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Ernst to lead subcommittee with USDA oversight

News

January 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Senator Joni Ernst is now chair of a subcommittee that oversees U-S-D-A programs that promote renewable energy and broadband expansion. “Agriculture is the life-blood of Iowa and so this subcommittee will focus on improving quality of life for Iowa farmers and farmers across the country,” Ernst says. Ernst is a member of the Senate Ag Committee and just this week she was named chairman of the subcommitee on rural development and energy. Ernst says identifying ways to “enhance” rural life is a priority for the subcommittee and she sees former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack — who is U.S. Secretary of Agriculture — as a partner.

“I know that despite differences between our two parties, he always did work very hard for the people of Iowa, so I do look forward to having those discussions with him,” Ernst says. Ernst is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Anti-war protesters disrupted an Armed Services Committee hearing this week and Ernst says it was an unfortunate distraction from the testimony of former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Madeleine Albright.

“I appreciate the fact that people have the right to protest, but we do have a sense of decorum and we do wish to hear from the guests who visit with us in the senate committees,” Ernst says. Arizona Senator John McCain is chairman of the committee and he called the protesters “low-life scum.” Ernst says those are McCain’s words, not hers, and it’s up to McCain to defend that kind of “verbiage.” Ernst also suggests the protesters might be better off if they presenting their views “in a more civil manner.” The “Code Pink” protesters confronted former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as the 91-year-old entered the room and waved handcuffs near his head as he sat down at the witness table.

(Radio Iowa)

Bluffs man set to stand trial over sex abuse case

News

January 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs man accused of having an inappropriate relationships with a teenager, will stand trial Feb. 5th. The Daily NonPareil reports 48-year old youth softball coach John Osborn is charged with four counts of third-degree sexual abuse upon a minor, with regard to an incident involving a 14-year-old friend of his daughter. The incident allegedly occurred in July, 214.

Osborn has pleaded not guilty to the charges. According to the Council Bluffs Police Department, the teen was a member of the team Osborn coached. The victim stated she and Osborn began exchanging text messages in June 2014.

Clarinda teens arrested Friday in connection with a burglary Thursday

News

January 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Clarinda report two area teens were arrested Friday in connection with a residential burglary that took place Thursday afternoon. Police Chief Keith Brothers says at around 3:40-p.m., Thursday, officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at 100 E. Nishna Street. When they arrived, the suspected burglars had already fled the scene. Tyler Price, who owns the home, was not home at the time of the burglary.

When Price returned home, he discovered property valued at approximately $700 had been stolen. On Friday, January 30th police arrested two juvenile males, ages 15 and 16, for felony burglary and theft of property from Price’s home. Both juveniles were transported to the Southwest Iowa Juvenile Detention Center in Council Bluffs.

The arrests will be referred to Page County Juvenile Court Services and to the juvenile division of the Page County Attorney’s Office for additional action.

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., 1/31/2015

News

January 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two storm systems merging over the Midwest this weekend are expected to produce significant snowfall across Iowa and lighter accumulation in Nebraska. Meteorologist Melinda Beerends says a storm entering the region from the southwest and another dropping out of Canada will meet. She says snowfall will get heavier as the storm moves through the state, with central and southeastern Iowa anticipating higher totals.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016. Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third campaign for the White House, the former Massachusetts governor told members of his staff during a Friday conference call that he is out of race.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — An April trial has been scheduled for a 31-year-old man accused of shooting a woman earlier this month at a motel in Marshalltown. Online court records say Jean Martinez-Velazquez of Marshalltown has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and several other charges. The Marshalltown Times-Republican says his trial is set to begin April 7th.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge says he won’t second-guess the University of Iowa’s decision to reassign an employee who is suing for political discrimination. U.S. District Judge James Gritzner denied Teresa Wagner’s request to be returned to the law school’s writing center. Gritzner cancelled a hearing that had been set for next week.

Winter Storm Warning issued for Cass & areas Counties

News, Weather

January 31st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

331 AM CST SAT JAN 31 2015: AREA COUNTIES…SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-CASS- DALLAS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-

WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY.

* TIMING…RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW BY THIS EVENING AND ACCUMULATE HEAVILY OVERNIGHT. SNOW WILL CONTINUE TO FALL THROUGH THE DAY SUNDAY WITH INCREASING WINDS.

* STORM TOTAL SNOW…ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 TO 10 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.

* WINDS/VISIBILITY…TURNING TO NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH BY EARLY SUNDAY MORNING…THEN BECOMING NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH AND GUSTY BY SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND HAZARDOUS. BLOWING SNOW ON SUNDAY WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY AND MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO CLEAR THE ROADS…ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AND RURAL AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ANY REPORTS OF SNOW…SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN ACCUMULATIONS ARE MUCH APPRECIATED AND CAN BE RELAYED DIRECTLY TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE USING TWITTER HANDLE NWS DES MOINES…HASHTAG
NWSDMX OR POST TO THE NWS DES MOINES FACEBOOK PAGE.

Winter Storm Watch for parts of southern/southwest IA

News, Weather

January 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

AREA COUNTIES: DALLAS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD

WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY EVENING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

Winter Storm Watch covers the counties in blue.

