Previewing Iowa’s four congressional races


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa voters will elect at least two new U.S. Representatives in November. Iowa has four congressional districts, but incumbents are seeking reelection in just two. The other two are open races because Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Clive didn’t seek reelection and Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo is running for the U.S. Senate. Donna Hoffman, head of the political science department at the University of Northern Iowa, says there’s a reason the state’s congressional races aren’t getting as much attention as Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.

“Virtually no one expects Republicans to lose control of the House and I think that has some effect on why the House races…are getting a little bit less attention in terms of national politics,” Hoffman says, “because the House really is not in play.” Campaign fundraising reports from federal candidates are due later this week and Hoffman says that will help her “handicap” the congressional races, but she says voter registration “leans Democratic” in the first district and Democrat Pat Murphy seems to have a slight edge over Republican Rod Blum.

Both candidates are from Dubuque and the two have not debated one another. “There hasn’t been a lot of outside spending which is a little bit surprising because that is an open race,” Hoffman says. “It is certainly one that is competitive, but we haven’t seen a lot of outside interests, with the national parties coming in or outside groups coming in.” Iowa’s other open race is in the third district, where Democrat Staci Appel of Ackworth and Republican David Young of Van Meter is getting the most attention among the four congressional races. “That one is seen as being a true toss-up,” Hoffman says. “No one has been determined to have the advantage there.”

Young and Appel debated one another in Council Bluffs last month and they’re scheduled to debate tonight (Monday) in Indianola. “We see a little bit of movement there in terms of the national parties starting to spend some money there and not as much as we might have thought,” Hoffman says. “It seems like the Senate race is really sucking all the air out of the room in terms of the attention that’s coming to Iowa.”

In the fourth district, Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron and Democrat Jim Mowrer of Boone are scheduled to debate later this month in Storm Lake. Hoffman says the fundraising in this district has been interesting, as Mowrer collected slight more than King did during the last reporting period in June.  “Which is really kind of surprising. He’s seen as being a quality candidate. He’s a young Democrat. He’s an Iraqi war vet,” Hoffman says. “Having said that, I think that Steve King is probably secure in that particular seat.”

At the end of September, there were 56-thousand more registered Republicans compared to Democrats in King’s district. In the second district, Democrats hold a voter registration edge of 27-thousand. That’s where Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa is running for a third time against Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City. “He seems likely to hold onto that,” Hoffman says. “And certainly incumbents are typically advantaged in races such as that.” Several prominent figures have lost their first bids for elected office. In Iowa, Democrat Tom Harkin lost his first race in 1972, then won in a rematch in 1974.

“I haven’t seen with the Miller-Meeks and Loebsack race at this point that there’s much more momentum there than she had last time, but again there’s still a decent amount of time before the November elections and that could come,” Hoffman says. “But it doesn’t appear that the third time is going to be the charm for Miller-Meeks.” Loebsack and Miller-Meeks debated one another in August and they are scheduled to debate again this Saturday in Davenport. As for the campaign conversation in each of these races, Hoffman says “bread and butter” domestic issues have dominated.

“You have seen some foreign policy start to filter into some of the races in other states and we haven’t seen that in Iowa,” Hoffman says. “There’s the potential there as events drive foreign policy discussions that you could potentially have some candidates talking about those kinds of issues.” Hoffman teaches courses about legislative politics as well as campaigns and elections at U-N-I.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Rollover accident in Shelby County Mon. morning


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Shelby County says no injuries were reported following a single-vehicle, rollover accident this morning. The accident occurred a little after 7-a.m. on Highway 59, just south of 1700th St.

Sheriff’s deputies, Harlan Police, Westphalia Fire and Rescue and Earling Rescue, also responded. The driver of the vehicle was out of the vehicle when officials arrived, and indicated he was not injured.

No other information is available at this time.


(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. Area News & funeral report, Mon. 10/6/2014

News, Podcasts

October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson


Marne man arrested Sunday in Creston


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Three people were arrested Sunday, in Creston. According to the Creston P-D, 22-year old James Dylan Swanson, of Marne, and 22-year old Colton Eugene Dunphy, of Creston, were arrested at around 2:25- and 2:46-a.m., respectively, at the intersection of High and DryRoad and Patt Street. Swanson was charged with OWI/1st offense and later released on $1,000 bond. Dunphy was arrested for Public Intoxication. He was later released on $300 bond.

And, late Sunday evening, 40-year old Scott Eugene Huntsman, of Mt. Ayr, was arrested at the Union County Law Enforcement Center in Creston, on a warrant charging him with Failure to Appear. His bond was set at $2,000.

Creston Police report also, the Tru-Value store on west Townline Road reported a Cub Cadet lawn mower was stolen sometime between 6-p.m. Oct. 2nd and 7-a.m. Oct. 3rd. The loss was estimated at nearly $2,950.

University of Iowa plans Council Bluffs presence


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa plans to open an engagement center in Council Bluffs at Iowa Western Community College. The Daily Nonpareil reports that the center would focus on information technology.  The university also plans to take its Venture School to Council Bluffs. The six-week program shows entrepreneurs how to launch successful businesses. The focus is on how to test-market a product to help new businesses beat the high rate of failure among startups.

UI President Sally Mason says the university wants to reach out to the western part of Iowa and attract more students. The university has engagement centers in Iowa City and Sioux City that provide expertise, training and support for small businesses.

