Des Moines zoo tiger dies of lymphoma


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A tiger at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines has died of cancer. The Des Moines Register reports that the 6-year-old Siberian tiger named Max died March 21. He came to the zoo in June from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to breed with another Blank Park Zoo tiger.

Zoo spokesman Ryan Bickel says Max showed signs of illness in late February. A necropsy performed at Iowa State University identified lymphoma, a type of cancer, as the cause of Max’s illness and death. The zoo received the test results on Tuesday.

ISU researcher creates heated pavement for airports


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa State University researcher’s project will warm the hearts of anyone who has ever been forced to sit on an airplane waiting for snow and ice to be cleared. Halil Ceylan and his research team from I-S-U’s Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research installed two test slabs of electrically conductive concrete into the apron at the southwest corner of a hangar at the Des Moines International Airport. Ceylan says they’ve mixed carbon fibers into part of the concrete to allow it conduct electricity.

He says they then place electrodes into the slab and those are connected to electricity to generate heat. Ceylan says the electricity can be turned on automatically with a sensor and heat the pavement to the desired temperature. “In the lab environment sometimes my students view samples and we can actually achieve over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. But obviously one does not need such high temperatures, so what we envision, we want to keep temperatures around 40 degreesish,” he explains.

Ceylan says they’ve studied the roughly 15 by 13 foot test slabs during a snowstorm in December and found it took about 19 cents to heat each square foot. He says the installation cost is higher at the start, but the cost to run the system is economical, and there are other benefits. “Even if you have a snowplow go through a concrete pavement, you will still leave a thin layer of ice and snow on it,” Ceylan says. “But when you turn our system on, you will have a good dry surface.”

Ceylan says airports would need fewer snowplows, buildings and people to drive the plows — which would save them money. He says the heated concrete cuts down on delays at the gates and eliminates the need to run plows into gate areas were planes are parked getting fuel and loading luggage. Ceylan says those areas are every congested, and there is currently a lot of chemicals used to de-ice things. The heated pavement would eliminate the use of chemicals that have to be cleaned up and be more environmentally friendly. The testing of the system was slowed by a mild winter that didn’t produce many snow storms, but Ceylan has seen enough to move forward.

“I would like to see this technology implemented in a larger scale now,” Ceylan says. “I believe that the airport managers and operators around the country seeing how this technology works would be interested in implementing this technology into larger areas.” He says they are at a point where they can build some bigger heated areas to allow airport managers to see how well it works. Ceylan says as more airports decide to use the system, it will create a demand that is good for costs. “As the technology picks up, the construction and implementation costs are going to go down, as there will be a market for this,” Ceylan says.

The test slabs at the Des Moines airport are seven and a half inches thick. The bottom four inches are regular concrete, the top three-and-a-half are the electrically conductive concrete. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety provided two-point-two million dollars for the research.

(Radio Iowa)

Update: NE man injured and arrested following Tue. night incident


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our report earlier today, officials with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office clarified an incident whereby a man was injured, and arrested for Theft in the 2nd degree. Lt. Rob Ambrose said in an e-mail to KJAN News, that at around 11:17-p.m. Tuesday, Pottawattamie County deputies were dispatched to 185th Street in the Honey Creek area for a suspicious person.  The reporting party advised that a female showed up at his residence asking to use a phone.  When the reporting party called 911, the female became upset and fled the area on foot.

As deputies arrived in the area, a Chrysler PT Cruiser was located with a male subject near the open driver’s door.  Deputies turned around to make contact and didn’t initially see the male, who was located laying in the ditch about 30 yards from the car.

The VIN on the vehicle was checked and showed stolen out of Fremont, Nebraska.  The male party was identified as 44-year old Steven M. Morlan, of  Omaha.  Morlan was taken into custody and charged with theft 2nd degree.  The female was not located.  She has been identified as 43-year old Tekisha R. Skeens, of Council Bluffs, IA.  Charges are currently pending against Skeens.

Lt. Ambrose said the Fremont (NE) Police Department was contacted and will be in contact with the vehicle’s owner.

Threats made against Council Bluffs School


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Council Bluffs Police Department report that at around 1:21-p.m. today (Wednesday), the Pottawattamie County 9‐1‐1 Center received a phone call from an unknown male who indicated that he was armed and inside the Lewis Central High School. The caller made threats of shooting people inside the building and that he was also going to set off explosives.

Numerous law enforcement officers responded to the school and conducted a thorough search of the building; no evidence of an armed subject or explosives were found. Both the Lewis Central High School and Middle School had an “early out” today, so very few students were inside the building at the time of the incident.

