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Report shows Cass County ranks 92nd out of 99 counties in IA for overall health

News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new report on county-by-county health in Iowa shows Cass County is ranked 92ndout of 99 in overall health.

Counties shown in white are among the top 25 healthiest in Iowa; Those shown in gray rank 26th-50th; Those in a light shade of green rank 51st-74th, and those counties shown in dark green rank 75th to 99th, or least healthiest.

The findings are in the “2013 County Health Rankings” study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The study compares the health of counties in every state across the nation, measured by overall health and factors that influence health. Of Iowa’s 99 counties, Sioux County ranked highest in overall health outcomes; Johnson County was ranked highest for all factors that influence health.

In the immediate KJAN listening area, Shelby County ranked highest on the list, in 23rd place, followed by Guthrie County in 34th, and Adair County, which was ranked 49th. On the upper end of the rankings, Audubon County placed 72nd, Pottawattamie County 88th, Cass County 92nd, Montgomery County ranked 94th, and Adams County was near the bottom of the list, in 97th place.

More specifically, Cass County has a higher rate of mortality/premature deaths than the statewide average. We also are higher in the number of obese residents as compared to the statewide average, but lower in excessive drinking and sexually transmitted diseases. Conversely, Cass County was higher than the statewide average, in the areas of teen births, and motor vehicle fatalities. Twelve percent of the residents in Cass County do not have medical insurance, which is slightly more than the statewide average, and there is a higher number of children living in poverty, than across the state.

The County Health Rankings were compiled taking into account a wide range of health factors, including healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. For a county-by-county breakdown of the factors and rankings, go to www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/iowa/2013/rankings/outcomes/overall/by-rank

Group calls for full funding of Land and Water Conservation Fund

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An environmental group used the first day of Spring Wednesday to push for more federal funding to help purchase private land to protect it from development. Amelia Schoeneman of Environment Iowa spoke at Gray’s Lake in Des Moines, calling for full funding of the federal “Land and Water Conservation Fund . Mark Ackelson, president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, says the fund does more than preserve land. He said “The Land and Water Conservation Fund also funds wetland protection and restoration in Iowa.

The foundation in the process of buying land in the Loess Hills, and in central Iowa’s Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Ackelson says they are currently working on buying 840 acres at the Smith Refuge. Ackelson says “In the Loess Hills the National Parks Service identified 12 special landscape areas that constitute roughly a hundred thousand acres total. And those 12 sites are distributed along the seven counties along the Loess Hills in western Iowa.”

The cost of Iowa farmland was recently reported at an all-time high, but Ackelson says the cost of buying private land for conservation varies widely. He says they find a lot of landowners “Have a lot of conservation in their heart. And many times they are willing to donate as least a part of the value. That helps them offset some of the taxes that they may have due, but it also helps them perpetuate their family legacy as well.” So, he says “This really is a partnership.”

Ackelson says the federal money is paired with state money and private donations to make the land purchases. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has introduced a bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Schoeneman urged Senator Chuck Grassley to do the same. Congress is expected to vote on funding levels for the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the National Parks budget this week as a part of the 2014 fiscal year budget.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 03-21-2013

News, Podcasts

March 21st, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Stolen vehicle crashes in Council Bluffs (updated at 11:33-am w/suspect’s name)

News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(updates w/suspect’s name released)

Sheriff’s officials in Pottawattamie County have released additional details about a pursuit that ended in a crash early this (Thursday) morning. According to the sheriff’s report, at around 1:45-a.m., a broadcast was put out over the radio that Council Bluffs Police were looking for a stolen, red Monte Carlo, from the Lakewood Villa area. Officers with the Bluff’s P-D observed the vehicle traveling westbound on Veterans Memorial Highway (VMH) as it entered Omaha.

A Pott. County Sheriff’s Deputy entered Council Bluffs to assist the P-D in a search for the car, with the deputy positioning his vehicle at VMH and 35th Street. When the stolen car approached and passed the deputies’ position, the deputy took off in pursuit, having taken over the chase from authorities in Omaha. The Deputy pursued the car eastbound on the VMH at speeds reaching 100-miles per hour.

As he was approaching South 24th Street, the deputy saw an Iowa State Patrol cruiser traveling westbound. The driver of the stolen car attempted to jump the center median at 90-mph, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle. The car went airborne and landed on its top. It then slid down the roadway and into the south ditch before coming to rest.

The suspect, 30-year old Chadwick Rowland, of Pacific Junction, was taken into custody and transported to Mercy Hospital to be checked for injuries. He was treated at the hospital and released to law enforcement. Rowland was being held in the Pott. County Jail on $70,000 bond, 20-thousand of which was for warrants issued for his arrest out of Douglas County, Nebraska.

