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Iowa walnut trees face new threat from migrating insect

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

While Iowans are seeing the first ash trees cut down to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer, yet another invading insect is causing a stir as it could threaten our walnut trees. Robin Pruisner, an entomologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the pest called the walnut twig beetle is being found in nearby states, but it hasn’t been found in Iowa — yet. “Research is ongoing on how to protect walnut trees,” Pruisner says. “We just don’t have a lot of answers. This is even newer than the emerald ash borer at this point in time.” The walnut twig beetle carries what’s known as “thousand canker disease,” which is deadly to black walnut trees.

There’s been no way found to reverse the disease or to kill the beetle without also killing the trees.  “The geosmithia pathogen is actually very common in our environment and this is just kind of a new cousin of that,” Pruisner says. “The walnut twig beetle is native to the southwest United States and down into Mexico.” For many years, the beetle was only found in states like Arizona, California and New Mexico. Now, the rice grain-sized pest is being found well beyond the southwest, in states as far away as Virginia and Pennsylvania — and closer to home in Ohio, Colorado and Tennessee.

Pruisner suspects the insects are moving such great distances because people are enabling them to hitch long rides.  “Aunt Sally out in Colorado has a walnut tree that dies in her backyard but Cousin Ed here in Iowa would like to make a coffee table out of it,” Pruisner says. “This is the kind of thing that people throw in the back of their truck and they drive to Iowa and they could be inadvertently bringing along with it thousand canker of walnut.”

One way to stop the spread is to only use local firewood in campfires. Iowa ranks sixth in the nation for the production of black walnut, prized for its grain and color and it’s exported all over the world.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 04-21-2014

News, Podcasts

April 21st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 04-21-2014

News, Podcasts

April 21st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Creston man arrested in Adams County Monday morning

News

April 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Adams County report a Union County man was arrested early this (Monday) morning after he was seen pulling off into a field from a dirt road. The Sheriff’s Department says when officers approached 23-year old Nathan Vicker, of Creston shortly after midnight, he became combative and resisted the officers. He also refused to take any chemical tests for OWI.

Vicker faces charges that include Interference with Official Acts and Refusal to submit to chemical testing. Additional charges are still possible.

Anti-bullying bill languishing at statehouse

News

April 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One of the governor’s top priorities — an anti-bullying bill — is in danger of failing to pass the 2016 Iowa legislature. Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a Republican from Mount Ayr, has been involved in one part of the debate — how much state money to spend to help train teachers and administrators to address bullying. “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to pass bullying legislation,” Dolecheck said. “That’s still up in the air.”

Senate Democrats have voted to spend three-quarters of a million dollars on bullying prevention training for educators, but House Republicans have sided with their Republican governor and opted instead to spend 25-thousand dollars to conduct webinars — online training sessions for educators. Governor Terry Branstad has been asking legislators to pass an anti-bullying bill in each of the past two years. The governor’s been asking legislators to pass a bill that would give school officials clear authority to address bullying that occurs outside of school, especially on-line, but some of Branstad’s fellow Republicans object.

Dolecheck says many of his Republican colleagues believe administrators already have the authority to step in when a student’s being bullied. “There’s nothing they can’t do within a local school district to combat bullying and prevent bullying and address bullying,” Dolecheck says. In addition, many Republicans say parents have the ultimate authority over their children and they’re concerned about school officials monitoring students’ activity outside of school hours. House Republicans have also pressed to have private and religious schools exempted from any anti-bullying bill and they want a religious conscience clause included.

Republican conservatives says without that protection, students could be accused of bullying if they are expressing their religious beliefs. Members of the Iowa House and Senate are scheduled to return to Des Moines this afternoon (Monday), to begin what could be the final week of the 2016 legislative session.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Mon., April 21st 2014

News

April 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislative leaders say they could end the session this week despite disagreements over budget bills and Governor Terry Branstad’s policy priorities. They have a strong incentive to close up shop and go home — their daily allowance for working and living in Des Moines runs out Tuesday. Three budget bills on which there are differences are in conference committees, where lawmakers from both parties negotiate compromises.

PLAINFIELD, Iowa (AP) — A water-line break in Plainfield has forced city officials to shut off the northeast Iowa town’s water supply. KWWL-TV in Waterloo reports that city officials aren’t sure how long it will take for crews to fix the problem. City officials say residents should use bottled water until further notice. Plainfield is a town of nearly 450 in Bremer County.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are looking for a 24-year-old man who has gone missing from a Davenport work-release facility. The Iowa Department of Corrections says Tyler Lampe was placed on escape status from the facility at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Lampe is serving a 15-year sentence for intimidation with a dangerous weapon and escape of felon.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are investigating a body that was found lying next to a burning vehicle in West Des Moines. Police say officers discovered the body when responding to the fire report around 6 a.m. on Sunday. Anyone with information is asked to call West Des Moines police at 515-222-3321.

