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(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & Funeral report, 3/18/2019

News, Podcasts

March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The area’s latest and/or top news stories at 7:06-a.m. From KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


Springtime means Iowans need to poison-proof their homes for the warm weather


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — With the arrival of spring and warmer weather also comes the arrival of new risks and temptations for young ones in our homes, garages and yards. Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and spokeswoman for the Iowa Poison Control Center, says this is National Poison Prevention Week and Iowans need to do a little scouting to ensure their homes are safe for the seasons ahead.

“This is the week that we really try to focus on things that we can do to prevent poisonings,” Noble says. “This isn’t just for families with young children. This is also for adults, because sometimes adults make mistakes, too, and a lot of those errors are things that could be preventable.”

During the winter months, Noble says the experts at the hotline get a lot of calls about things like carbon monoxide poisoning, or the accidental consumption of anti-freeze or ice melt pellets.  “During spring, we start getting a lot of calls about lawn chemicals, about bugs and bug spray and as we start getting into the sunnier times, which everybody can’t wait for, with that sun comes things like sunscreen calls.”

During 2018, Iowans placed nearly 30-thousand calls to the Sioux City-based Poison Control Center. That’s down slightly from the previous year, as Noble says so many of us are carrying around easy access to the internet in our pockets. “People are starting to use their handheld resource a lot more,” Nobel says. “People are Googling answers a lot but we always recommend, just call the Poison Center, we’ll answer your question, you’ll know yes-or-no whether it’s a problem. We’ll tell you if you need to go to the hospital. We’ll even give you some help if it’s stuff you can take care of at home.”

The call is free and experts are available around-the-clock at 800-222-1222.

Midwest Flood update: 6:45-a.m. 3/18/19

News, Weather

March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Residents in parts of southwestern Iowa were forced out of their homes Sunday as a torrent of Missouri River water flowed over and through levees, putting them in a situation similar to hundreds of people in neighboring Nebraska who have been displaced by the late-winter flood. Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several Midwestern states, with the Missouri River hitting record-high levels in many areas. At least two deaths were blamed on flooding, and two other men have been missing for days. While river depths were starting to level off in parts of Nebraska on Sunday, the water is so high in many places that serious flooding is expected to remain for several days. And downstream communities in Kansas and Missouri were bracing for likely flooding. Many major traffic corridors are cut-off due to flood waters or substantial damage from the water.

In Iowa, the Missouri River reached 30.2 feet Sunday in Fremont County in the state’s far southwestern corner, 2 feet above the record set in 2011. People in the towns of Bartlett and Thurman were evacuated as levees were breached and overtopped. County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said it wasn’t just the amount of the water, it was the swiftness of the current that created a danger. In Mills County, residents of Pacific Junction were ordered to evacuate Sunday night due to rising water and the potential loss of structural integrity in the flood containment system. Water and gas were shut-off. Officials noted an Emergency Shelter was still available at the Salem Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs (14955 Somerset Ave.).

Lucinda Parker of Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management said nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated at eight Iowa locations since flooding began late last week. Most were staying with friends or family. Seven shelters set up for flood victims held just a couple dozen people Saturday night.

In Nebraska, the Missouri River flooded Offutt Air Force Base, with about one-third of it under water on Sunday. Spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake told the Omaha World-Herald that 60 buildings, mostly on the south end of the base, have been damaged, including about 30 completely inundated with as much as 8 feet of water. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, where floodwaters reached record levels at 17 locations. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said the Missouri River was expected to reach 41 feet, or 4 feet above the record set in 2011.

Nearly 300 people have been rescued from high water across the state. At least one fatality was reported in Nebraska. On Thursday, 50-year old Columbus, Nebraska, farmer James Wilke died when a bridge collapsed as he used a tractor to try and reach stranded motorists. Two men remain missing. A Norfolk man was seen on top of his flooded car late Thursday before being swept away. Water also swept away a man after a dam collapse.

Downstream in St. Joseph, Missouri, home to 76,000 people, volunteers were helping to fill sandbags to help secure a levee protecting an industrial area. Flooding was causing problems for passenger train service between Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis. All Missouri River Runner trains have been cancelled today (Monday). The service typically travels twice daily between the two metropolitan areas.

The rising Mississippi River also was creating concern. The Mississippi was already at major flood level along the Iowa-Illinois border, closing roads and highways and swamping thousands of acres of farmland. Moderate Mississippi River flooding was expected at several Missouri cities, including St. Louis. Flooding has also been reported in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, officials said residents who evacuated their homes could return now that floodwaters have receded there.

May trial set for northeast Iowa man accused of killing wife


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

EARLVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A May trial has been scheduled for a northeast Iowa man accused of using a corn rake to stab his wife while killing her. Delaware County District Court records say 42-year-old Todd Mullis last week entered a written plea of not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. He was arrested last month. His trial is set to begin May 13.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says an autopsy showed Amy Mullis died after receiving injuries that included multiple stab wounds to her back with a corn rake. Authorities initially reported that the 39-year-old woman had been fatally injured in a fall at her farm about 4 miles northwest of Earlville.

Wet conditions lead to discharges of human and animal waste

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The wet conditions in the State have caused issues with the handling of human and animal waste. D-N-R Environmental Specialist, Doyle McKeever, says they got an anonymous report last week of manure runoff reaching Storm Lake. “We went down and investigated and we found runoff running to the lake on the south side. And it appeared it was coming from a field application to the south of the lake that was flowing towards Storm Lake,” McKeever says.

