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Exira man arrested Tuesday evening on assault charge

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Audubon County arrested a man following an incident Tuesday, at his home. 18-year old Tyler John Eugene Weitzel, of Exira, was arrested at around 7-p.m. for Serious Domestic Abuse Assault. He was brought to the Audubon County Jail and held until making an appearance before the magistrate, and then released.

NE Iowa cyclist takes motorist to court for passing too closely

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa cycling community will be closely watching a court case in Benton County today (Wednesday). Cyclist Matt Phippen claims a pickup truck passed him in an aggressively close manner on a country road back in March. Matt Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says this may be the first time a motorist will go to trial for violating the Iowa law the demands vehicles give bikes more space.

“We’re seeing incidences that this happens,” Wyatt says, “and it’s really hard to say ‘the motorist buzzed me’ without any evidence to prove it.” The cyclist in the case -does- have evidence, video of the incident shot from a pair of bike-mounted cameras facing both directions. Phippen says the video shows there was plenty of room on left side of the road, but the driver drove down the center, then hit his truck’s diesel to create a plume of smoke to “make a point.”

The pickup driver, Steven Payne, is contesting the $270 in fines and fees. Wyatt made his comments on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa.”

(Radio Iowa)

Resident, 88, dies after pickup rams into Iowa nursing home

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

HULL, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say an 88-year-old resident has died after a pickup crashed through a wall into a nursing home in northwest Iowa. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says Anna Dykstra was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at Pleasant Acres Care Center in Hull. The pickup driver, 77-year-old Lawrence Sohl, was taken to a Sioux Center hospital for treatment. No other injuries have been reported.

The Sheriff’s Office says Sohl was driving behind his wife when he ran into the rear of her minivan before ramming into the nursing home.

Hay bale fire in a building near Kirkman

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Corrects time frame of fire to Tuesday evening…not Monday)

Five area fire departments battled a fire involving hay bales Tuesday evening, southeast of Kirkman. According to Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen, Kirkman fire was dispatched to the scene near a dairy farm at around 5-p.m. Crews from Harlan, Westphalia, Irwin, Defiance and Kimballton provided mutual aid to help fight the blaze.

The fire was located inside a steel constructed, open hay barn full of hay bales. Approximately 400 – 1000 pound square bales were lost in the blaze.  Firefighters were able to save about half of the bales in the barn, and Bissen says the structure is still usable. The extra departments were on the scene for a little over four hours, Tuesday. The Kirkman Fire Department was also on the scene until 3-am today (Wednesday), putting out hot spots.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 9/2/2015

News, Podcasts

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More area and State news from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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West Central Cooperative Finalizes Sale of Massena, Iowa Property

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with West Central had announced back in May it would close its agronomy business operations in Massena. Now, the cooperative has finalized the sale of its property, officially ending business in Massena. West Central regional manager, Brad Woodard said “We appreciate our customers’ and cooperative members’ business in the Massena area over the last five years.”  West Central purchased the Massena location from Pelgrow in 2010.

Woodard added “Closing a cooperative location is never an easy decision, however, our assessment of the location determined it no longer offered the efficiencies our customers’ businesses deserve. We thank our West Central Massena employees, who are now serving customers at other West Central locations, for their commitment to our growers through this transition.”West Central CoOp logo

West Central’s regional agronomy field marketers remain available to work with area growers. They include:

· Scott Small in Atlantic at (712) 243-3582

· Nick Richter in Adair at (712) 250-9200

· Brett Westergaard in Exira at (641) 740-0421

· Sid Skank in Oakland at (712) 741-3200

Assets from the site were relocated to other West Central locations or sold. The property, including the office, dry fertilizer facility and NH3 plant were sold to Massena Livestock Sales.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 9/2/2015

News, Podcasts

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

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

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Iowa’s Pheasant Population Jumps 37 Percent; Quail Highest Count in 21 Years

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. Of Natural Resources say Iowa’s pheasant population increased for the second year in a row to a statewide average of 24 birds, up 37 percent over 2014. This is the highest bird count since 2008 for most of the state, and in southeast Iowa, it’s the highest count in more than a decade.  Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “It’s amazing when you bring a few females through the winter you can bounce back. We had a great winter, little or no snow in March, and April weather was good giving hens a chance for an early nest. But June and July were pretty wet for all but the northwest third of the state and our counts reflected that.”

