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No injuries after chain-reaction accident in Red Oak

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say no injuries were reported following a three-vehicle, chain-reaction accident Tuesday evening, in Red Oak. Officials say two vehicles were stopped at the intersection of North Broadway and West Cherry Streets, facing south at the stop light, when a third vehicle failed to stop in time. The 1999 Mercury Villager van driven by 29-year old Joshua Kenkel, of Shenandoah, rear-ended a 2008 Chevy Aveo, driven by 52-year old Debra Johnson, of Red Oak. Johnson’s vehicle was shoved forward into the rear of a 2010 Toyota Prius, driven by 61-year old Jerrold Lamb, of Essex. The collisions occurred at around 6:45-p.m.

Damage from the accident amounted to $2,100. No citations were issued at the time of the investigation.

NWS forecasts near normal temperatures, precipitation for spring

News, Weather

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

National Weather Service forecasters are predicting near normal temperatures and precipitation this spring. Meteorologist Miles Schumacher helped craft the outlook as part of the weather service’s Weather Whisper Spring 2013 newsletter. Schumacher notes this winter was slightly warmer and wetter than normal in Iowa. Many Iowans may feel the month of March has been especially cold, but Schumacher that’s only true when compared to March of 2012.

“Last year was 16-degrees above normal for March and we’re running about 7-degrees below normal right now,” Schumacher said. “So, it’s about 23-degrees colder this year than last year, so everyone thinks it’s record cold. Really, it’s colder than normal, but last year was so much warmer than normal that you kind of lose sight of where we really should be.” March of 2012 ranked as the warmest March in Iowa history. This winter brought above normal precipitation over the southeast half of the state, but northwest Iowa experienced mostly dry conditions. Schumacher believes there’s a decent chance for above normal rainfall over the next couple months.

“I don’t think this spring is going to be particularly dry and we may do fairly well,” Schumacher said. “I think we’re going to be short of precipitation this summer again, kind of an echo of last year’s drought. However, I don’t think it’ll be nearly as extensive as last year was.” The outlook does not offer predictions of severe weather, but Schumacher expects Iowans could see plenty of thunderstorms and tornadoes.

“It would probably be a safe bet to say we’ll have more than we had last year because last year was one of our lightest severe weather years in quite a while, so it’ll seem like a lot more at least,” Schumacher said.

(Radio Iowa)

Arming teachers, administrators discussed in Iowa Senate

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A bid to let adults carry concealed weapons in Iowa schools was briefly discussed in the Iowa Senate Tuesday night. Republican Senator Mark Chelgren says the idea to arm teachers and principles is a natural response to the tragedy at a Connecticut elementary school. “I would expect, as I think I would do myself, to stand in front of those children, to protect them at all costs,” Chelgren said. “But I can tell you right now I also would expect the ability and the authorization to try to end that threat if at all possible.” Chelgren tried to attach his proposal to an education reform bill.

“I have no problem dying for the children of Iowa,” Chelgren said. “Neither do I think teachers or the employees of schools in this state do either, but I’d rather see that happen after the clip that they have is emptied into the bad guy.” A Democrat who makes decisions about what proposals may be voted upon during senate debate ruled Chelgren’s proposal was beyond the scope of the education reform bill.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., March 27th 2013

News

March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has sent a letter to senators seeking support for his nominees to the Board of Regents. The letter was delivered Tuesday to all 50 senators. Branstad says his picks have “unique skill sets.” The Senate Education Committee voted to forward two of Branstad’s three nominations to the full Senate without recommendation. Current Board President Craig Lang was not endorsed.

(Information in the following story is from: KCRG-TV, http://www.kcrg.com)

KALONA, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are trying to figure out who forced an empty car to crash through a grocery store in eastern Iowa. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the crash happened early yesterday morning at JW’s Foods in Kalona. No one was injured and the store remains open

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Bond has been set at $1 million for a Cedar Falls woman accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend in Waterloo. Kristie Clark-Richardson made her initial court appearance yesterday on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of 38-year-old Keon Dale. Authorities say the 34-year-old Clark-Richardson stabbed Dale near his northern Waterloo home a little after 11:45 p.m. Monday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Labor Department says a Des Moines trucking company failed to properly pay some employees for overtime. The department’s Wage and Hour Division says Contract Transport Inc. did not pay some drivers for delay time during trips and instead paid them based on a predetermined number of hours. Some delays were caused by weather, construction or other factors.

