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Animal operations one of the big issues for DNR

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources turned 30 on July 1st, and one of the issues that has generated a lot of controversy has been large-scale animal confinement operations.  D-N-R director Chuck Gipp says one of the things that’s brought the issue to the forefront is the change in the number of people involved in raising livestock.

“Part of it is the demographics that are living out in the countryside. Used to be as a kid when I was growing up, that the vast majority of people living out in the country in the unincorporated areas were people involved in agriculture. Today that is not the case,” according to Gipp.

He says people who are not involved in agriculture are more likely to raise concerns about farm smells, the operation of grain dryers and other things that come with an ag operation.  There’s also been a change in how animals are raised, as he says in the 1990s there were mostly open feed lots where animals were raised and the manure was out on the ground. “Most of that was runoff, because there was no machinery there was not equipment and there were no facilities to capture all of the manure, including the liquid portion of it,” Gipp says. “And rain was your friend. It took that off, so it was runoff.”

He says the animal confinement operations led to more animals being raised, but also more control on the waste the animals produced. “In 1990 there were 14-point-one million hogs grown in the state and 2015 there’s 20 million hogs. Prior to confinement operations becoming the norm and way to do that, those 14-point-one million pigs were generating waste, a lot of which wasn’t captured and became runoff into the rivers and streams,” Gipp says.  “Other than the odor issue there — other than the siting decisions made by some — actually the way we raise livestock today is much more environmentally friendly than it ever has been.”

Gipp says the D-N-R has to manage the issue without taking sides. “I think the biggest challenge is always going to be to find that middle ground to do what you need to do, regardless of who controls the legislature or anything like that, the department has a job and a responsibility to the people of Iowa to provide opportunities for the long run,” Gipp says.

Gipp says if everyone has to take a role in making things work in protecting the state’s natural resources. “We have to understand no matter who we are what we do. If the combined effort of somebody if they are rich or poor, rural or urban, or big and small. If they all work together to determine what happens on their particular piece of property, the combined effort of everybody doing a little bit, no matter what their condition is, is going to be immense.   Rather than waiting for the other guy to be the solution — let’s just determine what we can do,” Gipp says.

He says getting everyone on board is not always easy. “Having that type of thinking process, how all of us individually can impact our surroundings, I think our the biggest challenge that we face,” Gipp says, “not only in the department, but across government in general.”

The D-N-R was created by combining four agencies in 1986. Gipp has led the department for the last five years.

(Radio Iowa)

Creston Police report, 7/5/16


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Creston Police Department reports two arrests took place Saturday. 22-year old Michael Cox, of Creston, was arrested for Public Intoxication/2nd offense. He was later released from the Union County Jail on $1,000 bond. And, 29-year old Cory Laird, of Creston, was arrested Saturday on a Union County warrant for Failure to Appear in court on a Civil case. Laird was later released on $600 bond.

On Sunday, Terry Squibbs, of Creston, was cited and released on a Promise to Appear in court, with regard to a charge of Allowing an Animal to Run At Large. And, a male juvenile was referred to Juvenile Authorities Sunday night, with regard to charges of Harassment of a Public Official, and Disorderly Conduct. The boy was then released to the custody of a family member.

Early this (Tuesday) morning, 27-year old Angel Sharpsteen, of Corning, was arrested at the Union County Law Enforcement Center in Creston, on a Union County warrant for Failure to Appear in court, on an original Theft in the 5th Degree, charge. The woman was transferred to the Ringgold County Jail, where her bond was set at $300.

And, the Creston Dairy Queen store reported Saturday, that sometime between 11am and 10-p.m., Friday, someone passed a counterfeit bill at the store. The loss was estimated at $100.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 7/5/2016

News, Podcasts

July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson


Auditor advises cities to cross-check financials; says state-run pension fund solid


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

State Auditor Mary Mosiman says in the past 12 months her staff has been called in to review the financial records of 18 Iowa cities and local governments. “Sometimes they’re one person handling all financial transactions — both the revenue side and the expenditure side, with very little oversight,” Mosiman says. “I think it’s well worth the time and resources of this office to investigate and report on these.” Mosiman advises all cities — no matter how small — to have a system in place so financial transactions are checked by at least one other person.

