October 7, 2015

State Patrol asks motorists to use caution as harvest gets underway

Large farm equipment will come out of the shed and onto roadways as the harvest gets underway.

Large farm equipment will come out of the shed and onto roadways as the harvest gets underway.

The Iowa State Patrol is reminding motorists that the fall harvest is getting underway.

“This time of year, you need to watch for those large trucks, tractors and implements. It can be anything from a small tractor to a large, 24 row bean head combine,” Sergeant Nate Ludwig says.

Even if a farmer waves you around, Ludwig says it’s best to wait until you can actually see that it’s safe to pass. He also urges drivers to be patient and avoid passing farm equipment in no passing zones. Ludwig says not only is that dangerous, it’s against the law. “If can’t make a complete pass from start to finish before that solid yellow line, that’s illegal,” Ludwig says.

The harvest season can run 24 hours a day, so Ludwig warns huge equipment can be moving between fields at night. He says farmers need to share responsibility by making sure it’s obvious when they’re going to turn or come to a sudden stop.

(Thanks to Iowa Public Radio)


Two dead in Black Hawk County accident

Ambulance-genericTwo men killed in a traffic crash Wednesday in northeast Iowa have been identified. The crash happened on Dubuque Road between Raymond and Jesup around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office reports a car driven by 62-year-old Bill Price of Waterloo crossed the center line and hit a motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction. Both Price and the motorcyclist, 60-year-old Dale Weber of Jesup, died at the scene.

(Reporting by Scott Fenzloff, KCNZ, Cedar Falls)


State urges parents to register car seats to get recall information

(photo courtesy Iowa DOT)

(photo courtesy Iowa DOT)

Parents and other caregivers are being urged to register their child vehicle safety seats. Mark Nagel, with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says around 40 percent of the child safety seats that are purchased go unregistered, so parents and others miss out on manufacturer recall notices.

“Over the course of the last year, there were six million seats recalled for defects,” Nagel said. “The defects can be some improper wordage in the instructions, but they can also be faulty straps, faulty clips, and things like that.” The seats come with a registration slip that should be filled out and mailed or registration forms are available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

This is National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 13-19). Certified technicians are available statewide to check child safety seats. Nagel notes around 60 percent of the seats that are inspected are not installed correctly.

“The state of Iowa has over 300 certified child passenger safety technicians who can help parents,” Nagel said. Parents can locate the technicians in their area of the state through the Unity Point Blank Children’s Hospital website. When a child safety seat is used correctly, it can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent, according to the Safe Kids Coalition.

Nagel says all children should be riding in the back seat of a vehicle until at least age 13. Many parents are unsure when it’s safe to move a child out of a secured booster seat. “We have a rule called the ‘fit test’ where the child should be able to sit with his or her back flat against the back of the vehicle seat and their knees should bend over the front of the seat naturally with the child’s feet touching the floor,” Nagel said. “Then, we want to make sure that the lap portion of the seatbelt goes across the upper thigh area and the shoulder belt comes down across the collarbone.”

Many law enforcement agencies and other organizations are holding child car seat checkup events this week.




Lawyer fees awarded to governor’s brother appealed to Iowa Supreme Court

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case involving lawyer fees awarded to Governor Terry Branstad’s brother Monte in a decision by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

The Appeals Court ruled Monte Branstad is due court fees after successfully getting the restitution from a fish kill dropped from nearly $62,000 to $5,300. The ruling said Branstad pointed out the DNR error in figuring the fish kill damages and his fees should be paid despite exceptions for state agencies in the law.

Jefferey Thompson

Jefferey Thompson

Attorney Jeffrey Thompson argued the Appeals Court was wrong. “The decision maker is the NRC (Natural Resources Commission), not the DNR. And so all these arguments about the DNR miss the point here, they are not even before you, that’s not the final agency that is here,” Thompson says.

Thompson says the process was set up to allow the state to give someone a fair hearing. “This point of having this opportunity to object without going to court to an agency’s action and invoke the right to a contested case was the goal of the Administrative Procedures Act, to give people protection, and it does that,” Thompson says. “And to then say that that now is subject to attorneys fees, I think walks it backwards.”

Thompson says Branstad was given a fair hearing and admitted to the spill and killing fish. “It wasn’t that they had to follow a certain methodology and then just didn’t have any facts to back it up. They had facts to support their position, it was just the legal conclusion was: you didn’t apply the right standard,” Thompson says.

Christine Branstad

Christine Branstad

Justice David Wiggins expressed concern about giving an exemption in this case and asked attorney Christine Branstad about it.

“One of the problems with adopting your position –and my troublesome position — is that you’re going to penalize the agency when they act as an adjudicator and come up with the wrong decision. I don’t think I’d like to be a judge and when I am wrong, I’ve got to pay,” Wiggins says.

Branstad replied to Wiggins. “Well, that was essentially the argument made by the state at the Court of Appeals, was under this interpretation, DNR officers will have to think twice before issuing fines,” Branstad says. She says she doesn’t see anything wrong with making the officers think twice about the fines they issue.

Branstad argued this is the very type of case where there should be an exception to the rules, because Monte Branstad had to appeal to get the amount of restitution dropped. “Someone is going to have to pay the attorney’s fees to litigate. And if an agency has not followed their own rules, not followed their own practices and created an unfair situation — it seems like it makes more sense for that agency to pay for the attorney’s fees,” Branstad says.

The fish kill happened after a silage discharge from a basin on Monte Branstad’s property near Forest City entered the Winnebago River.



Collision in Northeast Iowa claims life of Edgewood man

AmbulanceOne person died in a fiery crash in northeast Iowa’s Delaware County last night.

It happened on the south edge of Greeley on Highway 38 shortly after 6 PM.

The Iowa State Patrol says a northbound car rear-ended a silage chopper.

The car caught fire and the driver, 20-year-old Timothy Greene of Edgewood, died at the scene.

The farm equipment operator, 56-year-old Richard Bockenstedt of Greeley, was treated and released at the scene.

The highway was closed for several hours following the crash.

By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester


Nebraska woman dies in motorcycle crash in Northwest Iowa

Police car lightsAuthorities have released the name of the Nebraska woman who died in a weekend motorcycle accident in northwest Iowa.

The Sac County Sheriff’s office says 56-year-old Kimberly Beltz of Dakota City, Nebraska, was westbound on Highway 20, a quarter mile west of Wadsley Avenue west of Lytton on Sunday afternoon, when she went onto the shoulder and lost control.

Beltz was taken to Loring Hospital in Sac City, where she died of her injuries. Beltz was the only occupant on the motorcycle. Beltz was wearing a helmet and other protective gear.

The accident remains under investigation by the Sac County Sheriff’s Office.

By Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake


Hit and run victim near Iowa Falls is identified

Crime Scene TapeThe identity of the man whose body was found in a ditch near Iowa Falls is being released.

The name of the victim is 23-year-old Timothy Nussbaum of Hutchinson, Minnesota.

The Hardin County Sheriff’s Department said that Nussbaum was struck by a motor vehicle on U.S. Highway 65 north of Iowa Falls.

Nussbaum’s body was found early Sunday afternoon. Hardin County Sheriff Dave McDaniel said the investigation is continuing.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the case.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City