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Iowa early News Headlines: Wed. 12/23/15

News

December 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are looking for a Fort Dodge man accused of throwing hot grease on his dog and burning him. Webster County officials say an arrest warrant was issued for 52-year-old Gary Wilson on one count of animal torture. Wilson is accused of throwing hot grease on his black Labrador retriever, Bob, in November. Baldridge says the alleged abuse caused second- and third-degree burns to the dog’s head and face.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A private company hired to help manage Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid program is formally challenging its recent contract termination. WellCare of Iowa says in a petition that it wants the state Department of Human Services to temporarily halt its plans to terminate the company’s contract while the issue is sorted out in legal proceedings. A state official on Friday reaffirmed a judge’s recommendation that the state terminate WellCare’s contract over its contact with state officials during the bidding process and a failure to fully disclose information involving fraud or mismanagement.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say it could cost at least $52,000 for cleanup completed at the Webster County Courthouse following a vandalism incident. Webster County Supervisor Merrill Leffler says that total for a cleaning company doesn’t include associated costs like extra personnel who helped clean affected computers. Insurance should pay for all costs associated with the vandalism, which was reported on Dec. 8 and closed the courthouse for a week.

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson will need a comeback if he wants to recover the momentum that briefly propelled him to the top of the GOP field this fall. But since then, the retired neurosurgeon has faced questions about his readiness for the job and lashed out publicly at media scrutiny of his compelling life story. His campaign leaders say he remains in a strong position to win Iowa and do well in South Carolina once voting begins in February.

 

Got the blues on Day 1 of winter? Easy treatments for SAD

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This is the first day of winter and Iowans are reminded there are some relatively easy fixes if they find they’re being hit by a case of the winter blues. Dr. Patty Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight and it can make people feel moody and lethargic.

“Certainly, there are going to be some people who might be more prone to getting this than others,” Dr. Quinlisk says. “For example, people who already struggle with depression might be more susceptible.” This is the shortest day of the year and while the days will be getting longer for the next several months, Quinlisk says Iowans are more at risk for SAD than people living in Florida.

Quinlisk says, “It can hit you anywhere, but the farther north you go, the less and less sunlight you have during the day in the wintertime, the more likely you are to have people get this.” Some SAD sufferers may be helped by counseling while others might benefit from prescribed medication. For many though, special full-spectrum lamps or “light boxes” can literally brighten the day through what’s called light therapy or phototherapy. Quinlisk says other possible solutions focus on lifestyle.

“Things as simple as during the day, going out and taking a walk at lunchtime, sitting closer to a window during the day at work or when you’re at home,” she says. “Exercise helps us, and eating a good diet.” State health officials don’t track SAD case numbers within Iowa, but studies find it impacts between 10 and 20-percent of all Americans. While she doesn’t suffer from SAD, Quinlisk says she uses a clock equipped with a full-spectrum light at her bedside as she prefers not to be startled awake every morning by an alarm clock.

“I like it because you set the light so it gradually comes on and you wake up naturally, as if the sun were rising, rather than, all of the sudden at 6 o’clock, ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!'” she says. “I find that irritating. You can find those lamps all over the place. There’s different kinds and I’ve used them for years.” As an added benefit, when she reads by the lamp’s light at night, it provides plenty of artificial sunshine.

(Radio Iowa)

At lottery-fixing trial, prosecutor wants Bigfoot kept out

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Three friends involved in buying tickets and claiming jackpots that were allegedly fixed by a lottery insider have something else unusual in common. They allegedly hunt for Bigfoot in their spare time. In a legal motion that is as strange as the elusive humanoid, Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand asked a judge Monday to bar any discussion of Bigfoot hunting at the upcoming trial of Eddie Tipton. He says the “prejudicial effect could potentially be as strong as Sasquatch itself.”

Tipton is the former Multi-State Lottery Association security director who’s accused of rigging jackpots in Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma to enrich himself and his friends. Tipton’s attorney, Dean Stowers, says the state’s “whole case is a Bigfoot hunt,” saying there is no evidence he tampered with lottery equipment.

