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Winnebago: Fiscal 3Q Earnings Snapshot


June 19th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) _ Winnebago Industries Inc. (WGO) on Wednesday reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $36.2 million. On a per-share basis, the Forest City, Iowa-based company said it had profit of $1.14. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.05 per share.

The recreational vehicle maker posted revenue of $528.9 million in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $569.9 million. Winnebago shares have risen 59% since the beginning of the year. The stock has decreased nearly 6% in the last 12 months.

Man gets 10 years for fatal stabbing of Des Moines resident


June 19th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man has been given 10 years in prison for using a stick or broom handle to kill a Des Moines resident. Polk County District Court records say 41-year-old Michael Bell Jr. was sentenced Tuesday. He’d been convicted in May of voluntary manslaughter. He’d originally been charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 25, 2017, slaying of 42-year-old Jerry Martin.

Police say Bell told investigators he had several weapons with him when he confronted Martin over a $50 debt. Two witnesses told police they saw Bell use a weapon to hit and stab Martin several times, cutting Martin’s neck and puncturing his chest.

Finkenauer co-sponsoring bill to boost Medicare reimbursement for Iowa doctors


June 19th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing pay for rural doctors. “Iowa doctors have been shortchanged by a government formula that underestimates the cost of labor and practice expenses,” Finkenauer says. Doctors in rural areas are paid far less for the care they provide elderly Medicare patients. The formula is meant to account for cost-of-living differences, but Iowa doctors say it’s not covering all their expenses.

“For two decades, our health care providers have asked for an accurate formula,” Finkenauer says, “one that allows them to stay open and keep serving their patients.” Dr. Brian Privett — the president-elect of the Iowa Medical Society — joined Finkenauer at a Cedar Rapids hospital to discuss the issue.

“Without immediate action, Iowa will fall further in the competition to recruit the next generation of physicians,” he said, “and our seniors will face greater difficulty in accessing necessary medical care.” According to Finkenauer, Iowa doctors have the seventh-lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country.

(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., 6/19/2019


June 19th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Tougher standards for school bus drivers and a fire suppression system may have prevented the deaths in a 2017 school bus fire in western Iowa, federal safety investigators said. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said Tuesday the Riverside Community School District didn’t ensure the driver was medically fit before the crash.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A spokesman for Gov. Kim Reynolds says she asked Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven to resign Monday because “she wanted to go in a new direction” at the agency. It’s the only explanation Reynolds has offered for the sudden departure of Foxhoven, who was appointed by her two years ago.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Federal prosecutors for Iowa say five men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a 2017 drug deal that ended in the death of another man. Prosecutors say 21-year-old Chase Zerba, 22-year-old Cameron Klouda and 24-year-old Tyler Clemens had each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and a weapons count in the death of 20-year-old Dylan Plotz. Twenty-two-year-old Dillon Beener and 20-year-old Kordell Jones had each pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and a gun count.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) — An Emmet County man has been accused of stealing nearly $30,000 from a north-central Iowa high school booster club he helped manage. The Sioux City Journal reports that Timothy Loock, of Estherville, has been charged with first-degree theft. He had been treasurer of the Estherville Lincoln Central School District booster club from 2015 until November, when he was removed from the position.

Interstate 29 from the Missouri border to U.S. 34 reopened after second round of flooding


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – June 18, 2019 – Interstate 29 between the Missouri border and U.S.34 (near Glenwood) has reopened to traffic after being closed for the second time this spring due to flooding. I-29 exit ramps remain closed from the Missouri border to south of U.S. 34. Nearest available services (such as fuel) can be found east on U.S. 34 in the city of Glenwood.

Along this section of I-29, a 12-foot width restriction will be in place as well as intermittent lane closures due to flood repairs. Flood-related closures continue on U.S. 34 (west of I-29), Iowa 2, Iowa 275 and Iowa 333.

Travelers should check 511ia.org, the Iowa 511 mobile apps or call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide) for up-to-date closure information on state-owned roadways across Iowa. Closures due to flooding can be viewed by turning on the incident layer on the online map and mobile app.

For the latest in flooding information and recovery resources, as well as an image gallery showing the flood damage and recovery efforts go to https://floods2019.iowa.gov/.

(UPDATE) NTSB holds hearing on fatal Riverside school bus fire


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board today (Tuesday) disussed the fatal 2017 Riverside School District bus fire. N-T-S-B chair Robert Sumwalt says driver impairment was an issue as 74-year-old bus driver Donald Hendricks used a walker and had back surgery scheduled the week of the fire. Hendricks and 16-year-old Megan Klindt died when the bus got stuck and caught fire in Klindt’s driveway near Oakland.

