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State AARP official urges Iowans to speak out against cuts in benefits


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Anthony Carroll State Director for Advocacy at AARP in IA

The Associate Director for the AARP in Iowa was in Council Bluffs earlier this week, and will be in Sioux City next week. Anthony Carroll is urging residents to call Iowa’s members of Congress, in hopes they will influence the “Supercommittee” members in Washington, D-C, who are considering proposals for cuts in Medicare and Social Security benefits. He told KJAN News the “Supercommittee” has to come up with 1.2-trillion dollars in budget cuts. Carroll says everything is on the table, including Social Security and Medicare benefits.

He says it’s important to make your voice heard, because once the final proposal is presented, it can‘t be changed. He says the proposal must be completed by November 23rd, so the time to get involved in the process, is now. Carroll says since the “Supercommittee” meetings are taking place behind closed doors, it’s difficult to know what’s being discussed, but there are some parts of the proposal which are in place that would affect those persons over 50. One pertains to Social Security.

For instance, he says the organization is concerned about a proposal to “chain” the Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, which is being adjusted upward in January, for the first time in three-years. That’s because the formula used over the past two-years for figuring the amount was based on data showing a lack of inflation, and therefore no need to increase the COLA.

He says on the contrary, the Cost of Living has gone up, for senior citizens and all Americans. Carroll says if the COLA is “Chained downward,” those adjustments would happen less often, and would be smaller than those Social Security recipients currently receive. Another proposal would raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65, to 67. Carroll says that’s something the AARP opposes.

He says two-thirds of persons ages 65-to 66 would pay more out-of-pocket, to the tune of about $2,200 more per year. It would also impact benefices of those over the age of 67, because 65-to 66-year olds tend to be healthier, and have less expenses. When those persons are removed from the Medicare pool, an estimated Medicare Part-B and Part-D premiums would increase for all remaining beneficiaries by about 3-percent.

Carroll says the group understands that adjustments to Medicare and Social Security need to be made, if those programs are to remain solvent and workable, but they need their own “stand-alone” proposal the public would have time to react to. He says seniors in Iowa should call 1-888-722-8514 to contact their representatives in Congress to voice their concerns, or sign a petition on-line at

Survey suggests slow growth in Midwest, Plains


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states continues to grow, but at “an anemic pace.” The overall Rural Mainstreet index for the region improved to 52.9 in October from last month’s 52.2, suggesting weak economic growth. Anytime that index, which ranges from 0 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says this month’s results were helped by companies linked to agriculture that continue to experience healthy growth. Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

Fire reported at Menard’s Distribution Center in Shelby


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Fire Chief in Shelby says three area fire departments were called to the Menard’s Distribution center outside of Shelby yesterday (Thursday) morning. Brian Anderson says the Shelby Fire Department was the first to respond at around 11-a.m., Thursday. Anderson says a spark in a dust collector located in one of the buildings was to blame for the incident. Shelby Fire requested and received mutual aid from the Minden and Avoca Fire Departments to fight the blaze, which was kept under control beforehand, thanks to the Menard’s maintenance team, which Anderson said does a good job keeping the equipment clean. That, in-turn, helped keep the fire contained to one specific area. 

The damage was caused mostly by smoldering embers and smoke. Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours. No injuries were reported, and there was no dollar amount of the damage, available.

(courtesy: Joel McCall at KNOD in Harlan)

Former Hawkeye Running Back Wegher Arrested In Council Bluffs

News, Sports

October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Former Iowa running back Brandon Wegher has been arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and eluding police.  Wegher was arrested Tuesday night at an Iowa Western Community College apartment complex, in Council Bluffs. Police Sgt. Chad Geer said a warrant was taken out for Wegher’s arrest after the 20-year-old fled when officers arrived at a party in Council Bluffs on Oct. 13th. Authorities say Wegher posted a $300 bond and was released.

Wegher left Iowa after the 2009 football season for personal reasons. He transferred to Oklahoma in 2010, but left before spring practices began. He then transferred to Iowa Western, but the school ruled him academically ineligible for this season.

Fallen Firefighter benefit this weekend


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A benefit fundraiser will take place this weekend in Shelby, for a fallen firefighter’s family. Michael Collins, of Shelby, was killed in the line of duty while directing traffic at the scene of an accident on Interstate 80 on September 18th. Brian Anderson, Shelby Fire Chief, says Woodmen of the World are sponsoring the benefit. The Woodmen of the World’s marketing team has helped the Shelby Fire Department gather some of auction items as well.

The lunch will be held from 11-a.m to 2-p.m., Saturday. Anderson says the hamburgers will be grilled for a reason: He says Collins held a grill out for the firefighters at the station in Shelby, just a few hours before he responded to the accident scene, and later died.

The lunch is a free will donation at the Shelby Fire Hall. If you are unable to attend, a memorial fund has been set up at the Shelby County State Bank.

(courtesy Joel McCall at our sister station KNOD in Harlan)

Bluffs woman arrested in Page County


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Department reports a woman from Pottawattamie County was arrested Monday in Shambaugh. 42-year old Jodie Marie Sherman, of Council Bluffs, was taken into custody at around 9:15-p.m., for allegedly violating a No Contact order. Sherman plead guilty to the charge Tuesday, and was sentenced to serve seven consecutive days in jail.

