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Governor Branstad talks about importance of Thanksgiving


November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad will be hosting his family’s Thanksgiving celebration today (Thursday). “Thanksgiving is a special holiday, it’s truly an American holiday where we really celebrate the founding of our nation, the pilgrims coming to America, the hardships that they overcame,” Branstad says. He says the holiday is a time to reflect on what we have.

“I think it’s also an important time for us to just say thanks to everyone who has done so much to give us the freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy in this country — especially our military veterans,” according to Branstad. The governor will be joined by his wife Chris, his kids and grandkids and some special friends for the holiday. He has this message for Iowans.

“We wish a very blessed and enjoyable Thanksgiving to all Iowa families,” Branstad says. Branstad pardoned two turkeys earlier this week in an annual ceremony, but he does plan to have the traditional turkey on his plate for the big dinner.

“I’m a white meat eater, and my role is carving the turkey. Chris basically prepares it and I carve it,” Branstad explains. “We have other members of the family bring other food items as well.”
The governor is attending the annual community Thanksgiving service at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines today where parishioners dress in period garb. That service begins at 10 a-m.

(Radio Iowa)

Prospects look good for pheasant hunting during Thanksgiving

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The turkey gets all the attention during the Thanksgiving holiday, but another bird is creeping back into the spotlight this year. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says after several years with their population being down, pheasants are making a comeback. “One of the traditions in Iowa was doing the pheasant hunt before the Thanksgiving meal and with improved bird numbers this year we’ve been getting pretty positive reports and I expect they’ll probably be a few more folks bringing back that tradition,” Bogenschutz says.

The pheasant season opened October 25th, and while the first few weekends are generally some of the best hunting, he says several factors have combined to make the prospects better for hunting now. “Our bird numbers were improved and on top of that we kind of had the late crop harvest, so it was a little challenging the opening week and week after there,” Bogenschutz says. “People had good success, but the birds figured out those crops were there, and most of those crops are gone now and that’s providing a few more birds that weren’t available to hunters.”

He says the latest snowfall also is a benefit to hunters. “Birds can make use of road ditches or even crop fields before we had snow and blend in pretty well, but now when things turn white the birds aren’t so comfortable just being out there in the open. That helps hunters, they can concentrate on the good areas of habitat, and that’s probably where the birds will move to as well,” Bogenschutz explains. A final count on the pheasant harvest won’t come until March, but Bogenschutz likes what he’s heard form hunters thus far.

“It’s just anecdotal reports, but they have all been positive. Folks are really pleasantly surprised with the bird numbers and the success they have been having,” Bogenschutz says. “I think that’s going to lead to probably our best bird harvest that we’ve had in a number of years.” Hunting hours for the pheasant season are 8 a-m until 4:30 p-m each day. The daily limit is three rooster pheasants. The season closes on January 10th.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Nov. 27th 2014


November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad is facing hours of questions under oath about his administration’s treatment of a gay former state administrator. The governor was being questioned in a deposition Wednesday by an attorney for Chris Godfrey, the former workers’ compensation commissioner. Godfrey has filed a lawsuit against Branstad and aides alleging he was singled out for harsh treatment because he’s openly gay.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska bank president and an Iowa teenager who kept their cool and saved others will be honored during halftime of the Nebraska-Iowa “Heroes” football game on Friday. Gene Willers is president of Midwest Bank in Pilger, and on June 16th he saved eight people from an EF4 tornado. Eighteen-year-old Austin Benson of Winterset will be honored for helping a friend thrown from a horse last Fourth of July.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Mason City clown who was in a coma for more than a week following an August car accident is on the road to recovery. As Happy the Clown, Anne Grady has been putting smiles on the faces of children and adults for the past 30 years. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports she was in a coma for 12 days after a multi-vehicle wreck on August 27th near Sheffield.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Cedar Rapids man has pleaded guilty to distributing heroin that caused an overdose death. Federal authorities announced the conviction on Wednesday. Ramon Freeman appeared in federal court Monday.

Montgomery County Arrest


November 26th, 2014 by admin

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department reports the arrest of a Villisca man Wednesday afternoon. 23 year old Jeremy Scott Dolph was arrested on charges of domestic assault from a reported incident the evening of November 25th. Dolph is being held on 3-hundred dollar bond.

Fremont County Arrest


November 26th, 2014 by admin

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office is reporting the arrest of an Essex man. A report was received stating 37 year old Alan Burnison had followed the individual to his residence in the Barlett area from Exit 42 on Interstate 29 and would not leave. When officers arrived they observed Burnison sitting in his vehicle nearby and left upon their arrival. Burnison was stopped and found to be in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Burnison was subsequently arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Burnison is being held at the Fremont County Jail on 13-hundred dollar bond.

Glenwood woman arrested Tuesday


November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Glenwood Police Department reports the arrest on Tuesday of a woman wanted on a warrant. 25-year old Esperanza Cadena, of Glenwood, was arrested on a Mills county warrant for OWI 1st offense. Cadena’s bond was set at $1,000.

