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Families of 4 motorcyclists killed in I-29 crash settle lawsuit

News

January 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The families of four motorcyclists who died in a crash with a drunken driver on Interstate 29 near Little Sioux in 2010, have settled a combined lawsuit with the man who was convicted on four counts of vehicular homicide. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the families accepted an offer made late last year by 23-year old Andrew Schlichtemeier. Barring any late developments, the settlement essentially ends the civil case against the man, who was 21-years old when his pickup crossed the center line of I-29 in a construction zone, and collided with four men on motorcycles who were returning home from Sturgis, S.D. The August 9th, 2010, crash claimed the lives of: Jay Bock of Omaha; Steven Benscoter of Pacific Junction, Iowa; and Dale Aspedon and Dennis Chaney, both of Glenwood, Iowa,

Authorities tested Schlichtemeier’s blood and recorded a blood-alcohol content of more than 4½ times the legal limit. The test also turned up traces of the chemical in marijuana. Investigators found two baggies containing marijuana, eight 12-ounce cans of beer, all unopened, along with an empty 40-ounce bottle of beer in the wreckage of Schlichtemeier’s vehicle, which ended-up on its side after the crash. Schlichtemeier pleaded guilty to four counts of motor vehicle homicide in February 2011. He was later sentenced to 50 years. When he pleaded guilty, Schlichtemeier admitted responsibility in court, with many of the motorcyclists’ loved ones in attendance.

The families of the motorcyclists filed separate lawsuits against Schlichtemeier in the months following the crash, but their cases were later combined. It was settled with mediation last Friday, to divide the amount of proceeds from Schlichtemeier’s car insurance policies he carried at the time. Attorneys would not say how much money the estates of the motorcyclists are dividing, citing conditions of the settlement. District Judge Greg Steensland will oversee the mediation in Council Bluffs.

Congressman King reacts to the XL pipeline decision

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Congressman Steve King is among the Republicans upset with Democrat President Barack Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone X-L oil pipeline project.  “Well, it’s just a completely illogical decision when you look at a country that needs jobs that needs energy, the price that gas is today compared to the day that Barack Obama took office. All of these things scream for us to build the pipeline down from the oil sands region in Northern Alberta down into the United States,” King says. The president issued a statement saying the decision to reject the pipeline was based on the need to gather more information on the safety of the pipeline. King says the decision is simply politics.

“The president has had difficulty making a decision between his environmental extremist base and his labor union base, he’s decided to side with the environmental extremist base,” King says. “It is not I don’t think, an analytical decision, it’s a political decision on his part. And the American people are going to have to make a political decision next November. If we can have jobs and energy blocked like this, we pretty well know that politics trumps the American people’s best interests.” King says he believes Obama made the decision now so it wouldn’t be hanging over his head before he gives his State of the Union address. The pipeline would extend from Canada to Texas, covering six states. Nebraska is the closest state to Iowa that would be on the pipeline route.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

King Awards Medals to Vietnam War Veteran David Napier

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King presented six Air Force medals to Iowa resident and Vietnam War Veteran David Napier today (Thursday).

Vietnam Vet David Napier receives his medals from Congressman Steve King (R-IA)

Napier never received the medals he earned while serving over forty years ago, but he received the medals today after seeing a flyer about retrieving unclaimed medals from the Republican Congressman’s office.

Napier served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1969 and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. He served 1 year in Da Nang, Vietnam as a musician in a special entertainment unit in the Air Force called the Black Patches. He was acquainted with many famous civilian entertainers who volunteered their services during the war including Martha Ray, Hank Snow, James Garner, Nancy Sinatra and Robert Mitchum. He is a well known local musician who plays saxophone for Rockestra and other local music groups.

Survey at 4-year high, but shows signs of trouble

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states puts the report’s overall index at a 4 1/2-year high, but other indicators show trouble ahead for the rural economy. The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday rose from 59.7 last month to 59.8 for January, the highest since June 2007. Anytime the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. But indexes tied to bankers’ responses to questions about farmland prices, loan volume, rural housing and hiring all dropped from last month. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says the results indicate a “leveling off” in the rural economy’s growth. The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

House education panel bans nicotine use in schools

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The House Education Committee has unanimously approved a bill banning the use of all nicotine products on school property, amid fears new smokeless and dissolvable tobacco products are easier for students to use. State law already allows school boards to suspend or expel a student for the use or possession of tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances on school grounds. The bill approved Thursday expands those rules to include all nicotine products. Products used to help someone quit smoking are excluded. Committee Chairman Republican Greg Forristall, of Macedonia, says nicotine products resembling toothpicks, mints or breath strips are being marketed to young people. Under the bill, school boards may also remove other people that violate the law and ban them from school grounds. The bill now goes before the full House.

Mourning dove hunting still not settled at Capitol

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Hunting mourning doves has been legal in Iowa for nearly a year, but the issue still isn’t settled at the Capitol.  A Senate subcommittee on Thursday discussed using lead shot ammunition in hunting the birds.  The state’s Natural Resources Commission last year unanimously voted to ban the practice, but a legislative committee put the ban on hold.
 
