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Western IA teacher charged with drug possession

News

August 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A report in the Omaha World-Herald says a 4th grade  teacher with the West Monona Community School District in Onawa is facing a possession of methamphetamine charge, after authorities found her with meth hidden inside an artificial sweetener packet, tucked in her purse. 43-year old Karen Kay Bartelson was taken into custody west of Onawa, July 21st.  Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found to be in her possession. Barteleson was arrested along with two other people, who were charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Lyle Schwartz, superintendent of the district, told the paper that administrators will wait for the outcome of the criminal investigation before deciding on Bartelson’s future with the district.

Annual Sales Tax holiday is Friday and Saturday

News

August 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The state’s annual sales tax holiday is this Friday and Saturday (August 3,4). Iowa Department of Revenue spokesperson, Victoria Daniels, says the holiday suspends the sales tax on purchases of shoes and clothes. “Basically anything that you can wear that is under a hundred dollars and qualifies as clothing and footwear, then you can purchase that tax free,” Daniels explains. She says the holiday was created as a way to help families save on back-to-school purchases, but you don’t have to be going to school to take advantage.

The rules are very specific about what qualifies for the tax exemption. “Anything that you would consider to be like an accessory, you know that’s not really clothing. Things like backpacks…specialized sports equipment, anything that you would use to repair clothing, those types of things don’t really qualify,” Daniels says. “It’s apparel, that you wear on your feet and your body, that’s about it.” Daniels says this is the 13th year for the sales tax holiday. The state first started collecting data on the holiday in 2006.  “It looks like the amount of sales reported on this day has grown at a pretty good rate, not huge. It did take a dive in 2008, which I think was around the time the economy went downhill, and so that’s to be expected. But it’s been climbing back up since then and has actually exceeded the amount reported in 2007,” according to Daniels.

Figures show many Iowans took advantage of the tax savings last year. “Retailers self-reported about 14-point-six million dollars worth of sales. And so if you multiply that by the six-percent state tax rate, that’s about 877-thousand dollars. Now that doesn’t include any local option sales tax,” Daniels says. There’s an additional one percent in savings for the areas that have a local option sales tax. You can find out more about the sales tax holiday at: www.iowa.gov/tax.

(Radio Iowa)

Drought now blamed for rising gasoline prices in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here’s something else to blame on the prolonged heat wave — higher gasoline prices. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the increase has been gradual, but definite, over the past several weeks of the continuing, blistering hot spell. “In Iowa, as an example, the current average is $3.47, a month ago, it was $3.37,” Weinholzer says. “So, Iowa’s seen about a dime increase in the last month.” The price of gas in Iowa ranges from as low as $3.32 a gallon in Sioux City to as high as $3.49 in Des Moines. The national average is $3.52 a gallon. Weinholzer says there are several reasons for the hike. “One, certainly is the higher global oil prices as well as higher demand because of the busy, summer driving season, along with the higher ethanol prices due to the drought that many areas of the country are seeing,” she says.

As corn plants suffer in the fields from the heat, the price of corn is skyrocketing due to the expected lower supply come harvest time. Weinholzer says gas prices should remain mostly flat through Labor Day but will likely begin to fall in September. “If there’s an increase at all, it will be slight and after Labor Day, we’ll start to see prices decline if everything goes as expected,” she says. Market developments that could change the August forecast include: strengthening or worsening of the global economy, U-S employment data, the hurricane season and geopolitical events in the Middle East.

(Radio Iowa)

Drought: Half of US counties now disaster areas

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — More than half of U.S. counties now are classified by the federal government as natural disaster areas mostly because of the drought. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday added 218 counties in a dozen states as disaster areas. That brings this year’s total to 1,584 in 32 states, including Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Iowa. The latest additions make drought-affected farmers and ranchers eligible for federal aid including emergency loans. The USDA also announced ranchers may access some 3.8 million acres of conservation land for haying and grazing, and crop insurance companies have agreed to provide farmers a penalty-free grace period on insurance premiums in 2012.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Aug. 2nd 2012

News

August 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad had ordered flags flown at half-staff to honor an Army soldier with Iowa ties who was killed in Afghanistan. Twenty-five-year-old Sergeant Michael Ristau of Rockford, Illinois was assigned to a Washington state unit when died on July 13th after an attack in Zabul province. Branstad on Wednesday ordered all U.S. flags and state flags at state buildings and grounds be flown at half-staff from 5 p.m. tomorrow until 8 a.m. Monday.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — More than half of U.S. counties now are classified by the federal government as natural disaster areas mostly because of the drought. The U.S. Agriculture Department added 218 counties in a dozen states as disaster areas yesterday. That brings this year’s total to 1,584 in 32 states, including Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

NEW YORK (AP) — An independent group supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election is preparing a $30 million advertising blitz in six battleground states this fall. A person familiar with the plans says Priorities USA Action has reserved television ad time in September in Iowa and three other states. News of the ad buy was first reported yesterday by The Washington Post.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Newton doctor accused by state regulators of loosely prescribing narcotic drugs, including to people with a history of addiction, has surrendered his license. Doctor Lafayette Twyner also agreed to pay $10,000 fine this week to settle allegations brought against him by the Iowa Board of Medicine.

