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USDA ups expected record corn, soybean harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the expected record corn and soybean harvest will be slightly bigger than previously estimated. Farmers are expected to bring in 14.5 billion bushels of corn, up from 14.4 billion last month, and 3.93 billion bushels of soybeans, up 14 million bushels. The October estimate released Friday boosted the per-acre yield for both major crops because of an extended period of late summer warmth in the Midwest.

The USDA says 22 states will set corn record yields this year. Corn farmers are expected to harvest a national average of 174.2 bushels per acre, a significant increase over the record of 169.  A dozen states will set new soybean yield records, and there’s expected to be 47.1 bushels per acre, up from the record of 44.

Council Bluffs officials warn unauthorized weekend marathon has issues

News, Sports

October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City Attorney for Council Bluffs is warning persons participating in Sunday’s purported USRA Half Marathon, that the event is not authorized and will not be supported by the City.
The event will supposedly begin and end in the Lake Manawa area. It’s being marketed as the 6th Annual Council Bluffs Half Marathon/5k to benefit Creighton University.index

City Attorney Dick Wade says in the past two weeks the city has been made aware of this event. It is being advertised on the USRA website. Wade says they have been in contact with runners who have registered to take part in this event. The runners have made efforts to get their registration fees refunded because of scheduling conflicts, but are unable to get a response from the promoter. Wade says they have also heard from other groups that are coming in from out of state to take part in the event.

The promoter has not completed the proper application for the City to properly review the event, according to Wade. In addition, members of various city departments have attempted to contact the promoter, but have not been able to reach him. Without a properly submitted application, the City is unable to provide any support services for the event.
The attorney says they have contacted Creighton University who is advertised as the benefactor for this event, and no one from the University appears to have any knowledge of the event. He says also, the City contacted Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over Lake Manawa. DNR personnel have no knowledge of the event and no permits have been applied for or issued.

Wade says while the City of Council Bluffs does not intend to provide any support services for this event, and cannot guarantee the safety of the event. He says “Anyone intending to take part in this event should govern themselves accordingly.” Wade says “Anyone intending to take part in this event make every effort to contact the organizer in advance to hopefully minimize any inconvenience. “

Audubon men arrested Thu. night on Child Endangerment charges


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Audubon County men were arrested Thursday night on Child Endangerment charges. The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year old Eric Allen McMichael, of Audubon, was arrested at around 10-p.m. following an investigation into an incident that allegedly occurred at his residence earlier in the evening. McMichael was brought to the Audubon County Jail and charged with  Child Endangerment Causing Injury. He was later released from custody after appearing before a magistrate.

And, at around 11:30-p.m. Thursday, 23-year old Scott Nathaniel Belew, of Audubon, was arrested following an investigation into an incident that allegedly occurred in the 4000 block of 2nd Street, in Hamlin. Belew was being held in the Audubon County Jail on a charges of Child Endangerment and Domestic Abuse Assault.

Cass County Public Health Planning for 2014 Flu Season


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Public Health staff will be holding influenza vaccine clinics to start later this month. Nancy Gibson, Public Health Team Lead, reports that public clinics will begin as soon as the vaccine arrives.  The influenza (flu) vaccine injection given by the Public Health/UnityPoint will be the trivalent type this year, meaning that it protects against 3 strains of influenza virus. The Flumist given to persons ages 49 and under will be quadrivalent, protecting against 4 strains of the influenza virus.

Public Health will accept Medicare and Medicaid payment for vaccines. Vaccine is also available for children including those who qualify for the Vaccine for Children (VFC) or those being children who do not have insurance or have insurance that doesn’t pay for vaccines. All other patients who receive vaccines must pay privately at a cost of $30 for the injection and $35 for the Flumist.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that Influenza (flu) usually occurs in late fall and winter in the US and is spread from an ill person to other people by coughing and sneezing. Therefore, October- November is not too late to receive your vaccination. According to Dr Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Medical Director, it takes about two weeks after the vaccination for the body to receive the full protection from the flu protection from the flu virus, being vaccinated now will mean you’ll be protected before the flu starts spreading in your community.

Cass County Public Health Staff encourages residents to practice good health habits including eating right, getting lots of sleep, and washing hands thoroughly and often. Other precautions include covering your mouth by coughing into your elbow of the upper arm instead of your hand and stay home when you don’t feel well.

Listen to KJAN for more information about public flu clinics in Cass County or call Public Health Office at 712-243-7475 or 712-243-7551.

(Update) 2 injuries reported following Thu. evening accident in Atlantic


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(In an update to our story at 7-a.m.)…

Police in Atlantic say two people suffered non-life threatening injuries following a collision Thursday evening on the east side of town. According to Atlantic Police, vehicles driven by Margaret Clausen, of Adair, and Callie Westover, of Atlantic, collided just after 5-p.m., on Highway 6 near the intersection of 635th Street.

Officials say both drivers were traveling east on Highway 6 when Westover stopped to make a left hand turn onto 635th Street. Clausen was distracted, and didn’t see the Westover vehicle. When she noticed it, she couldn’t get stopped in-time, and ran into the rear of Westover’s vehicle.

Both drivers were transported by Medivac Ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital. Clausen was cited for Failure to Maintain Control/reduce speed. Damage from the crash amounted to $14,000.

