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Looking back on a weird month of weather

News, Weather

August 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Last month was much cooler and drier than the typical July in Iowa. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says the month started with some significant heat, but turned unusually cool over the last week. “Overall, temperatures for the month averaged about 1.2 degrees below normal,” Hillaker says. “It ranks as the 30th coolest July in 141 years of records.”

Many locations posted daily record low temperatures between July 28th and 30th. Here in Atlantic, the coldest and record-setting low temperature occurred on July 27th, when we bottomed out at 41-degrees. Average low for the month was 58, whereas the normal average low is 63. The coldest temperature recorded over the month occurred last weekend when Battle Creek, in northwest Iowa, hit 39 degrees. “That’s the first time we’ve reached the 30s anywhere in Iowa in July in almost 30 years,” Hillaker says.

The highest recorded temperature last month was 98 degrees in Keokuk on July 19th. “That 98 at Keokuk is the highest temperature so far in the summer months this year in Iowa,” Hillaker says. “Oddly enough, it’s not the highest temperature of the calendar year. Way back on May 14th, Sioux City reached 106 degrees.” The hottest day in Atlantic, was 92 on July 17th. The average high for the month was 85, which is just one degree shy of normal. Iowa has not reached triple digit temperatures this entire summer.

The statewide average rainfall total for July was 1.76 inches, making it the 9th driest July in state history. Hillaker says sections of north-central and south-central Iowa actually received above average rainfall, but most of the state received very little precipitation. At least one town, Carroll, posted a record dry July with just 18-hundredths of an inch of rain.

Atlantic was also very short on rain last month. We received just 13-hundredths of an inch of rain in July, but that did not break the record set last year, when just a trace of rain fell over the entire month in Atlantic. Normally, Atlantic receives 4.62-inches of rain during the month of July. Year-to-date, we’ve received 18.81-inches of precipitation (Jan.-July, including melted snowfall).

Not a single tornado touched down in Iowa last month. There have been 15 confirmed tornadoes in Iowa this year. That compares to 16 in all of 2012, which was the lowest tornado total in Iowa since 1953.

(Radio Iowa/KJAN weather records)

Gotta’ buy shoes or clothes? Sales tax holiday runs tomorrow & Saturday

News

August 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s annual Sales Tax Holiday will be held over the next few days, as most purchases of clothing and footwear will be sales tax-free. Victoria Daniels, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Revenue, says there is a specific purpose to the two-day tax holiday, which runs tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. “A lot of people like to take advantage of it and get a head start on their back-to-school shopping,” Daniels says. This is the 14th year for the Sales Tax Holiday in Iowa. Daniels says the two days are favored by both shoppers and merchants.

“It’s pretty popular,” Daniels says. “There are limits to what you can buy so it’s not necessarily a free-for-all. One good thing is that you don’t have to be a student to take advantage of it. Anybody who purchases the qualifying items during the sales period is able to purchase them exempt from the sales tax.” Daniels says the items that are eligible for the sales tax-free weekend need to fall under the category of clothing and footwear, but they must also meet certain definitions.

“It doesn’t include things you would think of as accessories, like a watch, jewelry or umbrellas,” she says. “Anything you would not normally wear every day, something designed for athletic activity or protective use, those things are not going to qualify either.” Some examples include tennis shoes — which could be worn for gym class or for everyday — those would qualify for the exemption but football cleats would not qualify.

Learn more about the Iowa Sales Tax Holiday at: www.iowa.gov/tax/educate/holiday1.html

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Aug. 1st 2013

News

August 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

(Lenox) — An ATV accident in Adams County has claimed the life of a Lenox man, and injured a child. The Iowa State Patrol reports a volunteer firefighter found 41-year old Carey Ishikawa and an unidentified 9-year old boy were found underneath an overturned 1987 Honda ATV. The machine was located in a ditch near an intersection northwest of Lenox, at around 5:30-p.m., Wednesday.

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — A jury has awarded more than $80,000 to a former paralegal after finding that Floyd County didn’t respond appropriately to her repeated complaints about sexual harassment in the county attorney’s office. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that jurors returned their verdict yesterday afternoon, finding that Theresa Farmer was sexually harassed by fired County Attorney Jesse Marzen.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines police lieutenant who pleaded guilty to a mortgage scheme has been sentenced to six month of home confinement and three years of probation. The Des Moines Register reports U.S. District Judge James Gritzner signed a sentencing order yesterday for Lieutenant Wade Wojewoda of Grimes requiring home confinement except for employment. Wojewoda’s lawyer says his police officer certification will likely be revoked.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Waterloo man who failed to register as a sex offender has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports 41-year-old Dana Curry received the sentence Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. Curry pleaded guilty to the charge in March. Prosecutors say he did not properly update his sex offender registration in Iowa from mid-2010 through end of 2012.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials are still trying to figure out how to remove excessive algae from a popular pond in Des Moines. Des Moines television station KCCI reports city officials added aerators to the pond at Greenwood Park in an effort to help circulate the water.

