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7AM Newscast 08-29-2014

News, Podcasts

August 29th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Fountain lady case raised in oversight hearing

News, Sports

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The firing of a Des Moines woman who became an internet sensation for her drunken frolic in a fountain at a Kansas City Royals baseball game last summer has become the center of a dispute over Iowa Workforce Development unemployment judge independence.

Former unemployment appeals judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer says IWD Director Teresa Wahlert pushed her to justify her ruling in awarding the “fountain lady” unemployment benefits. Hendricksmeyer says she felt pressured by Wahlert after concluding Jessica McCoy was acting outside work responsibilities when she drunkenly waded into the Kauffman Stadium fountain a year ago and was later fired.

The issue is important because Wahlert, a political appointee, has taken over supervision of judges that decide unemployment benefit appeals cases. Federal regulations require judges to be insulated from political pressure.

Red Oak man arrested on a Missouri warrant

News

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak, Thursday night, arrested a man wanted on a warrant out of Missouri. Officers observed 31-year old Bryan David Sapp, Jr., of Red Oak, at around 9-p.m. in the 300 block of north 2nd Street. The officers were aware a warrant for his arrest on a charge of Failure to Appear in court, on an original charge of Obstruction. The warrant was issued in Lees Summitt, MO.

Red Oak police officers made contact with Sapp and validated the warrant before taking him into custody and transporting him to the Montgomery County Jail. Sapp, Jr. was being held without bond, pending extradition to to Missouri.

Rule changes aim to speed civil lawsuits in Iowa

News

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some lawsuits with less than $75,000 at stake will move through Iowa’s court system faster under new rules designed to cut the time and costs needed to resolve those disputes. The Iowa Supreme Court announced Thursday a set of new rules that will allow plaintiffs in smaller-value disputes to use an expedite process in which cases must be tried within a year. The rules limit the motions that can be filed before trial and give attorneys a maximum of six hours to present the facts of their side of the case to six-member juries.

Other rules pertaining to all civil cases will require litigants to disclose information to each other sooner. Justice Edward Mansfield says “people with valid legal claims were being priced out of our civil justice system.

DOT in final phase of reviewing traffic cameras

News

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation is in the final phase of determining if traffic cameras in six cities meet the requirements of new state rules that began in February. D-O-T director of traffic and safety, Steve Gent, says they have finished the review of the reports required of the cities and they still have some questions. There’s an issue with the speed cameras in I-380 in Cedar Rapids. “At this point we really just need to gather more information. There appears to possibly be an issue in Cedar Rapids that we need to be dealing with and that came about by looking at their review,” Gent says. “That’s probably the one that’s the biggest concern right at the moment.” He says the issue involves the speed zones near the cameras.

He says they want more information on whether the speed cameras on I-380 are located within one-thousand feet of a lower speed limit. Gent says they also had an issue with the Sioux City report. “Sioux City did not provide us before crash data. Anytime you are looking at a safety enhancement, you always look at the crashes before the enhancement was put into place and then crashes afterward,” Gent says. “And of course that was required by the rule and I am not sure why they didn’t submit that. We need more information.”

Other questions involved the before and after crash data for two cameras in Davenport, questions about crashes and violations for each intersection in Muscatine, and concerns raised about the number of red-light violations for an intersection in Des Moines. Gent says the rules are designed to be sure the cameras are used on state controlled roadways to enhance safety. and that’s what they are trying to determine in the review.

“These traffic cameras are okay as long as they are absolutely — and people have to believe that — they are for safety. If people believe that they are a money-making scheme, then that’s a terrible situation. That’s not about what our government is supposed to do,” Gent says. He hopes to wrap up the issue before the end of the year to determine if all the cameras are in compliance. “The emails were sent out last week for more information and we asked for that information back within a month,” Gent says. “Certainly by the end of the year we will have all of these resolved. When we have issues, we are going to sit down with the cities and make sure we understand all the issues and that they understand all the issues, and we will work together on coming to a resolution.”

Other cities had cameras on state roads, but decided to make changes. Clive decided to shut down its cameras in June. Windsor Heights and Fort Dodge decided to only place their speed cameras on local roadways, which are not covered by D-O-T rules.

(Radio Iowa)

Audit finds more money spent on confidential settlements with former state workers

News

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A state audit released Thursday shows taxpayers paid nearly $700,000 to cover confidential settlements to former state employees over a four-year period. The dollar figure is roughly $200,000 more than what had been previously reported. On March 24, Governor Branstad signed an executive order ending the use of confidentiality provisions. At the time, his administration identified 24 former state employe

“We identified at total of 37 who had confidentiality clauses and of ones that were settled through court proceedings, we had five, so a total of 42 confidentiality clauses,” Mosiman said. The audit did not reveal any more evidence of so-called “hush money” payments to former state workers in exchange for their silence. Governor Branstad fired Mike Carroll, who was head of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, after a Des Moines Register investigation found his office had paid nearly $300,000 in settlements to a half dozen former workers to keep the details of their firings secret. Mosiman noted in her report that the 42 confidentiality clauses did not violate public records laws.