Winter Storm Watch covers the counties in blue.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY EVENING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

* TIMING…SNOW WILL PICK UP IN INTENSITY SATURDAY EVENING AND CONTINUE AT LIGHT TO MODERATE RATES INTO SUNDAY.

* STORM TOTAL SNOW…ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 9 INCHES ARE EXPECTED WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. HIGHEST AMOUNTS APPEAR TO BE MOST LIKELY IN THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE WATCH AREA.

* WINDS/VISIBILITY…NORTH WINDS WILL INCREASE SATURDAY NIGHT AND PERSIST INTO SUNDAY AT 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BECOME SLICK AND HAZARDOUS. DRIFTING SNOW WILL CREATE LOW VISIBILITIES SUNDAY AND MAY MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR ROAD CREWS TO KEEP ROADS CLEAR…ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW…SLEET…OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

Cass Co. Supervisors receive bridge construction report

News

January 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors’ Board Room was packed Friday morning, with people anxious to learn about the County’s plan for bridge replacements and repairs. Most of those in attendance wanted to know about the plans for the Buck Creek Road bridge. Cass County Engineer Charles Marker told the crowd and the Board, the Bridge over the East Nishnabotna River, is “On the list,” of future replacements, but there was no promise of how soon that might be. He said they might not be financially able to fix the bridge for several years to come.

Cass Co. Engineer Charles Marker

Cass Co. Engineer Charles Marker

Marker said Cass County receives about $460,000 per year in federal, Highway Bridge Program (HBP) funding. The rest is a 20-percent local match. To be eligible for replacement HBP funds, Marker says a bridge must meet three requirements. The first is that it must have 25 or more vehicles crossing it per day. The next criteria is if they are ‘Structurally deficient,” or “Functionally obsolete.”
A bridge is structurally deficient if it has a weight limit on it. It is functionally obsolete, if the bridge or too narrow or fails to meet height restrictions.

21 bridges in Cass County are functionally obsolete, while 50 are deemed structurally deficient. Marker said in Cass County, there were five bridges on a paved road that in 2013 had an estimated life span of three-years or less. In 2014 six bridges had a life span of two-years or less. In 2013, eight bridges on unpaved roads had a three-year life span or less. In 2014, Marker says three were closed and six had a life span of two-years or less.

Bridge projects, according to Marker, are considered a major project by the Iowa DOT’s time line, and require 42 weeks minimum from the time a concept statement is formulated to the time the project is released for bid letting. In the current bridge timeline (Fiscal Year allocation 2014-2015) Bridge #83 in Cass County (by the Griswold Golf Course) is set to be let in April 2015. It will cost more than one-half million dollars. Bridge 73C (on the Cass/Montgomery County line), is set for May 19, 2015, at a cost of more than $431,000.

In FY 2015-2016, Bridge #20 (south K Road) is on the list for May 2016, while Bridge 347 (on the Cass/Audubon County line), is set for June 2016. Other bridges set for replacement in the near future, include Bridge 17 south of Massena along Yankton Road, and Bridge 134 (located southwest of Massena). Marker says a 30-foot wide bridge costs $5,250 per linear foot for the bridge only, not counting the other preparatory and finishing work.

Parts of Iowa, Missouri nearing drought status

News, Weather

January 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Parts of Iowa, Missouri and other Midwest states are teetering close to drought status. The National Drought Mitigation Center on Thursday classified a large swath of southern Iowa, areas along the northern Missouri border and the region east toward Illinois and Wisconsin as abnormally dry. This is one level below its moderate drought category. The label comes just a week after the center categorized the area as normal.

The Omaha World-Herald reports much of the Plains, including Minnesota, the Dakotas and southern Nebraska, were already near drought or in drought, and most of the region remains unchanged from last week. Much of the country has experienced a warmer and drier winter than normal. The drought center is located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Cass Supervisors approve rezoning request by Alliant Energy

News

January 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Friday, approved the rezoning of a section of land on the Cass-Adair County line. Rich Hanson, assistant to Cass County Engineer Charles Marker, reported the Zoning Board met January 15th to consider the request from Alliant Energy to rezone a three-acre parcel in Grant Township, Section 13, just north of Whitepole Road, or G-30. Alliant wants to build a new electrical substation to replace three smaller area substations that are outdated. Construction won’t start on the project until 2017.

Landowners in the area have not objected to the plan, and the County Zoning Board approved the request before forwarding their recommendation to the Supervisors. In other business, the Board approved the hiring of Stacie Platt as a part-time administrative assistant to Cass County Attorney Dave Wiederstein, at a rate of $15/hour. Platt will likely work about 12-hours per week.

The Supervisors also approved the abatement of taxes for a property owned by the City of Anita, which had been declared a nuisance property. And they took under advisement a request for $7,500 funding from the Cass County Historical Museum.

Atlantic man arrested on a warrant Tuesday

News

January 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s deputies in Cass County arrested an Atlantic man, Tuesday. 32-year old Zachary Alan Frank was taken into custody on a District Court warrant for Failure to Appear. Frank was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held until sentence is served.