Sen. Dick Dearden, D-Des Moines, says the commission overstepped its bounds in banning lead shot. A resolution he backs to overturn that ban advanced out of the meeting.  Environmental advocates told committee members Thursday that lead shot is toxic and can harm animals when eaten. Hunting advocates say the harm is minor and no good alternatives to lead shot exists. The measure now goes to the full Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Celebration to mark CAM’s “Blue Ribbon School” to be held next week

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A celebration will take place at the CAM High School in Anita next Wednesday, to honor the former staff, teachers, board members and students of CAM North Elementary School, which recently received a 2011 “Blue Ribbon School” award. CAM North was formally known as the Anita Elementary School. The celebration along with a recognition ceremony and speech from returning Anita High School alum Liz Retz Parker (CAM Class of 1980), will take place at 1-p.m. Wed., Jan. 25th, at the high school.

A reception and open house will continue at the elementary building after the ceremony, until 4-p.m. (Students will be dismissed at 2:30-p.m.) Invitations are being sent to former staff and board members from recent years at the school, but all former teachers, staff and board members are welcome to attend.

Superintendent Steve Pelzer says the school wants to thank the community for its support in helping the district attain the national “Blue Ribbon School” award. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at very high levels and/or where the achievement gap is narrowing. The Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.

Non-injury accident reported in Atlantic

News

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following an accident Wednesday night, in Atlantic. According to Atlantic Police, Tammy Johnson, of Atlantic, was traveling north in the 800 block of Poplar Street, when Johnson looked down for a moment, and her vehicle hit a legally parked car owned by Darla Jacobsen, of Atlantic. The accident happened at around 9-p.m., Wednesday. Damage to the vehicles amounted to $10,000. Officials say Johnson was cited for Striking an Unattended Vehicle, and for having No Proof of Insurance.

Winter weather set to wallop IA…DOT advises be prepared for travel challenges

News, Weather

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Frigid temperatures statewide and an impending snowstorm for northern Iowa reinforce the need for motorists to prepare for winter travel challenges. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is advising motorists who must travel in these conditions to take extra precautions, including making sure to have a fully charged cell phone, adequate fuel in your vehicle’s tank and a survival kit in the vehicle.

A basic survival kit can be a live-saver in the event of a mechanical breakdown in the dangerous temperatures or if you are stranded during a winter storm. The kit should contain a blanket or sleeping bag; high energy, nonperishable food; water; flashlight and extra batteries; matches or a lighter; candles; warm gloves; small first aid kit; hat or stocking cap; insulated footwear; and winter coat. The kit should contain enough supplies for the number of passengers in the vehicle. Other winter travel supplies should include a snow shovel; scraper and snow brush; sand or strips of carpet for traction; flares/reflectors; tool kit; jumper cables; and a good spare tire, lug wrench and jack. Learn more about how to prepare your winter survival travel kit by visiting the Iowa DOT’s YouTube website at: http://www.youtube.com/iowadot.

Motorists are urged to monitor weather and road conditions before traveling – stay informed and plan ahead – road condition information is available from the resources listed below. 

  • Web: Visit the 511 Iowa website at www.511ia.org.
  • Twitter: County and metro area Twitter feeds are available. Sign up at 511ia.org.
  • Phone: When in Iowa call 511, or 800-288-1047 from outside of Iowa.
  • Rest areas: Free Wi-Fi service is available at the Iowa DOT interstate rest areas so you can view the www.511ia.org website on your computer from the convenience of your vehicle; or step indoors to view the website and radar images on the easy-to-operate kiosk.
  • Dynamic message boards: National Weather Service warnings are posted on the message boards displayed over highways at key locations throughout the state. When necessary, interstate closure information is also made available on these signs.
  • Mobile communication device: The www.511ia.org road condition map and text route reports are available for viewing on your mobile communication device. Cell phones and other mobile communication devices should only be used when parked and off the traveled portion of the roadway.
  • E-mail: Receive winter travel advisories and periodic updates directly in your inbox. Visit www.news.iowadot.gov to subscribe.

Wind chills approach 30-below with heavy snow expected tonight & tomorrow

News, Weather

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Just eight days ago, some Iowans enjoyed record high temperatures in the low 60s. Today, it’s a much different story. Meteorologist Jim Lee, at the National Weather Service office in Johnston, says an arctic air mass is bringing bitter cold into the Hawkeye State and portions of northern Iowa are under a Wind Chill Advisory. “We have fairly modest-to-brisk northwest breezes and very cold temperatures combining for wind chills of 20 to 30-below across northern Iowa,” Lee says. More snow is on the way, too. Lee says several Winter Storm Warnings, Watches and Advisories will be going into effect soon for much of Iowa’s northern half. “We’re expecting to see snow spreading in from northwestern Iowa after midnight tonight, continuing through Friday,” Lee says. “Accumulations across parts of northern Iowa will be close to five to seven inches, down around the Missouri border, virtually none, so there’ll be a pretty sharp gradient somewhere across central Iowa.” More super-cold air will be arriving in Iowa this weekend with another chance of snow by Sunday.

(Pat Powers/Radio Iowa)