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Reports say more rain is needed for crops

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Rain fell in parts of Iowa this weekend providing some much needed moisture to Iowa corn and soybean fields, but the showers were isolated, for soil that has been drying back out. Iowa State Extension Agronomist Clark McGrath covers the counties from Carroll to the Missouri border. He says it’s dry, but conditions are better than last year.  “Last year at this time, it was entire fields, and this year, luckily, it’s portions of fields. So, yeah, we could us moisture,” McGrath says. “But after talking to people from across the state — actually RAGBRAI just came through and I talked to farmers from southeast Iowa and east-central Iowa — and they said that they felt like southwest Iowa here was some of the best stuff they’d seen, and I kinda agree with that.”

Joel DeJong is another extension agronomist who covers nine-western-Iowa counties from Sibley to Missouri Valley. He says the rain is important as the corn crop hits a critical stage.
“We’re entering that time period when it’s the most critical time period. It’s at pollination where we really determine where how many kernels we end up with on those ears. The next five weeks after that, it’s kernel fill, but the next four weeks determines what our ultimate potential is,” Dejong explains. “And so, if we can’t get rainfall we would like to bring our average daily temperatures down into that highs into the lower to mid-80s rather than the lower to mid 90s because, that drops daily moisture demand almost in half.”

Dejong says the crops are showing moisture stress. “We haven’t had but a half inch of rain in the last three, four weeks, so we’re starting to see more and more on a daily basis, those plants curling, particularly in the corn fields — and in the lighter soils — the corn is basically turning white,” according to DeJong. He says the plants need an inch of rain daily at this stage of their growth.

(Radio Iowa)

Due to upturn in whooping cough cases, booster shot is now mandatory for Iowa 7th graders

News

July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa students who will be starting seventh grade next month have to be vaccinated for whooping cough, or pertussis. Dr. Patty Quinlisk, the state’s chief epidemiologist, says it’s a new requirement this year. Dr. Quinlisk says, “Kids need a booster shot just to keep them safe from this disease and to keep them from spreading it to other people.” The chemistry in the shots was changed about 15 years ago, allowing for an upturn in the number of cases. Because of that, she says a whooping cough booster is now mandatory for Iowa middle schoolers.

“That’s about the time the shots they got before they started kindergarten are waning,” Quinlisk says. “In other words, that immunity starts to not be as strong and makes the kid susceptible to this disease again.” When you take your child in for the booster, she recommends checking with your health care professional to see what other shots might be a good idea, too.

“For example, there’s the new papilloma virus vaccine, there’s some other recommended ones, like the meningococcal vaccine,” Quinlisk says. “There’s others that may not be required but they’re strongly recommended and as long as you’re there, it’s a good time just to make sure your kid’s up to date for everything.” Last year, Iowa reported nearly one-thousand cases of whooping cough, though the numbers have fallen dramatically this year to about 150 cases so far.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa interactive trail app under development

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new interactive smartphone and computer app featuring Iowa’s trails is under development and organizations behind the development hope to launch it later this year.  Once completed, the “Iowa by Trail” app will feature an interactive map that allows users to locate their position, find the closest trail and find points of interest along the way. It also will keep track of distance, weather, news and events and communicate with friends and followers about their experience.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is working with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of West Des Moines, and other private partners to raise money to produce the app and website. The foundation needs $59,000.  The expected release date for the app is late this year.

Iowa early News Headlines: Tue., July 23rd 2013

News

July 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press….

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) – Officials are still investigating the cause of an explosion that injured five men performing electrical work at a manufacturing plant in northwest Iowa. The Sioux City Journal says TimeWell Drainage officials were still hunting for answers at the Sibley plant yesterday. The accident was reported shortly before noon Saturday. It happened while workers were switching power lines to a new transformer, according to the Osceola County sheriff’s office.

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) – Crews are continuing to search for the body of a man believed to have drowned at a dam on the Upper Iowa River east of Decorah. KWWL-TV reports authorities identified the man as 29-year-old Eric Langland of Decorah. Winneshiek County Sheriff’s officials say Langland was last seen struggling in the water Saturday night. A friend then saw him pulled under by the water coming over the dam.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An FBI official says a 30-year prison term for a New Jersey man convicted of sex trafficking in Iowa will protect the public from an “evil predator.” Johnelle Bell must serve 85 percent of the term, handed down Friday by a federal judge.

