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Berkshire Hathaway sells 2 short-line railroads

News

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company has sold off the two short-line railroads it discovered owning this fall to satisfy regulators who might have reviewed Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 acquisition of the BNSF railroad. Berkshire told the Transportation Department’s Surface Transportation Board earlier this month that it had recently completed the sale of both short-line railroads ahead of schedule.

If Berkshire had reported owning those railroads when it acquired Burlington National Sante Fe Corporation, the Surface Transportation Board would have scrutinized the deal. Berkshire sold the 12-mile-long WCTU railroad that serves an industrial park near Medford, Oregon to RVTR Rail Holdings in December.

The 6-mile-long CBEC railroad that serves one of MidAmerican Energy’s coal plants near Council Bluffs, Iowa, was sold to its two other co-owners in November.

Iowa couple with limousine business helps homeless

News

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A Council Bluffs couple with a limousine business says they want to offer services every year to homeless people in the area. The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports Jim Kelley and his wife, Christine, offered party buses to nearly 70 homeless people this month as part of a holiday present. Many of the participants were children. Other local businesses provided dinner and dessert before the buses and a limousine took the participants to a train museum. Guests were then taken on a city tour to view holiday lights.

The couple says it was their first time organizing the service, and they plan to make it an annual event.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Dec. 27th 2012

News

December 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Light snow is expected to hit most of Iowa and parts of Nebraska tonight and tomorrow as both states recover from a powerful storm last week. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s in both states today.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A powerful storm system that affected the Gulf Coast and parts of the Midwest on Christmas Day could cause some flight delays for people traveling through Iowa and Nebraska for the holidays. Des Moines International Airport reported some cancellations and delays from regions affected by the storm yesterday.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Electric cars often are seen as the future of the U.S. car industry, but their presence in Iowa remains small. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reported yesterday there are only 41 “pure” electrics registered in Iowa. Engineers say the state needs infrastructure like additional battery charging stations that will make the vehicles more available. The newspaper reports there are only 33 public charging stations in Iowa.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Preservationists in Waterloo are hoping to save the 84-year-old Wonder Bread bakery building that closed last month. The Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously last week to support the preservation of the historic character and facade of the downtown building. The building has been closed since Texas-based Hostess Brands Incorporated moved ahead in November with plans to sell off its assets in bankruptcy court.

Storm system causes flight delays in Iowa, Neb.

News, Weather

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A powerful storm system that affected the Gulf Coast and parts of the Midwest on Christmas Day could cause some flight delays for people traveling through Iowa and Nebraska for the holidays. The Des Moines Register says Des Moines International Airport has reported some cancellations and delays from regions affected by the storm. Airport workers in Dallas are removing ice as below freezing temperatures forced cancellations. Flights arriving and departing from Denver and Chicago also have been delayed.

Omaha’s Eppley Airfield says some airlines have pushed back a handful of arrival and departure times, but its website shows no cancellations. Post-Christmas travelers are bracing for flight delays and driving warnings after a rare storm brought tornadoes to the South and snow to states like Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Light snow expected to hit Iowa, Neb.

News, Weather

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Light snow is expected to hit most of Iowa and parts of Nebraska as both states recover from a powerful storm last week. The National Weather Service says up to 3 inches of snow is possible in Iowa between Thursday night and Friday morning. The snow is expected especially along and north of Interstate 80. Between 2 and 4 inches of snow could hit northeast Nebraska between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. The snow is expected mainly along and north of Highway 30. Less than an inch of snow is expected south of Lincoln and Plattsmouth. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s in both states on Thursday. A powerful snow storm last week dumped several inches of snow across parts of Iowa and Nebraska.

USDA says Iowa has about 1.2M cattle on feed

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal authorities say the number of cattle and calves in large Iowa feedlots is unchanged from last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head totaled about 1.2 million on Dec. 1. That means inventory is unchanged from the same period last year. Cattle and calves for slaughter in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million on Dec. 1. That’s six percent below inventory from the same period last year. Another USDA report shows the number of cattle in Nebraska feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head contained 2.53 million on Dec. 1.

Atlantic man arrested last week on an assault charge

News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest last week of 22-year old James Michael Howard. The Atlantic man was arrested Dec. 21st  on a charge of Domestic Abuse Assault (Simple Misdemeanor) and on an outstanding warrant for Violation of Probation. Howard was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was being held on $5000 bond.

Updated charges against Marne man who shot a woman’s dog

News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says an additional charge of Animal Abuse has been filed against a Marne man who shot a woman’s dog Monday morning. As we reported Monday afternoon, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a dog having been shot in Marne. A deputy responded to the Atlantic Animal Health Center, where the owner of the dog, 23-year old Stacy Ernat from Denver, CO, reported her chocolate Labrador “Wrigley,” was playing with a relative’s dog in the church lot adjacent to the residence of Charles Collins Cutler, the individual who shot the dog with a shotgun, from a distance of 30-to 40-feet.

Ernat brought her dog to the Atlantic Animal Health Center where it died. Ernat and another friend told the deputy they witnessed Cutler shoot the dog. Upon investigation, a Sheriff’s Deputy cited Cutler for Animal Abuse (Aggravated Misdemeanor) and Reckless Use of a Firearm (Simple Misdemeanor). Cutler was given a court date of January 17th, 2013.

Battle over credit card swipe fees brewing at statehouse

News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The debate over credit card “swipe fees” is surfacing again at the statehouse. The issue is pitting banks and credit card companies against retailers, both big and small. Jim Henter, with the Iowa Retail Federation, says businesses shouldn’t have to pay a fee on the tax portion of the bill when a customer buys something with a credit card. “We understand the need to cover the costs of these transactions, but we believe the big banks have gotten greedy,” Henter said. “That’s why we’re talking about this issue.”

The fee is two-and-a-half percent of the total purchase, including the tax, and Henter told a legislative interim committee that it amounts to a “tax on a tax.” Retailers want limits on the fee they pay every time a customer makes a purchase with plastic. But Justin Hupher, with the Iowa Credit Union League, said it would be “a mess” if every state passes its own laws on swipe fees. “In my opinion, this is the wrong venue because of the interstate nature of plastic payments. This issue has been lobbied and debated in Congress prior to the Dodd Frank act when Congress did take action,” Hupher said.

But, the federal law affects only the very biggest companies, so none of Iowa’s credit unions are covered by the law.

(Radio Iowa)

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day arrests in Atlantic

News

December 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested in Atlantic during the past couple of days. On Monday, 42-year old Michael Croghan, of Atlantic, was arrested for three-counts of Forgery and one count of ongoing Criminal conduct. And, on Christmas day, 33-year old Joshua Mullen, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of OWI, and on a warrant for violating his parole.

Both men were booked into the Cass County Jail.