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Bridge Construction on I-80 Over Indian Creek East of Walnut Begins April 8th


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Creston Construction Office report bridge construction work on eastbound Interstate 80 over Indian Creek, between Pottawattamie County Road M-47 (exit 46) and Cass County Road M-56 (exit 51), 2 miles east of Walnut, will begin Monday, April 8th, weather permitting.

During the project traffic will be operating in a two-lane, two-way traffic pattern in the westbound lanes of I-80 in order to get over the bridge. The open lanes will have a 16-foot width lane restriction in place. The project is expected to be completed by late July.

The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

Walnut man arrested on a theft charge


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report a Walnut man was arrested on a theft charge, Tuesday. 39-year old Donald Hanna was charged with 4th degree Theft (shoplifting). Hanna was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Events planned across Iowa as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Nearly three dozen children are abused every day in Iowa and the month of April is set aside to raise awareness about the problem. Sara Welch, spokesperson for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, says many communities will be taking part in activities to highlight what residents can do to support prevention efforts. “Throughout the state you’ll see people planting pinwheel gardens, you’ll see family resource fairs, and you’ll see people just trying to engage the community in this effort,” Welch said.

The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the most recent data available, just over 11,700 kids were abused in Iowa in 2011. That was down slightly from 2010. The organization Prevent Child Abuse Iowa has been in existence since 1975. “We are currently in 95 counties throughout Iowa providing services such as crisis care nursery and parent support groups,” Welch said. “We’re doing parent development — where an educator is going into the home and actually working with the family and helping them connect with resources and monitor their child’s development.”

Some of the organization’s special events planned this month include a “family night” at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines on April 12 and $5 tickets to an Iowa Cubs game on April 29.  “For all those events, we’re going to be handing out pinwheels – which, for us, is a symbol of the happy childhood that every child deserves. We’re going to have parenting information, community resources, and we’ll just providing a lot of fun activities for families and getting the community out to show their support,” Welch said.

Here in Cass County, as we mentioned in a report last month, the Cass County Child Abuse Prevention Council will hold community “Lunch and Learn” sessions from Noon until 1-p.m., on April 11th and 25th, at the Atlantic Public Library. The April 11th program will be presented by Sarah Herzberg, with Southwest Iowa Mental Health. It’s entitled “Raising children in a violent world,” and includes a free reading program, for children ages three and older. The April 25th program “Children learn what they live,” will be presented by Billie Jo Clausen, from the Green Hills Area Education Agency.

More information about Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is available at www.pcaiowa.org or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.

(Radio Iowa/KJAN News)

Dancing Prairie Chickens

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR says the annual “Prairie Chicken Festival” will be held at Grand River Grasslands Bird Conservation Area, two miles west and one mile south of Kellerton, in Ringgold County, on April 6th. Viewing will begin before dawn and last until the birds diminish their courtship dancing and booming, around 9:30 a.m.

Prairie Chickens have been reintroduced to the area and each spring their courtship dances occur where their booming calls resonate across southern Iowa hills and valleys. The site provides a wildlife viewing platform, and spotting scopes and binoculars will be available.

“It is really quite a show and something that was lost to the Iowa landscape during the 1950s,” said Pat Schlarbaum, with the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program. Coffee and light breakfast foods will be available.

For more information, contact Ringgold County Conservation Board Director Kate Zimmerman at 641-464-2787.

Council Bluffs to open big new riverside park with 2 weeks of free concerts, events


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Council Bluffs officials are unveiling plans for a two-week celebration this summer to debut the community’s newest attraction. Larry Foster, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, says the massive River’s Edge Park will open on Memorial Day weekend to much fanfare — and all events are free. “We’re showing concerts and movies and soccer and sports activities and family things,” Foster says. “It’s a real facility actually for the entire Midwest.” The event is being called Loessfest, after the region’s rolling Loess Hills. The string of entertainment will kick off May 25th with a free concert by The Beach Boys. “We have a great product,” Foster says. “We have a great place. We have a great river. We have a great park. We’re going to have a great series of events to open it up.”

There will be several more concerts, sporting events and entertainment for the celebration, running from Memorial weekend through June 8th. A unique, interactive light display will debut on May 25th on the park’s five-acre Great Lawn. The permanent display, entitled Rays, is a half-million dollar installation, an eight-minute light show that repeats on the hour and half-hour. This is the first Loessfest, what’s planned to be an annual event.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newcast 04-03-2013

News, Podcasts

April 3rd, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


King to present Vietnam Vet with long overdue awards


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Congressman Steve King has announced that he will be honoring Sioux City resident and Vietnam War Veteran Richard Plueger with medals he did not formally receive for his service. The ceremony will take place 4-p.m. Thursday, at Congressman King’s office  in Sioux City.

