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Trails crew using hands-on approach to improve Iowa state park amenities

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A small group of young adults is hard at work in a few of Iowa’s state parks again this summer. The Americorps trails crew, comprised of 11 current undergraduates or recent college graduates, is working with Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff on several projects. Whitney Davis, Trails Program Coordinator for the DNR, says the Americorps employees are paid a “modest living stipend” for some very difficult and dirty – but ultimately rewarding – work.

“We pride ourselves on using a lot of hand tools and manual labor to accomplish things that might be done with a machine if we brought in a contractor,” Davis says. “We do have some machines of our own that we use…but we can finesse things a lot better by hand.” The crew has moved into Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center as they work to stabilize a trail surrounding a lake and bring back a pathway from the trail, up a hill, to a park.

“There are railroad tie stairs that go up to it, but they haven’t been used for quite some time and they’re in disrepair,” Davis says. “The trail crew is refurbishing that staircase. It’s pretty long and takes you up to a nice picnic area.” Other projects on the trail crew’s agenda this summer include improvements to equestrian trails within Lake of Three Fires State Park in Bedford and work in Bellevue State Park along the Mississippi River.

Davis says the Bellevue project involves construction of hiking trails. The workers are also scheduled to attend the 5th annual Iowa Trail Summit in Cedar Falls that features more than 20 panelists speaking about the future of Iowa’s trails. Last year, according to Davis, the trail crew’s most significant projects took place at Brushy Creek State Park, Bellevue State Park, and Stone State Park.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 06-02-2014

News, Podcasts

June 2nd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Severe Weather forecast for late Tuesday-early Wednesday

News, Weather

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the National Weather Service say they are forecasting severe weather and flash flooding to become major threats to much of Iowa this upcoming Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.

The latest forecast from the Storm Prediction Center shows the main threat for severe weather across the U.S. Tuesday will be across Iowa — mainly from Interstate 80 south. Heavy rainfall is expected with these storms. At this point, it shows a more than 45 percent probability of severe weather with the main threats of large hail, tornadoes and widespread damaging winds.

A combination of a much higher than usual amount of available moisture plus very strong wind shear will lead to a strong potential for severe thunderstorms. The storms are likely to move into western Iowa by around midnight, Tuesday. Tornadoes may occur during the overnight hours, so make sure you have a way to receive warning information near your bed before going to sleep.wxmap

Several inches of rainfall are also possible by and during the Wednesday morning commute. This could lead to flash flooding in flood-prone areas. Additionally, the Des Moines metro is expected to be impacted by this rainfall, so plan for extra travel time during the Wednesday morning commute.

(Update 6-am) Clarinda Academy escapees caught

News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two white males who escaped from the Clarinda Academy early this (Monday) morning, have been apprehended. According to the Clarinda Police Department, the individuals, who left the facility on foot, were captured sometime around 2:30-a.m.  They were reported missing  about two-hours earlier.

The escape marked the second such incident at the residential foster care facility in less than two-weeks. The Clarinda Academy provides treatment and shelter care to at-risk and delinquent male and female youth from several states. 

On May 23rd, three students escaped from the Clarinda Academy. They were captured and returned to the facility less than two-hours later.

Summer Solicitors: What to Watch for with Door-to-Door

News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – With the warmer weather that comes along with summer, so do the door-to-door solicitors. While many operate fairly and honestly, there are ways to spot those who are simply looking for a quick buck.

One red flag is the company that claims to have “extra” materials left over from another job nearby and can do the work right away at minimal cost. Don’t fall for it, said Dan Hendrickson, a communications coordinator for the Better Business Bureau, adding that professional contractors estimate the materials they’ll need for a project with great accuracy.

“If a company comes to your door and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a bunch of leftover asphalt,’ chances are it’s a company that’s kind of flying by the seat of their pants, or maybe really doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Hendrickson said. “In many cases like this, we hear from customers who agree to work with them and then come back and say, ‘Well, the work is horrible. They charged me way more than they said they would – and now, I don’t know how to find them.’ ”

When dealing with a door-to-door solicitor, Hendrickson said, people always should ask for identification, verify the company and that the individual works for it, and inquire about his or her licensing.

