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High Speed chase in western IA


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A high speed chase expanding through two western Iowa counties ended in rural Monona County Thursday morning. The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office reports a deputy had observed a vehicle acting suspiciously in a residential area near Sergeant Bluff around 7am. Lieutenant Charles Hertz said the vehicle was in an area it should not have been “When the vehicle saw law enforcement drive by, they immediately left the area and pulled into a private residence. Deputy Brand continued to monitor the vehicle and notated it spent a very short time in the driveway before backing out.”

A traffic stop was initiated by the deputy where the three individuals in the car, two males and a female, were asked to get out of the car. Hertz said “The vehicle already had damage on the driver side and the driver was unable to exit through the driver door. There was a female front seat passenger. She was requested to exit and did so. A male passenger in the back seat tried to exit the vehicle and the driver pulled off, abandoning the female passenger on the side of the road.”

The high speed pursuit began at that point with Deputy Brand following the vehicle through Sergeant Bluff and Salix on Highway 75. Authorities believe at some point during the chase on Highway 75, the occupants were throwing items believed to be narcotics. The chase continued south of Sloan on Highway 141 where stop sticks were deployed east of Hornick.

Lt. Hertz said during the chase the driver called 911 threatening harm to himself if the deputy did not back off. Speeds topped out around 80 to 90mph during the chase. He says about an hour into the chase a pit maneuver was made. “A Sergeant was able to execute a pit maneuver and caused the vehicle to lose control. The vehicle subsequently crashed and the two occupants were taken to Burgess Memorial Hospital.”

The occupants were identified as David Whitlock, who was the driver and the male passenger was Randell Durand, both of Sioux City. An update on their condition was not given. The abandoned female passenger was identified as Felicionna Ruies, of Sioux City. Charges are currently pending as drugs were found inside the vehicle and authorities were searching for the items thrown from the vehicle.

Lt. Hertz says the chase may not have happened at all without the STEP initiative. “The deputy that initiated the pursuit was working the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau traffic grant under the Click it or Ticket campaign. That was the reason he was out and had that extra deputy not been out, this would not have occurred.” The Woodbury County Sheriff’s were assisted by the Iowa State Patrol, Monona County Sheriff’s, Mapleton PD, Mapleton Rescue and Ute Fire Department.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Branstad promises to sign medical marijuana bill


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’ll sign a bill legalizing the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy but hasn’t made a decision on legislation that could change the scope of greyhound racing in the state. Speaking on the public television program “Iowa Press” on Friday, Branstad promised to sign the marijuana bill next week.

Branstad says he also intends to sign bills to regulate the use of drones and ban the sale and use of e-cigarettes for minors. He says he’s still considering legislation to end greyhound racing at a track in Council Bluffs but allow it to continue in Dubuque.

Branstad plans to sign his Home Base Iowa initiative, which offers tax and job incentives to veterans, on Memorial Day.

Click it or Ticket effort to start Saturday


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

State and local law officers are beginning a “Click it or ticket” effort Saturday that will carry through this Memorial Day weekend. Iowa Highway Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says they goal is simple. He says the goal is to make sure that people are using their seatbelts as he says they want to see the seatbelt use numbers continue to go up.

Iowa currently has a 93-percent statewide, daytime seatbelt average, ranking Iowa in the top ten in the nation. The nighttime seatbelt average is only 39-percent. Trooper Kurts points to an accident that happened on the bypass in Sioux City recently as a good example of why they want everyone to buckle up. During that accident it was determined a female driver who was not wearing her seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle and fatally injured.

“I believe the number is about 75 percent of the people who are thrown from a vehicle in a crash are killed. You are much safe inside that vehicle and the seatbelt is the one thing that is going to keep you inside that vehicle during a crash,” Kurtz says. It is the start of the summer driving season and that leads to more vehicles on the road, and the possibility of more accidents.

“Last year in 2013 there were three fatality crashes over the Memorial Day Holiday — two of those which were alchol related,” Kurtz says. He says other years there have been more fatal accidents, and the main point is that you need to take precautions like using your seatbelts to avoid becoming one of the statistics. The campaign begins Saturday (May 24) and runs through June 4th.

(Radio Iowa)

Corps: Missouri River levels will rise but no flooding this season

News, Weather

May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Above-normal runoff is expected over the coming weeks in the Missouri River system, but officials with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers say -no- flooding is anticipated. Jody Farhat, who heads the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Office in Omaha, says more water will be pouring into the waterway but it shouldn’t cause a problem as it’s been so dry. Farhat says, “Runoff this year is expected to be above-average and flood control remains our primary consideration, however, drought persists across much of the lower basin and storage in the Missouri River main stem reservoir system remains below normal due to the 2012 drought.”

Kevin Stom, a Corps engineer in the water management office, provides more details about the expected run off.  “The 2014 calendar year runoff forecast is 31.7-million acre feet, which is 125% of normal, above Sioux City, Iowa,” Stom says. “April runoff of 2.8-million acre feet, or 96% of normal, is 0.6-million acre feet below the April forecast.” Corps engineer Mike Swenson says they have plenty of storage space in the upstream reservoirs to handle additional water from runoff.

