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Think Spring! Cass Co. Garden Seminar set for March 22nd

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Think Spring! The Cass County Master Gardeners and Cass County Extension are helping local gardeners gear up for warmer weather this month, with the 16th Annual Atlantic Spring Garden Seminar on Saturday March 22nd. This full day event, held at the Atlantic High School, features garden experts from across the Midwest sharing the latest information on gardening methods and plant varieties.CommunityGarden1 The seminar is open to all interested gardeners no matter the level of experience. Participants are not required to have completed Master Gardener training to attend, but Master Gardeners who attend the full day will be given 5 credit hours toward their continuing education requirements.

The day starts with registration and refreshments at 8:30 AM. The program begins at 9 AM, when freelance garden writer Susan Appleget-Hurst will discuss “Dream Garden Design”, sharing practical tips for bringing inspiration to your home garden. The first of two breakout sessions for the day is next, and attendees will have 10 different topics to choose from, covering everything from starting seeds to native plants, and creating garden totems to focusing on care for specific plants. Before lunch, attendees will gather back in the auditorium to hear about tree selection for Iowa from ISU Extension Forestry Specialist Jesse Randall.

Over the lunch break, participants can browse the vendor/exhibitor booths in the high school gym, visit a Q & A booth to chat with some of our expert presenters, and enjoy lunch while chatting with friends or making new acquaintances.

The final group session for the day features Deb Groth of Groth Gardens in Winterset discussing tips and trick for growing “wow-worthy” containers. Before attendees head home, they will attend one more breakout session where they can pick from a list of 9 different topics to round out their day. The final session will wrap up by 3:20 PM.

The cost for this day of fun and learning is $35, including all meals and session materials. A full list of all breakout sessions, a schedule for the day and printable registration form are all available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or can be picked up at the Cass County Extension Office. Brochures are also available at many local businesses with the schedule and registration form.

Registrations are welcome up to the day of the Garden Seminar, including walk-in registrations at the door. For more information on the Spring Garden Seminar or the Cass County Master Gardener Program, call the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.

Area law enforcement agencies are steping-up patrols this weekend


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

St. Patrick’s Day is an all-day celebration for many and, for some, it includes alcohol.  The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) reminds you to celebrate responsibly.  Police will be working overtime this weekend (March 14th-17th) strictly enforcing all motor vehicle laws as part of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau program. Remember “Click It or Ticket” & “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. Watch your speed & stop at all stop signs.Drive sober

Iowa law enforcement will step up patrols this holiday weekend to prevent alcohol-related crashes.  Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver license, higher insurance rates and other expenses including attorney fees, court costs, vehicle towing or repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.  An average OWI can cost close to $10,000.  A phone call or taxi is a less costly and a safer alternative.

The GTSB recommends you designate a sober driver before your party begins.  In recent years, two of every five traffic deaths that occurred on this holiday involved a drunk driver.  In Iowa, eight people lost their lives last March in an alcohol-related traffic crash with a double fatality during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Don’t push your luck this St. Patrick’s Day.  Celebrate smart and stay safe.  To prevent a tragedy and possibly save a life, the Iowa GTSB says to follow these steps for a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.

  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.

  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.

  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.

  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as driving.

  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police. You could save a life.

  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive while impaired, help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

Study examines at Iowa’s “childcare cliff”


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new report from an Iowa City based research organization claims low-wage working parents in the state would be better served if reforms were made to Iowa’s Child Care Assistance program. Iowa Policy Project (IPP) Research Director Peter Fisher says Iowa’s eligibility ceiling for participation in the program is 145 percent of the federal poverty guideline.  “There are only seven states that have a lower ceiling than Iowa. Thirty states have a ceiling of 165 percent or higher and quite a few states are at 200 percent of poverty, so we’re well below the norm,” Fisher says.

Current rules provide a disincentive to families to earn more money, according to Fisher, because the loss of child care assistance can outweigh the increased income. “A single parent with one child, under the current program, is going to lose $4,890 in benefits when they hit that ceiling. A married couple, both working, with two children in child care will lose almost $9,000,” Fisher said. “That’s a pretty big hit and it happens all at once.” Fisher suggests lawmakers look at ways to reduce what has become a “financial cliff” for families, where the more they make, the further they fall behind because of the staggering cost of child care.

“There are other programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit and food assistance, where you don’t see a cliff. The reason is they do what we’re recommending here, which is tapering the benefits gradually, rather than cutting them all off at once,” Fisher said. Part of the problem, according to Fisher, is that federal poverty guidelines do not take into account the cost of childcare, which can become a severe strain on family budgets. The analysis recommends a graduated pay rate based on income, or raising the amount a working parent can make and still qualify for Child Care Assistance. Iowa’s Child Care Assistance program serves about 23-thousand (23,000) children each month.

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) 7-a.m. News & funeral report, Fri., 3/14/2014

News, Podcasts

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A podcast for some of the latest area news with KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


Guilty plea entered in NW IA bus records tampering


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

HOLSTEIN, Iowa (AP) – A former transportation director of a northwest Iowa school district has pleaded guilty to tampering with bus records. Fifty-two-year-old Douglas Wessling filed his plea earlier this week. Sioux City television station KCAU says Wessling will receive two years of probation and an order to pay a $1,000 fine.

