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(Update): 5 firefighters hurt in downtown Des Moines fire

News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Five firefighters have been treated for injuries they received fighting a fire in a downtown Des Moines building. Officials say the firefighters’ injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The fire was reported shortly after 12 a.m. Saturday in the 19-story Equitable Building. Fire Chief John TeKippe tells The Des Moines Register that two firefighters were hurt by falling debris, one fell off an 8-foot ladder and two others were treated for heat-related issues.

No other injuries have been reported. Officials say the fire was contained in a crawl space with electrical wiring and ductwork on the second floor, where most of the damage occurred. Some upper floors received smoke damage.

Firefighters remain at the scene.

Changes to Iowa Hunter Education website

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Conservation Board want to make the public aware of a slight change to the Hunter Safety Education Online Field Day class. The website for students to sign-up is iowadnr.gov/huntered.

In order for persons 12 years of age and older to complete a hunter education course, you must register for the field day online (as the link above). You will also be required to COMPLETE the online class before coming to the Sept. 27th Field Day at the Nishna Bend Recreation Area (1.5-miles southeast of the Harlan Airport), and, bring your online completion voucher to the Field Day, in order to be admitted.

Anyone born after Jan. 1st, 1972 must complete a hunter education safety course in order to obtain an Iowa hunting license. For more information, call 712-744-3403.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. News & funeral report, Sat., 8/30/2014

News, Podcasts

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Firefighters injured in Equitable Bldg Fire

News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A fire in downtown Des Moines early this (Saturday) morning has resulted in injuries to at least three firefighters. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. The Des Moines Register, citing social media posts by The Des Moines Association of Professional Firefighters, said crews spent more than four hours dealing with the fire and widespread smoke, which appeared in be at the Equitable Building, at 604 Locust St.

At least five fire trucks were on the scene before 1 a.m., and additional units and firefighters worked in the area later. Just before 3:30 a.m., fire officials requested assistance from the West Des Moines Fire Department. Firefighters told supervisors and dispatchers they were having difficulty reaching and extinguishing a part of the blaze in a mechanical area between floors.

Dispatchers also noted reports of smoke at the Hub or the Hub Tower, which are connected to the Equitable Building by skywalk. Hub Tower is across the street from the former Younkers building, which was devastated by a massive fire in March.

(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. News & funeral report, Sat. 8/30/2014

News, Podcasts

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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SW IA School District overspends prior to merger

News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One of two school districts in Fremont County looking to merge this winter because of financial difficulties is overspending more than initially expected. The Daily NonPareil says the Hamburg Community School District spent about $450,000 more last fiscal year than it was allowed to under state law, according to an estimate shared by Superintendent Terry Kenealy on Aug. 18th.
Iowa controls the maximum amount of spending by public school districts to keep spending equitable, so neighboring districts don’t spend dramatically different amounts of money per pupil. Districts that cannot stay under spending limit – referred to as having “negative unspent budget authority” by school officials – are forced to cut budgets, consolidate or face being dissolved.

Kenealy said Hamburg’s overspending may be adjusted but will remain close to the current estimate. Hamburg’s excess spending climbed from an original estimate of about $300,000 earlier this year. Both Hamburg and the Farragut Community School District, its proposed partner for consolidation, have to go before the Iowa Department of Education School Budget Review Committee in mid-December to present a plan to address overspending. Hamburg’s deficit in fiscal year 2013 was $46,350, according to the Iowan Department of Management. Farragut’s deficit for 2013 was $511,482.

The districts successfully circulated a petition last month to hold a special election in December to reorganize the districts, which would increase their shared authority and cut costs to address the budget restrictions. The Green Hills Area Education Agency will hold a hearing on the proposal on Sept. 24, which will determine whether the merger goes on the Dec. 2nd ballot.

The Hamburg and Farragut school boards will hold a joint meeting Sept. 10 with Jeff Berger, the deputy director of the Iowa Department of Education, and Amy Williamson, the chief of the department’s bureau of school improvement, to review findings from site visits, which will include an update on the districts’ financial situations.

The districts jointly operate a middle school in Hamburg and a high school in Farragut, both of which carry the Nishabotna name, but have separate elementary schools, superintendents and school boards. If they reorganize, they will create the Nishabotna Community School District.

Iowan spends summer riding bicycle across the country

News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Catholic priest from northwest Iowa man is back at home after spending most of his summer bicycling across the United States. Father Kevin Richter of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Le Mars rode 3,836 miles as he crossed 14 states in 68 days. “The most miles I covered in a day was from Bismark, North Dakota down to Selby, South Dakota,” Richter said. “With a good tail wind behind me, I rode 120 miles that day.” He averaged 68.5 miles a day. Richter said, during the toughest stretch of the trip, he covered only 28 miles on one day through the Appalachian Mountains.

Kevin Richter

Kevin Richter

“For half of Kentucky and half of Virginia, you just keep going up hills and down hills,” Richter said. “That gets weary after a while and nearly broke me at one point.” Richter divided his journey into two halves, traveling east from Le Mars to Yorktown, Virginia. From there, he flew to Portland, Oregon and rode his bike back to Le Mars. Oddly enough, Richter said the worst weather he rode through was in Iowa, on June 9.

“The day I left, when I was riding between Lawton and Bronson, it was raining hard. I think that was it,” Richter said. Richter took a summer sabbatical to make the trip. On many nights, he either camped out under the stars or slept in motels. On a few occasions, he would spend the evening at a church or with host families. Richter made the journey by himself, had 13 flat tires, and lost 25 pounds.

(Radio Iowa)

Corps official warns about boating without life jacket

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

It’s the last summer holiday weekend and the last chance for many to spend time on their boats. Lou An McCraken of the U-S Army Corps of Engineers, says you should be sure to have a life jacket on hand for everyone. She says it’s not enough just to have it in the boat, you need to put it on. “It’s not a burden to wear a life jacket if you find a good comfortable Coast Guard-approved life jacket…you’ll want to wear it to keep you safe and for everyone in your family who you care about,” McCraken says.

McCracken is a Natural Resource Specialist who works on the Mississippi River. McCracken says each year a number of boating accidents claim lives because someone fell into the water and underestimated their swimming ability. And sometimes swimming isn’t even an option, especially on rivers like the Mississippi. “You could have bumped your head, you could have had a medical condition that caused you to fall out, you pass out for any number of reasons, you may have hit something submerged that bumps you out of your boat,” McCraken says. “The Mississippi River is always changing, it’s such a dynamic river.”

McCracken says nine of ten people who drowned in lakes and river last year were not wearing a life jacket. She also says because the Mississippi is such a vast body of water, conditions vary on different sections of the river. What may be safe in one location could pose a danger elsewhere.

(Radio Iowa)

Swimming not recommended signs posted at several Iowa beaches for Labor Day weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Swimming is not recommended in at least seven of Iowa’s state park lakes for the last holiday weekend of the summer. Mary Skopec is the beach monitoring coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Right now, we have five beaches that are not recommended for swimming due to E. coli bacteria advisories and we have three beaches that are not recommended for swimming based on algal toxin levels that we see,” Skopec says. Recent heavy rains have contributed to a rise in E. coli bacteria by washing manure spread on farm fields into the lakes.

The beaches where swimming advisories are posted are at Union Grove State Park, Denison Beach, Black Hawk State Park, Backbone Lake, Lake of Three Fires, Prairie Rose Lake, and McIntosh Woods on Clear Lake.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., Aug. 30 2014

News

August 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager is resigning as a result of a scandal involving a presidential campaign he worked for in 2012. Jesse Benton said Friday he’s stepping down from his top role in the Republican senator’s re-election effort. Benton’s announcement stems from a political scandal in Iowa, in which former state Senator Kent Sorenson received thousands of dollars in “under the table payments” before switching loyalties from Michele Bachmann to Benton’s grandfather-in-law Ron Paul.

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — A man employed by the school district in Montezuma has been accused of sexually abusing two minors in 2012. The Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office says 28-year-old Derek John Bates was arrested Friday on two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of pattern, practice or scheme to engage in sexual exploitation by a school employee.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — A man riding a motorcycle has died following a crash in central Iowa. The Story County Sheriff’s Office says 52-year-old Benjamin Parsons of Boone was traveling on a Harley Davidson motorcycle Thursday night on Highway 30 near Ames when he crashed.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a section of the Raccoon River in Des Moines will rise several feet above flood stage before it’s expected to crest today. The city’s public works department says recent rainfall means the Raccoon River at Fleur Drive was over 12 feet on Friday. That’s just above the flood stage.