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Absent western Iowa senator has returned to the statehouse

News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A western Iowa lawmaker who’s been absent from the state senate for a month is back at the capitol today (Wednesday). Senator Hubert Houser, a Republican from Carson, met with the secretary of the senate this morning (Wednesday) to ask that he not be paid for four weeks’ worth of the daily expense money legislators receive. “I asked him about past practices and he said this is probably the first time this has ever been done,” Houser says. “There’s been absences before, but they’ve never bothered to ask for reimbursement.”

Houser, who is 71 years old, does not intend to seek reelection this November after 22 years of service in the Iowa House and Senate. Houser says he was surprised by the controversy sparked by his absence. “The way I look at it, having been around here for a long time, that I was only on standing committees and that part was pretty well done when I left,” Houser says. “And I’m in the minority and I’m retiring and I’m a lame duck and, you know, there wasn’t much for me to do here at all, really.”

Republicans hold 24 seats in the senate compared to the 26 Democrats hold, meaning Democrats get to control the senate’s debate agenda. Houser says he’s been spending time expanding his farm operation, building new livestock facilities for his 34-year-old granddaughter to run. Houser says he notified the Republican leaders in the Senate that he needed to be home for the construction. “And so they knew and they said, ‘Will you come in if we need you for votes?’ And I said: ‘Sure,'” Houser says.

Houser says he’s not sure there will be any votes in the Senate today (Wednesday), but he was on the senate floor early this morning and plans to be in the senate every day until the 2014 session adjourns, perhaps sometime this month according to legislative leaders. Houser says he’s spent the past year finding other legislators who will champion key issues he’s handled over the past two decades and Houser says he’s found members of the Iowa House who will take up the cause for the Loess Hills and for the Glenwood Resource Center.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors News

News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors had a very light agenda this (Wednesday) morning, and consequently a short session. The Board moved to re-appoint Chair Frank Waters to the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Regional Governing Board.

In other business, the Supervisors approved a final payment to Gus Construction for a box culvert project on Boston Road, about one-mile east of “The Valley” (near the Highway 71/I-80 interchange). Engineer Charles Marker provided an update on the project. He said the final cost of the project was just over $207,324.00.

Marker said also, applications closed last Friday for a truck driver’s position associated with the Secondary Roads Department’s Massena County Shed. He said they received 42 applications, six candidates were selected to be interviewed, with Marker and Assistant Engineer Rich Hansen narrowing those down to the top two candidates.  A background check is currently underway on those two individuals. Marker said also, that a single bid has been received for replacement of a culvert pipe northeast of Marne with a concrete box-type. No decision has been made on accepting the bid at this time.

And, Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner mentioned to the Board he’s looking into selecting a law school intern through a program with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. He says it’s a good program to help future prosecutors train in the legal field, and possibly place those persons in a job following graduation.

According to the Iowa A-G’s website, first-and second-year law students are being sought for 2014 summer internships. The Office is unable to offer paid internships for first-year students and has a limited number of paid internships for second-year students. The Office has slots for 10 – 15 summer interns.

 

8AM Newscast 04-09-2014

News, Podcasts

April 9th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 04-09-2014

News, Podcasts

April 9th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Traffic stop in Red Oak results in an arrest, Tuesday

News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County report a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon in Red Oak resulted in the arrest of a man on drug-related charges. When a deputy stopped 41-year old Larry Steve Hutchings, of Emerson in the 100 block of west Reed Street, he learned the man was driving on a suspended license. Upon further investigation, Hutchings was taken into custody on two counts of delivery of marijuana in connection with a previous investigation.

Hutchings was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 cash only bond.

State Park Campsites Available for July Fourth Holiday

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Fourth of July holiday is in the reservation window for state park campsites and while there are currently plenty of options, campers shouldn’t wait as sites can go quickly. Todd Coffelt, chief of state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says  “Our parks have a lot to offer and no two parks are the same. If your favorite park has filled, give a different park a try.”  To find a campsite, go to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/

As of Tuesday morning, reservable campsites with electricity have been filled at Clear Lake, Elinor Bedell, Emerson Bay, Gull Point, Lake Macbride and Lewis and Clark, near Onawa. Campers wanting to stay in those parks for the holiday will need to arrive early to secure a walk in site.

