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Dry conditions & strong winds present fire danger today (Saturday)

News

November 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

STRONG AND GUSTY SOUTH WINDS AT 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS APPROACHING 40 MPH WILL OCCUR THIS AFTERNOON INTO THE EARLY EVENING. THIS WILL ENHANCE THE THREAT FOR FIRES ACROSS THE AREA WITH DRY GRASS CONDITIONS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES AND STRONG WINDS. THESE ARE ALSO LOCATIONS THAT SAW RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNTS OF PRECIPITATION EARLIER IN THE WEEK…SO CONDITIONS REMAIN DRY. USE EXTRA CAUTION OR PUT OFF BURNING UNTIL CONDITIONS IMPROVE.

A Burn Ban remains in effect for Cass County, IA, until further notice. The Fire Danger Rating in Shelby County is “High.” The Fire Danger Rating in Shelby County is “High.” Burning of any kind in Shelby County is restricted unless approval is received from your local fire chief.

News podcast, Nov. 5th, 2011

News, Podcasts

November 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The latest western Iowa News from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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MO. RIVER FLOOD WORKING GROUP SETS HEARING FOR NOV. 30th

News

November 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Congressman Tom Latham will take part in a Nov. 30TH hearing focusing on this summer’s historic flooding along the Missouri River. The hearing was announced on Thursday by the newly formed U.S. House Missouri River Flood Working Group, of which Congressman Latham is a member. Latham said he will voice the concerns of Iowans who live and work along the Missouri River during the hearing. He said any new river management policies enacted in the wake of this summer’s disaster must focus on flood prevention in lower basin communities.

The working group aims to make flood control a greater priority in Missouri River management after concerns arose in recent months regarding river management practices by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers is currently conducting public meetings for its 2012 Annual Operating Plan of the Missouri River system. The Nov. 30th hearing will be a chance for House members to voice questions and concerns about the 2012 operating plan.

Low pheasant numbers have an economic impact

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Lower pheasant numbers are not only hurting the efforts of hunters to find the birds, they are also putting a damper on the economic impact of hunting. D-N-R wildlife technician, Mark McInroy, says sureveys shows hunters spend an average of 125-dollars each day they are out. McInroy says that’s one of the most unfortunate things about the drop, as he says lower bird numbers mean “only the most passionate hunters keep involved” and he says that impacts grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, motels are impacted. Hunting clubs are one alternative for those who want tobe sure they get a bird during their hunt.

Curt Sandahl brings in birds from the Dakotas to stock the Winterset Hunt club. He says it gives the hunters the experience they’re looking for. Sandahl says every day is opening day because the birds haven’t been hunted before and they act like opening day birds. Sandahl also sees an impact from the lower bird numbers, as Iowa’s position as a top pheasant state drops. “Twenty-years ago, every small town hotel was booked for the first three weekends (of the pheasant season) from people from out of state,” Sandahl says. He says South Dakota now has those people from all over the country going to their state to hunt pheasants.

(Radio Iowa)

Red Oak man arrested

News

November 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports a Red Oak man was arrested early this (Saturday) morning. 44-year old Mark Ray Maley was taken into custody at around 12:30-a.m., on a charge of Public Intoxication, following an incident at 3rd and East Hammond Streets in Red Oak. Maley was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $300 bond.

Five months after moving out for flood, MidAmerican facility to reopen in Council Bluffs

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Life is slowly returning to normal for many people in western Iowa who dealt with a summer of flooding along the Missouri River. Businesses that were evacuated are also reopening. Ann Thelen, spokesperson for MidAmerican Energy, says they’re moving back into their customer service office in Council Bluffs this weekend after spending nearly five months working out of a temporary office in the Mall of the Bluffs. “We have been able to serve our customers in this temporary location, but it feels good to go back home where customers are accustomed to finding us,” Thelen said. The MidAmerican facility, located at 3003 South 11th Street in Council Bluffs, was not badly damaged – thanks in part to sand barriers.  Thelen said they also moved a lot of equipment to higher ground. “We had minimal impact to our facilities. We’re pleased we took all the steps to protect it, because if we hadn’t, we would’ve likly seen some damage,” Thelen said. The MidAmerican temporary office at the Mall of the Bluffs is closing at 5 p.m. today (Friday). The office on South 11th will re-open Monday at 8 a.m.

(Radio Iowa)

King to moderate Cain/Gingrich debate in Texas; Gingrich looks forward to “serious conversation”

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Congressman Steve King will serve as moderator of a debate between Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich tomorrow night (Saturday) in Houston, Texas. The event’s

(R) Congressman Steve King, IA

organizers have said the “gossip” about allegations that Cain sexual harassed former employees in the late 1990s will not be discussed and King doesn’t expect the topic to come up at all.  “Only if Speaker Gingrich brings it up. I don’t think Herman Cain will and I don’t intend to,” King said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “My view is…you’re innocent until proven guilty. We don’t even have the name of anyone who alleges this at this point.” King says the whole issue should be off limits until “responsible media” produce an “Anita Hill” — a reference to the woman who came forward during U.S. Senate confirmation hearings to say that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her.

