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Survey: Many Iowans pessimistic about job security

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s unemployment rate remains well below the national average, but that isn’t much comfort to Iowans who are out of a job. Employment analyst Joanie Ruge, says a recent survey finds those who are employed aren’t feeling confident about their job security. Ruge says, “Almost half of the workers surveyed, 48-percent, believe that their companies might be cutting benefits in the new year and also 41-percent believe their companies might lay off some workers.” 

State labor officials say Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady at six-percent in October compared to the national jobless rate at nine-percent. Despite the fears of firings, Ruge says there were signs of optimism in the survey. “This survey shows that 73-percent of workers actually feel very secure in their company and with their jobs,” she says. “This is certainly a great sign to see that number is pretty high.” 

Ruge says there are numerous stable industries in Iowa that are continuing to grow and add employees. “Health care, pharmaceuticals, anything in information technology, engineering, there are job opportunities in these sectors,” Ruge says. “Where we’ve seen more of a struggle has been in automotive over the last few years. The jobs have really gone away from manufacturing even though we have seen some of the jobs come back.” 

Ruge says many people are taking precautions, cutting back on expenses and putting money into savings, just in case a job is lost. For people who are unemployed, she says to stay focused on networking with both your personal and social networks. Make sure you let people know you are looking for work, she adds, as you never know where that next job might appear. 

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Iowa regents to discuss tuition hike, naming rule

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents will consider giving final approval to a 3.75 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students.The regents will meet by telephone Thursday to consider the proposal, which would raise tuition at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa by $240. Mandatory fees would go up an additional $50 at Iowa and $45 at UNI.University officials caution the increase could be adjusted upward later depending on how much money lawmakers approve for the universities during budget talks next year.Also Thursday, the board is expected to discuss a plan that would bar state universities from naming academic institutes for current elected officials. The rule comes after criticism of the new center honoring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin at ISU.

Atlantic City Council approves AMU budget

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, approved a resolution accepting the 2012 Budget for the Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU), which the Utilities’ Board had adopted earlier this week, following a public hearing. Steve Tjepkes, with AMU, said the proposed budget for the Electric and Water Departments for Calendar Year 2012 totals nearly $10.8-million, which is an increase of almost $665,000, or 6.6%, over the current year re-estimate. The increased cost is being offset with increases in AMU’s retail electric rates.

Tjepkes says the increase, which went into effect in November, varies from 10- to 14-percent, due to the season and cost of energy prices. He says as far as the water distribution system is concerned, this was the first out of nine years AMU actually sold more gallons of water, as compared to previous years. Plans next year call for work on two water towers, which will cost about $175,000.  Tjepkes says there will be NO rate increases for AMU’s water customers in 2012.

The budget he says, includes $1.2-million for other system improvements, as well. That includes the completion of mapping their water distribution facilities via GPS, an energy efficiency program which uses programmable theromstats as a way to control peak usagae of electricty during the Summer months, and, automated meter reading systems, to better help the utlility detect and find outages more quickly.

Tjepkes says AMU’s revenues were down for the third year in a row, due to a decrease in excess energy sales, which he attributed in-part, to the economy. The utility will transfer $360,000 to the City of Atlantic in lieu of paying property taxes, which is a common practice. Their contribution equals about 3.3% of AMU’s annual revenues, and is designed to offset AMU’s utility charges to the City.

8AM Newscast 12-08-2011

News, Podcasts

December 8th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 12-08-2011

News, Podcasts

December 8th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Bedford truck driver escapes injury in Wed. night accident

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from New Mexico was injured during a crash between two semis and a car early late last night (Wednesday), in Polk County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 1995 Toyota Avalon driven by 26-year old Kevin Harris, of Nevada, IA, was traveling north on Interstate 35 at around 11:50-p.m., about seven-miles north of Ankeny, when for reasons unknown, he lost control of the vehicle.

The car went onto the shoulder and hit a cable guardrail and posts. The impact sent the posts into the traveled portion of the interstate. A 2012 Freightliner semi, driven by 48-year old Chris Scholl, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, hit the metal poles, causing his front tires to blow out.  The semi ended up in a ditch. Scholl was transported by Cambridge Rescue to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, for treatment of his injuries.

A second semi, driven by 44-year old James Steele, of Bedford, also hit the debris. Some tires on the 2007 Peterbilt semi blew out, and air lines were damaged, but Steele was able to maintain control.

Iowa sets farmland price record at $20K an acre

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has a new farmland price record. The Des Moines Register says it happened on Wednesday when a 74-acre tract near Hull in Sioux County in northwest Iowa sold for $20,000 an acre. The previous record was in October when a 120-acre parcel went for $16,750 per acre near Sioux Center, also in Sioux County. Auctioneer Pete Polleman, of Hull, who called Wednesday’s sale, says farmland in northwest Iowa is very valuable, with good commodity prices and a strong livestock industry. Economist emeritus Neil Harl of Iowa State University calls the prices “amazing.”

A survey or real estate agents in September put the state average at $6,477 an acre, an increase of over 30 percent in the last year. ISU will release its annual farmland survey Dec. 14th.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th

News

December 7th, 2011 by Stacie Linfor

FOR SALE: Beagle puppy, 5 months old, shots & wormed, papered. $50. 249-9838.

Pottawattamie Co. Sheriff warns of Medicare scam calls

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County are warning area residents not to give out their personal information to someone who claims to be a representative of Medicare. Sgt. Dwayne Riche, with the Criminal Investigations Division at the Sheriff’s Office, says a resident call this (Wednesday) morning to report a phone solicitor posing as a representative for Medicare called and requested the individual confirm personal information.

The solicitor asked for a confirmation of the persons address, bank account numbers, and specifically, the routing numbers on the bottom of that persons checks. The caller claimed they needed that information so a new Medicare Card could be issued.

Sgt. Riche said the sheriff’s office contacted Medicare, and confirmed they would not make the type of request the solicitor had made, and furthermore, that the suspect caller was NOT a representative of Medicare.  Riche advises residents in the area, that if you receive that type of solicitation, you should NOT release or give personal information over the phone to the caller.

Shots fired at a residence in Cass County, Tuesday

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a reported shooting incident which occurred Tuesday evening, in rural Griswold. According to officials,  at around 7:15 p.m., deputies responded to a woman’s report of a weapon fired in her direction at her farm in rural Griswold. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Atlantic Police Department in searching the area, but was unable to locate a suspect. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the incident should contact the sheriff’s department at 712-243-2206.