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Soldier from NW Iowa dies in Afghanistan


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Storm Lake native has died in Afghanistan in what military officials say was a non-combat incident. The Department of Defense says 33-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Deric Rasmussen of Oceanside, California died on May 11th in Mazar E Sharif, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the Company C, First Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, First Air Cavalry Brigade, based in Fort Hood, Texas. Rasmussen is the son of Philip and Diane Rasmussen, who lived in Storm Lake until 2007.

Deric graduated from Storm Lake High School in 1999, joined the Marines in 2000 and in 2003, he left the Marines and joined the Army, where he learned to fly helicopters. His unit was deployed to Iraq in 2007. Early last year, he joined his current unit, which was deployed to Afghanistan in January. Rasmussen is survived by a wife and three children. No date has been set for a memorial service.

Branstad to sign bill allowing tax credits for EMS personnel & firefighters


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad today (Wednesday) announced he will sign House File 2459 Friday, May 16, 2014, at noon. The bill signing will be held at West Des Moines Public Safety Station 19, where the governor was previously scheduled to sign an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week proclamation.

House File 2459 is an Act relating to the individual income tax by creating a tax credit for reserve peace officers and by modifying the tax credit for volunteer fire fighter and volunteer emergency medical services personnel and including retroactive applicability provisions.

Death investigation in Cass County, Tuesday afternoon


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Cass County responding to a call about a body in a vehicle southeast of Cumberland at around 2:17-p.m. Tuesday, discovered a central Iowa man dead at the scene.The vehicle was found parked on Highway 92, about one-quarter of a mile west of 710th Street. Upon arrival, the body of 46-year old Gregory Lloyd Blunt, of Johnston, was discovered in the vehicle. Authorities say Blunt died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to online records, Blunt was the Senior Manager for Mercy Medical Center’s Core Laboratory.

The incident remains under investigation. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by Cumberland Fire Department, Massena Fire Department, and Atlantic Medivac.

7AM Newscast 05-14-2014

News, Podcasts

May 14th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

No ‘shroom hunting this weekend at Desoto NWR

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service say the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge along the Missouri River near Missouri Valley, will be closed to mushroom hunting this weekend (May 17th and 18th), because of a turkey hunt.

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

A Morel mushroom (ISU Extension photo)

The refuge roads, trails and visitor center will be open as normal, though.

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is a destination for people who want to explore the habitats and wildlife of the Missouri River and get a glimpse of what pre-settlement Iowa and Nebraska may have looked like. It’s located 25 miles north of Omaha on U.S. Highway 30, between Missouri Valley and Blair, Neb. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except federal holidays.


Omaha man sentenced in beating of an elderly Bluffs woman


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska man appearing in court to learn his sentence upon being convicted of beating an elderly Council Bluffs woman, cried and professed his remorse, Tuesday. According to the Daily NonPareil, the judge sentenced 21-year old Dustin M. Brown, of Omaha, to 25-years in prison on a charge of first-degree robbery, in connection with the January 2014 incident.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement Brown’s attorney made, in connection with the beating of 59-year old Carmen Morales. Brown entered Morales’ home, beat her with a tire iron and threatened her life while taking electronics and a safe from her home. He threatened to kill Morales if she didn’t lead him to the safe.

Unknown to Brown, Morales’ daughter had placed a hidden camera inside the home, which captured much of the incident on video. The state originally charged Brown with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery, but in exchange for a guilty plea to the robbery charge, a Class B felony, prosecutors dismissed the other three counts.

The robbery conviction carries a 25-year prison term, with Brown required to serve at least 70 percent of the sentence, meaning he’ll be incarcerated for at least 17½ years. In court Tuesday, Brown’s attorney, Jennifer Solberg, said the suspect was high on methamphetamine at the time of the crime and has no recollection of the incident.

Iowa unveils $2.7B highway spending plan


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s preliminary five-year highway spending plan includes more than $900 million for state-owned bridges and more than $1.2 billion for enhanced safety features and upgrades on state highways. The Des Moines Register saysthe Iowa Transportation Department unveiled the estimated $2.7 billion plan on Tuesday. It covers fiscal years 2015 through 2019.

The plan include reconstruction work on Interstate 29 in Sioux City, the interstate system in Council Bluffs, and the replacement of the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 74 in Bettendorf that links Iowa and Illinois.

