KJAN News

KJAN News can be heard:
Monday – Saturday at 6:30 am, 7:05 pm, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:20 pm, 12:40 pm, 3:05 pm & 5:05 pm

Keep up-to-date with Fox News Radio, Radio Iowa,  Brownfield & the Iowa Agribusiness Networks!
Check our Program Schedule Page for times!

Atlantic Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor resigns

News

April 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic is looking for a new Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent. City Administrator Doug Harris announced during Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, that Superintendent Mark Farrier, who was hired to run the new plant in 2012, has resigned, effective July 3rd, 2014. Farrier, his wife and family are moving to Guatemala to become Missionaries. Harris said the search has already begun to find a replacement for Farrier, but it won’t be easy to locate someone with a Class 3 Operator’s License to run the plant.

Harris reported also that work on Highway 6/7th Street from just east of Olive Street to near Burger King won’t be taking place this year as planned, that’s because it took so long to get the DOT’s approval and paperwork pushed through. Snyder and Associates Enginner Dave Sturm said it appears bid-letting for the project won’t be until April 2015, with work beginning later that Spring.

In other business, Mayor Dave Jones reminded residents to not wait too long to mow their lawn grass. He said there is about 1-to 2-percent of the City’s residents who “Abuse the system every year,” and ignore the City’s warnings to mow the lawn in accordance with the Ordinance. Jones said the City would be getting more aggressive in mowing lawns that grow too tall.

In a previous Council meeting, it was announced the City would not be sending out warning notices, and that property owners would receive a bill for the services of City crews who take care of the problem. It was also noted that the cost for City crews to mow your lawn is much more expensive than if you hire someone on your own to handle it on a regular basis.

Jones also warned against blowing the clippings into the streets, which can clog the storm water drainage system and cause costly sewer system repairs. The Mayor also proclaimed April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, and he recognized efforts of the local Parkinson’s Disease Support Group to raise funds and promote awareness of the fight against Parkinson’s.

Atlantic City Council hears about proposed residential/commercial tax abatement

News

April 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday learned more about a proposed program that would offer Commercial and Residential Tax Exemptions (Or, Tax Abatement, as it’s commonly called) on new construction and for renovations to some existing residential properties. Councilman Dana Halder reported to the Council on discussions held during a March 18th meeting of the Community Development Committee.

Halder said the Committee came up with a plan to offer a 5-year, sliding scale tax abatement for new residential or commercial construction in Atlantic, with a $250,000 cap. Any existing residential or commercial built prior to 1960, would be eligible for a 5-year 100-percent tax abatement on improvements, with the stipulations that it must increase the property value by 20-percent, and that the electrical box [a fuse panel in older structures] be brought up to current standards.

Halder says since the group came up with their concept, they learned through SWIPCO (The Southwest Iowa Planning Council) that there are some issues with the plan, specifically with regard to the residential cap on new construction. He says that might have to be reduced to $75,000 instead of $250,000. The committee plans to meet with SWIPCO representatives next Tuesday to hammer out the details and implement them as soon as possible.  

City leaders in Atlantic have been talking about a revising the current Tax exemption/abatement plan for years, because of numerous complaints over how much is awarded and the criteria for what is granted. Mayor Dave Jones said he would like to see the tax abatement program in effect for 3-years once its implemented, with the option to renew and/or improve it after that. 

Councilman Halder said Atlantic needs to get moving quickly, because other cities with abatement programs in-place, are passing us by in terms of attracting new businesses and residents. City Administrator Doug Harris pointed out that the last time the City adopted a plan for new residential/commercial property tax exemptions or abatements, was in 1996. That “Urban Revitalization Plan” (URP) expired in 1999. A URP must be in place before there’s a public hearing and an ordinance is enacted allowing the abatements to take place. Harris said SWIPCO can help the City put together an updated URP, as well as help with the Tax Exemption Program

Senate votes for audit of controversial confidential setlements with fired state workers

News

April 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Republicans joined the 26 Democrats in the Iowa Senate to ask the state auditor to examine confidential settlements with fired state workers who were paid extra money to keep their firings secret. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, questioned why the other 22 Republicans in the senate would resist the idea. “I would have hired an independent auditor to do it, but we’re trusting the state auditor who’s a Republican and not only a Republican, but a Republican who was appointed by Governor Branstad,” Hogg said.