“Robust oversight on the part of the school district should ensure the safety of student transportation. But in Oakland, Iowa, that did not happen,” Sumwalt says. He says school buses are safer than passenger cars for getting kids to school if the drivers are medically fit. “The driver in Oakland had been allowed to continue driving despite the fact that the transportation supervisor, the school principal, and the driver’s coworkers knew of the driver’s physical impairment,” according to Sumwalt. “The Iowa administrative code specifies that drivers must be physically able to help ill or injured passengers.”

Sumwalt says the school district had the information needed to prevent the tragedy. “The Riverside Community School District or the R-C-S-D had the knowledge it needed to act. And it did not. And in fact, in recent years, it had done away with the physical performance tests for drivers,”Sumwalt says. Investigators said the fire likely started in the turbocharger of the bus, which overheated after the rear tires became stuck. Sumwalt says this case shows that installing a fire suppression system may have prevented the deaths.

“Fire suppression systems, fire-resistant interior materials, and improved fire safety performance standards could have provided more time for the driver and the student in this tragedy,” Sumwalt says. He says federal standards for school bus fire safety haven’t significantly improved in the last 48 years despite major changes in fire safety in aviation and railroad transportation.

Sumwalt says the N-T-S-B knows there is a shortage of school bus drivers, but the solution cannot be to augment the ranks of safe drivers with drivers who are unsafe due to a medical condition, even a temporary one. He says keeping an unfit driver on the road isn’t kindness. “Once there is a crash, it is cruelty—to him and an untold number of passengers and other road users.”

Governor: “New direction” was reason for DHS director exit


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A spokesman for Gov. Kim Reynolds says she asked Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven to resign because “she wanted to go in a new direction” at the agency. The Reynolds administration gave the explanation Tuesday, a day after she sought the immediate resignation of Foxhoven . Reynolds hired Foxhoven two years ago.

Reynolds’ spokesman Pat Garrett says in a statement the governor “has spent the first part of this year assembling a new team, from top to bottom, to carry out her vision.” He says more changes will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

On Monday, Reynolds announced she’d selected Department of Public Health Director Gerd Clabaugh to take on interim duties running the DHS until a permanent replacement is hired. Reynolds only briefly noted Foxhoven had resigned and didn’t initially give a reason.

Iowa man gets life for killing girlfriend’s daughter


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man found guilty of killing his girlfriend’s daughter has been sentenced to life in prison. The Courier reports that 35-year-old Chad Allen Little was sentenced Tuesday. A jury convicted him in May of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing the death of 4-year-old Gracie Buss.

Prosecutors say Little abused his girlfriend’s two children, and delivered a fatal head injury to Gracie in May 2015. Doctors testified that the girl had a series of old and new bruises all over her body and bleeding within her eye.

Gracie’s older brother told police that Little had struck him and the girl in the year before the girl’s death, when Little moved in to the children’s home. Gracie’s mother, Kristi Amber Buss, is awaiting trial on a child endangerment charge.

Laborshed Survey’s to be conducted in Greenfield & Guthrie Center


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The Midwest Partnership Economic Development Corporation is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Greenfield and Guthrie Center areas.  The separate studies will geographically define which communities contribute to Greenfield and Guthrie Center’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.

The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Greenfield and Guthrie Center area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high quality workforce.

For the success of this study, MPEDC & IEDA will be sending letters to employers in Greenfield and Guthrie Center, asking that they provide us with aggregate counts of their employees’ residential ZIP codes. This will allow us to determine what the scope and scale of the respective Laborshed area is and better understand where the workforces resides.

A confidential survey of residents will also be conducted to collect workforce characteristic information specific to the area.  Residents will receive a letter directing them how to take the survey online and/or they will receive a telephone call to take the survey. The survey call originates out of Cedar Rapids, IA, therefore, the incoming number will have the 319 area code. It is possible that you may receive a text message from their 888 number as well, alerting you to expect a call from them. Survey questions will cover topics such as: employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits, education level, and type of occupation among other things. However, Iowa Workforce Development will not be asking survey takers identifiable information such as: name, social security number, or date of birth.

Every year Iowa Workforce Development conducts Laborshed studies across the State. The results of each analysis are publicly available online at www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed.  If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold at 515-281-3035 or Sarah Gomez, with Midwest Partnership EDC at 515-523-1262.

Creston man arrested in Page County for Sex Offender Registry Violation


June 18th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office reports a Union County man was arrested at around 8:40-a.m. today (Tuesday), for Violation of Iowa’s Sex Offender Registry. 28-year old Bradley Aeron Haley, of Creston, was arrested at Rapp Park, in Page County. Rapp Park is a county owned park that is approximately one-mile north of Shenandoah. Haley and his wife had been staying at Rapp Park for about eight-days. Bradley Haley is a Registered Sex Offender with the state of Iowa and did not register that he was staying there, in violation of the Registry. He was transported to the Page County Jail and was being held on a $2,000 bond, pending appearance in front of a Magistrate Judge.

Bradley Haley