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Limits on picketing outside John Deere’s Davenport Works


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – An educator from the University of Iowa Law Center says Deere and Company has made a strategic move to seek rulings in state rather than federal court to limit where and how striking workers may picket. A Scott County district court judge has granted a temporary injunction that bars striking workers outside John Deere’s Davenport Works from having chairs or fires in barrels and no more than four may be positioned at entry gates. Paul Iversen, who joined the Labor Center at the University of Iowa a decade ago, says a 1931 federal law sets the rules for how federal judges may rule when employers ask for restrictions on picketing.

“One of those rules is you can’t get that injunction unless the chief public safety officer of the jurisdiction, so the chief of police or the county sheriff, says that they’ve lost control of the situation,” Iversen says, “so you never get a federal court (ruling) because no county sheriff that’s going to stand up for election is going to say: ‘I’ve lost control of the picket line.'”

Deere and Company told the state court judge picketers outside its Davenport Works were blocking access and putting themselves and salaried workers going into the plant at risk. A spokeswoman for Deere and Company says the Iowa judge’s order ensures a safe environment for those reporting to work and those exercising their right to strike. The company is seeking a similar injunction for picketing outside John Deere’s Ankeny plant. Iversen says companies have historially sought limits on people exercising their right to strike.

“The strike is meant to shut down the employer. That is the purpose of a strike,” Iversen says. “Trying to bring in an injunction, saying it’s hard for us to work during a strike — that’s what a strike does.” Iversen made his comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that airs tonight (Friday) on Iowa P-B-S.

Man sought as a “Person of Interest” in Council Bluffs fatal shooting


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Council Bluffs, Iowa) – Authorities in Council Bluffs need your help in locating “person of interest” in connection with a fatal shooting. Council Bluffs Police and EMS were called 1200 East Washington Street, at 3:42am this (Friday) morning, for a reported shooting. Upon arrival, they found a resident of the home, 24 year-old McKayla Glover, of Council Bluffs, with a single gunshot wound to her chest. Glover was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Nebraska Medicine where she was pronounced deceased.

Council Bluffs police detectives are actively investigating the shooting, conducting interviews and processing the scene for physical evidence. At this time, no arrests have been made, but officials would like to locate and speak to 28-year-old Vaughn White. He’s described as being a black male, 6’3”, 250 lbs. White currently has an active arrest warrant for Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Vaughn White

If you know he is, please contact either 9-1-1 or Council Bluffs CrimeStoppers at 712-328-STOP (7867).

Atlantic Rising Trivia Night a Success


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Atlantic Rising hosted a Trivia Night at the Cass County Community Center Friday, October 15th. The non-profit organization raised funds during the event, for the Christmas Box Program that supplies food boxes to nominated individuals and families throughout Cass County during the holidays. Eight teams participated in the fundraiser and the organization was able to raise $2,790 that will go toward The Christmas Box program this December.

Kelsey Beschorner, Atlantic Rising Social Chair, said “The event was even more successful than last year, and we are so appreciative of our community’s generosity and support towards this special project. There was a lot of excitement throughout the night about the event and program, and everyone had a great time.” Beschorner added, “The Defending Champions from 2019 won again this year. The winner of the 50/50 raffle took home $157.”

Teams were encouraged to create a theme and dress up and decorate their team table. There were several teams that took advantage of this opportunity, and the team theme winners had a Sesame Street theme, dressing up as the characters of Sesame Street and character themed snack platers. They were awarded AtlantiCash for their creativity. The night consisted of eight rounds with 10 questions each; each round had a theme and some double point questions. Emcees for the night were Ann and John McCurdy, who also put together all the categories and questions.

Atlantic Rising is looking forward to delivering Christmas Boxes Thursday, December 16th. Nominations for the boxes will be accepted beginning November 1st. For more information on Atlantic Rising or the Christmas Box Program, contact Kelsey Beschorner at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-243-3017 or visit www.atlanticiowa.com.