Republicans argued the audit should cover not only Branstad’s current administration, but any deals struck when Democrats Chet Culver and Tom Vilsack were governor. Senator Jack Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny, points to revelations that eight confidential settlements were struck during Culver’s four years as governor.  “This issue has been going on for several years,” Whitver said. “The reason we want to go back is figure out when this happened, why it happened and try to get to the bottom of it.”

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs accused Republicans of trying to divert attention from the core question. “Did the governor, did the executive branch in fact dump state employees for political reasons?” Gronstal says. “Maybe previous governors did, but this legislative body can’t change that.” The money for the state audit was included in a budget bill that passed the Senate last night.

Republicans in the House, meanwhile, are crafting a bill that would put the governor’s recent executive order — which bars confidential settlements — in state law. Democrats oppose the bill because they say it would change the state’s collective bargaining law that governs negotiations between state managers and the unions that represent state workers. The top three managers in the Department of Administrative Services are scheduled to testify before the Legislature’s Oversight Committee today (Thursday), starting at 11 o’clock.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa News Headlines: Thu., April 3rd 2014

News

April 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Lawmakers in the Iowa House say they want to further establish government transparency and openness in the light of secret settlement agreements between state agencies and fired employees. While debating a budget bill for agriculture and natural resources yesterday, the House adopted an amendment to prevent money appropriated in the bill from being used for payments in such settlement agreements.

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Four Iowa Republicans running for U.S. Senate have debated higher education costs, health care and the federal debt at a forum at Iowa State University. Radio host Sam Clovis, state Senator Joni Ernst, businessman Scott Schaben and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker met for the debate yesterday evening.

CORDOVA, Ill. (AP) – Operators of the Quad Cities Generating Station in western Illinois declared an “alert” after smoke was observed in a plant electrical system. An Exelon Generation spokesman says Quad Cities Unit 2 was removed from service on Monday to replace a valve on the control rod drive system. The unit was in the startup process yesterday when smoke was detected. The unit is stable and shut down.

GRIMES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say there’s an ongoing discharge of wastewater going into a creek in central Iowa. The state Department of Natural Resources says the discharge developed while officials with the city of Grimes were replacing a pump at a lift station Wednesday afternoon.

Greene County residents arrested in Audubon County on drug charges

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Greene County residents were arrested Tuesday night on drug charges, in Audubon County. The Sheriff’s Office reports 32-year old Jason Lee Montgomery, of Jefferson, and 29-year old Amanda Fay Lawrence, of Scranton, were taken into custody at around 11:45-p..m.

Montgomery faces charges that include: Possession of Marijuana/3rd offense; Possession of Methamphetamine; Intent to Deliver/Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Lawrence was charged with: Possession of Meth/2nd offense; Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Deliver, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The charges against the pair stem from a traffic stop in the 3400 block of Highway 71 in Audubon County. Both subjects were brought to the Audubon County Jail, where Montgomery remains held on bond. Lawrence posted bond, and was released.

Atlantic man arrested by Cass County deputies

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Monday of a man wanted on two warrants. 53-year old Jimmy Joe Misner, of Atlantic, was arrested on warrants for Failure to Appear for Child Support Hearings. Misner was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was being held on $4000 bond.

3 arrests reported in Mills County

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Mills County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest on Tuesday of three persons on unrelated charges.

27-year old Bret Wade Sheppard was arrested in Malvern at around 10:35-p.m. Tuesday, on a warrant for Harassment in the 1st degree. Sheppard was being held in the Mills County Jail on $2,000 bond.

66-year old Shirley Lynn Meredith, of Council Bluffs, was arrested at the Mills County Sheriff’s Office at around 8-a.m. Tuesday, on a warrant for Dependent Adult Abuse. Her bond was set at $1,000.

