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Tourism brings in big bucks for Pott. County & Council Bluffs

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials in Iowa say tourism spending in the State in 2011 amounted to more than $430-million in state and local taxes, with spending in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County amounting to nearly $300-million that same year, the latest year for which figures are available. The Omaha World-Herald reports the number of employees in the county with tourism-related jobs topped 3,200 with a payroll of more than $52 million.

Iowa lawmakers got a chance to see the numbers at a statewide tourism convention held last week in Des Moines. More than 100 state legislators visited the convention at the Iowa State Fair Grounds, where dozens of Iowa communities showcased their attractions, events and businesses.

Tourism officials say without tourism spending, Iowans would have to pay more in taxes to maintain the current level of state services.

Felony for women who deliver drug-addicted babies

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Women could be charged with a felony if their newborn tests positive for drugs under legislation that has cleared an Iowa House committee. Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, is the bill’s sponsor. “My hope is with this bill that it will force mom to get some treatment,” Baudler says. “We know they’re not going to put ’em in prison for something like this. That’s just the justice system, the way it is today.” Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the bill isn’t a “comprehensive answer” to the problem.

“If you have a father that’s addicted and a mother that’s not, but there’s meth smoked actually in the home, it will be detected in the child,” Absul-Samad says. “So the then mother gets blamed for it, but the father then walks away?” Representative Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, says the threat of having newborns tested for drugs might prompt some pregnant women to have their babies outside a hospital. “A woman who’s addicted to drugs, when she goes into labor, she may — to the extent that she thinks about it at all — she would choose to have her baby in an alley or in a closet somewhere rather than risk going to the hospital,” Wolfe said. Representative Jarad Klein, a Republican from Keota, responded “I will continue to support this bill because I believe we can save a life,” Klein said. “And if we can save one life, that is a win in my book.”

Representative Tom Shaw, a Republican from Laurens, is a former a police chief who made drug arrests. “I have had numerous drug users come up to me and…actually thank me for arresting them because without law enforcement involvement, they didn’t take their treatment seriously,” Shaw says. “…It wasn’t until they had the threat of prison time or sustained jail time that they actually went into treatment with the attitude that they had to clean themselves up.” Representative Ruth Ann Gaines, a Democrat from Des Moines, adopted a boy who was born addicted to drugs. “But I don’t think this bill would have detered his parents, especially his mother, from using drugs. I think what it would have done is forced her to abort him,” Gaines says. “…I don’t think this is going to do anything but force more women into back alley abortions.”

The bill passed the House Public Safety Committee on a 15 to six vote.

(Radio Iowa)

Montgomery & Page County EMA’s offer Storm Spotter training class Feb. 26th

News, Weather

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman say that Montgomery and Page County Emergency Management Agencies are (EMA)  sponsoring the annual Storm Spotter training class in Red Oak this year. Hamman says due to cuts at the National Weather Service, the two EMA’s have grouped together to assist them and will switch between Montgomery and Page counties to host the class yearly. Montgomery in odd years and Page in even years. The class is open to the public and free of charge.
The Storm Spotter Training Class will take place Tuesday, Feb. 26th,  from 7- to 9-pm at the Montgomery Co Historical Center in Red Oak. If you have any questions contact Brian Hamman at 712-623-3749.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Feb. 6th 2013

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Cedar Rapids man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of sexual exploitation of children. Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry says 23-year-old Lucas Robinson pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Cedar Rapids. He also was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography and one count of extortion.

PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Authorities continue to investigate the death of a toddler found unresponsive in a southwest Iowa residence. The state Department of Public Safety says the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is waiting for autopsy results to determine the circumstances surrounding the child’s injuries and death. Police received a 911 call Friday about an unresponsive child at a residence in Pacific Junction near the Nebraska state line.

