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Iowa Red Cross volunteers head to Illinois after deadly twisters

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Dozens of Iowans who volunteer for disaster duty with the American Red Cross are heading for Illinois where multiple tornadoes hit Sunday. The Red Cross’ national office is asking for all Iowa-based emergency response vehicles, or ERVs, to get to Illinois as soon as possible. Kara Kelly, spokeswoman for the central Iowa chapter, says all five of their ERVs will be heading east. (The first one was scheduled to leave this morning). The others will go as soon as crews are assembled.  “It’s important to note that this is a two-week commitment so, over the holidays, that’s a big thing to ask of people,” Kelly says, “but I’m sure with this kind of relief effort, we’ll have lots of people who want to step forward and go.”

As many as 77 twisters touched down across the Midwest over several hours Sunday afternoon. At least six people were killed in Illinois, dozens injured and hundreds had damage to their homes. Kelly says the Iowa volunteers in the ERVs will be passing out hot meals, snacks and bottled water. “Mostly what they’ll be doing is the mobile feeding in the response vehicles,” Kelly says. “A lot of times they’ll also provide clean-up kits, so equipment to help people clean up their homes.”

The storms dumped heavy rain on Iowa Sunday morning but there are no reports of any tornado touchdowns here. The large weather system turned violent in Illinois, doing significant destruction near Peoria in Washington, Illinois. Entire blocks were wiped out. Kelly says the agency is offering beds and meals, for now. “We do have shelters open in Illinois as there are hundreds of people displaced,” Kelly says. “It’s important to get in there and get those immediate needs taken care of.”

The strong band of storms brought tornadoes and wind damage to many other states, including: Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Kelly says Iowans who want to offer financial help can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.  “You can do that in three simple ways: going to RedCross.org, or calling 800-Red-Cross, you can also do the $10 text donation on your phone bill by texting “Red Cross” to 9-0-9-9-9.”

(Radio Iowa)

Leaks from underground tanks less frequent in Iowa

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Leaks of hazardous chemicals from underground storage tanks are becoming less common in Iowa, according to the supervisor of the Underground Storage Tanks (UST) division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Elaine Douskey credits several new provisions enacted within the last few years, including a federal law which allows states to cut off fuel deliveries to gas stations that are out of compliance with UST regulations.  “It’s kind of a quick way to take enforcement without going through the long legal process,” Douskey says. “It’s a very effective in getting people back into compliance.”

In addition, Iowa adopted a provision which requires new tank systems to have a secondary containment unit.  “The simplest way I explain this…is it’s a tank inside a tank,” Douskey says. “You can have a release and not have it be a leak into the environment.”

Around 40 to 50 leaks from underground tanks are reported around the state every year, according to Douskey. The Environmental Professionals of Iowa Fall Symposium is taking place tonight (Monday) and tomorrow in Johnston. The featured speaker will be Carolyn Hoskinson, Director of the Office of Underground Storage Tanks for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Douskey says Hoskinson’s first ever visit to the state as director coincides with the 25th anniversary of the creation of the EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks. The EPA is also set to roll out new regulations dealing with the tanks next year. “It’s kind of a bench mark point in our program and the nation’s program to take a look at where we’ve been, where we’ve come, and how we make improvements.”

Hoskinson’s is scheduled to speak at a luncheon tomorrow (Tuesday). She began her career with the EPA in 1991 and became Director of the Office of Underground Storage Tanks in 2009.

(Radio Iowa)

Great American Smokeout is Thursday, get free app to blast smoking zombies

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Some Iowans will be able to trade a pack of cigarettes for a cold turkey sandwich as part of this week’s 38th annual Great American Smokeout, which is set for Thursday. Chuck Reed, with the American Cancer Society office in Des Moines, says the event is designed for smokers who want to live a healthier life. “It’s a terrific day to not only not smoke for one day but also to develop a plan where you can quit for good,” Reed says.

Estimates find 23-hundred Iowans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 18-hundred will die from it. Through events like Thursday’s Smokeout, Reed says smokers can envision their life without tobacco. “If you can quit for a day, that shows you that you can do it and then if you can make that plan and get the support you need and the help, hopefully you can be smoke-free for the rest of your life,” Reed says.

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U-S, yet nearly one in every five Iowans smoke. Studies find cigarette usage has dropped dramatically over the decades. “Right now, the adult smoking rate in Iowa is about 18.1%,” Reed says. “If you go back to post-World War Two days, it was about 50%.”

Various American Cancer Society offices across Iowa will be holding special events on Thursday, like the turkey sandwich giveaways. There’s also a free mobile phone game app where you use a water gun to blast cigarette-smoking zombies. Learn about the steps to take to quit smoking, with resources and support, at 800-227-2345 or the website: www.cancer.org.

(Radio Iowa)

Quitline Iowa offers support for “Great American Smokeout” participants

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans who need help quitting smoking or using smokeless tobacco of a great incentive to enroll in Quitline Iowa before the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® on November 21. As part of a new expanded offering that began in October, any participant who enrolls could be eligible for eight weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy, either patches, gum or lozenges.

