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Fatal bicycle crashes brings renewed call for state law


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, Mark Wyatt, is renewing his call for a new state law that would require motorists maintain a distance of three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle they’re passing on the road.”We had two fatal crashes over this past week where a bicyclist was hit from behind while the motor vehicle was passing,” Wyatt said. “I think that provides an opportunity to reinforce that we really need this education out there and to let people know that at least three feet is a safe passing distance.” Initial report indicate the two bicyclists who were killed last weekend were both operating lawfully. A 37-year old man was struck from behind on a rural Clayton County road and a 67-year old man was killed in a hit-and-run crash in rural Dallas County. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has pushed for the three-foot passing distance law over the past four years.

Critics of the proposal have said the safe passing of a bicyclist should be common sense and it shouldn’t have to be written as a law. Wyatt agrees it should be common sense, but he believes reminding motorists with a three-foot passing law could help save lives. “This is a number that can be taught in driver’s education. This is something that can be on the driver’s ed exam and included in the driver’s ed manual,” Wyatt said. “I think there’s an education component, along with that common sense component, that we should be giving bicyclists some space.”

Other states have enacted the three-foot passing law and Wyatt said it’s time for Iowa to follow suit. “Approximately half of the states have passed something, including our neighboring states of Nebraska and Minnesota,” Wyatt said. “Wisconsin has had it on the books since 1973.” The League of American Bicyclists recently issued their annual ranking of states according to “bicycle friendliness” and Iowa dropped from 6th to 16th on the list. Wyatt said Iowa’s failure to approve a three-foot passing law contributed to the state’s fall in the rankings.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 05-25-2012

News, Podcasts

May 25th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Western Iowa hospital leaving the baby business


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa hospital says it’s getting out of the baby business. Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove says it will close its obstetrical unit on June 1st. Patients expecting to deliver after that date are being given a list of nearby facilities. The hospital board of trustees says the number of births at the hospital has been declining. Only one doctor at the hospital has been delivering babies.

Ida Grove is a city of about 2,100 residents in western Iowa’s Ida County, which has around 7,100 residents.

Harlan men arrested for disorderly conduct


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Two Harlan men were arrested this week on disorderly conduct charges. According to Harlan Police, 21-year old Justin McDowell was taken into custody Monday, after police investigated a report of a man laying in the middle of the 600 block of Court Street. McDowell was arrested after he alledgedly became verbally abusive and refused to follow officers’ commands.

And, 23-year old Theodore Behrens, of Harlan, was arrested Tuesday, following a reported disturbance in the 900 block of Durant Street, in Harlan. Behrens was charged with two-counts of domestic abuse, aggravated public intoxication, and violation of a domestic abuse protection order.

In other Harlan Police Department News: 44-year old Ramona Springman, of Manilla, was arrested May 19th on a charge of 5th Degree theft, for allegedly taking a wallet from a purse. On May 20th, 36-year old Amanda Hanover, of Portsmouth, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct, following a disturbance in the 100 block of 5th Street, in Harlan. And, on May 17th, 37-year old Maelyn Beemer and 30-year old Chad Beemer, both of Harlan, were arrested for Violation of a Protective Order, after they were found to have been in contact with one another.

When officers approached Chad Beemer, they say he allegedly assaulted one of the officers. In addition to the Violation of No Contact Order charge, Chad Beemer also faces a charge of assault on a peace officer. He plead not guilty to the Violation charge. Beemer posted a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear for his preliminary hearing on the assault charge, June 7th.

Harlan man arrested last week for moving violations, also faces drug charges


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department reported Thursday afternoon, a Harlan man was arrested last week on assault, drug and other charges. 47-year old Randall Hess was arrested May 18th on an assault charge, after authorities received word a person had allegedly assaulted a young man. The following day, officers in Harlan were called to a possible hit-and-run incident at the corner of 7th and Dye Streets.

At the scene, they met with Harlan resident Curtis Scheffler, who claimed to have been the victim of a hit-and-run. Following an investigation, which included a report of someone ransacking Scheffler’s house, officers arrested Hess and 43-year old Mark Boardman, of Portsmouth. The men were brought to the Shelby County Jail, where Boardman was charged with Burglary in the 3rd degree, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree.

Hess was charged with OWI, Driving While Revoked, and Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. While being held in the Shelby County Jail, Hess was also charged with two-counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance, and Prohibited Acts. Those charges were the results of a month-long investigation into Hess’ allegedly selling a controlled substance.

Arrests reported overnight in Villisca


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Mongtomery County Sheriff’s Office says 2 people were arrested early this (Friday) morning, in Villisca. 20-year old Jadon Duane Ayres, of Villisca, was arrested shortly after midnight, for possession of alcohol under the legal age, and 21-year old Joshua Allen Beedle, also of Villisca, was arrested for Breach of Peace. Their arrests followed an incident which occurred in the 400 block of South 3rd Avenue in Villisca. Both men were brought to the Montgomery County Jail, and later released on $300 bond.

