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New Fraud Scheme Targets Older Iowans


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s Senior Medicare Patrol has issued a warning that scammers posing as Medicare officials are phoning Iowa’s seniors and attempting to visit them in their homes.  They are trying to obtain personal information to commit financial fraud.  Their hook is to convince the potential victim that they have new and critical information about their Medicare benefits.

Deb Yankey, State Coordinator for Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol, advises, “Watch out for a caller who says they want to bring details about a new Medicare Summary Notice or deliver a new Medicare card to you.  Medicare officials do NOT phone seniors to discuss changes and they do NOT visit your home.  It’s shrewd to be rude – hang up the phone and don’t open your door to a stranger.”

These calls have been received by seniors in Polk and Marion counties within the last few days.  Senior Medicare Patrol expects that calls will spread statewide.  The scammers have discovered that Medicare will soon be sending a redesigned “Medicare Summary Notice,” which is the explanation of benefits sent to persons on Medicare for all services or supplies billed to Medicare.  Scammers typically use the occurrence of a change in a government program, to design new fraud schemes.  Iowans will begin to see the new Medicare notices in their mail over the next several months.

Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) asks for Iowans to report if they receive this type of call, to SMP at 800-423-2449 or to Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.   SMP will report directly to Medicare, how these calls are affecting Iowans.    However, if you give out your bank information to a person you suspect is a scammer, the first and most important thing to do is immediately call your bank and local law enforcement.

For more information, call Southwest 8 Senior Services at 712-328-2540 or toll free at 800-432-9209.

Democratic lawmakers seek to expand Iowa Medicaid


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Democratic legislators are pushing to expand Medicaid in Iowa.  Sen. Jack Hatch and Rep. Lisa Heddens, both Democrats, introduced legislation Tuesday that would broaden eligibility requirements for the state program, which covers low-income people, including children and the disabled.  President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul provides funding to states that do this expansion.

If expanded, as many as 150,000 people could be added to Iowa’s Medicaid rolls, mostly low-income childless adults.   Gov. Terry Branstad has opposed an expansion, based on the cost to the state. The federal government would pay the full cost of the expansion for three years and then the state would gradually assume 10 percent of the costs for the new enrollees.

Watch for discolored water in Carson


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the City of Carson are urging citizens to watch for discoloration in their water. The water discoloration is due to mechanical failure at the water treatment plant causing higher concentration of potassium permanganate in the water in Carson. The city maintenance supervisor recommends that residents do not drink the water until the water color clears up. The supervisor also recommends not washing white colored clothing at this time.

Google to expand Wi-Fi signal in Council Bluffs


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Google will invest an additional $50,000 into its public wireless Internet service to cover more of Council Bluffs.  Google announced the plan to expand its Wi-Fi network near its data center in Council Bluffs today (Tuesday).

Google’s existing Wi-Fi network already provides high-speed Internet connections across downtown Council Bluffs, the Mid-America Center and the city’s recreational complex. That network was built with a $154,462 Google grant.  The expansion in 2013 will provide Wi-Fi service to the interior of Council Bluffs City Hall and the new River’s Edge Park.

Chris Russell, who runs Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, says the company is happy to provide Internet access to the surrounding community.  Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan says Google has been a great corporate partner.

Former Mills County employee sentenced to 25 years in prison


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A former employee with the Mills County Treasurer’s Office was sentenced Monday to 25-years in prison on a negotiated felony charge of Ongoing Criminal Conduct. 43-year old Tammy Jo Gammon, of Glenwood, had faced seven charges, including 1st degree theft, felony misconduct in office, and 5 counts of forgery. The sentence she received under the plea bargain was the maximum allowable by law.

The charges against Gammon were the result of a State audit that uncovered more than 182 transactions, which resulted in more than $36,000 being stolen from the Mills County Treasurer’s office.