WESLEY, Iowa (AP) – A state patrol plane helped authorities capture a man suspected in the shooting of a northern Iowa man. The Globe Gazette newspaper reports the incident began early Sunday with a dispute between two men in Wesley, a small town about 10 miles east of Algona. Officers have arrested 25-year-old Andrew Zeitler of Wesley.

Iowa topsoil moisture declines in hot dry week

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – After a very wet start to this planting season, Iowa crop conditions are quickly reversing from too wet to too dry.  The USDA says topsoil with adequate or surplus moisture declined 22 percentage points last week from the week before with 43 percent of the state’s topsoil now adequate or in surplus. Temperatures statewide averaged 4.8 degrees above normal and average precipitation was barely measurable while normal for the week is just over an inch.

Corn and soybeans remain behind schedule with just 35 percent of the corn crop tasseled, behind the five-year average of 70 percent. Overall, corn is about 10 days behind normal in development.  Thirty-six percent of the soybean crop is blooming, behind the normal 70 percent.

NJ man sentenced to 30-years in prison on sex trafficking charges in western IA and NE

News

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa reports 29-year old Johnelle Lewis Bell, of Hammonton, New Jersey, was sentenced Friday in United States District Court in Des Moines on charges of sex trafficking and associated charges.  Bell was sentenced to a total of 30-years in prison, to be followed by 5-years of supervised release. He must also pay a $1,200 special assessment for the Crime Victim Fund. Bell remained in the custody of the United States Marshal’s Service pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which he will serve his sentence.

U-S Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt said “Bell essentially enslaved these women, and forced them to commit sex acts for his financial gain. Bell’s sentence, which he must serve 85% of, reflects the seriousness of his crime.” In all, Bell was sentenced on 12 charges, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking, coercion or enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution, conspiracy to transport in interstate commerce for prostitution and transportation in interstate commerce for prostitution.

Bell was originally indicted in a twelve-count indictment on April 26, 2012, and a twelve-count superseding indictment was returned by the Federal Grand Jury on November 6, 2012. On November 20, 2012, following an almost week-long trial, a federal jury in Council Bluffs found Bell guilty of all twelve counts with which he was charged. The charges arose from a prostitution sting operation on June 18, 2011, by the Child Exploitation Task Force (formerly the Great Plains Innocence Lost Task Force) operating in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.

While the case dealt primarily with young adult females roughly 19-23 years of age, at least two of the young adults involved in this case reported becoming engaged in prostitution as minors, by at least about ages 16 or 17. FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas R. Metz says “This sentencing removes an evil predator from the streets and prevents him from exploiting others.” On June 18, 2011, answering ads for prostitution on Backpage.com, for Omaha and Council Bluffs, an undercover FBI agent posing as a customer arranged a “date” for prostitution. At the ensuing raid, agents and officers encountered Johnelle Lewis Bell and three adult females engaged in prostitution. The resulting federal investigation uncovered a sex trafficking venture involving Bell and as yet to be formally identified “pimp partners,” centering around Little Rock, Arkansas.

Young adult women formerly working as prostitutes for Bell testified at trial regarding their histories of very troubled childhoods, mental and emotional problems, homelessness and lack of material support, and substance abuse. The victims testified that Bell lured them to work for Bell on promises of love and long-lasting personal relationships, and help with problems in their lives. However, once they engaged in prostitution for Bell, the promises evaporated, and all of the money from the sex acts they performed at Bell’s direction, went to Bell. One of the victims testified she was repeatedly physically assaulted by Bell.  She said Bell also threatened the victim’s family, and her very young child with serious harm or death if she did not do as Bell told her.

23-year old Brittany Lawson, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, a co-defendant of Bell’s, pled guilty on October 12, 2012, to Count 1 of the original Indictment, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. Lawson was sentenced on February 25, 2013, in Council Bluffs, to 50 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued until 10-p.m. Monday (7/22)

News, Weather

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

310 PM CDT MON JUL 22 2013 SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 430 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM CDT FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS IN IA… . IOWA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE:

AUDUBON BOONE BUENA VISTA BUTLER CALHOUN CARROLL CERRO GORDO CHEROKEE CLAY CRAWFORD FRANKLIN GREENE GRUNDY GUTHRIE HAMILTON HANCOCK HARDIN HARRISON HUMBOLDT IDA KOSSUTH MARSHALL MONONA PALO ALTO PLYMOUTH POCAHONTAS POTTAWATTAMIE SAC SHELBY STORY WEBSTER WINNEBAGO WOODBURY WORTH WRIGHT.

PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE…

SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WITH A FEW SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 75 MPH POSSIBLE SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 45 STATUTE MILES NORTH AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM 25 MILES SOUTHEAST OF MASON CITY IOWA TO 30 MILES WEST OF TEKAMAH NEBRASKA.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

REMEMBER…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

Doctor’s advice: RAGBRAI riders and everyone else outdoors, cool it…or else

News, Sports

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

High temperatures should hit the mid-90s this (Monday) afternoon in parts of Iowa and thousands of visitors in the state for the big bicycle ride aren’t used to the heat and humidity. Dr. William Gossman, who runs the emergency room at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, says to be very watchful for these symptoms of heat stress. “Usually people get light-headed and nauseated,” Dr. Gossman says. “That’s probably the most common thing that I see. The extreme is that they pass out.”

Whether you’re attempting to ride a bike across Iowa or are just working outside in the stifling heat, he says if you’re showing the signs of heat stress, quit whatever you’re doing and seek shelter. “The first thing you should do is try to get into a cool environment and drink as much fluid as you can,” Gossman says. “If you’re getting abdominal pain, chest pain or feel like you’re going to pass out, the best thing is to get in and be seen.” If you’re at that point, he says you may need an I-V to replenish fluids.

On the plus side, a cool front is expected to arrive late tonight, pushing high temps for the rest of the week down into the 70s and 80s statewide.

(Radio Iowa)

I-80 Challenge: Eliminate fatalities

News

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Eleven State Highway Patrol leaders along with national transportation professionals, have accepted a challenge to eliminate fatalities along the entire 2,900-mile stretch of Interstate 80 July 24th through the 31st. The focus of the “I-80 Challenge” is to create public awareness through both an increased law enforcement presence and media outreach.  The  eleven (11) state highway patrol agencies along Interstate 80, including those in Iowa, have each dedicated an increased presence of troopers for each of the eight days during this challenge.

The event kicks off on the west steps of the Iowa State Capital Wednesday, beginning at 3-p.m.  Dignitaties on hand will include: Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad; Iowa Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner Brian London; Federal  Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro, and representatives with the California Highway Patrol, New Jersey State Police, Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and State Patrol agency representatives from 10 other states across the country.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration join their state and local law enforcement, partners to implement combined highway safety law enforcement campaigns, like More Cops. More Stops, which focuses enforcement on multiple traffic safety laws at one time.For more information on the More Cops More Stops campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

Online Iowa drivers license renewals now available 24/7

News

July 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

About 284-thousand Iowa drivers will be able to renew their drivers license online, starting today. Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino cautions drivers to beware of imposter websites. “The only place to renew your driver’s license online is through www.iowadot.gov or our mobile app,” Trombino says. “That’s really the place to come. It’s secure. That’s where you’re going to input all your information and do all that activity. All the rest of them are really giving you false information.”

It costs 20-dollars to renew a driver’s license and there’s a dollar-and-a-half “convenience fee” for renewing online. Drivers will only be able to renew online every other time, since the duration of the license will increase from five to eight years. Drivers with medical or vision problems are to go into a D-O-T facility or country treasurer’s office to renew their license and there are a series of questions in the online format to screen out people who’ve had recent eye trauma or vision problems.

“I think that it’s consistent with the process that we have right now,” Trombino says. “People, when they come into the office, they certify that there haven’t been significant changes in their eye statement. The screen that we do is not a vision test. It’s really just a quick screen and that online renewal is consistent with that and the statement that you sign (online) is the exact same one you sign if you did it in person.”

Trombino demonstrated the online license renewal process this morning (Monday) during the governor’s weekly news conference and Branstad noted drivers can apply to renew their license within a large window — 180 days before the license expires. The D-O-T plans to help eligible drivers renew their license at the State Fair, and Branstad plans to renew his license on the fairgrounds. Go to www.radioiowa.com to find links to the D-O-T’s website and to listen to the briefing about online license renewals.

(Radio Iowa)