(Update) CO woman reports shots fired on I-80 near Neola

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our earlier report, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office reports what’s believed to be an isolated road rage incident involving shots-fired occurred early this (Tuesday) morning, on Interstate 80, about four-miles west of the Neola exit. According to Lt. Rob Ambrose with the Pott. County Sheriff’s Office, the Pottawattamie County Communications Center received a 911 call at around 5:19-a.m. with regard to shots being fired on Interstate 80 near the 24 mile marker eastbound.

Deputies made contact with the reporting party, 20-year old Tyler Carfora, of Colorado, who was driving a 2010 Audi.  The woman said a white male, in his 20’s, driving a gray car with Wisconsin plates had pulled beside her and fired a handgun toward her vehicle, striking the passenger side rear tire.

The suspect vehicle had stickers on the rear of the vehicle and blankets in the rear window. Carfora’s tire did have damage consistent with being shot with a firearm. Neither the male subject or his vehicle was located.

The incident remains under investigation.

Iowa population up to 3.12 million in latest Census estimate

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s population grew at a modest rate to 3.12 million this year, but the growth rate trailed behind the national rate. The U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates Tuesday showing state and national populations as of July 1. Iowa’s population grew by 14,418, or 0.5 percent, over last year’s total of 3.11 million.

The national population grew 0.8 percent to 321.4 million between last year and this year. Iowa remains 30th in population among the states. Iowa lost a U.S. House seat after the 2010 Census because the state’s population grew more slowly than other states. So the state’s current four House seats are likely safe even with Iowa’s continued slow growth.

Medicaid delay leads to children’s program uncertainty

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Lawmakers say a delay in privatization of Iowa’s Medicaid program means that most of the 37,000 children enrolled in a special health care program must transition to a new insurance carrier by the new year. The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa terminated its contract with two companies that managed the hawk-i program, anticipating that the state’s Medicaid program would be almost completely privatized by Jan. 1.

Last week, the federal government rejected that target date, saying Iowa was not ready for the transition. Iowa asked UnitedHealthcare and Wellmark to extend their contracts, but Wellmark declined. Iowa Medicaid Director Mikki Stier said Monday about 75 percent of the program’s children are currently insured through Wellmark.

Board members for hawk-i said they would help Iowa persuade Wellmark to extend its contract.

Congress blocks OSHA from putting pricey new rules on anhydrous retailers

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Farm fertilizer retailers in Iowa and nationwide were spared expensive new OHSA regulations by Congressional action in the big budget bill that was passed last week. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the bill included a rider that blocked OSHA from implementing new safety rules on all retailers that sell anhydrous ammonia. Compliance could have cost some retailers up to 60-thousand dollars and forced many of them to stop selling the popular fertilizer.

Grassley says, “That would’ve applied to great big facilities right now but it got down to a point where it would apply to your local co-op and drive up the cost of operating, the cost of product, all that sort of stuff.” The proposed rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were sparked by an explosion in 2013 at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 160.

“That was a great big facility and it would’ve applied changes of rules to apply to them,” Grassley says. “It would have affected every small retailer around the country.” Officials with the Ag Retailers Association called OSHA a “runaway federal agency” due to the new safety rules it wanted to enforce. Grassley says the regulations OSHA demanded were simply too restrictive and too expensive.

“It just figured that the safety effects weren’t as realistic to challenge, that a regulation was justified,” Grassley says, “and that’s why it was stalled.” Under the legislation, the ban on OSHA requiring higher safety rules for anhydrous retailers lasts until the end of calendar year 2016.

(Radio Iowa)

Creston man arrested on Union County warrant

News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Union County Sheriff’s Office reports a Creston man was arrested Monday night on a warrant. Ryan Patrick Dukleth was taken into custody at the Union County Law Enforcement Center on a Union County bench warrant for failure to appear on child support matters/Contempt of Court. Dukleth was being held in the Union County Jail on $2,000 bond.

(Podcast) KJAN 8-a.m. News, 12/22/2015

News, Podcasts

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

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

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(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 12/22/2015

News, Podcasts

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:07-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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