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Sidney tree farm among dozens to donate trees for troops

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association loaded up 80 trees Monday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds to be sent to U-S service members in the “Trees for Troops” program. Iowa association executive director, Jan Pacovsky, says it’s an annual tradition the growers look forward to. Pacovsky says they have been taking part in the program since 2005 as a way to say thank you to all of the military members for the things that they do. 

The growers bring in the trees and FedEx donates the shipping. She says the shipping started in October, sending trees to Europe, Iran and Afghanistan, and then they use trucks here to hall the donated trees to bases where they can be shipped out. Pocvsky says it has been a popular program. “We get a lot of good response back, and we get a lot of response even from people who have (family members) in the military, that they really feel it’s a good cause,” Pacovsky says. She says people who don’t have family members in the military like the program and will sometimes donate trees or money to help with the costs. 

Pacovsky says the growers in the U-S have a goal of reaching 100-thousand trees since the start of the program in 2005. She believes they will get close to that goal this year. There are just over 100 choose and cut Christmas Tree farms in Iowa, with close to 15-hundred acres in tree production. Approximately 39-thousand trees are harvested annually across the state.

This year trees were donated by dozens of tree farms, including the Horse Creek Farm in Sidney.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Boswell and Kibbie attend Community College Roundtable in Atlantic

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The President of the Iowa Senate and an Iowa Congressman attended a Community College roundtable discussion held in Atlantic Monday evening. The event, at Iowa Western Community College, included Senator Jack Kibbie and Congressman Leonard Boswell, both of whom proclaim to be advocates for community colleges. The two democrats and a handful of visitors listened to a presentation by Iowa Western Design Technology Program Instructor Joseph Vanstrom, before asking some questions and making a few statements about how community colleges receive a disproportional amount of funding from the State as compared to state universities, private colleges and k-through 12 schools.

Boswell, said he would be traveling back to Washington, D.C. today (Tuesday), and hold conversations about what he’s learned during his visit to Iowa Western and other community colleges throughout the state. He said both he and Kiddie want to do what they can to help create jobs despite the budget cut axe which hangs over their heads. Vanstrom told them there can’t be jobs without an investment in education. Kibbie acknowledged community colleges are under-funded as compared to other institutions of higher learning. He says the average Iowa community college gets $1,948 in state funding per student in the current fiscal year, a figure backed-up by the non-partisan Fiscal Services Division. $267 of that state funding comes from local property taxes. By comparison, Kibbie says, private college receives $2,575 per pupil on average. He says funding for community colleges are not based on a per-pupil basis, like k-through 12 schools.

State Universities receive a total $10,233 per pupil. Neither private colleges nor state universities receive any of their funds from property taxes. K-thru 12 schools receive more than $2,580 per pupil from property taxes, for a total of $7,881. That includes State aid, and ARRA Education Stabilization funds.  Both Boswell and Kibbie said they were excited to learn about Iowa Western’s Design Technology Program, which received a $65.2-million dollar grant from Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of Siemens Industry Automotive Division, and, local investments of more than $600,000. The college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September to celebrate the new, two-year degree Design Technology program.

8AM Newscast 11-29-2011

News, Podcasts

November 29th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 11-29-2011

News, Podcasts

November 29th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

3 arrested on drug & other charges Monday in Red Oak

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak arrested three people Monday night on drug and other charges. The arrests took place after Police stopped 24-year-old Jessie Bruce Fitzwater, of Villisca, and learned he was driving on a suspended license. Upon further investigation, two passengers in his vehicle were also arrested.

18-year-old Susannah Rose McDaneld, of Council Bluffs, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. 21-year-old Steven Lee Fitzwater, of Villisca, was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

All three were taken to the Montgomery County Jail, where Jessie and Steven Lee Fitzwater were being held on $300 cash-only bond each, and McDaneld was being held on a $1,000 cash only bond.

Council Bluffs firefighter makes plea deal

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A Council Bluffs firefighter accused of arson and fraud has taken a plea deal.Henry Hinkel pleaded guilty on Monday to a felony charge of providing false information.His lawyer, Mike Murphy says that Hinkel took the deal in an effort to save his job.Police say Hinkel set his 2002 Jaguar on fire in July. Hinkel says he’s not guilty.Hinkel has been sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation. Pottawattamie County prosecutor Jon Jacobmeier says Hinkel’s future as a Council Bluffs firefighter will be up to the city.

