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Non-fatal accidents/record rain reported during 1st major snow event, Saturday


December 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The first major snowstorm of the season left motorists trying to remember their Winter driving skills. Here in the Atlantic area, the snow started falling late in the afternoon, but we only picked up three-tenths of an inch of snowfall. Heavier amounts were reported off to the north of Interstate 80 and points west and northwest, including Vail, in Crawford County, which had received 6.5-inches of snow by 6-p.m., Saturday. Late Saturday afternoon, a weather spotter in Carroll had reported 3.5-inches to 4-inches of snow on the ground.

The story in our immediate listening area, was the amount of rain. We picked up a total of 1.04-inches of precipitation from 7-a.m. Saturday through early this morning, including the melted snowfall. Other locations around the state reported record rainfall for December 3rd, including Ottumwa, which received 1.09-inches. The National Weather Service says Des Moines received 1.38-inches of precipitation, which broke the previous record of 0.92-inches in 1990. It was the wettest December day in Des Moines since 1994, and the fourth wettest December on record for that date, since records began in 1878.

Rain that fell during the day Saturday left roads in slippery condition, as the temperature slipped to 32 degrees and below by 8-p.m. Accidents were reported on Interstate 80 last night, but none resulted in any serious injuries.  Meteorologist Dave Eastlack with the National Weather Service in Valley, Neb., said a wintry mix quickly becoming snow Saturday morning in parts of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. In all, about 3 to 6 inches of snow fell throughout the day, depending on where you were. The snow began to pile up, and so did the accident reports.

According to the Omaha World Herald, a wreck on Highway 92 in Pottawattamie County, near 270th Street, west of Treynor, led to another accident. While Sheriff’s Deputies responded to one accident scene, at another location, a passing vehicle struck a tow-truck driver who’d arrived to help with vehicle removals.  Sgt. Chris Weber with the Sheriff’s Office confirmed rescue personnel transported the tow-truck driver to Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. The man was conscious and breathing when transported. The incident occurred around 3 p.m. Weber didn’t have the man’s name or any further information.

Carroll woman sentenced on child endangerment charges


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Carroll County Attorney says a Carroll woman was sentenced to prison this past week, nearly 14 months after bringing her 9-month-old infant to a local hospital with several bone fractures in multiple stages of healing.  Attorney John Werden told the Omaha World-Herald 21-year old Jasmine T. Scott faces up to 10 years in prison on two counts of child endangerment causing serious injury to which she had previously pleaded guilty.

Werden says Scott was pregnant with her third child when she brought the infant, her second, to the hospital. He wouldn’t specify the two children’s genders or other information, but he added they have since been placed in foster care. Werden said they waited until she had the baby before charging the woman, and took her newborn into foster care.

According to court documents, Scott’s first child died “in circumstances of inadequate medical care.”

Roads getting slick in the KJAN listening area


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

It’s possible slick roads were responsible for a rollover accident reported just after 6-p.m. (Saturday), northwest of Atlantic. According to the Cass County Communications Center, a vehicle rolled over off the I-80 eastbound off ramp to Highway 173, at Exit 54. No word on if there were any injuries.

For the latest road condition report: www.511ia.org. , call 511 in Iowa, 1-800-288-1047 outside of Iowa.

Western IA kindergartener tests positive for meningitis


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A kindergartener at a Council Bluffs school has tested positive for meningitis. Longfellow Elementary spokeswoman Diane Ostrowksi says that the girl felt ill when she came to school Wednesday and was soon sent home.

Council Bluffs Health Department director Donn Dierks says families of students in the girl’s class were notified Friday by letter after tests confirmed she had meningitis. Dierks says the illness isn’t highly contagious but parents were urged to seek antibiotics from their doctors.

Symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headaches, vomiting and stiff neck. If untreated, it can cause death.

The school has since been cleaned to limit further illnesses.

Oversize load movements restricted in parts of Iowa


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Dec. 3, 2011– The Iowa Department of Transportation is reminding commercial motor carriers that movement of permitted oversize loads is only allowed when the roadways are clear of ice and snow, and visibility is at least 1/4 mile.

Presently, roadways in the western part of the state are partially or completely covered with a mix of slush, snow and ice. A wintery mix of freezing rain, freezing drizzle and snow is possible across the northwest part of the state through the day and evening.

For the latest road conditions, visit: www.511ia.org or call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).  For oversize, fuel and trip permit information, call: 515-237-3264.

First of two deer shootgun hunting seasons opens this morning

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Rural Iowans may hear the distant pop of shotgun blasts from the forests and fields this (Saturday) morning as the state’s shotgun deer hunting season opens. Iowa D-N-R deer biologist Tom Litchfield says he’s expecting about 60-thousand hunters for this first season. Litchfield says the two shotgun seasons on deer are Iowa’s most popular hunting seasons, when the most hunters are hunting and when the majority of deer are harvested. Up to 60-percent of the state’s deer are harvested in the two seasons. The first season runs today (Saturday) through December 7th and again from December 10th through the 18th. Litchfield says there will be plenty of targets.

He says the deer population was around 450-thousand pre-season while this spring, the numbers were around 290-thousand post-season. Litchfield says there will be no changes in hunting regulations for this deer season and he says the hunting will be good or more challenging, depending on where you go in the state.

