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Study: 3 percent of Iowa children lack insurance

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A new study says that 3 percent of Iowa children do not have health insurance, one of the lowest rates in the nation that could nonetheless be improved. The University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center says it conducted a telephone and Internet survey in 2010 and 2011 that concluded the rate of uninsured children was roughly unchanged from five years earlier.

The study says that most of the uninsured children come from families that would be eligible for existing government programs such as Medicaid and hawk-i. Its authors are calling for continued outreach to get them enrolled and are holding a webinar to discuss the report today (Tuesday).

The report notes parents will have incentives to get their children insured under the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that individuals obtain insurance.

Iowa early News headlines: Tue., July 16th 2013

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A veteran Des Moines police officer is recovering at the hospital after a truck pinned him to a building wall. Des Moines police said yesterday that Lieutenant Joe Gonzalez was working in an off-duty capacity Saturday afternoon at the World Food Prize building downtown when he was hurt. Police say charges against the truck driver are pending.

TIPTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an eastern Iowa man was able to get to shore after falling off his boat and floating down the Cedar River. The state Department of Natural Resources says authorities were contacted before 1-a.m. Sunday about a man yelling for help and blowing an air horn as he clung to his 16-foot boat near the Cedar Valley access on the Cedar River southwest of Tipton. Authorities say they spotted 35-year-old Trent Wright of West Branch clinging to the boat but later lost sight of him before he was recovered alive.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — An east-central Iowa man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for having a pipe bomb last year. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade sentenced 39-year-old David Risse of Washburn yesterday. He pleaded guilty in April to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Iowa Energy will be the Minnesota Timberwolves’ NBA Development League affiliate for the 2013 through 2014 season. The NBA announced the move yesterday. This is the first season the teams have been paired as affiliates to develop young players.

UNI professor’s research validates Romney campaign schedule

News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A University of Northern Iowa political science professor has analyzed voter registration data and ranked the most-Republican and most-Democratic counties in Iowa. Christopher Larimer says his research shows why Mitt Romney’s campaign was so focused on eastern rather than western Iowa. “There was a lot mentioned this last presidential cycle about: ‘Why on earth would Mitt Romney visit the eastern part of the state, go to Dubuque or Clinton County…or why is Paul Ryan in Black Hawk County?’” Larimer says. “Well, the answer, obviously, is vote share. I mean, they are going to get 6,000 or 7,000 votes out of Sioux County or you know, 10,000-12,000 out of those northwest counties, but that’s not going to matter much. They need to start pulling those no-party voters who are living in the eastern, more populated parts of the state.”

Larimer looked at records since the year 2000 and found the most 10 more-Republican counties in Iowa are primarily in the western half of the state – in “very rural areas.” “They obviously go strongly toward the Republican ticket, but they make up a very small percentage of the total number of votes going to presidential candidates,” Larimer says. “The difference with Democrats — yes, these are strong Democratic counties, but they don’t differ as much from the other 89 counties as the top 10 Republican counties did, but their vote share is much higher. You’re talking about usually 31 percent of the vote share for the Democratic candidate coming from these top 10 Democratic counties.”

Larimer also identified the counties which had the highest percentage of independent or “no-party” voters and those were in eastern Iowa. “Eight of the top 10 no-party counties had a majority vote share, that is more than 50 percent, going for President Obama,” Larimer says. “That is very similar to the top 10 Democratic counties so, again, these no-party counties tended to be located where you have strong Democratic counties and they tend to vote like the top 10 Democratic counties.” The counties with the highest percentage of independent voters were Floyd, Bremer, Buchanan, Delaware, Benton, Iowa Cedar and Clinton Counties. Obama won a higher percentage of the vote in each of those counties in 2012 than he did in 2008.

(Radio Iowa)

No decision on tobacco free Sunnyside Park

News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, tabled further discussion and action on a proposal to make Sunnyside Park tobacco free.

Parks & Rec Board

Parks & Rec Board

The decision followed comments by several individuals in favor of the idea, and a nearly equal number of persons opposed to it. The Board will instead gather more, one-on-one input and take a close look at Iowa’s law on the Smoke Free Air Act, as suggested by Councilman Chris Jimerson, the Council’s liaison to the Board. They’ll take the matter up again during their next meeting on August 19th.

Among those who spoke in favor of the proposal, was Karla Akers, Tobacco Prevention  Coordinator for Cass County Public Health. Akers presented a petition with 109 signatures of mostly local residents who supported the proposal. Also speaking during the meeting was Atlantic resident Denise Coder, with Cass County Public Health, Atlantic resident Carol Schuler, and Kiwanis President Laura Bacon.  Schuler said during a recent weekend camping excursion with friends at the park, the atmosphere was nice, but she and some kids they spent a good deal of their time picking up litter. Schuler said they picked up upwards of 60 cigarette butts. She said having the tobacco free policy would help keep the park clean and serve as role model for children, in saying smoking is not good for you. Laura Bacon said the Kiwanis Club is also in favor of the proposal because of health concerns and keeping the park clean.

Dennis Byrne

Dennis Byrne

Speaking out against the proposal, was Dennis Bryne, of Atlantic, who said he does not smoke, but feels making the park tobacco free would be infringing on the rights of those who do. Byrne said he agrees there are certain areas where smoking should be prohibited, such as the shelter house and other areas where people congregate, but not for the whole park.

David Anderson, of Atlantic, is a smoker who uses the park frequently, as well as his son, who along with his friends, plays frisbee golf there. He agreed there should be designated smoking areas, but they should not make the whole park tobacco free.

David Anderson

David Anderson

Atlantic resident and Cass County Board Chair Mark Wedemeyer told the Parks and Rec Board they would be overstepping there duties if they went to the extreme of making the park tobacco free.

