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Survey suggests slow growth in Midwest, Plains

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states continues to slow, but the region is helped by  strong farm income. The overall Rural Mainstreet index for the region improved to 52.2 in September from last month’s 49.3, suggesting weak economic growth. Anytime that index, which ranges from 0 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says this month’s results don’t suggest a recession but the numbers have deteriorated. Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

Council Bluffs man claims Hot Dog Man statue

News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The mystery of the Council Bluffs Hot Dog Man statue has been solved and police say they’re glad to give it back to its owner. Police Capt. Terry LeMaster says Curtis Wennhold proved the statue was his by supplying its arms, which had broken off. The statue was found Sept. 2 after police were called about a man in a hot dog costume watching children near a bus stop. It turned out only to be a statue but no one knew where it had come from.

LeMaster says it was taken from Wennhold’s yard by teenagers who hoisted it into a vehicle, breaking off its arms. He says the teens became “creeped out” by it and dropped it off where it was found.

Ribbon Cutting held for IWCC Design Tech program

News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for IWCC Design Technology Center

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this (Thursday) morning in Atlantic, for a new “Design Technology” Program at Iowa Western Community College’s Cass County Center. Students enrolled in the program, the idea for which began almost five-years ago, will learn to build 3-D, virtual products using specialized software developed by Texas-based Siemens Product Lifestyle Management. Jay Miller, a native of Atlantic, conceived the idea of having the program, which is the first of its kind in the nation for a two-year college, explained how Atlantic became the site for a program which will fill the needs of a global community. He says he approached Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Western in 2007 with the concept. Industry advisors were then recruited from Rockwell-Collins, Keiwit, Mahle Components, Winnebago and L.B.T., to develop the curriculum. Higher Learning Commission approval was later granted to allow students to graduate from the Atlantic Center, and a $65.2-million grant was received from Siemens in the Summer of 2010.

Miller said graduates of the program will fill a need companies have to replace retiring workers in the high-tech industry throughout the world. One of the companies who is in need of the type of students the program will instruct, is Rockwell-Collins.  Dale Wolf, Head of Engineering Services for Rockwell,  said the knowledge students gain in state-of-the-art tools in 3-D electronic design and data management, should provide them with “significant employment opportunities,” in a variety of industries. He says his company and others in the aerospace industry are facing a shortage of skilled workers due to retirements, and the Design Technology Program will help to fill the void.

Bill Boswell, Head of Partnerships for Siemens P-L-M Software in Des Moines, said he attended a conference of industry analysts who cover the manufacturing industry, in Boston, Massachusetts, last week. He said one of the things they talked about, in addition to the recent devastating effects of the hurricane, was the “perfect storm” the industry faces for educated and highly skilled workers. He says one of the company H-R vice presidents he spoke with, said they will be losing 50,000 people to retirement in the next 10-years alone. Other companies will experience a similar “brain drain.“

Boswell said even with a poor global economy last year, there was still a need for 3-million engineers. Colleges and Universities worldwide only graduated about 2.25-million students, which leaves a shortage of 750,000 worldwide, just to keep up with the booming technology. Iowa Western Community College he says, is the first partner his company has worked with, to create a two-year Associates Degree program around Product Lifestyle Management.

Atlantic’s Coca-Cola Days Parade theme: “Celebrating 125 Years of Fun”

News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The annual Atlantic, Iowa Coca-Cola Days parade, a popular finale for Coca-Cola Days festivities, is on track, and accepting entries for 4 p.m. start on Saturday, Sept. 24.  Formerly for ages 12 and under only, the parade is now open to all wanting to participate. Entries from area clubs, businesses, and individuals are accepted, although only the children’s Coca-Cola themed costume contest for 12 and under will be judged and awarded AtlantiCash prizes. This year, the Audubon High School marching band will be performing for spectators on Chestnut Street.  As always, a Coca-Cola theme is required for entrants with this year’s festival theme being “Celebrating 125 Years of Fun.”

Parade entry forms must be submitted and will be available online at ww.CocaColaDays.org, via e-mail at chamber@atlanticiowa.com, or can be picked up at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce office at 102 Chestnut Street.  The parade is sponsored in part by the Iowa Chapter of Coca-Cola Collectors Club.

Gov. Terry Branstad signs proclamation allowing overweight loads for harvest season

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

(DES MOINES) -  Gov. Terry E. Branstad today will sign a proclamation to allow the transportation of overweight loads of soybeans, corn, hay, straw and stover. The proclamation takes effect September, 15, 2011, and expires after 60 days. “Many Iowans’ livelihoods depend on a smooth, efficient harvest season,” said Branstad. “I am pleased sign this proclamation, which will allow the movement of Iowa’s commodities and help Iowa farmers during harvest.”

The proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the interstate system, and which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code section 321.463 paragraph “5.b”, by more than twelve and one-half percent (12.5%), do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.   

The action is intended to allow vehicles transporting soybeans, corn, hay, straw, and stover to be overweight, not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight, without a permit, but only for the duration of this proclamation. The Iowa Department of Transportation is directed to monitor the operation of the proclamation, to assure the public’s safety and facilitate the movement of the trucks involved.

8AM Newscast 09-15-2011

News, Podcasts

September 15th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 09-15-2011

News, Podcasts

September 15th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Iowa hosts American Wind Energy Association conference

News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Many of the top players in the wind energy industry from around the world are gathered in Iowa this week. Harold Prior, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association, says Des Moines was selected as the site for the industry’s largest conference because Iowa recently became the first state to generate at least 20 percent of its electricity from wind power. “The American Wind Energy Association really wants to showcase Iowa’s success and Iowa as an example of what the nation would look like, in terms of job creation and enhanced economic development potential, if we can get the entire nation to 20-percent of our electric generation portfolio coming from the wind energy industry,” Prior said.

Iowa currently has more than 2,500 wind turbines creating over 4,000 megawatts of electricity. Projects that are underway are expected to boost that energy output to 5,000 megawatts by the end of 2012. In December 2010, MidAmerican Energy announced a 593.4-megawatt expansion. That includes 193, 2.3-megawatt turbines, which are currently being erected in east- and southeastern- Cass, northeastern Adams, and southwest Adair counties as part of the “Rolling Hills Wind Project,” which is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Those turbines will produce enough energy to power 190,000 homes. The project is one of the largest Mid-American has developed, and likely one of the largest in the country, according a company spokesman.

Other turbines in the company’s expansion project are being built in Marshall and Calhoun Counties. When the project is complete, approximately 26 percent of MidAmerican Energy’s total generation capacity will come from wind. Prior says one of the biggest challenges facing the wind industry involves transmitting the energy from where it’s generated to where it can be used. “The transmission grid in the United States, as a whole, has not seen really significant upgrades in 50 years,” Prior said. “We’re going to have to modernize the electrical transmission grid one way or another.” He notes several large transmission projects are already planned or are under construction.

Another critical issue to continued growth, according to Prior, is the extension of a federal production tax credit for the wind energy industry. The credit is set to expire in December 2012. Prior says all forms of energy production are given tax credits, but some industries enjoy better terms. “The advantage that the older carbon-based forms of generation have is they’re subsidized through the tax code,” Prior said. “Their subsidies don’t come up for consideration and renewal because they’ve been in the tax code, in some cases, for 90 years.” The American Wind Energy Association reports the industry is on track to reach a goal of 20-percent of the country’s electricity coming from wind by the year 2030. In order to reach that goal, the industry will need to install an additional 60-thousand (60,000) wind turbines over the next 18 years.

(Radio Iowa/file data)

Arrest reported in Montgomery County

News

September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County report the arrest Wednesday nights of a Corning woman. 23-year old Anna Lynn Armstrong was taken into custody at around 9:20-p.m., on a charge of driving while revoked. Armstrong was brought to the Montgomery Coounty Jail in Red Oak, and held on $1,000 cash bond.

Page County woman sentenced to 7 years in prison on meth conviction

News

September 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says a Page County woman was sentenced Wednesday to seven-years in prison for Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine. U-S District Judge James Gritzner also ordered 44-year old Shaunna Jaylynn Stanton, of Shenandoah, to serve a four-year term of supervised released following her incarceration.

Stanton entered a plea of guilty to the charge on April 7th, in Federal Court in Council Bluffs. Prosecutors say Stanton conspired to manufacture Meth from January 2009 to July 17th, 2010. On that date, Stanton was found at an active Methamphetamine lab in the residence of co-defendant 48-year old Michael Thomas Shane. Michael Shane was previously sentenced to 12 and a-half years in prison, and a five-year term of supervised release following his incarceration.

Authorities say Stanton and Shane had worked over a long period of time with a group of people, to gather the items needed to make Meth. U-S Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt says Stanton would assist in the manufacture of the drug by purchasing pseudoephedrine tablets and other items, and manufacture Meth at various locations in and around Page County.

The investigation into Stanton’s activities was conducted by the Shenandoah Police Department, the Page and Mills County Sheriff’s Offices,  the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (SWINE), Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Page County Attorney’s Office.