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NWS changes severe weather warnings

News, Weather

March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The way severe weather warnings are issued in Iowa will be changing a bit this spring. Jeff Johnson, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in metro Des Moines, says watches and warnings will be accompanied by what he calls a tag, or a more descriptive statement. “The tornado tag will have an option between ‘radar indicated’ and actually a ‘tornado observed’ tag,” Johnson says. “With the damage threat tags, we’ll be able to say in terms of a large catastrophic tornado moving toward a metropolitan area, we’ll put that into the warning itself, that way decision makers can make quicker responses.”

The changes come, in part, following the fact 2011 was a historic year in terms of tornado deaths nationwide. Recent studies found some people don’t always understand what severe weather warnings mean, so the tags aim to make it more clear what’s coming down the road. “Nothing’s changing with our watches and warnings, all the coding will be the same, what a Tornado Warning means will be the same, and a watch,” Johnson says. “It will add a little more information on the bottom of the warning so if you just picked it up and saw the warning, you can quickly ascertain what the overall threat of that warning is.”

The changes in the warnings may seem minor, but Johnson says it’s hoped the slight differences may provide vital information that could ultimately save lives. “You might hear a sense of urgency in the announcer’s voice if it’s a ‘catastrophic’ tag, because it’s going to give that person knowledge that this is a significant, major tornado event and to go all out on the dissemination,” Johnson says. “Each tag has a corresponding call to action statement which will be placed in the warning for weather radio listeners.”

The new series of “impact-based” warnings were tested last year in Missouri and Kansas. Now, starting April 1st, they’ll be rolled out in Iowa and ten other states across the Midwest, encompassing 38 National Weather Service offices. Learn more at www.weather.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

Census shows population dips in 65 Iowa counties


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Nearly two-thirds of Iowa’s counties lost population between 2011 and 2012 even as the state gained 10,089 overall. The latest U.S. Census estimates show that Iowa had 3,074,186 residents last year, but the population of 65 of the state’s 99 counties declined between 2011 and 2012.

Many of the population declines were in rural areas where aging populations are dying off while younger residents move to urban areas in search of work. Fifty-five Iowa counties had more deaths than births in 2012.

The biggest population gains in the state were reported in Polk, Johnson, Dallas, Scott and Linn counties, which are home to Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids.

Additional construction work at CCMH


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, have announced some additional work is schedule to occur in the new Inpatient Services area of the hospital.  According to Pat Markham, CEO, the zero entry showers in the Medical/Surgical and Intensive Care patient rooms are not containing water as intended.  Markham says they became aware of the problem immediately upon occupying their new patient rooms last summer. She says ” Since that time we have been working with the design firm to arrive at an agreeable resolution to the problem, while utilizing temporary measures to prevent falls,” and they are “Now going to proceed with the necessary changes to eliminate this safety risk.”

Markham says the process will, at times, be quite loud and potentially disruptive to patients.  Four patient rooms at a time will be taken out of service – two for repair work, and one on each side to help buffer construction noise.   Additional steps will be taken to reduce the noise for patients, including providing noise-reducing headphones and ear plugs. Markham said they apologize for the inconvenience, “But in the interest of patient and staff safety,” they have to move forward with correcting the situation.

Hospital officials continue to negotiate with the design firm to determine financial liability for the corrective measures.  Work will begin Monday, March 18, 2013 and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2013.

Slushy roads cause semi tractor-trailer accident in Audubon County


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported after a semi tractor-trailer went out of control and crashed Tuesday afternoon, just north of Audubon. According to the Sheriff’s Department, 24-year old Justin Michael Steffen, of Albert Lea, MN, was driving a 2003 Peterbilt semi pulling an empty livestock trailer. When Steffen lost control of the rig on a slush covered Highway 71, the semi went into the east ditch, hit a small tree and continued across a small stream before coming to rest against the north bank of the creek. Neither Steffen nor his passenger, Clinton Helget, of Comfrey, MN, were injured. Damage to the semi was estimated at $60,000. No citations were issued.  Officers with the Audubon Police Department assisted at the accident scene.

