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Tractor-trailer fire on I-80 early Friday morning


October 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 10/27/14)

Firefighters from Menlo, Casey and Stuart battled a tractor-trailer fire on eastbound Interstate 80 in Adair County overnight. The blaze at the 88-mile marker (the Menlo exit) was reported at around 10:15-p.m., Thursday.  The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office says the vehicle was a double-bottom Fed Ex truck. Guthrie County deputies assisted with traffic control at the scene.

Photo's from the Stuart VFD's Facebook page.

Photo’s from the Stuart VFD’s Facebook page.

tf2No other details are currently available. (https://www.facebook.com/StuartFireDepartment)

Parents of a Treynor teen agree to isolate the student after Uganda trip


October 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Treynor High School student who is traveling to Uganda will self-isolate after returning to Iowa out of respect of concerns others in the community might have about Ebola. Treynor Superintendent Kevin Elwood released a statement Thursday that a concern about a student traveling to Uganda on a mission trip was brought to the attention of school officials.

According to The Daily NonPareil, Elwood said the Treynor Community School District reached out to the student’s family as well as the Iowa Department of Public Health and the school’s attorney. He said the student has agreed to voluntary self-isolation for 21 days after returning from the central African country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking travelers to avoid nonessential trips to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and to practice enhanced precautions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Uganda is located in central Africa and borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is located halfway across the continent from the west African nations where active Ebola cases are found.

However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health states that an isolated outbreak of Ebola – separate from the outbreak in west Africa – is ongoing in the northwestern portion of the country. The CDC said that was connected to a single person infected after preparing bushmeat. There were 68 cases and 49 deaths reported as of Oct. 9, according to the CDC.

A fact sheet from the Iowa Department of Health advises schools that students with “someone in their household or a close contact recently returned from Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia” should not be excluded from school because they pose “no risk to others at the school, and needs to continue his/her education.”

Elwood acknowledged in his statement that neither state nor federal officials are discouraging travel to that portion of Africa. But he said the district will continue to communicate with authorities about the student’s case.

King-Mowrer hold feisty debate in Storm Lake


October 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The two major party candidates in Iowa’s fourth congressional district engaged in a bit of verbal combat last night (Thursday) during a televised debate held at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. Democrat Jim Mowrer of Boone criticized Congressman Steve King of Kiron for suggesting the American soldiers being sent into west Africa to deal with the Ebola epidemic should be volunteers, since Ebola is a “silent killer.”

“As a soldier I understand that you volunteer when you raise your right hand and you’re willing to sacrifice everything for this country. Soldiers follow orders. This is a job that needs to be done. That’s why Congressman King never volunteered for the military,” Mowrer said. As many in the audience murmured, King responded: “I think that this judgement to do this debate should speak for itself.” After the debate, King told reporters Mowrer’s remark was an act of “desperation.”

“I think what’s going to happen is that people review this debate and they’ll go back and look at the facts and they’ll find out that we had a really good debate tonight and he had a really bad night of desperation,” King said. Mowrer accused King of inciting panic about Ebola.  “We need to confront this outbreak in a calm, concise, deliberate way. We need to stop it from spreading here in the United States,” Mowrer said. “We need to confront it at the source in Africa…but Congressman King again has a TV ad up on the air telling people that they should be afraid.”

King, meanwhile, challenged claims in one of Mowrer’s ads that King had voted to raise his own pay “by 20-thousand a year.” “If you do the calculation on his rational, it comes to $2610, not $20,000 and my pay again has been frozen since 2009, so many of those statements are completely, blatantly, fabricated-from-thin-air false,” King said.

Last night’s (Thursday’s) debate aired live on Iowa Public Television and is the only face-to-face meeting of the two candidates this election season. The fourth district is the state’s largest, geographically, covering 39 counties in northwest and north central Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Ernst declines invitations to talk to Iowa newspaper editorial boards


October 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, has declined invitations to speak with a handful of Iowa newspaper editorial boards, decisions that became public Thursday after The Des Moines Register revealed Ernst had cancelled a Thursday appointment with the paper’s editorial writers. Sarah Benzing is the campaign manager for Bruce Braley — Ernst’s Democratic opponent — and Benzing spoke during a conference call arranged by the campaign.

“We don’t hide from questions or fail to have an open and honest debate,” Benzing said. “We talk about the issues, we lay out where we stand and that’s exactly what voters deserve from Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley.” Braley’s campaign manager suggests Ernst is trying to avoid unscripted moments.

“It’s one thing to stick to talking points at events,” Benzing said. “It’s another to sit down with an ed board and answer tough questions.” Ernst answered questions from Radio Iowa and other media outlets twice this week after campaign events in Boone and Des Moines. Ernst campaign spokesperson Gretchen Hamel says “recent editorials in The Des Moines Register make their position in this race perfectly clear” and the Ernst campaign decided with less than 12 days to go, Ernst “wants to spend every minute talking to undecided voters.”

Ernst also declined to meet with editorial writers for The Cedar Rapids Gazette, The Dubuque Telegraph Herald, The Quad-City Times and The Waterloo Courier. Ernst won The Des Moines Register’s endorsement during the Republican Primary in June, but the Ernst campaign cites five recent editorials in the newspaper that criticized Ernst’s past statements or positions on issues for leading to their decision to cancel a meeting with the paper’s editorial board.