A few other state parks are close to filling reserved sites. Ledges and McIntosh Woods each have one reservable handicap site available. Viking Lake has one electrical site; Lake of Three Fires has two; George Wyth, Lake Wapello, Maquoketa Caves and Stone have three; and Green Valley has four. Dolliver Memorial, Union Grove and Wapsipinicon each have five electrical sites; Backbone and Lake Manawa have six; and Bellevue has seven.

Riot at ISU campus overnight could spell end of VEISHEA

News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Speculation abounds that the overnight violence at Iowa State University will spell the end of the long-running annual VEISHEA celebration, which got underway on Monday. Ames police Commander Geoff Huff says the problems started just before midnight with a crowd that was getting out of control at a party in the Campustown area on Hunt Street.  “We had officers go into that area and they were able to get control of that fairly quickly, didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Huff says. “A lot of the crowd moved from that area over to Welch Avenue and at that point they flipped over a car and that’s when this thing got bad.”

More officers were dispatched to try and disperse the crowd but it only grew and became more violent. “The crowd went another block east to Stanton Avenue and got very large, flipped over another car and as officers responded the crowd got worse and started throwing beer cans at the officers, rocks at the officers, anything that wasn’t nailed down,” Huff says. Several injuries are reported, including one young man who was seriously hurt.

“At Welch and Chamberlain, a couple of light poles were knocked down by the large group and somebody was hit when a light pole came down,” Huff says. “It was a head injury. It was very serious. It took us a while to actually get to him because of the crowd and confusion.” The unidentified man was taken to an Ames hospital, then LifeFlighted to a Des Moines hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Huff says it’s unclear if this will mean an end to the annual student-run celebration at I-S-U, with 90-plus years of history.  “I’m sure there’s going to be some meetings that take place today to discuss what happened and how we move forward into this weekend,” he says. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of conversations and I don’t know where that’s going to go right now.”

I-S-U President Steven Leath issued this statement early this morning:
“I was immediately made aware of the situation that began in Campustown shortly before midnight, and have continued to receive information over the past few hours from police and other staff. We are all distraught and disappointed over the events that have unfolded near campus overnight. I can confirm that one of our students has been seriously injured and his condition is unknown at this hour. Student Affairs staff have reached out to the family. At this time, I ask everyone to keep this student in your thoughts and prayers. My senior cabinet will convene first thing in the morning to assess this situation and evaluate options for the remainder of our official Veishea activities planned for this week.”

(Radio Iowa)

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE STATE OF IOWA WEDNESDAY

News, Weather

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WED APR 9 2014 …

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 7 PM

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR EXTREME FIRE CONDITIONS…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING.

* WIND…SOUTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH GUSTING OVER 35 MPH.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…20 TO 25 PERCENT THIS AFTERNOON.

* FUEL…GRASSES ACROSS THE ENTIRE STATE REMAIN 85 TO 100 PERCENT CURED. VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES ON TUESDAY HAS PRIMED THESE FUELS FOR EASY IGNITION AND THE POTENTIAL FOR RAPID FIRE GROWTH.

* IMPACTS…RAPID FIRE GROWTH IS LIKELY TODAY FOR ANY FUELS THAT BECOME IGNITED. OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.

Police: 1 hurt in Iowa State crowd disturbance

News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Ames police say 1 person has been seriously injured after a rowdy crowd disturbance near the Iowa State University campus in which people overturned cars and toppled light poles.  Police Cmdr. Geoff Huff says in a statement on the agency’s Facebook page that the crowd massed late Tuesday in the Campustown area and threw beer cans at officers after overturning two cars.

He says people also knocked down two light poles, striking the person who was badly hurt. Police say the person, who wasn’t immediately identified, was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital.
The Des Moines Register says the disturbances came amid Iowa State’s annual Veishea celebration.

Police told The Associated Press that the crowd dispersed early Wednesday. They sought the public’s help identifying those involved.

Council Bluffs: Large sum in unpaid trash bills

News

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The city of Council Bluffs has reported more than $670,000 in unpaid trash bills from customers. The Council Bluffs Public Health Department says the unpaid bills are from the last three billing cycles, which occur every two months. The unpaid bills are tied to more than 3,600 accounts.

Health Director Donn Dierks tells the Daily Nonpareil that customers have 45 days to pay their bills. There is a late fee added after that. County official then put a lien on a delinquent property after another period of time.

Officials say the city continues to collect garbage whether the sanitation bill is paid or not.