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In pursuit, GOP contenders rumble through Iowa

News

December 27th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Three Republican presidential candidates, each claiming to be the truly conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, are launching bus tours today (Tuesday) through this early nominating state. Just a week before Iowa’s leadoff caucuses, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich prepared to rumble through small towns aboard their campaign buses. They’re looking for supporters one at a time and hoping to become a roadblock for Romney, who is looking stronger than expected. Romney returns to Iowa on Tuesday after a quick stop in his long-established stronghold of New Hampshire.

Ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses that officially begin the GOP’s nominating calendar, the candidates were returning for a final rush of speeches, meet-and-greet stops and town hall-style meetings. And they are bracing for one last round of advertising, which most observers are expecting to be nasty. Each campaign has also tried to gauge the level of enthusiasm for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The libertarian favorite has built a strong organization here and recent polls suggest he is peaking, a rise that has him tied with or even ahead of Romney — and drawing more scrutiny for his views. “There’s really three primaries going on here,” former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told reporters in Adel, where he went hunting for pheasant and quail. “There’s the libertarian primary, which Ron Paul is going to win. Then you’ve got the moderate primary, which Gingrich and Romney are scrumming for. And you’ve got three folks who are running as strong conservatives.” He included himself, Bachmann and Perry in that conservative camp. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman signaled early on he would not compete in Iowa and instead plans to start his campaign in New Hampshire.

But with time ticking down in Iowa, several hopefuls are packing their days with rambling road trips to sparsely populated corners of the state. If history is a predictor, some of these candidates will be former candidates after the first contest. Bachmann last week began her effort to visit each of the state’s 99 counties, an ambitious pace that left her darting into diners and gas stations for quick visits. She was set to return to that pace early Tuesday in Council Bluffs, on the state’s western edge. By nightfall, she was slated to have visited another 10 counties.

Perry was set to begin his tour in Council Bluffs several hours later. He planned just four stops during his day. Gingrich was ready to return to the opposite side of the state, with three stops in Dubuque. Paul was set to return Wednesday for a late push ahead of the New Year’s holiday. Many of those expected to participate in the caucuses remain undecided, and most of the contenders have seen their fortunes rise quickly and then deflate. Romney and Santorum have remained relatively steady: Romney solidly near the top and Santorum consistently struggling to build support. Yet Santorum alone has achieved the accomplishment of visiting all 99 counties. With more than 350 campaign events behind him this year, he is hoping the early groundwork — and a possible late surge — help him beat expectations. He was slated to start his day in Fort Dodge, in the deeply conservative far northwest corner of the state.

Bachman to visit Atlantic & nearby towns, Tuesday

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will continue her 99 county bus tour today (Tuesday, December 27th), visiting with voters in nine towns throughout Iowa. The Minnesota Congresswoman will be in Atlantic Tuesday evening at the Pizza Ranch Restaurant, beginning at 7:10 p.m.  Other stops include Council Bluffs, Harlan, Glenwood, Sidney, Shenandoah, Red Oak and Hamlin.

Bachman events, time and locations…

EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:
Council Bluffs Tour Stop and Media Availability
9:30 am CT
Scooter’s Coffeehouse
3030 W. Broadway Suite 1
Council Bluffs, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Mondamin Tour Stop
10:25 am CT
King’s Crossing Cafe
97 Maple Street
Mondamin, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Onawa Tour Stop
11:10 am CT
Dairy Queen
2805 Iowa Avenue
Onawa, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Harlan Tour Stop
12:45 pm CT
Pizza Ranch
613 Court Street
Harlan, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Glenwood Tour Stop
2:30 pm CT
Oasis Steakhouse & Lounge
104 South Walnut Street
Glenwood, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Sidney Tour Stop
3:45 pm CT
Penn Drug
714 Illinois Street
Sidney, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Robin Read House Party
4:40 pm CT
Home of Robin Read
404 South Center Street
Shenandoah, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Red Oak Tour Stop
5:45 pm CT
Pizza Ranch
1511 North Broadway Street
Red Oak, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Atlantic Tour Stop
7:10 pm CT
Pizza Ranch
1512 East 7th Street
Atlantic, Iowa
EVENT:
WHEN:
WHERE:

Hamlin Tour Stop
8:30 pm CT
Darrell’s Place
4010 1st Street
Hamlin, Iowa

Strange odor leads to 5 arrests in Red Oak

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An investigation into a strange odor in Red Oak Monday morning led to the arrest of 5 people on drug charges. Police in Red Oak Police arrived at 1660 E Summit, and after an investigation, arrested 19-year old Timothy Gene Humphrey, of Omaha, 18- year old Ashley Ann Wood and 19-year old Jodi Michelle Booher, both of Shenandoah, 24-year old Madison Christina Parson, and 20-year old Brett Michael Donnelly, both of Red Oak, for gathering where a controlled substance was being used.

Humphrey was also charged with possession of a controlled substance. All five persons were brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on 1,000 dollars bond each. Red Oak Police was assisted in their investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies.

Website to send bullying reports to Iowa schools

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some people, advocacy groups and Iowa school districts have been seeking innovative ways to battle bullying of students. A website being launched this month, http://ReportBullyingIowa.com, will take reports from students and parents and forward the reports to school districts. The website is run by the Eychaner Foundation, a Des Moines nonprofit group that says it wants to promote tolerance and nondiscrimination.

