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(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 11/29/2016

News, Podcasts

November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

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


Family dispute in Red Oak leads to the arrest of a Louisiana man


November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports a man from Louisiana was arrested just before 11-p.m. Monday, following an investigation into a family dispute in Red Oak.  Red Oak Police arrested 35-year old Michael Kirk Josephson, of New Orleans, LA., on charges that include Simple Assault and Simple Domestic Assault. Josephson was being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bond, pending an appearance before a magistrate.

Tornadoes damage some buildings in northeast Iowa

News, Weather

November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say tornadoes have damaged some buildings in northeast Iowa. Funnel clouds and tornadoes were reported Monday afternoon in Bremer, Butler, Grundy and Hardin counties, but no injuries were reported. Butler County emergency manager Mitch Nordmeyer says a tornado near Parkersburg pushed some buildings off their foundations.

National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Cogil says November tornadoes are unusual but not unprecedented in Iowa. Service data say 41 tornadoes have hit Iowa in November from 1980 through 2015. Nineteen tornadoes were reported in the state on Nov. 11 last year.

Pate seeks state funding for digital upgrade of voter registration rolls


November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Secretary of State Paul Pate says computer systems for voter registrations in Iowa AND for registering new Iowa businesses are “running on fumes” and he’s seeking a cash infusion. “We are really depleting every single reserve fund we have,” Pate says. “That’s why I say we’re on the fumes level.”

Pate’s office works with county auditors to manage elections in Iowa. Federal “Help America Vote Act” money has been used up. Plus, Pate says his agency hasn’t gotten a state funding increase in eight years. “Elections, as it is right now, is running on fumes,” Pate says. “…When we run into ’18, that’s it. We will not be able to do several major components of elections without some additional funding.”

Seventy-one Iowa counties have voter registration information in a digital format. Pate and his staff say it would take about 600-thousand dollars to convert the paper records in the other 28 counties into “electronic poll books.” “It would help us with the integrity side because we would have the most current information in front of them, so that when a voter walks into a polling site, we would know if they were an eligible elector,” Pate says. “There would be no doubt in our mind. We’d be able to sit there and cross-reference it with all the lists we’ve worked so hard to put together.”

Pate says there’s been no upgrade to the computer software in his office for managing voter registration data since 2003, despite major changes in election law — like same-day voter registration. “We have kind of baling wire and duct tape here a little bit to try to make it fit,” Pate says.

Pate made the pitch for more money to Governor Terry Branstad Monday afternoon. Branstad says the state budget will be “tight,” but he’d like to find a way to get these updates done before the 2018 General Election. “That’s a way we could ensure the people of Iowa that we’re doing all we can to protect the integrity of the process, avoid fraudulent activities and people maybe voting twice or people that are ineligible voting or making sure that people that are eligible are not denied the opportunity to vote,” Branstad says.

In addition, Pate’s office took in paperwork to register 20-thousand new Iowa businesses this past year. Pate says the computer system that manages THOSE registrations is ancient. “I’m not exaggerating, but I’m telling you come May 31, our vendors will no longer be servicing us,” Pate says. “Our systems are far too old and the parts for our systems…have not really been touched since I was secretary of state 20 years ago and what we’re faced with is…we will have to go to eBay to get parts.”

Pate says he has no more options left and doesn’t have “a rabbit to pull out of a hat” to fix these digital dilemmas without a state budget boost.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa State Patrol: 118 crashes, 5 deaths, 29 OWI arrests over holiday weekend


November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

More motorists were on the state’s roadways over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend than possibly any time in history. Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig  says there were several factors that led to congestion on Iowa’s roads, led by people headed home to see family. “Considering that gas prices are down, the weather we had, and the home football games going on in Ames and Iowa City, we expected this to be one of the busier travel holidays ever in Iowa history,” Ludwig said.

The patrol covered over a-hundred crashes and made more than two dozen OWI arrests. “There was a total of 118 crashes during the four-day period,” Ludwig said. “Twenty-nine were arrested for operating while intoxicated.”

Five people were killed in those crashes. There have now been 359 traffic fatalities in Iowa this year. That is an increase of 72 deaths over 2015, with a little over a month to go in 2016.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., 11/29/16


November 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CST

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s agriculture department is once again asking state leaders for financial help to prepare for potential animal diseases like bird flu. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says his request Monday for $500,000 would be used to train livestock farmers to increase biosecurity efforts when responding to outbreaks involving foreign diseases like bird flu, which hit the state in 2015. The request mirrors Northey’s unsuccessful request one year ago to combat the same issue.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Crews have completed the first phase of a project to move freshwater mussels as part of the construction of a new bridge across the Mississippi River linking Iowa and Illinois. The Quad-City Times reports that the first phase began in August and was completed in early November. Officials say about 140,600 mussels were moved, including 886 that are federally protected. The second phase of the project will take place before demolition of the existing span.

MARION, Iowa (AP) — Linn County officials will spend $7.2 million to buy 485 acres of land and expand a park. KCRG-TV reports the Linn County Board of Supervisors on Monday announced the purchase of the land, which will expand the nearly 700 acre Squaw Creek Park, near Marion. The county will finance the purchase with money from a local options sales tax designated for conservation projects. The county also will tap money from bonds, budget reserves and the future sale of other land.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Police have identified two people killed early Saturday when their car slid across a freeway in Cedar Rapids and slammed into a patrol car. Cedar Rapids police Monday identified those killed as 21-year-old Martrell Demetrius Watson and 22-year-old Kaitlyn Marie Hall-Stougard, both of Cedar Rapids. Police say the crash happened when Watson lost control of a car on Interstate 380 and it crashed into a Cedar Rapids patrol car. Two Cedar Rapids officers were treated for minor injuries.

