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Exira 4th of July


July 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Fourth of July Celebrations that began last Saturday in Exira, and continued into early this week, culminate today with many more activities, including foot races in front of the elementary school, at 9-a.m., and the big, annual parade at Legion Park, starting at 10:30. The theme for this year’s parade is “Hometown Traditions.” Judy Bintner, with the Exira Community Club, says the Grand Marshall is a City Employee with many years of service to the community.” The honor goes to recently retired City Clerk Jean Peterson, and newly appointed City Clerk Jane Jessen.”

The route for this year’s parade is unchanged from last year. Bintner says it’s always a good idea to find a spot to enjoy the parade before it begins, and there are plenty of areas for you to stake out your viewing point. Following the parade there are lots of activities throughout the day, including entertainment in the City Park from one- until five-p.m. There’s also the Grand River Rodeo, which gets underway at Kickapoo Park, beginning at 2-p.m. They’ve had a rodeo before in Exira, but it’s the first time it’s been held on the 4th of July. 

Check out the complete list of activities on the KJAN.com website under the “Daily Diary” tab. The Grand Fireworks display the Exira Football Field, begins at 9:45-p.m.

Corning woman arrested on assault charge


July 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County report one person was taken into custody early this (Wednesday) morning, on an assault charge. 38-year old Becky Lynn Oglesbee, of Corning, was arrested just before 1-a.m. on a charge of simple assault. Authorities say Oglesbee was arrested for an alleged incident of assault which occurred at the Villisca American Legion hall. She was brought to the Montgomery County Jail, booked-in and later released on a $300 cash bond.

Fire Marshal says use care with fireworks in dry conditions

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

While some parts of the state have been without rain for more than a week, there are currently no burn bans are in place in Iowa. Dubuque County will be under a burn ban starting Thursday morning. The head of the state fire marshal’s arson and explosives bureau says it’s important with the dry conditions to be especially careful celebrating the Fourth of July. Ron Humphrey says things could be worse. “It’s not quite as bad as it is in the spring or fall, when everything is all dried out, at least the grass and the crops are still green but keep in mind a small fire could spread quickly with the right conditions, and the right material,” Humphrey says.

“Use good safety precaution when using the fireworks we want to make sure that with the dry conditions that when you use sparklers or shooting off fireworks by permit the area is safe for both people and the surrounding environment,” according to Humphrey. The Dubuque County burn ban goes into effect at eight a-m Thursday. More counties could be added in the next few days without significant rain to improve the dry conditions.

(For a current chart of all counties included in a burn ban, go to: http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/main/burnbans/index.shtml)

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., July 4th 2012


July 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama returns to Iowa next week, his fourth trip in the political battleground state this year. His Iowa campaign spokeswoman says Obama will campaign Tuesday in Cedar Rapids. Details will be released soon, but he’ll focus on the economy.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Transportation says it has resolved a computer problem that knocked out a system used to issue driver’s licenses and vehicle registration. The DOT says the outage early yesterday afternoon was fixed about two hours later.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has tapped a prosecutor from Spirit Lake to serve as chairman of the Iowa Board of Parole. Dickinson County Attorney Jason Carlstrom takes over Sept. 3. He replaces Doris Kelley, who was elevated from vice chair to chair earlier this year when Branstad demoted longtime chairwoman Elizabeth Robinson.

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) — One of the American bald eagles born this year in northeast Iowa and watched by millions on the Decorah eagle cam has died, most likely of electrocution. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says the eaglet was found Sunday morning at the base of a power pole near the nest at the Decorah Fish Hatchery.



July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Ziegler announced on Tuesday, that as an approved National FFA scholarship sponsor it has, in cooperation with AGCO, awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Katelyn Blake, a high school graduate from Walnut, for the 2012–13 school year.

Katelyn Blake

With support from local FFA chapters, the scholarship program was offered through more than 55 Massey Ferguson, Challenger, and Gleaner dealers across the United States. Ziegler awarded a total of five scholarships this year.

Dick Emmerich, general sales manager, Ziegler Ag Division, said, “We are very excited to be a part of this great new program and assist Katelyn in reaching her long-term educational goals. Agriculture is constantly changing and providing new opportunities. There’s no question in my mind that our support of scholarships through the FFA will strengthen the agricultural interests of young people in our communities.”

Scholarship selection takes into consideration FFA involvement, work experience, community service, leadership skills, and academics, and is based on academic records, FFA achievements, leadership, and other school and community activities. Supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs and future goals are all considered in the scholarship award.

Founded in 1914, Ziegler is a family-owned company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., employing more than 1,450 people in 23 communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri.

(Ziegler Press Release)

Medical exemption allowing window tinting no longer being granted


July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) reminds motorists that an Iowa Administrative Rule which takes effect July 4th will eliminate the provision that allowed the DOT to grant a medical exemption from the minimum standard of window transparency provision set forth in a subrule, and permit dark window tinting of a vehicle registered in Iowa. In the past, a driver with a medical condition could request a physician’s exemption from the minimum standard of transparency for vehicle windows.

While new exemptions will not be granted, those who have a previously approved exemption will continue to be exempt from the minimum transparency rule. The exemption form must be carried at all times in the vehicle to which it applies. At such time that a vehicle is no longer used to transport the passenger or operator that is the subject of a previously granted exemption, the exemption expires. The exemption cannot transfer to any replacement vehicle purchased after July 3rd, 2012.