He said as long as tobacco products are legal, it should be permitted in certain areas, and restricted in others, such as the skateboard park. He also questioned how such a policy would be enforced, and if there was to be any enforcement, it should have to do with littering, not using tobacco products per se.

Frank Saddlemire, of Atlantic, had no problem with establishing boundaries for smoking. He too, questioned how a whole park policy could be effectively regulated, when other offenses such as speeding and littering go unpunished. Nancy Gibson, of Atlantic, said she understands the rights of smokers, because she grew up with them in her home, but she said it’s important to impress upon young people the dangers of smoking and to protect them from it, even in an outdoor environment.

Karla Akers

Karla Akers

Karla Akers said the idea for a tobacco free park came from middle school aged youth. She said they felt it should be tobacco free because of the amount of litter, second hand smoke, and the risk to the environment.

Councilman Chris Jimerson said there are already public areas in the park, where smoking is prohibited by law, such as in the bleachers at the ball diamonds, a concert at the bandshell, and other such sites where mass numbers of people congregate.

WI man injured during rollover accident Monday afternoon in Cass County

News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A Wisconsin man was injured when the vehicle he was driving went off the road and rolled into the ditch this (Monday) afternoon, in Cass County. The Iowa State Patrol says 29-year old Christopher Block, of Madison, WI, was wearing his seatbelt, and did not require transport to the hospital following the crash on Interstate 80, at around 12:25-p.m.

Officials say the 2003 Nissan Murano Block was driving was traveling west on I-80 near the Elk Horn exit, when Block fell asleep at the wheel. The SUV drifted toward the left shoulder, and when it hit the rumble strips, caused Block to wake up. He over-corrected, sending the vehicle off the road to the right. The SUV rolled into the north ditch facing south and came to rest on its right side.

Atlantic couple arrested on theft charges

News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department report a local couple were arrested Friday on theft charges. Officials say 34-year old Jennifer Lower and 38-year old Russell Lower, both of Atlantic, were arrested on a Cass County Warrant charging them with Theft in the 5th degree.

On Saturday, officers with the A-PD arrested 36-year old Juan Diaz, of Winchester, CA, on a charge of Theft by Deception. And on Sunday, 24-year old John Chamberlin, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication.

Each of the suspects were transported to Cass County Jail and booked in. In other news, the A-PD says no injuries were reported following an accident this (Monday) morning. Officials say Derrick Wolfe, of Atlantic,  was traveling through Wal-Mart parking lot around 9-a.m., when his vehicle hit a pole. Damage to the pole was $250. Wolfe’s vehicle sustained an estimated $6,000 damage.

(Update) Man’s body recovered from western Iowa river

News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OTO, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say an Ida County man has drowned in an accident on the Little Sioux River near Oto in western Iowa.  Woodbury County Sheriff’s Maj. Greg Stallman says 23-year-old Derick Vielguth was with three friends when he slipped on a rock and fell into the swift-flowing river about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.  One of the friends jumped in to help but was unable to get him out of the river.  The man’s body was recovered a little before 2 p.m., about 30 yards from where he’d fallen in.

Iowa museum to open exhibition on cycling history

News, Sports

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new exhibition about cycling in Iowa and the annual RAGBRAI event will open this week at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds showcased the “Riding Through History” exhibition during a Monday news conference. The exhibition opens to the public on Friday, just before the annual RAGBRAI event begins Sunday.

RAGBRAI – which started in 1973 – is a week-long bicycle ride through Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register. The name stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.   Artifacts in the exhibition include bicycles ridden in the race, press clippings about the early years and examples of food served along the route.

The museum will also host a day of events on July 23, when RAGBRAI is scheduled to come through Des Moines.

NW Iowa officials pushing for completion of Highway 20 to four lanes

News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials in northwest Iowa say after decades of planning and construction, completing the conversion of Highway 20 to four lanes may be in jeopardy. A 32-mile long stretch of U.S. Highway 20 from east of Moville to Early has yet to be four-laned and funding cuts will make it difficult to complete anytime soon, according to Highway 20 Corridor Association Marketing Director Ann Trimble.

“Everybody, in general, needs to be prepared that there could be projects removed from the (Iowa Department of Transportation’s) five-year plan, due to a lack of funding. That’s a blanket warning everyone is getting from the DOT, but it does illustrate where our next steps need to be as far as our advocacy for the completion of the project,” Trimble said. She spoke at the annual meeting of the Highway 20 Corridor Association last week in Sioux City. Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said completing the project should be a top priority.

“You know, their big push is to get rail across the northern half (of Iowa) and rail across the southern half, but I said we have to get Highway 20 done before you can expect Sioux City to make a real commitment to rail across our state,” Scott said. “Not that we would be opposed to that, but we need a commitment to get this road finished.” The push to widen Highway 20 to four lanes across the entire state started in the 1960s. Advocates say it’s desperately needed as an east-west alternative to Interstate 80.

(Radio Iowa)

IDPH update: 71 cases of cyclosporiasis identified in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health, CDC and local public health agencies are investigating an outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora (a rare parasite). As of today, July 15th, 71 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to IDPH; almost all have been identified through testing at the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). Linn County in eastern Iowa continues to lead the state with 27 cases. Polk County has four and 17 other counties have at least one.  Three people have been hospitalized.

In western Iowa, there have been 3 confirmed cases in Dallas County, 2 in Mills County, and 1 case each in Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties.  The numbers remain  unchanged from Friday with regard to those counties.

The illness is most commonly contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with human feces containing the cyclospora parasite. Iowa typically has just one or two cases a year, usually travelers. Officials believe fresh vegetables may be the culprit, but the investigation continues.

Consumers should wash fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of the illness, which causes diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days.