He says hunters in northwest and north-central Iowa should see similar deer numbers compared to last year, though populations elsewhere may be down. Overall, Litchfield says the Iowa deer population has fallen about 12-percent compared to a year ago. Learn more at: “www.iowadnr.gov”.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

New tool helps Neb., Iowa veterans talk with docs


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new tool available to Nebraska and Iowa veterans will help speed communication with health care providers. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System says its “secure messaging” feature allows veterans to communicate electronically with their doctors. It can be used to ask about appointments, prescriptions and non-urgent health issues.

The VA Department says the tool will help veterans avoid long waits to speak with providers over the phone. The tool is available through an online account at http://www.myhealth.va.gov/

Bluffs Police work to curb scrap metal thefts


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Detectives with the Council Bluffs Police Department are making routine checks of area scrap yards, looking for items of metal which were stolen and may have been unwittingly purchased by the scrap yard operators. Every Friday, Detective Joe Hothersall of the Council Bluffs Police Department stops by the yards and picks up a stack of cards with the identification information and fingerprints of those who that week sold metals to the scrap yard. Hothersall makes sure the cards are filled out correctly. The owners tell him if anyone has dropped off anything suspicious. Police on both sides of the Missouri River say most companies are eager to cooperate.

Most of the scrap yard owners don’t mind the checks, because they don’t want buy stolen scrap metal, a crime which has grown immensely over the past few years. Thefts of copper have been most prominent. A typical air conditioner, according to Hothersall, has about $60 worth of copper inside, that can be ripped out, and sold for scrap.

Omaha and Council Bluffs both have ordinances mandating that recyclers document those who sell them metals. There is interest in both the Iowa Legislature and on the Pottawattamie County Board to require the same thing.

Iowa Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, said such a measure will likely be introduced early in the 2012 session. Baudler, a former State Trooper, told the Omaha World-Herald  “These thieves will absolutely steal anything. I assume there would be several sponsors, including myself.” Nebraska already has a statewide law, though it may be strengthened this year with a bill to specifically outlaw the sales of sewer grates and manhole covers.

Loren Knauss, member of the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors and former Bluffs police officer, said there is interest in passing a county ordinance similar to the city ordinance that requires the documentation of sellers. The board members have considered such a measure in the past.

Pott County man convicted of sexually abusing a child


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A jury in Pottawattamie County deliberated for more than 10 hours Friday, but ultimately handed down a guilty verdict against a man accused of sexually abusing a child. The trial of 47-year Martin Hiatt, from Carter Lake, lasted only two-days. Hiatt was charged with five counts of second-degree sexual abuse and four counts of indecent contact with a child. He was found guilty on three of the second-degree sexual abuse counts and all four counts of indecent contact with a child. Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years. Because the crime is a forcible felony, 70 percent of the sentence – or 17½ years – must be served before Hiatt will be eligible for parole. Hiatt is scheduled to be sentenced March 7, 2012.

Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Dan McGinn said the encounters occurred with the child over a four-year period between 2007 and February 2011. The child — who was not identified because of her age, testified that Hiatt “did bad things” to her, including touching her thigh, breasts and buttocks; the girl said that Hiatt touched her inappropriately on more than 50 occasions.

Bluffs/Omaha Task force nabs 2 men in attempt to find theft suspect – officer nearly run over


December 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A fast food restaurant in Council Bluffs became the scene of a fast take down of two suspects wanted by authorities, Friday. Council Bluffs police, Iowa State Patrol troopers and members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force all converged on a Burger King restaurant on West Broadway Street just before 1:30-p.m.

According to Council Bluffs Police Capt. Todd Weddum, members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force saw a stolen Dodge Ram truck as they were driving around the city looking for wanted subjects. Team members believed a wanted man – Keith Baker – was in the stolen vehicle. As they followed the truck, it turned into the drive-thru at the Burger King. As the driver was ordering, a Council Bluffs police cruiser – driven by Officer R.G. Miller – pulled in front of the truck.

Weddum told the Council Bluffs Daily NonPareil “As the cruiser attempted to block the truck, the driver put it in gear.” Offcier Miller was unable to exit his vehicle before the truck drove onto the hood of the cruiser. Weddum said the passenger side front wheel came to rest inches away from where Miller was sitting, shattering the windshield.

The driver of the truck, 28-year old Roger Madsen, of Council Bluffs, and a passenger in the truck – 27-year old Jeffrey Vosler – left the vehicle and took off running. Weddum said additional officers in the parking lot caught Madsen immediately. Vosler was apprehended a few blocks away.

Ironically, neither of the men was the individual Task Force members were looking for: Keith Baker, but Weddum said Baker and Madsen are “known associates” of the suspect. Madsen had an outstanding warrant for probation violation. He was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault on a peace officer, first-degree theft and possession of meth. Vosler was arrested on suspicion of eluding and interference with official acts.

Officer Miller was checked out by paramedics at the scene, but refused transport to a hospital. Weddum said the man was shaken up, but otherwise OK.  Metro-area officers are still searching for Baker, who is wanted on felony theft charges. He’s described as a white male, 38 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Baker’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-STOP. Callers may remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward.