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7AM Newscast 09-16-2011

News, Podcasts

September 16th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Perry rips rival Romney over “RomneyCare”

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Presidential candidate Rick Perry is suggesting Republican rival Mitt Romney would not provide a stark enough contrast with President Obama in the 2012 election because of “RomneyCare.” As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a law which requires Massachusetts residents to get health insurance or pay a penalty. “Government-mandated, government-run health care — it is part of what he put in place as the governor of Massachusetts,” Perry says. “…I think it’s very important that we put someone as our nominee that does not blur the lines between President Obama and the Republican Party.” According to Perry, a Beacon Hill Institute study shows Massachusetts lost thousands of jobs because of the state health care mandate.

“If it cost Massachusetts 18,000 jobs, think about what ObamaCare is going to do to this country,” Perry said. “RomneyCare has driven private insurance costs up by $4.3 billion in Massachusetts.” Perry touts his own record as governor of Texas as the “blueprint” for turning the economy around. During this past Monday’s televised debate among the G-O-P candidates, Romney suggested the economy in Texas was booming for a variety of reasons other than Perry’s stewardship as governor. Perry brought that up during a speech last night (Thursday) in Jefferson, Iowa.

“Governor Romney the other night, he said that about, you know, he said, well, it’s pretty easy to be governor when you get four aces in your hand and you think you’re good at poker,” Perry said. “You know, there’s some folks back in Texas that were a little offended by that. We worked hard in Texas. We put good, hard, practical principles into play.” Perry also seemed to criticize Romney’s background. Romney’s the son of a former Michigan governor, and George Romney earned his wealth in the car industry.

“As the son of tenant farmers, I can promise you I wasn’t born with four aces in my hand,” Perry said near the beginning of his speech, and the crowd laughed as many recognized the phrase from Monday’s debate. “But like many of you the American dream was available to us because this country that we live in is not a class society. This country is based on hard-work and vision and anyone who does that can achieve anything that they desire.” Governor Perry’s appearance at the Greene County G-O-P fundraiser in Jefferson was arranged this past Tuesday and about 200 people showed up last night to hear the Texan. He’s scheduled to be in Atlantic this afternoon at 2:15, for a tour of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and to give some prepared remarks.

(Radio Iowa)

USPS Processing Centers in Creston and Carroll could close

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The bleeding of red ink at the U-S Postal Service could affect the life-blood of more than just small town post offices across Iowa and around the country. Officials with the USPS says larger facilities in medium-sized towns could close as well.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a press conference yesterday, the USPS is forced to face a new reality, and as a result, four Processing Centers in Iowa, five in Nebraska and two in Missouri, are on a list of 252 centers nationwide targeted for possible consolidation or closure as the post office searches for ways to save money. The Processing centers in Creston, Carroll, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids are all candidates for closure. That’s in addition to the 178 proposed post office closings across Iowa which were previously announced. Closing the mail processing centers could cost as many as 35,000 jobs.

The mail processing network was designed to process and deliver First-Class mail within a 1-3 day window. If the change is implement, Donahoe says the new service standard would become 2-3 days. It would also save the agency as much as $3-billion. Donahoe said First-Class mail is the backbone of the Postal Service, but with a dramatic decline in mail volume and a resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is “….No longer realistic.

The Post Office faces competition with the Internet. With a struggling economy, less advertising mail is flowing through the system. The agency lost $8.5-billion last year, and is facing an even larger deficit this year. It’s not clear when the proposed changes to the Postal Service’s system will take place.

Pumpkin found growing in Iowa tree

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa couple have discovered an eerie presence in their pear tree, just in time for the approaching Halloween season. Phil and JaNelle Lovely, of Greenfield, recently discovered a pumpkin growing in the tree. The couple say they have no idea how the pumpkin ended up in their tree, but it appears to be the work of Mother Nature. A nearby garden vine climbed the tree, giving the now-green pumpkin the appearance of having sprouted from one the tree’s branches. JaNelle says people have been stopping by to see the suspended pumpkin since it was discovered on Labor Day. She’s hoping it remains in the tree until it turns orange.

Charges filed in connection with drug/alcohol party in Harlan

News

September 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three people face charges in connection with a party held last weekend, in Harlan. According to Harlan Police, 18-year old’s Cody Schwery and Brandon Allen, and 17-year old Dylan Hansen, all of Harlan, were charged with supplying alcohol to persons under the legal age. Officials say on September 10th, the police department was notified of an underage party taking place in the 700 block of 5th Street, in Harlan. Upon further investigation, several persons were charged or cited.

17-year old James Schwarte, of Harlan, along with Dylan Hansen, and 18-year old Trent Wendt, of Portsmouth, were charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. Schwarte and Hansen were also charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  16-year old’s Jena Rasmussen and Austin Hess, both from Harlan, along with Schwarte, Schwery and 17-year old Jordan Fiztmaurice, of Panama, were each charged with Possession of alcohol under the legal age.

Each of the individuals under the age of 18 were cited and released. Cody Schwery and Trent Wendt were brought to the Shelby County Jail, and charges were filed at a later date on Brandon Allen, with a warrant having been issued by the court.

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.