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Tornadoes above average


August 18th, 2014 by Mark Saylor

While Iowa is susceptible to tornadoes during any month of the year, the traditional tornado season is now over and the state came out with an above-average number of twisters this year, more than 50. Meteorologist Rod Donavon, at the National Weather Service, says we may still see a tornado in the coming weeks and Iowans should never let down their guard for the risk. “The season’s really never over and the official numbers can’t come out until December 31st, at the end of the year,” Donavon says. “We’re not expecting a lot of tornadoes after this but last year we did have that October event across northwest Iowa and back in 2005, we had a November event, so certainly it’s never over until it’s over.” The recent drought years equated to very few tornadoes touching down in Iowa, but with the drought well behind us, tornado numbers picked right back up this year, especially during May and June. “We are preliminarily up to 52 which is above average,” Donavon says. “A typical year, at least over the last 30-year average, has been around 45 or 46. We’re certainly up quite a bit over the last two years where we had 16 in 2012 and right around 20 last year.” By contrast, a decade ago, Iowa set a tornado record in 2004 with 120 confirmed touch downs. Still, in recent years during the drought, Iowa went from May of 2012 to May of 2013 without a single tornado, four days short of a full calendar year. “A lot of that had to do with the drier years,” Donavon says. “In 2012-2013, we just didn’t have the storms or the storm systems moving across the state and we were near record low numbers. We are much closer to average this year. We had a lot of what we’d consider weaker tornadoes, a lot of EF0s, EF1s, which fortunately didn’t hit much property or any neighborhoods.” There were three tornadoes that registered as EF2s this year, but those were the strongest and none rated in the upper, more-destructive categories of EF3s, 4s and 5s. Two people were killed in tornadoes in Iowa this year. Both died in a twister that hit Keokuk County in April.

(Radio Iowa)

2 injured in Bluffs’ cycle accident


August 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two people were injured just north of Council Bluffs Saturday afternoon during an accident involving two motorcycles. The Daily NonPareil reports the accident occurred shortly after 1 p.m. at County Road L34 and Mahogany Road near Underwood.

One of the injured parties was given CPR at the scene and then taken by medical helicopter to an Omaha hospital. The other person was transported to Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. A condition report on their conditions is currently not available.


Call for Blood Donors as Summer Draws to Close


August 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – With the summer quickly winding down, the need for blood donors in Iowa is up. Nichole Hanger, public relations and marketing specialist with LifeServe Blood Center, said there are generally fewer people who donate over the busy summer months, even though demand generally increases. “A person injured in a car accident can use up to 100 units of blood, so it’s really critical we have an ample supply,” Hanger said. “Not only to help that one patient, but cancer patients, and surgery patients.”

Hanger encouraged people of all blood types to consider donating; especially those with blood types “B-negative” and “O-negative.” “O-negative is the universal blood donor and it’s used most commonly for trauma and accident patients, newborn babies, and those that don’t immediately know their blood type,” said Hanger. “So, it’s critical we have a stable blood supply of ‘O-negative,’ but all blood types are needed throughout the year.”

LifeServe Blood Center provides blood and blood products to more than 100 hospitals across Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Iowa early News Headlines, Mon. Aug. 18th 2014


August 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Sales of Indian motorcycles are strong enough to support more jobs at the Iowa plant that makes them. The Des Moines Register reports Polaris Industries expects to hire 300 more people at its Spirit Lake plant that already employs more than 700.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines police officer was treated for minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle outside the Iowa State Fair. Police say senior police officer Ben Ihde was directing traffic outside the fairgrounds about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when he was hit by a vehicle that was slowly turning onto another street. Ihde was knocked off balance and fell, striking his head. He was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa City officials are considering imposing new taxi cab rules after a driver was charged with several assaults last winter. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine recommended the new rules, which could include city-issued IDs, 24-hour dispatch centers and other changes to the way cab companies operate.

ALTA, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa man used 600 golf balls to make a 6-foot-tall statue of a golfer swinging a club. KCAU reports Kevin Pingel’s creation in Alta is an expression of his love for golf. Pingel says he decided to create the statue after collecting hundreds of golf balls from his yard on a golf course.

Area school board meetings set for Monday


August 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A trio of area school board meetings are set to take place Monday evening. The Griswold Community School District Board of Education will gather at 5:45-p.m. in the Central Office Board Room at the Middle School/High School Building. During their session, the Board will receive updates on the various summer infrastructure improvement projects. They’ll also act on matters pertaining to the Regional Academy and Project Priorities. Information to be presented includes that which pertains to Student survey results, and an overview of Student Test Scores.

