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Latham, Boswell quarrel about campaign ads

News

October 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

During an hour-long televised debate last night (Wednesday), the two incumbent Iowa congressman who’re running against one another this fall argued about their campaign ads. Republican Congressman Tom Latham has an ad that blasts Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell for giving his staff half a million dollars worth of bonuses and Latham repeated the charge last night. “Giving these kind of taxpayer bonuses I think is just totally inappropriate,” Latham said. Boswell replied: “How disengenuous for you to say that when you yourself have done that.”

Boswell said the salaries Latham pays his congressional staff are about six-thousand dollars higher, on average, than the salaries for Boswell’s staff. “You probably ought to tell me how sorry you are for doing that,” Boswell said. Latham began: “Well, the fact of the matter is in the last 16 years — all the time he’s been in congress — he has paid his staff about a million and a half dollars more than what my staff has.” Boswell interrupted: “That’s not true. Do a fact check on it. Do a fact check on it.” Latham replied: “Excuse me. You know, part of the problem we have in Washington is people won’t listen.” Boswell defended an ad he’s running against Latham, charging Latham has personally benefited because a bank Latham invested in got federal bailout money.

Latham used words like “false” and “misleading” to describe the ad, because Latham moved his bank investment into a “blind trust” and has no control over the bank’s executives. “This is really about being honest, about someone who tries to make up an issue and I would just, you know, ask Congressman Boswell: ‘When’s the last time you ran a positive ad?’” Boswell replied: “You’ve been negative throughout your career and what you’ve done and so here’s a situation where it’s so disengenous to use something and then preach against it. You think that Iowans don’t realize where your major investment is.” Latham said: “You notice he didn’t answer the question about when’s the last time he ran a positive ad because he can’t remember.”

Last night’s debate was co-sponsored by The Des Moines Register and KCCI, the CBS television affiliate in Des Moines. The two congressmen are scheduled to debate again, tonight (Thursday), at seven o’clock on Iowa Public Television.

(Radio Iowa)

“Hard Rock Casino” proposed for downtown Sioux City

News

October 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One of the applications for a new, state-licensed casino will come from a group that hopes to build a “Hard Rock Casino” on the west end of downtown Sioux City. State regulators opened up the application process earlier this year for a new casino in Sioux City to replace the casino that sits along the Missouri River. Bill Warner is president of the newly-minted Sioux City Entertainment, a subsidiary of the company that owns the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.  “The investment in the project is contemplated to be over $100 million,” Warner says. “The total footprint of the facility is 100,000 square feet (with) three restaurants. One of the restaurants would be a live entertainment venue.”

The project calls for renovating an existing building in Sioux City — the historic Battery Building — and place a 20-foot high electric guitar on top of that six-story structure. Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott was on hand for yesterday’s announcement.  “It was one of our goals to place a casino facility in downtown Sioux City that would have a lasting impact on the downtown area,” he said, “and this proposal will do a lot…to changing the character and dynamics of downtown Sioux City.” But neither the mayor nor the city council has endorsed the “Hard Rock Casino” project.

“We have, though, spent many hours with this group and with the Ho-Chunk. We continue to work with them,” Scott said. Ho-Chunk is the name of the corporation formed by the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska which has indicated it may apply for the Sioux City casino license as well. Sioux City Entertainment plans to submit its state license application with the Missouri River Historical Development board, the non-profit group that holds the license for the current Sioux City casino operated by Penn National Gaming. Penn and the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development group have been in a long-running dispute over management of the current “Argosy” casino in Sioux City.

