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Near record warm temperatures expected by Thursday

News, Weather

December 6th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The weather is going to cooperate if you still have some outdoor work to do this week. National Weather Service meteorologist, Alexis Jimenez (hih-MEN-ezz), says temperatures are forecast to be double the norm.  “Where our normal high temperatures are usually in the upper 30s around this time of year, we’re going to have temperatures reaching near 60 degrees, especially by Thursday. We can start seeing some records breaking,” she says.

The warmth will spread from the western side of the state. “The warmest will especially be in western Iowa on Wednesday, and Thursday it’s going to be much of Iowa will be near 60,” Jimenez says. If you are working outside, be prepared for windy conditions. “It’ll be a little bit breezy. The afternoon hours we’re expecting some gusts up to 30 miles per hour at times as we get through the middle part of the week,” she says. “So just be careful with that portion of the weather, but as far as temperatures go it’s gonna be pretty nice out there.”

As is always the case with warm weather in December, enjoy it while you can.  “Those warm temperatures will last up until we get a cold front moving through on Saturday, where our highs will fall back down into the upper 30s,” according to Jimenez.

She says there is a chance for some rain in southeast Iowa on Saturday, and maybe some snow chances on the backside of it there as well.

Red Oak man arrested Tuesday evening on a Theft charge


December 6th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak (IA) report the arrest at around 5:45-p.m. Tuesday, of 26-year-old Dillion Cole Baldwin, from Red Oak. Baldwin was taken into custody in the 200 block of W. 5th Street on a charge of Theft in the 3rd Degree, an Aggravated Misdemeanor. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $2,000 cash bond, as of the latest report.

Study showing rising suicide rates could be particular worry for Iowa


December 6th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

A University of Iowa researcher says he’s troubled by a new federal report which finds the nation’s suicide rate has reached its highest level since 1941, with nearly 50-thousand people taking their own lives last year. Professor Jonathan Platt, a U-I social epidemiologist, studies changes in the population patterns of mental illness and suicide. Platt says certain findings in the C-D-C report are especially worrying.

The federal report shows suicide deaths are rising among older adults, especially those over 70, and Platt offers some insights into why that demographic may be more at risk.

While suicide rates had been sharply rising in young people in recent years, this latest report indicates those numbers are starting to level off, which Platt says would be encouraging news. Experts are studying the recent rise in youth suicide rates, and Platt says many theories point to a single culprit.

Free, confidential, round-the-clock help is available through the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a resource Platt says holds promise for helping to reduce the numbers. A report released earlier this year from Trust for America’s Health shows 549 Iowans died by suicide in 2021, which is a drop of three-percent from the year before.

Congressman Feenstra says economy weighing down Iowans


December 6th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) -Fourth District Congressman, Randy Feenstra, says his constituents are concerned about the country’s economic situation.

He says high interest rates are also making it tough on businesses.

Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says mounting credit card debt is another issue.

Feenstra says Congress needs to find a way to balance the federal budget and the Biden Administration needs to stop increasing spending. He says without changes the federal debt will continue to climb and that means we need more taxpayer dollars to fund the interest of our debt.

Clean-up of former missile site in western Iowa


December 6th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comments through mid-December about the on-going clean-up of a former missile site in western Iowa. Jessica Messerschmidt — a program manager at the Corps of Engineers’ office in Omaha — says the site near Missouri Valley was used for maintenance, storage and potential launch of missiles during the Cold War.

Messerschmidt, who is a geologist, says work began in 2013 to determine the extent of groundwater contamination in the area from T-C-E. It’s a synthetic chemical that has been shown to cause kidney cancer after prolonged exposure.

The Corps of Engineers has installed 28 filtration systems for residents who get their drinking water from wells in the area.

The Corps regularly tests over 140 wells for contamination. The Corps’ clean up plan is also focused on removing contaminants from the soil.

The Corps hosted a public meeting in Missouri Valley last Thursday.

The 178-acre area was part of Offutt Air Force Base and known as Site 3 for the potential launch of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. It was deactivated in 1964.

