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Four Iowa cities set records for December warmth

News, Weather

December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – It’s pretty rare Iowans get to run around in sweatshirts or light jackets in December, but unseasonably warm weather settled on the state late this week. Meteorologist Rod Donavon, at the National Weather Service, says Lamoni had the state’s hot spot with a record high temperature of 62-degrees on Thursday, one of many. “We did have several record highs, including Waterloo at 57, Mason City at 55, Ottumwa at 61,” Donavon says. “In addition, we had basically this entire area was in the upper 50s to low 60s, so a very mild day and well above normal.”

Today’s (Friday) forecast calls for cooler weather than yesterday, but still very comfortable for this time of year. “We are having a few more clouds passing across the state today,” Donavon says, “so it’s still going to be pretty mild high temperatures in the 50s, which is still within that 10- to 15-degree above-normal range.”

Much colder weather will move in tonight and overnight, bringing the chance of scattered rain or light snow across various parts of the state on Saturday. Highs for the weekend will be back around normal, in the 30s and 40s.

Hinson touts bill to address trucker shortage


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson is calling for a change that would let 18, 19 and 20 year olds with a commercial driver’s license be cross-country truckers — to address a national shortage of interstate truck drivers. Federal regulations currently require truckers who travel from state-to-state to be at least 21 years old. “Having more truckers on the road will improve supply chain efficiency, translated to lower prices for good and services,” Hinson says. “It will also provide critical career opportunities for 18 to 20 year olds not interested in a four year degree.”

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia issue commercial driver’s licenses to people under the age of 21, but they are not allowed to cross state borders. “An 18 year old truck driver is permitted to drive 300 miles from let’s say a project in Sioux City all the way back to Dubuque County, but according to current regulations that same driver is not allowed to drive the truck the three miles across the Julien Dubuque Bridge for a project cross the state line in Illinois,” Hinson says. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Hinson has introduced a bill called the “Reciprocity, Efficiency and Age Limitation” or REAL Act in the U-S House to let 18, 19 and 20 years drive cross-country if they have a commercial driver’s license. Hinson. a Republican from Marion, is visiting the Semi-Driving program at North Iowa Community College today (Friday) to discuss her idea with trucking industry leaders.

Chopper pilot back at work after a large bird crashes into his cockpit


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A pilot working with a critical-care helicopter service in Iowa has returned to work after a bird crashed through the windshield and struck him in the head last month. KCAU-TV in Sioux City reports Troy McCormick, of Wings Air Rescue in Sioux City, was flying toward a hospital in Storm Lake on Nov. 23 when the incident took place.

The bird smashed through the windscreen and hit McCormick on the side of the head before disintegrating inside the helicopter. A fellow crew member quickly canceled their mission and diverted the helicopter to Storm Lake airport with McCormick dazed but uninjured, and covered in blood and feathers. .”

McCormick believes he was hit by a duck, but he’s not sure. McCormick has been flying since 2001 and joined Wings Air Rescue roughly a year ago. He considers the incident a freak accident.

Wednesday (Dec. 6) was McCormick’s first day back to work since the incident. He said he was excited to be back in the sky continuing to save lives — and he hopes to avoid any birds.

CDC: 230 illnesses and 3 deaths attributed to salmonella in recalled cantaloupe


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Atlanta, GA) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 230 people have been sickened and three people have died, from cantaloupe recalled for salmonella contamination. Eight cases of the illness are reported in Iowa, seven in Nebraska, 14 people in Missouri are sick from the bacteria. Minnesota reports the most cases, at 20. Wisconsin has 18, Illinois reports 11 cases, and South Dakota has one reported case.  The CDC says it is concerned about the outbreak because the illnesses are severe, and people in long-term care facilities and childcare centers have gotten sick. They warn you should not eat pre-cut cantaloupes if you don’t know whether Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes were used.

some of the recalled cantaloupe product.

The pre-cut fruit was sold in several stores, including Kwik Trip and Aldi stores in Iowa, and Trader Joe’s. See additional details HERE.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Iowa’s #3 in dairy goat production

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Goat milk production set for is the focus of a seminar by the Iowa State University Extension Department on Saturday at Dordt College in Sioux Center. Extension Dairy specialist Fred Hall says Iowa is third in the country in dairy goat production, but it’s hard to calculate how many pounds of milk are produced. “We had about 270 herds milking goats. And the last report I’ve seen we’re down to about 170,” he says. “Now because the marketplace is diverse, we really don’t have a good handle on how many pounds actually being bought and processed.” Hall says dairy goats produce between four to four-and-a-half pounds of milk each day, compared to the 80 to 95 pounds of milk or more produced by the average dairy cow. He says the dairy goat production is distributed in much the same way as the dairy cow industry.

“If you look at Eastern Iowa, we’ve got several milk buyers there. So we see a lot of commercial dairies there, along the Mississippi River,” Hall says. Goat milk production is more localized in southern Iowa. “If you go south of (Highway) 20, you see a large percentage of the producers are Amish. So they sell to Kalona. And it really fits the family lifestyle,” Hall says. “When you come to the western side of the state, we currently don’t have a milk market for goat’s milk out here.”

Hall says western Iowa does see a lot of products made and sold from the goat milk. “They make cheese and lotions. You know, I jokingly and lovingly say, they’re my lotions and potions producers,” he says. Hall says smaller producers will have around 25 goats, while the largest has 350. He says one of the draws of milking goats is the price for a pound of milk allows you to do well with a small herd.

“Cow milk right now is worth about 18-50. And goat milk is worth about 32 (dollars). So they can be profitable because the milk is a lot more valuable. And goats a smaller, more efficient, eat less produce more,” he says.

Hall says the seminar will address some of the key issues facing goat producers and try to answer any questions they have. The event runs from 9:30 a-m to 3:15 p-m., Saturday.

Moose Believed To Have Drowned On East Okoboji Lake


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) –  Officials with the Iowa D-N-R say a moose that had been seen Wednesday in Spirit Lake is believed to have fallen through the ice on East Lake Okoboji and drowned. The D-N-R says the moose had been swimming in Spirit Lake and Marble Lake since late November and came from Northern Minnesota.

Arnolds Park Okoboji Fire & Rescue was expected to try and pull the moose out of the lake so it can be taken to Iowa State University for study.

Four Iowa cities to get help applying for federal flood mitigation grants


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Four Iowa cities are getting technical assistance in seeking federal grants for projects to prevent future flooding. The Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa will help Columbus Junction, Dubuque, Manchester and Muscatine compile the data to make the best argument for federal funding. Iowa Flood Center program manager Kate Giannini says they’re working with the American Flood Coalition on the project.

“We have a lot of tools and equipment and infrastructure to help with those communities during the grant application process,” Giannini says, “and the American Flood Coalition has the administrative experts and policy experts to help them navigate the process of accessing those federal funds and what’s the best source of funding for the projects they identify.” Federal grants are typically awarded to larger cities that have professional grant writers on staff.

“We really see the federal infrastructure funds as historical funds that can have some generational impacts,” Giannini says. “..This effort is really working with those smaller communities that don’t really have the access or the capacity to go after these larger infrastructure funds that are available right now.” According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one-point-eight BILLION dollars in grants will be awarded between now and the end of September for flood mitigation projects.

Graphic of American Flood Coalition’s Iowa Flood Resilient Communities Cohort (Used with AFC’s permission)

Dubuque had significant Mississippi River flooding this spring. In 2008, Columbus Junction was major flooding from the Iowa and Cedar Rivers. In Manchester, the Maquoketa River caused major flooding in 2018. Manchester City Manager Tony Vick says the river will rise again — and the city wants to be prepared. “We really want to make sure we maximize the bang for the buck when we do something,” Vick says, “…whether it’s protecting existing houses, whether it’s being able to do some removal nutrients from the water so we’re not having some of that pollution and control issues.”

