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Hit & run injury accident in Council Bluffs this morning


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A 25-to 35-year old black male riding bicycle was struck early this (Wednesday) morning in Council Bluffs, by a vehicle that left the scene. Bluffs Police says emergency crews responded at around 4-a.m. to the area of S. 13th and 6th Avenue in Council Bluffs, following a report of a man lying on the curb with a bicycle. A preliminary scene investigation indicated the bicycle was struck from behind by a vehicle while it was traveling south. The victim suffered head trauma and was transported to CHI Creighton University Medical Center. Authorities say his identity is currently unknown.

The man was riding a red, black and silver mountain bike and carrying a Star Wars backpack. Anyone with information in reference to this crash is urged to contact the Council Bluffs Police Traffic Unit at (712) 328‐4948 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 328 ‐ STOP (7867).

SD man dies following I-29 accident in western IA


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

An accident Tuesday morning on Interstate 29 in northwest Iowa’s Monona County has claimed the life of a man from South Dakota. The Iowa State Patrol reports a tow truck with its warning lights on was parked partially in the left lane of I-29 southbound at the 106.35-mile marker, with the operator working to remove a vehicle that had earlier entered median.

For reasons unknown, a 2010 Dodge pickup driven by 50-year old Darwin Knutson, of Webster, South Dakota, failed to move over, slow down or take evasive action for the tow truck, as required by Iowa law. The pickup, which was traveling in the left lane, struck the tow truck on the right rear side. The accident happened at around 6:24-a.m., Tuesday. After the collision, the pickup went off the road to the right and into a farm field.

Knutson, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to a hospital in Onawa, where he died from injuries suffered in the crash. The operator of the tow truck was not injured.

Corning man arrested in connection w/Red Oak incident


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A man from Adams County was arrested Tuesday night in Red Oak, on a charge of Criminal Mischief in the 5th Degree, after he allegedly vandalized a vehicle by coloring a registration tag. Red Oak Police say 24-year old Cody Dean Johnson, of Corning, was taken into custody at around 11:50-p.m., after officers responded to 1804 E. Summit Street, for a report of a man violating his No Trespass Order.

When they arrived, officers found Johnson sitting outside of 1802 E. Summit. He was placed into custody and brought to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, where bond was set at $300.

Red Oak Police were assisted at the scene by Deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.

Branstad revises his state budget plans


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Last (Tuesday) night, Governor Terry Branstad formally presented legislators with his plan to ensure the current year’s state budget does not slip into a deficit. A three-member panel of experts threw the current year’s spending plan into disarray by reducing the “official” estimate of state tax revenue by 131 million dollars. Branstad, as expected, says it’s time to dip into the state’s cash reserve to cover THAT expected shortfall. “It’s not an easy situation,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference on Monday.)

Republican legislative leaders have indicated they’re also willing to use the state’s cash reserve fund to keep the state budget in the black. The budget documents Branstad’s staff released last (Tuesday) night also show the governor has pared more than 173 million dollars from his initial budget plan for the NEXT state fiscal year that begins July 1st. There’s nearly 15 million dollars of unspecified trimming throughout the executive branch of state government. Branstad has reduced his initial budget plans for the three state universities by 12 million dollars.

(Radio Iowa)

Legislators move to classify invasive plant as ‘noxious weed’

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials say a “super weed” is invading the state and the Iowa House has voted to classify the invasive plant as a “noxious” weed.  Representative Mike Sexton, a farmer from Rockwell City, say “We’re talking about a weed that can devastate Iowa agriculture.” Sexton says Palmer amaranth (AM-are-anth) has spread to as many as 82 of the state’s 99 counties. The weed can reach seven feet in height and it chokes out other vegetation. It has spread through southern states and seems to have a resistance to common farm chemicals.

Representative Dean Fisher, a farmer from Montour, says by classifying Palmer amaranth as a noxious weed, it would be illegal to bring the plant’s seeds into the state. County weed commissioners may be more aggressive in trying to combat the invasive plant, too. “Palmer amaranth is a very noxious weed. It’s very difficult to kill and can have very severe impacts on the production rates on crops, on the yields and so it’s imperative that we get started on trying to eradicate this weed that’s been encroaching here in Iowa,” Fisher says.

Iowa State University experts say if Palmer amaranth gets established in a corn field, it can stifle yields by 90 percent. In a soybean field, studies show yields invaded by Palmer amaranth were cut by 80 percent. Seeds for Palmer amaranth were mixed in with other seeds that were planted on conservation areas.

Minnesota classified Palmer amaranth as a noxious weed in 2014 after it was found in two counties there. This past fall, a crew with blowtorches went through a few fields in Minnesota to burn the plants, to try to prevent the seeds from spreading. Experts say mowing conservation ground that was accidentally seeded with Palmer amaranth can contain its spread, but if the plants have seeds, tractor tires can carry the seeds out of the prairie grass areas and into farm fields.

(Radio Iowa)

Another Iowa county approves hike in local minimum wage


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Five counties in Iowa have now approved minimum wage increases that are higher than the statewide minimum wage of $7.25. The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to raise the local minimum wage to $8.20 on May 1.

“I’m extremely happy that it passed. I think this is a win for the working class people in Lee County.” That’s Lee County Supervisor Gary Folluo. The move follows the Iowa Legislature’s passage of a bill to prohibit minimum wage hikes by local governments. If Governor Terry Branstad signs the bill into law, the wage increases in Lee, Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Wapello counties will be reversed. Folluo said he’s not worried about the legislature’s actions.