And, 27-year old Shawn Patrick Nosekable was arrested at around 12:40-a.m.  Tuesday, for having no SR-22 Insurance. He was taken into custody near 270th Street and Highway 34 and held in the Mills County Jail on $1,000 bond.

 

Iowa’s biggest city ranks #5 in US for finding jobs, Omaha is #2

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s largest city rates number-five in a new national list of best metropolitan areas to find a job. Allen Jones, spokesman for the employment website ZipRecruiter, says they ranked Des Moines and 49 other cities based on the volume of job postings.  “We have the unique ability to have access to a lot of data through small businesses posting jobs,” Jones says. “The way we looked at this, we said, where is unemployment really low and where is there a surplus of jobs based on the activity we see on ZipRecruiter. We took a more non-traditional approach to trying to figure out an index of what looked promising.”

The report shows Des Moines is the center of recession-proof industries like insurance and health care. Just to the west on Interstate 80 lies Omaha, which ranked number-two on the list. “The reason Des Moines came in at #5 is, as it compares to Omaha, the median home price is actually a bit lower,” Jones says. “Omaha comes in at $125,000 while Des Moines is at $106,000, but the unemployment rate is a little higher, 4.4%, while Omaha is a 3.9%, so it kicked it down a couple of notches.”

The website says Salt Lake City is the best place for job hunting. Others in the top five include Madison, Wisconsin, at third and Minneapolis/St. Paul in fourth place. Jones says there are some cities on the list you wouldn’t expect to see there.  “What you’ll see on our list of Top 10 or Top 50 cities for jobs is not the normal cities you’d see,” Jones says. “You see Des Moines, Iowa, and think, ‘Des Moines, really?’ but based on the volume of new jobs there, the unemployment rate, the cost of living and the median salaries, we see opportunity and we think it’s important to expose all of those things.”

ZipRecruiter’s rating is a bonus for Des Moines. The city made the Forbes list of Best Places for Business and Careers in 2010 and 2013, while NBC recently ranked Des Moines as the wealthiest city in America.

(Radio Iowa)

Two legislators win “Uncommon Public Service” Award

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two state legislators — one from western Iowa and one from eastern Iowa — are being honored with this year’s Herbert Hoover Uncommon Public Service Award. Nancy Boettger of Harlan is the award winner in the state senate.  “Wow. I’m overwhelmed,” Boettger said. “When I saw my family here this morning I never dreamed that that was this. Sarah just said: ‘We wanted to be all here, together, at one time while you were still here.'”

Boettger has served in the Senate since 1995, but she is not seeking reelection in November.  “Thanks so very much by this honor. I’m really overwhelmed and kind of speechless here, but when I get a chance — I’ll get another chance to talk to the senate now before I retire. Then you’ll hear some things from me,” Boettger said, with a laugh. “It’s your momma speaking.” Senate President Pam Jochum a Democrat from Dubuque, paid tribute to Boettger.  “As Senator Boettger retires from the senate this year, one of her nominators said, and I quote: ‘She will be remembered by her peers on both sides of the aisle as honorable, hard-working, generous and a sincere public servant,'” Jochum said.

Each year a member of the Senate and a member of the House receive the Hoover Award. This year’s House winner is Representative Steven Olson of DeWitt, a farmer who was first elected in 2002. Prior to his legislative service, Olson served two terms on the Calmus School Board. Herbert Hoover, the man for whom the award is named, is an Iowa native who saved the lives of well over a billion people in 57 countries when he ran post-war relief efforts in Europe.

(Radio Iowa)

Council Bluffs students getting tech experience

News

April 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Council Bluffs students are getting hands-on experience working at a data center operated by the school district. The Daily Nonpareil reports the Council Bluffs Community School District unveiled the data center Tuesday night at Abraham Lincoln High School.  Students who are enrolled in the district’s Emerging Technologies Academy monitor and make repairs when needed to servers at the data center, which is used to store medical research data.

Google and Echo Group, a Council Bluffs electrical supplier, gave financial and technical support as part of the estimated $670,000 project. It took about six months to build the data center. Chris Russell, an operations manager at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, says the new facility will expose students to real work experiences and get them interested in technology careers.