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Omaha-based BBB reports medical alert scam calls


May 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Omaha-based Better Business Bureau is warning people about suspicious phone calls regarding medical alert devices. The BBB says consumers from across its service area have inquired about the calls. The people report that the callers say medical alert devices have been purchased for the people but the callers need more information about the recipients for delivery.

The BBB says it made return calls and was told by one person who answered that the alarm devices carried a fee of almost $35. BBB President Jim Hegarty says the calls to consumers were “very suspicious due to the secretive nature and lack of full disclosure to their real purpose.”

The Omaha-based BBB service area includes Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

New jail approved by voters in Fremont County


May 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Voters in Fremont County this week overwhelmingly approved a $5.5-million bond issue to pay for the construction of a new law enforcement center/jail. According to the Daily NonPareil, 20-percent of the registered voters turned out for the special election, and more than 72-percent agreed it was time for the county to have a new jail and law enforcement facility.

The current jail is more than 124-years old, and has been cited by State inspectors for not being handicapped accessible, and for its inability to adequately separate sentenced and non-sentenced prisoners. And, since there isn’t enough space to segregate male and female inmates and juveniles, the latter two types of individuals must be sent elsewhere.  Another problem faced by the current Fremont County Jail…which was built in 1889…is the settling of the foundation, which creates more problems with jail cell doors opening and closing properly.

In addition to Fremont County, Adair, Mills and Montgomery counties have all passed bond issues to replace old facilities in recent years.

Iowa News headlines: Fri., May 10th 2013


May 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Senate Democrats are offering modifications to a Medicaid expansion proposal. They say they’d waive doctor co-pays for patients who get annual physicals and choose healthy behaviors to better align with Republican plans. Republican Representative Walt Rogers calls the changes tweaks.

CAMBRIDGE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have identified the body of a man found in a central Iowa farm field. Barton Tingley was found Thursday in a rural area about seven miles southeast of Cambridge. The county medical examiner will perform an autopsy today to determine the cause of death.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is close to breaking a state record for the longest stretch without a reported tornado. It’s been 349 days since a tornado touched down in the state. Officials call the streak impressive because digital technology and spotter networks today are so comprehensive.

GRAND JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — An eastbound coal train and westbound train carrying cargo containers collided yesterday. The wreck derailed 35 train cars. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says there are no injuries.

(update 4:48-p.m.) Union Pacific trains collide near Grand Junction


May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

GRAND JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Union Pacific Railroad is updating information from a morning collision between two trains in central Iowa. An eastbound coal train and westbound train carrying cargo containers collided Thursday morning derailing 13 coal cars and 22 cars of the intermodal cargo train —which carries ocean-going containers on flatbed cars. That’s more train cars than originally reported. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says there are no injuries.

The crash shut down a section of the company’s mainline track near Grand Junction about 60 miles northwest of Des Moines. The cause of the 6:20 a.m. collision is not immediately clear.

Davis says the derailment has halted traffic on main tracks between Chicago and the company’s Iowa and Nebraska destinations. Trains are being detoured. Cleanup is expected to be finished late Friday.

Iowa close to breaking record for no tornadoes

News, Weather

May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is close to breaking a state record for the longest stretch without a reported tornado. The National Weather Service says as of Wednesday, it’s been 349 days since a tornado touched down in the state. The last recorded tornado was on May 24, 2012, in Fayette County.

The current state record is 355 days, set between May 5, 1955, and April 26, 1956. The record would be tied on Tuesday and broken on Wednesday. Officials call the streak impressive because digital technology and spotter networks today are so comprehensive. There was a greater likelihood back in the 1950s for a tornado to occur without being reported. Officials say the threat of severe weather appears minimal through early Tuesday. There is a chance of thunderstorms late Tuesday.

Council Bluffs Man Sentenced on Methamphetamine Charge


May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A man from Pottawattamie Couty was sentenced today (Thursday) to 10 years in prison on a methamphetamine charge. 50-year old John Theodore Beaman, Sr., of Council Bluffs, was sentenced in United States District Court in Council Bluffs on a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Senior United States District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt sentenced Beaman to 120 months in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Beaman was also ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment for the Crime Victim Fund.

Beaman remained in the custody by the United States Marshal’s Service pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence. Beaman was sentenced based upon his plea of guilty, which was entered on February 8th, 2013. Beaman was sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in and around Council Bluffs, Iowa, from late 2009 to July of 2011. During the course of the conspiracy, approximately eleven pounds of methamphetamine were distributed.

