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Iowa law tries to ensure adult children can see sick parents

News

April 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A year after the children of radio personality Casey Kasem had to seek court action to see their ailing father, a new Iowa law aims to ensure that adult children can see their sick parents — granting them visitation rights unless the person’s guardian goes to court to stop them.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill Friday. The law gives an adult with a legal guardian — someone who cannot manage their own affairs — the right to receive visits from family members and others they have previously expressed interest in seeing.

Sen. Rob Hogg said he started working on the issue after hearing from a constituent having difficulty visiting her brother. The legislation was backed by Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, who appeared on Iowa radio to advocate for it.

Protest over fallen western IA soldier’s funeral leads to changes in IA law

News

April 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Protesters will have to keep a greater distance from grieving families at funerals under a bill signed Friday by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. The Omaha World-Herald reports the measure, House File 558, unanimously passed both houses of the Iowa Legislature. The bill came out of a court ruling that stemmed from protests Westboro Baptist Church staged in western Iowa, including one at the funeral of a fallen soldier in Red Oak.

Law enforcement officials there threatened to enforce Iowa’s flag-desecration laws against those protesting the July 14, 2012, service for Army Sgt. James Skalberg. The Westboro church said in its lawsuit that protesters decided not to use the flag to express their feelings because they feared arrest.

In December, U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt struck down those laws, describing them as “unconstitutionally overbroad” in a 25-page decision. An earlier version of the bill prohibited using an American flag, a military flag or a prisoner of war flag within 1,000 feet of a funeral in such a way that it would provoke another to commit assault. But that provision was amended out of the bill.

The bill signed into law Friday amends previous law, prohibiting those within 1,000 feet of a funeral from disrupting a service, noisily causing funeral-goers distress, and making abusive epithets or threatening gestures likely to provoke a violent reaction. Previous law prohibited such behavior within 500 feet of a funeral.

Nebraska has a law prohibiting the mutilation of a flag, though that statute was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. The law remains on the books.

 

Iowans need to use caution on “mushy” gravel roads

News

April 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The change from winter to springtime temperatures and recent rains have combined to create some dangerous conditions on many of Iowa’s rural gravel roads. Dusty Rolando, the engineer for Chickasaw and Floyd Counties, says road crews all over the state are dealing with the annual problem known as frost boils. They’re essentially defective spots in the roadway that develop from the swelling of frost.

“Those spots tend to show up in the springtime with the frost coming up,” Rolando says. “We’re trying to hit those with spot rock…but it’s not a crazy bad year.” Rolando says, at this time of year, it’s a good idea for motorists traveling on gravel roads to slow down.

“If you’re coming up on an area with a frost boil or something that’s pushing up in the middle of the road, you’ll want to make sure you bridge off to the side…typically there will be a lane that’s passable,” Rolando says. “I know a lot of people, at times, might come up on it fast and maybe can’t slow down enough or move over, but I would just be careful when you’re driving and look for those areas.”

Rolando also suggests drivers user alternate routes if possible to save wear and tear on both their vehicles and the gravel roads.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., April 25th 2015

News

April 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Drake Bulldogs will soon be represented by a real bulldog. The school announced on Friday that it will begin searching for an English bulldog to represent Drake at live sporting events, much like Georgia and Butler do.

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — Police have arrested an Iowa teen accused of setting the same vacant house on fire three separate times last year. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says 19-year-old Coty Cates of Missouri Valley is charged with three counts of second-degree arson in connection with the October fires. The Omaha World-Herald reports the house is a complete loss.

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. (AP) — A 14-year-old girl from Iowa has died and three others have been injured in a two-vehicle crash in southern Minnesota. The State Patrol says Daisy Rodriguez died in the crash at a rural intersection near the Brown County community of Sleepy Eye Thursday about 5 p.m. The 22-year-old woman driving the car and a 17-year-old passenger were injured. KTOE radio reports the State Patrol says the three are related and from New Hampton, Iowa. The driver of the other vehicle was also injured.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Kirani James shattered Michael Johnson’s 400-meter Drake Relays record Friday, finishing in 44.22 seconds. Johnson ran 44.41 in the 1996, the season in which he broke the Olympic record at the Atlanta Games. Aleec Harris stunned the 110-hurdle field, winning in 13.16.

Foundation offers local students full ride to Iowa Western

News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A new initiative of the Iowa West Foundation is giving 45 Pottawattamie County students the chance to attend Iowa Western Community College for free. The Daily Nonpareil reports that Pottawattamie Promise aims to help future first-generation college students who qualify for a federal Pell grant, and those students who would not have considered college a possibility without assistance. The program will be piloted for three years in the Council Bluffs and Riverside community school districts.

The foundation estimates about 400 students in Pottawattamie County are falling into the gaps between existing education support systems. Each student will receive a scholarship that pays for tuition, room and board at the college. Advisors will also keep students on track with attendance and coursework.

Cross-country search turns up photo of fallen Iowa soldier

News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Cross-country efforts to track down a photo of an Iowan killed in the Vietnam War have turned up an image of the man when he was 14 years old. Chris Mudge, executive director of the Iowa Newspaper Association, says the photo of Staff Sgt. David L. McCombs was provided Thursday by an Illinois man.

The photo of McCombs, a U.S. Army soldier who was born in Oskaloosa and died at age 26 in Vietnam, was the last one needed to complete Iowa’s contribution to the Vietnam Memorial Fund’s “Wall of Faces.” The tribute aims to put a face to the more than 58,000 names listed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

Mudge says efforts are ongoing to find a photo of McCombs closer to his death in 1969.

