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Iowans warned to beware of possible scam on “free” airfare

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of Iowans are getting letters in the mail saying they’ve won two roundtrip airline tickets, but beware before you start packing your bags. The letters may look like a traditional form letter from something called U-S Airlines, or they may resemble two boarding passes. Whichever one you may get, Geoff Greenwood at the Iowa Attorney General’s office, says the offer has several red flags that point to it being iffy.

“People are being notified that they were ‘selected,’ that they ‘qualified’ for an award,” Greenwood says. “They didn’t enter anything and that’s gotta’ tell you something right there. They’re just picking your name out of a hat and suddenly giving you this free trip?” Greenwood says, “If you were to say ‘yes’ to this offer, chances are you’re going to have to go through some hoops and chances are you’re going to have to pay some money before you get these supposedly free airline tickets.”

If you call the 800-number on the letter, Greenwood says you may be subjected to a high-pressure presentation. “We’re in the early stages of looking into this,” Greenwood says. “We don’t have a lot of information yet because Iowans are just starting to let us know about this. We’ll be asking some questions of the company and making sure the company is following consumer laws if they’re trying to do business here in Iowa.” While he’s not saying it’s a scam, Greenwood is saying to be very cautious.

(Radio Iowa)

“Calling All Communities” education campaign gets underway

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with U-S Cellular have announced voting has started in the company-sponsored “Calling All Communities” campaign to improve education. Returning for its fourth year,the cellular phone provider will give communities the opportunity to help improve the education of students at 18 schools by challenging them to rally community support for the chance to win a share of $1 million. The school that garners the most community votes wins $150,000, while the next 17 schools with the most votes receive $50,000. Individuals can visit their local U.S. Cellular store to pick up a code to vote for their favorite school.

Calling All Communities is open to all K-12 schools — big or small, public or private. Voting concludes Oct. 21st. To vote, simply visit a local U.S. Cellular store to pick up a voting code, then enter it online at uscellular.com. You can check back to track your school ranking, see the top vote-getting schools, get ideas to rally more votes and post photos. With only one vote per person, it is important to get entire communities involved.

Since the program began in 2008, U.S. Cellular has awarded $3 million to 38 schools across the country for them to use however they see fit to impact the education of students. Past Calling All Communities champions have used their winnings in a variety of ways to strengthen the learning experience for thousands of students. Many winning schools outfitted their classrooms with new computers, improved outdated infrastructure and renovated gymnasiums, kitchens and science labs as well as provided scholarships to graduating students.

Among the school districts receiving awarded funds through the program over the past few years, is the Carroll Kuemper Catholic High School, which won $100,000 in 2009.  Getting off to a strong start in the voting has proven successful for schools in past campaigns. Previous winners got out of the gate early and rallied their community together in fun and innovative ways. Using social networking sites – such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – will help spread the word online, but don’t forget to engage parent teacher organizations, alumni networks, sports teams, the school band or student groups to help get the word out.

The official rules for the campaign are located at uscellular.com/callingallcommunities.

8AM Newscast 09-14-2012

News, Podcasts

September 14th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Iowa store where clerk attacked raided by police

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A western Iowa store where a clerk was attacked with a stun gun in robberies just days apart is now under police scrutiny.  Exotic Gifts in Council Bluffs and other stores with similar names in the Nebraska cities of Omaha and Lincoln were raided Thursday by agents with the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau. The Council Bluff store’s clerk was led away in handcuffs during the raids.  Federal authorities would not say what agents were seeking in the raid, but several boxes were seen being removed from the stores.  Only two weeks earlier, the clerk had been repeatedly shocked with a stun gun in back-to-back robberies. Two Omaha men have been arrested on suspicion of burglary in those robberies.

7AM Newscast 09-14-2012

News, Podcasts

September 14th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

IA Air National Guard to conduct flight Op’s over parts of NW/Western IA

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa National Guard say the 132nd Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard will be conducting an Operational Readiness Exercise, beginning this weekend. The exercise, scheduled to take place Sept. 15th through the 21st, is designed to increase the unit’s readiness for future domestic and combat operations at the Des Moines Airbase, which is located at the Des Moines International Airport.

F-16 fighter

In addition, increased flight operations will be conducted during the exercise in a temporary Military Operating Area (MOA) designed to provide realistic training. The MOA is situated in northwest Iowa and extends west from Carroll to Charter Oak, north to Sanborn, east to Whittemore, then southwest to Carroll. F-16 aircraft will be flying extended hours of operation, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., and at altitudes as low as 4,500 feet. Given the lower altitudes, aircraft may be visible and audible throughout the temporary operating area.

