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Iowa News Headlines: Thu., Dec. 26th 2013


December 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

ST. CHARLES, Iowa — A man from central Minnesota was struck and killed by a car late Wednesday night on Interstate 35 in south central Iowa. The State Patrol reports 74-year old Lawrence Andserson, of Marine on St. Croix, MN, was chasing a dog that had gotten away from a stranded vehicle on the shoulder of I-35, when he was hit in the left lane of the interstate by a southbound SUV. Anderson died at the scene. The driver of the SUV was not injured.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines-area police want people to know that leaving your car out in a snowstorm can cost you. The Register reports that police in Des Moines and the surrounding communities issued more than 1,400 citations to people who didn’t follow snow removal ordinances over the weekend. Under those rules, drivers typically can’t leave vehicles on the street after an inch of snow has fallen. These rules make it easier to clear the streets.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines woman with an ongoing feud over a doormat has been accused of attacking her neighbor on Christmas Eve. Des Moines police say 40-year-old Dana Allen was arrested Tuesday night following an incident at an apartment complex on the city’s east side. The Register says Allen is charged with assault.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines police have identified a woman killed in a Christmas Eve shooting. Police said yesterday that 34-year-old Johnita Clemons of Des Moines was found Tuesday night inside a home on the city’s north side. Gunshots had been reported earlier in the area. Police say four witnesses were taken in for questioning. Additional information about them has not been released.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has begun its late muzzleloader deer season. The state Department of Natural Resources says the season began Monday. Hunters are required to wear blaze orange, and party hunting is prohibited. The late muzzleloader deer season runs through January 10th.

Iowa whiskey company in business for 8 years


December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa-based whiskey company has shot to success since becoming a licensed brand eight years ago.  Sioux City television station KTIV reports that Templeton Rye whiskey became an officially licensed brand on Christmas Eve of 2005. The company, based in the small town of Templeton, has gained national recognition since then and is now shipping bottles to 40 states.

Templeton Rye whiskey was first made during prohibition in the 1920s and has been produced since then, but was never a legal brand. Company president Scott Bush is a great-nephew of some of the original producers of the whiskey. He says he wanted to preserve a piece of history.

7AM Newscast 12-25-2013

News, Podcasts

December 25th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Late muzzleloader deer season underway

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR reminds hunters that the late muzzleloader deer season began Dec. 23, which is the final season that any-deer licenses are available. Nearly 30,000 hunters participated in the late muzzleloader season in 2012 and the DNR expects similar numbers again this year. Archery season also re-opens on Dec. 23 so bow hunters with unfilled tags will likely be heading back to their tree stands as well.

Hunters are required to wear blaze orange during the late muzzleloader season, but unlike the shotgun seasons, party hunting is not allowed.  If hunters are seeing fewer deer where they hunt they may want to refrain from harvesting extra does. Hunters should check with landowners to see if deer numbers are at an acceptable level and tailor their harvest accordingly.

Hunters are reminded to report their harvest within 24 hours of recovering their deer. The DNR says that information is an important part of the data needed to manage Iowa’s deer herd.

Farmers making up bigger share of land buyers

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Farmland prices in Iowa hit a record high for the fourth straight year in the Iowa State University survey released earlier this month. I-S-U economics professor Mike Duffy, who conducts the survey, says farmers have recently become bigger players in the land sales. “Seventy-seven percent of the land was bought by existing farmers and about 18-percent by investors. Five to seven years ago, the existing farmers were only about 55-percent of the purchasers,” Duffy says. Duffy says producers looked to expand their holdings as they make more off the ground

“Farm income has been at record levels, and when incomes are high, farmers will tend to bid it into land,” Duffy explains. And as farmers age, they want to keep the land in their family. “What we’ve found is that 30-percent of the land is owned by people over 75,” Duffy says, “and the major intention is to get the land to the family, in some cases either by sale or by gifting.” Commodity prices have dropped recently, but Duffy doesn’t expects big changes in land ownership patterns.

“I think what we’re going to continue to see is about the same level of land being sold, which is about one-and-a-half percent of the land in a year. The other two-and-a-half percent is going to be transferred to the family through inheritance or something like that,” according to Duffy. The survey found the average price for an acre of land in 2013 was eight-thousand-716-dollars an acre, which was up five percent.

(Radio Iowa)

Dubuque County first to try Smart911


December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Dubuque County is the first in the state to try a new emergency response system called “Smart-9-1-1.” County Emergency Communications Manager, Mark Murphy, says the system is voluntary and allows residents to create a database of information linked to any phone number. “Such as medical conditions, for instance diabetes, epilepsy, alzheimers things like that, they can put that information in to inform responders of their condition. They can put medications in and emergency contact information in — any special medical needs or home needs associated with that number,” Murphy says.

The service allows emergency responders to know a lot more than the dispatcher now receives from a regular or cellphone. “If they call from a landline right now we get their name associated with the phone number and and address,” Murphy explains. “If they call from a cellular number we can basically get the cellular number and the latitude and longitude associated with where they are calling from.” The service isn’t just for private homeowners. “Businesses can log in and put in information about their business — contact information so forth. They can also put in floor plans in for the businesses. Residents can also put floor plans in as well,” Murphy says.

He says all that information would then be available to first responders. That’s a lot of confidential information, but Murphy says it is safe. “It is a secure website kept offsite…we can only see the information if a person dials 9-1-1, and then only for a certain period of time,” Murphy says. Murphy says all the information can be very valuable and save time for those responding to an emergency. “People are required to update it every six months to keep it clean and up to date,” Murphy says. He says the accounts are sent a text message from the company that runs the system every six months asking them to update the information.