New Child Care Business Assistance Program Available in Western Iowa


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IA (October 9, 2014) –The Guided Growth Business Development Cohort will provide a new opportunity for child care programs to receive comprehensive business assistance to help them grow. Through a combination of professional business advice and peer networking and learning, child care providers will receive customized budgeting and financial tools, Iowa Department of Human Services approved training, one-on-one business consulting to address their needs, and assistance in developing a road map to reach their goals.

Child care providers participating in other First Children’s Finance business development cohorts have reported many improvements to their programs such as increases in quality environments and playgrounds, higher enrollment, improvements in finances, and decreases in staff turnover.
Interested providers can get full details about eligibility and geographical requirements, and download an application at www.firstchildrensfinance.org/guidedgrowth-cohort. Applications are due October 31, 2014. For more information contact Angie Rae Duncan, Business Development Specialist with First Children’s Finance at (515) 229-5064 or angie@firstchildrensfinance.org.

First Children’s Finance, a national nonprofit organization, provides financial and business-development assistance, training and financing to child care businesses. The Guided Growth project and the Guided Growth Business Development Cohort are possible thanks to funding from Sam’s Club Giving Program along with support from Mid-Sioux Opportunity and West Central Community Action.

MidAmerican Energy Plans to Invest Additional $280 Million in Wind Generation


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MidAmerican Energy Company today announced plans to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County and expand a second site in O’Brien County in 2015 – an additional investment of up to $280 million for the nation’s leader in ownership of wind-powered generation among rate-regulated utilities.

If approved, the company’s proposed wind project would result in installation of up to 67 wind turbines. The project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, would add up to 162 megawatts of new wind generation capacity in Iowa.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said the new project reflects the company’s commitment to the development of renewable energy. Using wind as the fuel source to generate energy for this project helps the company reduce its fuel costs, which in turn helps stabilize electric rates for customers. Energy costs passed through to customers are projected to be reduced by approximately $93 million over 10 years.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds joined Fehrman at a news conference to announce the latest wind expansion project. “MidAmerican Energy’s commitment to wind generation garners long-lasting benefits and makes Iowa a competitive economic force not only in the United States but also in the world,” Branstad said. “Iowa has attracted major tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, because of our low energy prices and commitment to renewable energy. MidAmerican Energy’s newest wind project will help the state meet the demand for renewable energy that is attracting major companies and high-quality jobs to Iowa.”

“MidAmerican Energy’s investment in additional wind generation provides significant benefits to all citizens of Iowa,” Lieutenant Gov. Reynolds said. “Wind is now the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity in the country, and Iowa derives a greater percentage of its electricity from wind than any other state. By taking advantage of the abundant wind resources we have here in the state, MidAmerican Energy is delivering a sustainable energy solution that will play an increasingly important role in powering Iowa’s future.”

“With this proposed expansion, beginning in 2016, MidAmerican Energy’s wind resources are expected to produce an amount of energy equivalent to approximately 50 percent of the retail energy customers are expected to need,” Fehrman said. “We’re extremely proud of how far we’ve come as a state, and as a company, since the installation of our first wind turbines a decade ago. These wind projects help stabilize rates in the long term for our customers, foster economic development in Iowa communities, and demonstrate MidAmerican Energy’s commitment to the environment.”

MidAmerican Energy is working with county officials and landowners to secure development and interconnection rights for the project sites. These sites are expected to provide more than $40 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years, along with annual landowner payments. Blades for the new turbines will be manufactured at the Siemens facility in Fort Madison. The next step in the development process is for MidAmerican Energy to file for approval of its wind expansion project with the Iowa Utilities Board. If the IUB approves the project, construction could start in the summer of 2015, with completion by the end of that year.

Coupled with projects currently underway in Grundy, Madison, O’Brien and Webster counties, MidAmerican Energy will have approximately 3,500 megawatts of wind generation capability in Iowa by year-end 2015 – enough capability to provide energy for the equivalent of approximately 1.05 million average Iowa households. With the completion of this newest project, MidAmerican Energy will have invested more than $6 billion for wind generation development in Iowa, making wind approximately 40 percent of its electric generator nameplate capacity.

(Press Release)

Iowa health insurance rate hikes not widespread


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A state regulator says less than 2 percent of Iowans will be hit by state-approved health insurance rate increases. The Iowa Insurance Division said Wednesday that it had approved 2015 increases averaging 8.7 percent to 19 percent for Iowans who bought individual policies from Coventry Healthcare, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and CoOportunity Health.

The department says the increases were justified, in part by costs associated with the federal Affordable Care Act. Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart told The Des Moines Register that Iowa’s overall health insurance climate is stable, with most premium increases being relatively small.

Ernst reports raising $6 million in latest quarter


October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has over $3 million in the bank going into the final stretch of the competitive campaign. Ernst announced Friday that she raised $6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Of that, $302,000 went to pay off debt from her primary campaign. She concluded the financial quarter with $3.2 million in cash.

Ernst is locked in a tight race against Democrat Bruce Braley. She substantially outraised him in the latest quarter. Braley’s campaign said last week he had raised $2.8 million in the same time period. Braley’s campaign declined to say how much cash he has left.

Full campaign finance reports are due to federal authorities on Oct. 15.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. Local/State News, 10/10/2014

News, Podcasts

October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.