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Parents urged to talk with children about distracted driving

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Teenage drivers may have more things to distract them when they’re behind the wheel than ever before. Mick Mulhern, with the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says parents play a critical role in educating their kids about the many dangers of driving long before their kids are old enough to get a license. “I try to encourage (parents) to drive with their seat belt on and don’t use a cell phone, set a positive example, because that is where these kids are learning to drive initially,” Mulhern said.

This is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Although it can be difficult for police to enforce, it is illegal in Iowa for people under 18 to use a cell phone while driving. Mulhern says while cell phone use is a factor in a lot of crashes involving teens, that may not be the biggest problem. “Multiple passengers in the car with teen (drivers) is creating probably the biggest distraction because, inevitably, nobody is really watching the road,” Mulhern said.

Mulhern travels the state to talk to young people about the key components of driving. He notes simply lecturing or showing “shock and awe” type videos or photos of crashes don’t seem to work with today’s generation of kids. “I use an interactive computer desk-top driving simulator to engage them. You have to respect that they’re smart and studious,” Mulhern said. “Lecturing and things of that nature don’t seem to work with teens. They’ve got to be involved and they’ve got to be able to see the common sense factor.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S. and in Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Morningside College offering commercial drone program

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Morningside College in Sioux City and Martin’s Airfield in South Sioux City are partnering on a new program to train commercial drone operators. The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring anyone who wants to be paid to fly a drone to obtain a commercial rating. Tom Fredricksen is an F-A-A certified ground instructor for the program. “Our program is designed to not only get them to flying drones, but to understand air spaces, understand communications between towers and airplanes. And to get them at least three hours of flying in an airplane, along with the drone courses Morningside has mapped out.

The course is for commercial operators –not for the hobby type of drones you can buy at the store. “The hobby drone operator is limited to visual site and 400 feet above ground level,” Fredericksen says. “However, there are more sophisticated drones out there that’ll fly 16-thousand feet and fly at 120 miles-an-hour. And they can carry about 55 pounds of cargo and can stay up in the air for 55 minutes.”

The federal government announced plans Monday to require recreational drone users to register their vehicles as there have been more and more reports of drones flying too close to airports. Fredricksen says the rule should help. He says the regulation will be good as their job is to make sure there aren’t any collisions and everyone understands what is going on in the air.

Fredericksen says he’s seen ads offering an annual salary of 135-thousand dollars for F-A-A certified commercial drone operators.

(Radio Iowa)

Google expands next-day delivery service across much of Iowa

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The company known for being an internet search engine jumped into a new arena in central Iowa Tuesday, with the expansion of Google Express. The service started in eastern Iowa last month and now extends to Des Moines, Ames, Osceola, Mason City and dozens of other communities as far west as Atlantic and Carroll.

Google spokeswoman Rebecca Rutkoff says it’s an overnight delivery service “with lots of great national merchants to help people shop on their favorite stores online in a single place and get their goods overnight, the next day.” The list of stores includes: Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, Toys”R”Us, Whole Foods, Staples and a dozen more. Rutkoff thinks the service will be popular with Iowans.

“People love having their favorite products from their favorite stores delivered the very next day and merchants love finding new customers and extending their reach beyond their typical geographic reach,” Rutkoff says. “People use it for a variety of things. If you’re a busy mom who has to suddenly get snacks for the soccer game, you can go online and get that from CostCo and have it delivered the very next day.”

The company is banking on people being willing to pay a little more for the immediacy of having next-day delivery. “You can sign up for an unlimited delivery membership for $95 a year or you can do an a la carte delivery for $4.99 per store,” Rutkoff says. “There’s also some three-month trials available for new members. Go to Google Express and find out all the information about all the different options.”

Rutkoff says they hope to go statewide with the service soon. While there were rumors months ago that drones might eventually be employed to fly packages to our front doors, Rutkoff assures, this service will be exclusively humans driving and delivering via traditional motor vehicles.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report,10/21/2015

News, Podcasts

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

Play

Navigators Ready to Assist Medicaid & Marketplace Consumers at CCHS

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Health System says enrollment for Healthcare Marketplace Exchange consumers will open on November 1st and help is available through regional ACA (Affordable Care Act) Navigators. ACA Navigators work one-on-one with individuals to complete enrollment, weigh options, and answer questions on Marketplace plans and Medicaid.CCHS

All prior year’s enrollees are strongly encouraged to meet with the ACA Navigator to update information and review new plans available on the healthcare.gov. To have coverage in effect January 1, 2016, you will need to set an appointment prior to December 15th, 2015.

