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Stormy wet weather beginning to stress Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The trend toward strong storms and too much rain is beginning to take a toll on Iowa crops. Farmers report yellowing corn plants, a sign of too much moisture, and stress to soybean plants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly crop update that 76 percent of Iowa corn is in good to excellent shape, a decrease of 3 percentage points from the week before. Soybeans are blooming ahead of schedule and 73 percent of the crop is good to excellent, condition, down 2 percentage points.

Farmers struggled to get into fields again last week, the third consecutive week farmers had fewer than three days to work in the fields. This time of year weed control spraying, adding supplemental nitrogen fertilizer, and baling hay are common activities.

Bluffs woman accused of murder remains in jail on $500k bond


July 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs woman charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death last Friday of 52-year old Douglas Richt, remains in the Pottawattamie County Jail on one-half million dollars bond. The Daily NonPareil reports 45-year old Jodie M. Sherman faces first-degree murder and willful injury assault charges. She was also said to be in violation of a restraining order when she allegedly stabbed Richt in the neck several times, Friday afternoon. A preliminary hearing in her case is scheduled for July 17th.

Sgt. David Dawson with the Council Bluffs Police Department said officers inspecting the vehicle where the stabbing took place found a knife with a blade nearly 7 inches long on the floor of the driver’s side floor. An open liquor bottle was also found. Dawson said Richt came to the residence at 3501 Fifth Ave. to pick up Sherman, who had a room there. She got into the vehicle, a 1999 Saturn, that Richt was driving and a verbal argument ensued. The stabbing took place in the car, according to Dawson.

Sherman left the vehicle and fled on foot, but was quickly apprehended by a police officer. Witnesses said Richt exited the vehicle and attempted to crawl onto the porch of the residence. Paramedics transported Richt to Alegent Health Creighton University Medical Center, but he died on the way there.

An autopsy performed Saturday revealed a more than 4-inch-deep incision in Richt’s throat. Dawson said the two did have some sort of relationship, but a motive for the stabbing is still under investigation.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., July 8th 2014


July 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has requested a presidential disaster declaration for nine Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather. The counties under the declaration request are Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Taylor, and Wayne counties. Branstad addressed President Barack Obama in a letter Monday and requested the declaration for counties affected by winds, hail, rains and thunderstorms between June 3 and June 4. Branstad says more requests are possible.

McPAUL, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assisting or participating in a woman’s suicide. Fifty-eight-year-old James Allen Zingg, of McPaul, is charged with assisting in the January suicide of 47-year-old Gwendolyn N. Melloway. He was arrested in June. Authorities are charging Zingg under a seldom-used law that was spurred when Dr. Jack Kevorkian was prosecuted for helping terminally ill patients end their lives.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — More than 2,000 documents, photographs and cassette tapes have been discovered recently in connection to the case of a man charged with killing his 20-month-old Mason City son in 1994. A retired state Division of Criminal Investigation agent was testifying last week in the case of 38-year-old Michael Cisneros when his comment over 20-year-old crime scene photographs sent both prosecutors and defense attorneys searching the evidence room of the local police department. Cisneros is accused of killing John Snyder Jr., whose body was found in a creek. He has pleaded not guilty

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a northeast Iowa man lost control of his motorcycle when it struck a deer. The Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office says 43-year-old Jason Melver, of Waverly, was riding the motorcycle early Monday on a road near Cedar Falls when the deer entered the vehicle’s pathway. Melver was transported to a hospital but additional information was not released.

Iowa man pleads not guilty in suicide case


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

McPAUL, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assisting or participating in a woman’s suicide. The Omaha World-Herald reports 58-year-old James Allen Zingg, of McPaul, is charged with assisting in the January suicide of 47-year-old Gwendolyn N. Melloway. He was arrested in June. Authorities are charging Zingg under a seldom-used law that was spurred when Dr. Jack Kevorkian was prosecuted for helping terminally ill patients end their lives.

Prosecutors say Zingg made a suicide pact with Melloway. Zingg says the pair both ingested a lethal cocktail of pills, but he survived. He says it was Melloway’s idea to swallow the pills. Fremont County Attorney James Burger says the charge is justified. Zingg’s attorney declined to immediately comment on the case.