The Des Moines Register endorsed Mitt Romney late in the 2012 campaign after Romney met with the paper’s editorial writers in a barn on a farm near Adel. President Obama had granted the paper an off-the-record interview that became public after the paper’s lead editor concluded Obama’s statements about his post-election agenda were newsworthy and merited publication.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Fri., Oct. 24 2014


October 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst cancelled a meeting with The Des Moines Register’s editorial board Thursday, saying her time was better spent campaigning in Iowa. Editors at the newspaper say Ernst notified them Wednesday night that she wouldn’t attend the Thursday meeting. Publisher Rick Green says he was disappointed.

WEST UNION, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say three men who walked away from a residential correctional facility in northeast Iowa last Friday are back in custody. The state Department of Corrections says Shaun McBride and Taylor Oakes were arrested Wednesday night in Mitchell County. Tyler Roe was arrested Tuesday in Howard County.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Supporters of a proposed historic district in downtown Cedar Rapids say the designation would enable property owners to get big tax breaks when renovating their buildings. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports the Cedar Rapids Community Development Department hosted two meetings to discuss the idea yesterday.

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 67-year-old woman has died in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Iowa. The Bremer County Sheriff’s Office says Kathleen Kerr of Tripoli, Iowa was driving Wednesday afternoon on a county road near Waverly when her car drifted off the road and struck a tree.

Key Iowa regents want 3rd straight tuition freeze


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Key members of the governing board of Iowa’s three public universities say they want to table a proposed 1.75 percent tuition increase and freeze rates for the third year. In a surprise, three members of the Iowa Board of Regents said they supported the freeze for in-state students Thursday. The nine-member board will vote on the plan in December.

Their statements came as the regents considered a plan to raise the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The board froze tuition rates for the previous two school years, for the first time since the 1970s.

The proposed increase would have covered the expected cost of inflation and generated $14.5 million in new revenue.

Amazon to refund Iowa customers over subscription


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Online retailor Amazon has agreed to refund more than 1,000 Iowa customers over issues regarding a subscription service. The state Attorney General’s Office says the agreement means Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon Services LLC will give $122,000 in refunds and credits to Iowa customers.  State officials say a free shipping promotion enrolled Iowa customers in a free trial of the Amazon Prime subscription service. Its annual $99 membership fee offers shipping discounts, streaming video and other features.

Customers who didn’t cancel during the free-trial period were shifted to regular Prime memberships. The agreement requires that Amazon comply with state law aimed at making the enrollment process for club memberships clear. As part of the deal, Amazon denies any wrongdoing or liability. The company will contact qualifying customers for refunds and credits.

Wellmark Foundation Awards Grant Funds to the City of Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Wellmark Foundation recently awarded the City of Atlantic a $25,000 grant to help fund the Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project. The project will focus on the reconstruction of a trail that runs through Bull Creek, completing the intra-city trail system that runs through Atlantic, Iowa. The project will also measure residents’ use of trails before and after the reconstruction to gauge overall usage of the trail.untitled

The Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project will complete the last section of the Atlantic intra-city trail that runs beside Bull Creek in the heart of Atlantic. The multi-use trail will begin at 14th Street, connect with the Atlantic Bike Route and the Atlantic Walking Path, and continue north through Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area. The trail will connect several areas of Atlantic directly to Schuler Elementary School, the Atlantic Middle School, and the Nishna Valley Family YMCA, giving children a safer place to ride their bikes to school and after-school activities. This project will also complement the continued development of the Schildberg Recreation Area and the future development of the trail connecting Schildberg to the T-Bone Trail.

The grant award to the City of Atlantic represents one of 19 competitively awarded grants across Iowa and South Dakota to establish pilot efforts or expand upon current community health initiatives.

CCHS to discontinue participation in Humana Medicare Advantage


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Health System report, effective January 1, 2015, the Atlantic Medical Center, Cass County Memorial Hospital and Southwest Iowa Surgery will no longer participate in the Humana Medicare Advantage health insurance plan. According to Susan Daniels, Chief Financial Officer, they are announcing the change to assist area residents in selecting their Medicare Advantage plans for 2015.

Daniels said “We want people to be informed as they make their 2015 Medicare Advantage plan selections for the coming year. While we don’t have a lot of patients who use this plan, we certainly didn’t want anyone to be surprised by the change in 2015.”

She noted the change is being made due to ongoing problems with claims being delayed and paid inaccurately. “We want to work with insurers who support us in providing outstanding care and service to our patients.”  Daniels explained the health system participates in several other Medicare Advantage plans. “We are confident our patients will be able to select a plan that meets their personal needs and still allows us to be their healthcare provider.”

She also noted that because participation will continue through the end of 2014, the Medicare Advantage website will not reflect the change, so it is important for consumers to understand this change that will go into effect January 1, 2015.

For questions or more information, please call either Nancy Templeman, Medicare Billing Coordinator, or Susan Daniels at Cass County Memorial Hospital, 712-243-3250.

Area Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show Winners

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Jim Field

Some area contestants have picked up awards at the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show in Omaha.  Among the winners:

  • Annie Herr of Fontanelle won champion Mainetainer Breeding Heifer
  • Heath Downing of Creston won champion Feeder Calf Heifer-Overall and champion Feeder Calf Steer-Overall
  • Cody Birt of Prescott won 3rd place Market Swine Showman
  • Dustin Lund of Croning won reserve champion Continental Breed Market Steer
  • Violet Lapke of Logan won champion Composite Charolais Breeding Heifer
  • Reagan Gibson of Panora won reserve champion Team Purebred Market Barrow
  • Sydney Sherer of Pisgah won 5th place Market Broilers
  • Erin Sorenson of Villisca won champion AOB Breeding Heifer
  • Lane Miller of Creston won champion Horse-Senior Western
Annie Herr (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Annie Herr
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)