 

“It may well be that these allegations, even if true, are so devoid of substance that the voters would decide they like Herman Cain a lot more,” King says. Cain and Gingrich have agreed to focus the debate on entitlement reform.  “It’s going to be really interesting to see how the two candidates interact with each other,” King says. Beyond Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, King is prepared to press the candidates to reveal their plans for dealing with the federal budget deficit and the interest on the federal debt.  “I want to see if we can get the presidential candidates, in this case Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, to address the components of the entitlements and what they would do to slow the growth in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in such a way that we can get ourselves to a balanced budget again,” King says. The event is billed as a “Lincoln-Douglas” style debate. Earlier this week during an appearance in Pella, Gingrich described the format this way:

“Having two people sit down and have a serious conversation, not a Mickey Mouse debate, not a gotcha — but just talk.” Gingrich expects to present “three big” reform proposals.  “My guess is that Herman and I are going to have a very interesting conversation that’s very different than most political stuff,” Gingrich said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to is an interesting two hours of the American people seeing people talk about very large solutions at a time when we have very large problems , as opposed to: ‘In 30 seconds, what’s your position on X?’ which, when you think about it, is pretty silly.”

The debate — which will be 90 minutes long rather than two hours — is set to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast nationally on C-SPAN. According to the agreed-upon format, King as moderator is to have a limited role, asking just three or four basic questions during the event. Iowa Democrats have criticized King for “chasing the limelight” and paying more attending to the presidential campaign than to the concerns of his Iowa constituents. King was a panelist at a South Carolina forum for the G-O-P presidential candidates and this past winter King hosted a candidate forum in Des Moines.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Democratic Party loses libel lawsuit

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A man has been awarded $50,000 in winning his libel suit against the Iowa Democratic Party.  The Pottawattamie County jury ruled for Randy Higginbotham on Wednesday. He’d sued the state party over a campaign pamphlet mailed during a 2008 Iowa House seat race between Democratic incumbent Paul Shomshor and Republican challenger Scott Belt.

Higginbotham’s attorney, Mark Rater, says the pamphlet mentioned that Belt, in 1994, had bailed Higginbotham out of jail. The pamphlet said Higginbotham was a convicted sex offender. Rater says Higginbotham had been charged but had never been convicted “of any sexual-related offense.”

Party executive director Norm Sterzenback says the party had relied on an independent firm for the research, which proved to be inaccurate about Higginbotham’s court record.

Lake Manawa No-Wake Restriction Removed

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The no-wake restriction for boaters on Lake Manawa was removed today (Friday) after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources determined the lake was back down to acceptable levels.  The no-wake restriction had been in place since June 27th, to minimize the impact of the high water to infrastructure around the lake. Many of the docks were submerged and posed a safety hazard to boats operating at higher speeds.

Dan Jacobs, park manager for Lake Manawa, said they will place a boat dock on the west boat ramp that will remain in place through the winter, but the docks on north and south boat ramps will be removed next week.

(DNR Press Release)

Branstad announces IA’s withdrawal from MO. River Association of States & Tribes

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad today (Friday) announced that he will withdraw Iowa as a member of the Missouri River Association of States and Tribes (MoRAST) effective immediately. Gov. Branstad has sent a letter to notify MoRAST Executive Director Michael Hayden of Iowa’s withdrawal.  In the letter,  Branstad said, “I do not believe that MoRAST is the best avenue to pursue Iowa’s interests and priorities.  Rather, I believe more direct discussions with relevant local, state, and Federal partners will allow for enhanced engagement on Missouri River management and better prioritization of flood control over recreational and other uses. 

“At the recent MoRAST meeting in Rapids City, South Dakota, MoRAST was not responsive to the perspectives of some states, including Iowa.  While seven of the eight Missouri River governors have called for a heightened focus on flood control, MoRAST did not actively pursue this goal at the recent meeting.  Moreover, there have been long-standing concerns that MoRAST’s by-laws are too narrowly constrained to adequately represent the diversity of key stakeholders and multiple uses of the River.” 

The Governor cited several examples in the letter of why states must improve the focus on flood control for Missouri River management. Those examples include: 

  • Flooding caused an estimated $207 million in lost crop sales and related economic activity as over 280,000 farm acres were impacted, according to Iowa Farm Bureau estimates.
  • 350 homes met FEMA’s definition of destroyed or major damage.
  • Hundreds of miles of Iowa roads were impacted.
  • 950,000 trees could die from over-exposure to flood waters, according to Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates.
  • The flooding has severely hampered Western Iowa’s economy.  

Gov. Branstad concluded by saying, “The negative impacts of Missouri River flooding on communities in Western Iowa were immense, and impacted Iowans deserve a fresh approach to Missouri River management.”