Branstad requests Presidential Disaster Declaration


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today (Monday) signed a letter to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for nine Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from damaging winds, hail, heavy rains and thunderstorms from June 3, 2014 – June 4, 2014. The request pertains to damages from the June 3 – 4 severe weather event and it is possible more requests will be made for additional counties adversely affected by subsequent severe weather.

Regarding the June 3 – 4 severe weather event, the letter reads, in part, “In response to the situation, I have issued a total of three State of Iowa Proclamations of Disaster Emergency. The first was issued on June 3, 2014, directing the execution of the Iowa Emergency Response Plan in Pottawattamie County.
Succeeding proclamations have resulted in a total of 11 counties to be in a State of Disaster Emergency. These actions were taken pursuant to Iowa Code § 29C.6 and Section 401 of the Stafford Act.

“I determined that the severity of the damage in Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Taylor, and Wayne Counties is so great that Joint Federal, State, and local Public Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessments were required. On June 12, 2014, the State of Iowa first requested a Joint Federal, State, and local Public Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment for ten of the most severely impacted counties. These assessments commenced on June 18,
and were concluded on June 21.

“As a result of these Joint assessments, I have determined that the severity of damages in nine counties is such that Federal Assistance is needed.”

(Press Release)

Weather officials confirm 4 tornadoes hit Iowa

News, Weather

July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

TRAER, Iowa (AP) — Weather officials have confirmed four tornadoes hit Iowa after severe storms passed through the state. The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down just north of Traer on Sunday and caused extensive tree damage but remained away from populated areas. A farm outbuilding also was damaged.

Officials say it appears to have been an EF-1 tornado with peak wind of 90 miles per hour. Its path was 6.6 miles long and 200 yards wide. The service says it has analyzed pictures and videos from the media and the public and confirmed at least three additional tornadoes near Jewell, Stuart, and in eastern Jasper County. No tree or structural damage was reported from them.

The agency says at least 11 tornadoes were reported Sunday evening by trained storm spotters.

(Update 3-p.m.) Trooper ok after his cruiser is hit by a semi


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa State Patrol trooper was treated and released from Atlantic hospital after a wreck on Interstate-80 in western Iowa late Monday morning. According to the accident report, Trooper Todd Granner, of Atlantic, was buckled in his patrol car east of Atlantic, with his vehicle positioned to direct traffic around another accident in the westbound lanes of I-80.

Trooper Todd Granner

Trooper Todd Granner

Authorities say a semi driver reached to retrieve something inside his cab and when he looked back up realized traffic ahead had slowed substantially. The semi veered to avoid the line of traffic and ran into the back of the Granner’s patrol car and then into a guard rail. The trooper was taken to the Atlantic hospital as a precaution. The semi driver was not hurt. He was not identified but was expected to be cited for the incident.

(Radio Iowa)

Semi rear-ends Patrol car on I-80


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTIC, Iowa —An Iowa State Patrol trooper is expected to be OK after a semi truck rear ended his cruiser Monday morning. KETV reports the crash happened in western Iowa on Interstate 80 before 11 a.m.

The semi also hit a cable barrier in the median during the crash. The trooper was outside the vehicle directing traffic around another crash at the time. He was taken to Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic.

The crash remains under investigation.

Stolen car misses a curve near Pacific Junction – ends up in the drink


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Mills County are investigating an accident that ended with a vehicle submerged in a drainage ditch Saturday, about a mile southwest of Pacific Junction. Authorities say a 2007 Mercury, registered to Megan Schmoll, was traveling eastbound on Kelting Avenue and approaching the curve to 210th Street, when it left the road and rolled onto its top in a drainage ditch, where it became submerged.

No driver was found, and no injuries were reported. The vehicle had been reported stolen July 5th.

Drug/indecent exposure and assault-related arrests in Mills County


July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Three people were arrested over the weekend, in Mills County. The Sheriff’s Office says 42-year old Patricia Margaret Zastera, of Glenwood, was arrested Friday evening in Pacific Junction. Zastera was charged with Trespassing, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was also wanted on a warrant for Violation of Probation. Bond was set at $3,800.

On Sunday, 47-year old Clinton Jeffrey Moore, of Omaha, was arrested on 195th Street in Mills County. Authorities say he was charged with Indecent Exposure, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession  of Drug Paraphernalia. Moore’s bond was set at $2,300.

And, 54-year old Verner Jay Moore, of Emerson, was arrested in Emerson at around 1:30-p.m., Sunday. He was charged with Domestic Abuse/Assault. Moore was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail.