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Branstad signing “Home Base Iowa” bill into law today

News

May 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad is scheduled to sign a bill into law this morning (Monday) that’s designed to make Iowa more attractive to soldiers leaving the military. “I”m pleased the legislature approved it,” Branstad says. “Home Base Iowa was our top priority this session and I will sign it.” The bill eliminates state income taxes on military pensions for soldiers and their surviving spouses. It also makes it easier for soldiers to earn academic credit for their military training and experience, if they decide to seek a degree at an Iowa college or university. In addition, state boards will now be required to take into account a soldier’s military skills when the soldier applies for a professional license. The Congressional Research Office says the average age of a soldier who retires from the military is between 40 and 45, which means they start a second career.

“There’s a major reduction going on in our military and there’s a lot of talented leaders with technical skills that we want to attract to Iowa,” Branstad says. Branstad will sign a second bill that extends a homestead tax credit for disabled veterans. “I think it’s going to be a big step forward for our state,” Branstad says. “…I want to make sure that Iowa’s one of the leaders in providing services and opportunities for veterans.” Last week a social networking site that focused on personal finance ranked Iowa as the 13th best state for military veterans to retire.

“Once this legislation is passed I think we’re going to be able to make significant progress. You know many states don’t tax military veterans’ benefits and now we’re going to join their ranks,” Branstad says. “We also are going to be offering in-state tuition to veterans, their spouses and dependents. We also already have this $5000 tax credit for veterans that purchase homes in our state.” Branstad served as a military policeman during the Vietnam Era and he plans to wear his Army uniform for today’s (Monday’s) bill signing ceremony. It’s scheduled to begin shortly after 8:30 this morning in the Iowa Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston.

(Radio Iowa)

Many special events scheduled for Memorial Day

News

May 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A variety of events are scheduled throughout the state in remembrance for this Memorial Day. In Atlantic, services at the Atlantic Cemetery begin at 10-a.m., but volunteers were scheduled to begin placing flags in the cemetery at sunrise.

Elsewhere in Cass County, the Grant United Methodist Church will hold its annual Memorial Day Dinner from 11:30 am -1 pm  for your free-will offering. Join the Lewis Town & Country Boosters and the Pancake Man at the Lewis Community Center. Serving of pancakes and sausages with juice and coffee for a free will donation, is from 7:30 – 10:30 am. The Exira Lions Club will be serving breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs and biscuits and gravy for free will offering from 7 am to 1 pm. Also from 11 am to 1 pm they will be serving Rueben sandwiches for $6.00 each. This will be at the Lions Community Center in Exira. The Griswold American Legion Post #508’s Memorial Day Program will be held at 9 am in the Griswold High School Auditorium. The speaker will be Robert Hoogaveen. And, the Exira American Legion Memorial Day Service will begin at 9:45am with a band. Invocation by Pastor Duane Ferguson and address by Retired Brigadier General John S. Peppers.

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs executive director, Robert King, says the official state events begin at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter. He says there will be a service there on at 8 a-m on Memorial Day with Brigadier General Jennifer Walter, Chief of Staff of the Iowa Air National Guard as the guest speaker. There is then a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial downtown at 11 a-m with Kevin Heer the Vice-Commander 132nd Fighter Wing will be the speaker. The Iowa Goldstar Museum at Camp Dodge also has special events happening on Monday.

“They serve S-O-S (stuff on a shingle) breakfast to those who show up for it,” King says. He says there will be a flyover by a World War Two airplane, and King says it’s a great opportunity for families to see the museum. The ceremony at the Oakwood Cemetery in Pella will have a special performance. “A large portion of that is being done by Civil War reenactors from the honor guard of the Department of the Iowa 49th Veteran Volunteer Infantry. It’s a reenactment group that does a really, really fine job,” King says. Another event is scheduled for north-east Iowa.

King says there’s an event at 10 o’clock at the Rose Hill Cemetery and all Vietnam veterans will receive a pin in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Fredericksburg’s four remaining World War II veterans will also be honored.