State income tax collections down $243 million since July


December 5th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The latest information from the Legislative Services Agency shows a 243 million dollar drop in personal income tax payments to the State of Iowa over the past five months. In October, the three-person panel that sets an estimate of state tax receipts predicted state income tax tax payments would drop, mostly due to the tax reduction plan Governor Reynolds signed into law.

For the first five months of the state fiscal year, there’s been a more than 12 percent decline in income tax payments to the state compared to same period a year ago. That is a larger drop than had been predicted, but recent accounting changes in state government make direct comparisons difficult.

Grassley: Investigation shows Nazi-tied money is still held in Swiss bank


December 5th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says new investigations show money may still be hidden that German government and military leaders stole during the wartime years of the early 1940s. Grassley, who serves on the U-S Senate Budget Committee, says he’s stunned there’s still some plundered funds that haven’t been returned to the ancestors of those who likely died in concentration camp gas chambers.

In 2020, Grassley says Credit Suisse (SWISS) was given credible information that it was holding Nazi-linked accounts. An ombudsman was hired who turned up evidence, who Grassley says was then fired. The bank has rehired the ombudsman so he can, in Grassley’s words, dig deeper into the “troubling details” of the bank’s history.

Iowa man sentenced for sexual exploitation of minors through gift card scheme


December 5th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – An eastern Iowa man who pleaded guilty to using gift cards to get minors to send him sexually explicit videos has been sentenced to over 15 years in prison. Fifty-three-year-old Andrew Kyte of Cedar Rapids has been ordered to pay 24-thousand dollars in restitution to six minor victims.

According to a news release from the U-S Department of Justice, Kyte secretly recorded a minor through a hidden spy camera and engaged in the gift card scheme with minors from 2017 until 2019.

Iowa State Patrol: Driving in excess of the posted speed limit is “Deadly, negligent and irresponsible”


December 5th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Council Bluffs, Iowa) – The Iowa State Patrol reports a Trooper from District 3 in Council Bluffs recently stopped a motorist for traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour. The incident happened in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 29/80, in Council Bluffs. Authorities say the driver “admitted to 136mph at one point” The driver said they were “2 hours late for work,” that they wanted to see how fast their vehicle would run.

ISP photo from their Facebook page

The Iowa State Patrol reported that the number of drivers ticketed for traveling over 100 miles per hour has increased. In 2018, 730 drivers were ticketed for going over 100 mph; in 2019, 659 drivers, 1,497 in 2020, 1,205 in 2021, and 1,112 in 2022.

Webster City business owners plead for reopening of downtown street after fire


December 5th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks one week since fire damaged four businesses in downtown Webster City and barricades still surround the area. A group of Webster City business owners sent a letter to the Webster City City Council to get the street reopened, as this is a critical holiday shopping time. Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce director Anna Woodward read part of the letter during last (Monday) night’s city council meeting. “While we understand the city’s intention to prioritize safety and other aspects by the closing of the street,” Woodward says, “we wish to express our deep concern about the negative impact this decision will have on our local businesses in the area.”

She says more than 80 people work in downtown Webster City and those barricades are hurting business. “They impacted the flow of customers during the peak holiday season,” Woodward says, “and consequently, the economic viability of over 30 establishments are at risk.” Webster City held its annual community Christmas celebration last Saturday and the route had to be changed for the Christmas parade due to the road’s closure. Ron Birkestrand, co-owner of a downtown women’s clothing store, says people don’t realize they can avoid the closed street and park behind the businesses. “Just to give you an example, last Saturday, it’s before Christmas, and we had three customers,” Birkestrand says. “My concern is no matter what you do, we gotta’ get better signage. People are just left out there in the dark on how to get back to the parking lot.”

Webster City officials are meeting today (Tuesday) to discuss reopening the street. Webster City Fire Chief Chuck Stansfield says the fire’s cause has not been identified and will likely go undetermined due to the severity of the damage. The fire appears to be unintentional. No one was hurt.