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Newborn girl in Iowa declared safe haven baby

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials say a law that allows a parent to give up custody of a newborn has been used 17 times since it was enacted in 2002. The state Department of Human Services says the latest safe haven case involves a girl born at a home on Oct. 5. The newborn’s mother sought medical attention and requested the child be declared a safe haven baby.

Iowa’s safe haven law allows a parent to give up custody of a baby that’s 14 days old or less with no questions asked. The law is in response to a 2001 case involving a mother accused of killing her newborn. All safe haven babies in previous cases have been adopted. Officials say the latest newborn girl has been placed with a foster family.

ACA Conversation in Red Oak draws about 2 dozen people

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A conversation on the impact and benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) held Thursday evening in Red Oak, drew an audience of about two dozen people. Officials say attendees hear from panelists who shared their personal stories of how the ACA (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) will provide access to individuals and their families, under a variety of circumstance.

Audience questions included those pertaining to prescription medications and current dollar amount caps, whether ACA coverage is better than current coverage, and where to find help. The event was held at the Red Oak Fire Station.

Atlantic man arrested on OWI charge

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Friday (Today), of an Atlantic man on on OWI charge.  35-year old Nicholas Alan Pelzer, was taken into custody a charge of OWI 2nd Offense. Pelzer was brought to the Cass County Jail where he was released later in the day on his own recognizance.

Flu Circulating in Iowa

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges all Iowans over 6 months of age to receive their yearly seasonal influenza vaccine. Surveillance by IDPH influenza sentinel sites and confirmatory testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory shows the flu is circulating in Iowa. Three cases of seasonal influenza have been identified in eastern and central Iowa in the last two months; all were type A – the strain that can cause more serious illness. All the individuals are recovering and were not hospitalized.

IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “It’s important to note that influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa. This means health care providers are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza; thus there are probably a lot more people with the flu out in our communities.”

Influenza surveillance also gives an indication of the types of influenza viruses circulating, how sick people are getting with the flu, where outbreaks are occurring, and how widespread influenza illness is. Vaccination is the best defense against influenza, but personal actions also help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3C’s:

Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; Contain germs by staying home when ill.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.

2 arrests in Mills County

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested Thursday on separate charges, in Mills County. The Sheriff’s Department says 32-year old Angela Danielle Neil, of Malvern, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault. She was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail. And, 26-year old Nathan Michael Blezek, of Glenwood, was arrested Thursday on a charge of OWI/2nd offense. His bond was set at $2,000.

Audit criticizes Iowa Department of Education

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An audit finds the Iowa Department of Education doesn’t use a competitive process for awarding nearly $67 million to schools or head-start programs for at-risk children and does little monitoring of those efforts.  The Des Moines Register reports  the audit released Thursday shows the grants are awarded to the same recipients without evaluations to determine if others have a greater need.

Jeff Berger, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Education, says the audit is fair and changes are underway. However, some education officials told auditors they have concerns about opening some funding to competition because private entities and other head-start programs may not be able to compete with public school districts. They argue that inconsistent money would make it difficult for districts to maintain standards for their programs.

Cass County Public Safety Commission to explore building for 911 Center

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A subcommittee of the Cass County Public Safety Commission is scheduled to explore a building which potentially could serve as a new 9-1-1 Center. The committee will gather 8-a.m. Monday, Oct. 14th, at the former Rutherford/Knuth Law Offices on east 7th Street, next to Nishna Valley Cycle.

Possible location of Cass Co. 9-1-1 Center (Ric Hanson/photo)

Possible location of Cass Co. 9-1-1 Center (Ric Hanson/photo)

Cass County E-911 Director Rob Koppert says the building is a decent size, and while the Commission is exploring the option of privatizing Emergency/Public Safety services, there isn’t a lot of time left to act on that particular aspect, because of the current space and equipment needs. He says equipment and requirements for the Next Generation 9-1-1 systems the County needs to upgrade will also mean updating an 18-year old radio console/system, which runs on Windows 2000. The system was designed with a life expectancy of 12-years.