Sen. Grassley says retiring in 2016 isn’t on his radar


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

While Senator Tom Harkin says he won’t seek reelection in 2014, Iowa’s other U-S senator says he isn’t ready to think about retiring yet. Senator Chuck Grassley will be turning 80 years old in September but says stepping down when his term is up in 2016 simply isn’t on his radar.  “I don’t have my eyes set on 2016 because right now, we have all of these big fiscal problems, economic problems, all of those are related to are we going to get unemployment down?” Grassley says. “We’ve gotta’ get this economy turned around and that’s going to take up all my thought.” Harkin’s announcement over the weekend took many people by surprise. Grassley says he won’t be thinking about quitting until maybe a year and a half before his term is up — perhaps in another 18 months from now.

“Right now, I’m doing those things that you’d have to do if you’re running for reelection,” Grassley says, “be very vigorous as a legislator, work very hard for the Republican party, help other candidates, raise money for my own campaign, raise money to help other people campaign, and that’s what I’m doing.” Harkin is 73 and a Democrat while the 79-year-old Grassley is a Republican. Democrats now hold power in the Senate and Harkin’s departure could be seen as placing pressure on Grassley to try and stay in office to help the G-O-P gain power, but Grassley says that’s just not the case.

“I haven’t felt any pressure at any time to run, the first time or anytime, for reelection,” Grassley says. “I think if you have a lot of politicians saying, ‘Yeah, I’m getting all kinds of pressure to run for this job or that job,’ I think you’d better, well, I don’t think they’re entirely truthful.” Prior to heading to Congress, Grassley served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 to 1975. Grassley was first elected to the U-S House in 1975 and has served in the Senate since 1980. By the time Harkin finishes his term in 2014, he’ll have served 40 years in Congress — 10 in the House and 30 in the Senate.

(Radio Iowa)

Sioux City Council extends casino agreement


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The City Council has extended its agreement with the owners of the floating Argosy Casino for up to 30 months.  The city and Argosy owner Penn National Gaming Co. made a deal last month that would keep the boat operating on the Missouri River until a new land-based casino is ready to open.  The council approved the extension on Monday.

The lease initially will be extended through Jan. 30, 2014. Penn National would have the option to extend it for 18 months more.  Penn National is one of three operators seeking the new license for the land-based casino.

Southwest 8 Senior Services to lead a dozen more counties under consolidation


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Southwest 8 Senior Services will be the lead agency for a new agency that will provide services for senior citizens in 20 western Iowa Counties. The state of Iowa plans to consolidate the current 13 Area Agencies on Aging into 6 by July, 1st, 2013. The goal for all six agencies is that hopefully, the consolidation will not disrupt services to their clients.

Currently, Southwest 8 Senior Services covers 8 counties including Cass, Harrison, Pottawattamie and Shelby among others. With the new consolidation, Southwest 8 will represent the planning and service area Six which will add 12 more counties including Monona County and those farther north. The hub for area Six will still be in Council Bluffs but under the direction of Barb Morrison.

The goal is to have all 20 counties in each service area access to equal services. The current administrative offices are planning to stay open for at least the 1st year. The Iowa State Department of Aging states they are not looking at reducing the number of employees in senior service areas either. Senior citizens in Audubon and Crawford County, are being grouped in planning and service area One, along with Carroll County. Area 1 will run out of Elderbridge Area Agency on Aging in Mason City.

For more information on the consolidation of Senior Services throughout Iowa log on to www.iowaaging.gov., or www.southwest8.org.

McDermott arrested for violating a No Contact Order


January 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man who is scheduled to stand trial in May on Domestic Assault and Willful Injury charges, was arrested Monday, for violating a modified No Contact Order. The Atlantic Police Department reports 45-year old Rex McDermott was taken into custody and brought to the Cass County Jail.

A trial on his other charges will be held May 29th. McDermott has plead Not Guilty to the charges which were filed following an incident which occurred in October 2012  at R&B Feeds in Atlantic. A separate trial will take place March 12th with regard to a charge of Operating a motor vehicle While under the Influence (OWI), 1st offense. The incident which led to his arrest on that charge allegedly took place on October 24th, 2012, in Webster County.

8AM Newscast 01-29-2013

News, Podcasts

January 29th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson