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4 accidents in Atlantic, Saturday


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police and rescue personnel were busy Saturday, responding to four separate accidents. The first happened at around 12:20-a.m. at 10th and Plum Streets, when a vehicle driven by Jason Mullin, of Atlantic, rear-ended a vehicle driven by Amanda Cooper, also of Atlantic. The accident happened as both vehicles were traveling east on 10th. Following the collision, Mullin left the scene. Cooper followed him and called police once both vehicles were parked. Mullin was subsequently arrested for OWI/1st offense and booked into the Cass County Jail. No injuries were reported. Damage from the crash amounted to $5,000.

The A-PD says at around 4-a.m. Saturday, a vehicle driven by Adam Fisher, of Lincoln, NE, was traveling west on 29th Street from Highway 6, when Fisher failed to negotiate a curve as the road turns south onto Nishna Street. The vehicle ran off the road and hit a metal livestock chute. No injuries were reported. Damage from the collision amounted to $17,000.  Fisher was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.

Just before Noon, Saturday, two people were transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital after vehicles driven by Allen Thelen, of Anita, and Michael Albert, of Atlantic, collided at the intersection of 7th Street and the Wal-Mart access drive. Officials say Thelen was traveling north on the access road and turned right onto eastbound 7th Street. When Thelen braked, his vehicle was struck in the rear by Michael Albert’s eastbound vehicle. Albert had the green light, according to Police. Thelen, and a passenger in his vehicle, were taken to CCMH.  Damage from the crash amounted to $11,000. No citations were issued.

And at around 3:50-p.m., Saturday, a rear-end collision occurred at 7th and Walnut Streets in Atlantic. Authorities say vehicles driven by Stephanie Blum, of Walnut, and Kegan McManigal, of Griswold, were both traveling westbound when Blum stopped for the red light. McManigal was unable to stop in-time. She was cited for Failure to Stop in an Assured Clear Distance. No injuries were reported. Damage from the crash amounted to $7,500.

Massena man arrested Saturday


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Saturday, of 45-year old Bradley Leo Ranney, of Massena. Ranney was charged with Driving While Suspended and brought the Cass County Jail. He was released later that day on $300 bond.

Bluffs man arrested following an accident Saturday evening in Page County


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Page County say a Pottawattamie County man was arrested following an investigation into an injury accident that happened Saturday evening about three-miles east of  Shenandoah, on Highway 2.

Robert Lee Bailey, Jr.

Robert Lee Bailey, Jr.

According to the report, deputies responded to the scene after being notified of a crash at around 5:50-p.m., Saturday near the intersection of Highway 2 and E Avenue. Their investigation showed  50-year old Robert Bailey Jr., of Council Bluffs, was traveling east on Highway 2 in a 2006 Ford Taurus, when he lost control of the car, which went onto the shoulder and partially into the ditch. Bailey over-corrected, sending the car back onto Highway 2 and across the center line of the road, where it struck a westbound 2006 Chevy pickup driven by 65-year old  Richard Runyon, of Shenandoah.

During the collision Runyon, suffered unknown injuries. He was flown to a Nebraska hospital by Life Net Helicopter. A passenger in Runyon’s pickup, 67-year old Dennis Duane Carlson, of rural Clarinda, also suffered unknown injuries, and was transported to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. Bailey refused medical treatment.

He was subsequently arrested for OWI 1st Offense. Bailey was unable to post bond and is currently being held in the Page County Jail, awaiting trial. He was also issued citations for Failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle, Open container of alcohol, and Driving on the wrong side of a two way HWY. Both vehicles were a total loss.

The Page County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by Shenandoah Fire, Shenandoah Ambulance, and Life Net Helicopter service.

(12-p.m. News)


Influenza Spreads across Iowa


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

After weeks of low to moderate influenza levels in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports statewide surveillance indicates flu activity is increasing. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. The most current surveillance shows cases of influenza have been confirmed by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) in every region of the state and the geographic reach of influenza is now categorized as ‘widespread,’ the highest level.

In the last reporting week, the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network indicated 130 influenza-related hospitalizations, mostly among those aged 64 or greater. Several flu outbreaks have been reported in long-term care facilities, especially in central and western Iowa. The most common flu virus circulating is the influenza A(H3N2) strain, although four different strains have been identified. In years when A(H3N2) viruses dominate, the flu season tends to be more severe with more hospitalizations and deaths. Based upon CDC’s national estimates, an average of 300,000 Iowans get the flu every year and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa.

Officials say the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza; however, because some of the A(H3N2) viruses may only be partially covered in the vaccine, it’s even more important to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.

Anti-viral medications are an important second line of defense to treat the flu in persons at highest risk of developing more severe illness. Anti-viral medications can make flu illness shorter and reduce the risk of ending up in the hospital or dying from influenza. Antivirals work best if started within 48 hours or sooner of when flu symptoms begin.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. (The “stomach bug” which causes diarrhea and vomiting is not caused by the influenza virus but usually by norovirus; thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.)

Influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa, which means doctors are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza; however, IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network. This surveillance indicates what types of influenza viruses are circulating and how widespread influenza illness is. For more information about where and what kind of influenza is in Iowa, go to www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza.aspx?pg=FluHome.

Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu.gov.

Nebraska cities still waiting on flood money


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska cities along the Missouri River are still waiting for nearly $7.2 million to be reimbursed from state and federal agencies, more than 3 years after a 2011 flood.  The Omaha World-Herald reports five cities haven’t yet received payments between $275,000 and nearly $4 million. Omaha is owed the most at $3.6 million.