(Radio Iowa)

Lenox man tazed after domestic disturbance

News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Lenox responding to a domestic disturbance early Sunday morning ended up tazing a man who was allegedly uncooperative with officers.

Michael David Cox

Michael David Cox

Authorities say Police were called to the parking lot of Tiger Lanes at around 1-a.m. Sunday, in reference to what was believed to be a domestic dispute. When the officer arrived a male later identified as 30-year old Michael Cox, of Lenox, was uncooperative, confrontational and involved in a dispute with a female.

Cox is allegedly to have repeatedly failed to respond to the officers directions, forcing the officer to deploy his taser. Cox was taken into custody and transported to the Taylor County Jail, where he was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

FISH KILL INVESTIGATED IN CARROLL COUNTY

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say a fish kill was being investigated in Carroll County. The fish died in Brushy Creek near Halbur. A spill of anhydrous ammonia occurred shortly before noon on Saturday at the West Central Coop facility in Halbur.

It is suspected that runoff from washing the area where the spill occurred reached a tributary of Brushy Creek. A DNR inspection of the area on Sunday afternoon found dead fish along approximately two miles of Brushy Creek. Most of the fish were smaller fish species.

The DNR will return to the area on Monday to complete an assessment of the fish kill.

9 injured in southern Colorado van crash

News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Authorities say nine people were injured — two of them critically — when the family van they were in crashed during a rain and hail storm on La Veta Pass in southern Colorado.

Capt. George Dingfelder with the Colorado State Patrol tells The Gazette the family was traveling from Iowa to Alamosa when their van went off U.S. Highway 160 and rolled Saturday. He says two adults and seven children, ages 1 through 14, were in the vehicle.

Authorities have not released the names of those involved or details about their injuries.

A rundown of Iowa’s primary election races

News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s June 3 primary election will include a number of contested races….

U.S. SENATE

Five Republicans are vying for the nomination to face Democrat Bruce Braley in a race drawing national attention as the GOP seeks the six seats needed to capture the majority. State Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak has emerged as the front-runner in a field that includes former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines.

Ernst’s two TV ads have raised eyebrows, dollars and endorsements. In the first ad, she recalled castrating hogs as a farm kid. In the second, the Iowa National Guard colonel fires a handgun. Jacobs has recently begun attacking Ernst for missing votes in the Iowa Senate this year.

Sioux City college professor Sami Clovis has a loyal following, though polls indicate he trails Ernst and Jacobs, as do former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker of Ankeny and Ames businessman Scott Schaben. A candidate must win at least 35 percent of the vote to avoid a nominating convention.

U.S. HOUSE, 1ST DISTRICT

Much of the action is among a crowded Democratic field vying to succeed four-term U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley. State Rep. Patrick Murphy of Dubuque has garnered most of the labor-union endorsements in Iowa’s most industrial congressional district. That may be enough to top Iowa Utilities Board member and former state Sen. Swati Dandekar of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon and state Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic.

Dubuque businessman Ron Blum leads a Republican field that includes Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje, who has run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and House, and Marshalltown lawyer Gail Boliver.

U.S. HOUSE, 2ND DISTRICT

Four-term Democrat Dave Loebsack of Iowa City has twice fought off Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa. Finding out whether the third time is a charm may depend on turnout in this Democratic-leaning southeast Iowa district. Miller-Meeks, former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, leads the GOP field that also includes state Rep. Matthew Lofgren and Eddyville research technician Matthew Waldren.

The largely rural district includes Democratic-leaning Johnson County, but also counties in southeast Iowa where unemployment has remained above the state average.

U.S. HOUSE, 3RD DISTRICT

Iowa’s 3rd District race has had more drama than any other so far, as 10-year incumbent Rep. Tom Latham’s announcement that he would retire prompted a large primary field. The six Republican candidates will almost certainly force a nominating convention, the results of which will give a strong indication of how competitive this district will be come November. The district includes the Des Moines metro area and rural southwest Iowa.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association President Monte Shaw and David Young, the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, are more popular in the GOP’s establishment wing. Bob Cramer, who heads a Christian conservative group, Secretary of State Matt Schultz and state Sen. Brad Zaun are considered more conservative, with a following among the tea party movement.