McKeever says they traced runoff to manure application on fields at Don Jackson’s Pike Farms cattle feedlot. He says Pike had been spreading manure for three days. “They’re going to stop applying and we did field tests to determine if there was ammonia present or not,” McKeever says. “…and we have to send in lab samples in to verify the field testing that was done.” McKeever says Pike is going to stockpile the manure until the conditions are better for applying it to the land. Ice covering the lake prevented them from knowing if there were any dead fish. He says producers have had issues with finding the right time to apply manure without it getting into waterways. “It’s kind of been a whole cycle since last year. With wet, rainy conditions, it’s hard to get out there and land apply,” he says.

McKeever says they are asking livestock producers to be aware of the conditions. “Look at the forecast and see what’s coming. If it’s going to rain or warm up quickly — obviously you are going to have runoff. You want to deter from land applying at that point,” McKeever says. McKeever says the rain has filled up some holding lagoons and the large amount of snow has added to the issue of trying to find dry ground to apply manure. “It creates a difficult situation for everybody,” McKeever says.

The D-N-R also had to address high levels of water in two earthen manure storage basins located about 20 miles east of Council Bluffs. D-N-R staff observed diluted manure-laden water into two different unnamed streams from Cyclone Cattle owned by Russell Keast. The D-N-R required Keast to stop both discharges. The investigation is ongoing and no dead fish were found. McKeever says livestock producers should contact their local D-N-R field office if they have questions about manure spreading.

The Iowa D-N-R reported earlier in the week that there were “several” wastewater discharges from city treatment plants. A spokesman in the Des Moines field office says rapid snow melt and rainfall overwhelmed city treatment plants causing several communities in northwest, western and southern Iowa to report wastewater discharges.

Red Oak woman arrested on warrant Sunday night


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Red Oak Police report the arrest at around 7:25-p.m. Sunday, of 35-year old Wendi An Johnson. The Red Oak woman was taken into custody on a valid Pottawattamie County warrant for Operating a vehicle without owners’ consent, and Theft in the 3rd Degree. Johnson was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $2,000 cash bond.

Reynolds tours flood damage in Missouri Valley and Hornick


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Governor Kim Reynolds toured flood damage in western Iowa Sunday. “I continue to be just overwhelmed and impressed and grateful to our emergency managers, our EMS, our first responders, our volunteers, just the community as a whole,” Reynolds told reporters.

She started in Missouri Valley, then traveled north to the Woodbury County town of Hornick. Many streets were still flooded. “We were on the ground to understand what was going on, to make sure wewere meeting the needs, to make sure the communication and coordination was taking place,” Reynolds said. “as well as making sure that we’re assessing the damage as we move forward with the recovery.”

The governor went inside a few of the homes in Hornick, some still with several feet of water in their basements. “The water has started to recede just a little bit,” Reynolds said. “I think one of the homes that we toured it had gone down a foot since its high-water mark, but they still have a long ways to go and they know that.”

Thirty-eight Iowa counties are included in the governor’s disaster declaration for this latest round of flooding. Reynolds will tour flood damage in Hamburg, Pacific Junction and Montezuma today (Monday).

Residents of Hornick got 6 hours on Sunday to survey flood damage


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Residents of flood-striken Hornick were allowed back in the western Iowa town for a few hours Sunday so they could survey damage to their homes. Electricity to the town is still turned off, so residents had to be out before sunset. Dale Ronfeldt is a volunteer firefighter who has lived in Hornick since 1979. He allowed local media into his home which still has several feet of water in the basement. “I’ve got about four feet of water,” he said. “It is sewer back-up, but 99 percent pure water because of how inundated the sewer plant got.”

The last major flooding in Hornick happened in 1960. After a flood threatened the community in 1996, the town constructed a dike to protect the town. “Every year we have a scare of a flood and we make preparations and we do this and we do that…but we never know quite how far to go,” he says. “This time we had enough advance warning, but you get cried wolf so many times that you don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. This time it was real and we paid for it.”

Ronfeldt is thankful for the help he and other residents have received so far, but he expects many will never return to live in Hornick, including an older neighbor: “He’s not going to rebuild and I’ve heard that from a few others,” Ronfeldt says.  The town’s water supply was not swamped by flood waters, but crews from MidAmerican Energy were in Hornick Sunday to start restoring power where floodwaters had receded.

Reynolds to tour western Iowa today & speak w/the media


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference in Council Bluffs today (Monday, March 18th) to give an update on the flooding from rain and melting snow. Several media-only events will take place around southwest Iowa, prior to the press conference:

  • Gov. Reynolds will meet with local officials and tour flooding in Glenwood at 10:30-a.m.
  • She’ll be in Pacific Junction at 11:30-a.m.
  • Gov. Reynolds next stop is in Hamburg at 1-p.m., where she will meet with local officials and tour flooding.
  • And at 3:30-p.m., she will hold a press conference in Council Bluffs.

Iowa/Midwest early News Headlines: Monday, March 18, 2019


March 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Late winter flooding has forced residents in parts of southwestern Iowa out of their homes. Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several Midwestern states, with the Missouri River hitting record-high levels in many areas. At least two deaths were blamed on flooding, and two other men have been missing for days.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Specially-trained dogs from Montana are coming to Iowa to help round up a rare and threatened turtle species. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the Bur Oak Land Trust is coordinating the project this spring to help gather the ornate box turtle, Iowa’s only native terrestrial turtle. The turtles are listed as “threatened” in Iowa, and the trust wants to preserve a small population in Johnson County.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) — Authorities say a 33-year-old University of Iowa graduate student found dead at Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah apparently fell 500 feet from an overlook. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said Jonathan Hogue’s body was found Friday at the base over the Green River Overlook following a search that began Tuesday.

UNDATED (AP) — One of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, says she would make public service the cornerstone of her presidency if she were to run and win the White House. Gillibrand hosted a civic service round table in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Saturday. Also in New Hampshire was New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, who is flirting with a presidential run. The mayor says the U.S. needs to be a country that rewards working people.