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Theft-related arrest in Shenandoah Wednesday

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shenandoah Police Department report the arrest this (Wednesday) morning of Jeff Ponton. The 35-year old from Shenandoah faces a misdemeanor charge of Theft in the 3rd degree. Ponton was being held at the Page County jail.

Panel OKs plan to send money back to taxpayers

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State lawmakers continue to debate what Iowa should do with surplus budget dollars. Should they put the money into services and programs or give it directly to taxpayers? A House subcommittee today (Wednesday) discussed Republican-sponsored legislation that would use the state’s surplus funds to provide credits to taxpayers.

Rep. Peter Cownie of West Des Moines says individual taxpayers would get $369 income tax credits. He says the plan would cost over $500 million and calls it the fairest way to deal with the money.  But Democrats and advocates questioned whether this was the best use of state funds, saying it would be better to spend the money on services and infrastructure.

The subcommittee approved the bill. It now goes to the full committee for deliberation.

Hillaker talks about the climate and chances for rain

News, Weather

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Climatologist Harry Hillaker paid a visit to Atlantic, Tuesday, speaking to a group at the Cass County Community Center. He also sat down with KJAN’s Jim Field, to discuss the drought, and chances for rain this year. Hillaker says last Summer, Atlantic made the record books for the least amount of precipitation in one month. The trace of rain we received at KJAN…the official National Weather Service reporting site for Atlantic…tied the record for the lowest rainfall in July.

He says following a good start to the growing season, with above normal precipitation in June, July was a terrible time for the crops. Still, he says overall Iowa’s crops weathered the hot dry Summer without much difficulty. He said “It wasn’t a great year by any means, but not as bad as, in most cases, what people would have guessed.” Hillaker says the concern now is with what this year has in store. He said “Iowa is kind of blessed, in that it has such good soils,” with a high-capacity to hold any moisture it receives. Eastern Iowa he says, fared better than the southwest part of the state precipitation-wise over the Fall and Winter, but the picture doesn’t look all that bad for us for now, anyway.

He said things were in the “ballpark of normal” last Fall…dry, but not extremely dry…certainly not as bad as 2011. Hillaker says any moisture we did get made its way into the ground. And, there’s still the months of March and April ahead of us, as well as parts of May, before the soil starts to use up the moisture it has stored. He says there’s a 50-50 chance we’ll be in “pretty good shape” locally, for soil moisture to start off the season. Hillaker says far northwest Iowa, northwest of a Sioux City to Mason City line, has had an extremely dry fall, and it would be a stretch for even a “normal” amount of precipitation to turn that situation around this Spring.

He says looking back at the drought records, they’ve found 20 other occasions where there was an unusually strong combination of heat and dryness. The records also indicated a pattern. And it’s not a very nice pattern, according to Hillaker, in that the season following a drought in Iowa, has also been on the “dry side of normal.” He says the rainfall may not be as low as in the previous year, and the temperature may not be as hot, but we can still expect it to be warmer than normal, and drier than normal.

He says people need to be prepared for a possible water shortage this Summer.

NW Iowa woman charged with 2 Nebraska crash deaths

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (AP) – A woman from northwest Iowa has been charged with vehicular homicide for the Nebraska crash deaths of a 57-year-old woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter.  Twenty-seven-year-old Heather Reisdorph, of Sioux City, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts.

Authorities say her vehicle ran into the back of one that was waiting to turn left off U.S. Highway 75/77 south of Dakota City on Jan. 6. The impact pushed the vehicle into oncoming traffic, where it was struck by another vehicle.   Patricia Oldenburg, of Homer, Neb., and her granddaughter, Regan Coenen, of Sioux City, Iowa, died. Eight-year-old Braden Coenen was injured.

8AM Newscast 02-06-2013

News, Podcasts

February 6th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Iowa panel considers bill on breast density info

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Legislation that would require facilities offering mammograms to also give patients information on breast density will be considered by state lawmakers.  Democratic Rep. Helen Miller of Fort Dodge is the leading sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled for debate by a House subcommittee, today (Wednesday).

Women who have dense breast tissue have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women with more fatty tissue, and it can be harder for a mammogram to catch a possible tumor.  The advocacy group Are You Dense says five states have established similar laws, including New York, Texas and California.  A recent study by the American Cancer Society showed that women with denser breasts had the same chances of breast cancer survival as patients with less dense breasts.

Program offers $2,000 tax credit to Iowa home buyers

News

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new program announced Tuesday by the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) is designed to provide tens of thousands of dollars in federal tax relief to hundreds of first time home buyers in the state. IFA Executive Director Dave Jamison says a program of this type hasn’t been offered in Iowa since the mid-1990s. The Take Credit! Mortgage Credit Certificate program allows eligible home buyers to qualify for up to $2,000 a year in federal income tax credits through the life of the mortgage. “Potentially, that’s a $60,000 difference to somebody,” Jamison says.

Eligibility for participation in the program varies by county, “But, we can roughly say if the household income for two is under $70,000 and the home purchase price is (under) $250,000, you’re in the ballpark,” Jamison says. The IFA has allocated $50 million toward the program.  “We expect that will help approximately 1,000 Iowans and it will run until the $50 million is allocated — or about a year is what we expect,” Jamison said.

About 100 lenders in Iowa are participating in the program. More information is available online at iowafinanceauthority.gov

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 02-06-2013

News, Podcasts

February 6th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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)