As a part of the conspiracy, Beaman frequently distributed methamphetamine from his residence, which was only about 84 feet from the property of an elementary school. Previously sentenced in association with this investigation were: David Lynn Fisher, who was sentenced to 117 months imprisonment, plus 5 years of supervised release; Steven Lacey Etherington, who was sentenced to 150 months in prison, plus 5 years of supervised release; Nicholas Joseph Franks, who was sentenced to 133 months imprisonment, plus 5 years of supervised release for the drug trafficking conspiracy, and 120 months imprisonment, plus 3 years of supervised release for a firearms conviction, with the sentences to run concurrently; and Lisa Marie Barrett, who was sentenced to 60 months in prison, plus 5 years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the SouthWest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, and the case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Funnel clouds possible this evening

News, Weather

May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

300 PM CDT THU MAY 9 2013




Rain causes worst drought area to retreat westward

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A wet spring continues to soak soil across much of the Midwest, causing the prolonged drought to retreat ever so slowly westward.  Sections of central Iowa, southeast Minnesota and western parts of Wisconsin and Missouri have seen notable improvement in drought conditions. The weekly drought monitor measures conditions up to 7 a.m. Tuesday. The report is released on Thursdays by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

It shows the drought has subsided for nearly two-thirds of Iowa, most of Missouri and Arkansas.  West of those states drought remains. A smaller portion of western Nebraska is in extreme or exceptional drought and southwestern Nebraska improved slightly.  The soil moisture is good news for corn growers who are now dodging rain storms to get seed in the ground.

LOESSFEST Will Celebrate the City of Council Bluffs and the Opening of its New Park on the Missouri River


May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City of Council Bluffs, in partnership with the Iowa West Foundation, will kick-off the summer season starting Memorial Day weekend and celebrate the opening of River’s Edge Park with three weeks of events showcasing all of the possibilities the park can provide. Loessfest is slated to become an annual celebration of Council Bluffs’ landscape and the community. All events for Loessfest’s inaugural year will take place at the new park in an effort to introduce this new park and to celebrate its opening.

This new park will feature the latest addition to the Iowa West Public Art Permanent Collection. Making its public debut during Loessfest on May 25 is a unique and interactive light display on the Great Lawn, entitled RaysRays is a $500,000 installation by artist Dan Corson, funded by the Iowa West Foundation. This eight-minute interactive lighting environment uses the five-acre Great Lawn as a canvas. The permanent display will run on the hour and half-hour and will be a “must see” in the metro area. The presenting sponsor for the initial unveiling of the light display is the Peter Kiewit Foundation.

In addition to the Great Lawn Interactive Light Display, Rays, Loessfest features an amazing line-up of events, all of which are free, thanks to generous sponsors. Also, SilverStone Group is hosting a special event for these donors and supporters. The free events include:

  •  “America’s Band,” The Beach Boys, kicks off the celebration with a free concert on the Great Lawn on May 25. Thanks to presenting sponsor, American National Bank. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets – concessions will be available. Opening for The Beach Boys is the heartland’s own Mulberry Lane at 7pm.
  • On May 26, the Omaha Symphony will play a patriotic selection appropriate for Memorial Day: Fireworks for Freedom: A Patriotic Salute. The Symphony will be joined by the SAC Band. A fantastic fireworks display will follow the performance that will be seen for miles on either side of the Missouri River.
  • The acclaimed Playing with Fire Concert series will bring world-class blues, jazz and funk to the park on May 27. Loessfest will also feature a Food Truck Festival on the 27th, offering food trucks from across the region to showcase their food offerings. Ethnic foods and other unique cuisine will be featured, giving visitors many opportunities for delicious foods

For more information, including the full schedule of events taking place this Summer,  visit Loessfest.com.


Iowa, Nebraska girls report abduction attempts


May 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MAPLETON, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have been searching for a man or men who tried to abduct girls in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.  The Monona County Sheriff’s Office says a girl was approached about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the city park in Mapleton. Sheriff Jeff Pratt said Wednesday that the girl didn’t get into the man’s dirty, light blue pickup and was not hurt.

On Monday an 11-year-old girl was approached by a man with a similarly described truck at a beach at the Lakeland community south of Blair in Washington County, Neb. She ran home and wasn’t harmed.  Nebraska and Iowa authorities say they’re not sure whether the incidents are connected, but they’re sharing information.