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CCHS issues statement about CEO Todd Hudspeth

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Health System (CCHS) today (Friday), released a statement with regard to CCHS CEO Todd Hudspeth. Cass County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees President Ned Brown commented on a recent charge against CEO Todd Hudspeth related to a personal banking matter.

CCHS CEO Todd Hudspeth

CCHS CEO Todd Hudspeth

Brown said “Todd has informed the board about his actions that led to this situation.  We appreciate his ownership of his actions and will continue to monitor the situation as facts become available.  Todd continues to serve as CEO of Cass County Health System.”

Additional details about the charge are not available, and CCHS officials say no further comment will be made about the situation at this time.  Hudspeth, who began his position with the Cass County Health System in January, 2014, replaced CEO Pat Markham, who retired.

Monarch population shows signs of recovery, Iowa milkweeds may be helping

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The population of monarch butterflies that overwintered in Mexico is said to be more than three times larger than what was seen last year. It’s exceptional news for conservationists in Iowa and elsewhere who are trying to restore the monarch population which has dropped 80-percent in the past 20 years. Sue Blodgett, who chairs the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University, gives some of the credit to Iowans who are planting milkweeds by the thousands.

Monarch“I think that’s probably helping,” Blodgett says. “Of course, there’s other factors, too, the lack of any drought where the monarch have to migrate through, there’s several factors that contribute, but certainly, the efforts we are making here in Iowa are part of that picture.” The orange-and-black insects are a key factor in providing pollination services to agriculture that are estimated to be worth three-billion dollars a year. Blodgett says they’re an important insect.

“It’s iconic and it also is a really good indicator of habitat,” Blodgett says, “and not just habitat for the monarch but habitat for other pollinators, birds and other wildlife that we value.” The World Wildlife Fund reports that this winter’s survey found adult butterflies covered about ten acres of forest in Mexico. During the last three winters, overwintering butterflies occupied three or fewer acres. Blodgett says the goal is to see a sustained monarch population of about 15 acres, or 225-million butterflies through domestic and international efforts.

“In the past, there’s been some big storms or frosts or freezes that have gone through Mexico that have devastated the population,” Blodgett says. “Because of that migration, there’s a lot of weather factors involved that can influence that population.” One way Iowans can help in their back yards or on larger pieces of property is by planting milkweed, which monarch caterpillars love.

“Right now, we have nine different species of milkweeds planted at all of our Iowa State University research and demonstration farms around the state,” Blodgett says, “to show people what they look like and to also see how they persist, how they grow and to look at how the larvae develop on those.” The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium was established last year to enhance monarch reproduction and survival in Iowa through collaborative and coordinated efforts of farmers, private citizens and their organizations.

Learn more at: http://monarch.ent.iastate.edu

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Increases to 3.8 Percent in March

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.8 percent in March from 3.7 percent in February. Officials with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) report the state’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 5.0 percent in March. The number of unemployed Iowans rose to 65,300 in March from 63,200 in February. The current estimate is 2,400 higher than the year ago level of 62,900. The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,649,400 in March. That’s 1,600 less than February and 12,100 more than one year ago.

Officials say following a drop last month, Iowa non-farm employment resumed adding jobs in March. The increase of 1,600 was modest, and generally the result of private industry bolstering employment. With this month’s gain, Iowa non-farm employment increased to 1,575,400 jobs total—15,300 jobs more than one year ago.

Construction posted the largest single gain this month, up 3,600. IWD says the gain may partially be the result of firms starting work early this year coupled with the undertaking of new commercial and infrastructure projects. Employment in construction is expected to rise through 2016. Other sectors that added employment this month included trade and transportation, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

Alternatively, the manufacturing sector lost 3,000 jobs.  Particularly hard hit, was those factories producing durable goods, and transportation equipment manufacturers. Education and health care shed 800 jobs this month. The loss was mostly centered within health care. Iowa’s finance sector lost jobs for the first time in several months in March, however, the 500 jobs lost wasn’t severe and the sector remains markedly up compared to one year ago.

IWD Director Beth Townsend says the good news is “Iowa employers are still hiring.” (For more information, go to www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/labor-market-information-division)

Cass County Supervisors approve fireworks display for Lewis; Bridge work starts Mon. south of Cumberland

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, today (Friday) board approved a permit for display of fireworks in an unincorporated area of Cass County. Supervisor Chuck Rieken said the fireworks will be part of the City of Lewis’ Celebration on June 25th. Rieken said the pyrotechnics will be fired south of Duane Weirch’s place by a company known as “Flashing Thunder,” which has handled similar events for the City for several years.

The Board also received a report from Cass County Engineer Charles Marker, who said Gus Construction will begin work Monday morning, on a triple concrete box culvert project for Bridge #20, located about two-miles south of Highway 92 on County Road N-28, south of Cumberland. A detour route will be in-place while the work is underway. The route is one-mile north of the project site, one-mile west, then south and east, before connecting back to N-28. Marker says he knows the bridge closure comes at a bad time, with farmers trying to get out into their fields, but it’s out of his hands. He says the contractor is given a certain window to perform the work, and they handle it when their crews are available for a specific project.

