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Iowa Democratic Party loses libel lawsuit


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A man has been awarded $50,000 in winning his libel suit against the Iowa Democratic Party.  The Pottawattamie County jury ruled for Randy Higginbotham on Wednesday. He’d sued the state party over a campaign pamphlet mailed during a 2008 Iowa House seat race between Democratic incumbent Paul Shomshor and Republican challenger Scott Belt.

Higginbotham’s attorney, Mark Rater, says the pamphlet mentioned that Belt, in 1994, had bailed Higginbotham out of jail. The pamphlet said Higginbotham was a convicted sex offender. Rater says Higginbotham had been charged but had never been convicted “of any sexual-related offense.”

Party executive director Norm Sterzenback says the party had relied on an independent firm for the research, which proved to be inaccurate about Higginbotham’s court record.

Lake Manawa No-Wake Restriction Removed

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The no-wake restriction for boaters on Lake Manawa was removed today (Friday) after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources determined the lake was back down to acceptable levels.  The no-wake restriction had been in place since June 27th, to minimize the impact of the high water to infrastructure around the lake. Many of the docks were submerged and posed a safety hazard to boats operating at higher speeds.

Dan Jacobs, park manager for Lake Manawa, said they will place a boat dock on the west boat ramp that will remain in place through the winter, but the docks on north and south boat ramps will be removed next week.

(DNR Press Release)

Branstad announces IA’s withdrawal from MO. River Association of States & Tribes


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad today (Friday) announced that he will withdraw Iowa as a member of the Missouri River Association of States and Tribes (MoRAST) effective immediately. Gov. Branstad has sent a letter to notify MoRAST Executive Director Michael Hayden of Iowa’s withdrawal.  In the letter,  Branstad said, “I do not believe that MoRAST is the best avenue to pursue Iowa’s interests and priorities.  Rather, I believe more direct discussions with relevant local, state, and Federal partners will allow for enhanced engagement on Missouri River management and better prioritization of flood control over recreational and other uses. 

“At the recent MoRAST meeting in Rapids City, South Dakota, MoRAST was not responsive to the perspectives of some states, including Iowa.  While seven of the eight Missouri River governors have called for a heightened focus on flood control, MoRAST did not actively pursue this goal at the recent meeting.  Moreover, there have been long-standing concerns that MoRAST’s by-laws are too narrowly constrained to adequately represent the diversity of key stakeholders and multiple uses of the River.” 

The Governor cited several examples in the letter of why states must improve the focus on flood control for Missouri River management. Those examples include: 

  • Flooding caused an estimated $207 million in lost crop sales and related economic activity as over 280,000 farm acres were impacted, according to Iowa Farm Bureau estimates.
  • 350 homes met FEMA’s definition of destroyed or major damage.
  • Hundreds of miles of Iowa roads were impacted.
  • 950,000 trees could die from over-exposure to flood waters, according to Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates.
  • The flooding has severely hampered Western Iowa’s economy.  

Gov. Branstad concluded by saying, “The negative impacts of Missouri River flooding on communities in Western Iowa were immense, and impacted Iowans deserve a fresh approach to Missouri River management.”

Corning couple arrested on assault charges


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An assault complaint led to the arrest Wednesday of two people in Corning. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office reports 40-year old Lucinda Nicholas and 33-year old Matthew Corey, both of Corning, were each charged with Domestic Assault, following an investigation into an incident which occurred Wednesday afternoon. Officials say Lucinda Nicholas called the sheriff’s department to report she’d allegedly been assaulted by Matthew Corey, but upon further investigation, it was determined Corey had been assaulted, as well. Both were being held in the Adams County Jail.

Local candidates talk about their strengths at a forum in Atlantic


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The candidates at Thursday night’s Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum in Atlantic discussed their interest in seeing the bike trails in and around Atlantic expanded, budget issues, term limits, their goals if elected, taxes, their qualifications, and what their strengths are. Among the Board of Supervisor’s candidates, Don Lappe said his biggest strength is his years in law enforcement, and working with government agencies in that capacity. He said he understands what’s transpired in local government in the past and what to expect in the future. Jeff Richter, who was a self-employed auctioneer for over 35-years before he retired, said his biggest strength is his business experience. He says he also knows how to deal with budgets, based on his experience.

Gaylord Schelling, who retired after 33-years in a teaching career, said his strength lies in his abilities to communicate, and in resolving conflicts. He also said he would be a “Good steward” of the tax dollars. Pat McCurdy said his biggest strength is in the area of economic development. He was one of the founders of Southwest Iowa Egg in the southeast part of the county, which he says created 20 jobs and added to the tax base. He was also involved in bringing Boulders Inn and Suites, to Atlantic. He said he’d like to bring more wind farms to the county, to increase the tax base. Kathy Somers, who currently serves on the City Council, said her biggest strength is her ability to look at both sides of an issue and make an informed decision.

When asked whether or not the Supervisor candidates would be willing to take a cut in pay if that were an option, to cut costs in a tight budget year, Schelling said he’s not running for the job because of the pay, he said he wants a new challenge, and to give back to the county and community to make it a great place to raise families. Richter, Lappe, and McCurdy said the pay is irrelevant, and they too want to give back to the community and bring jobs to the area. Somers said the Supervisor’s pay is much less than the City Council’s, yet she would definitely take a cut in salary. She also said she cares about the community, and hopes to add a more rounded, “balanced membership” to the Board, along with fresh ideas and a youthful exuberance.

The City and County government elections will take place on Tuesday, November 8th.

Don’t forget to “Fall back” 1 hour this Sunday


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

You’ll be gaining one-hour of sleep Sunday, when most of the nation observes the change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time. At 2-a.m. Sunday, we’ll “Fall back” one-hour. So be sure and set your clocks back one-hour before you go to bed, Saturday night.

Injury accident reported in Fremont County


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three people were hurt during a collision Thursday afternoon northwest of Shenandoah, in Fremont County. Sheriff’s officials say the drivers of the vehicles, 16-year old Judson Krein, of Farragut, and 21-year old Michael Glenn, of Riverton, suffered minor injuries. A passenger in the Glenn vehicle, 23-year old Rebecca Hart, of Sidney, was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by emergency crews. She was transported to the Shenandoah Medical Center by Shenandoah Rescue.

Sheriff’s officials say the accident happened at around 4:15-p.m., as a 2007 Dodge Caliber driven by Krein was traveling north on 370th Avenue, and Glenn was traveling east on 190th, in a 2000 Buick Century. The vehicles collided at the intersection. The impact resulted in Michael Glenn’s vehicle being shoved into the south ditch.

The accident remains under investigation.

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


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