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Demonstrative mating ritual of prairie chickens focus of Iowa festival

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The annual Prairie Chicken Festival is underway today (Saturday) in central Iowa at the Kellerton Grasslands Bird Conservation area near Des Moines. The festival begins before dawn and puts the mating behavior of the prairie chicken on display. Pat Schlarbaum, a wildlife diversity technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says patrons can expect quite a show.

“They’re stamping their feet, they’re spinning, they’re leaping, basically doing everything they can to get the female’s attention,” he says. The second part of the free festival moves to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, where the Yankton Nation of Greenwood, South Dakota — a Native American group — will present its version of the Prairie Chicken Dance. Schlarbaum says prairie chickens were once all but gone from Iowa’s prairies but they’ve been brought back.

“We have been actively relocating prairie chickens from Kansas to Iowa because they were extirpated or they were lost to the Iowa landscape back in the 1950s.” Schlarbaum says he and his team work to protect populations of animals, like prairie chickens, which he calls a “keystone species” of the grasslands.

(Radio Iowa)

RED FLAG WARNING from Noon-8pm today (4/4) for parts of w/sw IA

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

AREA COUNTIES:CRAWFORDMONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS & SAC; 321 AM CDT SAT APR 4 2015 RED_FLAG_WARning

DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS TODAY! TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE UPPER 60S TO LOWER 70S THIS AFTERNOON WHILE RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES FALL TO AROUND 15 TO 20 PERCENT. COMBINED WITH GUSTY SOUTHWEST WINDS AND DRY FUELS, EXTREME FIRE DANGER IS EXPECTED TODAY FROM LATE MORNING THROUGH THE AFTERNOON HOURS.

A RED FLAG WARNING WILL BE IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY UNTIL 8 PM, FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY FOR EASTERN NEBRASKA AND PORTIONS OF SOUTHWEST IOWA.

* AFFECTED AREA…ALL OF EASTERN NEBRASKA AND MUCH OF SOUTHWEST IOWA.

* WINDS…SOUTHWEST 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. * RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AS LOW AS 16 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS…CONDITIONS THIS AFTERNOON WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR…WITH A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR OUT OF CONTROL BURNS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., April 4th 2015

News

April 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says his age won’t slow him down as he runs for a 7th term. The 81-year-old said yesterday that age “isn’t a factor or I wouldn’t be running.” The six-term Republican held the first fundraiser for his 2016 campaign earlier this week and is nearly halfway through his annual tour of all 99 Iowa counties.

LE GRAND, Iowa (AP) — Police say they’re searching for a man accused of threatening reporters with what appeared to be a gun and assaulting a photojournalist. Des Moines television station KCCI reports that its news crew called law enforcement Thursday after 27-year-old Chad Bryant poured water over a cameraman’s head and brandished something that looked like a rifle outside of a Le Grand home. Bryant and several others then left the area, prompting the search.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A 43-year-old Council Bluffs man accused of kidnapping connected to the abuse of his developmentally disabled son has been sentenced to prison. The Daily Nonpareil reports that James Beyer pleaded guilty on Thursday to neglect of a dependent person. He was sentenced to 10 years, but a prosecutor says Beyer’s plea agreement includes a provision that the court review the sentence in a year.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines woman has been convicted on several counts of bilking federal and state welfare programs out of thousands of dollars. A federal jury on Thursday found 48-year-old Julia Nguyen guilty of 22 felony counts.

New Big Lake Park Signage Installed as part of IWF “Art in the Park” Initiative

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa West Foundation say local artist Charley Friedman used community input to help create signage for Council Bluffs’ biggest park. The “I” in the new Big Lake Park signage is officially dotted. The majority of the new signage was installed last month, but just recently a fish that serves as a nod to nature as well as the “I” in “Big” completed the look.Big Lake

One of Council Bluffs’ largest parks, Big Lake Park stretches 200 acres around a bend in the Missouri and rests in the shadows of the Loess Hills. It contains four lakes, one large one to the north and three smaller ones to the south. The south side also includes two playgrounds, a large covered picnic shelter, a fishing dock, a baseball diamond, a soccer field and jogging/biking trails. The lakes are stocked with trout, bluegill, bass and catfish.

Big Lake Park is just one of the local parks receiving new signage as part of the Iowa West Foundation’s “Art in the Park” Initiative.” Funded in 2014, the $200,000 initiative allows for the replacement of weathered park identifications signs in six community parks. All signs were designed by local artists, as a way for them to showcase their work to the region.

Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation, said “The park signs were also designed using input from the community. They contributed concepts and ideas at public meetings that the artists took to heart and it reflects in the Big Lake signage.”

Charley Friedman, of Lincoln, Neb., is the artist who fabricated the sculpture with naturally rusting COR-TEN steel and cast aluminum animals. Friedman said “Art and nature are two sides of the same coin in that both inspire creativity and imagination. Signage can be droll, but the signs that I’ve seen by the other artists give a specificity and individuality to each park.” Friedman said also, “I wanted the Big Lake sign to have a Jellystone Park/Yogi Bear kind of esthetic.”