All meetings with the Navigators are by appointment, and they are private. Consumers are asked to bring important information with them, such as addresses, social security numbers, income information, and policy numbers for any current health insurance plans for all members of the household. Also, if a prior enrollee in the Marketplace, bring your login information to access your account during your appointment.

The private appointments will be held at Cass County Health System in Conference Rooms 6 and 2, which are easily accessible from Parking Lot C. For more information or to make an appointment, please call either Melissa Namanny at 712-243-2850 ext. 4111 or Val Gifford at 712-243-3250 ext. 3417.

Appointment times are as follows….

CCHS Conference Room 6
Nov 5th 3 pm to 7 pm
Nov 18th 9 am to 1 pm
Nov 21st 12 pm to 4 pm
Dec 7th 9 am to 1pm
Dec 12th 9 am to 1pm
Dec 17th 3 pm to 7pm

CCHS Conference Room 2
Jan 7th 3pm to 7pm
Jan 16th 9am to 3pm

Bluffs man arrested after shots fired Wed. morning

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs early this (Wednesday) morning, arrested a man on charges that include Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, Carrying Weapons, and Discharge of a Firearm within City Limits. Authorities say 26-year old Brendon Minor, of Council Bluffs, was taken into custody at around 12:25-a.m, after officers were called to 3431 Avenue D, following a report of shots fired.

When officers arrived, they made contact with a person who was involved in a verbal altercation with Minor that turned physical. The victim said when Minor went into his home at 3429 Avenue D, he came out and threatened to shoot the man before firing an unknown number of rounds from a small handgun, into the air.

Officers made contact with Minor, who surrendered to them without further incident. Inside the home, police recovered two firearms. In injuries were reported.

2nd arrest in rural Red Oak Child Endangerment/injury case

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County say a man and woman from rural Red Oak have been arrested on felony Child Endangerment causing injury, charges. Jessica A, Davis was arrested Tuesday evening following an investigation into a reported case of child abuse that allegedly occurred Oct. 10th.  Earlier in the day, Tuesday, authorities announced Matthew A. Davis was taken into custody Monday afternoon, on the same felony charge.

Jessica and Matthew Davis were being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond, each. No other details concerning the incident or investigation have been released.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Oct. 21st 2015

News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A jury is deciding the fate of two aides to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign who are accused of secretly paying a state lawmaker to endorse their boss. Deliberations are to resume in the Des Moines federal trial of former campaign chairman Jesse Benton and ex-deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of a committee examining casino licensing in Iowa says he plans to reintroduce legislation next session that would create a smoke-free casino in the state. Senator Wally Horn says his bill would offer guidelines for such a casino. The Democrat is from Cedar Rapids, where local leaders have pushed for a smoke-free casino.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.6 percent last month. State officials say the number of people in the state with jobs climbed to 1.64 million in September. Iowa’s 3.6 percent rate was tied with Utah as the nation’s sixth lowest.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Sioux City have voted to demolish a condemned mansion in the city’s Rose Hill neighborhood. The move to tear down the 125-year-old home ends the city’s long deliberation about what to do with it. City officials awarded a $60,000 demolition contract.

Branstad touts his administration’s achievements during a stop in Atlantic

News

October 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

During his stop in Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad touted the achievements of his time in office since being re-elected to an unprecedented sixth term during the Nov. 2013 elections. If he completes his four-year term, it will have broken the record for a person serving as governor, in U-S History. The old record was held by George Clinton of New York, who served 21 years from 1777 to 1795, and from 1801 to 1804.

Gov. Terry Branstad speaks at an Atlantic Town Hall 1020-15. Ric Hanson photo

Gov. Terry Branstad speaks at an Atlantic Town Hall 10-20-15. Ric Hanson photo

Branstad said looking back at when he was recruited to run for Governor in 2010, “The State was facing some really big challenges. The previous administration [Democrat Gov. Chet Culver] had use of bad budgeting practices, overspent, made promises they couldn’t keep and used one-time money for ongoing expenses and we were faced with a projected $900-million deficit.”