2 arrested in Mills County, Thursday


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Glenwood, Iowa) – The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports two men were arrested on separate charges, Thursday afternoon. 67-year-old Robert Charles Carlson, of Omaha, was arrested at the Lancaster County, NE. Jail, on a Mills County warrant for Violation of Probation. Carlson was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail.

And, 24-year-old Devin Michael Ramirez, of Bellevue, NE., was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Bond was set at $1,000.

Lewis man arrested in Cass County on a Pott. County warrant


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Officials with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office report 36-year-old David Allen Coenen, of Lewis, was arrested Wednesday, on a Pottawattamie County warrant. The warrant was issued for Failure to Appear (in court). Coenen was transported to Cass County Jail and held, pending transport to Pottawattamie County.

And, on October 14th, Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an accident on White Pole Road and 560th St., near Lewis.  Authorities says James Benjamin Overman, of Griswold, was driving a 1998 Chevy pickup was traveling west bound on White Pole, when an unknown vehicle, traveling eastbound, crossed the center line and struck the left side of Overman’s vehicle. The unknown vehicle left the scene and was not located.  No injuries were reported.

Axne bill calls for more staff to answer Social Security phones


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne says after fielding complaints from constituents waiting for answers from the Social Security Administration, she’s introduced a bill requiring more staff be assigned to answer phone calls. In-person appointments at local Social Security offices have been canceled during the pandemic and Axne says many Iowans cannot connect online for a virtual appointment. “What’s happened is our older Iowans have had to turn to the 1-800 number, the hotline that’s been set up, to talk to a live person,” Axne says, “but here’s where the rub is: folks in Iowa aren’t reaching these live people.”

Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says she’s heard from constituents who’ve waited on hold for hours, but never reached a real person and instead waded through recorded messages to try to find answers. “What that means to me is that it’s really not a hotline then and so this needs to be fixed,” Axne says. The Social Security’s toll-free automated hotline is meant to connect callers with a real person who works in a nearby Social Security office, but Axne says that’s not happening.

Cindy Axne. (photo from conference call.)

Axne’s bill directs the Social Security Administration to assign more staff to answer phones Monday through Friday during regular business hours — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. “My bill doesn’t ask taxpayers to spend an extra dime,” Axne says. “What it does is ask the Social Security Administration to be more effective and efficient.”

The Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging has endorsed Axne’s bill. Joe Sample, the association’s executive director, says many older adults, especially those in rural Iowa, may not have access to the internet. “Use of technology can, at times, be the very roadblock or barrier that prevents an older adult from getting what they need,” Sample says. “In 20 years, it might be that older adults will have access to affordable technology and navigating websites will be more comfortable, but that day is not today.”

Two other Democrats in the House are joining Axne’s call for more Social Security staff to answer the telephones. Congressman Tim Ryan is running for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022 and Congresswoman Val Demings is running to challenge Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.

DNR on lookout for fatal disease impacting rabbits

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A disease that quickly kills domestic and wild rabbits is confirmed in two states that border Iowa and state DNR officials are asking Iowans to be vigilant for signs it’s arrived here. State wildlife veterinarian Dr. Rachel Ruden says rabbit hemorrhagic disease is killing the animals in several states, including Minnesota and South Dakota. “What we’re asking for is unusual reports of dead rabbits,” Ruden says, “so, rabbits that might seemingly look in good condition but are dead and in someone’s yard or at someone’s farm.” If you spot one or several dead rabbits, don’t touch them — but instead reach out to Ruden’s office through email or the phone number below.

“Domestic rabbits are also very susceptible to this disease, so contact us and we’ll take care of getting that carcus, limiting exposure beyond that area and taking the precautions necessary,” Ruden says, “and then we’ll screen those animals and figure out if there’s something that elevates the concern of testing for rabbit hemorrhagic disease.” Hunters are out in Iowa’s forests and fields now, looking for rabbits, as the cottontail season runs September through February.