Atlantic Police Chief warns about ACH transaction e-mail virus

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green reports a large-scale cyber theft event is underway in the area and elsewhere that involves an e-mail virus, and targets mainly businesses and individuals who conduct a substantial amount of Automated Clearing House, or ACH, transactions from their computers. ACH is an electronic network for financial transactions, that processes large volumes of both credit and debit transactions which are originated in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct-deposit payroll payments and payments to contractors and vendors. ACH debit transfers include consumer payments on insurance premiums, mortgage loans, and other kinds of bills. Businesses are also increasingly using ACH to collect from customers online, rather than accepting credit or debit cards.

Green would not offer specifics on which businesses have been affected by the ACH scam, but there are some victims here in Atlantic. He says there is one definite victim and one that was in progress, but hopefully was stopped before any funds were lost. The Chief says another suspect e-mail claims to be from the IRS. The e-mails serve as a way for thieves to access routing numbers in your computer and allow the cyber-thieves to re-route the ACH transactions. He says people should remember some rules about how the IRS conducts business. He says the IRS will NEVER contact you by e-mail unless they are responding to your specific e-mail inquiry. Even then he says, they will more often than not call you directly. He says if you get an e-mail from the IRS, “It’s bogus.”

Green recommends e-mails not be opened on any computer that is also tasked with ACH transactions, unless they are from a well known source. But the main thing to remember, is to be on guard at all times against cyber-crime. He says be especially suspicious of forwarded e-mails that may contain a virus, unknown to the sender. Green suggests making sure you have the latest anti-virus protection on your computer, and use common sense with regard to e-mails. He says if you or your business receives suspect e-mails, don’t forward them to anyone, not even the police department. He says you should delete the e-mails, and then clean-out your deleted files folder.

Green says these are not new threats, but ones which have resurfaced in great numbers, and appear to be Eastern European, in origin. All businesses and persons who make substantial ACH transactions should review their e-mail procedures on any system connected to the financial computer. Green says the U-S literally loses hundreds of millions of dollars every day to computer scams and identity theft.

Iowa DOT receives $5.2M for flood repairs

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Transportation has received more than $5.2 million in federal funds to help repair or rebuild highways damaged by this summer’s flooding. The funds, announced Monday, come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program for damage to highways in western Iowa from the Missouri River flooding, and flash flooding in eastern Iowa. Sen. Tom Harkin says the funds will reimburse Iowa for funds already paid.

More than $4.2 million will go toward repairs of highways in western Iowa and include Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury counties. About $931,000 will go to projects in Dubuque and Jackson counties in eastern Iowa.

Angels of Christmas nomination deadline extended

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Megan Roberts reports the deadline to nominate someone for the annual Angels of Christmas awards has been extended until December 2nd. Each year, the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce and Stifel Nicolaus sponsor the awards to give thanks and recognize area residents who symbolize the true meaning of the season.

Roberts says the awards are given for a number of reasons:  Angels may give in the true Christmas spirit all year long, put others before self, are very generous, or are just madly in love with the holidays and show it in some way. Roberts said. “We usually have multiple nominations for recipients because there are so many out there who have been affected by the recipient’s holiday spirit.”

Nominations are submitted in writing to the Chamber by the first Friday in December, from which two are designated as Angels of Christmas. The honor is bestowed during the Christmas in Atlantic Holiday Concert, this year being held on December 10th at 7 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church of Atlantic. Angels of Christmas receive AtlantiCash and an angel figurine in appreciation for their positive attitude of giving.

Examples of past recipients include Dr. Keith Swanson, Eleanor Hoover, Bart & Bev Webb, and the Caring for Cole Club. To nominate an Angel, submit a brief essay by December 2nd, to the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce at 102 Chestnut Street in person, through the mail, or by e-mail to chamber@atlanticiowa.com.

Follow-up to our weekend story about an SUV hitting a man in Blencoe

News

November 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) — A Sergeant Bluff woman has been charged with drunken and reckless driving after police say she hit a man with her SUV outside a bar in Onawa. As we told you Saturday morning on KJAN and on kjan.com,  44-year-old Kimberly Heberer was arrested early Saturday morning after police say climbed she from the back seat of a parked SUV into the driver’s seat, and backed up the vehicle, which ran into 25-year-old Manuel Anton, of Blencoe. The incident took place during a verbal altercation in an alley behind a local bar. 

Anton, who was standing behind the SUV when he was hit,  was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Sioux City. Police say the investigation is continuing and that additional charges may be filed. Officials with the Monona County jail say Heberer has been released from custody.