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Iowa early News Headlines – Wed., June 13th 2012

News

June 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has a $2.6 billion plan to rebuild and upgrade the state’s highways over five years. The plan announced by the state Transportation Commission yesterday includes reconstruction along interstate highways in Sioux City, Council Bluffs and the Quad Cities. In the Des Moines area, the plan includes finishing widening Interstate 35 in West Des Moines and building new rest stops on I-35 near Ankeny.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The president of Kosovo is coming to Iowa. Governor Terry Branstad’s office says President Atifete Jahjaga (ah-tee-feh-tee YAH’-yah- gah) will visit Iowa today, tomorrow and Friday as part of a state partnership program with the U.S. Department of Defense.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A hearing is set for today in a legal battle over the release of more emails from the former superintendent of Iowa’s largest school district to a lover using the Des Moines district’s computers. Nancy Sebring says a small number of the emails yet to be released are personal. She has asked a Polk County judge to stop the release.

FREDERIKA, Iowa (AP) — The Bremer County Sheriff’s Office says it’s received several reports about a black bear wandering through northeast Iowa. Jade Bergmann says that she spotted a bear along Iowa Highway 188, a few miles from U.S. Highway 63 near Frederika. State biologists say multiple sightings in the area over the past few weeks may be of the same animal.

Using cell phone bills to track delinquent taxpayers

News

June 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

State officials have a new way to track down delinquent taxpayers. A state law passed two years ago let the Iowa Department of Revenue access to cell phone customer lists, but the agency has only recently had the staff to analyze that information. Victoria Daniels of the Department of Revenue says the agency can subpoena other utility records, but cellphone accounts are especially helpful. “If you have DirectTV, you probably have an address and we could probably find you that way,” Daniels says. “The cellphone is really something that you can kind of have and remain anonymous, for the most part.” Officials estimate up to 20 percent of cell phone customers in Iowa owe back taxes to the state, but haven’t been traced because their name doesn’t appear on any other bills.

“There are just a lot of ways to hide if you really don’t want to be found,” Daniels says. According to the Legislative Services Agency, as much as one-point-seven million dollars ($1.7 million) in back-taxes may be owed by people who’ve been hard to locate, but now can be tracked down via cell phone records. The program is modeled on a Department of Human Services initiative to track down parents who owe child support.

(Radio Iowa)

Transportation commission approves 5 year plan

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission approved the annual update to its five-year transportation improvement plan during its meeting today (Tuesday). John Ranney is the director of the D-O-T’s office of program management. Ranney says “A major component of the program is the highway section, which includes investments to the primary highway system. And for the next five years, it is forecast that two-point-six-BILLION dollars will be available for highway right-of-way and construction activities.”

The highway portion includes construction on the interstate highways in the Quad Cities on the eastern side of the state, and Sioux City and Council Bluffs on the western side of the state. Dozens of other projects are set across the state as Ranney says the goal is to modernize the primary highway system. He explained  “As projects get completed, other projects are started. And another program objective that the commission does have is to add capacity and system enhancement projects.”  He says there were 10 projects added to this program covering 2013 to 2017, and there were four projects that were advanced in the program. The five-year plan also includes money for airports, rail crossings, trails and other transportation issues.

See the complete five-year plan at: http://www.iowadot.gov/program_management/five_year.html

(Radio Iowa)

Volunteers Needed to help sort waste in Iowa State Parks

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Green Veterans AmeriCorps members will be leading volunteers in waste audits at Iowa’s state parks this summer. Volunteers are needed to assist with separating, weighing, documenting, and bagging recyclables for processing. The information collected will be used to determine the feasibility of onsite recycling in state parks.

Waste audits are planned locally, for Lake Manawa State Park, June 18th, from 9 a.m. – Noon, and at Lake Anita State Park, July 2nd, from 8:30 a.m. – Noon. Volunteers should wear clothing suitable for sorting waste and close-toed, comfortable shoes. Other safety equipment and instructions will be provided onsite. For more information or to pre-register contact Kaitlyn Vitko at Kaitlyn.Vitko@dnr.iowa.gov or 515-725-0153. Volunteers will meet at park campgrounds.

Waste audits are being performed at several state parks may help identify additional sustainability-related opportunities. Waste sorts are sponsored through partnerships with the DNR Land Quality Bureau, DNR Iowa Green Veterans AmeriCorps program, and Iowa Waste Exchange. For more information on the state park recycling study, contact Tom Anderson at 515-281-8623 or tom.anderson@dnr.iowa.gov.

50th Anniversary Celebration for Prairie Rose State Park to be held Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a celebration will be held Saturday, June 16th, to mark the 50th anniversary of Prairie Rose State Park in Shelby County. The program will be held outside the park office and shop area at 2:30 PM. Refreshments will be provided and the Friends of Prairie Rose will sell commemorative t-shirts and have historic photos on display.

In an effort to preserve Iowa’s natural beauty and provided outdoor recreational facilities, plans for Prairie Rose and more than a dozen other state parks were initiated in the 1933 25-Year Conservation Plan. Actual construction of the dam did not begin until 1958 and the park was dedicated on June 16, 1962. Today, Prairie Rose provides the outdoor recreation it was intended for to more than 100,000 plus visitors each year. The park offers a wide variety of amenities including a campground, cabins, picnic areas and more than seven miles of multi-use trails. The 218-acre lake — popular for fishing, boating and swimming — is currently under renovation.