He also cautioned people to be wary of high-pressure sales tactics, particularly in the wake of a storm that brings out bogus roofers and tree-removal companies, explaining that any paperwork that’s signed could be construed as a contract.

“Even if they just say, ‘Well, this will just kind of get us started to check out your roof,’ ” he said. “In some cases, we’ve had complaints where people say, ‘Well, now suddenly they’re (the contractor) saying it’s a contract’ – and in some cases, it actually is a contract. So, at that point, then people have a headache on their hands to try and straighten out.”

He also reminded people that it is, after all, their house – so if they don’t like where the sales pitch is going, they always can take a step back and close the door.

More information is online at bbb.org.

(Iowa News Service)

Another escape from the Clarinda Academy

News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Clarinda report there has been yet another escape from the Clarinda Academy. Officials said early this (Monday) morning, two white males left the facility on foot. One was wearing a white tee shirt. If located, do not approach the individuals. Instead, notify police immediately.

On May 23rd, three students escaped from the Clarinda Academy. They were captured and returned to the facility less than two-hours later.

Fire in rural Pott. County claims 1 life Sat. night

News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One person died, two others escaped injury during a house fire Saturday night in rural Pottawattamie County. The  Omaha World-Herald reports a woman died of fire-related injuries suffered during the blaze at a home east of Council Bluffs near Hackberry Road and 245th Street. The fire was reported at around 7-p.m.  Two other people escaped the home.

An autopsy was scheduled for the victim. Authorities have not released the woman’s name or age. A State Fire Marshal’s Office investigation was incomplete Sunday.

Iowa News Headlines: Mon., June 2nd, 2014

News

June 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WESLEY, Iowa (AP) — Heavy rain fell on parts of north-central Iowa Sunday and several tornadoes were reported as storms moved across the mostly rural part of the state. The National Weather Service says tornadoes were reported in Kossuth, Worth and Cerro Gordo counties yesterday afternoon, but there wasn’t any damage reported immediately from those tornadoes. Forecasters warn that western and central Iowa may see severe thunderstorms overnight into Monday.

EXIRA, Iowa (AP) — Officials in western Iowa have set a nearly century-old elementary school on fire as they look to save money and offer training. About 100 firefighters from a dozen departments turned up yesterday in Exira to participate in the controlled burn. Most of the large brick building’s interior was burned within two hours. The building is located near the center of Exira, a small town about 60 miles west of Des Moines.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Falls police are investigating a shooting that left a 21-year-old man dead. Police say gunshots were reported around 1:30 a.m. yesterday. When officers arrived, they found Norman Gant of Waterloo laying in the yard with a fatal gunshot wound.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Tom Pernice Junior birdied the second hole of a playoff with Doug Garwood on Sunday to win the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic. Pernice won for the third time on the 50-and-over tour, closing with a 3-under 69 to match Garwood at 12-under 204 at Wakonda Club.

Tornadoes reported in north-central Iowa Sunday

News, Weather

June 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WESLEY, Iowa (AP) – Heavy rain fell on parts of north-central Iowa Sunday and several tornadoes were reported as storms moved across the mostly rural part of the state. The National Weather Service says tornadoes were reported in Kossuth, Worth and Cerro Gordo counties Sunday afternoon, but there wasn’t any damage reported immediately from those tornadoes. The storms dumped more than 4 inches of rain on Kossuth County over a three-hour period Sunday.

That heavy rain prompted the weather service to issue flash flood warnings for Kossuth County and several other areas of northern Iowa. Forecasters warn that western and central Iowa may see severe thunderstorms Sunday evening and overnight into Monday.

Officials set old Iowa elementary school on fire

News

June 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

EXIRA, Iowa (AP) — Officials in western Iowa have set a nearly century-old elementary school on fire as they look to save money and offer training. About 100 firefighters from a dozen departments turned up Sunday in Exira to participate in the controlled burn. Most of the large brick building’s interior was burned within two hours.

Dozens of residents gathered across the street to watch the blaze. Some called the burning bittersweet. Others said the building, which closed in 2011, needed to come down for safety reasons. The Exira Elk Horn-Kimballton Community School District says the controlled burn will save them up to $60,000 in demolition costs and offer critical training to area firefighters.