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Trumpeter Swans to be released at area parks next week

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(updated to include more release locations) 

The Iowa DNR says its staff will release several trumpeter swans next week at four separate locations in southwest Iowa.untitled Four trumpeter swans will be released on May 6th at Lake Icaria in Adams County. The large birds will take flight from the east boat ramp on the north side of the lake, located three miles east of Highway 148 on 160th Street, which is a gravel road. The release will take place at 9:30 a.m., May 6th.

Four more swans will be released at 1-p.m. on May 6th, from the boat ramp on Summitt Lake one-mile west of Creston (in Union County), off Highway 25. And, four trumpeter Swans will take off from Lake Anita State Park on May 7th, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (rain or shine). The park is located one-mile south of Anita off Highway 148. The swans will be released with the assistance of Cass County Conservation Board.

Two trumpeter swans will also be released near the restaurant and beach at Viking Lake State Park at 10 a.m. May 7. Viking Lake State Park is two miles east of Stanton on Highway 34, then right on Q Avenue for ½ mile, then left on 230th Street for one mile.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend any of the events, each of which include a 20-minute swan/wetland presentations, a unique opportunity to touch and view the swans up close, and a historic photo opportunity with the kids. As the largest North American waterfowl, the magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.

Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880’s. By the early 1930’s, only 69 Trumpeter Swans remained in the lower 48 states. The trumpeter swans being released are part of the DNR’s statewide trumpeter swan restoration effort, with hopes that they will help restore a wild free flying population to Iowa. Public support is key to achieving this objective.

Iowans warned about Nepal relief scams

News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowans are warned to be cautious as they donate any dollars to relief efforts following last weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal. Bill Brauch, director of the Consumer Protection Division at the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, says he hasn’t heard of any scams in the state -yet- that involve Nepal relief, but it’s likely some will crop up in the coming days. “Don’t respond to phone calls asking for donations or pop-ups on the computer or emails that come out of the blue or text messages,” Brauch says.

“Do a little research on your own. We recommend folks go to Charity Navigator. It’s a website that evaluates charities and they have some very solid recommendations.” Millions of people were impacted by the seven-point-eight magnitude earthquake, including tens of thousands left homeless, six-thousand injured and at least five-thousand dead. One report estimates the death toll may reach ten-thousand.

After cataclysmic events like this, Brauch says Iowans want to help and they’ll often stick with agencies they know, which is fine. “Certainly, the Red Cross is one of the best places to go,” Brauch says. “There’s a group called United States Fund for UNICEF. There’s another called World Help. Direct Relief is another entity that will be helping under these circumstances.” Nepal-2015_RTX1A77X_940x342

In addition to avoiding unsolicited pop-ups, phone calls, emails and texts, Brauch says to be very wary of anyone who claims to be collecting clothing to send to Nepal. “The ability to get anything to the victims is extremely limited right now and you really want to focus on giving dollars to trusted organizations,” Brauch says. “They’ll get more bang for the buck. They’ll be able to go out and buy more food and drinking water and other supplies that folks are going to need.”

When making a donation, make sure the charity has a secure website so your personal banking information isn’t compromised. Also, be sure you’re on the real charity’s website, not a fake site that uses the non-profit’s logo but with a name that’s slightly different.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 4/29/15

News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The mother of a 10-year-old eastern Iowa girl whose abduction prompted an Amber Alert last month has pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor child endangerment charges. Forty-four-year-old Shelly Johns entered a guilty plea April 21. Criminal complaints allege Johns burned her daughter in the face with a cigarette, smacked and kicked her and pulled her hair. Police also claim she kept drugs inside the house where she lived with the girl and used them in her presence. Her husband, 48-year-old Kenneth Johns, is accused of abducting the girl from a Solon home in early March.

CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) — A former Cherokee teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has been arrested following a two-year investigation. Police arrested 32-year-old Chad Osler, of Manchester, on Monday and charged him with two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee and one count of lascivious conduct with a minor. Kristen Rickey, superintendent of West Delaware Community School District where Osler is currently employed, says Osler has been placed on paid administrative leave. Cherokee Community School District Superintendent John Chalstrom says Osler resigned in 2013. He was previously the district’s physical education teacher.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two men have been rescued after their rubber raft became stuck on a river dam in Mason City. Police, firefighters and medics were dispatched to the Winnebago River dam around 3:30 p.m. Monday. Authorities say 26-year-old Rusty Thorngren and 45-year-old Marc Ciska were cited for public intoxication

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Staffers in the Iowa Legislature are starting some of the tasks associated with adjourning the session, even though lawmakers are not close to concluding the budget process. Friday will mark the last day for lawmakers to receive daily expense payments, as well as the final day of work for many clerks and pages in the part-time Legislature. But lawmakers in the Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-controlled House have not reached a compromise deal on the state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say more than $40,000 in equipment has been stolen from a Waterloo welding supply company. A Superior Welding employee discovered $40,000 to $50,000 worth of equipment missing. Items stolen include cutting tools, helmets, copper and more. No arrests have been made in the case, which remains under investigation.

Iowan among pair to be honored today at former U.S. Embassy in Saigon

News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A former Marine unit has returned to Ho Chi Minh City for a ceremony tonight (Wednesday) honoring the last two Americans, including an Iowan, to die in the Vietnam War.

Darwin Judge

Darwin Judge

Darwin Judge, from Marshalltown, and fellow Marine Charles McMahon were killed by enemy fire 40 years ago today. A bronze and granite memorial will be dedicated on the grounds of the old U.S. Embassy. Douglas Potratz, who was part of the Embassy Guard unit with Judge and McMahon, is leading the delegation.

“If we memorialize the last two to die, put it in a plaque and put it in that compound where they worked at one time, I think it’s a fitting tribute for them and all the other servicemen who served in that country and died in that country,” Potratz said. Potratz is with the Fall of Saigon Marines Association. He calls Darwin Judge his “hero,” as Judge made sure Potratz’s wife and then-three-year-old daughter were safely boarded on a plane that shipped them out of Saigon.

(Radio Iowa)

Hy-Vee recalls Summer Fresh Pasta Salad

News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Hy-Vee, Incorporated, issued a recall Tuesday for Hy-Vee Summer Fresh Pasta Salad, which is sold in its stores’ kitchen department cold cases and salad bars. The Omaha World-Herald reports the recall was issued due to potential contamination with listeria monocytogenes. It came after Hy-Vee was notified that the frozen vegetables used to make the ready-to-eat pasta were potentially contaminated. Inventure Foods of Jefferson, Georgia, produced the frozen vegetables.Hy-Vee

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The Summer Fresh Pasta Salad is packaged upon customer request from the kitchen cold case and would have been packaged in 16-ounce (1-pound) or 32-ounce (2-pound) clear plastic containers. A light tan scale-produced label with the product name, weight and price would have been affixed to the container.

The recalled product was available between April 9th and Monday, April 27th. Hy-Vee has since pulled the ready-to-eat Summer Fresh Pasta Salad from its distribution channels and the stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota to which it was distributed. All stores that received the product have been instructed to dispose of it.

To date, Hy-Vee has not received any complaints associated with the salad. Customers who purchased the recalled pasta salad from the Hy-Vee kitchen department cold case or salad bar between April 9th and April 27th should dispose of the product or return it to the store for a refund. For questions, call Hy-Vee Customer Care at 1-800-772-4098.

Freedom Rock in Pott. County gets $10k boost; Vets Affairs Bldg. proposal lags

News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, agreed to provide $10,000 to help defray the cost of the Freedom Rock project in Oakland, but took no action on the proposed Veterans Affairs building. The Daily Non Pareil say the board agreed to provide $5,000 now and the other in the next budget year to encourage Freedom Rock project leaders to continue raising more money on their own. The county’s contribution will come from gaming tax revenue.

