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King Visits Thurman, Creston

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Congressman Steve King released the following statement today (Friday) after visiting the areas affected by the tornadoes in Thurman and Creston.

Congressman King inspects tornado damage at a house in Thurman, IA

“Today I am reminded of how adversity calls upon the resiliency of Iowans,” said King. “Volunteers from across the state rallied together to help those affected in Southwest Iowa this last week. Several colleges sent volunteers to help clean up the damage and many other Midwestern states pitched in as well. I am thankful that no lives were lost, and more than ever I am aware of the extraordinary efforts that Iowans will offer when a neighbor is in need.”

King toured homes in Thurman that were damaged and also visited Creston’s Hospital as well as Southwestern Community College, both of which sustained damage in the storm.

Iowa’s jobless rate dips to 5.2 percent in March

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State labor officials say Iowa’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.2 percent in March, with the strongest gains in construction and manufacturing and the biggest losses in trade, transportation and utilities and retail trade. February’s rate was 5.3 percent. Iowa Workforce Development says Friday the state lost 1,600 jobs in March over February, but had over 13,000 more jobs than in March 2011. Officials say manufacturing has led all sectors over the past year, and construction appears to be rebounding. Government and professional and business services have lost jobs over the year. The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 8.2 percent.

Panel OKs incentives for Google, other companies

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state panel has approved more than $22 million in tax credits to help businesses expand in Iowa, including more than $9 million for Internet giant Google. The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved the credits Friday in hopes of creating 403 new jobs, retaining another 44 positions and attracting $389 million in business investment. The financial aid went to 11 companies, with the most prominent being Google. The company is considering making a $300 million investment in Council Bluffs, where it already operates a data center. If Google expands there, it would mean at least an initial 35 new jobs and later at least 50 jobs. Other companies receiving state aid include the John Deere Dubuque Works, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Whirlpool Corporation’s Amana division.

Stanton man arrested on forgery charges

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in  Montgomery County say a Stanton man was arrested this (Friday) morning, on forgery charges. 31-year old Joshua Mastin faces a charge of Theft in the 2nd degree, a Class-D felony offense. Additional charges are possible.

Mastin’s arrest was the result of an investigation that began in Clarinda, and involves locations in Villisca and Red Oak. Mastin was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,000 bond.

4 people arrested on drug charges in Audubon County

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Four area residents were arrested on drug charges Thursday, in Audubon County. The Sheriff’s Department says 43-year old Kevin Scott Lea and 28-year old Melody Lynn Orndorff, both of Audubon, along with 36-year old Karie Capel Palen and 44-year old Robert Lee Olwell, both of Atlantic, were taken into custody. The charges against those individuals were the result of an ongoing investigation and the execution of a search warrant at 203 Washington Street, in Audubon.

Lea was charges with Delivery of a Controlled Substance/Meth, Possession with the Intent to Deliver/Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Gathering where drugs are used, and Possession with the intent to deliver/marijuana. He was being held in the Audubon County Jail on $50,000 bond.  Orndorff was charged with Possession of Marijuana/2nd offense, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $1,000.

Palen was charged with gathering where drugs are used, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was being held on $5,000 bond. Olwell was charged with gathering where drugs are used, and possession with the intent to deliver/Meth. His bond was set at $50,000.

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in their investigation and in making the arrests, by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Audubon Police Dept., and Iowa State Patrol.

State panel considers Google expansion plan

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The California-based Internet giant Google is considering making another $300 million investment in Council Bluffs that officials say could give the state and region a big boost. The new project, which would hinge on approval of state support, would bring Google’s investment in Iowa to about $900 million. It would create 35 jobs initially and 15 more later.  Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan says he’s encourage by the type of potential jobs more than the number of workers. He says Google offers high-tech positions that pay well, including current positions that pay more than $50,000 a year. State funding for the Council Bluffs project is being considered Friday by the state’s economic development board, which also is studying proposals that could bring $471 million in investment to Iowa.

