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SW IA native/astronaut gets assigned to new mission to the space station

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Astronaut and southwest Iowa native Peggy Whitson is being assigned to another six-month mission aboard the International Space Station, what will be her third trip into orbit. Whitson has already spent 377 days in space, more than any other woman, and she’s thrilled by the chance to return. The space station has grown in size with several additions since Whitson was last there in 2007. “The U.S. has scientific facilities in both the European and the Japanese laboratory so it’ll give me a lot more places to do different science,” Whitson says. “Most importantly, the cupola was added on since I was there last. I’m looking forward to the view from the cupola.”

Whitson, who is a native of Beaconsfield, in Ringgold County, turned 55 this week. She was the space station’s first science officer, its first woman commander and she set records for spacewalks for a woman and for the most days in space for a woman. She also holds two patents for her work in biomedical research. In an interview with Radio Iowa, she was asked if there’s one accomplishment for which she’s the most proud. “I feel really lucky and honored to have had an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time for all of these things,” Whitson says. “Any one of them, the opportunity to live in space for over a year is a very special one and I’m really excited about the opportunity to get to live up there another six months.”

During one of her previous missions, Whitson did a little space farming — she grew soybeans in the lab. There are certain to be more experiments involving plants in her upcoming mission, but the details are still in the distance. “You can’t set your mind too much on the specifics of the mission in advance because the one thing that is super-sure is that it will change,” Whitson says. “You have to be flexible enough to go with the flow and adjust your expectations as you’re going along.”220px-Peggy_Whitson

Since America’s space shuttle program is over and a replacement spacecraft is still in the testing phase, Whitson and two crewmates will blast off in December of 2016 aboard a Soyuz rocket from a Russian launch pad. Relations between the U-S and Russia are strained right now, given the Ukraine situation, but Whitson isn’t worried about diplomatic issues overshadowing or threatening her mission. “The international partnership is stronger that the political issues that are going on right now,” Whitson says. “What’s really great is, the crew members on board, this is your family and you live with them and it doesn’t matter — the politics on earth don’t matter.”

Training for the next mission won’t be a breeze, but she anticipates it will be easier, since she’s already gone through the process twice before. Will this next mission into space be her last? Hopefully not, she says: “If my body can hold out, I’d be happy to keep going.”

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa GOP reviews bids to host Republican straw poll

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Republican Party has received four bids to host the 2015 straw poll later this year. The party announced Friday that four venues have submitted proposals to host the August event, which has traditionally been held in Ames the summer before a contested presidential caucus.

The locations are the Central Iowa Expo in Boone, the Iowa State Center in Ames, the Iowa Speedway in Newton and Drake University in Des Moines. A committee will review the bids and recommend a location. No timeline has been set for the decision.

First held in 1979, the Iowa straw poll has grown from a county GOP fundraiser to a large event. The poll draws a small percentage of caucus attendees. It’s one early test of campaign organization.

U. Iowa police body cameras often need repairs

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – One of the first Iowa police departments to outfit officers with body-worn cameras has repeatedly had to pay for repairs, highlighting one ongoing cost of the increasingly popular devices.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety has shipped dozens of cameras to their manufacturer for replacement and repair since buying them in 2011.

The department has paid 26 times to repair cameras at a total cost of nearly $5,000, about half of which was incurred last year. Each repair costs $193. That’s nearly the price of some new cameras, which have dropped in cost. Interim department director Dave Visin says the most common problem comes when officers plug cameras into computers to download videos the wrong way and damage the USB port.

John Deere adds jobs at Dubuque factory amid layoffs

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – John Deere has recently laid off hundreds of workers in the Midwest, but it has added jobs at its factory in Dubuque, where the company manufactures huge vehicles for construction and forestry. Last month, the company announced the layoff of 910 workers at five locations in Iowa and Illinois, citing reduced demand for farming equipment as the reason. But the Telegraph Herald reports that John Deer Dubuque Works has added more than 100 jobs since late 2014.

General Manager Byron Taylor says this addition brings the total number of people working at the Dubuque site to 2,500. Taylor says the rollout of new bulldozer models and forestry machines, which hit the market in January, have contributed to the company’s strong growth in a new customer segment.

2 from NE arrested on forgery & other charges, in Glenwood

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police In Glenwood report the arrest on Wednesday of a man and woman from Nebraska on forgery and other charges. Officers responded to the Bomgaars Store in Glenwood at around 1:10-p.m., following a report of a subject attempting to use a fraudulent check. After an investigation revealed other alleged, illegal activity, 31-year old Michael Dyer, of Omaha, was arrested for: Ongoing criminal conduct; conspiracy to commit felony forgery; 3 counts of forgery, and theft third degree.