Mosiman says the state-run pension systems in Iowa are in far better shape than pension plans in some other states.”We talk sometimes about the unfunded liability, but comparing us to other states, we’re in a good place and our General Assembly, the governor’s office, they reacted a few years ago,” Mosiman says.

In 2010, Iowa lawmakers raised the contribution rates for employees paying into the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System and adjusted how pension payouts were calculated. There are more than 200 state-run pension systems in the United States. Those systems had a nearly one TRILLION dollar funding gap in 2013 according to a national report.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowans warned about new scam involving online ads for pet-sitters & babysitters


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowans are being warned about a scam targeting people who post online ads offering pet-sitting and babysitting services. Jim Hegarty, at the Better Business Bureau chapter in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says a young woman who recently advertised her pet-sitting service was contacted by a couple who claimed they needed someone to watch multiple pets while they moved.

“It involved sending her a check that was going to cover all of the costs for the pet supplies,” Hegarty says. “She was to deposit that money and then wire a smaller amount, $2,600, to what she thought was the pet store that was going to ship her all the supplies to care for all of these animals.” The situation went quickly south for the entrepreneur and she’s out several thousand dollars.

“The check that she was sent bounced,” Hegarty says. “The money that she wired ended up being money that she’s now responsible for and this couple was fictitious from the very beginning.” The woman had offered her services on the website care-dot-com. Iowa parents are reminded to keep close tabs on their kids’ online exchanges, especially when money is involved.

“Caution your kids when they’re online looking for these opportunities, do not provide sensitive information about themselves,” Hegarty says. “Most job applications involve Social Security numbers, none of that information should be provided until they’ve had a physical interview with an entity they’ve determined is a legitimate source for employment.” He says anytime a deal involves depositing or wiring money and reshipping packages, it could be a scam.

(Radio Iowa)

Forecasters warn of heat, possible severe weather Tuesday

News, Weather

July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Forecasters are warning about extreme heat and the possibility of severe thunderstorms across much of Nebraska and Iowa today (Tuesday). The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for southeast Nebraska and western Iowa this afternoon and this evening, because temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s and combine with humidity.

Later in the day, there is a potential for severe weather to develop across both states. Strong winds, large hail and heavy rain are possible with the storms.

Adams County Sheriff’s report, 7/5/16


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office has released a report on recent arrests. Officials says at around 2:20-a.m. today (Tuesday), Deputies were dispatched to a possible domestic incident. Upon further investigation, Mick Coleman was placed under arrest for Domestic Abuse Assault.



On July 4th, at around 7-p.m., Adams County Deputies conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Quince Avenue and 190th. Upon further investigation, the driver, Zachary Troy Hoffmeier, of Ottumwa was placed under arrest for Violation of a No Contact Order. Hoffmeier also has numerous arrest warrants. A passenger in the vehicle, Robyn Blazek, of Prescott, was also placed under arrest for Violation of a No Contact Order.

And, on July 1st, Adams County Deputies arrested Jennifer Houck, of Rippey, Iowa on an Active Adams County Warrant for Harassment.



The Baseball Whisperer – “a classic Iowa tale” – “a classic Iowa tale” – chronicles career of Clarinda As Merl Eberly

News, Sports

July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The author of a new book called “The Baseball Whisperer” says it was a “labor of love” to honor a man who helped more than three-hundred players sign contracts with professional teams. Merl Eberly was the founder and long-time manager of the Clarinda As. His team showcased college players hoping experience in a summer league might lead to a professional career. It’s truly kind of a classic Iowa tale.” That’s Michael Tackett, author of The Baseball Whisperer. He’s a New York Times editor who met Eberly when his own son went to Clarinda to play ball.

“He was a big man. He had been sick for a long time, but it didn’t show,” Tackett says. “…He spoke to a group of parents and, you know, he had a real presence about him.” Merl Eberly died of cancer in June of 2011. During research for the book, Tackett discovered Eberly’s pivotal role in developing Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, the stand-out shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. “It wasn’t guaranteed that you would make the team,” Tackett says. “They guaranteed you a chance to make the team, so they go out on the field and Merl grabs a bucket of balls and just starts ponding balls to him — left, right, with top spin, with back spin, over the second base bag — and Ozzie did not miss a single ball and at that point Merl thought: ‘Well, this skinny kid’ who at the time weighed 140 pounds ‘might just be something.'”

