February 27, 2020 - 1:28 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — The Hawarden Fire Department was called out on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, for the report of a chimney fire in Hawarden.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schiefen, the call came in about 11:45 a.m.. The chimney fire was said to be at 702 Avenue B in Hawarden.

The chief says it was put out through a chimney sweep. Schiefen says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is believed to be creosote buildup.

Chief Schiefen reports that there was no damage.

He says the 25-30 firefighters from both Hawarden and Ireton who responded were on the scene an hour.

The National Fire Protection Association says that a leading factor contributing to home heating fires is creosote buildup from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. Creosote is a natural byproduct of woodburning. They recommend that you have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.

February 27, 2020 - 12:11 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A survey finds nearly a quarter of Iowa’s high schoolers vape, and critics say new federal regulations on e-cigarettes are having virtually no impact toward heading off the epidemic.

Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the new policies are “entirely inadequate” and will not help stop a new generation of Iowa kids from becoming nicotine addicts.

(As above) “There was a great deal of publicity about the new federal rule prohibiting the sale of certain flavored products, but literally thousands of flavored e-cigarette products remain on the market,” Myers says, “including many that are called single-use or disposable that look like a flash drive but have as much nicotine in them as a full pack-and-a-half of cigarettes.”

Studies find more than 80-percent of kids who use tobacco started with flavored products, while 97-percent of youth e-cigarette users puffed on a flavored e-cigarette in the past month. Myers says the packaging and the flavors clearly target youth, including cotton candy, strawberry and mango.

(As above) “There’s a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ban the sale of all of the flavored products that have led to over 20% of Iowa’s high school students to using these products,” Myers says. “It’s called the Reversing the E-Cigarette Youth Epidemic Act and to vote on it is absolutely critical.”

Myers says the new federal policies are “riddled with loopholes” and he notes, thousands of flavored e-cigarette products remain available at more than 100-thousand locations nationwide, including convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops.

(As above) “It was a positive step, raising the age to 21, but we all know that if you make a product that’s highly appealing to kids, they’ll find a way to get it,” Myers says. “It was already illegal to sell to kids 18 and under, and yet over five-million American kids and over 20% of Iowa’s kids, have begun using these products.” 

The figures are discouraging, he says, as about six-percent of Iowa high schoolers smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.

(As above) “The most recent survey shows that over 22% of Iowa’s high school students are using e-cigarettes,” Myers says. “That’s almost four times the number of high school students who are using cigarettes.”

He encourages Iowans to call their members of Congress and urge them to vote for the pending legislation to ban all flavored vaping products. For more information, visit https://www.tobaccofreekids.org

February 26, 2020 - 7:55 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Each year, FFA chapters around northwest Iowa and around the country celebrate National FFA Week. The national FFA organization tells us it’s a time to share what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day.

We had a chance to visit with FFA Advisor Molly Bomgaars, who is in her fourth year of teaching, but her first year at MOC/Floyd Valley Community Schools in Orange City. She tells us what MOC/Floyd Valley students are doing for National FFA Week.

AUDIO: “Monday we had tractor day, so students drove their tractors to school. Tuesday we did a teacher appreciation breakfast. And then we also dressed as farmers. And then today (Wednesday) was our USA day, so students wore red, white, and blue. Tomorrow (Thursday) we have camo day as our dress-up day, and then we have sub-district contest tomorrow night at Western Christian. We have about 25 students headed to Western Christian to compete tomorrow night. And then Friday we finish off the week with blue and gold day.”

She tells us they try to promote the values of the FFA motto, which is, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”

At Sheldon High School, FFA Advisor Gene Bomgaars tells us when they celebrate FFA Week, they begin their FFA Staff Quiz Bowl on Monday. He says five questions are asked each day of the teaching staff, for them to answer concerning Sheldon’s Ag Program and FFA Chapter. On Tuesday, he says they have Boots Day & American Day. Wednesday is Hawaiian Shirt Waikiki Wednesday. On Thursday they have FFA Hat/Shirt/Attire day, and when they celebrate FFA week, that Friday they have a Staff Breakfast in the Ag Room, plus it’s Tractor & Truck Day. That means students and staff drive tractors and trucks to school for the day.

Iowa has more than 15,700 FFA members in 246 chapters statewide. The statewide FFA leadership conference will be held in April in Ames, while the national convention will be held this fall in Indianapolis.

February 26, 2020 - 12:17 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A statehouse hearing has given supporters and opponents of abortion a chance to voice their opinions on a proposed constitutional amendment. Republican lawmakers have drafted the amendment in response to the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that Iowa’s Constitution guarantees women a right to an abortion.

Renee Aamodt of Des Moines supports the proposed amendment that says Iowa’s constitution does not secure the right to an abortion.

Dr. Clare Harney, an obstetrician in Davenport, opposes the amendment.

