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Southbound I-29 access to U.S. 275/Iowa 92 in Council Bluffs scheduled to close Sept. 19


September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Sept. 13, 2016 – The Iowa Department of Transportation’s District 4 Office in Atlantic, reports the southbound Interstate 29 access to U.S. 275/Iowa 92 in Council Bluffs, will be closed beginning Monday, Sept. 19, weather permitting, for interstate road construction work (See map). Travelers should use the South Expressway (exit 3) to exit the interstate during this ramp closure.

It is expected that the ramp will reopen in late October when additional minor lane shifts on U.S. 275/Iowa 92 will take place before construction is completed. The southbound I-29 on-ramp and northbound off-ramp are still closed, but these are expected to open this fall. All lanes of U.S. 275/Iowa 92 will be open to traffic on Tuesday, Nov. 15.IA DOT

Atlantic School Board to hold elections during their meeting Wednesday


September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting Wednesday evening at the High School. During the 5:30-p.m. session in the Media Center, the Board will hold an election among its members, for Board President and Vice President, and act on appointing the Board Secretary and Treasurer, followed by the administration of Oath of Office for those individuals. They’ll also act on possible changes to the date, time and place of Board meetings for the 2016-17 School Year

In regular business, the Atlantic School Board will hear from Justin Williams during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. They’re also set to hear special presentations from Williams with regard to the Cass County Educational Opportunity Center (CCEOC), and Dan Vargas, with regard to the Costa Rica trip.

The Board is also expected to act on approving various teacher contracts, the appointment of John Becker as volunteer Middle School Football Coach, the resignation of Justin Williams as Archery Club Sponsor, and other, administrative matters.

Prior to concluding their meeting, the Atlantic School Board will discuss progress on the search for a new Superintendent, and Instructional/Athletic Facilities.

Carroll school administrators investigating bullying texts


September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) — The Carroll schools superintendent says administrators are investigating bullying text messages written by students last week about a gay classmate chosen for the homecoming court. Carroll Community Schools Superintendent Rob Cordes told The Carroll Daily Times Herald that administrators were talking with students included in group text messages and would decide how to respond.

Cordes learned of the messages after they were printed out and left on windshields of the school’s football coach’s car and other players’ vehicles. Some of those receiving the texts were football players. Among the texts were comments that the gay student should kill himself.

Cordes says the incident falls within the school’s anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy. He says some students involved are remorseful and wish they’d acted differently, but “you can’t un-ring the bell.”

Midwest governors send letter to EPA seeking ethanol changes

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Seven Midwest governors have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking regulation changes intended to increase sales of gasoline blended with a higher percentage of ethanol. The governors of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota sent a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting new standards that would allow stations to sell more gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol rather than the current standard of 10 percent ethanol.

The letter says the current setup “is stifling the widespread adoption” of E15 ethanol blends. The governors — five Republicans and two Democrats — are all from leading ethanol-producing states. The letter was also sent to President Barack Obama.

Cass County Sheriff’s report – part 2 (9/13/16)


September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

In a follow-up to the Adair County Sheriff’s report on Monday, Sheriff’s Officials in Cass County said today (Tuesday), Deputies last Thursday arrested 41-year old Joseph Michael Greathouse, of Massena, on an Atlantic Police Department warrant for Ongoing Criminal Conduct, Theft 2nd Degree, and Tampering with Records. Greathouse remains held in the Cass County Jail pending sentencing.

On September 7th, Cass County Deputies arrested 18-year old Ronald Edward Lee Mathers, of Davenport, on a charge of False Report to Law Enforcement. Mathers was taken to the Cass County Jail and remains held on a $300 bond.

And, on Friday, 50-year old Kristine Courtney Ryan, of Elliott, was arrested on charges of OWI 2nd Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Ryan was taken to the Cass County Jail where she remains held on $2,300 bond.

4 arrested in Cass County


September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office today (Tuesday) issued a report on recent arrests. Officials say last Friday, 30-year old Ivan Antonio Cervantes, of Omaha, was arrested on a District Court warrant for Failure to Appear. Cervantes was taken to the Cass County Jail and was later released on his own recognizance.

On Sunday, 69-year old Arma Re Fouts, of Atlantic, was arrested on a charge of Driving While Barred. Fouts was taken to the Cass County Jail and was released later that day on her own recognizance. Also arrested Sunday, was 21-year old Corey Allen Lee Whitt,  of Walnut, on a charge of Public Intoxication. Whitt was taken to the Cass County Jail where he later pled guilty and was released.

And today (Tuesday), Deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office arrested 20-year old Andrew Jacob Roach, of Missouri Valley, on a warrant for Probation Violation. Roach was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $2,000 bond.

Bike Your Park on Sept. 24th

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of people across the country are expected to participate in the inaugural Bike Your Park Day on Saturday, Sept. 24. This new national event promotes exploration of parks and public lands by bicycle. Iowa’s state parks make beautiful biking destinations for families and friends, especially now, with cooler temperatures and changing seasons. Many state parks connect to more extensive bike trail systems, giving cyclists choices of distance and difficulty.DNR logo

Worth a consideration next time you want to pedal a park are the following:

Big Creek State Park is one Iowa state parks’ best biking destinations. Located just north of Polk City, the park hosts miles 23-26 of the Neal Smith Trail. Riders can explore the wooded areas, prairies and shorelines in the park or continue on to downtown Des Moines. From the parking lot at Big Creek Beach, riders can go two miles east on 142nd Avenue to access the High Trestle Trail. The park’s location between these trails makes it an ideal park for bicycling opportunities.