Tips for keeping your holiday packages safe in the mail


November 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowans will send tens of thousands of holiday packages over the next few weeks and the U-S Postal Service wants those shipping an item to take safety precautions. Postal Inspector Dave Margritz, in the Omaha-Council Bluffs office, says the number-one rule is do not send cash. Write a check or use a money order instead. “Technically, they can still attempt to forge that and use it,” he says, “but then we have investigative leads that we can track, whereas cash is pretty much gone if it’s stolen.”

Margritz says the free tracking option also provides peace of mind. “You can track packages in real time,” he says, “You can set up alerts, say I want to be texted or emailed whenever there’s a changes in delivery status, or you can specify only when it’s delivered.” Margritz says there are options for senders to ensure a safer delivery. One way is to hold a package for pickup.

“It’s held, so they have to go get it. You can also require a signature, so they have to sign for it and it won’t just be left on the porch, so you know that someone got it,” Margritz says. “That eliminates any controversy.” Margritz says getting a tracking number helps the sender and receiver know when a delivery is likely. He also suggests insuring packages with high-priced items inside.

“It doesn’t cost very much,” Margritz says. “People are used to insuring their house, their car, their life. If you’re getting something for hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars, spend a little bit extra and have it insured, because that would definitely pay off, if something did happen to it.”

The U-S Postal Service estimates it will deliver 590-million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa DOT ‘can’t keep up with an exponential rate’ of staff reductions


November 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sixty-seven full-time job vacancies at the Iowa Department of Transportation will not be filled in the coming year, but D-O-T officials are asking the governor and legislators to set aside six-point-two MILLION dollars to cover pay increases as well as higher insurance costs for employees who are still on the payroll. Mark Lowe will become interim director of the Iowa D-O-T tomorrow (Tuesday).

“We’re smaller than we’ve ever been,” Lowe says. “We are a third smaller than we were in 1997. We are almost 30 percent smaller than we were in 2009 and and 20 percent smaller than we were in 2010 and so we’ve really made that trajectory to smaller government aggressively.”

But Lowe says the agency cannot easily cover the cost of negotiated pay and benefit hikes, so that’s why the D-O-T’s proposed budget includes additional money for those items. Last spring, Republican legislators balked at a similar request from D-O-T, since all other state agencies are forced to absorb those costs. Lowe says the D-O-T needs the “adjustment” of more money so it can offer the level of services Iowans expect, things like clearing snow from roads and issuing driver’s licenses.

“We have very, very public-facing and impactful services that have to happen every day,” Lowe says. “…There comes a point at which you can’t get smaller without breaking those things and I think that’s one of the things that happened last year. As you start to put that in that crucible, it finally breaks. You finally can’t keep up with an exponential rate of reduction.”

Lowe says after shedding a significant number of full-time employees over the past 20 years, the D-O-T needs to “level off” in terms of its workforce and focus on maintaining its services. There are 26-hundred-32 full-time employees working in the D-O-T today.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa’s ag secretary asks again for money to combat bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of Iowa’s agriculture department is once again asking state leaders for financial help to better prepare for potential animal diseases like bird flu. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says his request (on Monday) for $500,000 would be used to train livestock farmers to increase bio-security efforts when responding to outbreaks involving foreign diseases like bird flu, which hit the state in 2015. The disease killed 48 million birds nationwide, including 24 million Iowa laying hens.

The request, made during an annual budget hearing with Gov. Terry Branstad, mirrors Northey’s request one year ago to combat the same issue. Branstad didn’t include it his budget recommendations last January, citing limitations to the state budget. A Branstad spokesman says the governor will evaluate the latest request.

Numerous arrests in Pott. County over the past week


November 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office, Monday (Today), released numerous reports on arrests and incidents that have taken place since early last week. Officials say among them, was the arrest on Thanksgiving Day, of 18-year old Tyler Shawn Alwan, of Council Bluffs. Alwan was charged with two counts of Possession with the Intent to Deliver, Marijuana and Cocaine. A Pott. County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped Alwan’s vehicle at around 1:35-a.m. for equipment violations, and upon further investigation, located a substantial amount of narcotics in the vehicle, including a little more than one-half pound of marijuana and 2.4 grams of Cocaine, along with various pieces of drug paraphernalia.

A Council Bluffs woman was arrested Saturday afternoon on drug and alcohol charges, after a Deputy conducted a traffic stop on an SUV for speeding and passing in a no passing zone. 31-year old Sara Ann Wilson was subsequently arrested for OWI/1st offense, Possession of a Controlled Substance (nearly 20.5 grams of marijuana) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Sheriff’s officials said also, 46-year old Brenda Lee Hone, of Council Bluffs, was arrested Thursday, for Domestic Assault with Injury, after she allegedly assaulted her 54-year old boyfriend at a residence, then drove off. The victim suffered minor injuries. Hone’s vehicle  was located and a traffic stop conducted. Deputies noticed she had suffered minor injuries during the altercation, but did not require medical attention. She was brought to the Pott. County Jail, where Hone allegedly began to resist Corrections Officers.  The woman was placed in a holding cell until she calmed down.

And, a Council Bluffs man already in the Pott. County Jail on separate charges, was served with a warrant last Wednesday. 41-year old Shane Leland Millett was served with a warrant for two counts of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree, Indecent Contact with a Child, and Lascivious Acts with a Child. He remained held in the Pottawattamie County Jail.