Supreme Court dismisses education standards case

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An unusually divided Iowa Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on the debate over Iowa educational standards. The court upheld a district court judge’s dismissal of a 2008 lawsuit filed by 16 students and parents of students in Davenport, Des Moines and West Harrison schools. The lawsuit alleges Iowa’s schools are not adequately serving students by failing to establish standards. The court emphasizes it was not deciding whether basic education is a fundamental constitutional right. It also says the case doesn’t mean it won’t take future constitutional challenges to state education. The court says the case doesn’t prove state officials violated state law or the Constitution.  Justice Brent Appel disagrees. He says the court rushed to judgment and should have allowed the case to proceed further in the courts.

Ham Radio Operators provide valuable service when severe weather strikes

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

When a string of tornadoes hit the Central U-S and Great Lakes Region the weekend of April 14th, communications in some of those areas was knocked out, leaving local officials with no way of calling for help or reporting damage. That’s where HAM radio operator’s stepped-in.

Amateur Radio Operators at work (Photo courtesy Des Moines Radio Amateurs Assoc.)

Tom Reis, SKYWARN Coordinator for the Des Moines National Weather Service Office, says just before an EF-2 tornado hit Creston, causing severe damage to the hospital and other structures, amateur radio, or “HAM” operators in Creston reported storm observations directly to the National Weather Service. Reis says they’re a valuable asset to discerning information that could help save lives.

When severe weather is imminent, the National Weather Service office in Des Moines calls in one of four trained operators to come out and coordinate HAM communications. When the storms hit April 14th, Reis, who lives nearby, was called into action. He says at 6:59-p.m., he was in contact with an amateur radio operator who lives two-miles west of Creston. One minute later, he spoke with an operator in Creston. Both were reporting hail. He says if the tornado had not been rain-wrapped, it’s likely both operators would have seen it and given warning to the Weather Service before it hit. Reis says the radar signature for the tornado was very brief , and almost imperceptible. He says by the time they could “Pull the trigger” on warning residents, the twister had left the Creston area. After the storm passed, HAM operators began to provide communications support to local officials.

The Weather Service learned from the radio op’s the hospital had been hit and there were injuries. That information Reis says, was very valuable, and enabled officials to direct State resources to the area. He says the day following the storm, officials discovered that the local school district lost the 80 foot tower that is used for the school bus repeater. The Creston Amateur Radio Club offered their antenna, coax and space on their 200-foot to the school.

Reis it doesn’t take much to become an amateur radio operator, and people of all ages enjoy the hobby, which also provides a service. For more information, go to www.dmraa.com. He also recommends everyone attend a free Spotter Training course, and purchase a NOAA Weather radio. The six-digit codes can be programmed with assistance from your local Emergency Management Office, or by finding your county and surrounding county codes at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm.

Harlan man arrested for attempted murder, Thursday

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan report three people were arrested, one of them for attempted murder, following an investigation into a stabbing incident. Officials say authorities received a call Thursday morning regarding an alleged stabbing. During their investigation, two people involved in a knife fight were arrested and treated at Myrtue Medical Center for their wounds, while a third individual was taken into custody at a separate residence, following the execution of a search warrant.

27-year old Bradley Ryan, of Harlan, was taken into custody on charges of: Public Intoxication; Disorderly Conduct; and Assault on a Peace Officer. His bond was set at $2,000. 27-year old Andrew Smith, also of Harlan, was arrested for: Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was being held in the Shelby County Jail ojn $1,000 bond.

And, 29-year old Sean Gifford, of Harlan, faces a felony charge of Attempted Murder. His bond was set at $25,000. He was also being held in the Shelby County Jail.

Atlantic woman arrested for OWI

News

April 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports 38-year old Ranea Fief, of Atlantic, was arrested Thursday on an OWI charge, Fief was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

The Page County Sheriff’s office says no injuries were reported when a car struck and killed a deer on 140th Street Thursday morning. Officials say 68-year old Judith Barker, of Villisca, was traveling west on 140th when a deer crossed the road. Barker was unable to avoid hitting the animal. Her 2007 Ford Fusion sustained $2,500 damage, and was rendered inoperative.