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7AM Newscast 03-07-2012

News, Podcasts

March 7th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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USDA begins tweeting food recall alerts

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Anyone with a Twitter account can now be among the first to know about food recalls with a new service the Department of Agriculture is rolling out. The USDA says state-specific food safety alerts for meat, poultry, and processed egg products are included as well as information on how to protect food during severe weather events. Up until now recalls have been announced in news releases and on a general USDA Twitter feed. The agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says state feeds will better provide information directly to people affected by recalls. Food recalls often involve specific states where food was distributed. The alerts can be followed by listing your state’s two-letter designation followed by underscore then FSISAlert. Iowa for example is IA_FSISALERT and Nebraska is NE_FSISALERT.

Iowa News Headlines: Wed., March 7 2012

News

March 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Air Force plans to cut 492 positions at the Des Moines-based Air National Guard unit. The cuts represent a 39 percent reduction in staffing at the 132nd Fighter Wing unit which flies F-16 combat jets. Congress has the final say, and members of Iowa’s congressional delegation and Gov. Terry Branstad vow to fight the proposal.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Polk County supervisors have approved a plan to add about 300 slot machines at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona. If approved by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the casino would add $400,000 to $500,000 to county coffers in its share of profits from the new machines.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislators say they’ve struck a deal on a plan that would give Iowa’s large utility company new incentives to build a nuclear power plant. The compromise would require MidAmerican Energy to have financing in place before beginning construction. A Democratic Senator says he thinks the plan will be approved by a Senate committee this week.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Hamilton County farmer whose burning hay produced black smoke that caused chain-reaction collisions won’t be cited for a violation. Officials said Tuesday it was impossible to determine how much visibility was reduced by the smoke and how much by fog on U.S. Highway 20. Nine people were injured in Monday’s pileups near Webster City.

US Ag Sec says immigration issues could result in rotting crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says crops could end up rotting in the fields because of a lack of labor due to the nation’s immigration problems. Speaking before a farm group in Omaha, Vilsack says the elected leaders in Washington understand illegal immigration is a problem, but nobody wants to put aside politics and address it. “Everybody in this country knows that this immigration system is broken, everybody in this country,” Vilsack says, “every member of Congress, all 530 members of the House, all 100 members of the Senate, they know the immigration system is broken, but yet nothing happens.” Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says politicians are too eager to use the issue as a partisan tool rather than try to find a resolution.

“Everybody knows it’s a problem,” Vilsack says. “Where are the statesmen? Where are the people that are willing to put the national interests ahead of all else?” Vilsack, the head of the U-S-D-A, says the immigration issue may very soon begin to have a significant impact on agriculture.  “Here’s the risk to farming,” he says. “We’re getting to a point where crops may rot because we simply don’t have the people in the fields to do the work that needs to be done.” Vilsack insists the problem can be resolved. “The solution is not the issue here,” Vilsack says. “The problem is, people want to play politics with this issue. They want to go into your communities and they want to scare people about immigrants. They want to divide the nation over this issue because they think there’s political advantage.” Vilsack made his comments Monday to delegates to the National Farmers Union convention.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

ISP Trooper flying to Atlantic makes emergency landing in Denison

News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

For the second time in a little more than a year, a pilot with the Iowa State Patrol was forced to make  emergency landing due to circumstances beyond his control. The Patrol says Trooper Scott Pigsley was flying from Sioux City to Atlantic after having helped search for a missing woman in northwest Iowa, when his aircraft struck a flock of geese early Tuesday morning.   Pigsley, who was not injured in the mishap, landed safely at the Denison airport. The woman Pigsley was called to help find, was later located safe and sound.

Patrol spokesman Sgt. Scott Bright says Pigsley, a pilot for 17 years, was flying a single-engine Cessna at about 1,500 feet when he hit the geese. The plane sustained multiple dents to its wings and a wheel cover. Pigsley told KCCI-TV in Des Moines, the incident happened sometime between midnight and 1-a.m., Tuesday.