A preview of some area meetings coming up on Monday

News

April 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two School District Board of Education meetings are slated for Monday in the immediate KJAN listening area, along with a meeting of the City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Department Board of Directors. The Park Board meeting takes place in the City Council’s chambers, beginning at 5:15-p.m.

During the Monday evening session, the Board will receive an update from Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring, with regard to the Sunnyside Park Senior Activities area. Other discussion and/or action items pertain to the Summer Recreation Program (including recommendations for a Pool Manager, Swim Coach, and Co-Softball Coordinators), and information about the recent $6,000 Cass County Community Foundation grant for new Summer Recreation Equipment. The Parks and Rec Board will also hear an update from Herring on Capital Projects and a tree replacement plan for the Camblin Addition at Sunnyside Park. Herring will also report on a recent meeting about the Emerald Ash Borer infestation affecting Iowa.

Elsewhere around the area, the Griswold School Board will meet Monday evening in the Central Office Board Room, beginning at 5:45. On their agenda, is a Public Hearing and action on the 2014-2015 School Calendar, along with Early Start Waiver and conversion to an hour-based calendar instead of day-based instruction. The Griswold Board will also discuss “The Scary Guy” presentation, and negotiations with district staff.

And, in Anita, the CAM School Board will hold a special meeting beginning at 6:30-p.m. in the High School Media Center, during which they will discuss: the sharing of a Superintendent; 2014-2015 Support Staff and Coaching/Extra Duty contracts. Prior to adjourning for the evening, the CAM School Board will move into a closed session as allowed under Iowa Code, for negotiations.

House fire north of Atlantic Sunday evening

News

April 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Atlantic were called to the scene of a house fire Sunday evening, north of Atlantic.

Ric Hanson (Photos)

Ric Hanson (Photos)

IMG_0410 The call about the blaze at 64505 Dunbar Road was dispatched at 4:36-p.m. All the residents of the home evacuated safely prior to firefighters’ arrival. Second-Assistant Fire Chief Tim Cappel said the south side of the structure was already fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Crews reacted quickly to the situation. Once inside, they noticed the fire made its way into the attic. The roof was ventilated and an extensive overhaul to make sure the fire was out was conducted.

The flames weren’t the only thing firefighters had to contend with. Cappel says there was gunpowder and ammunition in a section of the basement, so they worked at different angles to avoid any rounds that might have gone off. Two small dogs were in the home when the fire broke out. Cass County Deputy Tyler Shiels tried to rescue them, but the smoke was too thick. Cappel says fortunately, the animals are still alive. The animals were later found under one of the beds, and did not appear to have suffered much from smoke inhalation.

Cappel says the fire was caused by a lighter used to start an outdoor grill. A charcoal lighter caught a nearby bush on fire. The flames then spread to the residence. Cappel cautioned that with the high winds the area has been experiencing, people need to be careful when they are grilling, enjoying a small bonfire or other such outdoor activity, because a tiny spark can cause a big fire.

Medivac Ambulance was called to the scene at around 5:44-p.m. to offer medical assistance to firefighter who was partially overcome by the heat. The temperature at the time was hovering around 82-degrees. No other injuries were reported.

Tabor Police Officer hit by fleeing suspect

News

April 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Police officer from Tabor suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was stuck by a car Sunday morning, in Fremont County. The Sheriff’s Department said Tabor Reserve Police Officers Derek Aistrope and Jared Johnson were conducting a traffic stop at around 12:40-a.m. in the 500 block of Main Street in Tabor, when the driver of the vehicle drove-off and hit Officer Johnson.

The suspect, 56-year old Larry Charles Smith, of Tabor, drove to his residence, with officers in pursuit. When he arrived at his home, Smith went inside and locked the door, but the Tabor officers along deputies from Fremont County made entry into the home and deployed a stun device, which brought Smith into submission and allowed him to be taken into custody.

He’s been charged with: 2 counts each of Assault on a Police Officer and Interference with Official Acts; OWI/2nd offense; Driving While Revoked; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Failure to Provide Security Against Liability (Failure to hold Insurance). Additional charges were pending. Smith was being held in the Fremont County Jail on just over $19,573 bond.

Officer Johnson was transported by Tabor Rescue to the Shenandoah Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. Smith was transported by Tabor Rescue to Grape Community Hospital in Hamburg for treatment of minor injuries.

Legislative leaders push for adjournment

News

April 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislative leaders say they could end the session this week despite disagreements over budget bills and Gov. Terry Branstad’s policy priorities. They have a strong incentive to close up shop and go home — their daily allowance for working and living in Des Moines runs out Tuesday.

Three budget bills on which there are differences are in conference committees, where lawmakers from both parties negotiate compromises. Differences remain on a school anti-bullying bill and expansion of broadband Internet, but leaders say resolution is possible.

Branstad appears unfazed by ongoing criticism from Democrats about payments for secrecy in settlement agreements and other executive branch issues pursued by the Government Oversight Committee. He says his focus remains on the substance of issues and he remains optimistic.