February 1, 2015

Police chief shot with Taser for fundraiser

Gilbertville Police Chief Dave McGlaughlin being shot with a Taser

Gilbertville Police Chief Dave McGlaughlin shot with a Taser

An eastern Iowa police chief was shot with a Taser in front of a large crowd this week, but it was all for a good cause. Gilbertville Police Chief Dave McGlaughlin was tased by a fellow officer during halftime of a Don Bosco High School basketball game. Not only will it help with his Taser training, McGlaughlin conceived the idea to help with the department’s current equipment needs.

The chief told KCRG-TV he is hoping to raise as much as $8,500. For the department of four, the money would help buy body cameras, bicycle patrol equipment, traffic direction signs and, yes, Tasers. Currently, the department has to share the nonlethal device. “One Taser and four officers is not cool, McGlaughlin said. “We are looking for an AED. We have never carried a defibrillator in the department from what I understand. To me that’s unacceptable.”

Gilbertville Police officer Nick Brokaw says every dollar donated will help. “Especially these times where we have a low budget and we are a small department so we can’t always afford all of the items that some of the larger departments can, so hopefully we can buy this equipment,” Brokaw said.

The department raised over $700 at the game and people can continue to donate online. The chief said the fundraiser was also a good way to simply get out into the community and meet people.

by Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV

Projected snow totals increased for the weekend


Click to enlarge map.

It appears more snow will be falling in Iowa this weekend than previously forecast. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Zogg says it will be a “long duration” snow event affecting most of — if not the entire — state.

“Right now we’re expecting south-central into southeast Iowa, basically locations from Interstate 80 to the south and also east of Interstate 35, to see the highest snowfall totals from this event. In that region, we’re looking at snowfall totals of 5 to 9 inches by the time the snowfall ends on Sunday evening,” Zogg says.

Much of the northern half of Iowa can expect 3 to 6 inches of snow between Saturday and Sunday. And the winter storm won’t be over when the snow stops flying. “The winds will be picking up and that will result in some blowing and drifting of snow,” Zogg says. “So, people who have travel plans Sunday afternoon and evening, definitely need to keep an eye on the latest conditions because we could see issues with blowing and drifting snow. Those winds will bring in colder temperatures as well. We could have low temperatures Monday morning approaching zero across much of the state with wind chills of 5-to-15-degrees below zero.”

Another chance of snow is in the forecast for next Tuesday.



Red Cross still looking for ‘Heroes of the Heartland’ nominations

Red-Cross-Hero-PhotoThe Red Cross will be recognizing several Iowans for “extraordinary acts of courage.”

Kara Kelly, spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Greater Iowa, says Heroes of the Heartland events will be held this spring in Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Spencer, Ottumwa, and Des Moines.

“This is our largest fundraiser in each of these communities for the American Red Cross,” Kelly says. “So, yes, it’s a time to celebrate the good work that’s happening in the community, but it’s also a time to for us to recognize the work the Red Cross is doing across the state of Iowa.”

Iowans have been submitting nominations to the Red Cross to have people recognized for their courageous and compassionate actions. Kelly says it’s always difficult for the Heroes of the Heartland committee members to select the recipients of the awards. “This is one of our best times of the year because we get to read all these great stories,” Kelly says.

The deadline has passed to nominate a person for the awards to be presented in Fort Dodge, Sioux City, and Spencer — but nominations will be accepted through this Saturday for the Ottumwa and Des Moines awards ceremonies.

Kelly says regardless of the heroic event, it must have occurred between February 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015. “Sometimes it’s a lifesaving story, it might be somebody who performed CPR. Last year, we had a gentleman from Ames who pushed a car off the tracks when a train was coming,” Kelly said. “It could be somebody who’s been a longstanding member of the community and has done a lot of community service.”

The various Heroes of the Heartland celebrations are scheduled for late March and April.



Test project on I-35 tells motorists best speed for icy travel

DOT truck treating the interstate.

DOT truck treating the interstate.

Testing is underway on a project in central Iowa that could reduce the number of traffic crashes during snow storms. Iowa Department of Transportation engineer Willy Sorenson says the idea involves the use of sensors and lasers to monitor winter pavement conditions.

A mathematic formula then calculates an “advised” slower speed limit which is posted on digital signs along Interstate 35.

On an icy day, for example, the signs might suggest a speed limit of 55 miles-an-hour. “In theory, with that, you should be able to reduce crashes and when you reduce crashes, you reduce fatalities,” Sorenson says. Many crashes on the interstate during a snow storm happen because some motorists are driving too slow at a time when others are going too fast for the conditions.

Sorenson believes an “advisory speed” would bring the speeds of all vehicles closer together and make it safer on the interstate. In addition to the advised speed limit, the digital signs carry a message explaining why motorists should slow down. “We hope that ‘why factor’ will help people with the compliance to that advised number,” Sorenson says. The project involves four digital signs along an 11-mile stretch of I-35 between Ankeny and Huxley. The area was chosen because it’s one of the most dangerous stretches of interstate in Iowa, especially in the winter.

Sorenson hopes to expand the project next year. “We’re going to try and get one phase done this winter and the real big push is for next winter,” Sorenson says. There were 319 traffic fatalities in Iowa last year and 35 were blamed, at least in part, on snowy or icy road conditions — according to the Iowa DOT.


Osceola murder victims identified

Osceola-policeThe victims of a double homicide in south central Iowa have been identified.

Investigators say 22-year-old Erick Reyna and 27-year-old Noe Flores Rascon, both of Osceola, were found shot to death in a car located in a rural area of northern Clarke County over the weekend. The pair had gone missing Friday night.

The State Medical Examiner has ruled both deaths as homicides. Police have charged 38-year-old Richard Carson of Osceola with two counts of first-degree murder. Three other people are facing charges of accessory after the fact in connection with the case. Investigators have not revealed what may’ve led to the shootings.

Iowa DCI Special Agent in Charge Michael Motsinger says double homicides are rare in Iowa, but it is certainly not something they can’t handle.

Richard Carson, Christopher Elbon (top l-R). Lynn Sutton, Tracy Johnson (bottom L-R).

Richard Carson, Christopher Elbon (top l-R). Lynn Sutton, Tracy Johnson (bottom L-R).


Weather taking a swing back toward the warm side

weather-graphicIt’s feeling more like March, rather than late January, across much of Iowa this week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Cogill says tomorrow will be even warmer with many locations likely to break record highs for January 28.

“Forecast highs around Des Moines are for the mid to upper 50s, so it certainly looks possible that we break a record tomorrow — with the old record being 56-degrees back in 1931,” Cogill said.

Some sections of western Iowa are expected to post temperatures in the 60s tomorrow.

More winter-like weather will return to the state soon, as a cold front pushes in tomorrow night and snow could be falling this weekend. “We’ll have cooler temperatures Thursday and Friday, but still above normal for this time of year, with highs in the 30s for much of the state,” Cogill said.

“Into the weekend, we’re going to see a storm system move up from the Southwestern United States with a good chance of snow especially over central and southern Iowa with a few inches of snow possible by Sunday.”

Columbus Junction infant dies, father charged

Crime Scene TapeAn Iowan infant, who suffered head injuries allegedly caused by her father, died over the weekend. Four-month-old Marleen Jimenez was admitted to University of Iowa Hospitals on January 19th.

Authorities say she died on Saturday. The girl’s father, 21-year-old Oscar Jimenez of Columbus Junction, was arrested last Tuesday and charged with multiple acts of child endangerment. Now, he could face even more serious charges.

Officials say an autopsy was conducted Monday and the investigation is ongoing.