The draft program is posted and available for public comment on the Iowa DOT’s website at http://bit.ly/1qChUsw . The Iowa Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider final approval of the program on June 10 at a meeting in Perry.

Iowans with storm damage are warned to beware of door-to-door repairmen


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Many Iowans are still cleaning up from Sunday’s series of severe thunderstorms that included six tornadoes and hurricane-force winds that demolished homes and farmsteads and shredded trees. Jim Hegerty, with the Better Business Bureau, says if you have damage, beware of fast-talking crooks who are ready to swoop in. “Out of town repair firms that kind of drift in, they may go door-to-door, offer to be able to do your repairs very quickly,” Hegerty says. “They may demand cash up-front and we would never advise doing that.” Hegerty says these people are known as “storm chasers” and often their goal is to prey on disaster victims.

“A lot of times, this is the way these travelers that don’t have the consumers’ best interests at heart, they might try to take advantage of folks,” he says. “You really do want to be careful with door-to-door solicitations and door hangers. Take your time, check them out, call the bureau and we’ll let you know whether you’re dealing with a reliable firm or not.”

The National Weather Service says two tornadoes touched down in northwest Iowa on Sunday near Sheldon and Hospers, three tornadoes struck in central Iowa around Guthrie Center and Lake Panorama and one twister landed in southeast Iowa near Donnellson. The largest was an E-F-2 with winds of 115 miles an hour that hit near Lake Panorama, wiping out 20 homes and condos. No serious injuries are reported. Given all of the wind damage, Iowans may need help from professionals with roof repairs and tree trimming.

“We may get some folks that drift up here or down here from out of the area that may or may not be reputable,” Hegerty says. “We’re not saying that all of these folks are bad news. Sometimes, they provide a valuable service but a lot of times, you want to be really cautious.” Hegerty says before signing any deal, make sure you call your insurance company and follow their recommendations. He says never pay anyone up-front for repairs and always get the details in writing before making a decision. Learn more at: www.bbb.org/iowa

(Radio Iowa)

Eastbound I-80 in Council Bluffs reopened


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation say eastbound Interstate 80 between exits 1A and 1B in Council Bluffs was reopened late Tuesday morning, after crews worked overnight to repair a void located in the median and under the shoulder. DOT officials told the Omaha World-Herald that the large hole that formed in the median was the result of Sunday’s heavy rainfall, combined with road construction work being done in the sandy, river-bottom soil.

The hole was about a half-mile from where a void was found in under I-80 in October. That hole, which also resulted in an overnight closure of the eastbound lanes, stretched under all three lanes. The hole discovered this week was mostly under the median and was roughly 4 feet deep and 15 feet wide. Monday’s hole was found in an area where a contractor installed a temporary storm sewer pipe several weeks ago. Rainwater washed out the sandy soil packed around the pipe.

Construction projects in the area are part of the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program, which is a large scale modernization and rehabilitation of the interstate system.

Iowa News Headlines: Wed., May 14th 2014


May 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) – Officials say several staffers at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison required medical attention after an inmate allegedly attacked one of them. The incident occurred Monday morning. Officials say an inmate attacked a correctional officer after the inmate failed to follow orders from the officer. Two officers were sent to a local hospital for evaluation. Two other officers were seen by medical staff at the prison.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s executive branch is acknowledging that it erroneously disqualified dozens of former employees from jobs at its 42 agencies. The Department of Administrative Services says a review identified roughly 90 people who should not have been on a list of workers facing employment bans due to previous firings or forced resignations. Attorneys representing former workers have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit contending the state kept an illegal blacklist.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – A northern Iowa man has been given jail time after his minor son tested positive to marijuana exposure. Twenty-five-year-old Nathaniel James Gabrielson, of St. Ansgar, was recently sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 50 days suspended. He was also given two years of probation. Gabrielson pleaded guilty to an aggravated misdemeanor of child endangerment without injury.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa judge has upheld a life in prison without parole sentence for a man convicted of murder when he was a juvenile. Scott County District Judge Joel W. Barrows decided to keep the sentence for Romeo Hardin, based on Hardin’s lack of remorse and his behavior in prison. Hardin was 16 when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1996 shooting death of Augustus “Gus” Nance in Davenport.