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Cass County Board of Supervisors to hold Public Hearing on Elite Octane Development Agreement

News

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors will hold their regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, this week, instead of Wednesday, because it is the end of the month. During the meeting, a Public Hearing will be held beginning at 8:30-a.m., on a Development Agreement with Elite Octane, LLC, authorizing Tax Increment Payments, and Pledging Certain Tax Increment Revenues to the Payment of the Agreement. The hearing will be followed by action on a Resolution approving the Development Agreement.

Under the Development Agreement the County would provide financial incentives to the Company in the form of incremental property tax payments in an amount not to exceed $8.5-million. The Agreement to make incremental property tax payments will not be a general obligation of the County, but will be payable solely and only from incremental property tax revenues generated within the 2017 Cass County Agribusiness Urban Renewal Area.

Griswold home sustains substantial smoke damage

News

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Griswold were called to a report of smoke coming from several windows at a home located at 310 5th Street in Griswold, at 8:57-a.m., Saturday. A neighbor saw the smoke and called 9-1-1. Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the flames in the home, which was reportedly under renovation. No injuries were reported, and a cause of the fire was not immediately available. The home sustained extensive smoke damage.

UI athletics may help bankroll scholarships for non-student athletes

News, Sports

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The head of the board that governs Iowa’s three public universities says the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA’S athletic department may start financing scholarships for students who are NOT athletes. Board of Regents president Bruce Rastettersays the University of Iowa’s president and athletic director are having that discussion now.

“One of the things that isn’t often recognized is that athletic departments do contribute to the university in a significant way,” Rastetter says. “I mean first of all, they pay scholarship dollars on tuition, room and board to the university. Second, it becomes a huge fundraising opportunity at the universities to bring alums, donors in that results in significant investment in the university.”

But Rastetter says there is a “national trend” among premiere university football and basketball programs to help finance other campus priorities. “There are ways that it can enhance the student body, lower student fees, scholarship funds beyond that,” Rastetter says. “But at the end of the day, they need to be careful that they not limit their ability to compete by taking too many dollars and then they won’t have the revenue stream to give the dollars.”

Rastetter made his comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. Rastetter says neither tax dollars or student tuition money is used to finance the athletic programs in Iowa City, Ames or Cedar Falls. Ticket sales and contributions from donors are the sources of income for the Iowa and Iowa State athletic departments. The University of Northern Iowa uses SOME student FEES along with ticket sales and donor money to run the Panther athletic department.

(Radio Iowa)

Ag Department looking for new century farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is looking for eligible farm owners to apply for this year’s Century and Heritage Farm Program. The Iowa Department of Agriculture’s program coordinator, Becky Lorenz, says there are a couple of requirements to gain the designation. “They honor folks who have kept their farm — of at least 40 acres — in the same generational families for at least 100 years or more,” Lorenz says.

A ceremony is held at the Iowa State Fair to recognize those who’ve had the farm for 100 years as Century Farms, and those who hit 150 years are named Heritage Farms. Lorenz said the programs were started in 1976. “Over 19-thousand Century Farm awards have been issued and we are up to 940 heritage farms,” Lorenz says.

There were 320 Century Farms and 103 Heritage Farms were recognized last year. Lorenz has been involved in the program the last six years. “It always amazes me, we always have over 300 Century Farms each year, and now our Heritage Farms are starting to increase in numbers too. The last two years we’ve been over 100.” Lorenz says.

She says it’s a fun day to share the recognition with the farm owners. Lorenz says applying for the Century and Heritage Farm program is easy. She says you can go to the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov to apply online on call Lorenz at 515-281-3645.

The recognition ceremony this year will be Thursday, August 17th at the Iowa State Fair in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion.

(Radio Iowa)

Board of Regents leader on ‘stupid’ bills in legislature

News

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The president of the board that oversees the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa says a few ideas coming out of the legislature aren’t that “brilliant.” Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says “The reality is everyone, just on some of those bills, needs to take a deep breath…It might even be a stupid bill, but you know what? They have the right to do that and we don’t the right to control that, so we’ll all just deal with that and we’ll have reasonable conversations.”

One bill Rastetter has criticized would end tenure for professors at the state’s public universities. Republican Senator Brad Zaun says he’s frustrated by some of the sabbaticals professors take and the number of classes taught by graduate students. Rastetter says Zaun’s bill is “not the appropriate way” to deal with those concerns. “He should know that the universities are focused on, and the faculty is, on wanting high-quality people that work every day and are there to make the university better and the student experience better,” Rastetter says, “and that learning experience better.”