Grants from the Nebraska and Federal Emergency Management Agencies have helped pay for flood damage and recovery, but Nebraska still owes 43 percent of the nearly $17 million owed in flood claims. A NEMA official says processing claims takes a lot of time and work.

Meanwhile, the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management has paid all but 5 percent of its $38.6 million in claims.

Group using bar napkins to combat drunken driving


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A group in Sioux City plans to distribute 36,000 bright yellow bar napkins that encourage people to avoid driving after drinking in the nights leading up to New Year’s Eve. It’s the latest campaign launched through Mercy Medical Center’s Reality Education Alcohol Prevention Program, otherwise known as REAP. The Sioux City Journal reports the napkins say, “Friends do whatever it takes to stop friends from driving drunk.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration, nearly 10,100 people were killed last year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Those deaths accounted for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.

Helping the Iowa Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – Finding a forever home is a goal for all children in Iowa foster care, and while that’s not the reality for many of them, the state is finding success in efforts to smooth their transition out of the system and into adulthood. Carol Behrer, executive director of Youth Policy Institute of Iowa, says navigating life’s path can be especially tough for foster youth, so support in areas such as housing, education and employment is critical.

“The services available through the Iowa Aftercare Services Network are helping these young people meet their basic needs, but also learn the skills, develop the competencies that they need to become successful adults,” she points out.

In Iowa, there are around 6,000 children in foster care at any given time, with from 400 to 500 of them turning 18 and aging out of the system each year. One way that Iowa could provide more assistance for foster youth is by joining the federal program that includes funding for foster care services beyond age 18.

“States now have the option of continuing to receive that federal support up to the age of 21,” Behrer explains. “Iowa has not yet taken that option, although more than half the states have.”

(Iowa News Service)

State Parks to hold first walk events on New Year’s Day

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The head of the state parks bureau is encouraging you to make plans to take a hike in 2015. Todd Coffelt says they are planning events in five state parks.  “The state of Iowa and the state parks bureau, we’re participating with a national effort to get people to state parks enjoy a first-day hike,” Coffelt explains. “It’s an opportunity to meet with staff and enjoy the resources in their local community, and to be outside to help get that New Year started off in the right way.” He says New Year’s Day is a good time to start the new tradition.

“This is a great opportunity to maybe go do something you haven’t done before, or even if you are an expert and have done it many times, you can share that experience with other people who may be there for their first time. And really share that opportunity to talk and take shelter at a warm place in the park. But, get outside and some of Iowa’s wildlife,” according to Coffelt. Staff will be on hand at
January 1st at Bellevue State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Walnut Woods State Park and Waubonsie State Park.

“They’ll have a fire going to help people stay warm, but they’re also gonna have treats,” Coffelt says. “A lot of these parks have friends groups that’ll be involved as well. The lodge will be open, will have some shelter, we’ll have some warmth, just in case it’s a little bit chilly.” Coffelt says most people probably don’t realize the state parks are open all year. “For those who are really brave and have the right facilities, they could go camp in them right now,” Coffelt says. He says they won’t have the shower house or flush pressrooms open. But he says there are still paths to go hiking and a lot of wildlife to see in the parks this time of year. He says there are a couple of sites to find out about the First Day Hikes.

“Wwww.iowadnr.gov for the state website, or at the national level if you want to see what’s going on in states across the country, you can go to www.naspd.org,” Coffelt says. Coffelt says you can get an early start, or just go out after watching some football. Coffelt says, “You can get out there and enjoy the fresh air and really put a wrap up to the holiday season, and like I said, kick off that New Year’s Day.” First Day Hikes started more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

Here are the locations and times for the Iowa hikes:
Bellevue State Park, Jackson County – 1 p.m. – meet at South Bluff Nature Center
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Webster County – 1 p.m. – meet at Prairie Resource Center
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Dubuque County – 1 p.m. – meet at EB Lyons Nature Center
Walnut Woods State Park, Polk County – 9 a.m. – meet at Walnut Woods Lodge
Waubonsie State Park, Fremont County – 1 p.m. – meet at park office

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 12/29/2014

News, Podcasts

December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.


Petroleum Marketers ask for state help to buy new underground fuel tanks


December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Owners of the state’s gas stations and convenience stores are asking Iowa lawmakers to set up a state grant program to replace aging underground storage tanks for gas and diesel. Dawn Carlson is president of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, representing more than two-thousand business locations in the state. “A majority of these tanks are approaching or exceeding their useful life of 25-30 years and therefore over time they will become suceptible to leaks and other environmental hazards,” Carlson says. “and they are certainly not compatible with ethanol blends higher than 10 percent.”

Since 2006, the state has been offering grants to retailers who promise to offer E-85 to customers. The grants of up to 50-thousand dollars each are to help retailers pay for new equipment to dispense the higher blend of ethanol. Carlson’s group is asking for an expansion of that program, so tanks that have been in use for more than 25 years can be replaced with a “green” underground storage tank. “By removing and replacing these tanks we will be protecting the environment and also help ensure that fuel does not leak into Iowa’s groundwater,” Carlson says. “Additionally, underground storage tanks currently in place were not designed for these higher level blends. Installation of new tanks that are compatible with up to E 100 will enable retailers to sell higher blends of renewable fuels in the future.”

Carlson suggests the expense of a new underground tank may be out of reach for many Iowa retailers.
“While many of our members display the logo of a major oil company at their store, they are indeed owned and operated independent of the oil companies,” Carlson says. In 1989 state officials set up a fund for removal and clean up of underground storage tanks that are already leaking. Over six-thousand sites have been evaluated over the past 25 years. According to the Legislative Services Agency the state has spent over a quarter of a billion dollars removing the tanks and cleaning up the underground leaks.

(Radio Iowa)