The CAM School District’s Board of Education will meet in the High School Media Center at 6:30-p.m.  Discussion and/or action items during the meeting include that which pertains to: A possible sharing agreement with Nodaway Valley for a Human Resources Director; Resignations; The “Backpack Program”; Advancement on the pay scale; a Head Start contract; A request for out-of-state travel for the CAM FFA, and a request for supplemental aid/allowable growth for negative special education balance.

And, the Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton Board of Education will meet 7-p.m. Monday, in the Family and Consumer Science Room at the High School in Elk Horn. During the meeting, the Board will act on contracts for: Deb Graham (Para educator); Tony Petersen (Jr. High football and girl’s basketball coach); Hilary Runyan (Asst. H.S. Volleyball Coach, and Ben Hansen, Asst. H.S. football coach).

The Exira-EHK Board will also discuss and/or act on: An upgrade to the baseball field; Approving the National FFA trip for the 2014-2015 school year; Changes to the High School handbook; and, proposals for land formerly used for the Exira Elementary building.

Suspected Suicide in Harlan Sunday


August 17th, 2014 by Chris Parks

The Harlan Police Department responded to call for a possible shooting on Sunday, August 17th at 12:30pm at 1401 19th Street.  When officers arrived at the location, which is the Harlan Community Intermediate School, they discovered a white male on the outside of the building with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The man was then determined by Medivac ambulance to have perished from the wound.

The Shelby County Medical examiner was called to the scene to pronounce the man dead and an autopsy was ordered with the body being taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny.

School was not in session at the time and no students were in the school at the time.  No danger was posed to anyone else and there was no entrance or attempted entrance to the building.

The investigation is ongoing.

Iowa fair auctions raise $327,000 for scholarships


August 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Several price records fell as the livestock auctions at the Iowa State Fair raised $327,000 for scholarships this year. The Des Moines Register reports hundreds watched the auctions Saturday. The livestock was raised by students involved in 4-H and FFA groups, and the proceeds help provide scholarships for people interested in agriculture.

Seventeen-year-old Alexis Delaney says she had no idea her prized hog would sell for $50,000. Iowa Select Farms paid nearly double the previous record price. Delaney says she raised her hog, Frankie, in DeWitt since he was a piglet and fed him marshmallows as a treat.

Seventeen-year-old Truman Chamness of Blairsburg says he spent many long days taking care of his champion red heifer. His dedication paid off when Casey’s General Store paid $36,500 for the heifer.

Common Core faces opposition in Iowa


August 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa conservatives are continuing to fight the Common Core education standards, but it isn’t clear that the program will go away at the state level any time soon. The Common Core is a set of english and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards have been attacked by conservatives, who say the federal government is overreaching into classrooms.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has not said he wants to eradicate Common Core here, though last year he signed an executive order clarifying that the state would continue to maintain control over education standards and testing. And earlier this month Branstad removed Iowa from an organization created to develop an assessment system for the Common Core standards.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sun., Aug. 17th 2014


August 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — No one was injured after a homeowner using a small excavator tore open a residential natural gas line in Dubuque. The Telegraph Herald reports that the accident and resulting gas leak occurred around 10 a.m. Saturday. Officials say the gas leak was contained within an hour.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Davenport residents upset over a cellphone tower placed in the middle of a city park say they believe city officials did not follow local laws and regulations in approving the structure. The Quad-City Times reports that 180-foot tower is being built by AT and T in Emeis Park. The newspaper says that despite a city ordinance requiring new cell towers to go through a zoning board for a special-use permit, the city legal department deemed the permitting unnecessary.

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — A motorcyclist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania died in a freak accident on Interstate 80 near Atlantic in western Iowa. The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports that a wheel from a trailer being pulled by a westbound pickup came loose and struck 39-year-old Andrew Engle Thursday afternoon.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A delegation from Sioux City’s Japanese sister city has arrived in the northwest Iowa city. The Sioux City Journal reports that local officials met with the delegation Thursday as the group arrived for a five-day visit to the United States. Over the rest of their stay, the Japanese group will tour local schools and take in a minor league baseball game.

Wheel flies-off Atlantic woman’s van – no injuries


August 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A mechanical malfunction caused a property damage accident Saturday afternoon, near Villisca. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by 49-year old Lisa Marie Hansen, of Atlantic, was traveling north on Highway 71 near the 26-mile marker just after 1-p.m. Saturday, when the left front wheel became detached from the vehicle.

The van continued northbound on the left rotor for about 165-yards before exiting the roadway to the right, hitting a guard rail post and coming to rest. No injuries were reported. Damage to the van amounted to $3,500. The guard rail post sustained about $200 damage. No citations were issued.

Sheriff’s deputies were assisted at the scene by members of the Villisca Fire Department.