

Bogenschutz says scouting is the key to dove hunting as you need to walk prospective areas in the morning and at night to see how many doves are coming into the field and leaving the field. “You are looking for some type of small grain field or some type of recently disturbed ground. They really like that bare ground,” Bogenschutz explains. “It pretty common to see a lot of doves around ponds and livestock areas where the cattle have kind of tromped it down. You can see them around feedlots or in a just harvested grain field maybe that’s been worked.”

Bogenschutz says the DNR puts out plots in public areas for doves. “We’ll plant sunflowers or winter wheat and harvest it and knock it down and make it bare ground. The doves seem really keyed in on that bare ground and good visibility. You know they are not very big, so they like to see. That seems to be key when you are looking for good dove spots,” according to Bogenschutz. He says doves are fast and agile, and the national average is 5 to 7 shells used for each dove taken.

Bogenschutz says a lot of dove hunters also go after pheasants too as he says most of the upland game hunters buy a pheasant license and also buy a dove hunting license or squirrel license, so there’s a lot of crossover. The opening of the season coincides with the migration of the birds. Bogenschutz says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service keeps track of dove numbers and they should be plentiful this season. The entire state is open for dove hunting and the season runs through November 9th.