Vick says this is a great opportunity for Manchester to be part of pilot project in Iowa that’s modeled after an American Flood Coalition project in South Carolina. “We have some ideas of what we’d like to do or think need to be done in order to help us with flood protection and this is a way for us to be able to identify what programs are available for us through the federal government,” Vick says. “There are different opportunities that are available and we want to make sure we find the ones that are the right fit.”

Muscatine officials have been working on a long-term project to shore up an island levee to protect businesses from Mississippi River flooding. Staff from the American Flood Coalition and the Iowa Flood Center will meet with officials from each of the four Iowa cities monthly and hopefully file grant applications next summer or fall. The Walton Family Foundation is providing the money to support the work of the American Flood Coalition and the Iowa Flood Center on this pilot project.

ATM service person’s vehicle broken into Thursday in Council Bluffs


December 8th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Council Bluffs (IA) Police Department report that at around 2:34-p.m. Thursday (12/7/23), officers were dispatched to the Casey’s General Store, 15 North 16th Street, for a report of a vehicle break-in. An investigation revealed that a suspect broke the window of an unoccupied vehicle belonging to a company who services ATMs while the vehicle was parked in the Casey’s lot.

The suspect gained access to the vehicle and removed a bag that contained a yet to be determined amount of US Currency.

Suspect’s vehicle

The suspect was driving a silver Hyundai Tucson SUV with paper dealer plates. Officers checked the area but were unable to locate the suspect vehicle.

The suspect vehicle is similar to one that has been used in a previous ATM robbery in Omaha, NE. Please see the attached photograph.

Anyone who witnessed this incident or has information that could assist in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Council Bluffs Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 712-328-4728 or on-line tips can be submitted at: https://www.councilbluffs-ia.gov/FormCenter/Police-Department-2/Online-CrimeStoppers-Tip-70

An Iowa debate for GOP presidential candidates scheduled for Jan.10


December 7th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – C-N-N has announced it will host a debate on January 10th in Des Moines for G-O-P presidential candidates who have at least 10 percent support in three polls — and one of the polls must be of likely Iowa Caucus-goers. Three of the candidates who debated last (Wednesday) night in Alabama are heading to Iowa to campaign. Nikki Haley, who’ll speak a

“There was no question that the fellas came out with attacks on me and I appreciated it,” Haley says. “…I mean we are surging. They know it. They see it in the polls.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy criticized Haley for accepting campaign donations from Wall Street donors, including a Democrat who founded LinkedIn. Haley says they’re just jealous of her new donors. Haley says voters are most concerned about how candidates will fix the economy.

“We have got to get congress to where they stop all this reckless spending,” Haley says. “We saw it happen with Trump with $9 trillion in four years. Now you’ve got Republicans and Democrats spending like drunken sailors and so I’ll stop the spending, stop the borrowing. We’ll eliminate the earmarks and I’ll veto any spending bill that doesn’t take us back to pre-COVID levels.”

Haley, DeSantis, Ramaswamy and Texas pastor Ryan Binkley are scheduled to be in Sioux Center Saturday for an event Congressman Randy Feenstra is hosting.

Warren Opera House Board member reflects on Norman Lear’s movie in Greenfield


December 7th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Greenfield, Iowa) – A man who was just a teenager in high school back in 1969, is reflecting back on his experiences with Director Norman Lear and the production of “Cold Turkey,” in Greenfield. Lear died Tuesday at the age of 101. E.E. Warren Cultural Center Board Member Dan Dickinson says he was a member of the Greenfield High School Band, and performed in one of the last scene’s of the movie.

He says the experience was “pretty neat.”

Being an Extra in the film gave Dickinson some spending money and a chance to talk with the film’s stars.

Dickinson said Norman Lear was very attentive to detail, but he never saw him upset, even if things weren’t going according to plan. Lear wrote, directed and produced the movie.

He said Lear was always “Down-to-earth guy,” and always held Greenfield and Iowa close to his heart.

Dan Dickinson says the last time Lear was in Greenfield was in the late 90’s, when they had a “Cold Turkey” Reunion. He said Lear “Was a great man, and it was nice to be a small part of his career.” In 2014, the Warren Cultural Center named its theater in honor of the famed producer.