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Iowa’s unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent in April

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped from 4 percent in March to 3.8 percent in April. Iowa Workforce Development announced the rate Wednesday, noting that despite a decrease of 1,700 nonfarm jobs in sectors like manufacturing, government and trade and transportation, 23,700 more people are working in the state than a year ago. There are currently about 1.6 million people employed in Iowa.

The department says the drop in nonfarm jobs since March is linked to seasonal and education-related work. Construction work increased by 2,400 jobs. Iowa’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. Nationally, the unemployment rate for April was 5.4 percent.

 

Mother and grandmother arrested in Bluffs child shooting incident

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have said a mother and grandmother lied about the shooting of a 4-year-old by his 8-year-old brother in Council Bluffs. The younger boy, Q-Marion Jones, remains hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska, since his shooting on May 7th. His big brother has been taken into protective custody.

Authorities have charged 24-year-old Tyleshia Jones and her mother, 59-year-old Deborah Jones, with obstruction of prosecution. The younger woman also is charged with neglect and with child endangerment resulting in serious injury. Court records don’t list the names of attorneys who could be contacted to comment for the women.

A court document says the 8-year-old boy first told police his brother shot himself but later said he accidentally shot his brother after finding the handgun in a kitchen drawer at his mother’s apartment.

Change in barricade placement for Hwy 6/7th St. project in Atlantic

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa D-O-T Planner Scott Suhr says there has been a change in the plans with regard to eastbound traffic during the Highway 6/7th Street construction project, in Atlantic. Suhr says the East “Road Closed” barricade on US 6 has been moved to the west of Orcheln’s east driveway to accommodate access into the businesses during the first phase of the project.

Motorists wanting to access businesses east of Orcheln’s may do so by using US 6 /7th Street from the east. This will be in place until the west part of the project has been completed. The Plum street access will be closed until the west half of the project has been completed. This condition will remain in place until sometime in mid- July.

DCI releases info. on child death in Taylor County

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division (DCI) have released more information about the arrest last week in Taylor County, of a man and woman charged with Child Endangerment. Authorities say on Friday, May 22nd, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call for a child not breathing at 608 Washington St., in Bedford.  When Deputies arrived they located a three year old female child unresponsive.  The child was pronounced deceased by the Taylor County Medical Examiner.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was called in to assist with the suspicious death of the child. The child’s father; 25-year old Charles Hall, and his girlfriend, April Clair, also 25, were arrested and charged with Child Endangerment.

An autopsy was conducted at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny on May 23rd.  The autopsy results are pending and the investigation continues by the Iowa DCI.   

Man wanted on Audubon County warrant arrested in Atlantic

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(Updated in a separate story Wed. afternoon listing additional charges)

A man wanted on an Audubon County warrant for Child Endangerment was arrested this (Wednesday) morning, in Atlantic. 29-year old Daniel Raymond Jensen was taken into custody by Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies at a residence in the Sycamore Village Mobile Home Park on East 4th Street, at around 10-a.m.

Atlantic Police Assisted in handling the incident, along with the Cass County k9 unit. Jensen was transferred to Audubon County where he was being booked into their jail late this morning. Another man not directly involved in the incident was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, and released.

‘Significant gap’ remains between Democrats & Republicans negotiating state budget deal

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A key legislator says all the “tweaking” that can be done has been done and state budget negotiations are nearing an impasse. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs is among the handful of legislative leaders who’ve been meeting privately for weeks, trying to bridge the differences between Democrats and Republicans.  “I would say we have significantly closed the gap,” Gronstal told reporters this morning. “We closed it a little more yesterday, but I would say there’s still a significant gap.”

Gronstal, who is the top-ranking Democrat in the legislature, says that spending gap is less than 100-million dollars and the “biggest sticking points” remain. Democrats want to spend more on public schools than do Republicans and Democrats are pressing for more spending on government health care programs. “To the extent we underfund, don’t provide enough resources for health care, we raise all the rest of Iowans health care plans because of uncompensated care in hospitals and doctor’s offices and other health care providers across the state,” Gronstal says.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, the legislature’s top Republican, says negotiators have “made progress,” but it’s difficult to bridge the gap. “Iowans picked a Democratically-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House. That’s not necessarily a recipe for a quick resolution,” Paulsen says. “It doesn’t mean we’re not committed to finding it.” Republicans are insisting on a seven-point-one BILLION dollar overall spending plan for the state budgeting year that begins July 1st.

Democrats and Republican Governor Terry Branstad favor an overall spending level that’s about 200 million dollars higher. Paulsen says Republicans in the House have proposed a budget that fits with the amount of taxes the state is expected to collect next year.  “Let’s remember that the ongoing revenue is $180 million, roughly, more than we had last year,” Paulsen says. “I mean, only in government is $180 million of new spending a cut.” For the past several weeks, the discussion among legislative leaders has centered on ways to use some of the state’s billion dollar surplus on some one-time projects or programs.