Iowans can take advantage of the program benefits offered by Quitline Iowa by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The program gives participants access to a trained Quit Coach® to help them achieve freedom from tobacco. The Quit Coach® provides services including:

  • Preparing participants for their Quit Date
  • Helping develop an individualized Quitting Plan
  • Providing tips and support to live in a smoke-free environment
  • Offering advice and information on medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms

The Great American Smokeout® grew out of an event in 1974, when the editor of a Minnesota newspaper organized the first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day. Two years later, on November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society® successfully encouraged almost 1 million smokers to quit for the day. That event marked the first of what would become an annual event across the nation in 1977.

Tobacco users can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitnow.net/iowa today to enroll in the program and talk to a Quit Coach®. Registration specialists and Quit Coaches are available 24 hours a day.

Sioux City center must repay some flood aid

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center must repay more than $34,000 in flood aid.  The Sioux City Journal says the center had hired temporary workers to remove exhibits and other items to higher ground as Missouri River floodwaters menaced Sioux City in late May 2011. The workers also helped build a berm to protect the center and its sister facility, the Betty Strong Encounter Center.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency later provided nearly $78,600 in flood aid to the private nonprofit cultural group. But an audit showed the center’s board didn’t actually approve hiring the workers and paying for use of their pickups and other equipment.

State and federal officials eventually ruled the labor-related expenses couldn’t be reimbursed, so the center has to pay back some of the money.

8AM Newscast 11-18-2013

News, Podcasts

November 18th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

7AM Newscast 11-18-2013

News, Podcasts

November 18th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Iowa News Headlines: Mon., Nov. 18th 2013

News

November 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The appropriateness of an Iowa lottery scratch game with ties to college football in the state is being questioned. Some lawmakers and professors question whether state universities should help promote gambling. The debate is focused on the “Tail Gator” game that offers a chance to win packages to attend football games at Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Public documents show Iowa will get $75,000 this season for the lottery promotion. Iowa State will get $60,000 and Northern Iowa will receive $20,000.

RADCLIFFE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa authorities say a 17-year-old from Jewell was killed when his car crossed the center line of a highway and collided with a semi. The accident happened just outside Radcliffe on Saturday morning. The Iowa State Patrol says Braden Wicks’ 2004 Chevrolet Impala crossed Highway 175 and collided with the semitrailer truck driven by 62-year-old Floyd Wiley of Zearing.

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a Nebraska man was killed when a train struck his car in southwest Iowa. The accident happened in Hamburg around 3 a.m. yesterday. The Fremont County Sheriff’s office says 39-year-old Christopher Hayes of Brownville, Neb., was driving a 1997 Chrysler that got stuck on the tracks. Hayes died at the scene. Authorities say they believe alcohol was a factor in the accident.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Someone bought a Powerball lottery ticket worth $1 million at a convenience store in eastern Iowa. State Lottery officials say the winning ticket at a Kum & Go on Highway 38 in Tipton. The ticket matched the first five numbers but not the Powerball number in Saturday’s drawing.

Griswold, CAM & EHK School Board meetings on Monday

News

November 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Griswold, CAM & Elk Horn-Kimballton School Boards will hold separate, regular meetings Monday. The Griswold Board will gather at 5:45-p.m. in the Central Office Board Room at the Middle School/High School Building. During their session, the Board will receive updates on projects and act on approving the second reading of various Board Policies. They’ll also act on an ELL (English Language Learner’s) Policy, additional SIAC members, and the 1st reading of Board Policies in the 900 series.

The CAM School Board will meet in the CAM High School Media Center at 6:30. During their session, the Board will discuss and act on Capital projects; open enrollment applications; Early retirement; Authorizing a request to the SBRC (School Budget Review Committee) for allowable growth for increasing enrollment/open enrollments out; Approval of a bank loan for capital projects; a contract; and, the Board policy on open enrollment. The CAM Board meeting will conclude with a closed session for negotiations.

And the Elk Horn-Kimballton School Board will meet in the Family and Consumer Science Room at the High School in Elk Horn, beginning at 7-p.m., Monday. During their meeting, the EHK Board will discuss and act on: An early retirement package; approval of various Board policies; Approval of a request from the SBRC for Modified Allowable Growth for Open Enrollment Out students for the 2012-2013 school year, and approval of the Certified Annual Report (CAR) for 2012-2013.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board to meet Monday evening

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Board of Directors will meet Monday at the new Parks and Rec Maintenance Building at 1200 Sunnyside Lane, beginning at 5-p.m., with the swearing-in of new Board members, and the regular meeting at 5:15.

During the Board’s session, they will elect Board Officers for a two-year term (2013-2014 & 2014-2015). They’ll also receive an update on Schildberg Lake #1 with regard to Fishery development, and review the Tobacco Free Policy and ordinance for Sunnyside Park. Other business includes: An update on the Schildberg Recreation Area (SRA) Campground; the setting of a date for the Park Maintenance Building Open House; An update on the boat ramp and Buck Creek Dog Park projects, and recent fundraiser for the dog park; and an update on the Bike Rack Project and Atlantic Walking Path.

Discussion items near the end of the meeting will include the future of the older metal buildings at Sunnyside Park, and Sunnyside Park Closing dates.