August 21, 2014

King says treating Ebola victims in U.S. not a good idea

A second American health care worker was flown from Africa into the U.S. today for treatment of the deadly Ebola virus, a move Iowa Congressman Steve King says may prove to be a terrible mistake. “I don’t have to think about it very long to figure it’s a bad idea,” King says. “I’d just seen a story that someone with ebola died in Heathrow Airport in London. Boy, that’s got to be a calamity.”

King, a Republican from western Iowa, says he’d prefer to see medical aid provided on site in Liberia instead of treating victims in Atlanta. He notes, both of the infected Americans contracted Ebola while trying to treat -other- Ebola patients. “They would be taking the appropriate precautions and they would be the experts on the disease so why did they get it if they knew they were working in it and they were taking all the appropriate precautions?” King asks. “That tells me that we might think we can take appropriate precautions in the United States but that doesn’t give me confidence.”

King says his heart goes out to those who went to Africa to help victims, but he says they knew the risks. “Let’s be as humanitarian as we can be but I would have not brought them into the United States,” King says. He suggests flying over an entire health care ward, if necessary, but “do that in Africa, keep them there.” Nearly 890 people have died of ebola in three west African nations in recent months, making it the largest outbreak since the discovery of the virus.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Man charged in fatal Marion County accident

A man accused in a fatal hit-and-run crash in south-central Iowa has a history of traffic offenses. The crash happened Sunday afternoon in Marion County.

Twenty-year-old Clayton Harsin of Knoxville was on a motorcycle that had slowed to turn and was rear-ended by a pickup. Harsin was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene. The truck left the scene, but authorities identified the driver as 32-year-old Michael Liggett of Monroe. He’s now charged with vehicular homicide and OWI third offense. If convicted, he’d face a 25-year prison term.

Police say Liggett did have a valid driver’s license, as his last drunk driving arrest happened 10 years ago.


Boat hits Clear Lake dock, injuring 10 people

A boat struck a public dock on Clear Lake’s south shore, injuring ten people, four of whom had to be taken to the hospital.

The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department says they were called shortly after 2:00 AM Sunday morning about a boating accident with multiple injuries at the 15th Avenue South public dock on South Shore Drive.

A 2000 Cobalt boat operated by 28-year-old Andrew Nicholas of Clear Lake struck the public dock, causing damage to a portion of the dock, a boat on a hoist and Nicholas’ boat. Four of the victims were taken to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City, three were treated and released while information on the other person was not available.

Two of the victims, 23-year-old Nicholas and Taylor Olson of Clear Lake, were taken to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa for treatment by ambulance. 22-year-old Erinn Heine of Clear Lake and 23-year-old Michael Holmes of Clear Lake were both transported to Mercy-North Iowa by private vehicle.

Heine, Holmes and Taylor Olson were all treated and released, while no information was available on Nicholas Olson.

Six others were treated at the scene for their injuries:

23-year-old Paige Bartleson of Clear Lake

22-year-old Andrew Burgmeier of Mason City

20-year-old Tiffini Cieplenski of Forest City

22-year-old Alexandria Hayes of Clear Lake

21-year-old Hunter King of Clear Lake

25-year-old Matthew Palzkill of Mason City

The investigation into the collision continues to be investigated by the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City


Dubuque man sentenced for involvement in meth fire

An eastern Iowa man will spend time in a federal prison after his apartment building caught fire in a meth-making operation. Forty-seven-year-old Donald Sheldon pled guilty to aiding and abetting the manufacture of meth within one-thousand yards of a school.

Court records show Sheldon allowed Joshuah Tiesman to use his apartment to make meth and the meth lab exploded, starting the apartment building and an adjoining building on fire. Sheldon was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to make nearly 95-thousand dollars in restitution to the fire victims.


Report finds operator error caused towboat accident

 The Stephen L. Colby, after the sinking, with oil boom deployed.

The Stephen L. Colby, after the sinking, with oil boom deployed.

Federal investigators say crew members are likely to blame for the sinking of a towboat near LeClaire, Iowa late last year.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a report which states the probable cause of the sinking of the Stephen L. Colby towboat was the failure of the vessel’s master and mate to ensure there was enough clearance between the boat’s hull and the riverbed.

The accident happened on November 25. The towboat partially sank into the river after hitting an underwater rock. The nine crew members on board made it to the riverbank. No one was injured.

Some of the diesel fuel and oil aboard the vessel spilled in the river and crews spent the next few weeks, in bitterly cold conditions, collecting nearly 40,000 gallons of oily water.


Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Omaha fundraiser helps Pilger, Nebraska

Pilger-can-coozieResidents of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska gathered at a bar in Omaha last night to support a benefit concert for the tornado-ravaged town of Pilger, Nebraska. Four bands, all featuring members with ties to the small town, performed at The Waiting Room.

Many residents of Pilger were in attendance, including 61-year-old Keenan Meyer, who’s astounded with all the donations and volunteer efforts to help the community of roughly 350 people recover from the disaster on June 16.

“It’s just amazing the people who came in, even that night, an hour later there were people with trucks and big equipment. “Of course, they couldn’t do anything because they were evacuating the town, but it’s really amazing what they’ve gotten done in a month,” Meyer said. “I’ve talked to people from Illinois and Texas who have given up their vacation to come (to Pilger to) pick up sticks and bricks.”

An EF-4 tornado ripped through Pilger, while another EF-2 twister passed just outside of town. Two people were killed, including a 5-year-old girl, while 16 more were critically injured.

Omaha band “Clarence Tilton” performs at the benefit concert.

The Omaha band “Clarence Tilton” performs at the benefit concert.

Meyer believes things could’ve turned out much worse had the storm not passed through in the afternoon. “You know, if it would’ve been two in the morning and people wouldn’t have heard a siren or got to shelter, we could’ve had two dozen deaths,” Meyer said. “So, in that respect, you hate to lose anybody, but it saved a lot of people that it was in the daytime.”

Over half of the buildings and homes in Pilger were destroyed or severely damaged.

Meyer said his home, located four blocks away from where the tornado made a direct hit, sustained about $20,000 in damage. A large tree fell in his yard, but missed hitting his house.

Last night’s concert raised $1,040 for the Pilger Rebuild & Relief Fund.



Retired general says climate change poses threat to military bases

A retired four-star Air Force general is paying a visit to Iowa to talk about national security threats posed by climate change. General Ronald Keys serves on the government-funded Military Advisory Board, which released a report earlier this year that warned climate change serves as a “catalyst for conflict.”

Keys says changing weather patterns are impacting several U.S. military bases, especially on the coasts. “The second thing is our training ranges…there are areas where can’t train like we used to train because we can’t use certain types of weapons because of fire danger,” Keys says.

In addition, Keys says extreme weather events brought by climate change are threatening crop production. “That’s what we mean when we talk about a catalyst for conflict,” Keys says. “When people don’t have enough to eat, when people don’t have enough water, when people don’t have a way to make a living, then they start to move or the start to be activists…or the government can’t support them any longer and so you have, perhaps, radicals taking over certain areas of the world.”

Keys spent much of Wednesday in Des Moines meeting with Iowa policymakers and agriculture leaders. Today he’ll be the featured speaker at the grand opening of a rural electric cooperative’s massive solar farm near Kalona.