“I think this sends a pretty strong message about how we feel in Lee County, as far as the leadership is concerned. I hope they listen to that and I hope the Governor thinks about that a little bit,” Folluo said. Ron Fedler was the only supervisor in Lee County to vote against the increase. Fedler said he supports an increase in the minimum wage, but feels it should be up to the state or federal government.

(Radio Iowa)

(UPDATE) House panel poised to pass abortion ban based on fetal heartbeat


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A proposed ban on abortions if the fetus has a detectable heartbeat is SCHEDULED for debate this (Wednesday) afternoon in a House committee. Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta is the chief spokeperson for the proposal. “We ran on pro-life issues and I think our voters, our constituents are looking to us to make a very bold statement this year,” Lundgren says. Earlier this month the Republican-led Iowa Senate endorsed a ban on abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

Democrats say a timeline that’s connected to the detection of a fetal heartbeat would set the ban at the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy, before some women realize they are pregnant. Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames says “This bill would take away a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions before she would have known she had a decision to make.”

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, the top Republican in the legislature, says there enough votes on the committee to pass the fetal heartbeat proposal. “Life is an important topic to Iowans,” Upmeyer says. “We hear that at the doors, at forums, so this is another opportunity to pass a bill, perhaps, that is a pro-life bill and we’ll see where it goes.” Wessel-Kroeschell says the bill would not grant exceptions if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. “The extreme legislation would make most safe, legal abortions illegal in Iowa,” Wessel-Kroeschell says. “Clearly, we are very concerned…This is an all-out assault on women and a sneak attack from Republicans at the last minute.”

This Friday is the deadline for an abortion policy bill to clear the House Human Resources Committee and Democrats complain the proposal was not revealed until Tuesday afternoon. Upmeyer says compared to the idea of passing an abortion ban based on the moment of conception, an abortion ban based on the time a heartbeat can be detected is an easier concept. “You know when that point in time is,” Upmeyer says. Lundgren says a heartbeat is a “concrete” measurement.

“Life at a heartbeat. It’s hard to deny it. It’s there,” Lundgren says. “…We use the detection of a heartbeat or lack of a heartbeat at the end of life. It makes common sense to use the detection of a heartbeat at the beginning of life.” Democrats say court challenges in two other states have derailed similar abortion bans that were based on the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Wessel-Kroeschell predicts this bill would face a similar fate if it becomes law in Iowa.

We can’t take away the decisions that women make about their health care,” Wessel-Kroeschell says. “It’s just not right.” G-O-P leaders in the House say Republicans at least want the proposal considered this year.

(O.Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., March 29th 2017


March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

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

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are backing newly filed legislation that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which would be the strictest ban in the country if enacted. A GOP-led House committee had been set to vote on the provision Tuesday night but lawmakers later adjourned without a decision. It’s expected to be taken up again today (Wednesday). The provision could ban abortions as early as six weeks in a pregnancy.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A top Iowa regulator has maintained a busy and profitable private law practice even as she’s been responsible for complex matters such as the Dakota Access pipeline and renewable energy policy. A review by The Associated Press shows that Iowa Utilities Board chairwoman Geri Huser has been involved in 50 matters as an attorney during her two-year tenure, signing documents and occasionally appearing at hearings during normal workhours. The outside work adds income to her $128,900 state salary.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has unanimously voted for a bill that would add restrictions to how authorities can seize money and other items from people suspected of illegal activity. The legislation passed Tuesday and now heads to the House. Civil forfeiture is a legal process that allows law enforcement to take money or property from a person suspected of illegal activity. The bill in Iowa would require seized cash or property to be returned if it’s valued at less than $5,000 and there’s no conviction.

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — A man charged with stabbing his sister to death has chosen to have a judge, not a jury, decide his fate. The Sioux City Journal reports that 34-year-old Thomas Bibler on Friday waived his right to a jury trial in Plymouth County District Court.

Lawsuit over house modeled after Kinnick Stadium dismissed

News, Sports

March 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Neighbors who had sued to try to prevent an Iowa City couple from building a nearly 7,500-square-foot home modeled after the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium say they will not appeal last week’s dismissal of the lawsuit.

The Press-Citizen reports that the lawsuit was dismissed on March 16 after a judge found no issue with the city issuing a building permit for the house. The house Reed and Sandy Carlson plan to build will look like the Hawkeyes’ 87-year-old stadium, complete with brick siding and a replica of the press box.

Neighbors have expressed concern about the home’s size and the potential for big parties, as well as drainage, fire safety and traffic issues.

Statewide Tornado Drill in Iowa (Schedule of events for 3/29/17)

News, Weather

March 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

After coordinating with NWS offices serving Iowa, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (IHSEM), officials with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Des Moines said Tuesday evening, that the tornado drill is a “go” for Wednesday, March 29th. It will be cloudy across the state and there will be rain showers. There is no threat for severe weather. No lightning is expected with minimal atmospheric instability. Conditions are expected to be similar across portions of Iowa both on Thursday and Friday.

The NWS will message through social media, NWSChat, NWS webpages and NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio prior to the test on Wednesday and during the test Wednesday that there is no threat for severe weather and a drill will occur between 10-11 AM.

Below is the timeline of the drill scheduled for Wednesday March 29, 2017:

  • 10:00 AM – Test Tornado Watch issued for Iowa.
  • Around 10:30 AM – Test Tornado Warnings for Iowa counties issued.
  • 11:00 AM – Test Tornado Watch expires.