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Ham Radio Operators provide valuable service when severe weather strikes

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

When a string of tornadoes hit the Central U-S and Great Lakes Region the weekend of April 14th, communications in some of those areas was knocked out, leaving local officials with no way of calling for help or reporting damage. That’s where HAM radio operator’s stepped-in.

Amateur Radio Operators at work (Photo courtesy Des Moines Radio Amateurs Assoc.)

Tom Reis, SKYWARN Coordinator for the Des Moines National Weather Service Office, says just before an EF-2 tornado hit Creston, causing severe damage to the hospital and other structures, amateur radio, or “HAM” operators in Creston reported storm observations directly to the National Weather Service. Reis says they’re a valuable asset to discerning information that could help save lives.

When severe weather is imminent, the National Weather Service office in Des Moines calls in one of four trained operators to come out and coordinate HAM communications. When the storms hit April 14th, Reis, who lives nearby, was called into action. He says at 6:59-p.m., he was in contact with an amateur radio operator who lives two-miles west of Creston. One minute later, he spoke with an operator in Creston. Both were reporting hail. He says if the tornado had not been rain-wrapped, it’s likely both operators would have seen it and given warning to the Weather Service before it hit. Reis says the radar signature for the tornado was very brief , and almost imperceptible. He says by the time they could “Pull the trigger” on warning residents, the twister had left the Creston area. After the storm passed, HAM operators began to provide communications support to local officials.

The Weather Service learned from the radio op’s the hospital had been hit and there were injuries. That information Reis says, was very valuable, and enabled officials to direct State resources to the area. He says the day following the storm, officials discovered that the local school district lost the 80 foot tower that is used for the school bus repeater. The Creston Amateur Radio Club offered their antenna, coax and space on their 200-foot to the school.

Reis it doesn’t take much to become an amateur radio operator, and people of all ages enjoy the hobby, which also provides a service. For more information, go to www.dmraa.com. He also recommends everyone attend a free Spotter Training course, and purchase a NOAA Weather radio. The six-digit codes can be programmed with assistance from your local Emergency Management Office, or by finding your county and surrounding county codes at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm.

Harlan man arrested for attempted murder, Thursday

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan report three people were arrested, one of them for attempted murder, following an investigation into a stabbing incident. Officials say authorities received a call Thursday morning regarding an alleged stabbing. During their investigation, two people involved in a knife fight were arrested and treated at Myrtue Medical Center for their wounds, while a third individual was taken into custody at a separate residence, following the execution of a search warrant.

27-year old Bradley Ryan, of Harlan, was taken into custody on charges of: Public Intoxication; Disorderly Conduct; and Assault on a Peace Officer. His bond was set at $2,000. 27-year old Andrew Smith, also of Harlan, was arrested for: Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was being held in the Shelby County Jail ojn $1,000 bond.

And, 29-year old Sean Gifford, of Harlan, faces a felony charge of Attempted Murder. His bond was set at $25,000. He was also being held in the Shelby County Jail.

Atlantic woman arrested for OWI

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports 38-year old Ranea Fief, of Atlantic, was arrested Thursday on an OWI charge, Fief was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

The Page County Sheriff’s office says no injuries were reported when a car struck and killed a deer on 140th Street Thursday morning. Officials say 68-year old Judith Barker, of Villisca, was traveling west on 140th when a deer crossed the road. Barker was unable to avoid hitting the animal. Her 2007 Ford Fusion sustained $2,500 damage, and was rendered inoperative.

Numerous weapons stolen from rural Page County home

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Department is asking for your help in identifying the person or persons responsible for a burglary at a rural Braddyville residence, which resulted in the theft of several weapons. The incident happened sometime between 9:45-a.m. and 9:45-p.m. Wednesday (April 18th), at 2668 310th Street.

Included among the missing items is: a Jimenez 9-mm nickel-plated handgun with 2 hip concealed holsters and 2 boxes of Winchester 9-mm shells; a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun with a box of Winchester shells; a .22-caliber bolt action rifle equipped with a scope; and, a pair of Fila 13 tennis shoes. The items have an estimated combined value of nearly $700.

If you have any information about the crime, you’re asked to call the Page County Sheriff’s Office at 712-542-5193.

(9-a.m. News)

Man arrested in Shenandoah on a CA warrant

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Page County say a Shenandoah man was arrested Wednesday night on a warrant out of California. 31-year old John Joseph Bowen was taken into custody at around 10:30-p.m., at his residence in Shenandoah. Bowen was wanted for a Parole Violation. He was being held in the Page County Jail without bond, while awaiting extradition to California.

8AM Newscast 04-20-2012

News, Podcasts

April 20th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Authorities say Onawa mom drowned boy under faucet

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a Monona County woman held her infant son under a bathtub faucet to drown him.  Twenty-four-old Ashley Cameron, of Onawa, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 15-month-old son, Markis Dahms.  Assistant Onawa Police Chief Jim Fouts said Thursday that investigators believe Cameron acted alone. Fouts says Cameron “was with Markis during the time of his death, and she was the sole caregiver for Markis.”  Officers were sent to the Onawa home on Feb. 11th because of a report that a toddler wasn’t breathing. Fouts says Cameron wasn’t arrested until all the autopsy results had been obtained.  She remains jailed pending $1 million bail.  Cameron’s 2-year-old daughter is being cared for by relatives.

Safety expert fives advice for making homes more storm proof

News, Weather

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

More than one hundred Iowa homes were damaged and at least 14 were destroyed in last weekend’s tornadoes and severe storms. Julie Rochman, president of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, offers some advice for Iowans who have to rebuild. Rochman says science shows we can make homes more resistant to strong winds, hail and flying debris. “In the middle of the country, the building codes really do not incorporate provisions that will make your home really safe from really high winds,” Rochman says. “The main thing you want to make sure of, if you’re building a new home or looking at how to make your current home safer, you need your roof to be held on by more than gravity. Strapping the roof to the walls, the walls to each other and the walls to the foundation to create a continuous path of safety.” While we can’t prevent tornadoes, she says we can reduce the level of damage and loss of life from these horrific storms.

“First, it’s important to understand that even the best engineering can be overwhelmed by an EF4 or EF5 tornado,” she says. “When it comes to EF-zeros, ones and twos, we really can eliminate that kind of damage that comes from debris in a storm, breaking windows, the gusty winds tearing off a piece or all of the roof, those types of things can be prevented.” When rebuilding, she says it’s a good idea to look at the cost benefits of making the structure more wind-resistant, adding, it doesn’t cost that much more. Rochman, a Nebraska native, says storm shelters serve an important purpose.

“It used to be that everybody had a safe place, a basement or a root cellar, someplace they could go that was windowless and away from the wind,” she says. “Now, unfortunately, fewer people have those types of places. We do recommend if someone wants to be particularly safe, there are storm shelters that are certified by the National Storm Shelter Association and there are FEMA grants that help people offset the cost of those.” A federal report finds the number of tornadoes rose dramatically over the past year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there were 379 preliminary tornado reports in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 154 twisters during the same period last year. The 20-year average for the first quarter is 144.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 04-20-2012

News, Podcasts

April 20th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Iowa anti-bullying hotline under consideration

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A state hotline to combat bullying is under consideration for Iowa. The idea follows the weekend suicide of a 14-year-old northwest Iowa boy who was bullied after he acknowledged to others that he was gay. At least two lawmakers are checking into whether a hotline can be set up before the legislative session ends. Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, says she’s been thinking about “how isolating it is for kids who are bullied and are scared.”  Mascher and Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, are checking costs and looking into whether an anti-bullying component could be added to the Iowa Suicide & Crisis Hotlines.