Plueger is set to receive: The National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service stars; A Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device; Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross with Palm and Frame), and a Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon.

Richard Plueger  joined the Navy in 1966, at the age of 17.  Seven months later he was enrolled in Engineman Class A school to learn his field which transitioned him to be stationed in Vietnam until October 1967. He spent most of his time in Dong Ha, Vietnam where he ran supplies on a four man craft called “Mike 8.” He was responsible for hauling ammo, tanks , M-tracks and jet fuel for the Air Force Base. During his time in Vietnam, Plueger survived many fire fights along the Cu Viet River, which was the dividing line between North and South Vietnam.

He was then transferred to the USS Shadwell in Norfolk, VA where he worked on two cruises that took him to Puerto Rico, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Greece. During one of the “night maneuvers” at sea, his ship was hit by another ship leaving them stranded for three days and then towed to Malta for three months of ship repairs. However, the ship was decommissioned in October 1969 and Plueger was released to inactive duty.

Clarinda woman arrested Tues. on numerous felony forgery charges


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Red Oak Police Department report a lengthy investigation which dates back to November 2012 and involved three law enforcement agencies, resulted in the arrest Tuesday night of a Clarinda woman. 30-year old Audrey Nicole Williams was taken into custody at around 9:05-p.m. in Clarinda, on numerous charges filed by Red Oak Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say Williams was charged in Iowa with a total of 10-counts of felony forgery, and one felony count of ongoing criminal conduct. Additional charges are possible, pending completion of the investigation into the case. Officials in Nodaway County, Missouri say they too, are investigating an incident of forgery also involving Williams, that will likely result in additional charges against her in that state, as well.

Williams was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $30,000 cash bond. The investigation into her alleged actives was conducted through a joint investigation involving the Red Oak P-D, Montgomery County, Iowa, and Nodaway County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Offices.

Gas prices begin to fall in Iowa as spring temps rise


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The warmer weather of spring is finally here and gasoline prices in Iowa are starting to fall. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman with Triple-A Iowa, says pump prices are beginning to edge downward and they are already more than 20-cents below a year ago. She points to several factors. “We’re seeing increasing refinery production,” Weinholzer says. “We’ve got some lower (crude) oil prices, so that’s the good news. The bad news is due in part to a rather stagnant demand which is bad news because that tends to reflect the state of the economy.” Weinholzer is hopeful gas prices will continue to fall this spring but she offers a word of caution that prices may creep back up shortly.

“We may see a slight increase as we finish the transition from the winter to the summer grade fuels,” Weinholzer says. “We may see a slight increase if, during that time period any of the refineries choose to close for regularly-scheduled maintenance and repair kinds of activities.”

Iowa’s current average gas price is three-58 a gallon, a nickel below the national average. A year ago, Iowa’s average price was three-79 a gallon.

(Radio Iowa)

Money major hurdle in education reform discussion


April 3rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Key lawmakers from both political parties say when it comes to education reform, money matters rather than policy differences may be harder to bridge. Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says Democrats will argue the amount of state tax dollars and property taxes forwarded to school budgets should grow by four percent in each of the next two years.  “It’s unfortunate that the two issues got entwined, but they were,” Quirmbach says, “so that’s one thing we’ll have to resolve.” House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says the plan from Senate Democrats is more than 100-million dollars above what the House G-O-P proposed in February.

“That’s a pretty big number for a state like Iowa,” Paulsen says. “We’ll have to figure that out.” The Senate Democrats’ plan would forward schools an extra four-hundred dollars per student to implement teacher improvement plans. The House Republicans’ plan calls for about 100-dollars less per student. Senator Quirmbach says this is not just about providing bonuses to teachers chosen to coach other teachers. “To the extent that teachers are taken out of the classroom to provide this mentorship kind of idea, you have to hire additional people to fill their places in the classroom,” Quirmbach says, “so it does get expensive.”

The Senate Education Committee spent two and a half minutes talking about education reform Tuesday afternoon, as lawmakers rush the bill through the legislative process and into a 10-member committee that will try to find a compromise. Senator Joni Ernst is a Republican from Red Oak.  “I still think we’re missing an opportunity with school choice and independent accredidation and so forth,” Ernst said, “but, again, I am glad that we are bringing up this bill and will head to conference committee.

On Monday, Governor Branstad said education reform was his number one priority for lawmakers. That’s a switch, as Branstad had been saying property tax reform was at the top priority for 2013.

(Radio Iowa)