“Reservoir system storage is currently at 54.6-million acre feet and is 1.5-million acre feet below the top of the carryover multiple use zone,” Swenson says. “This 1.5-million acre feet of storage is in addition to the 16.3-million acre feet of flood control storage that is normally available at the start of the runoff season.”

Swenson says releases from Gavins Point Dam have been increased to 30-thousand cubic feet per second, and release levels will go higher as needed later in the season to support downstream navigation.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 05-23-2014

News, Podcasts

May 23rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. News & funeral report, 5/23/14

News, Podcasts

May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


DNR to hold meeting on Beaver Lake water quality

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is holding a public meeting to discuss the results of a study completed on the quality of water in Beaver Lake, located west of Des Moines in Dallas County. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. June 10 at the Raccoon Valley Bank in Adel.

The 34-acre Beaver Lake is on the state’s list of impaired waters because it has high levels of algae cause by too much phosphorous which impacts the recreation at the lake. The plan explores the amounts and sources of phosphorus and offers potential solutions to reduce those levels. High phosphorous levels often result from runoff of fertilizers from farmland.

After gathering comments, the DNR will forward a final plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

Former Harlan doctor pleads not guilty to sexual abuse charges


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Council Bluffs Daily NonPareil reports a former Harlan doctor accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl 15 years ago at Myrtue Medical Center, plead Not Guilty Wednesday, in Shelby County District Court. 81-year old Wing Tai Fung, of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, was charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony, for an alleged incident in January 1999. He allegedly molested a girl he was treating for a knee sprain at the hospital, according to a criminal complaint. If convicted, Fung faces up to 25 years in prison. A court date is pending.

Chicago police arrested Fung on April 28 at O’Hare Airport after he returned from Canada. He waived his extradition so the case could be tried in Shelby County. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating other allegations of sexual abuse.

GOP candidates for US Senate debate health care vouchers for vets


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two of the five Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate say given the problems in the Veterans Administration, it’s now time for a health care voucher system for U.S. military veterans. Candidate Sam Clovis, a retired Air Force pilot, supports giving vets a voucher or a swipe card, so they can get care anywhere, not just at a V-A hospital or clinic. “This tragedy with the VA is very personal to me,” Clovis says. “My brother, a veteran, waited a year to get disability dispensation from the VA and I really think it’s what led to him imminent demise. I lost him a long time ago and I think it was because of the ineptness of the Veterans Administration hospital system and what we had to deal with to get him his care.”

Candidate Matt Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, supports vouchers for vets to buy private insurance. “A voucher system where you are offered an amount of money that you can then go nn the free market and either buy more than the voucher or buy less and the savings could then stay in your pocket and address your personal health insurance needs and health care needs,” Whitaker said.
The other three candidates for the Iowa Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination say they’re open to the idea, but need to see the financial impact on the federal budget before they’ll endorse health care vouchers for vets.

Candidate Joni Ernst, a commander in the Iowa National Guard, says a “cost-benefit” analysis of the idea is the first step. “However, the VA as it’s standing now with the waiting lists whether it’s for mental health care, whether it’s for physicals of line of duty implications following a deployment — there’s a number of things that need to be looked at,” Ernst says.

Candidate Mark Jacobs, a retired business executive, says the V-A system “must be fixed” because many veterans have to drive long distances to get to a V-A center. “What we need to do is we need to open up to other private-market, out-of-network options so that our veterans can get the health care, the medical care that they deserve, that we have committed to provide them and I do think we have to look at this on a cost-benefit basis,” Jacobs says.

Candidate Scott Schaben, who is a Navy veteran, says it’s “an insult” that former soldiers have to wait a month or more for care, but he says a voucher system needs more analysis. “Before we would do any sort of transition, there’d have to be a cost-benefit analysis done to it,” Schaben says. “Part of the reason why the VA is there now and we’re not putting our veterans into it is because, in theory, it should be less expensive to the government.” The candidates made their comments Thursday afternoon during a forum focused on health care issues.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., May 23rd 2014


May 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines man has been arrested in connection to the April shooting death of his 4-year-old daughter. Police say 24-year-old Adam Mead turned himself in Thursday. The Des Moines Register reports Mead faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, neglect of a dependent person and two counts of making firearms available to minors.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is sending the White House a $12 billion-plus bill authorizing new flood control projects in Iowa, North Dakota and other states. The Senate passed the bill on a 91-7 vote yesterday after the House approved it Tuesday.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Environmental groups have sued the Army Corps of Engineers over the agency’s use of man-made structures meant to keep the Mississippi River navigable. The federal lawsuit was filed Thursday in East St. Louis, Illinois. Plaintiffs including the National Wildlife Federation claim the techniques provoke flooding as seen during historic inundations four times in the past two decades.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A trombone serenade and the antics of a self-proclaimed “Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible” were the featured entertainment at an Iowa City construction site celebration this week. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports University of Iowa officials on Wednesday celebrated construction workers’ progress on the new Hancher Auditorium with a picnic lunch, complete with performances from artists Wycliffe Gordon and Tomas Kubinek.