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Plane makes emergency landing in Des Moines

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a plane carrying nearly 200 people from Chicago to Phoenix made an emergency landing at the Des Moines airport because of smoke in the cockpit. Kevin Foley, the executive director of the Des Moines International Airport, says the plane was diverted to Des Moines on Friday morning and landed safely.

Andrew Wall, an airport operations supervisor, says the American Airlines flight had taken off from Chicago, about 300 miles east of Des Moines. All the passengers got off the plane safely. Officials are investigating what caused the smoke in the cockpit. KCCI reports that the plane had about 190 people on board. Emergency crews were called to the airport around 11:30 a.m.

 

Are online sales growing in Iowa?

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

State policymakers are beginning to suspect more and more Iowans are shopping online rather than in bricks-and-mortar stores in the state. Data shows wages in Iowa are on the rise, but state sales tax receipts are barely growing.  David Roederer, the governor’s budget director, says “We’re trying to determine whether or not it is a softening of spending or whether it is a change in the way Iowans are purchasing products.”

Iowans are to pay the state sales tax on purchases they make online from retailers with a “physical presence” in the state, but House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, says some businesses do not calculate the taxes for online purchases. “Maybe it’s simply making Iowans more aware that they owe that tax and they’re obligated to send that in if it’s not being collected,” Upmeyer says. “It doesn’t mean that they, but they’re on their own to submit it.” Upmeyer hears from Main Street businesses in Iowa who say it’s unfair competition from online retailers. “There’s also people that don’t want us to collect it,” Upmeyer says.

State sales tax receipts increased just one percent in February compared to the same month a year ago. In the past EIGHT months, sales tax payments to the state are up a little less than one-and-a-half percent. Experts had predicted consumer spending in Iowa would grow twice that much.

(Radio Iowa)

Clarinda man arrested for alleged probation violation

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Page County arrested a Clarinda man Thursday morning on a warrant for Probation violation. 33-year old Kenneth James Johnson was arrested at the Page County Courthouse, in Clarinda. Johnson was taken to the Page County Jail where he was unable to post $2000 and was being held pending further court proceedings.

Adair County Sheriff’s Office reports phone issues

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Sheriff’s Office reports there is currently a technical issue with the Sheriff Office’s phone lines. All administrative lines will only continually ring. That includes 911. HOWEVER, 911 calls will automatically be transferred over to a neighboring county and then they can reach the Adair County Sheriff’s Office through  radio communications for emergency dispatch.

Midland University drops plans for former Dana campus

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

BLAIR, Neb. (AP) – Midland University has dropped plans to reopen the former Dana College campus in Blair. The university announced Friday that it will focus on improvements in its Fremont campus and on finding a permanent home for MBA, other graduate and nontraditional programs in Omaha.

In June 2013 Midland announced that it was raising money to use on the Dana campus. The 126-year-old Lutheran college closed in 2010, and many of its students transferred to Midland University in Fremont, about 20 miles away. Midland officials say the Dana campus required a significant amount of money to maintain an aging physical plant and a challenging path to acquire accreditation. The officials concluded that the costs of reopening Dana were prohibitive compared to other growth options.

‘Shush’ is the new healing word at an Iowa hospital

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A daily quiet time has been established at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Hospital officials say less noise provides a more professional atmosphere for staff members and easier rest for the more than 33,000 patients admitted each year. The initiative took effect Tuesday.

Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that quiet time runs from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Lights are dimmed and people are encouraged to speak softer. The hospital also is working on equipment changes. Hospital officials say the campaign was prompted by patient feedback.

Health program can sue Iowa’s 3 universities for unpaid fees

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s public universities aren’t off the hook yet for refusing to pay millions of dollars in fees to a program that subsidizes health insurance for residents with health risks. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Iowa Individual Health Benefit Reinsurance Association can sue the universities to try to collect the unpaid fees. The decision overturned an appeals court, which ruled last year that the association didn’t have the power to sue.

The association contends that the universities, like all state agencies, school districts and municipalities with self-funded health plans, are members and required to pay annual assessments. For years, the schools agreed and paid. But after the University of Iowa became self-insured in 2010, all three universities contended they were not covered by the law and stopped paying.

Iowa open meetings law extends to public officials’ proxies

News

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court is warning government officials that they cannot make decisions in private by negotiating agreements through third parties. The court ruled Friday that Iowa’s open meetings law extends to all in-person meetings in which a majority of a board is present “by virtue of an agent or a proxy.” The first-of-its-kind ruling in Iowa comes in a case involving the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

To avoid discussing a controversial downsizing plan in public, the board’s three members met individually with the county administrator to negotiate details. The administrator passed along concerns and feedback raised by members to the others.
County employees who were laid off filed a lawsuit alleging the board had violated the open meetings law. Friday’s 4-3 decision reinstates the case for further proceedings.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains “High”

News, Weather

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is advising fire stations and businesses in the county with “Fire Danger” signs, to leave those signs in the “High” category. The National Weather Service says there is a 40-percent chance of light snow Saturday, but any accumulation will quickly melt away as highs reach the lower 40’s.

The lack of significant precipitation over the past few weeks has left vegetation in Shelby County very dry, which, combined with relatively low humidity, makes for dangerous fire conditions.

The Shelby County EMA says you should remember to call your controlled burns in to the EMA Communications center at (712) – 755-2124, and, contact your local Fire Chief before igniting any outdoor burns. The best time to do so, officials have said, is during the late evening or early morning hours.

The next Fire Danger update will be on Monday.

Reminder: Outdoor Warning System test at Noon today in Atlantic

News, Weather

March 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon is reminding the citizens of Atlantic that the Outdoor Warning System will be tested today (Friday) at Noon, in Atlantic. The sirens will sound today and every Friday at Noon during the severe weather season, unless there is an actual threat of severe weather.

Don’t forget, the sirens will be activated next Wednesday as well, as part of the Statewide Tornado Drill. The sirens will sound at 10:15-a.m., Wednesday.