Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Des Moines.


Health Officials Encourage Safety Measures for National Preparedness Month

(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- The Iowa Department of Health is reminding state residents to make safety arrangements in observation of National Preparedness Month.

"Preparedness doesn’t mean being fearful or pessimistic; it simply means being ready so you can take care of yourself, your family, and your loved ones should the unexpected happen," officials said in a statement Friday.

Plans include methods of contacting family members, where to reach a safe place, and action in situational emergencies.

Officials also encourage citizens to have a disaster kit in their homes, which includes water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, and medication.

“Some reality shows portray preparedness as going to the extremes of building underground bunkers or creating a huge stockpile of supplies,” said IDPH Emergency and Trauma Services Bureau Chief Rebecca Curtiss. “While this may be the level of preparedness some people feel comfortable with, it shouldn’t serve as the benchmark for readiness. There are simple steps every Iowan can take to help them be ready should an emergency happen.”

For more information, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Woman Struck, Killed by Car on Army Post Road 

(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- A woman was killed Monday morning after being struck by a car.

Police arrived at the intersection of SE 5th Street and Army Post Road just before 6 a.m. to find the victim dead in the street.

Officials say the driver circled back to the scene of the incident when he realized he had hit something or someone, and was waiting for law enforcement.

Investigators are interviewing the driver, and eastbound lanes of Army Post Road are expected to be closed until mid-morning.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Clintons Give Hillary's 2016 Efforts an Unofficial Start in Iowa

(DES MOINES) -- "Hello Iowa -- I'm baa-aack!" Hillary Clinton told a crowd of more than 6,000 gathered to honor the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin for the 37th and final Harkin Steak Fry.

The event was held on the grounds of the annual National Hot Air Balloon Championships on a field outside Des Moines.

"I've got a few things on my mind these days," Clinton added, drawing rising applause from the group of Democratic activists. "First and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild watch."

She said she just might have to sprint off the stage if Chelsea goes into labor, and added: "Then of course -- there's that other thing. Well it is true, I am thinking about it. But for today, that is not why I'm here. I'm here for the steak."

Framed by a giant American flag, a few tractors, and bales of Iowa hay, Clinton's speech doubled as a tribute to a retiring liberal stalwart and an initial reintroduction to Iowa's party faithful.

Her calls for populist Democratic policies and elected Democrats who can help in "moving America forward" received polite, though only occasionally enthusiastic, applause.

"It's great to be back in Iowa," Hillary Clinton told reporters who swarmed near her after her designated time behind the steak grill.

Peppered with questions about 2016, she rolled her eyes for dramatic effect.

"This is about the people running right now -- 2014," she said.

Clinton's appearance drew more than 6,000 Democratic activists and more than 200 journalists.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Iowa Sec. of State: Early Voting Starts Sept. 25

(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is reminding residents of early voting on Sept. 25.

Early polling will begin for the Nov. 4 general election, with eligible voters able to cast their votes via absentee ballot in-person at their county auditor's office, or at possible satellite locations. Residents can also request an absentee ballot by mail.

"Every vote counts and it's important that Iowans participate to make sure their voices are heard," Schultz said.

Officials also encourage citizens to download the Iowa SOS app for voting resources, giving them the ability to check voter registration information, track absentee ballots, or report voter fraud.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Health Officials: Demand Growing for Smoke-Free Housing 

(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Demand for smoke-free properties in Iowa is growing, with more than double the number of such buildings listed compared to last year, according to health officials.

In August 2013, 126 properties were listed in the Iowa Department of Public Health Smoke-Free Housing Registry. As of this year, 319 are now on record. Each property has at least one building banning tobacco smoke.

Nearly 75 percent of Iowans surveyed said they would choose a smoke-free apartment building, according to officials.

“I was reluctant at first, but our local Smoke-Free Homes contact helped me understand the benefits of this policy,” said Mary Koepke, manager of a 132-unit Ridge Oaks Apartment complex in Sioux City. “She even provided me with signage so I could advertise the fact that our apartments are smoke-free. By far, this is one of the most positive things we’ve ever done.”

A 2008 Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act prohibits smoking in almost all public places and enclosed areas of employment. Rental units are not covered by the act, but officials say many landlords are choosing a similar route.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio