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Report finds inequity in flood recovery

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Researchers at an Iowa City-based think tank says some communities face bigger challenges than others when it come to protecting themselves from flooding. David Osterberg of the Iowa Policy Project says low-income people often live in the areas most impacted by flooding. He says funds available to help isn’t always available right when needed.

)”If you are a low-income person you can’t just say ‘Okay I’ll use some of my savings until the FEMA money comes.’ You don’t have any savings,” Osterberg says. He says that creates a flood inequity as people try to recover. “While this may not be FEMA’s fault — it’s their job to make sure they just don’t give away money willy-nilley — having so many people who just are at the edge and then experience a disaster — it makes it so hard. They are not treated like somebody who would be middle class,” Osterberg says.

Osterbeg says the uncertainty of when relief is coming is a big issue. )”Some floods FEMA is right there. Sometimes it takes a long time,” Osterberg says. University of Iowa graduate student Joe Wilensky wrote the report. “Earlier research primarily focused in on peoples’ income levels and their wealth levels, sort of their poverty levels of individuals,” he says. “More recent research is showing that there are similar sort of negative outcomes associated with a sort of broader range of individuals. So, in the paper itself it list 13 different categories

The report has several recommendations, including a “rebalance” in mitigation efforts with an emphasis on community impact and vulnerability rather than up-front economic loss. It says the economic loss approach puts higher-value properties ahead of those properties of people less able to cope on their own. It also suggests putting more flexibility in FEMA guidelines to ease community burdens and allow for a creative use of funds.

Better directing of Community Block Development Grant funds to the best place for mitigation efforts — not necessarily within the damage area — but outside if needed. And keeping state funds flowing pending the arrival federal aid. State funds might be delayed after a federal disaster is declared and then the state stops processing and paying disaster claims.

Iowa transportation director resigns at governor’s request

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The director of the Iowa Department of Transportation is leaving his job next month after Gov. Kim Reynolds asked him to resign. Mark Lowe is a lawyer who was appointed to the post by Reynolds in May 2017. The governor’s spokesman says she has decided to seek a change in leadership.

Lowe became general counsel for the Iowa DOT in 2008 before becoming director of the motor vehicle division and then interim director. His resignation letter released Friday makes no mention of why he was asked to leave. His resignation is effective Jan. 10.

Wells Fargo to get millions for U. of Iowa utility deal

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the world’s largest banks will reap a windfall from the University of Iowa’s multi-billion-dollar plan to outsource its utility operations before students or faculty see any benefit from the deal. Wells Fargo is expected to get 1% of the nearly $1.2 billion payment that the university has negotiated for leasing its utility system to a private operator, or around $12 million.

The university hired the bank last year as its strategic advisor on the transaction. The Iowa Board of Regents on Tuesday awarded a 50-year contract to a private company to operate its steam, cooling, water, and electricity infrastructure.

Medical Examiner confirms missing Page County man’s death

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Page County Sheriff’s Office today (Friday), said the State Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that a body that found November 9, 2019 in Page County just north of Clarinda, was that of 68-year old DaleAllen Hodtwalker, of rural Clarinda, and formerly of the Council Bluffs area.

Hodtwalker, who suffered from Dementia and other health issues, was reported as missing on October 22, 2019 at approximately 8:30-a.m.  A systematic search of the area involving persons on foot, K-9’s, persons on horseback, drones, helicopters and airplanes did not locate the Hodtwalker at that time.

The search was officially postponed on October 25, 2019. As more crops in the area were harvested, small searches continued until the body was found on November 9, 2019. No foul play was found and Hodtwalker’s death was ruled accidental.

Yorktown man arrested following incident at South Page Schools

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s deputies in Page County responded at around 11:15-a.m. today (Friday), to the South Page Schools, with regard to a person at the school who was violating a protection order. An investigation revealed 29-year old Justin Leo Powers, of rural Yorktown, was in violation of the protection order issued on December 12, 2019.

The protected party of the protection order was at the school. Authorities say Powers went there to speak with that person. He was escorted out of the school by school employees. Video cameras recordings in the school recorded the event.

At approximately 12:25-p.m.,Justin Powers was arrested at a residence in Braddyville, for Violation of a protection order. He was transported to the Page County Jail where he was being held without bond until seen by a Magistrate.

Casey’s building third distribution center in Missouri

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The Ankeny-based Casey’s Convenience store chain continues adding news stores and also recently announced the company will build its third distribution center in Joplin, Missouri. Casey’s C-E-O Darren Rebelez talked about the timeline for the new center during this week’s conference call with investors. “We plan on breaking ground later this month — with an estimated completion date in the spring of 2021. Upon completion we plan to immediately serve approximately 500 stores from this center — which will allow our network to operate more efficient and alleviate pressure off our current distribution centers,” Rebelez explains.

He says this new center will make it easier to service stores. “That southern-southwestern part of our geography is being serviced our of Ankeny, Iowa and Terra Haute, Indiana. That’s a pretty long haul,” according to Rebelez. “When we open up that facility in the spring of 21 — we’ll immediately be able to service about 500 stores out of that facility — which will really start to right size our infrastructure and reduce the overall cost to serve those stores.” Rebelez says the facility will be able to meet current and future needs.