For more information about the event or Prairie Rose State Park, contact Park Manager Michelle Reinig at 712-773-2701 or michelle.reinig@dnr.iowa.gov<mailto:michelle.reinig@dnr.iowa.gov>

Homeownership contest announced

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Southwest Iowa Association of Realtors says over the last year, home sales have increased eight percent in Southwest Iowa, and to continue reaching that goal, the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and the Iowa Association of Realtors (IAR), have partnered with the Southwest Iowa lenders and Realtors to promote The Meaning of Homeownership Contest. The effort among lenders and Realtors is to show Iowans their support for homeownership and the importance of keeping homeownership on the rise.

The social media contest consists of Iowa mortgage lenders and Realtors® asking their clients what homeownership truly means to them. Participants will redefine homeownership by writing a short phrase or word on a memo board and snapping a photo for entry. The contestant with the most votes in the Facebook contest will win a $1,500 gift card. Council Bluffs area residents are encouraged to visit a participating contest location for their chance to win. A full list of current contest locations is available at Foursquare.com/IowaFinance http://www.foursquare.com/iowafinance.

Contest entries will be voted on by the public July 2-15 at Facebook.com/IowaFinance<http://www.facebook.com/iowafinance>. The entry with the most votes will receive a $1,500 gift card and the lender and Realtors or real estate agent with the most combined votes will each receive a $2,500 community betterment grant. More information about the contest is located at IowaFinanceAuthority.gov/Contest<http://www.iowafinanceauthority.gov/Contest>.

Hamburg Bank robbery suspect sought by authorities

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department is asking for your help in locating a man suspected of robbing a bank Monday morning, in Hamburg. At around 9:25-a.m., an approximately 30-year old black male entered the Great Western Bank in Hamburg, approached the teller, and demanded a plastic bag be filled with money. No weapon was displayed during the incident.

The suspect, who was described as being anywhere from 5-feet 6-inches to five-feet 8-inches tall, had a dark complexion, and was wearing: a white visor, aviator-style sunglasses…a white t-shirt…blue jeans, and white tennis shoes. He is believed to have left the scene with an undetermined amount of cash.

It’s thought he may have gotten away in a dark green, mid-90′s model 4-door Cadillac, with a tan vinyl top. The vehicle was last seen turning south on Interstate 29 at the Hamburg exit, shortly after the incident took place. Anyone with information about the incident, is asked to call the Fremont County Crimestoppers hotline, at 1-800-432-9240. You can remain anonymous, and still be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

(12:40-p.m. News)

Atlantic School Board to act on contracts & resignations Wednesday

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday evening at the High School. During their 7:30-p.m. session, the Board will hear special presentations from Kipp Harris, with Brocker, Karns & Karns Insurance, with regard to Workman’s Comp Insurance, and, Jerry Purdy, with Design Alliance, who will provide an update on the Atlantic Middle School Project.

The Board will also act on approving General- and Special-Education Contracts, additional contracts and/or Letters of Assignment, Volunteer coaching positions, and resignations. In other business, the Atlantic School Board will act on approving: Registration fees for 2012-2013; Approval of fuel bids; Administrators’/Supervisor/Central Office Staff contracts for 2012-2013; A resolution for banking services and other matters.

The Board will discuss during their meeting, the 2012-2013 Technology spending plan, and review the District’s Insurance coverage. The meeting takes place in the Atlantic High School Media Center.

1 injured during semi rollover Saturday along I-80

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured in a semi rollover accident on Interstate 80 Saturday morning, in Pottawattamie County. The Iowa State Patrol say 35-year old Isaac Johnson, of Washington, GA, was attempting to re-enter the interstate off the rest area near mile marker 32 (about 2-miles west of the Shelby exit) at around 8:20-a.m., when the 2012 semi he was driving got to far off the right and slipped onto the shoulder. 

Johnson told deputies that as he was leaving the rest area, he was checking his mirrors and the semi was sucked off the shoulder and rolled on its side. The co-driver Darrell Henry, age and location was not given, was trapped inside the sleeper section of the semi. Henry was extricated by mechanical means before being transported by Life-Net Helicopter to the Creighton University Medical Center with what were described as incapacitating injuries. Johnson was uninjured in the crash. 

The truck, registered to USA Truck Inc., out of Burns Harbor, IN was totaled in the crash, with the damage estimated at $80,000.

(UPDATE) 1 injured during rollover accident northwest of Atlantic

News

June 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic teen was injured during a single-vehicle rollover accident northwest of Atlantic, this (Tuesday) morning.

Ford Ranger with extensive cab damage following rollover accident

The Iowa State Patrol reports 18-year old Branden M. Ballinger was traveling west on Highway 83 (the Marne Road) just before 10-a.m., when he lost control of the 1999 Ford Ranger pickup he was driving. Officials say the young man was putting a drink in a cup holder when the accident occurred.  When the truck drifted onto the shoulder, Ballinger overcorrected, sending the vehicle into the south ditch, where it rolled and came to rest on its wheels. The accident happened about one-quarter of a mile northwest of Glacier Road. Ballinger was transported by Medivac Ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital, for treatment of minor injuries, which included shoulder pain.