Tenure is “an important part” of the universities, according to Rastetter. “Tenure should be maintained…It’s a part of the national system,” Rastetter says. “For us to have high-quality professors, we’re going to have to have tenure. That’s a reality and we’re going to have to pay people well that are very good at their job.”

Another high-profile proposal targeting the universities came from State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, the son of Iowa G-O-P chairman Jeff Kaufmann. In December, the younger Kaufmann vowed to send a “suck it up, buttercup” message by cutting the budgets of universities that had set up counseling for students upset by Donald Trump’s victory. Kaufmann later announced he’d scale his bill back, to impose tougher penalties on political protesters who shut down interstates. Rastetter says it WAS “inappropriate” for protesters in the Iowa City area to close down Interstate 80.

“We will all win some in life. We lose some in life and we all try to move forward together,” Rastetter says, “so I think that’s the key message that I heard being sent that I’d continue to support.” Rastetter made his comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. Rastetter, an agri-businessman from Alden, served on Trump’s ad advisory group before and after the election.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Monday, Jan. 30th 2017

News

January 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CST

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The man who disrupted a flag-burning protest in Iowa City with a fire extinguisher last week won’t lose his job. FedEx said in a statement that Matt Uhrin remains a driver with FedEx Express, and the company has no plans to change that.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will soon become Iowa’s governor, but she isn’t in a hurry to draw attention to herself or point to changes she plans in priorities or style. For weeks since Gov. Terry Branstad was nominated as ambassador to China, Reynolds has said little more than that she’s ready to be governor and intends to implement Branstad’s policies. She says, “There’s one governor at a time.”

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines police are investigating a homicide after a resident found a neighbor dead in his apartment. Police say officers were called Sunday afternoon to an apartment in north Des Moines. A resident had noticed a window at the apartment was ajar on Thursday and then were puzzled to see it was still open Sunday. The resident checked and found a male person dead in the apartment. Investigators hadn’t made an arrest, and they declined to release the victim’s name.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says he would like to see tuition at state universities rise no faster than the average income of Iowa residents. The Des Moines Register reports that Rastetter made the remarks Friday during and after his appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.” Rastetter says any tuition increase higher than the rise in average state income would dramatically affect Iowa families’ ability to access the public universities.

Set to become governor soon, Reynolds doesn’t seek spotlight

News

January 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will soon become governor of Iowa, yet it’s unclear how she wants to distinguish herself from Gov. Terry Branstad. For weeks, the 57-year-old Reynolds has avoided answering questions about specific plans once she’s in charge. It’s an unusual style for a politician, but Reynolds it’s simply a reflection of there being only one governor at a time.

Branstad is waiting to be confirmed as the next U.S. ambassador to China, a process that could take several weeks or longer. Reynolds does intend to carry out all of Branstad’s legislative initiatives if he leaves before the legislative session ends. That includes cutting state funding for Planned Parenthood and removing the rights of public workers to bargain for their health insurance.

Man who rescued burning US flag from protest keeps his job

News

January 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The man who disrupted a flag-burning protest in Iowa City with a fire extinguisher last week won’t lose his job. FedEx said in a statement that Matt Uhrin remains a driver with FedEx Express, and the company has no plans to change that.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports pictures and video of Uhrin rescuing a U.S. flag Thursday spread quickly on the Internet, and he was wearing his FedEx uniform at the time. Uhrin has declined the newspaper’s request for comment.

Protest organizers say they were trying to make a statement about racial and social injustice and U.S. imperialism by burning the U.S. flag.

Lenox man arrested Saturday evening in Montgomery County

News

January 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County report 37-year old Loreto Yzaguirre, of Lenox, was arrested following a traffic stop at around 6:25-p.m., Saturday. Yzaguirre was taken into custody at the intersection of Highway 34 and Q Avenue for Driving While Barred. He was transported to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $2,000 bond.

Bluffs F-D responds to CHI Health/Mercy Hospital Sat. afternoon

News

January 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Council Bluffs Fire Department reports an Engine Company responded Saturday afternoon to an automatic fire detection alarm at CHI Health/Mercy Hospital, at 800 Mercy Drive. Upon arrival, an electrical haze was discovered in a non-patient area of the hospital. Because the source was not immediately identified, and the haze spread to two adjacent rooms, a complete fire alarm response was requested by the officer in command.

Council Bluffs Fire Department Crews were on the scene for about two-hours. No patients had to be evacuated or moved to other areas of the hospital during the incident, which was reported at 3:32-p.m. The cause of the haze was isolated and the hospital was operating normally by 7-p.m.