8 people indicted in Sioux City officer shooting


November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Eight people have been accused of helping a man flee Sioux City after he shot a police officer. The federal grand jury indictments charge the eight with various crimes and all are charged with conspiracy to obstruct or interfere with governmental functions.

Jamal Dean, the man convicted of shooting officer Kevin McCormick, fled Sioux City after the April 29, 2013, shooting. He was arrested five days later during a traffic stop in Riviera, Texas, 105 miles from the Mexican border. Although McCormick’s police vehicle was riddled with bullets and he was shot in the head, he wasn’t seriously injured. He’s returned to work.

Dean later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Iowa court an option for mentally ill offenders


November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – The 4th Judicial District is planning to launch a court for nonviolent offenders with mental illnesses. In September, Pottawattamie County was awarded a $250,000 federal grant to start the project. Officials say the purpose of the mental health court is to decrease re-arrests and divert the offenders from correctional facilities to treatment programs.  The Daily Nonpareil reports officials hope to launch the court in late January.

For a person to be eligible for mental health court, they must not have committed a violent felony. They also must have had a mental health diagnosis in the past six months or have a history of mental illness.  A mental health court team will be formed to collect information and decide whether to admit a person. Court sessions will be held at least once a month.

Cass County Supervisors approve 2015 Master Matrix


November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors had a very brief meeting this (Wednesday) morning, in Atlantic. The Board approved a Livestock Facility Construction Evaluation Resolution (commonly referred to as the “Master Matrix”). Auditor Dale Sunderman pointed out they typically wait until after the first of the year to act on the resolution, but the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) sent the information and forms out early.

He also said the County’s approval of the Master Matrix doesn’t guarantee a livestock confinement facilities’ application with the DNR will be denied, based on the scoring of the Matrix. He said “The DNR doesn’t have to listen to us, but at least they are basically obligated to listen to what local officials say, that they may bring up points they [The DNR] is unaware of.” That’s especially true, he says, if, when the board assesses the application using the Master Matrix, they [the applicant] doesn’t pass that point rating. Sunderman says “It’s a pretty good sign the DNR won’t approve of it…until the issues are reconciled.”

Cass County Supervisor Duane McFadden mentioned that the Iowa DNR (in Aug. 2014) issued construction permits for the “Circle G” and Geidel Pork sites, near Orient, despite the Adair County Board’s rejection of the application, based on the Master Matrix. He said Adair County twice denied the Geidel brothers all the points, but the DNR in its review added more points to the application. Sunderman said actions by the Board in denying confinement facility requests sometimes prompts the applicant to change their plan of operation slightly, to in-effect move-up their point rating. The Geidel brothers had each wanted to double their hog operations from 2,500 head to 5,000 head.

In other business, the Board heard an update from Cass County Engineer Charles Marker, with regard to various Secondary Roads Department activities. Marker said as far as the bridge on the Cass-Montgomery County line, the east abutments have been completed. He said the piles have been driven, and concrete pile-cap supports were being added as weather allows. A.M. Cohron is the contractor for the project.

Work is also nearly finished on the Interstate 80 bridge at the Marne Exit. The DOT is handling the project, and Marker says the bridge should be open soon.

Iowans overwhelmingly support funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Newly released polling data show an overwhelming majority of Iowans – 81 percent – now support the creation of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. The survey of Iowa voters commissioned by Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL) also found that 66 percent support a revenue enhancement to fund the trust.

The trust fund was created in 2010 when 63 percent of Iowa voters approved it through a statewide ballot initiative. The next step is to fund the trust through the state sales tax, an action that must be taken by members of the Iowa Legislature. Support in the poll for raising revenues for the trust fund rose to 73 percent when it was paired with a reduction in income or property taxes for an overall reduction in taxes.

The Nature Conservancy and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation are some of the dozens of organizations that have supported Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, a coalition working together to secure a permanent, constitutionally protected source of dollars for conserving and enhancing water quality and natural areas in the state.

The poll, conducted in August 2014 by Public Opinion Strategies and released publicly today, found a strong majority of Iowa voters see these issues as serious problems:
• Pollution of rivers, lakes and streams – 86 percent
• Soil erosion from Iowa’s farmland – 86 percent
• Flooding along Iowa rivers – 89 percent
• Loss of wildlife habitat – 77 percent
• Cuts in state park funding – 71 percent

Revenues to the trust fund, estimated at $150‐180 million each year, would address all of these issues and would be subject to strict accountability measures and public audits. The poll also found that Iowa voters see conserving natural resources as ensuring a legacy for future generations, with 95 percent of those polled agreeing we need to ensure children and grandchildren can enjoy Iowa’s water, land, wildlife, and natural beauty the same way we do today.

The poll found that 82 percent of Iowa voters agree the state’s parks, trails, wildlife areas, and other public lands are an essential part of the economy. More information is available at www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org .