The process of amending the state’s constitution takes a while. Two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies must approve the language for an amendment before it’s presented to voters for ratification. That means if the 2020 Iowa legislature takes action — as expected — and the NEW legislature that convenes NEXT year also approves the language, 2021 is the earliest Iowans could vote on the amendment.

Statewide Iowa — Rumors about coronavirus are flying and the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health is urging Iowans to get the facts before posting anything on social media so they don’t spread disinformation.

Doctor Caitlin Pedati says it’s understandable that people are concerned but they also need to use their heads before contributing to the panic.

In recent weeks, two Iowans were put under watch for possible exposure to the deadly virus and both ended up being fine. Now, Pedati confirms, seven more Iowans are under watch by the state health department. All of them are in self-quarantine, meaning, they’re staying in their own homes.

Federal health officials are warning Americans to prepare for the possibility of an aggressive outbreak. Pedati says Iowa families need to prep for this as they would any other emergency, like severe weather.

Coronavirus is confirmed in more than 30 countries, but federal health officials are not calling it a pandemic. Pedati explains why:

In China, more than 27-hundred deaths are attributed to coronavirus, with 78-thousand confirmed cases. Hundreds of cases are confirmed elsewhere around the globe.

For more information visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website

https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A few kids who’ve operated lemonade stands in Iowa have had a sour experience — with the law. Representative Ray “Bubba” Sorenson of Greenfield says that’s because the iconic child-run lemonade stand is technically illegal in Iowa.

The bill passed the House Monday night by unanimous vote. Representative Sharon Steckman of Mason City was an enthusiastic supporter.

In 2011, police shut down at least three lemonade stands in Coralville the kids didn’t get a permit or undergo a health inspection to run a food stand on the day the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa came to town. Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City voted for the bill, but aired this concern about lemonade and food stands run by children:

In the past couple of years, lawmakers in Texas and Utah have passed laws legalizing lemonade stands set up by kids. A few cities around the country have cracked down on kids — including Girl Scouts — selling cookies. The bill passed by the Iowa House would give kids under the age of 18 a pass on having to apply for business and food permits if they sell baked goods as well as beverages.

February 21, 2020 - 3:02 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Six of seven Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee have endorsed a plan to require more of the Iowans getting health care benefits through Medicaid to work or volunteer in their community.

Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, is chairman of the Senate Labor Committee.

The bill does have exceptions. The parents of young children and disabled Iowans would not be required to fulfill the requirement, but other adults between the ages of 18 and 64 would have to show state officials they’re working 20 hours a week. Schultz says his constituents want the state’s welfare programs to promote the Iowa work ethic.

Lana Shope of the Iowa Community Action Association says nearly 80 percent of the working-age adults enrolled in Medicaid already have a job — but many have inconsistent work schedules.

 

Statewide Iowa — A bill that would have allowed utilities to charge extra fees to Iowans with solar panels has been changed to simply authorize a study of solar power in the state. The original version passed the Iowa Senate last year, but couldn’t get enough votes in the House. A compromise that has emerged would launch a study within the next seven years of how solar users affect the electric grid. THEN lawmakers could decide whether utilities should be allowed to charge extra fees.

Representative John Forbes has solar panels on the roof of his pharmacy in Urbandale. He says the compromise provides stability for Iowans who’ve installed solar panels on their homes and businesses.

Pork producers were among the critics of last year’s bill that would have let utilities assess new fees to customers with solar panels. The Pork Producers Association argued raising livestock is a low-margin business and the new fees would have wiped out the savings farmers were getting from using solar energy.

Photo from KIWA Image Archives

February 21, 2020 - 2:21 pm - Posted in News

Orange City — An Orange City man was arrested by Orange City Police Thursday, in connection with an incident that took place earlier this month.

According to court documents, on February 9th of this year, 35-year-old Isidro Maldonado is accused of entering an Orange City residence, unannounced and uninvited, then proceeding into the home’s living room where he allegedly tried to fight with the resident.

Online jail records indicate that Maldonado was located and arrested on a warrant charging him with 2nd Degree Burglary, which is a Class C Felony, and Simple Assault, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Maldonado was transported to the Sioux County Jail, and later released on bond.

If convicted, Maldonado could face up to 10-years in prison, and be assessed a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. A conviction on the Assault charge, he could face 30-days in the county jail, along with a fine of $65 to 625.00.

Photo courtesy of the Sioux County Jail.

 

Statewide Iowa — Republicans on a Senate committee have voted to place new limits in medical malpractice cases that involve the death of a patient. A bill that cleared a Senate committee this week would set 750-thousand dollars as the new cap on so-called “non-economic” damages that a family, children or spouses could receive.

Senator Zach Whiting, a Republican from Spirit Lake, says these are the kind of intangible losses that are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.”

Critics say the bill is unfair to families who’ve lost a loved one due to a medical mistake. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, voted against the bill in committee.

In 2017, the Republican-led Iowa legislature enacted a 250-thousand dollar limit for emotional pain and suffering damage awards when health care providers are found liable for medical negligence. However, that “cap” or limit does not apply if a patient dies.