Rear view of the building.

Rear view of the building.

Koppert says the Commission is looking for a building that can be used not only for the new 9-1-1 and radio equipment, but some offices to free up more space at the courthouse, which is already very cramped. He says the building is capable of housing the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), as well as the Emergency Management and E-911 Director’s offices. The Commission he says has been looking at several buildings because the equipment still needs to be ordered and installed before the current equipment fails.

The Knuth Building is a two-story structure.

(Update to story) Cass Co. Supervisors to discuss privatizing emergency/public communications

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Wedemeyer has confirmed he has been in contact with a New Jersey company with regard to the possible privatization of County Emergency & Public Safety Communications. The County has been looking at options for the 9-1-1 Center, currently based in the courthouse. The Center is outgrowing its present facility, and efforts have been made to look into remodeling sections of the courthouse to expand the space, as well as other, possible locations for the center. Wedemeyer said he contacted Cranbury, NJ-based iXP (http://www.ixpcorp.com) before meeting with the Public Safety & Communications Commission on Sept. 23rd, and presented some information about their services. 

Wedemeyer said they’ve been trying to negotiate a deal on another property for the 9-1-1 center, and some people has suggested other municipalities had opted for privatization. He did some research and brought it up to the Commission, which told him to move forward with exploring the option.

Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert told KJAN News Thursday night he wasn’t aware the subject would be brought up at next week’s meeting, and as far as he knew, neither was anyone on the Commission. Wedemeyer, who is the Supervisors’ representative on the Commission, said the County is only exploring the option at this time. 

He said “We wouldn’t do it if it weren’t financially better for the County. Mostly, where these companies are coming in is where there are unionized people with big retirement” packages. The private companies take over and are able to save money in those cases. He said he wants residents of the county to be aware the option is being considered at this time.

Ron Koppert said during the September meeting, that he wasn’t aware of any firms in Iowa or around the region that would handle 9-1-1 calls in the private sector, but Wedemeyer says there are very instances across the country, where emergency dispatch services have been turned over from County-run operations to a private provider. The topic has been broached at past ISAC (Iowa State Association of Counties) meetings, and Wedemeyer said the County should look into it before “We spend a lot of money.”

One such case where local governments have opted for privatization, is Lawrence Township, in Mercer County, NJ., which in January, 2013, agreed to hired iXP Corporation to handle its 9-1-1 dispatches.  iXP was awarded a two-year, $719,400 contract to run police dispatch for the community, whose population as of the 2010 Census was nearly 33,500. It was estimated the move would save the county $1.1-million over a period of 5-years. Another case is Sandy Springs, GA, an incorporated suburb of Atlanta with 94,000 residents, which has its 9-1-1 dispatch center also operated by iXP.

Wedemeyer says officials with iXP seem to think the County might not need its services, but additional information is needed. They told him “It looks like we’re doing a pretty good job the way we’re doing it,” but they want to conduct an assessment, which is not free.

The theory behind privatizing the service is to save a County money, but there are many questions that remain, including: How much money would be saved? Would the calls be routed to iXP’s facilities in New Jersey, or would there be a local office? Would the current dispatchers, with knowledge of the county be utilized? And, will the service be as efficient as the current system. We hope to learn the answers to those questions and others, during  Wednesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, which begins at 9-a.m.

9AM Newscast 10-11-2013

News, Podcasts

October 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Chili fest Saturday evening near Neola

News

October 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Fall has arrived and nothing tastes better than a big bowl of chili. This weekend, you can find all the chili you can eat in Pottawattamie County, when Arrowhead Park outside of Neola plays host to the Pott. County Conservation Board’s annual Chili Fest. The event includes children’s games and activities, pumpkin painting, hayrack rides and plenty of chili. All ages are welcome to attend and meet at the Breezy Lodge.

The Arrowhead Park chili fest will be held from 4 to 8pm Saturday with admission $5 14 and older and $2 for ages 6 to 13. Children 5 and under are free. Arrowhead Park is located off Interstate 80 exit #23 with signs posted.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)