Branstad said his administration cut costs of government by eliminating 1,500 state employees, put together a two-year budget, looked at ways to make government more efficient and more accountable and restore the “rainy day” fund. He says the rate of unemployment is lower now than it was when he took over. As an example, he pointed to numbers showing the unemployment rate in Cass County as 8.2-percent when he became governor again, and the rate now, which stands at 2.9-percent, or a 65-percent reduction in unemployment.

Branstad fielded a question though, about his decision to close the Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant, eliminating jobs from those two, unaccredited facilities and shifting care to the two remaining facilities in Cherokee and Independence, both of which are accredited and have psychiatrists on-staff. Other clients were transferred to private care facilities or are being served more on the local level. Branstad said the new system is more efficient and brings Iowa up to par with neighboring states.

Branstad said what Iowa is doing now, is what Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois have been doing for the past 20-to 30-years. On the topic of Education, Branstad was asked about what it’s going to take to legislature to set funding levels for K-through 12 education in Iowa in-time for districts to set their budget. The legislature went into an extended session this year and eventually reached a bi-partisan agreement on funding, but in July, the Governor in a line item veto, erased the $55.7 million in additional funding they had approved for the FY 2015-16 school year. Branstad however approved a 1.25 percent increase in per pupil spending.

He said he’s going to work to bring both sides to the table earlier and get the funding level set for next year, but he warned it won’t be easy. He says his recommendation will come out as soon as the legislature is in session, and he’ll ask them to decide “this thing” in the next month. But he concedes, he ‘Can’t force ’em” to come to a decision on k-12 funding.

Branstad signs Lights on Afterschool proclamation in Atlantic

News

October 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad stopped in Atlantic this (Tuesday) afternoon, where he held a Town Hall meeting at the old Rock Island Depot, home of the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the public forum, the Governor signed a proclamation recognizing Thursday, Oct. 22nd, as “Lights on After School” day.

Gov. Branstad (Left) reads the Lights on Afterschool Proclamation, w/Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones to his right.

The proclamation read: WHEREAS, the Atlantic Community, stands firmly committed to quality afterschool programs and opportunities because they:
· Provide safe, challenging, engaging and fun learning experiences to help children and youth develop their social, emotional, physical, cultural and academic skills.
· Support working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends.
· Build stronger communities by involving our students, parents, business leaders and adult volunteers in the lives of our young people, thereby promoting positive relationships among children, youth, families and adults.
· Engage families, schools and diverse community partners in advancing the welfare of our children.

WHEREAS, First United Methodist Church, Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic Public Library, ISU Extension, and Nishna Valley Family YMCA has provided significant leadership in the area of community involvement in the education and well-being of our youth, grounded in the principle that quality afterschool programs are key to helping our children become successful adults.

WHEREAS, Lights On Afterschool, a national celebration of afterschool programs on October 22, 2015, promotes the critical importance of quality afterschool programs in the lives of children, their families, and their communities.

WHEREAS, more than 28 million children in the U.S. have parents who work outside the home, and 15.1 million children have no place to go after school.

WHEREAS, many afterschool programs across the country are facing funding shortfalls so severe that they are being forced to close their doors and turn off their lights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Mayor Dave Jones urges the citizens of Atlantic Iowa and Governor Terry Branstad urges the citizens of Iowa to ensure that every child has access to a safe, engaging place where the lights are on after school; AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Mayor Jones and Governor Branstad enthusiastically endorses Lights On Afterschool and is committed to innovative afterschool programs and activities that ensure that the lights stay on and the doors stay open for all children after school.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool (LoA) is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

The Atlantic program takes place from 4:30-until 6:30-p.m. Thursday at the Nishna Valley YMCA, and features burgers and hot dogs donated by the Afterschool Alliance and prepared by the Cass County Beef Producers, water from the Atlantic Coca Cola Bottling Company, all sorts of fun events for kids, such as obstacle course competitions, pumpkin painting, glow-in the dark goo, magnet making, coloring, spider web building, a paper airplane competition, and information from Beth Olsen, Hy-Vee Dietitian.

Programs during the event will come from the YMCA, ISU Extension, Atlantic Public Library, Zion Lutheran Church, the 1st United Methodist Church, and Iowa Public Television.