Somers and Gray named to STEM Advisory Board

News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two Atlantic residents are among five individuals who have been named to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s STEM Advisory Board in the Southwest Region. The Governor’s office today (Wednesday), said Misty Gray and Kathy Somers join Thomas Lesan, of Creston, Luann Langel, of Manning, and Barbara DeVore, of Osceola, on the Science,Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Board.

Other appointees from the area who have been named to various board and commissions include:

  • Frances Parrott, of Council Bluffs, to the Iowa Arts Council.
  • Charis Paulson, of Earlham, of the Criminal Justice Information Advisory Committee.
  • Shelley Bishop, of Council Bluffs, to the Historical Records Advisory Board.
  • Frank Hermsen, of Carroll, & Monte Neitzel, of Creston, to the Hospital Licensing Board.
  • and Sherri Clark, of Red Oak, to the Vocational Rehab Council.

The positions are unpaid and are effective July 1st. They are not subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.

3 arrests in Audubon

News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon Police Department reports three arrests so far this week. On Monday, officers arrested 16-year old Travis Theodore Wolff, of Audubon, for two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple assault. Also arrested in connection with the incident was 18 year old Andrew Allen Malloy, of Audubon, on one count of aggravated assault. Wolff was transported to Juvenile Hall and Malloy was released on promise to appear.

And on Tuesday, the Audubon Police Department arrested 26 year old Jay Robert Edwin Pedrin, of Audubon, for Disorderly Conduct. Pedrin was charged and released on promise to appear. The incident remains under investigation by the Audubon Police Department.

Audit criticizes Iowa agencies over IT contracts, spending

News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A state audit has found major problems with how some Iowa state agencies spent tens of millions of dollars on information technology contractors. The state auditor’s report released Wednesday found cost overruns, excessive use of contractors, large hourly payments and questionable relationships between agencies and IT firms.

The report looked at major IT projects in the Iowa Department of Corrections, the Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Revenue dating back to 2000. It found that Corrections improperly awarded a no-bid contract to Advanced Technologies Group to develop its offender management program.

The report said Revenue repeatedly extended its contract with Terradata for its Tax Gap program. Meanwhile, two top Revenue officials went to work for the company before a mandatory two-year waiting period was up.

Backyard and Beyond 07-01-2015

Backyard and Beyond, Podcasts

July 1st, 2015 by Chris Parks

Lavon Eblen talks about the number 1 on July 1st.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 1st

Trading Post

July 1st, 2015 by Jim Field

WANTED:  patio glider/swing for a reasonable price ph. 712-254-6842.

FOR SALE:  2014 Honda Rancher 420, Green, 4×4, foot shift, power steering, 140 miles, bought May 30, 2015, one year warranty from that date. Only selling to get bigger 4 wheeler. Like New.  $4700. 515-423-2934.

FOR SALE: 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette mini van, excellent condition, good tires, 137,000 miles (highway) – $4,200 obo. 712-243-2408

WANTED: 1969 Anita Spartan Year book. 712-243-2408.

Final workers clock out at Clarinda & Mt. Pleasant MHIs

News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The state-run Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant were officially shut down last night (Tuesday) as the fiscal year came to an end. Governor Terry Branstad has led the charge to close the facilities and shift to community-based mental health services. Former employees at the Mount Pleasant M-H-I released floating luminaries as the final employee clocked out just before midnight. Anna Short, a former drug abuse counselor at the facility, told KCRG-TV the event made the closing “real” both for her and her former co-workers.

“It’s done and it’s sad,” Short said. “It’s not just co-workers, it’s your family.” Workers moved the final patients out of the Mount Pleasant MHI late last week. All of the workers, in both Mount Pleasant and Clarinda, have been laid off. The state legislature approved a budget that would keep the MHIs open for up to another year, but the governor is expected to veto that part of the budget. Monday is the final day for the governor to make decisions about funding bills legislators sent to his desk.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement about the shutdown of Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda Mental Health Institutes:
“Last night, at midnight, the Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda Mental Health Institutes closed their doors and the entire staff was laid off. This is a sad moment for the people of Iowa, especially those patients and families that need the services provided by these two facilities. The real losers here are the patients and the citizens of the state of Iowa. Residents of southern Iowa no longer have these two excellent facilities as an option for the care of their loved ones facing mental health challenges. Iowa’s mental health safety net has been made weaker by the choices the governor has made. To the employees of these facilities, who have provided excellent treatment to patients for many years, I’m very sorry the governor has decided to take this action. I believe not only has he violated the collective bargaining agreement by his actions of laying everyone off effective at the end of June, but I also believe he is in violation of a state law and we will take the appropriate action and attempt to fix this situation. The governor has chosen to ignore the advice of patients, their families, mental health professionals, legislators, employees, and community leaders. He should be ashamed of the decision he made to shut down these facilities.”