State officials decided not to seek MHI accreditation years ago

News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Employees at the state-run Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant that are being closed say the hospitals have provided high-quality care, even if the facilities do not have the “gold star” of accreditation. Cindy Fedler, a nurse clinician, was hired at the Mental Health Institute in Mount Pleasant in 2007 — to prepare for the tests required for the accrediting process. “That plan was aborted due to financial reasons,” Fedler says.

Fedler worked at the M-H-I in Mount Pleasant until April 6th, when she was laid off. “The accreditation would not have changed the way we admitted folks,” she says. “It would not have changed the way those who had payment, insurance — the way they paid, it would not have changed that.” And Fedler says Mount Pleasant’s M-H-I met all the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “best practices” guidelines.

“The accreditation we keep hearing in the media, I want the truth to be known that that would have affected us not at all,” Fedler says, “other than a nice little title and a gold star behind our name.” Governor Terry Branstad has said the two M-H-I’s are being closed because they’re antiquated and are not accredited. Ann Davison, a nurse clinician at the Clarinda Mental Health Institute, was hired in 2005 to prepare for the accreditation process there — but the state decided not to spend the money.

Davison and Fedler made their comments this week during testimony before the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee.

(Radio Iowa)

Creston man arrested on drug charges

News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Union County man was arrested Thursday evening on drug charges. Police in Creston report 41-year old Luke Johnson, of Creston, was arrested at around 6:45-p.m. for Possession with the Intent to Sell/Marijuana, and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp. Johnson was later released from the Union County Jail on $5,000 bond.

And, 51-year old Timothy Fector, of Creston, was arrested at around 12:30-p.m. Thursday at Vine and Carpenter Streets, on charges that include Disorderly Conduct, Attempted Burglary in the 2nd Degree, and Interference with Official Acts. Fector was later released on $5,000 bond.

Iowa turkey hunters need to take precautions to prevent spread of bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With a third avian flu outbreak confirmed in Iowa, turkey hunters are being urged to take special care to halt the spread and not to shoot a bird that might be sick. Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says turkey hunters need to help minimize the risk of spreading the disease, which has already forced the euthanizing of tens of thousands of turkeys and millions of chickens in the state.

“We’re advising turkey hunters to avoid any commercial types of flocks like chickens or turkeys,” Baskins says. “Once that virus gets into a confinement situation, it will spread very rapidly and probably throughout the entire operation.” Hunters need to be vigilant for any birds that have died in the field or that appear sick. Signs include: ruffled feathers, swollen wattles, discoloration of the feet and impaired balance.

Baskins says if a dead or sick bird is spotted, hunters should mark the spot using G-P-S if possible and notify the D-N-R right away. They should not touch or try to move the birds. The avian flu is believed to be spread by migrating flocks of wild waterfowl, specifically, ducks and geese.  “We don’t expect to see a lot of avian flu in turkeys,” Baskins says. “Turkeys tend to be more solitary. They move around in smaller groups. If there is an outbreak, it’ll be fairly isolated. It’s not like a confinement situation where we have commercial flocks and once it gets into a building, it spreads from bird to bird very rapidly.”

Between the shotgun and archery seasons, turkey hunting will be underway in Iowa through May 17th. Baskins says turkey hunters should follow some common sense precautions, like washing their hands with soap and water immediately after handling game — or if they’re in the field, use alcohol wipes. “We advise that you dress your game birds in the field whenever you can,” Baskins says. “Make sure you’re using the same tools, whether in the field or at home and that you don’t use those tools around other poultry or pet birds. Make sure you double-bag the internal organs and feathers so once you dispose of those, any virus that might be in there is contained.”

For more tips, visit the website: www.iowadnr.gov. There is no food safety concern, according to Baskins. Game meat should be thoroughly cooked, he says. Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites.

(Radio Iowa)

Ambassadors Visit Atlantic’s Masonic Lodge

News

April 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Chamber Ambassadors in Atlantic met recently with local Masons, while visiting Atlantic’s Masonic Lodge. The lodge is a beautiful building located in historic downtown Atlantic and recently available for event rental. There are two rooms, a smaller and a larger room. The lodge has a kitchen, stage, tables and chairs.

For rental inquiries, please contact Donnie Drennan at United Group Insurance.

Pictured: Sharon Guffey-Lewis, Steve Lewis, Randy Dill, Gary Warwick, Donnie Drennan, John Bricker, Joe Mewhirter, Russ McNeese, John Schroeder, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte, Bill Saluk, Keith Leonard D.V.M., Lucas Mosier, Melanie Petty, Dan Mehmen, Chrystal Christensen, Russ Joyce, Kate Olsen, Rich Perry, Nedra Perry, Sue Muri, Jolene Roecker, Arlene Drennan, Carol Schuler, Lana Westphalen, Dianne Gipple and Pat McCurdy.

Pictured: Sharon Guffey-Lewis, Steve Lewis, Randy Dill, Gary Warwick, Donnie Drennan, John Bricker, Joe Mewhirter, Russ McNeese, John Schroeder, Dr. Mitch Peerbolte, Bill Saluk, Keith Leonard D.V.M., Lucas Mosier, Melanie Petty, Dan Mehmen, Chrystal Christensen, Russ Joyce, Kate Olsen, Rich Perry, Nedra Perry, Sue Muri, Jolene Roecker, Arlene Drennan, Carol Schuler, Lana Westphalen, Dianne Gipple and Pat McCurdy.