Senate approves education plan

News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Democratic-majority Senate has approved a beefed-up version of Gov. Terry Branstad’s education policy plan. The 26-23 party-line vote happened Tuesday. Branstad’s proposal would hike minimum teacher salaries and provide incentive pay for teachers who take on additional leadership roles, like mentoring.

The Senate version maintains the salary minimums and would require districts to choose from several options for a leadership incentive pay program. It also has some new pilot programs, including one that would provide additional funding to disadvantaged schools.

Several weeks ago Republican-controlled House approved a scaled back version of Branstad’s proposal. In their plan, the salary minimums and incentive pay would be optional for districts. Lawmakers now must try to reach a compromise deal on new education spending.

Atlantic man arrested on drug charges

News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest last week of 18-year old Christian Monreal Sempek, of Atlantic. Sempek was taken into custody on March 20th, on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was released later that day on his own recognizance. A juvenile female was also cited into Juvenile Court on the same charges.

Cumberland farmer wins $5k for food pantry & volunteer fire dept.

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County farmer selected as a winner in a seed company’s contest, has designated her winnings for two local organizations. Ruth Steffen, of Cumberland, was selected as a winner in America’s Farmers Grow Communities℠, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Grow Communities gives farmers the opportunity to win a $2,500 donation to direct to their favorite local nonprofit organizations. To further support counties that have been declared disaster areas due to drought by the U.S.D.A. winning farmers in these counties were able to direct double the donation, a total of $5,000 to further support the community. Cass County was declared a disaster area by the USDA, giving Steffen, the opportunity to place two $2,500 donations. She selected Atlantic Food Pantry and Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department.

A ceremonial presentation of the checks will take place 6-p.m. Saturday, March 30th, at the Cumberland Fire Department (216 Main St.).

Cities win wastewater rules lawsuit against EPA

News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Cities in Iowa, including Council Bluffs, have won a legal victory in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over wastewater treatment rules. In a ruling that documents say could save cities across the U.S. $150 billion, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down two EPA rules. The decision filed Monday affects the way cities mix water to dilute the bacteria levels near recreational areas and how cities treat wastewater during heavy rains.

A three-member panel of the court says unanimously in nullifying the two rules that the EPA exceeded its legal authority and didn’t follow proper rulemaking. The cities lost their first challenge to EPA rules in 2010 but refiled it in 2011. Among the cities that would have been affected are Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Ottumwa, and Waterloo.

Report: Iowa’s infrastructure needs will cost $10B over 20 years

News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new report on the condition of Iowa’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure finds the state will have to spend billions in the next 20 years just to keep up with needed repairs. Gregory DiLoreto, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, says investing in infrastructure is essential to support healthy, vibrant communities as well as long-term economic growth. “We grade 16 categories of infrastructure,” DeLoreto says. “That would include roads and bridges, transit and rail, drinking water, waste water, levees, dams, schools, parks and rec and so forth.”

He says spending on infrastructure is critical for categories from employment to exports. DeLoreto says the reverse is also true — without prioritizing infrastructure needs, deteriorating conditions can become a drag on the economy. “There is a direct link between our economic success in this country and our quality of life and our infrastructure,” DeLoreto says. “By making this investment, we can improve our economic conditions and we can retain and create jobs as well.”

He says Iowa’s infrastructure repair needs, when compared to other states, tend to be higher than many other states, even though our population is much lower. The report finds more than 52-hundred Iowa bridges are structurally deficient. “The state reports it has about $10-billion worth of needs in its drinking water and its waste water systems,” DeLoreto says. “About 46% of Iowa roads are in poor or mediocre condition and that costs your motorists about $380 a year in additional repair costs.”

That money could be better used to repair and maintain roads, he says, which would help to reduce congestion and improve conditions. While letter grades were not given for individual states, the report gave the nation’s infrastructure a D-plus, up slightly from a solid D in 2009.

(Radio Iowa)

Council Bluffs mayor says won’t seek another term

News

March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Longtime Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan has no plans to seek re-election in November.  Hanafan announced his intentions today (Tuesday). He says the long hours of dealing with the Missouri River flooding in 2011 made him think about leaving his post. He also says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family.

The 65-year-old Hanafan has been mayor since his appointment in 1985. He won his first mayoral election in 1988.