Paulsen says Republicans are willing to do some of that, but Gronstal suggests that well has been tapped out. “We are nearing the end of our ability to tweak things any further,” Gronstal says. The next state budgeting year starts July 1st and Gronstal gave this answer when asked how this budget dilemma might get resolved: “I’m not making any predictions on that, but in a timely way. We will not engage in a game of shutdown.” Gronstal, Paulsen and a handful of other legislators plan to meet late this morning (Wednesday) to resume budget negotiations.

There are a few policy matters involved as well. Senate Democrats, for instance, stuck anti-bullying policies for schools into a catch-all budget bill. Paulsen gave this answer when asked if House Republicans might accept that approach to making those policies state law: “I didn’t show up this morning prepared to say no to a whole host of things, so we’ll just roll with it,” Paulsen told reporters. It’s unlikely either the full House or Senate will meet for votes on Thursday or Friday.

(Radio Iowa)

Egg prices for food producers triple due to bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The price of eggs used by food manufacturers has more than tripled in recent weeks, largely due to the outbreak of bird flu spreading across Iowa, the nation’s number-one egg-producing state. Avian flu has affected more than 21-million egg-laying hens in Iowa so far, with more operations being added to the list almost daily. U-S-D-A poultry economist Alex Melton says food company officials are worried about supply.

Melton says, “When there is a scare in any sort of national market for any commodity, you often see a sharp increase in price followed by a tapering as people are able to take more stock and get more information.” Melton says it’s hard to say how high costs will eventually climb, since no one knows when the avian flu outbreaks will stop. Eggs used in food processing cost 64-cents a dozen back in April, but now the price is over two-25 a dozen. Melton says prices have started to taper, but stabilizing costs depend on the egg industry’s ability to replace and sustain the current flock.

Melton says, “Egg producers can take different actions to try to extend their productivity by either keeping a laying hen in action longer and speeding up repopulation of barns with new pullets.” Roughly ten-percent of the egg-laying hens in the U-S have been affected by avian flu and more than one-third of Iowa’s birds. The latest two probable cases in Iowa were announced Tuesday in commercial egg-laying operations in Adair and Webster Counties.

The Adair County operation has 975-thousand birds, while the facility in Webster County has 160-thousand. If confirmed, it will take the total number of outbreaks statewide to 66. State ag officials say, so far, more than 19-million commercial layers and pullets have been euthanized in Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Planting held up in southwest Iowa by wet conditions

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The latest U-S-D-A crop report shows wet weather has slowed planting progress — especially in the southwest part of the state. Overall, 96-percent of the corn crop has been planted, which is one day ahead of last year, and three days ahead of the five-year average. In southwest Iowa, just 81-percent of the corn has been planted, and I-S-U Extension Agronomist, Aaron Sauegling says it’s just been too wet.

“We’re still behind. There’s still corn to be planted in portions of southwest Iowa. There’s actually a fair amount of soybeans to go. I have some producers that have yet to plant any soybeans, and I have some producers that are done,” Sauegling says. Farmers have just had to wait for things to dry up. “It gets close, and there have been some producers that have tried to push that a little bit — to try to literally mud some of this crop in — and it’s just not fit.

Soil conditions have just not allowed us to go out in the field,” Sauegling says. Sauegling says farmers are monitoring weather forecasts, while also keeping an eye on the calendar. “We don’t want to panic too much at this point, but once you start to get to June, we’d sure like to get a chance to get some of the beans in.”

Across the state 81-percent of the corn that’s planted has emerged, which is six days ahead of last year and four days ahead of normal. Soybean planting is 70-percent complete, behind last year’s pace for the first time this year. Thirty-two percent of the soybean crop has emerged, slightly ahead of last year and normal.

(Radio Iowa)

2 arrests in Glenwood

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Glenwood Police report two recent, separate arrests. Officials say on Tuesday, 33-year old Joshua Morrison, of Glenwood, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault. Morrison was being held without bond in the Mills County Jail until making an appearance before the magistrate. And, on Sunday, 48-year old David Craigmile, of Glenwood, was arrested for OWI. Bond was set at $1,000.

Highway 6/7th Street update – 5/27/15

News

May 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Department of Transportation Planning Coordinator Scott Suhr, today (Wednesday), provided an update on the Highway 6/7th Street construction project, in Atlantic. Suhr says the contractor is milling the asphalt surface off of US 6 through Atlantic, and will be working on that for about 3 days. The schedule for the remaining of the week (weather permitted) is as follows:

  • Milling the asphalt surface off of US 6
  • Removal of concrete on the east end of project
  • Removal at Plum Street
  • Sanitary sewer at Plum Street
  • Pavement removal from Plum street to 400 feet east