33-year old Danelle Darling, of Bellevue Nebraska, was arrested for: Conspiracy to commit felony forgery; forgery, and theft 3rd degree. Both subjects were taken to the Mills County Jail
where Dyer’s bond was set at $47,000, and Darling was being held on $12,000 bond.

Creighton University hospital expects trauma certification

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Catholic Health Initiatives officials say they’re confident that Creighton University Medical Center’s Level 1 trauma center status soon will be certified. The CHI Health officials say a state review team examined the trauma program on Wednesday and found no deficiencies.

The state’s chief medical officer told Creighton early last month that a review team found in October that the trauma center failed to meet four out of the more than 160 standards that must be satisfied for the Level 1 designation. Trauma centers treat people who require immediate and intensive attention, and Level 1 patients may need resuscitation or establishment of an airway.

Ernst announces 99 county Iowa tour stops

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Republican U-S Senator Joni Ernst, today (Friday) announced the latest stops on her ongoing, 99-county tour of Iowa. Ernst’s office says she’ll visit 18 counties to meet with as many Iowans as possible all across the state. The western Iowa tour begins Mon., Feb. 16th in Mills County, with stops in Glenwood, Council Bluffs, Missouri Valley and Harlan.

Tuesday’s schedule includes visits to Atlantic, Audubon, Guthrie Center and Jefferson. Ernst will be in Carroll on Wednesday, and in Denison, next Thursday.

Here is her western Iowa schedule (the meetings are not public events):

Monday, February 16

9:15AM CT Mills County American Legion Meeting in Glenwood, IA

11:00AM CT Council Bluffs Chamber Meeting, Council Bluffs

1:00PM CT Community Memorial Hospital Tour (Harrison County), Missouri Valley

3:00PM CT Iowa Western Community College Tour & Chamber of Commerce Meeting; (Shelby County),Harlan.

Tuesday, February 17

9:30AM CT MAHLE Engine Components Tour (Cass County), Atlantic .

11:15AM CT Quality Machine of Iowa Inc. Tour; (Audubon County), Audubon.

1:15PM CT Guthrie County Hospital Meeting & Tour (Guthrie County), Guthrie Center.

3:00PM CT Greene County Development Corp. Meeting, Jefferson

Wednesday, February 18

3:30 PM CT Mayor Schweers Meeting (Carroll County) Santa Maria Winery, Carroll.

Thursday, February 19

4:00PM CT Crawford County Farm Bureau Meeting (Crawford County), Denison.

 

Bluffs man sentenced to 10-years on meth distribution charge

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A judge in Pottawattamie County, Thursday, sentenced a Council Bluffs man to serve 10-years in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. 48-year old Ronald Wayne Shenk was also ordered by United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose to serve a consecutive term of 5-years in prison for possession a firearm in relation to drug trafficking.  Shenk’s term of imprisonment is to be followed by five years of supervised release.

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says during the course of the investigation, law enforcement served a search warrant on Shenk’s residence in Council Bluffs on April 17th, 2014. The search produced over one kilogram of methamphetamine, over ten thousand dollars in cash, and ten firearms. Law enforcement also located drug trafficking paraphernalia, including digital scales, multiple cellular telephones, drug notes and surveillance equipment.

Shenk entered a guilty plea to the charges on October 2nd, 2014. The investigation was conducted by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, Mills County Sheriff’s Office, the Council Bluffs Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Man charged after Fort Dodge college lockdown gets probation

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – An 18-year-old who’d been charged with robbery after a lockdown at Iowa Central Community College has been given probation. The Messenger reports that Garhoth Dak, of Storm Lake, was sentenced on Monday to two years of probation and five years in prison, suspended. Dak pleaded guilty last month to one count of extortion.

Prosecutors say Dak admitted threatening someone at an Iowa Central apartment on Nov. 10. College officials placed the school on lockdown when the student reported that men were in her room. Dak surrendered to Fort Dodge police the day after the incident. Robbery charges against three others arrested in the case have been dropped. The three are Joseph Odir and Molong Deng, of Des Moines; and Juma Deng, of Urbandale.

Atlantic man arrested Friday morning

News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic man was arrested this (Friday) morning on a charge of Public Intoxication. The A-PD says 24-year old Levi Stice was booked into the Cass County Jail.

(9-a.m. News)