However, many faculty and other staff members were inside the school at the time. They were all secured in a safe location while officers searched the building. Nearby schools, Titan Hill Intermediate and Iowa School for the Deaf, were placed into “Lockout” status. Once the situation was deemed safe, they were returned to normal operations. As a precaution, officers were present at Titan Hill during the student’s dismissal, which had been delayed by several minutes.

Officers were in the area, investigating the situation, for approximately 90 minutes.
No injuries or property damage were reported during this incident. Council Bluffs Police Department detectives are investigating the source of the threatening phone call. Once identified, the caller could face numerous criminal charges, including making terroristic threats.

Iowa regulator’s confirmation delayed amid conflict concerns


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate is slowing down the confirmation of Geri Huser as the Iowa Utilities Board chairwoman after The Associated Press revealed her extensive private legal work. Members of the Senate commerce committee had been scheduled Tuesday to consider Huser’s appointment for a second two-year term as board chairwoman. Hours before the meeting, the AP reported that Huser had maintained a busy personal law practice on the side.

State law requires board members to devote their “whole time” to their state duties, and other members who are lawyers have resigned from their law firms. Sen. Janet Petersen said Huser’s appointment was pulled from the calendar because members wanted “time to read the article and do some due diligence.” Petersen says she wants to know how Huser balances her two jobs.

Bluffs Police ID victim of bicycle hit and run


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs this (Wednesday) afternoon identified the bicyclist who was struck earlier this morning during a hit-and-run accident. The victim has been identified as 57 year old Melvin Brown, of Council Bluffs.

Bluffs Police says emergency crews responded at around 4-a.m. to the area of S. 13th and 6th Avenue in Council Bluffs, following a report of a man lying on the curb with a bicycle. A preliminary scene investigation indicated the bicycle was struck from behind by a vehicle while it was traveling south. Brown suffered head trauma and was transported to CHI Creighton University Medical Center.

The man was riding a red, black and silver mountain bike and carrying a Star Wars backpack. Authorities are still asking anyone with information in reference to this crash to contact the Council Bluffs Police Traffic Unit at (712) 328‐4948 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 328 ‐ STOP (7867).

Cass County Master Gardeners Grant Money Available for Local Garden Projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Spring is in the air, and plans are under way for gardening projects in Cass County. Local groups planning beautification, community gardening or education programs will again be eligible for assistance from the Cass County Master Gardeners. The group is offering grant money to be used in the 2017 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or improve local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes. The David Williams Memorial Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams provided as a long-time volunteer, with the Master Gardener program and other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.

Any Cass County not-for-profit group or organization may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, and organizations working to better their communities can use the money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping, or to provide gardening/food related education for their members or the public. To ensure the money is helping a wide variety of community organizations, groups who were funded by 2016 grants will not be eligible to apply in 2017. Each grant has a maximum value of $300. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.

Applications must be received by Monday, April 24 for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by May 1. For more information, or with questions, call the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, email, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic. You may also contact Master Gardener Donna Reimers. Application forms can be picked up at the Extension Office, or printed from the Cass County Extension website-

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University. Education courses are available throughout Iowa on a regular basis. For more information on the program, or to sign up for the next class starting in August, contact Cass County Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson, at 712-243-1132 or

Hawkeye 10 South Division Meet at Shenandoah


March 29th, 2017 by Chris Parks

The Hawkeye 10 South Division track meet was held at Shenandoah on Tuesday night.

Girls Team Scores

  1. Glenwood 155
  2. Shenandoah 118
  3. Creston 57
  4. Clarinda 33
  5. Red Oak 19

Boys Team Scores

  1. Glenwood 177
  2. Shenandoah 90
  3. Clarinda 70
  4. Red Oak 41
  5. Creston 11

Full results: Hawkeye 10 South 2017




March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson


Judge moves trial of Iowa man charged with killing officers


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa judge has moved the murder trial of a man charged in the killing of two police officers to another part of the state. Judge Karen Romano granted a change of venue for Scott Greene, ordering Tuesday that his trial be moved from central Iowa’s Polk County to Dubuque County, in the east of the state.

Greene is accused of shooting Des Moines officer Anthony Beminio and Urbandale officer Justin Martin in their patrol cars in November. He is due to stand trial in September and faces life in prison, if convicted. Romano says Greene may not be able to get a fair trial in the Des Moines area because the case has received extensive media coverage and generated an outpouring of support for police.

She says the case has received less coverage in Dubuque.