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Governor and Ag Secretary ask for extension to comment on child work rules

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad and state Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey have asked the U-S Department of Labor to extend the comment period on new regulations covering kids who work on farms. Northey says the rules were apparently designed to deal with migrant kids working with their parents, but he says they can impact farms that are family-owned. Northey says it looks like if the farm is owned by uncles, brothers and multiple family members, the rules would apply to them and the kids would not be able to work on the farms until they reach age 16. 

U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said recently the rules are not meant to apply to kids who work on a farm owned by their parents. Northey agrees those farms are exempt. He says there is clearly an exemption for solely owned family and there appears to be an exemption soley-owned family farm corporations, but he says it doesn’t appear that there is an exemption for farms that are owned by more than one person, even if they are all family members. 

Northey says he asked along with the governor, that the comment period be extended. Northey says the comment period happened right during the harvest, and some farmers in Iowa and other parts of the country are just finding out about them. He says extending the comment period by 45 days would ensure that everyone is allowed to give their input. The extension would push the comment period into January. 

(Radio Iowa)

Corps of Engineers tries to explain causes of summer flooding

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers are meeting with residents along the Missouri River after this summer’s record flooding to explain plans for next year. At a meeting Thursday in Sioux City, several residents surrounded Jody Farhat (FAR-hat), head of the Corps’ reservoir control office, as she explained how the Corps tried to manage this spring’s massive run-off.

Farhat says the snowpack from the mountains and plains was captured into the reservoir system and it was all accounted for and normal rainfall and even above-normal rainfall could have been handled as there was still storage space. Farhat says in a single weekend, a record rainfall filled the reservoirs and they were left with no alternatives but to further open the floodgates, flooding the basin.

“If you don’t have storage, and we lost that storage because of the rainfall, then basically we had to say how much will our peak inflows be from that mountain snowpack and we’re going to have to pass it through because we have so little storage left,” Farhat says. “The cup is full, whatever comes in is going to have to go out.” Gary Brown, director of the Woodbury County Emergency Services office, says they need better communications from the Corps.

Brown says the Corps needs to do a much better job of letting local governments know what’s coming, as he says they were sometimes hours or days behind the information curve. Brown says the recovery continues in the Sioux City area, but it’s slow going. He says, “There are a lot of people in all three states that aren’t home yet and we’re working to do everything we can to try to get them back home but it’s going to be a long road.” Brown says they have learned some important lessons from this year’s flooding. He says they’re adding personnel and training to be able to run a 112-day emergency operation again, if needed. The Corps will release its 2012 operating plan for the Missouri River in late December or early January.

(Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 11-04-2011

News, Podcasts

November 4th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

West Central to award $4,500 in Scholarships

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with West Central, a farmer owned cooperative based in Ralston, IA, have announced they will once again offer $4,500 in scholarships to area students graduating high school in 2012, and planning to pursue an education in an agricultural field. The funds are available through West Central’s “Excellence in Agriculture” scholarship program. Details about the program are available at area schools and extension offices. It’s also available online at www.west-central.com/about/communityrelations.

Since 1996, West Central has awarded more then $50,000 to local students interested in pursuing an education and career in the agricultural industry. Officials say as the Ag Industry continues to become more complex and technical, the need for an increasingly skilled workforce grows. Persons working in agriculture today are working with technologies including Variable Rate Technology (VRT), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), advanced gentic engineering, and more.

Questions regarding the Excellence in Agriculture program should be directed to Sarah Dorman, Communication Specialist, at 712-667-3200.

Information for the November 8th City election in Atlantic & Special Cass Co. Supervisor District 2 election

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

This information is provided by Cass Co. Auditor Dale Sunderman….

NOTE: Atlantic polling centers for Ward 1, Ward 4 and Ward 5 open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. and Atlantic polling centers for Ward 2/Grove 2 Township and Ward 3 open at 7:00 A.M. and close at 9:00 P.M. because a Special County Election for Supervisor District Two is being conducted at these two voting centers along with the regular city election while polling centers for all other Cass County cities open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M.  (In accord with Code of Iowa

ATLANTIC:  The following Atlantic polling precincts will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M.  Places to vote are:

FIRST WARD  -       Zion Lutheran Church, 9th St between Linn St and Oak St

FOURTH WARD -  United Church of Christ, 1607 Hazel

FIFTH WARD  -      Heritage House, 1200 Brookridge Circle

The following Atlantic polling precincts will open at 7:00 A.M. and close at 9:00 P.M.

SECOND WARD -  Atlantic Public Library, 6th & Poplar St

THIRD WARD  -  Cass County Community Building, 805 West 10th St

ANITA:  The polling precinct is located at the Anita Community Center, 805 Main St and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

CUMBERLAND:  The polling precinct is located at the Cumberland Community Building, 200 W 2nd St and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

GRISWOLD:  The polling precinct is located at the Griswold Community Center, 601 2nd St  and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

LEWIS:  The polling precinct is located at the Lewis City Hall, 416 W Main St and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

MARNE:  The polling precinct is located at the Marne City Hall, 402 Washington and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

MASSENA:  The polling precinct is located at the Massena Public Library, 122 Main St and will open at 12 noon and close at 8:00 P.M. 

WIOTA:  The polling precinct is located at the Wiota City Hall, 311 Center St and will open at 12:00 noon and close at 8:00 P.M.