And, the Supervisors received a quarterly report from Cass County Conservation Director Micah Lee, who said activities are starting to ramp-up for the spring in the County parks and outdoor education area. Micah said Cold Springs State Park near Lewis is open for camping. They’ve also added gravel to the various county park entrances and roads, including the Nodaway Recreation Area, Cold Springs, Turkey Creek and Hitchcock House.

And, as he mentioned to the Board back in January, Lee said they continue to have vandalism issues to the posts that are designed to prevent motor vehicle traffic on the T-Bone Trail. He said also he’s spoken with Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren about the problem, but there is no immediate, viable solution. McLaren suggested installing trail cameras to catch the culprits, but Lee says there’s no place nearby to mount them high enough where they won’t get damaged or stolen.

Cass County Supervisors hire New County Engineer

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, today (Friday) approved an employment contract for a person selected by a committee to replace County Engineer Charles Marker. The Board agreed to hire 53-year old Charles Bechtold, who currently serves as the Engineer for Osceola County, in northwest Iowa. Bechtold’s contract with Cass County runs from July 1st, 2016 through June 30th, 2017, with the option to renew his contract next year. He’ll be paid $105,000.

Charles Bechtold (Photo from the Osceola County Engineer's web page)

Charles Bechtold (Photo from the Osceola County Engineer’s web page)

A committee comprised of Supervisors Gaylord Schelling, Frank Waters and Charles Marker had reviewed nine applications for the Cass County Engineer’s position, and conducted six interviews. The top two candidates were picked and ranked before the committee made their final selection. Waters said the committee was very impressed with Charles Bechtold’s credentials. His sister, by the way, is Ginger Bechtold, librarian at the Atlantic High School, and teacher/librarian for the Atlantic Middle School.

According to published reports, prior to being hired in late 2012 for his Osceola County position, Bechtold served in Afghanistan for three-years, while on a deployment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also owned a private engineering firm in Sioux City for 16 years.

Charles Marker announced in February he would be retiring at the end of June, after serving for 17-years as the County Engineer, and a total of 25-years as an Engineer in Iowa.

Atlantic woman arrested on drug charges

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest on drug charges, Thursday, of 24-year old Cheyenne Register, of Atlantic. Register was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug, and three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance. And, 33-year old Juan Anaya Mendez, of Atlantic, was arrested Thursday on a Cass County warrant for Theft in the 4th Degree. Mendez and Register were booked into the Cass County Jail.

(Podcast) KJAN Morning News & funeral report, 4/15/2016

News, Podcasts

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The area’s top news at 7:06-a.m., w/KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

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Creston man arrested on a Theft charge

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston report the arrest early this (Friday) morning, of 37-year old Dustin James Seley, of Creston. Seley was taken into custody at around 1:45-a.m. on a charge of Theft in the 3rd Degree. He was being held in the Union County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Two Griswold residents arrested in Adams County

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A man and woman from Cass County were arrested Thursday night, in Adams County. Sheriff’s officials say 22-year old Devin Leroy Means, and 19-year old Kaeleigh Danette Long, both of Griswold, were arrested near Lenox a little after 8:15-p.m. , after authorities were notified about a car at 240th and Sycamore Avenue having had its windows broken out and dents all over the vehicle.

Devin Means

Devin Means

Kaeleigh Long

Kaeleigh Long

Boot prints on the roof of the car matched the soles of the boots worn by Means. He and Long were taken into custody for Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree. Their bonds were set at $10,000.

Effort to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood launched in Iowa House

News

April 15th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Republicans on a committee in the Iowa House last night (Thursday) advanced a plan to “defund” Planned Parenthood. It sets up a likely showdown with the Democratically-led Iowa Senate which has resisted similar efforts in the past. Chuck Hurley of The Family Leader Foundation, a Christian conservative organization, has been lobbying Republicans legislators to take a stand.

“From our vantage point, we should not be funding anybody who’s killing children in the womb,” Hurley says. State tax dollars currently cover the costs for Medicaid patients who get reproductive health exams or contraceptives at Planned Parenthood, but state tax dollars are not used to pay for abortions. Hurley says that’s not good enough.

“Imagine saying, ‘Well, the money that the German people are sending to Auschwitz only goes to cover the gates and the fencing and the food to keep the place open,” Hurley says. Democrats suggest House Republicans are out of touch with public opinion. A recent Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” found 74 percent of Iowans want the state to continue spending tax dollars at Planned Parenthood to cover NON-abortion services for low-income Iowans.

Hurley says there’s more “zeal” among activists due to undercover videos released last summer that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the organization’s fetal tissue donation program. A Texas grand jury concluded Planned Parenthood broke no laws. Two people who worked on the video project have been charged.

(Radio Iowa)