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Senate rejects one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A proposal to require a one-week waiting period before a laid off Iowa worker could get unemployment benefits has been rejected by the Iowa Senate. Iowa is one of just 10 states that do not have a waiting period and Senator Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, says it’s a consideration for businesses considering expansion or relocation. “When you lay out all the things: yeah, cut corporate tax; commercial tax; you know, income tax — all those little things that become tipping points, this is just one of those things,” Bertrand says.

Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, opposed the move. “I can’t believe that at a time when we’re just coming out of a recession and we’ve got high unemployment in the state of Iowa that you would offer…an amendment to this bill that would keep people in their first week of being laid off that would keep people from receiving any type of benefit at all,” Dotzler says.

Bertrand says Iowa’s lack of a waiting period penalizes businesses with temporary lay-offs, like Wilson Trailer in Sioux City. “They close down once a year for maintenance and their 325 employees come in, boom, day one and they drop unemployment claims on the employer. So what does that do?” Bertrand asks. “Well, it drives up their cost. Their unemployment tax goes up. It’s an additional cost in the long term.”

Dotzler says Bertrand’s proposal is written in such a way as to cut the maximum number of weeks for unemployment benefits from 26 to 25 weeks.  “What we’re really talking about is ripping off unemployed Iowans at a time when we’ve got a fragile economy. They’ve got no other income. They’ve got payments to make. They’ve got children to take care of,” Dotzler said. “And we are not going to give them the for decades?”

Twenty-two Republicans voted for the proposal, but it was defeated because all 26 Democrats and Republican Senator Brad Zaun  of Urbandale, voting against the one-week waiting period.

(Radio Iowa)

Contestants needed to compete for Ms. Wheelchair Iowa

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Ms. Wheelchair Iowa Program is looking for a new spokeswoman for Iowans with disabilities. Judy Hoit, the program’s state coordinator, says the woman who is chosen to wear the crown must use a wheelchair for 100-percent of her daily mobility and be a U-S citizen between the ages of 21 and 60. “It’s not a beauty contest,” Hoit says. “The judging is done on achievements and accomplishments since the onset of the disability. We’re looking for people who are interested in advocating for disability issues and likes to speak in front of groups and also travel the state.”

The new Ms. Wheelchair Iowa will also be able to create her own platform to advocate for an issue about which she’s passionate. The deadline to apply to enter the Ms. Wheelchair Iowa program is next week, February 15th, while the contest itself is in about a month. “The event will be here in Iowa City on Saturday, March 16th, at Eagle’s Lodge,” Hoit says. “The titleholder for Iowa will compete in the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant which will be held in Houston, Texas, this year the week of July 15th.”

This is the 17th year for the contest in Iowa. Hoit, a polio survivor, was the first Ms. Wheelchair Iowa. To become a contestant, contact Hoit by email at Accnowjh@aol.com or phone at 319-351-8375.

(Radio Iowa)

Harlan woman faces charges in connection with alleged Casey’s store theft

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Harlan say a complaint was filed last week with the Shelby County Clerk of Court, charging 20-year old Brittany McCord, of Harlan,  with Theft in the 5th degree, a Serious Misdemeanor. The charge was filed following an investigation into a report from the Casey’s General Store in Harlan, with regard to an alleged incident of employee theft.

Officials say also, two people were arrested on Monday, Feb. 4th:   27-year old Amanda Wicker, of Harlan, was arrested on a mittimus warrant out of Shelby County, and on a Possession of a Controlled Substance charge. Wicker is scheduled to make her initial appearance in court on Feb. 21st.  And, 48-year old Michael Durkan, of Omaha, was arrested on a public intoxication charge, after Harlan Police officers were called to Myrtue Medical Center, with regard to an intoxicated subject who needed to be removed from the Emergency Room.

Durkan posted a $600 cash bond this past Tuesday, and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 12th.

