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Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., April 9th 2015

News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have determined the death of a veteran found dead in a Des Moines park was a suicide. Polk County Medical Examiner Doctor Gregory Schmunk told the Register yesterday the death of 41-year-old Richard Miles has been ruled a suicide. He was found frozen February 20th at Water Works Park.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the three dogs that knocked down and bit a woman in northern Iowa has been shot and killed. Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals says a person whose name has not yet been released shot the dog after it went after the woman and two other people several times on Monday. The dog’s carcass is being tested for rabies. The Mason City Globe Gazette says the two other dogs are under 10 days’ quarantine.

FREMONT, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an Oskaloosa man has died in a single-vehicle crash in southeastern Iowa. The Ottumwa Courier reports 23-year-old Andrew Scholtus was killed Tuesday when his truck went off Whitwell Avenue in Fremont and hit a bridge guardrail.

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is dodging a key question in the abortion debate: What exceptions should be made if the procedure were to be banned? In an Associated Press interview this week, the newly declared Republican presidential contender wouldn’t say where, in his view, a pregnant woman’s rights begin and those of the fetus end.

Lack of snow good news for pheasants and quail

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A dry winter with below-normal snowfall is improving the odds for better pheasant hunting again this season. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says the snowfall numbers are a good predictor of how well wild birds handle the winter. “Anytime that we are kind of upwards of over 30 inches of snow or beyond, it’s generally not a good winter for pheasant or quail. We kind of had a lot of those winters from ’07 to 2011, which really depressed our pheasant numbers,” Bogenschutz says. “Here in the last couple years things have been a little bit better. This past winter we came in at about 21 inches.”

Bogenschutz says many pheasant hunters reported seeing more birds last fall after five years of winters with heavy snow and cool wet springs that hurt the numbers. The fall sightings combined with the winter numbers add up to potentially good news. “We’re thinking right now — at least I am cautiously optimistic — that we carried a good number of the hens we have out there through the winter in pretty good shape,” Bogenschutz says. The more hens that survive the winter, the more chance they’ll raise new birds this spring.

“I think the stage could be set for maybe another increase this year because we got all those hens through the winter, they’re out there, they can nest,” Bogenschutz explains. “Now we just need some good weather through nesting season — and we’ll see what the roadside counts bring.” Bogenschutz is referring to the annual August roadside counts that give an estimate on the number of pheasants. Bogenschutz says landowners can help to ensure the positive trend continues by planting shelterbelts and food plots for the birds.

“We just don’t have a lot of that type of winter cover out there on the landscape, so we’re trying to encourage landowners, you know if you are worried about pheasants or see them struggling, do you have an opportunity to do a food plot?,” Bogenschutz says. He says they also provide information about the shelterbelts, which provide cover and food for pheasants. Cost share assistance or seed for food plot establishment is available from most county Pheasants Forever chapters or local co-ops.

For information on how to establish or design shelterbelts or food plots that benefit wildlife, contact your local wildlife biologist, or go to: www.iowadnr.gov/privatelands.

(Radio Iowa)

Grassley Announces Hearing on Asset Forfeiture Laws

News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa announced Wednesday, that the committee will hold a hearing on the nation’s
asset forfeiture laws. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, April 15th, at 10 a.m. (ET) in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing will also be streamed live on the committee’s website,www.judiciary.senate.gov.

Grassley says supports the use of asset forfeiture to seize money from criminal organizations and return it to victims, but he has been concerned that the asset forfeiture program has become too much of a money-making business for the government. He said the rule of law ought to be about protecting innocent people, not padding the coffers of the federal treasury. New guidance from the Justice Department has helped, but Grassley has cautioned that loopholes have undermined efforts to improve the program’s application and legislation is still necessary.

Grassley said that the hearing will focus on law enforcement’s appropriate use of asset forfeiture to seize property associated with criminal activity and legislative reforms to that process to prevent abuses and protect the rights of innocent citizens and small business owners.

