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Branstad talks about DOT downsizing, alcohol at athletic events


July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad says he’s not worried about the Department of Transportation’s decision to close driver’s license stations in Carroll and Spencer on August 31st after the department didn’t get the total increase in funding it requested. Branstad says the Carroll County Treasurer plans to open a driver’s license renewal station in his office. “Because of the timing of it, I want to talk to the D-O-T about extending the time before they close it so Carroll County can be ready,” Branstad says.

He says the Carroll and Spencer D-O-T offices had the least amount of traffic. “And my guess is that when it is all said and done the public in these counties — Carroll County and Clay County — will feel like the public does in the other counties. They really appreciate having the quality of services that can be provided in these rural counties by county treasurer’s office where they are not that busy,” Branstad says.

The Republican governor also talked about the D-O-T plans to close seven maintenance garages in Akron, Centerville, Corning, Gowrie, Rock Valley, Sabula and Soldier. D-O-T leaders say the cutbacks may lead to some roads not getting plowed, but Branstad doesn’t buy that. “They’ve been in the process of consolidating that over time, and in so doing — and I’ve seen the math — they are going to be able to plow the roads and I don’t think it really is going to make a big difference in terms of that area,” Branstad says. “We are always looking for ways that we can more efficiently deliver the services and have more of the money going for building roads and bridges rather than for administrative costs.”

On another topic, Branstad was asked about the prospect of the three state universities expanding the sale of alcohol at athletic events. “I think they’ve got to be really careful. This is a Board of Regents decision, but there is a lot of drinking that goes on before the games with all the tailgating and all that. And binge drinking is a problem on college campuses,” Branstad says. “So, I think they need to look at the whole picture in terms of deciding whether if this is the thing they need to do, not just in terms of the money that they will bring in.”

When it comes to athletic funding Branstad says he doesn’t have an opinion on whether the athletic departments should give some funds to the university for academic programs. “I think that’s a university decision and if the athletic department wants to support the academic programs and the other part of the university. What did they used to say at Oklahoma? They wanted to have a university that the football team could be proud of,” Branstad said, then laughed.

Branstad made his comments during his weekly meeting with reporters.

(Radio Iowa)

Loess Hills Lavender Farm recognized as IFB’s latest Rural Iowa Award winner

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A Harrison County start-up lavender farm and western Iowa agri-tourism destination has been awarded the Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Renew Rural Iowa” Entreprenuer Award. The IFB says Tim and Mary Hammer’s Loess Hills Lavender Farm is visited by hundreds of visitors each year.  The Hammers are transplants to the Loess Hills, and grow lavender on a hillside near Missouri Valley.

After a great deal of research and studying the agronomy of growing lavender, the Hammers found that the sloping hills and unique soil makeup in the Loess Hills is ideal for raising lavender. The Loess Hills Lavender Farm was established in 2009, and now the Hammers host visitors on the farm May through October. Visitors to the farm can walk through the fields, pick lavender flowers and visit a shop that features items made from local craftsmen.

Additionally, the farm features a boutique with lavender items including creams, lotions and sprays. The fresh cut lavender is distilled for its oil and is then used in all of the available products. Mary Hammer found the recipes for the products and fine-tuned them until they were ready to be sold to visitors.

RRIA is an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources. For more information about the next RRIA Business Success Seminar, “The Journey to Your Vision,” on September 22 in Winterset, go to www.renewruraliowa.com.

General Mills expands flour recall after 4 more illnesses


July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — General Mills is expanding a flour recall issued over a possible link to an E. coli outbreak after four new illnesses were reported. The recall announced Monday covers several varieties of Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens flour produced on certain dates through February 10th.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said flour produced at a General Mills plant in Kansas City, Missouri, is a likely source of the outbreak, which so far has sickened 46 people in 21 states. The CDC says 13 have been hospitalized, and one person has developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

General Mills says the illnesses have been connected with consumers who ate or handled uncooked dough or ate uncooked batter made with raw flour.

Seminar on how to respond to active shooter in workplace


July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A seminar is scheduled for this morning (Tuesday) in central Iowa on how to respond to an active shooter in the workplace. Scott Smith, with the Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association, will speak at the Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. “It’s something people see on the news, they have questions, but they don’t necessarily want to bring it up and talk about it with co-workers. You know, it’s disturbing. It’s a difficult subject,” Smith says.

Law enforcement tactics have changed and they are now trained to confront active shooters, so Smith says people need to do all they can separate themselves from the shooter. “You can buy yourself time if you can get out of the building, if you can barricade yourself in a secure room. You’re buying yourself time until law enforcement gets there,” Smith says.

The seminar, scheduled for 9-11 a.m., is being presented by Des Moines insurance agency Holmes Murphy & Associates. (More info. at: http://www.holmesmurphy.com/event/aiming-safety-preparing-active-shooter-workplace/

(Radio Iowa)

Governor says increase in bicycle deaths part of overall traffic problem


July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A record number of bicyclists have died in accidents in Iowa this year, and that has caught the attention of Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad says it is part of a larger problem on the roadways. “Distracted drivers, drowsy drivers, people under the influence of controlled substances, and we’ve seen not only an increase in the deaths of cyclists, motorcyclists, but also motorists. And I do want to see us address those issues,” Branstad says. Nine bicyclists have died in the state this year.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan has put together a group that is working on the issue. “I think cyclists are an important piece of that. When we talk about fatalities in general it’s the distracted driving, the drugged driving, the drunk driving and the drowsy driving that seems to be the problem,” Ryan says. “For cyclists they are always at the disadvantage when it’s any kind of vehicle that causes issues.”