“It does expand our ability to reach into some new geographies that we are not currently in. So, the immediate impact would be on the efficiency side and the more longer term would be on the development side,” he says. The new center will have state-of-the art systems that along with the location gives them the ability to rapidly meet the needs of the stores in the region. “We’re designing this to be more automated and more efficient than perhaps our other two distribution centers,” Rebelez says. “We also have additional land adjacent to the site that we could expand if we need to.”

The company currently has 21-hundred-46 stores in 16 states.

Three Iowa Democrats back House-passed Rx drug bill

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The three Iowa Democrats serving in the U.S. House voted for a bill to curb the costs of prescription drugs. Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque spoke during House debate of the measure, mentioning the family she recently met who have a teenager with diabetes. “They struggle every month to try to figure out how they’re going to keep affording insulin and her meters,” Finkenauer said. The girl’s father told Finkenauer he’s concerned that when his daughter turns 26 and cannot be included on his insurance, she won’t be able to afford her insulin.

“And he told me that he wanted to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle one day at her wedding, not her funeral,” Finkenauer said. “I will never forget that conversation.” Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says the legislation would lower costs for consumers AND the federal government by letting Medicare negotiate the costs of the 35 most-prescribed medications.

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City says the bill levels the playing field for both patients AND taxpayers. Iowa REPUBLICAN Chuck Grassley has been working on a bill in the U.S. Senate that also seeks to lower drug prices. Grassley says the bill House DEMOCRATS crafted misses the mark, but he applauded the Democrats and Republicans in the House who voted for it for recognizing the need to address the issue. Grassley says the time is right for compromise because — in Grassley’s words — “Americans are quite literally sick of not being able to afford their medications.”

Shelby County Jail named “Best of the Best” for small jail facility

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

This past week the Iowa State Sheriff’s & Deputies Association held the annual winter banquet in Des Moines at the Airport Holiday Inn. The Winter school of instruction is a 3-day training seminar with many vendors and local law enforcement officials from all 99 counties. 2019 is the second year the “Best of the Best” jail award has been presented. To be considered for the award, several things are taken into consideration. They include but not limited to cleanliness, maintenance, management, major improvements, overall operations of the jail, staff professionalism. The jails in Iowa meet or exceed the minimum standards as set forth by Iowa Code and Iowa Administrative Code.

Pictured: Jail Administrator Kyle Lindberg, Chief Jail Inspector Delbert Longley, Sergeant Cody Eckles (Shelby County S/O Facebook photo)

It was noted several jails have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to be in contention for the award. A total of six jails in three categories, small-medium-large,were recognized for outstanding achievements this past year. The 2019 winners include”

Small Jail: Chickasaw County & Shelby County
Medium Jail : Benton County & Buena Vista County
Large Jail: Linn County & Scott County

Kyle Lindberg, Shelby County Jail Administrator, said “It’s a great honor to win this award again in 2019, and to be able to say we have won it two years in a row shows just how dedicated we are to our facility. We are very fortunate to have the “best of the best” talented and motivated staff here in Shelby County.” Lindberg said “This is and can be a difficult job at times, and we have the right people in the right places. Maintaining a correctional facility is just not from the administrative standpoint, there are so many valuable moving parts from the front-line officers, to the administrative assistants, dispatch personnel and the Sergeants whom assist myself with calls. Our staff always works hard and performs with operational excellence every day in the dedication they give to our jail facility. The support from Sheriff Neil Gross, as well as the predecessors before {Lindberg] who have set the quality standards that we continue to grow on and deliver daily within our operation.”

Back Row: Officer Andrew Bierl, Officer Walker Wilson, Officer Cody Hansen
Front Row: Traning Officer Nancy Pigsley, Officer Mikayla Blum, Officer Jade Daeges

He said also, “I’m able to work closely with the board of supervisors, and other members of the community to provide and keep a facility with current and state-of-the-art technology equipment and maintaining the structure of our facility to surpass our yearly inspections. Our jail was built in 1984 at its current location and is 14 bed facility. We on average process 550-600 Inmates in a year and maintain 24-hour coverage from state certified staff.”

2 hurt in Mills County collision, Thursday evening

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Two people were transported by Glenwood Rescue to Mercy Hospital, following a collision at around 6-p.m. Thursday. The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports a 2016 Ram truck driven by 37-year old Michael Morelli, of Ruffin, NC., was traveling west on Highway 34 near Hillman Road. As he approached the crest of a hill, Morelli saw a Subaru in the roadway. Morelli tried to stop, but was unable to do so. His pickup hit the Subaru on its passenger side. Following the crash, the Subaru, driven by 56-year old Becky Decker, of Glenwood, came to rest in the north ditch. Decker was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.

The Sheriff’s office reports also, 54-year old Thomas Lee Chalupa, of Omaha, was arrested at the Mills County Jail, Thursday, for Criminal Mischief. His bond was set at $1,000.

Man gets 25 years for trying to kill police informant

News

December 13th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Sioux City, Iowa (AP) — A Sioux City man has been given 25 years in prison for trying to kill a police informant. The Sioux City Journal reports that Isaac McDonald was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. He’d pleaded guilty to conspiracy to tamper with a witness by attempting to kill a person and guilty to other crimes. Authorities say McDonald shot John Mercure in the head on Aug. 1 as he passed the car Mercure was driving in Sioux City. Mercure, who was believed to be speaking to police about drug trafficking and firearms, survived after crashing his car into a tree.