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Cass County launches Mass Notification System

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Emergency Management Agency has officially rolled-out a county wide mass notification system. Last month, we told you the County was in the final stages of preparing for the launch of the system, which uses Inspiron Logistics’ Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS). Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon says Cass County now has the ability to send residents important updates during emergencies. The Cass County Emergency Notification System will allow County officials to provide residents with critical emergency notifications and instruction in an efficient and timely manner.

Cass County EMC Mike Kennon talks about the Mass Notification System at the Board of Supervisor's mtg. Feb. 11, 2015.

Cass County EMC Mike Kennon talks about the Mass Notification System at the Board of Supervisor’s mtg. Feb. 11, 2015.

Kennon says “This is an opportunity for our residents to receive critical information and instruction during an emergency. This new tool allows us to augment other notification systems through which emergency information can be shared with our residents. This system can provide communication at a time when it is most needed, allowing emergency responders to focus on aiding a well-informed community.”

While all land line phones have been entered automatically into the system, registration will be required for residents wanting to receive emergency alerts via cell phone, email or pager. At registration, residents will be allowed to customize how they will receive messaging and what types of messages they would like to receive. As of now, Cass County Emergency Management, Communications Center, Sheriff’s Office and Atlantic Police Department can disseminate messaging. There is also a potential to expand the system to include other towns, groups or organizations with a Public Safety justification.

The system is fully integrated with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). This allows for automated weather notifications to all subscribers; including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and other notifications issued through NOAA. Officials can target each message to an unlimited number of groups – everything from notification of all residents of a specific town to mobilizing volunteers throughout the County. Officials can also contact residents based on specific geographical locations using a mapping feature, sending messages to those within select neighborhoods when needed.

To register, residents can go to http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/cass_ia/wens.cfm and sign up by entering their cell phone, e-mail and/or pager number, city and zip code. There are also links located on the Cass County homepage (http://www.casscountyiowa.us/) or the Cass County EMA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CassCoEMA). For more information, contact Mike Kennon, Coordinator, Cass County Emergency Management Agency at 712-254-1500.

Kennon said also there are some upcoming Emergency Management events in Cass County, including a Storm Spotter Training Class 7-p.m. March 11th, at the Cass County Courthouse. And, the Statewide Tornado Drill takes place at about 10-a.m., on March 25th. It’s a chance for you to plan or review what action you should take at your home or place of business if a tornado is spotted in Cass County.

Des Moines alley body ID’d

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Des Moines have released the identity the body of a woman found Sunday morning in an alley near 14th Street and 14th Place, just north of Enos Avenue. According to KCCI, the victim was 35-year-old Shannon Prothero, of Des Moines. Her body was discovered face down, at around 8:30-a.m. Sunday.

The man who found the woman said he checked her vital signs and noticed an abrasion on her forehead. Des Moines police said the circumstances are suspicious. Investigators have not confirmed the case as a homicide, but they are investigating it as such.

Authorities said they hope to know more information about the death after an autopsy this (Monday).

200 wanna-be “Iron Chefs” compete at ISU today

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

More than 200 students from a dozen Iowa high schools will compete in a culinary event today (Monday) at Iowa State University. I-S-U professor Robert Bosselman says the Pro-Start Invitational is a day-long competition that will test students’ culinary and management skills.  “The best way to describe it to your listeners is, if they’ve ever watched any of the food shows on the Food Network where the intensity of preparing a meal under the clock and the judges, it’s exactly that same situation,” Bosselman says. “Teams of four students have to prepare a three-course meal in one hour.”

The pressure of the contest simulates real deadlines the future chefs might have to face in a professional kitchen.  “They have to show their knife skills and they have to fabricate a chicken,” Bosselman says. “In other words, they’re given a whole chicken and they have to take it apart and they’re judged on that. Also, they’re given a basket of food items and they have to prepare a menu.”

I-S-U’s Hospitality Management Program is hosting the event at the Memorial Union. There’s also a culinary career fair involving recruiters from 20 companies across Iowa. Winners will advance to the national competition in April.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) 8-a.m. KJAN News, 3/2/2015

News, Podcasts

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With Ric Hanson.

