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Getting ready for some major road construction projects in the Bluffs area

News

March 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Some major road construction projects in the Council Bluffs metro area are on the horizon that will impact businesses and travelers at interchanges along the interstate. The Daily NonPareil reports a public information meeting will be held on April 9th to discuss this year’s construction project on the Council Bluffs Interstate System. The meeting will be held between 4- and 6- p.m. at the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program’s office located at the Mall of the Bluffs, 1751 Madison Ave., Suite 750, in Council Bluffs.

A short formal presentation will begin at 4:30 p.m. Staff from the Iowa Department of Transportation will be on hand during this two-hour meeting to discuss future projects and their schedules. Changes to projects that began during the 2014 construction seasons will be discussed, including ramp closure schedules on U.S. Highway 275/Iowa Highway 92 and Interstate 29 near the Metro Crossing Shopping Center.

Construction projects for this year will also be presented, including:

• I-29 and U.S. 275/Iowa 92 interchange.

• East system interchange of I-80/I-29.

• West system interchange of I-80/I-29.

• Consolidating railroad operations west of Mosquito Creek under I-29 and Iowa 92.

The Council Bluffs interstate upgrading project is the largest in the Iowa DOT’s fiscal year 2014-2018 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program. The meeting space is accessible for persons with disabilities. However, for those who require special accommodations at the meeting, please notify the Iowa DOT contact listed below by April 2nd.

For those who cannot attend the open house, a virtual, online meeting will be available beginning March 26 and can be accessed by visiting the project website, www.CouncilBluffsInterstate.IowaDOT.gov, and clicking on the online meeting link on the home page. For general information regarding the proposed improvements or public meeting, contact Scott Suhr, district transportation planner, Iowa DOT District 4 Office in Atlantic, at 712-243-3355 or 800-289-4368, or email Scott.Suhr@dot.iowa.gov.

Visit the Iowa DOT’s project-related public involvement event website at www.iowadot.gov/pim for information about scheduled public meetings and hearings, and opportunities to offer input to the Iowa DOT during the development of certain projects.

Will lawmakers start making health care contributions?

News

March 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — With many state workers poised to soon make monthly health care contributions for the first time, will Iowa lawmakers follow suit? Under a recent arbitration award, workers in the largest state employees’ union will have to start making a monthly contribution of at least $20 to their health benefits starting in January. This will be a shift for the majority of the 19,000 state workers represented by Local 61 the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Lawmakers in the part-time General Assembly can get plans that don’t require a monthly payment. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he’d like to change that. But Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal was less forthcoming on whether he will consider such a change.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sun., March 29th 2015

News

March 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

GOOSE LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Officials in the eastern Iowa town of Goose Lake have declared the town’s water system safe and have lifted a boil order this weekend. A water main break Monday night led officials to issue the boil-water advisory.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Police say no arrests have been made in a late-night shooting that injured one person. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that officers were called for a report of a shooting around 12:10 a.m. Friday. Police say five minutes later, 19-year-old Marquis Norris arrived at Covenant Medical Center with a gunshot wound.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A 20-year-old Dubuque man is behind bars, accused of trying to abduct an 11-year-old girl as she walked home from school. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that Robert Robbins was arrested Wednesday night after the girl reported that a man followed her as she walked home from school, grabbed her and forced her to a nearby shed. Robbins is being held at the Dubuque County jail on $50,000 cash bond. He could not be reached Saturday for comment.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Animal welfare officials in Iowa are searching for the person who dumped eight newborn kittens in a gas station dumpster in Mason City. The Globe Gazette reports that a gas station employee saw someone throw a black garbage bag Thursday into the trash bin outside of the business. The kittens were taken to the Mason City Stray Animal Shelter, where they died.

Stanton apartment building damaged in Sat. afternoon fire

News

March 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A fire that apparently started on a kitchen stove of an upstairs apartment in a downtown Stanton building resulted in one apartment being a total loss, with three others sustaining heavy water damage. According to reports, the blaze at 402 Broad Street began at around 3-p.m.

Crews from Villisca and Red Oak provided mutual aid in battling the flames for about three hours. No injuries were reported.

(Update) Audubon County k9 succumbs to his injuries

News

March 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Audubon County Sheriff’s Department K9 was who injured during an accident with his partner Friday night, has died from his injuries. Audubon County Deputy Kent Gries reported on his social media page that K9 “Harry” was euthanized after his injuries proved to be insurmountable. Gries was the dog’s former handler. “Harry” and Deputy Shawn Young, of Audubon, were traveling in a 2012 Chevy Tahoe that missed a curve near 345th Street and Lark Avenue in Audubon County, a few miles north of Interstate 80. The SUV ended up in a field on the southwest corner of the curve. According to reports, the pair were enroute to assist other officers with a situation on I-80, when the accident took place.