State law calls for a casino license to be held by a non-profit group and the non-profit partners with a for-profit corporation to run the casino. Sioux City Entertainment — the Hard Rock subsidiary — expects to employ 500 at its proposed Sioux City casino. November 1st is the deadline for submitting applications for a new Sioux City casino.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Oct. 11th 2012

News

October 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines man has won $1 million in Powerball, the latest in a string of lottery winners in Iowa. Fifty-one-year-old Mark Evans claimed his prize from the September 19th drawing yesterday at the lottery headquarters. He’s one of ten Iowa players to win at least $1 million in lottery games this year.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The Cedar Rapids City Council has voted to support local developers in their quest to build a casino on the area. The council on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposal that says the council will exclusively support Steve Gray and his investor group in obtaining a state gambling license and building a casino. Gray says his group is preparing a petition drive to force a referendum election next year, asking Linn County voters to approve gambling in the county.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Petitions seeking to repeal Omaha, Nebraska’s new legal protections for gay and transgender residents are now being circulated. The Omaha World-Herald newspaper reports that organizers must gather about 11,400 valid signatures over the next month to put the measure before city voters.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — For Iowa, a week off after a potential season-saving win over Minnesota was just about perfect. The Hawkeyes were teetering on the brink of a free fall heading into its September 29th showdown with the Gophers, but came out with a dominant 31-13 win.

Lane restrictions on westbound I-80 near Council Bluffs begin Oct. 12

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Council Bluff’s construction office reports bridge maintenance work will require restricting westbound Interstate 80 traffic to one lane between exit 1B (South 24th Street) and exit 5 (Madison Avenue) near Council Bluffs, from 7-p.m. Friday, Oct. 12th, until 6-a.m. Monday, Oct. 15th, weather permitting. Officials say westbound I-80 traffic will not be able to use exit 3 (South Expressway Street) during this project. In addition, there is a 12-foot-6-inch width lane restriction and 80,000 pound weight restriction in the open lanes.

Motorists may wish to take I-680 to southbound I-29 to avoid possible traffic congestion in the area. The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limits and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.

CCMH officials: NO contaminated steroids are in their inventory

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials at Cass County Memorial Hospital today (Wednesday), issued a press release aiming to reassure the public, that CCMH has not received any of the contaminated steroids which have been linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis in other parts of the country.  Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Jason Smith said “We do provide steroid injections for pain management here at CCMH.”Smith said “The steroids we use are a different type, do not come from the supplier in question, and have not been contaminated with the fungus.” Smith emphasized that CCMH has never used the specific medication that is involved in this situation for either chronic pain management or labor and delivery pain management.  “The steroids we use for epidural pain-control injections are safe, and patients can feel confident proceeding with their care as usual.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are currently coordinating a multistate investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received an epidural steroid injection with a potentially contaminated product. Several of these patients also suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infection. Updates about the investigation are available at http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html.

The potentially contaminated medications were from shipped to facilities in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

According to the CDC website, fungal meningitis occurs when the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord are infected with a fungus. Fungal meningitis is rare and usually caused by the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord.  It is not contagious, and cannot be spread person to person.

Several Thefts in Kimballton

News

October 10th, 2012 by admin

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several incidents of theft which occurred in Kimballton during the early morning hours of October 9th. Sheriff’s officials said Wednesday, that at least six vehicles were broken into. Items taken from those vehicles include a firearm, a Sirius satellite radio, tools, bags, and purses.

Anyone with information about the crimes should contact the Audubon County Sheriff’s Office at 712-563-2631 or Audubon County Crime stoppers at 712-563-2234.  You can remain anonymous and still be eligible for a Crime Stoppers reward.

Cass Co. Supervisors approve the certification of Enterprise zone applications

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, passed a Resolution approving an application to the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), requesting certification for two additional enterprise zones in Atlantic. Cass-Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO) Executive Director Russell Joyce said the enterprise zones are being requested for the purpose of housing development. He said the two enterprise zones would allow the investors to get the 5-percent state sales tax they pay for rehabilitation of the properties reimbursed, and a 10-percent investment State Income tax credit return on their investment. The County doesn’t stand to lose anything from the arrangement, if it’s approved. In fact, according to Joyce, if the investors use local businesses in the rehabilitation process, it will see income based on locally imposed taxes.

Joyce said RD Atlantic-Harlan LLP, is looking to acquire and rehabilitate the Regency Villa Apartments (1601 Redwood Drive), and MidTown 1 and 2 Apartments (1209 E. 8th Street), both low-income, subsidized housing, in Atlantic. Regency 1 has 24, one-bedroom units in five buildings. MidTown 1 and Midtown 2 have 24 one-bedroom units in six buildings, and 36 2-bedroom units, respectively.