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Study shows impact of Iowa’s use of gov’t safety nets

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The private philanthropy group that puts out the “Kids Count” survey every year is releasing a new report detailing the state-by-state impact of so-called “safety net” government programs on children. Laura Speer, with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says their findings indicate programs like food stamps and housing subsidies are significantly improving lives in Iowa and nationwide. “We looked at the child poverty rate which we know is one of the most critical indicators we check,” Speer says, “not only because it has a major impact on kids, it can affect their health and their educational achievement, but really has an impact on the country as a whole.”

In Iowa, she says the impact of government safety net programs is very evident.  “What we see is that without any government intervention, the poverty rate in the state would be about 22%,” Speer says. “With those interventions, it’s about 8%, so, that means more than 100,000 children in the state of Iowa are being lifted above the poverty line.”

The report indicates, without government intervention, another 103,000 Iowa children would be living in poverty. In addition to food stamps, government interventions being gauged by the report include the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit parents can claim annually on their tax returns. She admits the findings aren’t a big surprise, however… “It’s important to know that and to understand that those programs are making a difference and they need to be sustained,” Speer says. “Also, we know these programs are helping families keep their heads above water and filling the gap that low-wage jobs are leaving for families to make ends meet.”

Speer is the foundation’s associate director of advocacy and public policy. See the full report at the Annie E. Casey Foundation website: www.aecf.org

(Radio Iowa)

Prepare for a slippery slide to work & school Tuesday morning

News, Weather

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service in Des Moines says a large storm system will begin to affect central Iowa tonight, persisting into Tuesday.11018410_791151917629672_8460447606872203408_n The system will bring chances for a wintery mix across much of the area.

In the south, freezing rain and sleet will be possible tonight and into the early morning hours Tuesday, with icy conditions possibly affecting morning travel Tuesday. Precipitation will gradually turn to rain as temperatures warm Tuesday.

Across the north, snow will be possible with light to moderate accumulations. Winds will increase Tuesday afternoon which may combine with falling and fresh fallen snow to create hazardous travel conditions Tuesday.

Continue to monitor the forecast for updates into Tuesday as threat areas become more refined.

Creston man arrested on drug charges, Friday

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Creston man was arrested Friday night, on drug charges. Officials say 40-year old Chad Lee was charged with Possession of Marijuana with the intent to sell, Delivery of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp. Lee was later released on $5,000 bond.

And a woman from Lorimor was arrested Friday afternoon. Police in Creston say 48-year old Pamela Collette Oshel was arrested at the Union County Law Enforcement Center on a warrant for Failure to Appear in court. She was later released on a $300 bond.

(Podcast) 7:06-a.m. KJAN News & funeral report, 3/2/2015

News, Podcasts

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

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Daylight Saving Time begins 2-a.m. Sun., March 8th

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowans will lose an hour of sleep this weekend as clocks spring forward, but for many it’ll be just be another day in their regular struggle to get enough rest. Among the most common factors for losing sleep are pain, stress and poor health. It’s estimated that more than a third of adults don’t always get the amount of sleep they need to feel their best. Dr. Stephen Grant with Iowa Sleep says that’s even more true for those who have chronic or acute pain. “The suffering associated with pain can produce anxiety and the suffering and anxiety when combined can really preclude someone’s ability to fall asleep, as well as if they are awoken by pain, return to sleep.”

According to a new poll out today (Monday) from the National Sleep Foundation, pain, stress and poor health all correlate to shorter sleep durations and worse sleep quality for millions of Americans. Overall, there are about 80 different types of sleep disorders. Grant says among the most common are insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and apnea. Apnea occurs when a person’s airways narrow or collapse during sleep.

Dr. Grant says “Most of the people that I see with obstructive sleep apnea have respiratory events that we call hypopneas. And that’s people that just kind of snore and have enough resistance in their airway when they sleep, they just don’t ventilate appropriately. They don’t get the oxygen in or the carbon dioxide out.”

This is Sleep Awareness Week and the need of many to get more “Z’s” will be apparent on Sunday, when Daylight Saving Time begins in the U-S and an hour is lost as clocks spring forward.

(Iowa News Service)

February report: Economic growth likely in Midwest, Plains

News

March 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new report suggests economic growth is ahead for nine Midwestern and Plains states. The survey report issued Monday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index climbed to 57.0 in February from 54.8 in January.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the regional growth is likely although areas “linked closely to the energy sector, including ethanol, are experiencing pullbacks in economic activity.”

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.