Car vs. deer in Page County


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

No injuries were reported following a car-versus-deer accident Wednesday, in Page County. Sheriff Lyle Palmer reports a 2005 Nissan Altima driven by 17-year old Marcus Allen Taylor, of Villisca, was traveling east on 130th Street off of Highway 71, when a deer popped up out of a ditch.

The ensuing collision, which happened at around 7:05-p.m., caused about $3,000 damage to the vehicle.

Paranormal investigator tells tales of hauntings across Iowa


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Chad Lewis, author

An author who calls himself a “paranormal investigator” will give what promises to be a bone-chilling lecture in Iowa tonight (Friday) about some of the state’s unexplained mysteries and alleged hauntings. Chad Lewis has traveled all over Iowa, taking pictures, doing interviews, researching spooky incidents and trying to make sense of them. He’s compiled a book called, “The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations.”  “When you hear stories of people being haunted by gypsies in Algona, you need to go there to see what they’re experiencing, see the atmosphere, see the conditions, and then come to your own conclusion as to whether or not they’re haunted,” Lewis says. “Traveling to these places is half the fun.” Several spots in Iowa are known for phantom hitchhikers, including near a certain cemetery in Estherville. Lewis says he talked with several people who’ve encountered a spirit-woman on the roadside.

“I even had a gentleman who said he gave her a ride and went to ask her where she was going and she had disappeared from his front seat,” Lewis says. “He was so convinced that she was real, he spent the next hour scouring the countryside looking for her, thinking she must have snuck out.” Lewis investigated the Ghost Train near Boone and the story of Kate Shelley Bridge. He’s also been to Iowa City and Council Bluffs to probe the tale of haunted “black angels” in city graveyards. “Legends have been brewing for decades that if you go there, sometimes you have to follow some of the conditions, like if you go there at midnight, the black angel will come to life and you’ll be cursed with bad luck,” Lewis says. “If you have a kiss in front of the angel, it will come to life and you’ll have bad luck.” He notes there are never predictions of good luck, like you’ll win the lottery, but it’s instead something like you’ll lose your sight or your life.

Of all the places he’s visited in Iowa, Lewis says only a few really gave him the heebee-jeebees, including a haunted bridge in rural Webster County, which was supposedly inhabited by a werewolf — though he didn’t actually see the creature.  “Another place that really creeped me out was the Villisca axe murder house in Villisca where eight members of a family and a couple guests were brutally killed with an axe,” Lewis says. “The case was never solved. Now, if you have a macabre sense of adventure, you can spend the night in the house where they were tragically murdered.” Lewis has a Masters of Science in Applied Psychology and has studied the paranormal for 14 years. His talk is scheduled for tonight at 7 o’clock at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. Learn more about the book at: “”

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Romney talks about ethanol & federal price supports in Treynor

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Mitt Romney

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he’s “enough of a business guy” to want to review farm programs and federal price supports for corn and soybeans before saying what he would do as president.   “I’m not running for office based on making promises of handing out money, all right?” Romney said in Iowa Thursday. He made his comments in Treynor, during a roundtable discussion with about 14 local farmers and business leaders. Ethanol producer Rick Schwark told Romney the corn-based fuel has a ripple effect on the rural economy. 

“In our facility, we have 46 people that work directly at the plant, but each day we receive over 100 semis of corn,” Schwark said. “Those are trucks. Each have a truck driver.” Romney said he supported federal subsidies for ethanol to help get the industry on its feet, but the subsidies shouldn’t continue forever, according to Romney. Ward Chambers, a doctor who lives — and farms — in rural Treynor, calls that a gutsy stand for Romney.

“No more ethanol subsidies,” Chambers said. “That’s pretty strong stuff for southwest Iowa.” The federal subsidy for ethanol production is set to expire at the end of the year. Romney indicated he would like to see more a more gradual reduction in the tax break rather than an abrupt elimination. During an August visit to Iowa, Romney said he hoped to do “darned well” in the Caucuses. Yesterday in Treynor Romney began his conversation with the 14 people his campaign had invited to the event like this:  “There’s a good shot I might become the next president of the United States. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s a good shot and if I am, I will benefit by having heard from you.” Romney made three stops in Iowa Thursday, beginning in Sioux City and ending in Council Bluffs, where he met with about three dozen members of the Chamber of Commerce.

(Radio Iowa)

Western IA Rescue Farm Owner Says Vandals Let Horses Out


October 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) – Seven horses at a rescue farm in western Iowa had to be rescued again after  saboteurs cut wire fences and knocked down wooden ones at the farm.  The horses were seen running loose on a highway Thursday, near Glenwood. That’s where the Hooves and Paws Rescue farm is located. Owner Genea Stoops says she received a call from the Mills County Sheriff’s Department informing her that the horses were loose.

She says she was away from the farm at the time. After returning and corralling the horses, Stoops discovered that a wire fence had been cut and her wooden fence had been knocked in. No horses were injured.