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New statewide radio system for 911 response

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that launches the effort to build a new statewide radio communications system for every law enforcement and emergency response unit in the state. “This was a big, complex, difficult issue to resolve,” Branstad says.

Emergency responders in New York City found they could not communicate effectively when terrorists struck the World Trade Center nearly 15 years ago. States around the country began building new radio systems so all emergency responders could communicate with one another. Iowa is among the last states to act. Branstad signed the bill into law Wednesday morning in Adel, since Dallas County will be the first to connect to the new system.

“When an emergency event happens and an Iowan calls 911, they deserve to have first responders that can communicate with each other via their radio system,” Branstad says. Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan says the system will let first responders talk to one another during disasters and big events, like the Iowa-Iowa State football game. “Within two years we should have the bulk of our system built out,” Ryan says, “and we’ll cover about 96 percent of the population.” The state of Iowa is providing a “baseline” radio network. Cities and counties would have to pay extra for add-ons that improve radio communications in basements and hallways.

“The equipment that we’re building now is completely different from what we saw in 2001. These are really computers and not just radios, so it’s not a walkie talkie kind of thing,” Ryan says. “…What the other states have experienced is that during tornadoes and natural disasters, a lot of times these radios are the only means of communication that works.” The communications hub for four Des Moines suburbs will be the first city system to join the new network and Branstad expects other central Iowa agencies will be among the first to join.

“We think it’s going to be an efficient and cost effective system and something that will save lives and make it easier for us to respond when we have disasters and emergencies,” Branstad says. The project’s total cost is estimated to be 58 million. The state will pay a yearly lease that costs nearly four-point-four MILLION dollars. The lease money in the first year will come from an emergency 9-1-1 charge Iowans pay on their land lines and cell phones.

(Radio Iowa)

Corning man arrested Wed. morning

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Deputies with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office arrested 44-year old Robert Gard, of Corning, this (Wednesday) morning. Gard was taken into custody for OWI/1st offense and Driving While Revoked, following a traffic stop. His bond was set at $2,000.

Cass Supervisors reject passport photo service for the courthouse

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), rejected a request from the County Recorder’s Office for the purchase of a new passport photo machine. Their action followed a complaint they received from a local photographer who said the move would put government in direct competition with the private sector.

The Board heard from Fred Fiddelke, owner of Fredericks’ Photography, in Atlantic, who has been in business for more than 37-years. It’s been suggested that having photos taken at the Recorders Office would be more convenient. Supervisor Frank Waters asked how fast Fiddelke could turn the pictures around to make them ready for persons needing a passport. Fiddelke replied “10-minutes.”

Fiddelke said in the past, the process for getting a passport involved coming to the courthouse three-times and waiting six-weeks to receive your passport. Now, he says, with the advent of online passport applications and other information that’s available electronically, the process is expedited, and it’s not necessary nor “convenient” for people to have to come to the courthouse for those procedures.

Fiddelke said also, with the $1,695 price tag for specialized photography equipment that’s needed, it would take the County three-to-five years to recoup its cost. He said taking passport pictures isn’t going to make him rich. They only cost $12. The value, he says, comes in the form of future business that simple picture can generate. A person coming to have their passport taken, can see the work he’s done for families, such as graduation pictures, weddings and anniversaries. That, he said is what keeps him in business.

After brief discussion, the Supervisors agreed the County does not need to compete with area private photographers.

Malvern woman arrested on OWI warrant

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office, Wednesday, said a Malvern woman was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a warrant for OWI/1st offense. 54-year old Deborah Lynn Drummy was taken into custody, at around 3:45-p.m.  Her bond was set at $1,000.

Cass Co. Sheriff’s Office: Beware arrest scam

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office would like the public to be aware: If you receive a call claiming you owe an outstanding debt and a warrant will be issued for your arrest if you don’t forward money to someone right away, you very well may be the target of a scam. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says they NEVER cold-call citizens to tell them to pay a fine RIGHT NOW or go to jail.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 5/11/2016

News, Podcasts

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Asst. Attorney General says Iowa law isn’t protecting bicyclists

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An assistant in the Iowa Attorney General’s office is calling on state legislators to make it easier to prove recklessness in cases where bicyclists are injured or killed when hit by motor vehicles. Pete Grady says Iowa currently has some of the nation’s highest hurdles to clear when prosecutors go after distracted drivers accused of hitting bicyclists. He says legislators have done nothing to toughen laws.

“We had bills filed in 2015, 2011, 2008, and we haven’t had any movement on bicycle safety laws in any of those sessions of the legislature,” Grady said. More than 20 bicyclists have died after being struck by vehicles in Iowa over the past five years. At present, Grady says prosecutors need to show the vehicle operators knew their actions would cause harm.

“I don’t think anyone would define reckless behavior as requiring a better than 50 percent outcome for danger or harm, but that’s the standard we have now in Iowa,” Grady said. Most of the time, county attorneys go after lesser charges against drivers involved in serious bicycle accidents, resulting in fines, but no jail time, according to Grady. He notes most Iowans agree that texting while driving is very dangerous, but Grady doesn’t believe it’s treated that way under Iowa law.

A police officer in Iowa can’t pull over a motorist for simply texting while driving. Grady asks, “How serious is texting if the legislature says it’s not even serious enough to require that somebody be pulled over when it’s observed by a law enforcement officer?” Grady made his comments on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River program.

(Radio Iowa)

Creston Credit Union reports bum check

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston say the Nishna Valley Credit Union in Creston, has reported a bad Cashier’s Check was presented and cashed. The check was cashed April 11th, and was later found to have been fraudulent. The loss was estimated at $1,720.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 5/11/2016

News, Podcasts

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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Iowa officials worry about rise in unvaccinated children

News

May 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The number of parents seeking religious exemptions to Iowa vaccination requires is still climbing despite health officials’ efforts to ease concerns about the shots. Don Callaghan with the Iowa Public Health Department told The Des Moines Register that “it’s not the trend we want to be seeing.”

A new state report says more than 6,700 Iowa schoolchildren obtained religious exemptions to vaccinations this school year, up 13 percent from the year before and more than four times the number 15 years ago. Iowa doesn’t make parents cite specific religious teachings for exemptions. The state merely requires a signed statement that immunization “conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief.”

About 1.3 percent of Iowa schoolchildren now have religious exemptions to vaccination, compared with a national average of 1.5 percent.