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Astronaut Whitson ready for liftoff to space station, new command

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Update 11:11-a.m.: Launch postponed until Thursday, 11/17)

Iowa native astronaut Peggy Whitson is in Kazakhstan, awaiting Thursday’s launch of a Russian rocket that’ll take her to the International Space Station for her third mission. Whitson grew up on a farm in southern Iowa’s Ringgold County near Beaconsfield and during one of her previous space missions, nurtured a small crop of soybeans. She’ll be space-farming again during the coming six-months in orbit. (click on the left side of the audio bars to play comments)

The space station has grown since Whitson was last there, with new labs and a better view through the famed cupola. Many of the compartments are school bus-sized and the full station is now about as big as a football field. She’s excited to learn about its new capabilities.

It will be more crowded this time, too. The station had a crew of three during her most recent mission but this time, there will be six people on-board — Whitson and another American, three Russians and a Frenchman. As for the six months ahead, the Beaconsfield native says she has no specific goals.

Whitson has already logged 377 days aboard the orbiting station during missions in 2002 and 2007. In February, she’ll celebrate her 57th birthday there and will be the oldest woman ever in space. Among her many accomplishments, Whitson will be the first woman to command the station twice. Launch aboard the Soyuz MS-2 spacecraft is scheduled for 2:20 PM Central time Thursday.

(Radio Iowa)

NE woman arrested on a drug charge in Montgomery County

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County say a Nebraska woman was arrested late Sunday night on a drug charge. 19-year old Yaasmin Y. Spivey, of Omaha, was taken into custody for Possession of Marijuana, just before midnight, Sunday. Spivey was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond. Red Oak Police assisted Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies in handling the arrest.

Council Bluffs woman arrested in Red Oak for escape from custody

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Red Oak Police, Sunday evening, arrested a Pottawattamie County woman on a warrant for Escape from Custody. 35-year old Debra Lee Pankers, of Council Bluffs, was reported escaped from the Residential Facility in Council Bluffs. The warrant for her arrest was issued last Thursday. Pankers was arrested just before 5-p.m., in connection with a separate incident. She was brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on a $1,000 cash bond.

Bluffs boy struck by a van last week has died

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

(Updated 7:30-a.m.)

A Pottawattamie County boy who was struck by a van last week, has died from his injuries. Council Bluffs Police say 11-year old Blake Smith, of Council Bluffs, died Saturday at Nebraska Medicine. Authorities said the boy was hit by a 2004 Ford full-size van at around 3:30-p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9th. The driver of the van, 52-year old Rex Miles, of Council Bluffs, has not been charged.

Police say Miles was traveling west on East Kanesvillle Boulevard in the right lane. Traffic was reported to be stopped in the left, westbound lane, for a red light ahead. Miles and witnesses told police that Blake ran northbound across Kanesville and through the stopped line of vehicles in the left lane, before crossing into Miles’ path.

Miles said he didn’t see Blake right away. He tried to stop, but it was too late.  Authorities say they do not anticipate charges being filed in connection with the accident.

Ernst touts choice for veterans seeking health care, services after sexual assault

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans who control congress have pledged to “repeal and replace ObamaCare” — and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says improvements in the health care available to veterans is part of the agenda for the 2017 congress.

A 2014 federal law allows veterans to seek care closer to home if a V-A facility is more than 40 miles of their home or if they’ve waited more than 30 days for an appointment with a doctor or specialist. That law is scheduled to expire in August of 2017, so congress must either extend it, or proposed changes. As a senator since 2015, Ernst has been focusing on ensuring veterans have access to mental health care services.

An estimated 20 veterans commit suicide very day. And Ernst is a co-sponsor of the “Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment Act. If passed, the bill would let soldiers who are victims of sexual assault to seek treatment wherever they wish rather than limiting their options to a facility in the V-A system.

(Radio Iowa)

Third person dies after machete attack in Perry on October 29

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A third person died this weekend in a brutal machete attack in central Iowa late last month. Seventy-eight-year-old Juan Jimenez of Perry had been in coma for several weeks. He died Saturday of his injuries suffered in a vicious attack on October 29. Twenty-five-year-old Carlos Marlo Hernandez-Ventura is already in custody in the killings of 34-year-old Lourdes Flor De Leake and her daughter, 14-year-old Melany Barraza.

All three of the victims were found in a home that Jimenez was renting to the girl and her mother. Court documents show Hernandez-Ventura used a machete in the attack and the victims all suffered multiple lacerations.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: 3-a.m. Monday, 11/14/16

News

November 14th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has called for a single statewide minimum wage rather than a hodgepodge of wages that vary by county, and a new Republican majority in the Legislature could give him a clear path to enact uniform pay rates. That worries some supporters of higher minimum wages who fear the state could couple an insignificant wage increase with a ban on local jurisdictions approving their own higher wages, as four counties have already done.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The West Des Moines police chief who had been accused in a lawsuit of discriminating against three women has resigned. The Des Moines Register reports that West Des Moines City Manager Tom Hadden asked Police Chief Shaun LaDue to resign. City officials wouldn’t say whether the request was linked to the sex discrimination lawsuit or LaDue’s testimony last week.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are considering imposing tougher penalties for violent acts against law enforcement officers following the fatal shootings of two officers earlier this month. Republican State Rep. Ken Rizer tells the Des Moines Register he thinks tougher penalties are needed after the Nov. 2 attacks that killed 24-year-old Urbandale Officer Justin Martin and 38-year-old Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio.

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — Authorities in North Dakota are investigating a report of shots fired during a weekend protest against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Morton County sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller says the report of shots fired was received Saturday morning, when about 500 protesters were outside a work yard for the pipeline in Mandan, a community about 50 miles north from an area where hundreds of protesters have been camping in for months. No one was injured in the incident.

Iowa may consider tougher penalties after 2 officers killed

News

November 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are considering imposing tougher penalties for violent acts against law enforcement officers following the fatal shootings of two officers earlier this month. Republican State Rep. Ken Rizer tells the Des Moines Register he thinks tougher penalties are needed after the Nov. 2 attacks that killed 24-year-old Urbandale Officer Justin Martin and 38-year-old Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio.

Iowa already has enhanced penalties for assaulting officers. Rizer wants to expand that concept to attempted murder and murder charges. Urbandale Police Chief Ross McCarty says Iowa should consider reinstating the death penalty for police.

But some people don’t think tougher penalties aren’t needed. Rita Bettis with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says the killing an officer already receives the harshest sentence possible for first-degree murder.

Branstad considers minimum wage uniformity that worries some

News

November 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has called for a single statewide minimum wage, rather than a hodgepodge of wages that vary by county, and a new Republican majority in the Legislature could give him a clear path to enact uniform pay rates. That worries some supporters of higher minimum wages who fear the state could couple an insignificant wage increase with a ban on local jurisdictions approving their own higher wages, as four counties have already done.

More than a dozen states have passed similar so-called pre-emption laws regarding minimum wage. Branstad said in October that a single minimum wage was better because businesses are being negatively affected. Some county officials say any legislation challenging local control must include a meaningful raise to the minimum wage.

Red Oak man arrested for Child Endangerment

News

November 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A family altercation Saturday evening, in Red Oak, resulted in a child removed from the home and one person taken into custody. 55-year old Gregory Charles Wade, of Red Oak, was arrested at around 7:40-p.m. for Child Endangerment without injury, an aggravated misdemeanor. Red Oak Police day Wade created a situation which placed his 7-year old grandson at risk of physical harm.