October 9, 2015

One person dead in fire near Anita in southwest Iowa


One person died in this fire in southwest Iowa.

One person is dead after a house fire overnight in rural southwest Iowa. Fire fighters were sent to the home north of Anita in Cass County around 12:45 a.m. John Ticer, with the State Fire Marshal’s office, says the cause of the fire appears to be accidental.

“At this point, we’re looking at some wiring…malfunctions with some wiring in the wall of a second floor bedroom,” Ticer said. Anita Fire Chief Josh Peach said flames were shooting out of that second floor bedroom when his crew arrived on the scene.

“There was heavy smoke coming…and flames started showing. We got it put out semi-quick,” Peach said. The person who died in the fire has been identified as 67-year-old Linda Barber.

Her husband, 73-year-old Larry Barber, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters work to put out this fire near Anita.

Firefighters work to put out this fire near Anita.

“We did have one person taken to a hospital with smoke inhalation issues, not serious conditions, just wanted to check him out,” Peach said.

(Story and photos by Ric Hansen, KJAN, Atlantic)


Environmental Protection Commission moves ahead with air emission fees

DNR-air-bureau-signThe Environmental Protection Commission voted Thursday to move ahead with proposed rules to establish air pollutant emission fees to cover the state’s cost of issuing construction and operating permits.

The Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Bureau the air quality bureau is funded with fees based on the amount of pollution generated.

The Iowa Legislature approved the new fees as officials say as emissions have gone down, so have the current fees. The commission met via conference call and heard from one person who had concerns about the proposed fees.

Mick Durham represented Grain Processors Corporation of Muscatine. “This proposed rule does not reflect any of the recommendations made by the shareholders group, which I participated in and spent numerous hours negotiating a reasonable solution for the Air Quality Bureau’s funding challenges,” Durham says. “The stakeholder committee recommended flat fees for multiple permitting scenarios, limited title five fee increases, and additional funding by the legislature.” He says the rules ask for a 25 percent increase in what are called the Title Five fees for air quality and establishes another fee to renew permits.

“The whole purpose of this rule was to resolve the Title Five fee issue. It is neither fair nor sustainable. This rule does not accomplish that goal, but instead makes it worse,” Durham says. He also questioned the table of potential hours to review a permit.

“The estimated hours to issue a construction permit provided by the Air Quality Bureau varies from eight to 200 hours. At a $115-an-hour, a permit could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $23,000. This is too large a range for our budgeting purposes,” Durham says. The chief of the Air Quality Bureau, Catharine Fitzsimmons, says they hour estimates were put together through the stakeholder groups. She says they found an estimated cost of a major source construction permit to be about $1,700 and a permit to prevent deterioration in a plant to be at around $2,700.

Fitzsimmons says the time it takes to review and approve a permit depends on the number of potential source points for the pollution.”Typically an average construction permit application took eight to 12 hours to complete — but we have many projects that take less time than that,” Fitzsimmons says. The Environmental Protection Commission approved moving ahead with the proposal and will take a final vote at its December meeting, with the hope the rules will go into place in January.


Research: parents a great influence over kids’ violent video game habits

An Iowa State University professor has found the relationships mothers and fathers have with their kids have an influence on whether those kids play violent video games.

“The warmer the relationship, the more communication they have with their kids, the less likely they are to play violent video games,” says Russell Laczniak, a marketing professor at ISU.

Laczniak has been collaborating with professors at the University of Nebraska, Kansas State and Utah State. If kids are already playing violent video games, their research shows parents can reduce that level of play.

“They’re what we call restrictive parents,” he says. “If parents are more restrictive and try to set rules, kids will just generally abide by them and play less.”

The research also evaluated the video game habits of kids who have anxious and emotional parents.

“It’s the degree to which parents really get attached and get emotional in terms of their involvement with kids,” Laczniak says. “And we found out that the higher than parents are in terms of anxious, emotional involvement, the more likely their children are to play violent video games.”