Des Moines Republican activist and former state Rep. Joe Grandanette is also running. The winner will face Ackworth Democrat Staci Appel, a former state senator.

LEGISLATURE

Before the playing field is set for Iowa’s closely divided Legislature, majority House Republicans will have to sort out eight primaries and majority Senate Democrats will have to settle six. A factor in whether the GOP’s current 53-47 control of the House will change is the number of uncontested seats. Republicans haven’t fielded a candidate in 32 of the seats held by Democrats. Likewise, Democrats are not contesting 26 of the 53 districts controlled by Republicans.

It’s similar in the Senate, where Democrats hold a 26-24 edge. Only 11 of the 25 seats on the ballot have the makings of two-party contest in the fall. Eight Democratic seats are uncontested, as are six Republican-held seats.

Candidates can be nominated at special party conventions.

Fatality accident in Page County, Saturday

News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One person died, another was injured during a collision between a car and a pickup truck late Saturday morning, in Page County. The Iowa State Patrol reports 53-year old Gary Dean Williams, Sr., of Essex, died from injuries he suffered in the crash, which took place at around 11:18-a.m., about 3-miles north of Essex.

Officials say a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am driven by 51-year old Everett Bart Larson, of Imogene, was traveling west on 110th Street, just east of C Avenue, while a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup driven by Williams was traveling south on C Avenue. After the car hit the side of the pickup in the middle of the intersection, both came to rest in the southwest ditch.

Williams was ejected from his pickup during the impact and died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt. Larson, who was wearing a seat belt, was flown by LifeNet helicopter to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, for treatment of what were described as non-life threatening injuries.

1 dead, 2 injured in Pott. County crash Saturday

News

May 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from Georgia died, and two Council Bluffs residents were injured, when a semi and car collided near Neola  on westbound Interstate 80 near the I-680 interchange Saturday afternoon, in Pottawattamie County. According to the Iowa State Patrol a 1986 Nissan 330ZX driven by 24-year old Cody Schandelmier, of Council Bluffs, came into contact with the front end of a 2011 Freightliner semi driven by 41-year old Harold Salmon, of Alpharetta, GA.

The accident happened at around 4:25-p.m., as the semi was in the left lane and the Nissan was traveling in the right lane of the interstate. Officials say after the impact, both the car and semi left the roadway on the south side of the interstate, went over an embankment and on to I-680 eastbound, below the I-80 bridge. The semi burst into flames after coming to rest.

The truck driver died at the scene. Cody Schandelmier, and his passenger, 27-year old Lisa Rieper, also of Council Bluffs, were transported to Jenny Edmundson Hospital by Neola and Minden Rescue, respectively. Both were wearing their seat belts. A report on their condition is not available

 

Judge calls for ramped up courthouse security

News

May 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A central Iowa district judge is calling on Madison County and other officials to beef up security at county courthouses in the wake of a gun incident in March.

Iowa Fifth Judicial District Chief Judge Arthur Gamble recently told judges from the 16 counties he oversees that they need to start talking with sheriffs and county supervisors about putting deputies in courtrooms when court is in session to protect judges and the public.

The Des Moines Register says the conversations are part of an effort to avoid a situation similar to the March 24 incident in Winterset, when a man pulled a handgun out of his pocket as a deputy tried to handcuff him. The man was captured after briefly escaping.

C. Bluffs among 6 cities awaiting Iowa DOT traffic camera decisions

News

May 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Six Iowa cities have submitted reports outlining traffic camera use to state transportation officials and now await word on whether they’ll be able to keep their speed and red light cameras on state-run highways and interstates.

The Iowa Department of Transportation implemented rules in February dictating where and why cameras can be installed along state roads and requiring local jurisdictions to submit reports by May 1 justifying camera placement. Steve Gent, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s office of traffic and safety, says the department plans to review the reports in coming weeks.

The cities are Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Muscatine and Sioux City.

Gent says the review process will involve collaboration between DOT and local officials to fully understand why cities believe cameras are needed.