Ryan says you don’t have to be on a bike to be in danger from distracted drivers. “Pedestrians are the other issue that we have dealt with specifically, so those motor vehicles are certainly important, but we have to include bicyclists and pedestrians when we talk about traffic safety,” Ryan says. She says her department put out a brochure this spring trying to make motorists more aware of bicyclists. Governor Branstad says the Pokemon Go phenomenon that has hit recently has increased concerns for pedestrians.

“If you walk around Des Moines even and all over the country, people are walking around looking at their phones and crossing streets. And so, pedestrians need to be careful too — even if you are involved in Pokemon Go, or whatever it might be,” Branstad says. Branstad was asked if it might be time to ban cellphone use for drivers.
“Well, that’s one of the things we are looking at as far as distracted drivers. And we will be looking at the whole thing about the used of different devices and are there things that might distract drivers,” Branstad says.

The governor says he expects Commissioner Ryan’s group to make recommendations to him on distracted driving and it will be one of the major issues he talks about in his state-of-the-state address in January.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., 7/26/16


July 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

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

CLARION, Iowa (AP) — Wright County officials approved a zoning change that will allow a North Carolina company to build a $240 million hog processing plant that will create about 900 jobs initially and hundreds more after completion of a second phase. The Mason City Globe Gazette reports the Wright County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously approved the zoning change needed for Clinton, North Carolina, based Prestage Farms to build the plant near Eagle Grove.

SHENANDOAH, Iowa (AP) — Police charged a pickup truck driver with hitting and seriously injuring a Florida bicyclist who was camping after riding in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports 55-year-old Danny Cardin, of Homer, Louisiana, was charged with serious injury by vehicle and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident after police were called to a campground in Shenandoah late Sunday. The Iowa State Patrol says Cardin’s pickup struck a tent, dragging 67-year-old James Foley. He’d joined in an Iowa bike event.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A state lawyer is arguing that Iowa athletic director Gary Barta isn’t a public official. Assistant attorney general George Carroll has asked a judge to dismiss former senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer’s request for an injunction blocking her layoff. Carroll says the state’s whistleblower act doesn’t apply to Barta.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers have released a survey that says some health care providers aren’t being paid properly under Iowa’s privatized Medicaid program. The survey released Monday says 90 percent of more than 400 health care providers who responded report administrative costs increased since the program switched to private management April 1. The survey indicates nearly eight in 10 of those providers say they haven’t been paid on time. A spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad calls the survey partisan.

Truckers hurt in Pott. County crash


July 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Two truck drivers were injured during an accident Monday morning on Interstate 80 in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says a semi driven by 62-year old Larry Swanson, of East Peoria, IL, was merging onto westbound I-80 from the shoulder of the road near the I-680 split at around 10:10-a.m., when the  2017 Peterbilt he was driving came into contact with a 2016 Kenworth driven by 50-year old Balwir Kondola, of Sacremento, CA. Both men were wearing their seat belts.

Photo's from the Minden Fire & Rescue Department's Facebook page.

Photo’s from the Minden Fire & Rescue Department’s Facebook page.

Minden2The patrol says the men suffered minor injuries and were transported by Minden Rescue to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, where they were treated and released. Neola Fire and Rescue was also on the scene. The accident remains under investigation.

The State Patrol says also, an Onawa man was injured during an accident in Monona County this afternoon. 86-year old Neil Leapley was transported to Burgess Mercy Hospital by Minden Rescue, after the scooter he was driving was struck by a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by 61-year old Joy Ohl, of Norfolk, NE. The accident happened in Onawa, at around 12:50-p.m., as the Jeep was traveling east on highway 175 (Iowa Avenue). Ohl had the green light on the 4 lane road with two lanes in each direction. Leapley was cutting across Iowa Avenue traveling southbound. The traffic in the left lane was stopped due to a vehicle waiting to turn north onto 10th Street. The Patrol says Leapley was not using the crossing area and cut between the two vehicles, when he was struck.

Clarinda woman arrested Monday afternoon


July 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Red Oak Police arrested a woman this (Monday) afternoon, on a valid warrant. 27-year old Sara Ann Billie, of Clarinda, was taken into custody at around 1:10-p.m. on a Montgomery County warrant for Contempt of Court/Failure to Appear – Violation of Probation. Billie was being held at the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center on a $1,500 cash bond.

Non-injury accident in Atlantic


July 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police say no injuries were reported following an accident Friday morning on  7th Street. Officials say a vehicle driven by Sarah Masker, of Waverly, was traveling north on 7th Street/Highway 6, approaching 911 s.w. 7th, and attempted to turn into the Casey’s west store, when her vehicle was struck by a southbound car driven by Marie Rourick, of Wiota. The accident happened at around 9:10-a.m.  Masker was issued a warning for Failure to Yield while making a left turn, and having no valid driver’s license. Damage from the collision amounted to $6,500.

6 arrests in Atlantic


July 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports six recent arrests. Sunday, 45-year old Beverly Carroll, of Atlantic, was arrested on three counts of Simple Assault. And, 20-year old Matthew Paulsen, of Adair, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance/marijuana. He was also cited for Driving While Suspended.

Saturday, Atlantic Police arrested 53-year old Jon Misner, of Atlantic, on a Cass County Warrant for Failure to Appear in court on a Public Intoxication charge. 30-year old Albert Johnson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault. 38-year old Justin Henson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication and Criminal Mischief in the 5th degree. And, 36-year old Richard Keasey, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication.

And, on Friday, Atlantic Police arrested 26-year old Devin Register, of Atlantic, for Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree.  All subjects were booked into the Cass County Jail.