George Wyth State Park makes a great biking park because its trails adjoin the Cedar Valley Trail system with more than 100 paved miles. There are many looped routes ranging from 6.2 miles to 50+ miles. The park also has 10 miles of soft trails for biking.

The main “stem” of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail system is a 14-mile, ten-foot-wide, hard surface trail with many arteries to explore Iowa’s Great Lake and the vast array of parks, beaches, lakeshores and other public areas that surround them.

Green Valley State Park’s 3.5-mile paved trail starts in the campground, follows much of the lake’s east side and finishes near the Green Valley Lake dam. The trail connects with 3 miles of other paved trails south of the lake traveling through a wildlife management area, past Southwestern Community College and ending in the town of Creston. Other grass multi-purpose trails in Green Valley State Park also offer bikers a soft-trail experience.

Pine Lake State Park has 2.6 miles of beautiful paved bike trail connecting its cabins and campground to its beach and fishing accesses on the Upper and Lower Pine lakes. Bikers can add about 3 more miles to their ride by starting at Deer Park in the town of Eldora, crossing the Iowa River and heading north on the park’s bike trail to Hwy S56. The road will take riders to two Hardin County areas, where the bike trail picks up and goes through Tower Rock to Pine Ridge Park

Honey Creek State Park and Resort Guests at Honey Creek Resort, on Lake Rathbun, can choose from a variety of bike types to rent or bring their own to enjoy the surrounding beauty of the resort. The whole resort is bike-friendly. On the wooded peninsula across from the resort is Honey Creek State Park with miles of paved roads inviting cyclists to tour the 800-acre park and catch a glimpse of the wildlife it holds.

Discover new parks or experience your favorites in a new way. Whatever the case, celebrate them as great bicycling opportunities, on Bike Your Park Day, Sept. 24.

For more information about Iowa’s state parks visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks To find a nearby Bike Your Park ride, publicize your own ride for others to join, find a Bike Your Park ambassador for answers and suggestions.

Scarce cash in land of plenty: Farmers adjust to downturn

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MAXWELL, Iowa (AP) – The men and women who are growing what’s expected to be the biggest corn crop the United States has ever seen won’t benefit from the milestone. Prices are so low that for the third consecutive year, most corn farmers will spend more than they earn. It’s a similar story for soybean producers.

That’s left farmers across the country cutting costs, dipping into savings or going further into debt to make it through the year. Federal crop insurance and government payments will offer some help, and most farmers have an off-the-farm job or a spouse who supplements the family’s income.

But the drop in farm profits raises questions about agriculture’s boom-and-bust cycles and why people adhere to what at times is seemingly not a sustainable business model.

Iowa Farm Bureau offers to pay for the defense of farmers, rural Iowans in the Des Moines Waterworks lawsuit

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) have offered to underwrite the legal costs for the defense of the drainage districts targeted in the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) lawsuit so the northwest Iowa drainage districts, farmers and rural citizens can focus on defending the lawsuit without the impossible task of covering the cost of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit.

The offer was extended to the supervisors in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties last week, since the supervisors act as trustees for the 10 drainage districts being targeted by DMWW’s lawsuit.  IFBF President Craig Hill says “Protecting farmers is really core to our mission at Farm Bureau. With one in five jobs directly tied to agriculture, rural Iowa has much at stake. If DMWW prevails in its lawsuit, it has the potential to adversely impact every Iowa farmer and farmers throughout the United States. We believe it’s essential for the future of Iowa agriculture and our rural communities for us to do what it takes to ensure the lawsuit is appropriately defended with adequate resources.”

A few months ago supervisors in the targeted counties ended their relationship with the Agricultural Legal Defense fund, which left drainage districts without sufficient resources to defend against the urban lawsuit. Drainage districts do not have ratepayers or general taxing authority with which to raise funds for these types of expenses.  To date, litigation costs for both sides combined have exceeded $2 million in the lawsuit.

The DMWW’s suit has garnered national attention, since it seeks to effectively change the Clean Water Act, forcing regulations and potential penalties on farmers; such action would put roadblocks on farmers’ efforts to continue trying new, innovative conservation practices to improve water quality.

The trial for the lawsuit is currently scheduled to be held in June of 2017.

Sen. Grassley wants to reform program for foreign investment in rural America

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is introducing legislation he says is designed to reform an economic development program which he describes as “out of control” with fraud and national security threats. The program, E-B-Five, was created in 1990 to prompt foreign investors into putting between 500-thousand and a million dollars into capital investment projects in rural America and in other job-starved areas.

Grassley says, “Many of the investments are going to projects in ritzy, well-to-do neighborhoods like those in Manhattan and Miami, instead of rural America and communities that need to boost employment and need help the most.”The program offers “green cards” to the foreign investors but over the decades, Grassley says significant problems have developed with the well-intended effort.

“The government has little ability to detect or prevent fraud,” Grassley says. “We don’t always know where the money for these projects is coming from and the government isn’t doing a good job of vetting the immigrant investors.” Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and says the E-B-Five program will expire at the end of this month and Congress has to decide whether to pass legislation to continue it or let it vanish.

Grassley says, “I introduced a bill with Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the committee I chair, to put rural America and economically-distressed neighborhoods back on an equal footing with wealthy, urban neighborhoods when competing for investors.”

The legislation would also improve oversight and accountability, according to Grassley, while reducing scams and addressing national security concerns.

(Radio Iowa)