Iowa early News Headlines: Fri., May 25th 2012


May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama is doubling down on criticism of rival Mitt Romney’s background as a venture capitalist. The president says there may be value in such experience “but not in the White House.” Speaking yesterday at the Iowa Fair Grounds, the president called Romney’s claims that his policies have increased debt, in his words, “a cowpie of distortions.”

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Firefighters have helped a man escape from a house fire in northwest Iowa’s Storm Lake. The Sioux City Journal reports that the fire was reported a little after 7:15 a.m. Tuesday. Officials say firefighters helped 26-year-old Justin Lovan get down after he climbed out of a window.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Officials say some Illinois students on a trip to Iowa have been taken to the hospital after their school bus was involved in an accident in Davenport. The accident happened yesterday afternoon. Holly Sparkman of the Rock Island-Milan School District in Illinois says some students were sent to the hospital as a precaution.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 55-year-old man has lost his appeal for release from the Iowa civil commitment facility for dangerous sex offenders. In a ruling Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals rejected arguments from Daniel Scott. A civil jury had found Scott to be a “sexually violent predator,” so he was committed to the state center. In March 2011 a jury ruled against his release, finding that Scott’s “mental abnormality” meant he was likely to reoffend.

1 killed, 2 injured in Guthrie County crash


May 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A central Iowa woman died, and two other women were injured during a collision Thursday afternoon, in western Guthrie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 78-year old Beverly Chase, of West Des Moines died at the Audubon County Hospital, after the car she was riding in was hit broadside by another vehicle at around 1:30-p.m.  Officials say 77-year old Nadine Ludwig, of Des Moines was driving a 2002 Mercury Sable eastbound on 190th Street, and failed yield after stopping at the intersection with Chestnut Road. Her car was hit by a northbound 2001 Pontiac Aztek, driven by 26-year old Angela Lovejoy, of Coon Rapids.Officials say Lovejoy was not wearing her seat belt, while the other two women were properly restrained in their vehicle.

Immediately after the collision, the Sable continued into the northeast ditch, while the Pontiac came to rest on the roadway. Ludwig and Lovejoy were both transported by Audubon Rescue to the Audubon County Hospital. A report on their conditions is not available. The accident remains under investigation.

Winterset man dies following I-80 crash in Adair County


May 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol says the driver of a pickup truck died this (Thursday) morning when he was ejected from the vehicle as it went out of control on Interstate 80 near Adair. 32-year old Randy Johnson, of Winterset, died at the scene of the crash on I-80 eastbound, at about the 77 mile marker. Officials say Johnson was traveling west on I-80 at around 7:10-a.m, when he came up fast on an eastbound Freightliner van and swerved to avoid hitting the rear of the vehicle. Johnson’s 2008 Freightliner pickup went out of control, crossed the median and eastbound lanes of traffic before entering the south ditch and rolling over. Johnson was ejected from the vehicle as it rolled. The Patrol’s report did not indicate if he was wearing a seat belt.

The accident closed both lanes of eastbound traffic for about an hour. One of the lanes remained closed for more than 4-hours, while authorities investigated the scene and crews worked to remove the vehicle from the ditch.

Manning to receive a share of $3.5-million in CDBG awards


May 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today (Thursday), announced Downtown Revitalization funds totaling $3.5 million are being awarded to seven Iowa communities.  The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are to be used for the rehabilitation of a total of 144 downtown buildings in Burlington, Charles City, Conrad, Elkader, Emmetsburg, Manning and West Union.  The federally-funded grants were awarded for façade master plan projects for downtown businesses. 

In a Press Release, Governor Terry Branstad said “The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Revitalization Program is transforming downtowns and improving the business climate and quality of life for residents across the state.  Not only are these funds leveraging private investment and improving physical conditions, but participating communities are seeing new businesses and job creation on Iowa’s Main Streets.” Branstad said the seven communities have created local public-private partnerships “That are making great things happen for their residents and all Iowans to enjoy.”

To date, the CDBG Downtown Revitalization Program has supported 19 community revitalization strategies.  When complete, these 19 projects will lead to the rehabilitation of 347 downtown properties.  The grants are awarded based on the potential impact of the project, the project being part of a comprehensive downtown revitalization strategy, commitment of local resources, and the ability to demonstrate revitalization will continue to move forward following project completion. The Community Development Block Grant program is federally-funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). IEDA is responsible for administering the CDBG funds in the non-metropolitan areas of the state. Applications are solicited annually, usually during the fall.