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7AM Newscast 04-10-2013

News, Podcasts

April 10th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Today’s weather picture

News, Weather

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Low pressure will continue to push eastward across Missouri today and into the lower Great Lakes region by Thursday night. Thunderstorms will continue intermittently through tonight, especially across the east. Moderate to heavy rainfall is possible with thunderstorms and may lead to localized areas of ponding water and rises on local streams and rivers. A flash flood watch is in effect for eastern Iowa. Colder air will push south into the region throughout the day today, with rain gradually changing to snow. A wintry mix is likely across the northwest, with freezing rain also possible across the north overnight. Accumulating snow will be restricted to the north and west. Higher snowfall totals are possible north of Iowa, with light snow lingering into Thursday.

John Wayne Birthplace officials seek funding for museum in Winterset

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the John Wayne Birthplace in Winterset will go before the Vision Iowa Board today (Wednesday) to seek state funding for a museum honoring the movie star. Birthplace director Brian Downes says the museum will be built next to Wayne’s birthplace home – which is already the area’s biggest tourism draw.

Artist’s rendition of the proposed John Wayne Museum in Winterset.

“Our chamber of commerce recently announced that two-thirds of the people who come to Winterset come to see the John Wayne Birthplace,” Downes says. “According to surveys, that’s the reason they come here.” Around $1.5 million is needed to build the 9,000 square foot museum.

Downes says they’re roughly half way toward meeting that goal thanks to individual donations and contributions from the City of Winterset, Madison County and local businesses. The owner of the largest privately held John Wayne memorabilia collection has also agreed to give the museum a host of items valued at $2 million.  “That came from our Birthplace Board president Joe Zuckschwerdt, who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” Downes says. “He’s been collecting for 40 years and he has loads of movie posters, film wardrobes, photographs, scripts, contracts, fine art, letters, and even John Wayne’s personal date and address books.”

Several fundraising events are planned next month for John Wayne’s 106th birthday celebration in Winterset. Downes says the festivities will draw fans of “The Duke” from across the country and beyond. “People from 40 states and England and Scotland have made reservations,” Downes said. “John Wayne did the hard work a long time ago and we’re just keeping it alive.” The John Wayne Birthday Celebration in Winterset is scheduled for May 24-25. Maureen O’Hara, who starred in several John Wayne films, is scheduled to speak at a museum benefit dinner.

(Radio Iowa)

Woman arrested for domestic abuse in Villisca

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Tuesday night of 34-year Angie Jo Huffstutlear. The Villisca woman was charged with Serious Domestic Abuse, following an investigation into an incident in the 100 block of north 5th Avenue, in Villisca. Huffstutlear was taken into custody at around 8:10-p.m. and brought to the Montgomery County Jail, where she was being held without bond, pending an appearance before a magistrate.

Iowa uses new system for boat registrations

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are using a new system for organizing boat registrations in the state. The state Department of Natural Resources says a boat’s registration information, title and decals will be on one document. Registrations will be handled in the county where the boat owner resides. Nonresidents can register in the county where the boat primarily will be used.

Officials encourage owners to bring in their current registration for a renewal, since it includes information that’s needed in the new system. That includes the boat’s make, model, model year, hull identification number, length and width. About 235,000 boats will be registered in April. Registrations are good for three years.

DNR places 10 young ospreys at lakes in Carroll & Dubuque Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it is continuing its program of placing young ospreys at Iowa locations to establish future nesting sites. The DNR plans to place 10 young ospreys at Mud Lake in Dubuque County and at Swan Lake in Carroll County. The 42-day-old ospreys are developed enough to tear apart fish to feed themselves. They will begin flying at about 53 days of age. The raptors establish a home where they learn to fly and catch fish. They return to their home location to nest at four or five years of age. Last year, 18 pairs nested producing 32 young. Since 1997, 249 ospreys have been released in Iowa.

ABD says April a top month where minors try to get alcohol

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) is joining other organizations across the country to observe April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Shannon Pogones, oversees the A-B-D’s training programs for retailers. “This is the time of year when youth are typically out attempting to purchase more alcohol, having graduation parties, and spring break parties, and prom parties and after parties and things where alcohol is present,” Pogones says. The division sent out reminder letters to retailers on the issue.
“It went out to licensees — even restaurants and places that just have beer and wine permits — saying ‘hey’ prom and graduation are coming up more, just be aware that you may be seeing more of an increase of youth attempting to purchase in your area,” Pogones says. The letter also reminds the retailers of the online training A-B-D has created to teach employees how to avoid selling to minors.

“We also helped create a tool called I-Alert which helps stores and on and off-premise locations make a policy for their establishment,” Pogones says. She says those policies allow them to decide if they are going to card everybody, or just people who look under 30, and then they can then give it to their employees and have everybody sign off on. The A-B-D website also provides information for parents on how they can help prevent problems with alcohol. Pogones says simply being up to meet your child when they come home can be a deterrent.