Of the other five parks, Roberts Park (1000 N. 25th St.) and Kirn Park(100 ½ 5th Ave) signs were completed in July and August, respectively. Larry Foster, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Council Bluffs, said he expects Cochran Park (100 S. 21st St.) and Westwood Park (1200 S 35th St.) signs to be complete in April.

The last park sign to be completed will be Sternhill Park (1031 N. 8th St.). “Art in the Park” is coordinated by the Council Bluffs Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department, with assistance from the City Public Art Commission, and overseen by art curator Joel Damon.

Gastroenteritis cases reported in Shelby County: source unknown

News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Public Health Department say they recently received multiple reports of a gastroenteritis illness (GI) in the community. It is not known yet what germ is causing the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Testing is underway. The illness has affected all ages, from infants to the elderly.gastroenteritis-man

Health officials say ,any GI illnesses spread from person to person when people fail to wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It is also spread when people prepare food while ill with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Shelby County Public Health Nurse Rachel Birks says “Anyone with diarrhea or vomiting should not be handling any food items, regardless of how well they wash their hands. That rule is important no matter if you’re cooking for 2 or 200, whether it’s a regular family meal or dining out.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourages consumers to take an active role in preventing the spread of infection by following safe food-handling and preparation tips. Always wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food and after using the restroom. Assume that raw chicken and other meat carry bacteria that can cause illness, and do not allow these foods to cross-contaminate surfaces and other foods. Cook chicken and other meats to the right temperatures. It is always best to cook seafood thoroughly. Chill leftovers promptly and reheat foods thoroughly.

For more information on avoiding illnesses from food, visit www.foodsafety.gov.
For more information, call Shelby County Public Health at 712-755-4422 or contact your medical provider.

2 arrests in Mills County

News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Thursday on separate charges, in Mills County. Authorities say 20-year old Billy O’Brien Walsh, of Pacific Junction, was arrested for Trespassing. His bond was set at $300. And, 23-year old Theodore Paul Brayman, of Council Bluffs, was arrested for Public Intoxication. His bond was also set at $300.

Glenwood woman hurt in 2 vehicle crash, Thursday

News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were injured during a collision Thursday, in Mills County. The Sheriff’s Office says Michael Joyce, of Glenwood, suffered minor cuts and scrapes, while his passenger, Elizabeth Joyce, suffered from a possible broken hand and other, minor injuries. She was transported by Glenwood Rescue to the hospital.

Authorities say a 2004 Chevy driven by Michael Pomerenke, of Glenwood, was traveling south on Kidd Road and proceeded across the westbound traffic into the median crossing. He looked toward eastbound traffic and didn’t see a 2009 VW driven by Michael Joyce approaching on Highway 34. As he proceeded to cross, Joyce saw the Chevy cross the median, but when he realized Pomerenke was starting onto the traveled portion of Highway 34 and wasn’t going to stop, Joyce hit the brakes and swerved toward Kidd Road to avoid a direct impact. The two vehicles collided at the intersection, with both vehicles coming to a rest on Kidd Road. Pomerenke wasn’t hurt in the crash, and his vehicle was driven from the scene. The VW was towed upon owner’s request.

(Update) Change of location for NRC/DNR meeting on April 9th

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In an update to our story this past Wednesday, officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources say the location for the April 9th Natural Resource Commission meeting has been changed to 8:30-a.m. in the Harlan Fire Department meeting room at 906 Cyclone Ave., in Harlan.The NRC was set to have met at the Nishna Bend Recreation Area. The presentation and tour departure location remains the same.

On April 8, local DNR fisheries and state parks staff will give commissioners a presentation at the Nishna Bend Rec Area, 516 Maple Road, Harlan, before departing for a field tour of Prairie Rose State Park and the lake restoration project. The field tour and presentation will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The meeting, presentation and tour is open to the public.

For more information, click on this link: http://www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/BoardsCommissions/NaturalResourceCommission.aspx

Jury convicts Georgia man of second-degree murder

News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

BOONE, Iowa (AP) — A Georgia man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of his former roommate in 2009. Jurors deliberated for about four and a half hours before returning a guilty verdict Friday to 55-year-old John Green. He was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old Mark Koster, of Sac City, but convicted of the lesser offense of second-degree murder.

Defense attorneys say Green killed Koster in self-defense. But prosecutors argue that Green significantly outweighed Koster and therefore didn’t need to kill the man to defend himself.

Koster was declared missing in 2010. His remains were later found buried in his basement after new owners began renovations.

Green’s second trial in the case began Monday. The first ended in a mistrial.

Jury continues to deliberate murder case against Georgia man

News

April 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

BOONE, Iowa (AP) – A jury has resumed deliberations in the trial of a Georgia man accused of killing his former roommate in 2009. Jurors were scheduled today (Friday) to continue to work toward a verdict in the case against 55-year-old John Green, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old Mark Koster, of Sac City. The case was sent to jurors Thursday after attorneys delivered closing arguments.

Defense attorneys say Green killed Koster in self-defense. But prosecutors argue that Green significantly outweighed Koster and therefore didn’t need to kill the man to defend himself. Koster was declared missing in 2010. His remains were later found buried in his basement after new owners began renovations.

Green’s second trial in the case began Monday. The first ended in a mistrial.