Grassley’s office says the Senator has been working on legislation that will protect innocent people from being caught up in the dragnet of asset forfeiture. The bill will enhance procedural protections for individuals whose property is seized, reduce incentives for law enforcement’s excessive employment of civil asset forfeiture, and codify the IRS’ policies that prevent use of civil asset forfeiture in structuring cases where there is no other underlying crime.

The Des Moines Register and the Washington Post have highlighted abuses of the asset forfeiture program, including the case of Iowan Carol Hinders. Hinders was a small business owner who was caught in the IRS’s asset forfeiture web without any clear evidence of an underlying crime.

Memorial services to be held this evening for Audubon County Sheriff’s k9

News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the law enforcement community and citizens this evening (April 9th), will pay their respects to a member of the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office who died in the line of duty the night of March 27th. A Memorial service for K-9 “Harry” will take place beginning at 5-pm in the Audubon City Park, at the band shelter stage. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will be several different agencies on hand for the funeral and procession, which will begin at the Audubon Vet Clinic on the north end of town and conclude at the Audubon City Park.

Harry was critically injured in a crash that injured his partner and human handler, Deputy Shawn Young. The dog was treated for his injuries and stabilized, but doctors at the clinic said Harry’s injuries were insurmountable, and had him euthanized the morning of March 28th.

In a press release a few days after the accident, Sheriff Todd Johnson said at one point or another, Harry was cared for and lived with almost all the deputies who serve Audubon County. The dog had a distinguished career and was responsible for recovering more than one-half pound of crystal meth (ice), four-pounds of cocaine, 10-pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana and over $270,000 in drug money, as well aiding in numerous drug arrests and convictions.

VA patients often have longer waits in Iowa City than in Des Moines, data show

News

April 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A veteran getting care at the VA hospital in Iowa City is about twice as likely to have to wait more than a month for an appointment as a vet who goes to the VA hospital in Des Moines. Government data show that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Iowa City had more than 2,700 appointments in a recent six-month span that took longer than 30 days to complete.

That amounted to 3 percent of the appointments the hospital completed between Sept. 1 and Feb. 28. The VA hospital in Des Moines reported that 1.5 percent of its appointments missed the goal of having patients wait no longer than 30 days for non-emergency care. About one in 33 appointments in Iowa City didn’t meet the standard compared to one in 64 in Des Moines.

In Nebraska, less than 1 percent of appointments at the Omaha VA Medical Center, Nebraska’s largest such facility, failed to meet a federal timeliness goal of 30 days or less. That’s according to an Associated Press examination of waiting times at 940 VA hospitals and outpatient clinics from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28, done in the wake of last year’s scandal over delays in veterans’ care and cover-up attempts.

Overall, Nebraska’s veterans are more likely to see doctors and other health care providers quickly at the state’s 10 VA facilities than their counterparts around the country. Eileen Kingston is associate director for patient care for the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System. She says the system’s managers participate in a weekly meeting dedicated to improving access to care for veterans.

Hazardous Weather Outlook (Updated)

News, Weather

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

410 PM CDT WED APR 8 2015

Area Counties: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD

A FEW ISOLATED STORMS ARE POSSIBLE THIS EVENING WITH ANY SEVERE
THREAT FROM LARGE HAIL. THUNDERSTORMS WILL BECOME MORE WIDESPREAD DURING THE EARLY MORNING HOURS ON THURSDAY…LARGE HAIL WILL BE THE MAIN THREAT. DAMAGING WINDS WILL ALSO BE A THREAT MAINLY SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 80.

ADDITIONAL THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH MIDDAY THURSDAY. LARGE HAIL WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE MAIN THREAT.

THERE WILL ALSO BE THE THREAT OF THUNDERSTORMS STARTING SUNDAY AND CONTINUING INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. THE THREAT OF SEVERE WEATHER APPEARS LOW AT THIS TIME.

SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION MAY BE NEEDED TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

Area Countie: MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE…

THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT WILL BE POSSIBLE THIS EVENING OVER SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA AND SOUTHWEST IOWA. A FEW STORMS COULD APPROACH SEVERE LIMITS. ADDITIONAL STORMS SHOULD DEVELOP LATER TONIGHT AS LIFT INCREASES WITH DEVELOPMENT A LOW LEVEL JET AND AN UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE MOVING IN FROM THE WEST. A FEW STORMS MAY PRODUCE LARGE HAIL INTO THE EARLY MORNING HOURS.

THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY: THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE OVER AT LEAST PARTS OF THE AREA FROM SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

 

More than $630,000 in CAT Grants Awarded to Danville, Mills County

News

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Small towns located in the far southeast and southwest corners of the state were awarded at total of $633,000 in Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grants, Wednesday. Jessica O’Riley is spokesperson for the Vision Iowa Board, which approved the grants — including a $480,000 award to a project in Malvern. She says “That’s a community center. It’s going to be a multi-purpose facility located on the fairgrounds in Mills County.”

The Mills County Charles E. Lakin Community Center carries a total project cost of just over $2.5 million. The 16,000-square-foot building will include a large multi-purpose room, a kitchen and catering area and meeting spaces. The other grant, worth $153,000, was awarded to a project in Des Moines County known as Danville Station.

“It’s a library/community center/museum in Danville,” O’Riley said. “It really has a great story connected to it. Two young girls from Danville happened to be pen pals with Anne Frank and her sister, so they’re going to be able to tell the story of Anne Frank. They’re going to have bookcase that you go behind and into this ‘secret’ attic to see that exhibit.” The Danville Station project is expected to cost around $678,000 to complete. It involves the purchase and renovation of a building.

Wednesday’s Vision Iowa Board meeting was held in Algona.

(Radio Iowa)

Storm/Hail reports, 4/8/15

News, Weather

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Severe thunderstorms that evolved in southwest Iowa this (Wednesday) morning, spread from Adams into Adair Counties. Emergency Management officials reported pea-to quarter-size (1″ diameter) hail fell about a mile northwest of Corning at around 9:15-a.m.  A couple of minutes later, officials said quarter- to golf ball-size hail was falling in Corning.  The storm event last about 35-minutes before the cell producing the hail began to weaken and fall below warning criteria.

Other cells formed in central Iowa, bringing pea to quarter sized hail to the Des Moines metro area over the noon hour. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Cass Supervisors approve partial TC Connector Trail funds

News

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) approved a portion of the funds requested by the Nishna Valley Trails group, for their Troublesome Creek Connector Trail project. The Board agreed to use $12,500 from the Local Option Sales Tax Fund (LOST) for the project, instead of the $50,000 NVT representative Dave Chase had requested during a meeting with the Board on March 11th. The Board cited the County’s outstanding debt (including funding for the Valley Business Park and Communications Center) as the reason for not funding the full amount requested.

The Supervisors said they would try to make additional funds available during Fiscal Year 2015-16. NVT currently has $345,000 committed toward the estimated $550,000 to $600,000 cost of the project.

The Board also approved the securing of a $324,000 loan to pay for the communications center equipment, and a bid from Academy Roofing from Des Moines in the amount of $44,000 to replace the courthouse east roof.

House OKs bill to make sweeping changes to Iowa’s gun laws

News

April 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The House has passed legislation that would make sweeping changes to Iowa’s gun laws, a vote that drew criticism from some lawmakers. The House voted 73-25 Wednesday for the bill, which would allow children younger than 14 to use a handgun under a parent’s supervision. The House voted for the changes through another bill earlier in the session, but the Senate failed to take it up for a vote.

The bill Wednesday adds back many of the proposed changes through a separate, more limited gun bill. A provision that would have taken away a de factor three-day waiting period on a permit to acquire a handgun was removed.

Rep. Matt Windschitl says the legislation respects the Second Amendment rights of Iowa residents. Some lawmakers criticized the age limit removal.