“Communicate with other parents and school officials on where your child may be going and discuss the consequences that your child’s school may have around if they get caught possessing or consuming alcohol,” Pogones says. “Whether that my jeopardize your graduation or future sporting events or things like that and also just the consequences of the harm you may do to yourself and potentially others.” Pogones says it’s important for parents to keep the lines of communication open about the dangers of alcohol, and that conversation can start before they reach high school age. Find out more at Iowaabd.com.

(Radio Iowa)

Senate GOP proposes 15 percent income tax cut

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Republicans in the Iowa Senate are touting a plan that would cut individual income taxes by 15 percent over the next three years and get rid of a tax break Republicans have long fought to preserve. Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, revealed details of the plan at a statehouse news conference. “It is not just a whimsical idea,” Feenstra says. “This idea took a lot of time and effort and took a lot of time, meeting with a lot of people, to get it right.” Iowa income taxes were last reduced in 1997, by a 10-percent across-the-board cut. Feenstra says another income tax cut is long overdue. “What this plan does is it starts getting at the fact of reducing income coming into the state that is currently at a surplus,” Feenstra says.

The state has a more than 800-million dollar surplus today. Feenstra’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the state income tax, by reducing the number of products and services on which the state sales tax is not charged today. “Right now there’s 191 sales tax exemptions, so if you want to completely eliminate the income tax, that’s the method you’d need,” Feenstra says. “You’d have to go down that path.” The income tax plan Senate Republicans propose now would get rid of the tax break that lets Iowans deduct their federal tax bill from their income before calculating their state income taxes.

That change has long been opposed by Iowans for Tax Relief — an organization founded by a former Republican legislator — but Feenstra says that tax break is “complicated” and makes Iowa’s income taxes look higher than they are. “Is it a watershed moment? Yeah, probably, because what we’re trying to say is, ‘Hey, we want to reduce everyone’s income tax and we’ve got an idea,’” Feenstra says. “‘We’ve got a plan.’” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs rejects the G-O-P’s plan. “They’ve come up with a mechanism that massively benefits the richest Iowans. Warren Buffet will probably move to our state as a result of their legislation, but no one else will,” Gronstal says. “It’s a tax plan that hurts middle class families.”

Iowa’s current income tax system has nine rates or brackets, with a top rate of just under nine percent. The Republicans’ plan sets up a three-tier income tax system, with a top rate of five-point-six percent. Gronstal says that means wealthy Iowans would get a bigger tax cut than others.  “It’s a tax bill that hurts the middle class in Iowa, makes them carry a greater portion of the load of taxes in this state,” Gronstal says. “That’s all their bill does: shifts taxes to middle class families.”

Republicans in the House have proposed a different approach to income taxes, something akin to a flat tax, but it also gets rid of that tax break Republicans have fought for decades to keep. House Republicans also proposed a tax rebate for every Iowan. Republican Governor Terry Branstad has said he’s focused on cutting commercial property taxes rather than income taxes.

(Radio Iowa)

Missouri River level stays low because of drought

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water released into the lower Missouri River this spring will remain at minimal levels because of ongoing dry conditions in the region. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to release just enough water to support a minimal channel for barge traffic on the river upstream of St. Louis. Additional water won’t be released to raise the water level above Kansas City if there is no commercial traffic in that area.

The corps says it expects the amount of runoff flowing into the river basin this spring to be about 81 percent of normal. So the corps is imposing drought conservation measures. The amount of water released out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border averaged 18,600 cubic feet per second during March.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., April 10th 2013

News

April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Republican Party of Iowa has set the dates for the 2014 caucuses and conventions. The precinct caucuses will be Jan. 25, the county conventions March 8, the district conventions April 26 and the state convention June 14. The party meetings come as Iowa Republicans are struggling to map out the state GOP’s future.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would require children enrolled in the state’s voluntary preschool program to attend regularly. The Senate passed the bill 32 to 17 yesterday. It earlier passed the House and now moves to Gov. Terry Branstad. The measure would allow school districts to require that children enrolled in preschool attend regularly.

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) — The murder trial of an eastern Iowa man accused of shooting his grandparents in the head has been reset for later this year. Isaiah Sweet’s trial is now set for Oct. 16. He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Richard and Janet Sweet in May 2012. Their bodies were found on Mother’s Day in their Manchester home.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are monitoring the weather’s impact on pheasant numbers in the state. The Department of Natural Resources says spring nesting season is a critical time for pheasants. Their counts in the state could decrease if temperatures in April and May are below normal and rainfall is above normal. The opposite weather would lead to an increase.