Star-gazing driver causes car to drive into a ditch in Audubon County


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

One person suffered possible, unknown injuries during a single-vehicle accident Wednesday night south of Gray, in Audubon County. Sheriff’s officials say 40-year old John Presley Lampe, of Indianola, was transported by Audubon Fire and Rescue to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital, after the car he was driving went into a ditch off of westbound 120th Street. The accident happened at around 10:30-p.m., as Lampe was driving and looking up at the stars. The man was cited for Failure to Maintain Control.There was no damage to Lampe’s 2001 Buick.

More info about Wed. morning accident in Cass County


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Thursday) released more details on an accident that happened early Wednesday morning. As we told you during our news on Wednesday, the accident happened at around 5:35-a.m. near the intersection of Highway 71 and Interstate 80. Officials say it occurred when a semi struck a pickup truck that had attempted to turn onto the eastbound I-80 ramp.  The 2005 Peterbilt semi driven by 48-year old Richard Allen Goldizen, Sr., of Savannah, MO, was northbound on Highway 71 when it struck a 2007 Chevy Silverado pickup owned and driven by 36-year old Jason C. Redfern, of Omaha.

The accident happened as Redfern was traveling south on Highway 71 and attempted to cross northbound Highway 71 to get on the eastbound I-80 onramp. Redfern, who was later cited for Failure to Yield upon making a left turn,  was transported to Cass County Memorial Hospital via Medivac Rescue.  Damage from the accident amounted to $22,500.

Later that same day, Cass County deputies responded to a single-vehicle accident that occurred on Lansing Road, about one-half mile west of 690th Street. Officials say at around 12:30 p.m., a 2012 Chrysler driven by 69-year old Leta Arlene Thompson, of Cumberland, was traveling west on Lansing Road when the vehicle hit some frozen slush on the road. The car slid sideways into the south ditch and crossed over a farm drive entrance before coming to rest. No injuries were reported. Damage to Thompson’s vehicle is estimated at $3,500. No citations were issued.

Exira-EHK reorganization vote set for June 25th


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A meeting held Wednesday evening in Atlantic was the last step prior to a vote over a reorganization of the Exira and Elk Horn Kimballton School Districts. The public session took place at the Atlantic High School, and included patrons of both districts, as well as the Board of Directors for both the Heartland and Green Hills Area Education Agencies (AEA).

The boards received written notices from property owners, some of whom objected to having their land included in the proposed reorganized district, but the AEA Boards rejected most of the objections. They also heard from a few persons who sought to dismiss the petition for the new school district. Exira-EHK Superintendent Dean Schnoes said there were many, varied reasons for the objections that had been received, such as those from families whose students had already open-enrolled out to another district.

Schnoes said some people thought the administrations in other districts were “more dependable and reliable,” but when attorneys for the districts demonstrated before the AEA Boards how the two districts have shown constant growth as far as financial stability, and the leadership has students heading in the right direction, that served to convince the Boards the decision to reorganize was correct and the best one for the students. Schnoes said he was very pleased with the turnout at the meeting and the level of support the proposed reorganization has received, especially when presented before the AEA Board members.

A vote on the reorganization take place June 25th.

9AM Newscast 03-14-2013

News, Podcasts

March 14th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Bailing out a friend? Don’t do it drunk


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Clearmont woman learned a hard lesson early this (Thursday) morning, when she went to bail an allegedly intoxicated friend out of the Montgomery County Jail. Officials say 33-year-old Clothilda Dawn Cales was arrested after a receptionist at the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the woman. Cales had come to the jail to bail out another woman, but the jailer can only release an intoxicated prisoner to a sober adult. Cales blew a .093 on the breathalyzer test, which is above the state legal limit.

Both woman were being held in the Montgomery County Jail pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Convicted Iowa killer paroled; must live in Kansas


March 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa man who served 17 years of a 50-year murder sentence has left prison on parole.  Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta says Brian Davis was released on Wednesday. Under the terms of Davis’ parole, he must stay with relatives in Olathe, Kan., obey all laws and get a job. His parole will be supervised by Kansas officials.

Davis was convicted of second-degree murder for killing Julie Baack. The 23-year-old Baack disappeared from her Le Mars apartment in 1992. Her remains were found east of Onawa three years later. Davis and Baack were dating at the time of her death.

Davis originally was scheduled to be released on parole in 2018, but in January the Iowa Parole Board granted Davis an early release.