(Radio Iowa/KCRG)

Era of elevator operators expires in Sioux City

News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The era of elevator operators is out in Sioux City as owners of the Insurance Exchange Building install modern elevators. For decades, tenants and visitors to the six-story building would step into the elevator, with operators closing the doors behind them and setting the machine in motion.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Adam Pickhinke and Pamela Cotton were the final two manual elevator operators in the city before the building’s owner closed the elevators on Tuesday. The elevators in the nearly century-old building will be replaced by automatic ones, which are faster, more energy efficient and can carry heavier loads.

JULY 2015

Birthday Club

July 1st, 2015 by Stacie Linfor

July 1st:

  • JoAnn Brahms of Griswold (Winner)
  • Darcy Denney of Anita
  • Michele Kirchhoff of Lewis
  • Sylvia Hoffman of Cumberland
  • Mark Knudsen of Atlantic

Independence Day weekend looking good for State park visitors

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Parks are gearing up for the Fourth of July weekend and are ready to welcome thousands of campers, cabin renters, picnickers and outdoor enthusiasts. The weather forecast for most of the state and weekend is favoring plenty of outdoor activity. Todd Coffelt, DNR State Parks Bureau chief, says “State Parks are great destinations for these major summer holidays. Whether you are staying for a week or making a day trip, they provide great opportunities for families and friends to gather and make memories.”

Reservable campsites have been filled for three months. Last minute campers can take their chances with walk-in campsites, as 25-50 percent of all state park campsites are first-come, first-served. Most of these sites are non-electric and realistically most will be occupied by Thursday. Best chances to secure a site will be at smaller, more remote parks. Visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks for a list of parks and their amenities.

Despite recent wet weather in some areas, nearly all state parks are in good shape and getting ready for the big weekend. Here are a few reminders for those planning a trip to specific state parks this weekend.

· Only one state park campground is closed due to recent weather (as of June 30th). Walnut Woods State Park, southwest of the Des Moines metro area, is still cleaning up from Raccoon River flooding. The park is expected to reopen late next week.

· Canyon Drive at Ledges State Park has reopened to vehicle traffic, but visitors are cautioned that any rain event in the area will likely close it again. Potential visitors wanting to drive into that area of the park are encouraged to call the park office at 515-432-1852 for closure information. The campground, trails, other roads, parking lots and both open shelters remain accessible by vehicle.

Visitors to Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are reminded that those beaches will close at 6 PM each day. Due to high use and limited parking at the beach area at Lake Macbride, visitors should expect a beach closure on weekends and holidays. Access to the beach may be closed for up to 2 hours. During these times, people in vehicles will be stopped at the park entrance and asked to return to the beach at a later time or asked to visit one of the other beaches in Johnson County such as Sandy Beach, Sugar Bottom, West Overlook or Kent Park.

Equestrian trails are currently closed due to wet conditions at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area (except for the 12-mile Wet Weather Trail), Elk Rock and Waubonsie state parks and Shimek Forest (except the 3-mile Wet Weather Trail) and Stephens Forest. However, if dry weather conditions continue, equestrians are encouraged to call individual areas for re-openings.

Closure information is posted on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/parks and the parks reservation site at http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com. Current information is also available by calling individual park offices directly.

Boating this weekend? Don’t pick up “hitchhikers”

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

As the Fourth of July approaches, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding boaters and anglers to check for any unwanted hitchhikers to protect Iowa lakes and streams. Aquatic hitchhikers are invasive species – everything from zebra mussels to Eurasian watermilfoil – that are transported from one waterbody to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets, and other equipment used in the water. When brought to another lake or stream, they often grow quickly and spread rapidly due to lack of natural controls.

These aquatic invasive species can create serious problems for Iowa waters by reducing native species and making lakes and rivers unusable by boaters, anglers and swimmers. Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new waterbodies. Boaters and anglers need to clean, drain, dry after each time on the water to stop aquatic hitchhikers.”

• CLEAN any plants, animals, or mud from your boat and equipment before leaving a waterbody.

• DRAIN water from all equipment (motor, live well, bilge, transom well) before leaving a waterbody.

• DRY anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs). Before transporting to another waterbody either: Spray your boat and trailer with hot, high-pressure water; or Dry your boat and equipment for at least 5 days.

• Never release plants, fish, or animals into a water body unless they came out of that water body and empty unwanted bait in the trash.

It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species in Iowa. The fine for violating this law is $500. Signs are posted at public accesses to remind boaters to stop aquatic hitchhikers and to identify infested waters. It is also illegal to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment. Boaters must drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water access and must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport. It is also illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters.

More information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters can be found in the 2015 Iowa Fishing Regulations booklet.