K9 "Harry"

K9 “Harry”

Young, who was wearing his seat belt, was transported by Exira Ambulance to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, while “Harry” was transported to a vet clinic in Atlantic.

Officials say the accident, which remains under investigation, happened at around 11:12-p.m. No other details were released.

Judge to review suspect statements to police before trial

News

March 28th, 2015 by Chris Parks

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – A judge will review video and a transcript of a homicide suspect’s interview with investigators to determine if his statements to police can be used as evidence at his upcoming trial. The Sioux City Journal reports that Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond submitted the copies during a 10-minute hearing Friday. He argues that Jonathan Neunaber’s statements are admissible evidence.

Neunaber, of Akron, Iowa, is charged with first-degree murder in the July beating death of his 80-year-old mother, Esther Neunaber. Neunaber’s attorney, public defender Billy Oyadare, is seeking to suppress Neunaber’s statements, saying Neunaber was never given the opportunity to have an attorney present and that an investigator continued to question him after he invoked his right to remain silent.

Iowa is #12 in obesity & we’re nudged to “Rethink Your Drink”

News

March 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Almost one in every three Iowans is obese, according to the latest rankings, and what we’re drinking can be just as fattening as what we’re eating. Carol Voss, a registered dietician and a nutritionist with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says just one 12-ounce soda contains around 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar, which in itself is more than the daily recommendation. It’s much worse for the 20-ounce pops.

“If you were thinking of opening those sugar packets you find at a restaurant table, the 20-ounce bottle would be 16 of those dumped into that plastic bottle,” Voss says. “So, you can see how that might exceed what we’re supposed to be consuming.” A state survey in 2012 found that 72-percent of Iowans consumed between one and three sugar-sweetened beverages daily. For women, it was 67-percent and 77-percent for men.

Voss says a campaign called “Rethink Your Drink” is urging Iowans to consider cutting out at least some of those sweet drinks and trading them for water or a non-sweetened tea. “It’s just a way of being a little more realistic about the calories we’re taking in,” Voss says. “When people are looking at ways to balance your calories, we look at the food we eat rather than the beverages we take in and beverages can be a very easy thing to modify.”

Drinking one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds of weight per year. The latest “State of Obesity” report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds 31-percent of all Iowans are obese, the 12th highest rate in the country. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet, and that contributes to things like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

(Radio Iowa)

Knowing severe weather facts vs. myths could be matter of life and death

News, Weather

March 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Weather experts have been spending this past week preparing Iowans for springtime threats such as tornadoes, hail and lightning. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp is also trying to dispel the many myths associated with severe weather. For instance, lightning can strike twice in the same spot. “There’s no doubt that’s a myth,” Heitkamp says. “Lightning can strike as often as it wants to and more often than not, lightning will strike the same place multiple times.”

Some Iowans might believe it’s a good idea to open windows and seek shelter in the southwest corner of a home in event of a tornado. That’s not the best advice, according to Heitkamp.”We want people to seek shelter underneath something sturdy or in a small, interior room. Stay out of the corners because the corners are actually the worst possible places to be during a tornado,” Heitkamp says.

“Opening the windows — it makes no difference. If the tornado wants the windows open, believe me, it is going to open them whether you like it or not. You better utilize that time to get yourself and your family members to your place of safety.” Another common falsehood about tornadoes is they’ll never cross a body of water.

“Nothing stops a tornado other than the tornado itself,” Heitkamp says. “Tornadoes can cross bodies of water — lakes, rivers and streams.” Heitkamp says knowing the difference between weather myths and weather facts may help save your life. The past week was designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 03-28-2015

News, Podcasts

March 28th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks

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2 FSC employees overcome by anhydrous fumes in Harlan

News

March 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A release of anhydrous ammonia at  the Farm Service Cooperative facility in Harlan Friday morning, resulted in two employees being sent to a hospital in Omaha. According to Harlan Lt. Fire Chief Jason Wickizer, the two, unidentified employees were working on a semi tanker believed to have contained anhydrous ammonia around 10 a.m. Friday, when the incident occurred.

Ron Kenkel, of Farm Service, said the workers were taken to Myrtue Medical Center and then flown by medical helicopter to the Nebraska Medical Center. Farm Service Coop was evacuated but returned to normal operation within two hours.

The cause of the anhydrous ammonia release remained under investigation.