Dubuque County started signing people up for the service at the start of this month. Murphy wants them to be an example for others. “I hope to be the guinea pig that shows people how it works,” Murphy says. “I think it is a very good product. It has a lot of advantages for the citizens of Dubuque County, it should literally help us get a better response for the public.” Those wanting to subscribe go to a website and log in and fill out their information. Murphy says the 14-thousand dollar first year cost of the system is being paid for with funds seized by the Dubuque County Drug Task Force. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Dubuque Police Department will split the cost going forward.

(Radio Iowa)

Study finds Iowans toss out waaaay too much food


December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A study finds consumers across Iowa and nationwide are throwing away perfectly good food because of confusion over the “use by,” “sell by” and “best by” dates on packaged foods. Dana Gunders, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-authored a report that finds tons of good food ends up in our trash cans. Gunders says about 40-percent of our nation’s food supply is thrown out when it’s still safe to consume.

Gunders says, “Given that each year, Americans spend up to $2,275 per household of four on food they throw out, the average household of four is losing up to $450 per year on food that is needlessly thrown away.” A recent Iowa Department of Natural Resources study found almost 14% of all trash dumped in the state’s landfills is food waste, or about 350,000 tons a year. The problem is getting worse, as the study found the amount of food waste being chucked in Iowa landfills has risen 62% in the past 13 years. Food science engineer Ted Labuza says if stored and handled properly, the food can last for days or even weeks beyond that date and can safely be consumed with no worry of illness.

“About 80% of the dates are guesses from some consumer questionnaires or based on what competitors are putting on,” Labuza says. “The others are done in very controlled conditions, food testing in order to determine when the taste of the product changes enough for the consumers to be displeased. I look at shelf life as the percentage of consumers that you’re willing to displease.” Expiration dates on food vary from state to state and between food company. Gunders says she’d like to see a country-wide system in place.

“People are throwing away food on the dates they see on products because they believe those dates mean the food is no longer safe to eat,” Gunders says, “however, those dates almost never have a direct link to the food safety.” Gunders says “use by” and “best by” dates on packaging are placed there by the manufacturer which determined after that time the product loses its maximum freshness. She says the “sell by” date is basically a tool for manufacturers and retailers so they can rotate product on the shelves.

Iowa has 46 municipal solid waste landfills but only four of them offer a food waste composting program. Nationwide, 40% of all food produced ends up in landfills.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 25th 2013


December 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa-based floral designer Laurel Hollopeter is among those working on decorating some of the floats for the 2014 Parade of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Hollopeter is heading to California on Dec. 26, where he’ll spend several days working as a paid floral designer for Fiesta Parade Floats, a company that is creating 13 floats for the event held the morning before the Rose Bowl.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A settlement between the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the University of Iowa will ensure that students with assistance animals have equal access to university housing. The commission announced this month that the university has agreed to train employees on state and federal laws that require reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who use assistance animals. The school also will revise policies for how such requests are handled and pay $10,000.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — A University of Northern Iowa professor calls her time volunteering in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines “the most different Christmas I’ve ever had in my life.” But Michele Devlin tells KWWL TV she hasn’t regretted her decision to go to the Philippines to work with the American Red Cross. Devlin, who focuses on health issues at UNI, says children and adults have repeatedly thanked her and other volunteers for the help they are bringing to the devastated country.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is appealing a federal decision to deny disaster aid to four rural electrical cooperatives. Gov. Terry Branstad announced Tuesday that the appeal had been filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The four cooperatives are located in Northwest Iowa where utility lines were damaged in an ice storm in the spring. In August, FEMA denied a request for $19 million in funding based on the fact that the utilities had not done enough laboratory testing on the wires.

Jurors reject Deere’s patent claims against rivals

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Jurors have ruled against tractor maker Deere & Co. in a lawsuit that alleged rivals were infringing on its patent covering the design of heavy-duty mowing blades. Federal jurors in Davenport found last week that rotary cutters marketed by Bush Hog Inc. and Great Plains Manufacturing Inc. didn’t infringe on Deere’s patent.

The trial centered on competing brands of rotary cutters, which are pulled behind tractors and are used to cut through fields after harvest and clear weeds and brush. Deere filed the lawsuit in 2009 contending the Bush Hog and Great Plains brands infringed on a patent issued in 2000 that covers a deck design meant to keep the blades clean by stopping debris from accumulating.

Deere had been seeking an injunction and damages for lost profits and royalties.

Latham says congress will write a budget now for 1st time in 4 years


December 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Republican Congressman Tom Latham says the budget deal he voted for earlier this month which cleared the U.S. Senate last week is a major breakthrough. “We’ve been going on with ‘Continuing Resolutions’ which just extend funding from year to year to year for the last four years and the bureaucracy has become extraordinarily arrogant because there’s no way to rein them in if you’re not doing appropriations and put limitations on their activities,” Latham says. “And so that’s what I’m going to be really focusing on, certainly, is to try to get the appropriations, the process going, to have congress actually function again.”

Latham is a member of the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House. “I chair a subcommittee — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development — on Appropriations,” Latham says. “We will actually have numbers agreed to between the House and the Senate so that we can write bills for this fiscal year and next fiscal year, so that’s going to be a huge part of what my time is going to be consumed with.”

Latham announced last week that he will not seek reelection in 2014. Latham made his comments during a weekend appearance on the “Iowa Press” program on Iowa Public Television.

(Radio Iowa)