“None of them violated (section 22.13 of) the Iowa Code, which states these clauses are a matter of public record,” Mosiman said. “It seems the (confidentiality clauses) were intended to impact the behavior of the parties to the agreements, but it did not impact the ability of the public to have access to the document as a public record.” Jack Hatch, the Democrat who is challenging Governor Branstad’s re-election bid, released a statement claiming Branstad has been “dodging the truth and hiding the facts.”

(Radio Iowa)

Flood Warning: Nodaway River at Clarinda

News, Weather

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A FLOOD WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE NODAWAY RIVER AT CLARINDA (AFFECTING PAGE COUNTY).

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

DO NOT DRIVE CARS THROUGH AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR VEHICLE TO PASS SAFELY.

* AT 1:15 AM FRIDAY THE STAGE WAS 24.7 FEET…OR 1.7 FEET ABOVE FLOOD STAGE.

* FLOOD STAGE IS 23.0 FEET.

* MINOR FLOODING IS OCCURRING AND MINOR FLOODING IS FORECAST.

* FORECAST…THE RIVER WILL CONTINUE RISING TO NEAR 25.8 FEET THIS MORNING. THE RIVER WILL FALL BELOW FLOOD STAGE THIS AFTERNOON.

* IMPACT…AT 24.0 FEET…ADDITIONAL LOWLANDS, SOME FARMLANDS, AND COUNTY ROADS FLOOD.

Iowa early News headlines: Fri., Aug. 29th 2014

News

August 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for Clarke County to respond to recent storms. Branstad announced the declaration yesterday. The county suffered damage after severe storms and rain on Saturday. Under the declaration, the county can use state resources to recover from the storm. Clarke County is in southern Iowa.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — A statue of former U.S. Senator James Harlan has been unveiled in Mount Pleasant after more than a century in Washington, D.C. The Burlington Hawk Eye reports Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds were among the guests Thursday as the statue was unveiled at Iowa Wesleyan College.

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) — Floyd County officials plan to appoint someone to serve temporarily as county attorney, following the death of its top prosecutor. The Floyd County Board of Supervisors says it will appoint someone on Sept. 9 to fill the vacancy left by the Aug. 17 death of Normand Klemesrud. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports three people are currently running for county attorney in the November 4th election, but someone needs to serve as county attorney until then.

ELDRIDGE, Iowa (AP) — Three children have been removed from a home in eastern Iowa where police say an active meth lab was found. The Eldridge Police Department says that two men and a woman were arrested recently after officers found the meth lab. The children, ages 2, 7 and 10, are in the care of state officials.

Audubon Special Council Meeting Cancelled

News

August 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Audubon City Attorney Dave Wiederstein said late Thursday afternoon, that a special meeting of the Audubon City Council scheduled for Thursday, August 28, at 7:00 p.m., is cancelled. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on and approve a Remediation Plan that was revised from the prior version approved by the Council in May. A Remediation Plan is an explanation as to how the Council is going to fix past violations and prevent future violations of open meetings law.

The revisions consisted of removing “action items” to be performed by the City Council that IPIB does not have the authority to enforce. In order for a Remediation Plan to be considered and approved by IPIB, all of the complainants-Francine O’Brien Andersen, Dawn Rohe, and Jessica Rohe-need to agree to the Plan. One of the complainants, Dawn Rohe, asked to be removed as a complainant because she no longer lives in the City of Audubon.

Wiederstein said he hadn’t received a response from O’Brien-Andersen, and Jessica Rohe informed him that she will not agree to the Plan. The Council can vote to approve it, but if not everyone is in agreement, then the Remediation Plan will not be considered by IPIB.

Wiederstein said he does not know how much longer IPIB will wait for a Remediation Plan to be agreed to but he will be in discussion with IPIB regarding the matter.

Study estimates the cost of raising a kid to age 18; It’s cheaper in Iowa

News

August 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new study from the U-S Department of Agriculture predicts it will cost Iowans about 245-thousand dollars to raise a child born in the last year through age 18. U-S-D-A Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, the former director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, says that near-quarter-million dollar figure doesn’t take inflation into account. “That amount will add up to $304,480,” he says.

Concannon, the agency’s Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, says the amount of money you spend depends on how many children you have, the age of the children, your marital status, where you live and your household income. Mark Lino, an economist in the U-S-D-A’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is the author of the report and says the most expensive age group is teens.

“These are the years when they start to drive so you add them to your auto insurance,” Lino says, “maybe buy them an automobile.” Iowans can consider themselves lucky. Lino says Midwesterners have the lowest child-raising expenses due to lower housing costs in our region. Calculate your potential costs for raising a child here: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/calculatorintro.htm

(Radio Iowa)