Smith got no notice as a high school player and wound up playing for a small college in California. Smith’s college coach sent him to Clarinda in 1975.  “He comes out to Iowa. He’s never been to the Midwest before…and he reduces the Midwest to a single word: corn. When he comes there, they originally call him ‘Osborne Smith’ and, of course, by the end of the summer, he’s ‘Ozzie” to everybody.” Pat Eberly was an integral part in managing the team and finding other families to host the players for the summer in their homes. Tackett discovered people in the Clarinda area call it “keeping” the players.

“These families just open up their homes, up their arms to people they’ve never met,” Tackett says. “They give them room and board. They take them to practice. They go to the games and cheer them on and they don’t get anything for that other than the satisfaction of doing it and all of that, together, is why I think Clarinda is such a special place.” And it’s why Tackett wanted Clarinda to be a focus of the book as well.

“Clarinda really sticks out to me as a place where there is a glue,” Tackett says. “…The town square has almost all locally-owned shops and restaurants. Many of them have been there for generations. The one rule that Merl had for the As was that nobody gets paid. Everybody has to volunteer their time and effort and now they’ve been doing this for over half a century in all and that’s the still the ethic of the team.” Tackett makes the case in his book that Eberly’s story would have been difficult to replicate anywhere else. Merl Eberly had a brief professional career of his own after graduating from Clarinda High School. He signed a professional contract with the Chicago White Sox and played on a minor league team in Nebraska, the Holdrege White Sox, in 1957.

“In one game he got hit in the face with a pitch and people who were in the stands could hear it because it hit his cheekbone and there was blood everywhere, but he refused to come out of the game and the reason was because he got a bonus,” Tackett says. “He got $500 for when he started the season and then he got $500 if he completed the season.” Eberle played in 43 games in the minor league and his batting average was .281. Eberle was released by the White Sox in 1958.

He went back to Clarinda, starting playing on a semi-pro town team and the team ultimately became a college proving ground. Tackett’s son, who played a “magical” summer for the Clarinda As, won a spot on his college baseball team and is now working in the “player development division” for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tackett’s wife is an Ames native and his mother-in-law still lives in Ames, so Tackett knows the state from covering presidential politics and from many personal trips.

Tackett is in Clarinda today (Tuesday), to mark “opening day” for sales of The Baseball Whisperer.

(Radio Iowa)

Estimated Mega Millions jackpot at $449M; drawing Tuesday


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The estimated Mega Millions jackpot has risen to $449 million, making it potentially the 7th largest lottery jackpot in the U.S. Lottery officials in Des Moines say if any ticket matches the balls drawn Tuesday, the jackpot will be the largest since a $448.4 million Powerball prize won by a New Jersey family May 7. The highest jackpot drawn in the country was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won in January by players in three states.

The odds of picking the correct numbers on five white balls and one yellow ball in the Mega Millions game are one in 259 million. The drawing will take place at 10 p.m. Central time.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tuesday, July 5th 2016


July 5th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:15 a.m. CDT

DONNELLSON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s oldest county fair is getting ready to celebrate its 175th anniversary. The Burlington Hawk Eye reports that the Lee County Fair in southeast Iowa will mark the event with a mix of old traditions and new. Brock Westfall, the county fair’s president, says the fair will host mule and horse races on Wednesday as county fairs used to do.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One person was sent to the hospital after an Iowa City house fire that caused $50,000 in damage. The Iowa City Press-Citizen says the blaze was reported around 4:10 a.m. Sunday. Crews discovered a fire in the home’s basement and extinguished it within 20 minutes. Authorities say the building’s occupant had left the building before firefighters arrived and was evaluated at the scene before being taken to a local hospital

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spent part of his July 4th with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, fueling speculation about his vice presidential pick. Trump met with Ernst in New Jersey on Monday and praised her in a tweet. Ernst is a first-term senator, combat veteran and the first woman elected to Congress from Iowa. She ran on a platform of cutting wasteful spending, with the slogan “Make ’em squeal.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump has narrowed down his vice presidential shortlist to a handful of contenders. While the presumptive GOP nominee is known for throwing curveballs, here’s a look at some of the men and women he is said to be considering.