(Photo by Karl Schilling)

This disease shouldn’t be a worry for hunters as it proves fatal to rabbits swiftly. “Following infection, there’s a rapid deterioration and we’d expect death within maybe 24 or 36 hours,” Ruden says. “It’s unlikely that a hunter would encounter an animal that was in the process of dying and happen to harvest that animal, but even if they did, this is not a disease of concern that people could actually get, it’s just the rabbits.”

The initial outbreak was in New Mexico in March of 2020 and the virus has since moved across the Southwest, Mountain and Great Plains states. Ruden says it can be spread from rabbit to rabbit, by predators, insects, and even by vehicle traffic. She says keeping the virus on Iowans’ radar is key to minimizing its impact should it show up here.

Contact Ruden at rachel.ruden@dnr.iowa.gov or 515-294-8205.

Iowa Greyhound racing to end in 2022

News, Sports

October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Greyhound racing is heading into its final lap in Iowa after 35 years of racing. Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says the operator of the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque set things in motion at Thursday’s Racing and Gaming Commission meeting.  “The Iowa Greyhound Association as part of their request for license renewal — request to reduce their race meet to 18 days — and also to end Greyhound racing after 2022,” Ohorilko says. He says operators don’t feel it is viable to keep the track open.

He says a number of things made it difficult for the industry to go much further — including the lack of greyhounds available. Ohorilko says many other states have ended greyhound racing — leaving fewer dogs to race. The track in Dubuque is the last Iowa greyhound track, and had survived using payments from two other tracks that wanted to close. “As part of the original greyhound cessation legislation that was passed approximately seven years ago — the two racetracks that offered greyhound racing, Q-Casino, and Horshoe Casino — could opt out of greyhound racing and pay a fee over seven years,” according to Ohorilko. “Those payments have been coming in every year and the last payment would be made in 2022.”

Ohorilko says the city of Dubuque has to approve the request to cut the greyhound season to 18 days. The Racing and Gaming Commission website shows the first dog races began at the Dubuque Greyhound Park, which opened in June of 1985. The was followed by the Bluffs Run facility in Council Bluffs in February of 1986 and the Waterloo Greyhound Park, which began racing on October 15, 1986.

Shutdown of wind turbine blade maker may not hurt Newton as bad as Maytag


October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The closure of a wind turbine blade factory in Newton will be a blow to the area, but an Iowa State University economist says it won’t have the same impact as when Maytag left the community. T-P-I Composites started making blades in Newton about a year after Maytag quit making washing machines in 2007. T-P-I plans to stop production and lay off more than 700 workers by the end of this year. I-S-U economist Liesl Eathington says that’s a lot of jobs for a city of 15-thousand, but the impact is more isolated because T-P-I has fewer ties to local suppliers. Eathington says, “Because that firm was not as deeply rooted into the local economy as Maytag had been, I don’t think the consequences are going to be felt as much.”

(Public domain photo) TPI wind blade manufacturing in Newton, IA.

Eathington says the economies of Newton and Jasper County are also more connected to the Des Moines area since Maytag closed, which adds stability to the local economy. T-P-I made blades for General Electric, but G-E purchased a rival blade manufacturer and has ended its relationship with T-P-I. It’s a setback for Newton but -not- a sign the wind industry is on the decline. The wind industry is on a growth trajectory, according to Pavel Molchanov, a stock analyst who covers T-P-I for the investment firm Raymond James. He says with G-E out, a new customer could come in.  Molchanov says, “In fact, very likely there will be a replacement customer to buy blades from this factory, but it’s not going to happen instantaneously.”

He says it won’t come soon enough to keep 710 workers from being laid off. I-S-U’s Eathington says because of the overall labor shortage in Iowa, other employers in the area are likely to recruit T-P-I workers to fill open positions.

(reporting by Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio)

(Podcast) KJAN News, 8:07 a.m., 10/22/21

News, Podcasts

October 22nd, 2021 by Ric Hanson

More area and state news from Ric Hanson.