Antlerless Deer Bow Hunting Qualifications Set for Aug. 18th in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

In his report to the Atlantic City Council Wednesday night, Councilman Chris Jimerson announced the Atlantic Police Department has the necessary forms and information available for an upcoming Deer Depredation hunt, designed to reduce the deer herd within the City limits. Jimerson said persons interested in bow hunting the deer will need to attend  qualifications tryouts to be held at 10-a.m. Sat., August 18th, or 6-p.m.  August 22nd at Sunnyside Park near the old school house.

Councilman Steve Livengood clarified this is NOT an organized hunt arranged by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He said bow hunters will need to have a license, tags, permission to hunt on private property and Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green, to hunt within the City limits. Prospective hunters must also be able to prove their competency to handle their archery equipment responsibly. The City received permission from the Iowa DNR to hold the special antlerless deer hunt, to reduce the deer population, which has grown substantially since the last study was conducted a couple of years ago. An Urban Deer Control Ordinance was approved by the Council in June.

In other business, Councilman Dana Halder reminded residents about the need to remove your posted signs about garage sales. Halder said there is an ordinance prohibiting such signs on Public property. At the very least, he implored residents to “Have the courtesy to go pick up your garage sale sign…“  Some of the signs he says, are still posted, more than two-weeks after the sale was held.

Atlantic Police Chief said there is a $250 fine for posting signs on City property, such as light and telephone poles, school property and on private property, where permission was not received to post those signs.

Atlantic City Council Tables Awarding Sunnyside Tennis Court Project for Lack of Bids

News, Sports

August 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday tabled until November 7th, a Resolution approving the plans and specifications for the Sunnyside Tennis Court reconstruction project, due to a lack of bids. Snyder and Associates Engineer Dave Sturm told the Council contractors are extremely busy right now, they practically had to beg for an active bids. Sturm said they ended up taking just one bid, but it was more than  $40,000 over what was budgeted for. The bid from Dostal’s Construction out of Gretna, NE, was for $267,000. The Engineer’s original cost estimate was $241,000.The project would have been paid for through bond proceeds, grants and with payments from the Atlantic Community School District.

Sturm said after discussing the situation with Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and the Parks and Rec Board, it was decided to reject the bid and request bids for the project again in February 2013. Sturm said the problem with receiving bids came down to a matter of timing. The contractors who would normally bid for projects have a full slate already, therefore there was a lack of interest. He said there are at least two or three contractors, including Dostal’s, who would be interested in submitting bids, once there’s a lull in the construction season.

Sturm said also, that the best bids typically come in during the months of January and February. Councilman Steve Livengood made a motion to table a Resolution approving the plans and specifications for the Sunnyside Tennis Courts project until November. The motion was seconded by Councilman Chris Jimerson. Dave Sturm said officials with the  United States Tennis Association (USTA) have indicated the delay in approving bids and specifications would not jeopardize the City’s likelihood of getting a grant to help pay for the project.

Walnut City Council to consider Golf cart ordinance

News

August 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Walnut City Council Thursday, is set to consider the adoption of an Ordinance governing the use of golf carts on City streets. The discussion and possible action will take place during the Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5-p.m.

In other business, the Council will hear from Walnut Fire Department officials, with regard to a Smoke Alarm campaign, the Pottawattamie County Burn Ban, and Fireman’s Funfest. They’ll also discuss a possible downtown beautification project, time limitations on building projects, and possibly act on adopting a Resolution approving the Road Use Tax report, in addition to other, regular business matters.

Juvenile transported to the hospital following a crash in Fremont County

News

August 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department reports a teenager from Georgia who was trapped in a vehicle following a crash early this (Wednesday) morning, was transported to the hospital by helicopter, as a precautionary measure. The accident happened just after 1-a.m. on Interstate 29 northbound, near exit 10.

Officials say 49-year old Lonnie Lee Dickey, of Sioux City, was driving a 2006 Volvo semi and entering I-29 from the northbound exit ramp at Exit 10, when the semi’s trailer was struck from behind by a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup. The accident happened as the driver of the pickup, 33-year old David Michael Carroll of Georgia, was retrieving an item from the floorboard of his truck, and lost control of the vehicle, which was pulling a U-Haul trailer.

After the collision, the pickup and trailer left the road and traveled several hundred feet into an adjacent corn field. 13-year old Sadie Carroll was trapped in the truck for over an hour, while rescue crews used the Jaws of Life to try and free her. Officials say because of the excess extrication time, LifeNet was called to the scene. Sadie was transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Neither the driver of the semi, nor Carroll, were injured.

A dog traveling in Carroll’s pickup escaped from the vehicle and fled into the cornfield. It was described as being a 9-year old chocolate lab/pit bull mix. The dog answers to the name of “Coco.” Officials say alcohol is not thought to have been a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

(9-a.m. News 8/1) (Updated 4:18-a.m. Thursday, 8/2)

Shelby County bridge to be closed Monday

News

August 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has announced the 1600th Street Bridge will be closed beginning Monday, August 6th. The bridge is located over an unnamed tributary of Pigeon Creek, just east of 208 1600th Street (near the Sylvan Kenkel residence), between Washington Townships 20 and 17. The bridge will remain closed for the next five-weeks, so that the bridge can be replaced.

Residents and emergency responders should plan now to take alternate routes. If you have any questions, call the Shelby County Engineer’s Office at 712-755-5954.