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Update on Fatal crash near Underwood – Neola man injured

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office has identified one of the victims of Monday evenings rollover accident near Underwood. Authorities still have not identified the man who died in the crash, but the other occupant of the car was identified as 33-year old Kirk Ring, of Neola.

Sheriff Jeff Danker says both men were ejected from the 2005 Mazda as it rolled into a ditch near the intersection of Railroad Highway and 240th Street, just before 5-p.m., Monday. When deputies arrived, Ring was found conscious and breathing, but suffering from serious injuries. The other man was dead at the scene. Ring was flown by helicopter to Creighton University Hospital in Omaha, for treatment of his injuries. The body of the man who died in the crash was transported to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office, where an autposy will be performed.

Witnesses told authorities the vehicle had been traveling south on Railroad Highway at a high rate of speed prior to the crash. Danker says alcohol is believed to have played a role in the accident, which remains under investigation.

Over 900,000 Iowans per month get some benefit from state’s welfare agency

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Nearly a third of Iowans get some sort of benefit from the state’s welfare agency. Chuck Palmer is director of the Iowa Department of Human Services. “I think what is in some ways impressive and in other ways kind of overwhelming, on any given month we touch about 30 percent of the citizens of Iowa,” Palmer says. “Certainly child support becomes a big one, but we’re over 900,000 in any given month.” Parents who owe child support submit those payments to the agency, which in turn sends the money to the parent who has custody of the child.

The Department of Human Services also manages Medicaid, the government-paid health insurance for poor and disabled citizens. Palmer estimates the state will have to spend 11 percent more in the coming fiscal year to cover Medicaid costs. And that’s before the program takes on more adults who don’t have health care coverage. “We’ll pick up approximately 150,000 additional Iowans if health care goes through,” Palmer says. 

The state of Iowa has joined in the appeal of the national health care reform law President Obama signed in 2010. The director of Iowa’s Department of Management estimates the state would have to spend 315-million more dollars to cover those 150-thousand uninsured Iowans in the first year they’d be eligible for government coverage, in 2013.

(Radio Iowa)

Gas prices below $3 a gallon at some Iowa pumps

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Gas prices have dipped below three dollars ($3) a gallon in some parts of the state as many Iowans prepare to hit the road for the Christmas holiday weekend. Triple-A reports the average price in Iowa for regular unleaded fuel stands at $3.12 a gallon. Spokesperson Gail Weinholzer says the price has been dropping, for the most part, since hitting $3.92 a gallon early this summer. “We peaked out this year right around May first and we’ve been having a pretty steady decline since then,” Weinholzer said. “We are experiencing the lowest gas prices we’ve had in the last year. In fact, a year ago today the prices (averaged) $2.92.” 

Iowa’s current gas prices are roughly a dime a gallon cheaper than the national average. Motorists may want to consider fueling up now, rather than wait for the weekend, but Weinholzer said it probably won’t matter. “I don’t know that we’ll see a significant increase between now and the weekend. I think prices will hover where they are into the new year,” Weinholzer said. Many gas stations in the Des Moines area are currently pricing regular unleaded fuel at $2.95 a gallon. Triple-A estimates 100 million Americans will be traveling somewhere between December 23 and January 2, with most people doing so via highways and interstates. 

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 12-20-2011

News, Podcasts

December 20th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Study finds rural areas across Midwest are losing residents

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A study finds rural areas across the Midwest are losing residents, especially in vital age groups. Jon Bailey, research director at the Center for Rural Affairs, says the center’s latest report shows many areas of the region are being caught between “bookend generations” of the youngest and oldest segments of the population.  “A major implication is that both of those, the youngest and oldest generations, tend to need more services than the middle-age, working generation,” Bailey says. “You have needs for schools and health care and other social and human services that go for the youngest and oldest in our population.” 

Bailey says without the working generation, those between the ages of 25 and 55, it would be difficult to fund vital services in rural areas.”That’s a huge issue for rural communities,” he says. “How are they going to keep up the services that our youngest and our oldest need when the people who work and pay the taxes are increasingly going to larger communities and decreasing in numbers in rural places?”  Bailey says significant federal policy changes are needed to help rural areas bridge the growing gap. He says, “There’s policy investments we can take, both at the state, local and federal levels, on how to make more investments in rural places to create more businesses and create more jobs and a lot of it is to just take advantage of the advantages that rural communities have.” 

The report recommends a Rural Renewal Initiative be created in the next farm bill, and that Congress commit 500-million dollars over five years to a Community Prosperity Fund to help rural areas stabilize. The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska. 

(Radio Iowa)

Redfield woman injured in rollover crash Monday morning

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A woman from Redfield was injured during a rollover accident Monday morning, in Dallas County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 46-year old Dawn Marie Merrell, of Redfield, who was wearing her seatbelt, was transported to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, after the pickup she was driving went out of control on an icy eastbound Highway 6/I-80, at the intersection with Dallas County Road P-58, or about two-miles east of the Earlham exit. The accident happened at around 6:50-a.m.

The woman’s 2001 Chevy Silverado pickup entered the south ditch and rolled onto its side before coming to rest on its wheels. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $1,500.

7AM Newscast 12-20-2011

News, Podcasts

December 20th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

1 man killed, another injured in Pottawattamie County crash

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An accident near Underwood Monday evening has claimed one life of one man and resulted in injuries to another.  According to media reports, the crash happened at around 5-p.m. near 240th and Railroad Highway south of Underwood.  Pottwattamie County Sheriff’s officials said the men were traveling south on Railroad Highway in a late model Mazda 3 sedan, when the car went out of control and rolled several times. Both men were thrown from the car.  One died at the scene, the other was flown by helicopter to the Creighton University Medical Center. Their names weren’t immediately released, and the cause of the crash remained under investigation.

2 NW Iowa men plead guilty to US child porn charges

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two northwest Iowa men have pleaded guilty to federal charges of child pornography possession. A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa says 23-year-old Donald Coffey and 26-year-old Justin Slattery each pleaded guilty last week to a single count. Both men are from Cherokee in northwest Iowa.

The release says that in plea deals with prosecutors, Coffey agreed to 12 years in prison and Slattery agreed to seven years. A sentencing date has not been set.

Iowa disaster aid registration deadline extended

News

December 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa residents affected by record flooding on the Missouri River this summer have more time to register for disaster assistance. State and federal officials say the deadline has been extended for two more weeks until Jan. 3rd in Pottawattamie, Mills, Monona, Fremont and Harrison counties.

State emergency officials asked the Federal Emergency Management Division to extend the deadline, which had been Dec. 19, because some people weren’t aware they could apply for help for temporary housing. Officials say those cases generally involve individuals and families whose homes didn’t sustain flood damage but were unlivable because of utility outages or couldn’t be reached because of flooded roads.