(Update) Red Oak woman’s vehicle stolen and burned – recovered in Mills County

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County and Mills Counties are investigating the theft and destruction of a vehicle taken from Red Oak.  The father of 29-year old Jessica Appley told KJAN News his daughter was notified about the incident early this (Friday) morning, by the Red Oak Police Department. Officials in Red Oak had been contacted by authorities in Mills County, who indicated Appley’s fire damaged 1999 Chevy Cavalier was located just south of the former Ponderosa Truck stop/Cafe, on Highway 34, east of Glenwood. The vehicle sustained extensive damage, and appeared to have been a total loss.

The incident remains under investigation by the Red Oak Police Department, along with the Mills and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Departments.

Fly Iowa event to be held Saturday, in Atlantic

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Pilots from around Iowa and the Midwest will gather in Cass County this weekend for the annual Fly Iowa air show.The free event takes place Saturday, at the Atlantic Municipal Airport, and begins with a brunch from 8-a.m. to 10:30-a.m. Garry Pellett is the local chairperson for the event. He says there’ll be at least four World War II era P-51 Mustangs on-hand, including one owned and flown by Atlantic resident Mike Henningsen.

A P-51 Mustang

The Mustang, Pellett says, has a very distinctive sound. He says the aircraft are equipped with engines producing nearly 15-hundred horsepower, and they will literally “shake the ground,” when they are warming up and taxiing for take-off.

But the Mustangs aren’t the only vintage aircraft to take to the sky Saturday.

Douglas A-26 “Lady Liberty” bomber

Pellett says a bomber scheduled to make an appearance can produce 54-hundred horsepower.   says an A-26 Bomber will be flying in from the south.

Greg Koontz, aerobatic pilot

Aerobatic flying will be performed by Greg Koontz, from Alabama, who is one of the top performers in the country. Koontz will perform two shows, including a comedy act. The air show runs from 11-a.m. to 1-p.m.  There will also be static exhibits on the ground for people to enjoy.

Gary Maas, “Air Boss” for the event, says that includes helicopters, other aircraft, and various aviation and food vendors. Depending on the wind conditions, a tethered hot air balloon may available, along with helicopter rides, for a nominal fee. There will be plenty of activities for persons of all ages to enjoy. Maas says the theme for the event in Atlantic is “Heritage and Homecoming.” He says it sets the event apart from other, previous Fly Iowa shows, by having people from southwest Iowa who have a career or experiences in aviation, invited to attend. Those persons have written about their experiences. Their bios will be on display and those individuals will be available for the public to speak with.

One person flying in for the event lives in Medford, OR., who is originally from Bridgewater, Iowa. He flew as a pilot for TWA, and will continue in his aircraft to Kittyhawk, NC for another air show, following the Atlantic show. Maas reminds those planning to attend to bring a lawn chair or blanket for your comfort, while you enjoy the show.

I-680 reconstruction project in running for $10,000 award

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An interstate reconstruction project in western Iowa is among 10 finalists for a national award. The Missouri River flooding in 2011 closed 77 miles of highways and interstates between Hamburg and Sioux City.

Flood damage to I-680 (courtesy Iowa DOT)

The most highly traveled roadway section to close was a three mile stretch of Interstate 680 connecting Council Bluffs and Omaha, Nebraska. That section of roadway was destroyed after being under water for four months.

Troy Jerman (German), with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says it reopened to traffic in early November after just over a month of construction. “They did that in 34 days, which was quite a feat, but everything just came together – the weather cooperated, the contractors were ready to go and the plan was there,” Jerman said. “It was quite a turnaround of a project.”

The I-680 project is up for a People’s Choice Award in the America’s Transportation Awards “ahead of schedule/small project” category. The winning project will be awarded a $10,000 prize. “We haven’t discussed what we would do with that (money) yet,” Jerman said. “The People’s Choice Award says it must be donated to a charity of our decision, but we haven’t had that discussion yet about where that would go.”

Iowans can cast their vote at www.americastransportationaward.org. Voting is open now through October 19. The awards presentation is scheduled for November 16.

(Radio Iowa)

Judge: Western IA Mom convicted in slaying must see kids

News

September 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A prosecutor is expressing outrage about a decision ordering a father to take his two children cross-country to visit their mother while she’s in prison for killing a man in their rural western Iowa home in 2001.  Judge Nancy Whittenburg has ordered Michael Roberts to take his children from California to visit their mother, Tracey Richter, at Polk County’s Mitchellville prison while she appeals.

Whittenburg says the kids have a bond with their mother and the visits will “bring closure to the sudden and traumatic events of the past year.”  Sac County Atorney Ben Smith said Thursday he respected the decision, but couldn’t disagree more. He says it’s “mind-boggling” Richter still has parental rights since she shot 20-year-old Dustin Wehde while the kids were one room away. Richter claims self-defense.