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — A park and trail in northeast Iowa that’s close to where two cousins were last seen alive is being renamed in their memory. Waterloo television station KWWL reports the park at Meyers Lake in Evansdale will now be called Angels’ Park in memory of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. The trail around the park will be called Trail of Angels.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Movie buffs will soon have great place to watch films in downtown Iowa City. The nonprofit group FilmScene announced Tuesday that a cinema and lounge will open this fall after extensive city-backed renovations to the building that housed the popular Vito’s bar.

Iowa authorities investigate toddler’s death

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Authorities continue to investigate the death of a toddler found unresponsive at a residence in Mills County. The state Department of Public Safety says the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is waiting for autopsy results to determine the circumstances surrounding the child’s injuries and death. Police received a 911 call Friday about an unresponsive child at a residence in Pacific Junction.

The 13-month-old was transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with extensive injuries. The child died Saturday. Authorities have not released the child’s name.

Corning man arrested Tuesday on a fugitive warrant out of Texas

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers reports an Adams County man was arrested early this (Tuesday) morning for being a fugitive from justice. Brothers says at around 12: 20-a.m., officers with the Clarinda P-D apprehended 36-year old James Keith Bost, of Corning. Bost eas taken into custody in the area of 18th & Lincoln Streets, on a fugitive from justice warrant from the State of Texas. Bost was wanted by Texas authorities for felony possession of marijuana.

He was transported to the Page County Jail and held on a $10,000 cash only bond while awaiting extradition to Texas.

Lawmakers agree to $11.6 million for mental health

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State lawmakers have reached a bipartisan deal to provide $11.6 million to counties to fund mental health services in the current budget year. Sen. Jack Hatch says Tuesday that Republican and Democratic lawmakers have agreed to the funding plan, which will help counties with expenses as the state transitions to a new regional mental health treatment system. The funding for services through June 30 is substantially more than Gov. Terry Branstad proposed, but not as much as counties requested.

The Legislature approved changes to Iowa’s system last May, shifting from a system run by counties to a more regional approach in which counties pool their money. The new approach was meant to minimize differences between urban and rural areas.

Oakland man arrested Saturday in Cass County

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports two arrests last week. On Saturday, 20-year old Newberry Winfield Wright, of Oakland, was taken into custody on a charge of OWI/1st Offense. Wright was released later that same day, on his own recognizance.

And, as we reported late last week, deputies in Cass County arrested 36-year old Daniel Elmer Bright,  of Shenandoah, on January 29th. Bright was arrested in Page County on a Cass County warrant for Theft in the 2nd Degree. After being brought back to Cass County, Bright was taken to the jail in Atlantic and released later that same day on $5000 bond.

Atlantic woman arrested on theft charge

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest Monday of 65-year old Linda Barber. The Atlantic woman was taken into custody on  a charge of 5th degree theft (Shoplifting). Barber was booked into the Cass County Jail.

And, officers with the A-PD investigated a non-injury accident Monday evening. Officials say vehicles driven by Collin Baker and Jason Watson, both of Atlantic, were headed east on 7th Street and approaching the stoplight at the intersection with Plum, when Watson stopped for traffic in front of him. When Baker failed to see Watson’s car had stopped, his vehicle hit the rear of the Watson vehicle, causing $3,000 damage to both vehicles.

Baker was cited for Failure to Stop in an Assured Clear Distance and Violation of an Instruction permit.

Gov. Branstad still opposed to Medicaid expansion

News

February 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A decision by the Ohio governor to expand the state’s Medicaid program has not changed Gov. Terry Branstad’s opposition to Medicaid expansion in Iowa.      Branstad’s spokesman said Tuesday that the governor still believes that raising the Medicaid eligibility limits would be too costly. Tim Albrecht said Branstad does support continuing the IowaCare program, a state and federally funded plan that provides limited health coverage to low-income adults.

Democrats in the state Senate have introduced legislation that would broaden eligibility requirements for the Medicaid program in Iowa, which covers low-income residents, including children and the disabled. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul provides funding to states that expand Medicaid.   An expansion in Iowa could add as many as 150,000 people to the program, including those currently on IowaCare.