7AM Newscast 03-21-2013

News, Podcasts

March 21st, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Bluffs credit union robbed Wed. afternoon

News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County are on the lookout for a man who robbed the Centris Federal Credit Union in Council Bluffs Wednesday afternoon. According to Council Bluffs Police, a white male subject wearing a light colored sweatshirt, ball cap and gloves entered the credit union at 2825 Avenue G at around 2:30-p.m.  The man approached a teller and asked to cash a check. Instead of handing her the check, he gave the woman a handwritten note demanding money. He claimed he was armed with a .38-caliber handgun and would use it unless she failed to comply. No weapon was ever shown during the robbery, however.

After the teller handed over an undetermined amount of cash, the robber fled on foot. He was described as being about 6-feet tall, with a slim build (Officials say he weighed about 160 pounds). An investigation into the crime continues. If you have any information about the incident, call  Crime Stoppers at 712-328-7867.

Elk Horn on list of IA cities awarded water quality loans

News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Nineteen Iowa cities, including Elk Horn, have received a combined $20.8 million in low-interest state loans to improve water quality in their communities. The Iowa Finance Authority announced the loans Wednesday. The money is aimed at helping cities pay for upgrading or constructing water and wastewater infrastructure. The loans range from about $90,000 to almost $7 million.  The City of  Elk Horn received $300,000 for its clean water construction project.

Participating cities include Albion, Centerville, Elk Horn, Humboldt and Osceola. The loans come from a state fund administered by the Iowa Finance Authority and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., March 21st 2013

News

March 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has approved its first set of budget bills for this legislative session. Lawmakers voted yesterday on legislation for transportation and administration. The measures largely matched the governor’s proposals for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. More controversial votes on tax cut proposals and additional education spending will come up later in the session.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines authorities are looking for a robbery suspect who they say took money from a credit union and used a teller’s vehicle as a get-away car. The Des Moines Police Department says the robbery happened yesterday afternoon at the Greater Iowa Credit Union.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say the driver of a big rig suffered minor injuries after a train struck the vehicle in Des Moines and pushed it onto its side. Des Moines television station KCCI-TV reports the accident happened yesterday afternoon. The impact rolled the 18-wheeler onto its side but did not derail the train. No one else but the truck driver was hurt in the collision.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Devyn Marble scored 24 points, Aaron White added 11 with 13 rebounds and Iowa cruised past Indiana State 68-52 in the opening round of the NIT last night. Melshan Basabe had nine points and eight boards for the Hawkeyes, who won a home game in the NIT for the second straight season. Iowa will host Stony Brook in the second round on Friday night.

High Speed Pursuit in Audubon, Cass and Pottawattamie Counties

News

March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Update 10:35-p.m.) Multiple law enforcement agencies became engaged in a high speed pursuit late Wednesday night through three area counties. The pursuit began just before 10-p.m. on Highway 71 in Audubon County. It continued south into Atlantic at around 10:15-p.m., with the suspect vehicle, a dark colored BMW with paper registration tags only and no license plates, reaching speeds of up to 125-miles per hour. The pursuit entered Pottawattamie County on Highway 6 and had approached Oakland, where at least police two units were set up to intercept the BMW. The suspect was reported to be in custody as of 10:34-p.m.

The pursuit involved deputies with Audubon, Cass and Pottawattamie Counties, the Iowa State Patrol, Atlantic Police Department and other agencies. While additional details are currently not available, it appears the chase may have pertained to a domestic situation involving child custody.

Atlantic Developer pulls plans for Southern Heights II Subdivision, citing conflict w/City Administrator

News

March 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Developer Don Sonntag Wednesday, decided to pull his application for $250,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds from the City, which would have helped to bankroll a housing development on the City’s southern edge. In a letter he read before the council and provided to the media, Sonntag said since a meeting pertaining to TIF funds for the Southern Heights II project was held on November 30th, 2012 between himself, his grandson Austin, Attorney Dave Chase, and City Administrator Doug Harris, Harris has apparently been working behind the scenes to “Derail the project.”

Those efforts, according to Sonntag, included negative talking points about the project in City Council members’ packets. Sonntag said also he believes “Conversations were made with individuals from the public who would be opposed to using TIF funds for the project, and were given encouragement to speak out against it..”  Sonntag said even if the Council were to have recommended the TIF request be used for the project, he has “A strong feeling that drafting of a TIF agreement with the City Administrator, of (sic) who has been opposed every step of the way, would be very difficult and suspect of major risk for us financially going forward with this project.” Sonntag went on to say “past experience of his (Harris’) actions and characteristics leave us skeptical on what other roadblocks may arise in further into the process and project.”

He concluded by saying “I do not believe our present City Administrator has the same goals for Atlantic as some of us and therefore, I find the need to step back, stopping the process, and discontinuing my efforts on this project.” He said he deeply regrets “The loss of jobs that could have been created,” had the project moved forward. City Administrator Doug Harris was not present at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Afterward, Mayor Dave Jones said he differs from Harris, who’s TIF philosophy, according to Jones is “Not all development is good for the City.” Jones says “No development is not good for the City.”