The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs. About $13 billion worth of video game hardware and software was purchased in the U.S. last year.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)


Senator Ernst concerned with Russia’s actions in Syria

Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says she is concerned with the way the administration has allowed Russia to take the lead in action in Syria. “We have truly in the United States abdicated our leadership in the Middle East. And that has been done by our administration. They lack a clear and coherent strategy in the Middle East,” Ernst says.

She says without the leadership of the U.S., other countries are stepping in. “That’s exactly what Russia is doing — they saw and opening and they are taking it,” Ernst explains. “So, we see a trifecta emerging in the Middle East and that trifecta is Iran, Russia and Syria.” Ernst says those countries definitely do not support the goals of the U.S. for the region.

“So, I have very grave concerns about it. Yesterday we did hear from General John Campbell, he is the commander of forces in Afghanistan, and he does believe we need a new strategy in Afghanistan. And that means keeping our troop levels the same and not decreasing those,” Ernst says. “He does have strategies he has proposed to the administration. We are waiting to hear what the results of those discussions are.” Ernst is a military veteran and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Hawaii fugitive could be hiding in Iowa

Luke Warner

Luke Warner

A man who’s listed as one of Hawaii’s most wanted fugitives could be in Iowa. A release from the U.S. Marshals Service states 48-year-old Luke Warner is wanted after he left Hawaii to avoid serving a 10-year drug trafficking sentence.

The release indicates Warner has ties in Iowa, California, Florida and Massachusetts.  There’s a $10,000 reward offered for information leading to his arrest. Warner — who’s criminal history includes armed robbery, theft and drug possession — is said to also go by the name Louis Manetti.

He’s white, around five feet, seven inches tall and 170 pounds. He has light brown eyes and a small divot or scar on the left side of his face. Anyone with information about Luke Warner’s location is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102.

Santorum says it’s ‘baloney’ to blame ‘inanimate object’ for Oregon shooting

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says blaming guns for last week’s mass shooting at a community college in Oregon is “baloney.”

“We have fewer per capita now than we used to years ago and we have more crimes, so what do you think the issue is?” Santorum says. “Do you think the issue is guns?”

Santorum says there are trends in society to blame instead, including “the breakdown of the family.”

“The breakdown of morals and culture in America,” Santorum says. “The president’s not going to talk about that. He’s going to blame some inanimate object…and I think most Americans know that’s a bunch of baloney.”

On Friday President Obama plans to visit Roseburg, Oregon, where nine people were killed last week at a community college. The gunman committed suicide. Since then, Obama has been more vocal in denouncing opponents of gun control measures. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday during a stop in Davenport that she’d take aggressive executive action on gun control if she was elected. Santorum says Obama and Clinton are politicizing the Oregon tragedy.

“You look and you say, ‘How low can they go?'” Santorum says. “They continue to set the bar lower and lower. I mean, I think they have to start digging holes to set the bar lower.”

Santorum made his comments earlier this week in Mason City as part of a three-day swing through Iowa.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City)

Group pushes presidential candidates to address chronic diseases

Candace Dematteis

Candace Dematteis

A group based in Washington, D.C. is launching an effort in Iowa today to urge the presidential candidates to make chronic diseases the focus of their health care proposals.

Candace DeMatteis with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease says problems such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease are accounting for roughly 86 percent of the $2.9 trillion spent on health care in U.S. every year.

“We hear a lot about health care costs and costs to consumers, but we’re not hearing a lot about what we can do to help people be healthier,” DeMatteis said. “I would love to see health as the focus in policies that aren’t just about medical care…but, really look at health as a building block to economic growth and opportunities for Americans.”

PFCD-logobelieves a shift in focus in the nation’s health care policies could dramatically improve people’s lives. “It’s a little known fact that 80-percent of premature heart disease, stroke, and type-two diabetes and 40 percent of all cancers could be prevented,” DeMatteis said. “That would make the lives of everyday Americans so much greater and so much richer and also help our economy dramatically if we were able to capitalize on those prevention opportunities.”

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is launching similar efforts in two other key states in the presidential selection process; Nevada and New Hampshire.