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Sioux City riverboat casino prepares for last day

News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Argosy riverboat casino is preparing to take its last bets Wednesday, having told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that it will close by 5 p.m. as ordered.

Last week the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a request that the operation be allowed to remain open while its owners pursued court action. The casino parent, Penn National Gaming Co., wanted to remain open while appealing a ruling by the gaming commission. In April the commission ordered the casino to close because it doesn’t meet license requirements.

Penn National lost its bid last year to operate a land-based casino in Sioux City. A Hard Rock casino and hotel by another developer is scheduled to open Friday night.

(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. News/Funeral report, Wed. 7/30/2014

News, Podcasts

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.

Play

Study: 80% of future flying drone use will be for agriculture

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is the subject of much debate, but those remote-control flying robot-cameras may be the wave of the future — for farmers. Craig Hill, a farmer in Milo and president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, predicts the use of emerging technologies that give a farmer a full-color perspective on his fields from far above will prove quite successful for agriculture in the years ahead.ag drone

“Eighty-percent of the use of drones in America will be for agriculture,” Hill says. “This will be a big feature and it actually could be an economic driver in agriculture, both in the services provided and in increased productivity.”

Drones were a topic of conversation at last weekend’s third annual Iowa Farm Bureau economic summit, held in Ames. Hill says another topic was farmland values and how fast they’ve been rising for years. “We have seen about a 345-percent increase in land values over the last decade,” Hill says. “That was not sustainable in the future. Any asset class would have difficulty appreciating by that amount and not having a setback or a period of more stable growth.”

He says most of those who attended the summit believe ag land values will stabilize in the future.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa, 12 other states, take action against “predatory military lender”

News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of military service members, including nearly 100 Iowans, will be receiving millions of dollars in debt relief after becoming victims of a predatory lender. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says an agreement has been reached with Rome Finance Company. “It will provide $92 million in relief for over 17,000 service members around the country, in regard to some outrageous price gouging and interest rates that have been charged to service members over the last few years,” Miller said at a news conference Tuesday morning at his office.

The agreement, which involves 12 other states, also requires Rome Finance to forgive debts and repair the victims’ damaged credit scores.

AG Tom Miller and James Wilson

AG Tom Miller and James Wilson

Iowa Air National Guard Staff Sergeant James Wilson, who grew up in Winterset, said he bought a computer that ended up costing $5,000 because of deceptively high interest rates. “I’m mostly angry and slightly embarrassed with myself,” Wilson said.

The agreement forces Rome Finance to forgive his outstanding balance of $2,500. Wilson said he signed up to purchase the laptop in 2010 and felt the online company appeared trustworthy. A statement on the website claimed the company was “military friendly.” The purchasing deal allowed the company to take a monthly payment directly from Wilson’s military pay.  “The gentleman I spoke with on the phone and through instant messaging, as he helped set up my allotment…he was very friendly, thanking me for my service the whole time. He just walked me through it and made it really easy,” Wilson said. “From my perspective, it was just a simple way to get a laptop.”

Active duty military members are an easy target for predatory lenders, according to Wilson, since many enlist right out of high school.  “I joined the military when I was 17 and I didn’t even have a checkbook at the time,” Wilson said. “I feel better knowing that this company isn’t able to do this to service members in the future.”

The agreement requires Rome Finance to liquidate. Miller said Rome Finance, which is based in California and Georgia, charged interest rates of up to 200 percent.

(Radio Iowa)

Wilson Island State Recreation Area set to reopen

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A state recreation area near Council Bluffs is scheduled to reopen soon. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Wilson Island State Recreation Area will open its gates Monday. Workers are currently adding fire rings and picnic tables.

The park was originally scheduled to reopen more than a month ago. It was delayed by storms and flooding in June that caused damage to the area. The park has been under cleanup and restoration for several years. Its campground has been closed since it was flooded in 2011.

Omaha man injured in Pott. County cycle accident

News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Nebraska man was injured during a motorcycle accident Tuesday evening, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol says 52-year old Thomas Graser, of Omaha, was flown by LifeNet helicopter from the scene of the crash on Interstate 680 eastbound to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The accident happened at around 7:30-p.m. near the 17-mile marker, or about 4-miles west of the Beebeetown Exit, as Graser was driving a 2007 Harley Davidson.

Officials say for reasons unknown, the cycle went out of control and entered the median before crashing. The accident remains under investigation.

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., July 30th 2014

News

July 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) — Searchers have found the body of a person who may have drowned while fishing on a Union County lake. Someone called authorities Monday evening to report an empty boat on Twelve Mile Lake, about four miles east of Creston. A search resumed Tuesday morning, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office says the body of 45-year-old Richard Lee Gander, of Creston, was found by a dive team about 10:20 a.m.

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old boy fell about 80 feet from a cliff at an eastern Iowa park. The Clinton Fire Department says the teen fell from a bluff Monday afternoon at Eagle Point Park. The teen was airlifted to University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. His condition has not been released.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police say a Davenport man was found passed out in front of a convenience store with a stolen cheeseburger from the business in his pocket. Iowa City police say 34-year-old Eric A. Manning was arrested early Sunday near a Kum & Go store. Manning is accused of stealing the microwavable cheeseburger and two packages of cheese while he was inside the store. He later told police he drank some whiskey, but he refused a blood alcohol test.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is seeking federal aid to help 22 Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather. Funding from the public assistance program would help rebuild damaged infrastructure including roads, bridges and culverts. The severe weather between June 26 and July 7 produced damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, hail and thunderstorms.

Searchers find Creston man’s body in Union County lake

News

July 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

CRESTON, Iowa (AP) — Searchers have found the body of a person who may have drowned while fishing on a Union County lake. KCCI-TV reports someone called authorities Monday evening to report an empty boat on Twelve Mile Lake, about four miles east of Creston. An investigation indicated the boat’s occupant had drowned, and crews searched the lake until nightfall.

The search resumed Tuesday morning, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office says a body was found by a dive team about 10:20 a.m. Authorities later identified the body as 45-year-old Richard Lee Gander, of Creston.

Assault arrest in Audubon

News

July 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Audubon Police Department reports the arrest last Thursday (July 24th, of 51 year old Allen Alfred Riesenberg, of Audubon. Riesenberg was taken into custody for Simple Assault, and later released on a promise to appear in court. And, on Monday, 44 year old Steven James Nellor, of Audubon, was arrested on a  charge of Public Intoxication – 3rd or more offense. Nellor was transported to the Audubon County Jail where he was held to appear before a magistrate.

Wastewater discharge near Creston

News

July 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR reports the city of Creston discharged about 10,000 gallons of wastewater to an unnamed tributary of the Middle Platte River on Monday, July 28th. A shut-off valve failed around 2 p.m., causing an electrical shortage at a Creston wastewater lift station at Highway 34 and Industrial Parkway. The discharge to an unnamed tributary occurred when portable pumps were unable able to keep pace with the wastewater flow.

The discharge was stopped at 5:30 p.m. when a pump was obtained that could handle the flow until electrical repairs are complete. Officials say  the health risk was minimal due to high water levels in the tributary and Middle Platte River. There was no reported fish kill.

The DNR is monitoring the situation.