Vehicle stolen from Lenox has been recovered

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Lenox Police Department say a vehicle which was reported stolen early last week from the Taylor County town, was located in rural Adams County. No other details have been provided with regard to the red, 1999 4-door Pontiac Grand Prix, which was stolen sometime late Sunday, Feb. 3rd and early Monday morning, Feb. 4th. The case remains under investigation, and anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact the Lenox Police Department.

(This is a vehicle similar to the one reported stolen but later recovered)

Ford Ranger stolen from Union County

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Union County report a pickup has been stolen from the Casey’s General Store & Texaco, in Creston. The vehicle is a white, 2009 Ford Ranger Supercab with Iowa license plate 372 AAD.

2009 Ford Ranger extended (Supercab) similar to one stolen from Creston.

If you have seen this vehicle or have any information about the theft, contact the Union County Law Enforcement Center at 1-641-782-8402.

8AM Newscast 02-08-2013

News, Podcasts

February 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

USDA proposes new rules for school food

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa kids wouldn’t be able to snack on corn chips and a Coke from their school vending machine under a new federal proposal. “Smart Snacks in School” would change the types of food sold in schools nationwide, according to Kevin Concannon, a former Iowan and the U-S-D-A’s Undersecretary for Food and Nutrition Services. Concannon says, “It makes sure that American kids that go to school for the snacks that they may purchase, whether they’re from vending machines or on counters during the school day, are healthier than they currently have available in many places.”

All foods sold in schools would have to meet certain guidelines, Concannon says, to make them more nutritious. Chips, candy and soda would be replaced with bagged fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk. “The snacks will have to have less sodium, less sugar,” Concannon says. “They’re more likely to have a granola bar than a typical sugar-doused candy bar.”

The proposals can be found on the Federal Register. Iowans have 60 days to comment on proposed changes and if they become policy, Iowa schools would have one year to comply. Concannon, who served as the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services from 2003 to 2008, says this change is for common sense and better health. “Let’s have more foods that we should encourage to children,” he says. “Let’s have fewer foods that we would like to discourage kids from consuming.” Snacks brought from home would still be allowed under the proposal, as well as items from school bake sales.

(Radio Iowa)

Giving Iowa companies a second shot at state contracts

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Democrats in the Iowa Senate are trying a second time to pass legislation that would give Iowa companies an advantage in selling goods and services to state government. Under their bill, if an out-of-state company is the lowest bidder, Iowa companies with bids just a bit higher would be given a chance to match the low bid and win the contract. Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robbins, is the bill’s chief sponsor. “The goal of the bill is to certainly focus on small businesses,” she says, “and to make sure that Iowa businesses are given a fair crack at state contracts.”

This new advantage for Iowa businesses would not apply on huge state government projects, like a new prison. It would apply any time the state buys under half a million dollars worth of goods or services on contract. An Iowa business within 10-thousand dollars or five percent of the winning bid from an out-of-state competitor could get the sale if the Iowa business lowers its price and matches the low bid. “And those bids are usually surrounding things like office supplies, ice machines, computers,” Mathis says. Similar legislation passed the Senate last year, but was never considered in the Republican-led House.

Republicans object to the concept, arguing Iowa taxpayers would wind up paying more to run state government because out-of-state companies with low-cost products would quit bidding for Iowa government contracts.

(Radio Iowa)

7AM Newscast 02-08-2013

News, Podcasts

February 8th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Livestock Master Matrix passes in 88 Iowa Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say 88 counties notified the DNR last month, that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. Animal producers in these counties must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They must earn points on the master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. None of the 11 counties who opted not to use the matrix are in western or southwest Iowa.  Counties that adopt the master matrix can provide more input to producers on site selection, the proposed structures and proposed facility management. Participating counties can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

While all counties may submit comments to the DNR during the review process for permit applications, counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal approval of a preliminary permit to the Environmental Protection Commission. The deadline for enrolling in the program is Jan. 31st of each year. Producers and citizens can obtain more information and view a map of participating counties by looking for preconstruction requirements for permitted confinements at www.iowadnr.gov/afo.

The matrix affects only producers who must get a construction permit for a confinement. Generally, these include proposed construction, expansion or modification of confinement feeding operations with more than 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.