Tri-Center Volleyball Tournament Results


October 6th, 2014 by Jim Field

Pool 1:
Tri-Center beat Adair-Casey 2-0
Stanton beat West Monona 2-0
Tri-Center beat West Monona 2-0
Stanton beat Adair-Casey 2-0
Tri-Center beat Stanton 2-1
West Monona beat Adair-Casey 2-0

Pool 2:
Riverside beat A-H-S-T-W 2-0
Red Oak beat Glenwood 2-1
Glenwood beat A-H-S-T-W 2-0
Red Oak beat Riverside 2-0
Glenwood beat Riverside 2-0
Red Oak beat A-H-S-T-W 2-0

Red Oak beat Stanton 2-0
Glenwood beat Tri-Center 2-1

Red Oak beat Glenwood 2-0

All-Tournament Team
Red Oak – Grace Blomstedt, Kate Walker, Angela Mahoney
Glenwood – Courtney Magnussen, Olivia Scarborough
Tri-Center – Tori Masker, Sammy Anderson
Stanton – Ally Focht, Haley Weis
Riverside – Sheyenne Smith

Fire Prevention week


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

This is National “Fire Prevention Week.” In Atlantic, Harlan and elsewhere, fire department members served-up breakfast for a free-will donation for area residents and offered demonstrations of various sorts, yesterday (Sunday). John Bolton, Atlantic Fireman, said the fundraiser served to help bring the annual Fireman’s Parade to Atlantic. The parade takes place this coming Saturday, Oct. 11th. It starts at 6-p.m. Participants will line-up at 4-p.m. at 3rd & Olive Street, and will proceed South on Walnut to 6th street over to Chestnut and go North to 2nd Street. FPW

This year’s theme is: “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives Test Yours Every Month.” Awards will be given for: Farthest Away Department, Most Members From 1 Department and many others. The parade, which wraps-up Fire Prevention Week, includes lots of family-oriented activities. Bolton says there will be a professional clown and face-painter, their will be bag-pipe players, and dancers.

During Fire Prevention Week, Firefighters will be in area schools , to talk about fire safety, and offer demonstrations of smoke detectors, so children will be aware of what they sound like when detectors go-off, and not be afraid. Bolton says they also put on their turn-out gear to show children they shouldn’t be afraid of firefighters, and let them know they’re there to help.

Bolton says kids are sometimes afraid of firefighters because with all their gear on, they look like “Aliens or robots.” He says to alleviate that fear, fire crews will appear in plain clothes, then put on their equipment piece-by-piece and demonstrate their microphones – how they communicate with each other – and then take the equipment off, to show once again…they are humans.

They also teach children how to deal with smoke in the home that may be from an unseen fire, and what they should do if they see smoke or flames, or if the detector goes off. Bolton says batteries on smoke detectors should be checked monthly, there should be a detector in the center of each room, and hallways.

Firefighters will also take kids for rides on a fire truck, and “Freddy the Fire Truck” will explain to children where they should be standing (in their yards), if they see a fire truck heading down the street, and that they shouldn’t go up to the scene.

(Podcast) Skyscan Forecast: Mon., 10/6/2014

Podcasts, Weather

October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Freese-Notis weather forecast for Atlantic & the KJAN listening area, and weather information for Atlantic.


Deadline is next week for Iowa “hero” nominations


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa and Nebraska chapters of the American Red Cross are searching for heroes in the two states who will be recognized at the Iowa-Nebraska football game on November 28th in Iowa City. Kara Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Iowa, says there are plenty of heroes out there who deserve a little recognition and the deadline for nominations is next week.  “We’re looking for people who really go above and beyond or have done a life-saving act,” Kelly says. Last year, the two Red Cross chapters got more than 50 nominations from both states.

“This is the 4th year of the Hy-Vee Heroes game, it started with the first game between Nebraska and Iowa,” Kelly says. “So far, it’s been very successful and we’ve had the opportunity to meet and honor some really amazing people.” One hero from each state will be singled out for a presentation on the 50-yard line on game day. She says last year’s hero from Iowa was Mike Klemmensen.

“The 2013 hero was a young man from Hinton, Iowa, who is a firefighter with the 185th Fighter Wing (of the Iowa National Guard),” Kelly says. “He is really a phenomenal guy. He ran into his neighbor’s house, which was burning, and rescued all of the family members inside.” Last year’s Nebraska hero was Caleb Amundson of Fairbury. He helped save the life of a driver whose pontoon boat and truck landed in Harlan County Lake on Labor Day last year.

The deadline for entries is October 14th. Nominate someone online at or at

(Radio Iowa)

DENNIS BILLINGS, 36, of Kimballton (Svcs. 10/8/14)


October 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DENNIS BILLINGS, 36, of Kimballton, died Thu., Oct. 2nd, at home. Funeral services for DENNIS BILLINGS will be held 11-a.m. Wed., Oct. 8th, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton, with the Kessler Funeral Home of Audubon in charge of arrangements.

Visitation with the family present will be held one-hour prior to the service (10-to 11-am.) Wednesday, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton.

Burial will be in the Oakwood Cemetery in Lewis.

DENNIS BILLINGS is survived by:

His son – Deven, of Audubon, and Deven’s Mother, Heather Possehn, of Audubon.

His mother – Lonnie Lollie of Kimballton.

His sister – Jessica Billings-Hoegh & husband Aaron, of Kimballton.

other relatives, and friends.