ATV accident claims the life of a SW IA man

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An ATV accident in Adams County has claimed the life of a Lenox man, and injured a child. The Iowa State Patrol reports a volunteer firefighter found 41-year old Carey Ishikawa and an unidentified 9-year old boy underneath an overturned 1987 Honda ATV. The machine was located in a ditch near an intersection northwest of Lenox, at around 5:30-p.m., Wednesday.

Ishikawa was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was transported by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. Officials say the accident remains under investigation.

Iowa competing with Nebraska again for data center

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is apparently vying with Nebraska for another multi-million dollar data center. The Omaha World Herald reports officials south of Omaha in Sarpy County, Nebraska will apply for 200-million dollars in state incentives for the center known as “Project Oasis.” Iowa’s Economic Development director has already said she would like to land Project Oasis after the state beat out Nebraska for a nearly one-BILLION dollar center in Altoona known as “Project Catapult.”

Google has invested or plans to invest one-and-a-half-BILLION dollars in its center in Council Bluffs and Microsoft is spending 677-million dollars on a data center in West Des Moines. The company behind Project Oasis has not been identified.

(Radio Iowa)

Change made to Iowa AMBER Alert criteria following Dayton, Evansdale abductions

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Law enforcement officials have tweaked the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert. The review of the criteria for activating an emergency notification to the public when a child is believed to be in danger was prompted by two high-profile kidnapping and murder cases in the state. Iowa State Patrol Major Todd Misel says the result is a “minor change” to one of the four criteria which a missing child case must meet for the activation of an AMBER Alert. The change involves striking the word “and” from the criteria language.

“We want it clarified that there is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, or the suspect’s vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help,” Misel said, noting “and/or” was replaced by simply “or.” “By throwing the word ‘and’ in there, it makes you think that it’s inclusive and you need to have everything. We just want to place an emphasis on that — that’s not the case.” The review of AMBER Alert activations follows the abduction of a 15-year-old Dayton girl on May 20th and the disappearance of two girls in Evansdale in July 2012. All three girls were later found murdered. Many Iowans have questioned why AMBER Alerts were not issued in those two cases.

“In each of those cases…Evansdale, the criteria was really not there for an abduction, we weren’t aware of an abduction,” Misel says. “In Dayton, we were just getting ready to issue the AMBER Alert when we actually located the abductor and his vehicle in that case.” The man suspected in the Dayton kidnapping had hung himself. No one has been arrested in the Evansdale case. Misel says the meeting of the AMBER Alert Criteria Group also included discussion of an increased need for training of all Iowa law enforcement on the AMBER Alert criteria.

“It’s just important to make sure you have a good missing persons policy in place at your department…for example – abductions – when is it right to ask for the AMBER Alert to be issued? It would be a very good topic to train on, on a regular basis,” Misel said. A press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety states: “It is critical that local agencies notify DPS quickly to increase the chances of a successfully recovering Iowa’s abducted children. Training opportunities will be identified in the near future.”

The AMBER Alert Criteria Group is made up of representatives from the Iowa Sheriff’s and Deputies Association, Iowa Police Chief’s Association, Iowa State Police Association, County Attorney’s Association, Iowa Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Northern District, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Department of Transportation, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

(Radio Iowa)

50 pounds of pot seized on I-80 near Adair Wednesday

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Adair Wednesday, resulted in the confiscation of 50-pounds of marijuana. The Iowa State Patrol told KCCI-TV the pot was seized from an out-of-state vehicle, which was brought to a DOT garage in Adair for further examination. No other details were immediately available.

Atlantic School Board to hold a special meeting Aug. 1st

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education with hold a special meeting Thursday evening at the High School Media Center. During the 7:30-p.m. session, the Board will act on approving contracts, amended contracts and any resignations.

Walnut City Council to discuss speed study, signage & City Election

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Walnut City Council will meet Thursday (Aug. 1st), during a regular session that begins at 5-p.m. During their meeting, the Council will receive information from the Iowa DOT’s Rex Allen, with regard to speed issues, and the possible installation of additional stop signs in the City. Other discussion includes: Repair of the north “Welcome” sign, along with a reduced visibility of the sign along Interstate 80; A possible change in the day of the regular City Council meetings, and this November’s City Election.

In other business, the Council will review and update as necessary, the City of Walnut Infrastructure Needs Study and Strategic Plan.

Official: Salad mix wasn’t produced in Iowa, Neb.

News

July 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A food inspector says most — if not all — the prepackaged salad mix that sickened hundreds of people in Iowa and Nebraska wasn’t grown in either state. Iowa Food and Consumer Safety Bureau chief Steven Mandernach said Wednesday that at least 80 percent of the vegetables were grown and processed outside both states’ jurisdictions. Mandernach says officials haven’t confirmed the origins of 20 percent and may never know because victims can’t always remember what they ate.

Officials have said the salad was infected with a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness. Outbreaks have been reported in 15 states, although it’s not clear whether they’re connected. Mandernach says state law prohibits his office from releasing the information unless there’s an immediate threat. Officials believe the threat has passed.