The $5,000 in this year’s budget will go towards the purchase of the rock and its transport from a Macedonia-area rock quarry to Oakland’s Chautauqua Park. The other $5,000 will help with the cost of labor and materials when Ray “Bubba” Sorensen, who founded the statewide project, comes to Oakland in 2017 to paint the 82-ton rock.

The project is part of a statewide effort to put a large “Freedom Rock” in each of Iowa’s 99 counties as a patriotic symbol. It began in 1997 when Sorensen painted a large rock with patriotic scenes near Greenfield. This Adair County “Freedom Rock” now attracts 14,000 people annually.

The Pott. County Supervisors, turning their attention to cost overrun issues with the proposed Veterans Affairs building in downtown Council Bluffs, made no specific decisions yet on how to handle the higher-than-anticipated costs for the facility. The supervisors recently learned that construction costs for the building, for which voters approved the sale of $1.5 million in bonds, has come in hundreds of thousands of dollars higher than expected.

Instead of seeking construction bids last fall when the project was ready to go, supervisors opted to wait until January under the assumption that contractors would need work and would offer a favorable bid. That assumption was dashed earlier this month when bids came in no lower than $700,000 above the $1.5 million price tag approved by county voters. Supervisor Justin Schultz, who is also a veteran, said he’s been reaching out to veterans to gain input on how to address the cost overrun, but he concedes they may have to start the process all over, again.

(Update) DNR Investigating two pollutant releases near Red Oak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources late Tuesday evening updated our earlier report about a possible fertilizer spill near Red Oak. Authorities said they were investigating two reports of pollutant releases. Nachurs Alpine Solutions (Nachurs) reported a release of an unknown amount of fertilizer Tuesday afternoon. City officials closed a floodgate to prevent fertilizer from reaching the Nishnabotna River.

It is unknown whether the fertilizer reached the river. DNR staff is working with the facility and the Montgomery County Emergency Response. To be safe, Red Oak residents should keep children and pets away from the waterway behind the Nachurs
building.

The second report involves ammonia found near a culvert in Red Oak. The source of
the ammonia is unknown and still being investigated. The DNR will continue to monitor the river and clean up, as needed.Spill2

Photos courtesy Montgomery County EMA

Photos courtesy Montgomery County EMA

Fertilizer spill into Red Oak creek feeding Nishnabotna River

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency announced late Tuesday afternoon, that the City of Red Oak was notified of a possible hazardous materials spill from Nachurs Alpine Solutions, in Red Oak. It was determined that an unknown amount of mixed fertilizer had been released into a waterway behind the business and had traveled to the Nishnabotna River on the west side of Red Oak.

At this time there is no immediate health risk to the public, however there may be an environmental impact to fish downstream. Nachurs Alpine in Red Oak has taken the steps to contain the spill and are working with an outside source to clean up the remaining product that had been released.

The City of Red Oak, Red Oak Fire & Rescue, Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency and Iowa DNR assisted at the scene.

Photos courtesy Montgomery County EMA Spill2

Staffers start adjournment tasks but lots of work remains

News

April 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Staffers in the Iowa Legislature are starting some of the tasks associated with adjourning the session, even though lawmakers are not close to concluding the budget process. Student pages in the Iowa Senate were organizing boxes in the chamber Tuesday for members to pack up desks. As per tradition, they also stacked the boxes up to the balcony until they collapsed.

Friday will mark the last day for lawmakers to receive daily expense payments, as well as the final day of work for many clerks and pages in the part-time Legislature. But lawmakers in the Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-controlled House have not reached a compromise deal on the state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st.

Kixmiller awarded Theatre Production Scholarship

News

April 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Iowa State University’s Theatre Department report an ISU student from Walnut, Breanna Kixmiller, was recently awarded the $1,000 Frank E. Brandt Production Scholarship.

Breanna Kixmiller (photo submitted by ISU)

Breanna Kixmiller (photo submitted by ISU)

Breanna is a sophomore in Pre-Integrated Studio Arts and Performing Arts. She was scenic design assistant for this year’s spring musical, Les Misérables.