Once no longer used for these transportation purposes, the owner of the vehicle to which the exemption applied must return the vehicle to conformance with the minimum standard of transparency within 60 days of expiration of the exemption. Pursuant to Iowa Code, a person shall not operate on the highway a motor vehicle equipped with a front windshield, front side window or front side wing that is excessively dark or reflective. “Excessively dark or reflective” means that the glass does not meet a minimum standard of transparency of 70 percent light transmittance.

IA DOT warns of possible pavement blow-ups

News, Weather

July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Motorists traveling in Iowa should be aware that the mercury might not be the only thing to rise during the sweltering summer heat. Pavement blowups occur when thermal expansion forces the pavement to buckle and shatter. A number of such incidents have been occurring this week.

Example of Pavement blow-up incident

In a typical year, Iowa DOT maintenance equipment operators spend 2,000 to 4,000 hours making temporary repairs of pavement blowups and another 6,000 hours replacing these pavement sections, costing an average of $400,000 annually. Many of the blowups only result in a small pothole or small chunks of concrete lying around the pavement joints, but they must still be repaired.

Unlike scheduled maintenance, pavement blowups occur spontaneously and motorists receive no advance warning. Once a blowup is reported, it takes time to erect a work zone and notify the public. The Iowa DOT urges motorists to pay special attention to pavement surfaces when driving during afternoons with 90-degree or hotter temperatures. Use caution and reduce your speed when approaching broken pavement areas.

Motorists who witness a pavement blowup are asked to contact the nearest law enforcement agency to ensure traffic is routed around the blowup until work zone signage and repair crews are on the scene.

Iowa governor taps NW IA prosecutor to lead parole board


July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is making another change in leadership at the Iowa Board of Parole, tapping a northwest Iowa county prosecutor to serve as its chairman. Branstad on Tuesday named Dickinson County Attorney Jason Carlstrom of Spirit Lake to lead the board starting Sept. 3. Carlstrom will replace Doris Kelley, who was elevated from vice chair to chair earlier this year when Branstad demoted longtime chairwoman Elizabeth Robinson. Kelley will return to her role as vice chair and Branstad praised her “outstanding work during this transition.” Carlstrom says he will “look to find effective, efficient and streamlined operations” that follow through with Branstad’s push to improve the board’s services. The five-member board makes decisions on when inmates should be released from prison in favor of work release or parole.

Heat advisory for most of Iowa, heat warning for northern Iowa

News, Weather

July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service has issued a four-day-long “excessive heat advisory” for most of the state and parts of northern Iowa are under an “excessive heat warning.” The Advisory runs through 7-a.m. Saturday, for all but the far west and southwest counties, where a separate Heat Advisory is in effect from Noon today through 8-p.m.  That includes Monona, Harrison, Shelby, Pottawattamie, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont and Page Counties. Heat indecies are expected to climb to around 105 degrees or higher this afternoon in those counties, and from 100-to 105 for the rest of the area. 

Meterologist Kevin Skow works in the National Weather Service office in Johnston. He says “This is an unusual situation where we’ve had a very persistent high pressure system over us that’s pumping up a lot of heat from the south.”  This prolonged period of super-high temperature readings during the day is happening because things cannot cool down overnight and Skow says it’s due to a “very moist” air mass hovering over the state. “It takes more energy for water vapor to cool off and since it’s so moist, the air just simply can’t cool off overnight as much as it could, say, in the springtime when we usually have drier air over us,” Skow says. Smoke from the Colorado wildfires has drifted over Iowa, but experts say it won’t cause health problems.

“The smoke is really high in the atmosphere,” he says. “It’s up at 20,000-30,000 feet and the only effects that Iowans will really see from it (are) generally some hazier skies and some redder sunrises and sunsets.” By eight o’clock this morning (Tuesday), heat index readings across the state indicated it already felt like it was 80 degrees in most locations. On Monday Nebraska’s governor declared a state of emergency in his state due to drought conditions there.

MA man rides into Shelby County on a reproduction 1885 bike


July 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Massachusetts man pedaling his way across the United States stopped in Harlan Monday night. 59-year old Kevin McNett began his journey during Spring Break in April, by dipping his rear wheel in the Atlantic Ocean in Lewis, Delaware. The bike he’s cruising on isn’t your typical, high-end, high dollar two-wheeler. He says it’s a reproduction of a 1885 Victor bicycle. It has the very large front wheel, 54 inches, and a small rear wheel. McNett says it’s more difficult to ride than your typical touring bike. He says its direct drive with the pedals, and has only one gear. Every time he cranks the pedal, he moves forward 160-inches. There is no dropping the gears going up and down hills. 

When McNett started his journey, he had a friend from Maryland pedaling with him and his wife was following in a truck. Since that time, his friend and wife had to stop because of his friend’s health issues. Together they made it to Indiana before McNett pressed on. He made it through Illinois and crossed into Iowa over the Muscatine Bridge. McNett says he’s faced some challenges in Iowa. That includes trying to find the right roads and places to stay. He says the hills are tough, and so is the hot and humid weather. 

McNett pedaled from Jefferson down to Harlan for an overnight stay, Monday. The people he’s spoken with along the way often ask why he’s making the trip. He says ”If you have to ask the question then you will never understand the answer.” McNett says he exactly doesn’t know why he does it, but maybe it’s because less than 25 people who have pedaled across the country have done so in a high wheel bike. He says It’s a fairly exclusive club,” and he hopes to join it. McNett has already pedaled across the country on a normal bike twice in his life. McNett plans on finishing the journey in early September. 

You can find more information about his journey at www.thewheelmen.org.

(courtesy Joel McCall/KNOD – Harlan)