He said in order for the application to be submitted to the IDED, it must first be approved by the Supervisors, but that’s only the first step. The State then looks at the application, along with the local Enterprise Zone Commission, before it’s given the green light. The developers must also provide receipts for their rehabilitation efforts. Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman said the combined projects are expected to cost a little more than $2.6-million dollars.

City of Massena takes steps to secure TIF from wind turbines to pay for CIP’s

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City of Massena is taking steps to secure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) through the use of an Enterprise Zone that might encompass a two-mile radius of the town, with the idea the funds raised from taxes on approximately 40 wind turbines in that area, would be used for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP’s) in the City. Massena City Councilperson Linda Reineke told the Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, that they are working diligently and methodically, to come up with a proposal for the Board, which they hope to present sometime next Spring.

She said they have approved moving forward with looking into creating an Enterprise Zone or an Urban Renewal Area (URA) and using to TIF monies to invest in a CIP.  Reineke said the needs for the money derived from TIF are desperately needed, to help pay for a sewer improvement project that’s expected to cost about $700,000. She said residents in the small community cannot afford to pay for that project through taxes, on their own. She said the population in Massena has declined from 414 in 2000 to 355 in 2010. That, along with a decline the number of available decent homes has resulted in a decline in revenue for the City.

Reineke said young people, and those employed by Mid-American Energy, want to move back in to the community, but there simply isn’t enough quality housing. One of the Mid-American employees also wants to open a small shop in the community. She said a TIF presents a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for economic development in Massena and expansion.

Before any TIF can be established however, the City is creating a “laundry list” of Capital Improvement Projects, so they can better narrow down the actual amount of money they need for those projects. The City would also need to approve a TIF before the Board of Supervisors could give their blessing on any such request. Supervisor Chuck Reiken and Board Chair Duane McFadden commended the City for taking the time to plan, and coming up with the vision they can present to the Board, when they are ready to make their case for a TIF.

Cass County PPME Union requests 3-year contract, and wage increases

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A representative of the Public Professional and Maintenance Employees (PPME) Union Local 2003 presented the Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday, with the Union’s initial bargaining proposal for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1st, 2013 through June 30th, 2016. Craig Meyer said the Union, which represents the County’s Secondary Roads Department, said one of the proposed changes they would to see made to their contract, is in the area of insurance. The proposal requests the County provide dental insurance to all employees and their families who request the coverage.

Other changes to the language in the contract, pertained to vacation time and holiday pay. The Union proposes employees should be eligible to use their vacation as they earn it, and after one-year, earn 10-days. They also request to have July 5th as a floating holiday, beginning in 2013. And, when it comes to wages, the PPME Union requested a seven-percent rate increase for the first-year of the contract. They also called for a 4-percent increase across the board the second-year of the contract, and a 3-percent increase for the third-year, effective July, 2013.

When the Cass County Courthouse is closed due to bad weather, the Union requests Secondary Roads Department employees receive comp time equal to lost time paid to courthouse employees. The Supervisors did not present their initial proposal to the Union, because it is still being tweaked. It’s expected the proposal will be available to the Union Representative by the Board’s next meeting, on October. 17th.

Assault investigation and OWI-related arrest reported in Clarinda

News

October 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Clarinda Police Department is investigation an incident of assault. Police Chief Keith Brothers says his officers responded Monday, to a report of an assault in progress at 108 N. 9th Street. 39-year old Merlin Glenn Lininger, of Clarinda, told authorities he had been assaulted by an unknown male subject. Lininger received some minor injuries during the assault, but did not require medical attention

And, Tuesday night, Clarinda Police arrested 21-year old Jeremy Scott Dolph, of Clarinda, for operating a motor vehicle while his license was revoked, due to an OWI charge. Dolph was arrested at the intersection of 18th & Main Streets, and transported to the Page County Jail, where he was being held on $1,000 bond, pending an initial appearance before the Page County Magistrate Court.