Iowa law requires school districts to report bullying cases to the Iowa Department of Education. But last year, more than half of Iowa school districts didn’t report any bullying. Foundation executive director Michael Bowser told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/tVCWsa ) there are many reasons for why reports aren’t being made, but he says the website could make it easier to report bullying.

Christmas Day fire destroys western Iowa home

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Friends, family, neighbors and strangers have been helping members of a western Iowa family who lost their home to a fire on Christmas Day. The family of Mary Pierson and her husband had been celebrating Sunday morning when they noticed a smoky smell. They soon found the attached garage was in flames. The family members fled the house safely. They turned to watch as flames consumed it, their possessions and their new presents inside.

Pierson told Omaha, Neb., television station KETV that she wanted someone to slap her and tell her it was a bad dream. But soon, people began stopping by with offers of money, clothing, replacement presents and other help. The fire cause is being investigated.

Study: Neb., Iowa towns among most secure cities

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Several cities in Nebraska and Iowa made Farmers Insurance’s lists of the safer and most secure places to live in the country. The insurer ranked cities of different sizes based on crime rates, natural disaster risks, environmental hazards, car accidents, unemployment, housing depreciation and other factors. In the category for cities with at least 500,000 residents, the Omaha-Council Bluffs, Iowa, metro area ranked eighth, and Des Moines, Iowa, ranked 19th.

Among cities with between 150,000 and 500,000 residents, Lincoln, NE, ranked eighth. Among smaller cities with fewer than 150,000 people, Iowa City, Iowa, ranked 19th and Sioux City, Iowa, came in 20th.

Got the munchies? Hold on til the Girl Scout cookies come out 2 1/2 weeks!

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa (GSGI) say persons wanting to order and receive a wide variety of Girl Scout cookies won’t have to wait much longer, especially with the advent of a new ordering system. According to the GSGI, from the very first day of the program, girls will have packages of cookies ON HAND to sell door to door, at Cookie Booths, and to family and friends. Girl scouts will exchange cookies and payments in one easy step! No more taking orders, waiting weeks, and then returning for the delivery and collecting money.  The “Cookies Now!” program condenses all that work into one simple step. The Cookie Program will run January 13th through March 4th, 2012, in both Iowa and Nebraska.

In years past, the Scouts took orders, ordered the cookies from the supplier, then handed out cookies and collected payment about three to five weeks later. Officials say since the Girl Scouts, along with their parents and troop leaders, develop their sales plans, the direct sales also allow the girls to cultivate skills they can use: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. They will have to decide whether to go door-to-door or set up cookie booths at public locations such as grocery stores. They will have to keep track of their sales and the money collected.

Mid-America Council Scouts have sold a LOT of popcorn

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the The Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council say the  6,375 Boy Scouts in the M-A-C sold nearly $3.5 million worth of popcorn during a recent fundraiser. Of that total, $1.2 million benefited individual Scouts, helping send them to camp, buy supplies for Scouting and participate in activities. The Mid-America Council netted more than $1 million that will be used to help offset the cost of operating camps, and to provide training for Scouts and leaders. This year’s campaign also contributed more than $122,000 worth of popcorn in support of local military families. And, the popcorn campaign is helping send 192 Mid-America Council Scouts to college through a scholarship program.

The Mid-America Council serves 33,701 youth in 58 counties in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. It’s supported by 9,585 volunteers, is headquartered in Omaha, with a satellite service center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Stomach ailment reported in 5 Iowa counties

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health has received reports of eight medium to large outbreaks of probable norovirus in at least five counties. Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. The illness usually begins 24 to 48 hours after exposure and lasts one to two days. The IDPH says three groups of people became ill after eating at a restaurant where several food handlers had also been sick. Outbreaks were also associated with events like holiday parties and holiday potlucks. Medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says if a person has had any stomach illness, he or she should not prepare food of any kind for others until 48 hours have passed since his or her recovery.

The IDPH did not identify the five counties where the probable norovirus outbreaks occurred.

Bluffs man seriously injured fleeing from authorities

News

December 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A  western Iowa man was flown to an Omaha hospital after the vehicle he was driving went out of control and rolled over two-separate times Sunday near Underwood, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 33-year old Justin D. Alstadt, of Council Bluffs, was attempting to flee from officers, when the 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup he was driving left the road near 270th Street and Pinoak Road at around 9:10-p.m., Sunday. The truck rolled over once before coming to rest on its wheels. Alstadt was flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries. Officials say he was not wearing a seat belt.

Alstadt was being pulled over on suspicion of having a broken taillight and driving 20 mph over the 30 mph speed limit on Highway 191, in Neola. The trooper who tried to stop him didn’t know at the time, that the Council Bluffs Police Department had issued a warrant for Alstadt’s arrest in connection with a domestic incident which allegedly took place earlier that day.  When Alstadt sped away from the trooper, his pickup reached speeds of 70 mph, sometimes on gravel roads. At one point, officials say the Chevy rolled over, but then landed on its wheels. Amazingly enough, Alstadt took off again, but the chase came to an end when the pickup went out of control and rolled over for a second, and final time.

Officials say alcohol was likely a factor in the crash, as troopers reportedly detected an odor of booze in the the vehicle Alstadt was driving. Charges are currently pending.