On December 18th, 2010, a State Patrol aircraft also flown by Pigsley,  made an emergency landing on Highway 44 near the Audubon/Guthrie County line, after having experienced oil pressure-related engine failure. Piglsey, and his passenger, a State Conservation Officer, were monitoring deer hunters when the plane went down, narrowly missing a pickup on the road. In 2006, Pigsley was also forced to make an emergency landing in a field near Bondurant, after experiencing engine problems.

2 arrested in Onawa shooting

News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) — Two men face charges in a shooting in Onawa that reportedly happened during a burglary that police now say was fabricated. 32-year old Darren Hieber and 24-year old Brady Chapman were arrested Tuesday in the Feb. 5th shooting at Hieber’s trucking business. Hieber told police he was shot in the leg while interrupting a burglary. Police say Hieber devised a scheme to have Chapman, his employee, shoot him with a .22-caliber rifle, to distract him from his personal problems. The Omaha World-Herald reports Hieber missed his estranged wife, and hatched the plan to try and get her back.

Hieber faces conspiracy and reckless use of a firearm charges. Chapman faces felony charges of reckless use of a firearm and willful injury. Both men face a charge of making a false report to law enforcement. The men are currently free on bond.

Former AP bureau chief Burt Wittrup dies in Iowa

News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ELK HORN, Iowa (AP) — Burt Wittrup, a former chief of bureau for The Associated Press in New Mexico, has died in his home state of Iowa, where he returned in 2008. His wife, Carolyn, says he died of congestive heart failure on March 1st at a hospital in Harlan. He was 77. The couple returned to Elk Horn, where Wittrup was born in 1934.

Wittrup served in the Navy and attended the University of New Mexico. He joined the AP in New Mexico, becoming news editor and bureau chief. He left the AP after 19 years. He worked for the Albuquerque Tribune, taught journalism at the University of New Mexico and joined the El Paso Times before retiring in 1994. Funeral services are at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Ohde Funeral Home in Kimballton.

Corps: Missouri River reservoirs ready for runoff

News, Weather

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Missouri River reservoirs have begun the spring runoff season with slightly more space than the normal amount for flood control storage. The corps says that as of Thursday, the system storage had an extra 300,000 acre-feet of storage. Runoff is expected to be near normal this year. Corps officials say the reservoirs were at desired levels last spring, but a late buildup of snow in the Rockies and heavy rains in Montana and other upstream areas in May led to record runoff. The corps was forced to release massive amounts of water from the dams, causing record flooding downstream. The more than 2,300-mile-long river flows from Montana through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.

EXTREME FIRE DANGER WARNING EXPANDED

News, Weather

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service says the Grassland Fire Danger Index will be in the “Extreme” category today across parts of southwest Iowa and southeast Nebraska. As of 11:30-a.m., that includes Monona, Harrison, Shelby, Pottawattamie, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont and Page Counties.

Extreme Fire Danger means that fires can start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious. All outdoor burning should be avoided in areas with Extreme Fire Danger! South to southwest winds at 15- to 30-mph today, will also bring an “Elevated Fire Danger” risk to the rest of the listening area.

Bluffs Police search for 4 attackers

News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A search is underway in Pottawattamie County for four men Council Bluffs police say attacked 33-year old Jason Muller outside of his home on South 8th Street Sunday afternoon. The suspects include one black male and 3 white males. Council Bluffs Police Dept. Sgt. Chad Meyers says they do not have a lot to go on. He says authorities are looking for a blue sedan. In each case, the descriptions are vague, but it’s all officials have to work with. 

Sgt. Meyers says around 3:00 Muller was working on his car and had gone into the house when he heard someone near his vehicle.  When he went outside to check it out he was attacked. Muller suffered severe facial injuries but will recover.  He says this is the same area where 40 year old Andrea Moulton was badly beaten on February 28th.  Meyers said there’s nothing to indicate at this time, that the two incidents are related. 

Both Moulton and Muller remain hospitalized.

(Karla James/Radio Iowa)