The highest pheasant counts were 44 birds per route in the northwest region, followed by 38 birds per route in central and 27 birds per route in southeast Iowa and should offer good hunting this fall. Lower counts came in southwest, south central and northeast regions. “We made improvements in these regions but have a ways to go to reach our long-term averages,” Bogenschutz said. 2015_survey_map_web
The key to increasing or maintaining pheasant numbers has been and continues to be winter and spring weather, and having the right habitat. Iowa had a double dose of bad weather each year from 2007-11 – cold snow-filled winters followed by cool, wet springs – that hammered the pheasant population, dropping statewide averages to 6.6 birds per route in 2011, 7.8 birds in 2012 and 6.5 birds in 2013. During this bad weather stretch, the DNR fielded calls to close the season or reduce the bag limit. Some hunters blamed pesticides and predators, like coyotes and hawks, for the plunge in pheasant numbers.

“It really comes down to winter survival and nesting success. If the hens don’t make it though winter, they can’t nest. If they can get though the winter, they need a place to nest that can shelter chicks from the elements,” he said.  “It’s nice to have Mother Nature smile on us a few winters in a row, but we could really benefit from adding additional acres of habitat, like the Iowa Pheasant Safe Conservation Reserve Program that provides a good mix of winter cover and spring nesting areas. If we can get one more mild winter, we may finally recover our population that was lost during the 2007-11 stretch of bad weather.”

Based on the average of 24 birds per route, hunters can expect to harvest 300,000 to as many as 500,000 roosters this fall, depending on the number of hunters that return. “We would need to have more hunters come back to hit the half million harvest, but the birds are there to support it,” he said.

Iowa’s 90 day pheasant season begins October 31. The DNR’s August Roadside Survey occurs each August 1-15, with staff driving the same 217, 30-mile routes each year.  The complete survey is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/pheasantsurvey.

Quail Population Highest in 21 Years
The quail population jumped to a statewide average of 1.44 birds per route, its highest since 1994. The highest quail counts were 4.8 birds per route in the southeast region, followed by 4 birds per route in southwest and just under 4 birds per route in south central Iowa. “If you ever wanted to go quail hunting, this is the year,” said Bogenschutz.

Rabbit Numbers Strong, Partridge Also Higher
Iowa’s rabbit population remains strong especially in south central, southeast central, and east central regions. Hungarian partridge numbers are also higher, offering an opportunity to pheasant hunters to bag a bonus bird in north central, central, northeast and northwest regions.

Judge dismisses Attempted Murder charge against Bluffs woman

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More than 20 months after stabbing her mother in the chest, a Council Bluffs woman has been released from Pottawattamie County Jail after attempted-murder charges were dismissed. According to the Omaha World-Herald, last Thursday, 29-year old Shaffelle Fergerson was transferred from Pottawattamie County Jail to the McDermott Center at CHI Health Mercy Hospital. Fourth Judicial District Judge Timothy O’Grady dismissed the charges against Fergerson because doctors felt she was not competent to stand trial.

The charges stemmed from a knife attack on Dec. 18, 2013, at the Fergersons’ home in the 2500 block of South 19th Street. According to the criminal complaint, Fergerson stabbed her mother, Kathryn Fergerson, several times with a 6- to 8-inch knife and fled. Kathryn Fergerson survived the attack.

According to the complaint, Kathryn told police that her daughter suffers from severe schizophrenia and bipolar mental illness. While Fergerson is no longer facing attempted murder charges, she has not been set free. The state is expected to begin civil commitment proceedings.

 

Gas prices are down, travel for Labor Day will be up

News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Gasoline prices are expected to be the lowest in a decade for Iowans during the Labor Day holiday weekend ahead. Rose White, at Triple-A-Iowa, says those falling gas prices along with rising wages are helping to boost Iowans’ disposable income — which should lead to a boost in travel for the last vacation of summer. “Thirty-five-point-five million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008,” White says. “This will mark the fourth consecutive year of overall travel growth for the Labor Day holiday period.”

A motor club survey finds most travelers, about 86-percent, will be getting from Point A to Point B using a motor vehicle. “Those hitting the roadways will find very favorable fuel prices,” White says. “In Iowa, the state average is $2.51 and that’s down 83 cents from prices we saw a year ago. Just during the last week, they’ve fallen from $2.65 down to the current level of $2.51.” Not everyone has cemented a complete schedule for the three-day weekend, and there’s help if you need suggestions.

“If you haven’t yet made travel plans, there’s a wealth of information that can be found on the website traveliowa.com,” White says. “Families are encouraged to visit the site to learn more. If you enjoy camping, visit IowaDNR.gov.” For Iowans who are flying this weekend, airfares are expected to be one-percent lower for Labor Day compared to last year.

(Radio Iowa)