7AM Newscast 11-04-2011

News, Podcasts

November 4th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Candidate Forum Held in Atlantic Thursday

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A little more than a dozen people attended Thursday night’s candidate forum in Atlantic. Those who spoke and answered questions at the event, sponsored by the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, included all five candidates for a vacancy position created by the death in August of Cass County Supervisor Chuck Kinen, two candidates for two open positions on the Atlantic Parks and Recreation’s Board of Directors, and candidates for the Atlantic City Council.

Each of the candidates was asked their opinion on the current property tax rates in the County. All of the candidates said the taxes are neither too-high or too-low, with the exception of Supervisor candidate at Pat McCurdy. McCurdy, a life-long resident of Cass County who farmed for over 40-years before becoming semi-retired and a landlord of rental properties, said commercial property taxes are too high. McCurdy says commercial property is taxed at 100-percent valuation. Residential properties, he says, are taxed at 50-percent, and should not be taxed any higher, because they cannot generate any income. McCurdy says Ag property taxes, are too low.

The two Atlantic City Council candidates were asked what their top goals would be, if elected to fill the two open seats on the Council. Chris Jimmerson, who is running unopposed for Councilman Kern Miller’s 1st Ward seat, said keeping the recreational areas, such as parks, up-to-date are important to him. Jimmerson said he wants to make the roads are maintained, and the downtown area is a “hub” of activity where people want to come to go shopping. Ashley Hayes, who is unopposed in her bid for Councilperson Pat Simmons’ 3rd Ward Atlantic City Council seat, said as a young person, she wants to make sure opportunities are available for young people and families. She says improve the recreational scene, bringing in more jobs and promoting the downtown area will bring young people back to the community after they attend college.

Each of the Board of Supervisor candidates said their main priorities if elected would be to keep the budget under control while trying to maintain the essential services, such as mental health care. Don Lappe, who has served in local law enforcement for more than 40-years, said he understands what it would mean to lose the Behavioral Health Unit at the Cass County Memorial Hospital, if it falls to the budget axe. He says it will cause a burden and affect other agencies within the county, including the Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies will have to transport persons with mental health issues to other counties. That he says, will cost the county money. Supervisor candidate Jeff Richter says he will work to bring jobs to the county, to keep people here instead of having them drive out of the county for employment.

Bluffs Kum and Go robbed Thursday night

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are looking for a suspect connected to the armed robbery Thursday evening of a Kum and Go store at 2024 5th Avenue, in Council Bluffs. According to Bluffs Police Sgt. David Dawson, at around 8:30-p.m., a white man in his 30′s entered the store, selected a drink from the cooler and approached the counter. He displayed a black handgun and demanded money while at the same time grabbing the arm of the sales clerk.

Dawson said the suspect reached into the cash drawer, pulled it onto the counter and took an undetermined amount of cash. He then left on foot and remains at large. The suspect was described as being about 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighing about 185-pounds. He had a mustache and goatee, and unshaven face. His hair was reddish brown. The man wore a black “Hoodie”-type sweatshirt with a zipper, black baseball cap with an unknown logo on the front, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Council Bluffs Crime Stoppers line at 712-328-7867.

Atlantic Middle School Bomb Threat suspect Identified

News

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green late Thursday afternoon identified a juvenile suspect allegedly involved in the making of a bomb threat at the Atlantic Middle School earlier in the day, Thursday. In a statement released to the media Green said at approximately 10:55-a.m., “The Atlantic Police Department responded to a call at the Atlantic Middle School for a bomb threat. All students were evacuated from the building. After a search of the building, no bomb was found. After a short investigation with the help of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, a suspect was located and questioned.”

The suspect was 12-year old Austin Koma Mualia, of Atlantic. Green said “The juvenile was taken into custody and charged with Terrorism, a Class-B Felony. He is currently under the supervision of the juvenile authorities. “

Atlantic Middle School to resume classes Friday following bomb threat

News

November 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green says a student from the Atlantic Middle School is in custody for allegedly making a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the school and cancellation of classes today (Thursday). Green says his department received notice about the threat late this (Thursday) morning. The threat indicated an “explosive event” would take place at the Middle School at a specific time. The State Fire Marshall’s Office was contacted, and it was determined the threat was not credible. Students and staff meanwhile evacuated next door, to the Nishna Valley YMCA. Green said a suspect was identified and approached, but they ran and were found at their home and brought in for questioning. Green says the suspect has admitted the threat was not credible.

He says while any charges against the suspect have not been determined, any such incident is considered a “Terroristic Threat,” and the suspect will be charged as the law allows. He has his own idea on how future incidents might be prevented, also. Green says when somebody disrupts the school system like that, perhaps classes should be made up on Saturday’s. That might make it less popular to make bomb threats. He says also, he hopes if the district does institute a policy to hold school on Saturdays to make up for threats, peer pressure will serve to prevent future incidents.

Atlantic School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Amstein said aside from the legal ramifications of making a Terroristic Threat, the student faces severe disciplinary action from the school district itself. He said “Any type of behavior like this is a pretty severe violation of (school) board policy, and the board has the authority to expel a student for an entire school year (365 days).”from the State Fire Marshall’s Office and Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green.

Amstein says the threat happened during the lunch hour, which disrupted classes and the lunch period, but the evacuation went as planned. Some questions were raised though, as to why the Washington Elementary School, which is just up the hill from the Middle School, was not evacuated. Amstein said they based their evacuation on recommendations

He says classes are expected to resume tomorrow (Friday) at the school.