Wessling was put on leave last fall and then lost his job as transportation director for the Galva-Holstein Community School District after an investigation by the Iowa State Patrol. District Superintendent Dave Kwikkel has said three district buses were taken out of service because of damage. Kwikkel said Wessling put one of them back into use before it had been repaired. Authorities say he also falsified repair records on at least three buses.

Meth blamed for Iowan’s death in Nebraska


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) – The death of a 35-year-old Iowa man after a Nebraska traffic stop in November has been blamed on methamphetamine.  Dakota County Attorney Kim Watson says a grand jury has found that no crime was involved in the death of Matthew Ahlsten, of Sioux City. Watson said in a news release Wednesday that autopsy tests showed Ahlsten died as a result of methamphetamine toxicity. His death was ruled an accident.

Ahlsten was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by the trooper on Nov. 3. Ahlsten soon suffered a seizure and became unresponsive. Officials say he died before he could be taken to a hospital.  Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg has said the vehicle driver didn’t know Ahlsten and was merely giving him a ride.

Semi rollover off I-80 in Cass County Friday morning


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(Update 6:56-a.m. w/no injuries)

No injuries were reported after a semi-tractor trailer hauling about 150 pigs rolled into the median off of Interstate 80 this (Friday) morning, in Cass County. The accident happened just after 6:45-a.m.  between mile markers 74 and 75.  Additional information is currently not available.

Tyson changes plans, will keep open Denison plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DENISON, Iowa (AP) – Tyson Foods has changed its plans and has decided to keep open its beef plant in Denison.  Officials say the decision will save nearly 400 jobs in the western Iowa city of about 8,400 people.  Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said Thursday that employees were given the good news last week.

Two years ago Tyson said the aging slaughterhouse could close after completion of a $90 million expansion and modernization project at Tyson’s beef plant in Dakota City. The Dakota City project originally was expected to be completed in mid-2013, but it’s taken longer than anticipated. Completion now is expected this summer.

Tyson says reasons to keep open the Denison plant include the closing of some competitors’ beef plants and the lower feed prices for cattle.

Carson man arrested on Abuse & Interference charges


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County arrested  a 52-year old Pottawattamie County man early this (Friday) morning. The Sheriff’s Department says Jim Lee Findley, of Carson, was taken into custody at around 12:50-a.m. on a valid Pott. County warrant for Domestic Abuse causing bodily injury, Interference with Official Acts, and failure to hold a fishing license. Findley was booked into the  Montgomery County Jail and held for Pott. County.

5 p.m. is deadline to place candidate names on primary ballot


March 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Candidates have until five o’clock tonight (Friday) to submit the paperwork to get their names on the June Primary ballot. Candidates for state and federal office have to collect petition signatures — the number of signatures required vary for each office — and deliver those petitions to the Secretary of State’s office in Des Moines. In addition to the candidates for governor, the U.S. Senate and congress, candidates in 125 legislative races are completing the process and legislative leaders from both major parties are claiming supremacy in candidate recruitment.

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs said “We are very, very encouraged by the candidates who have come forward in these districts: small business people, attorneys, people with a background in education. We’ve got lots of great candidates out there running in key districts.” Senate Republican Whip Jack Whitver, of Ankeny, said “We have a broad and diverse group of candidates from all kinds of different backgrounds: business leaders, civic leaders, military veterans. We feel very good about our candidates and we feel very good about the mood and the energy in our party right now.”

Democrats now hold 26 seats in the Iowa Senate and Republicans hold 24. In the House, Republicans are in the majority with 53 seats and Democrats hold 47.

Elections will be held for all 100 seats in the Iowa House, as state representatives serve two-year terms. There will be 25 senate races, as state senators serve four-year terms and the other 25 senators won’t face a reelection race until 2016. Four senators have decided to retire rather than run for reelection in 2014. The retiring senators are Dennis Black of Lynnville, Nancy Boettger of Harlan, Sandy Greiner of Washington and Hubert  Houser of Carson.

In southwest Iowa: Senate District 11 – Republicans Art Hill, of Council Bluffs, and Tom Shipley, of Nodaway, have filed nomination papers; Senate District 12 – Democrat Dan Muhlbauer has filed; Republicans Troy Arthur and John Blue, both of Council Bluffs, and Democrat Charlie McConkey, of Council Bluffs, have filed papers in Senate District 15; In Senate District 16, Republican Mary Ann Hanusa and Democrat Marti D. Nerenstone, both of Council Bluffs, have filed papers to run; Republican Matt Windshitl, of Missouri Valley, has filed to run for State Representative in District 17; In  Representitive District 20, Greenfield Republican Clel Baudler and Democrat Steve Roe, of Panora have filed papers with the Secretary of State; In District 21, Republican Jack Drake, of Griswold, and Democrat Tim Ennis, of Corning, are in the running; In District 22, Republican Greg Forristall, of Macedonia is unopposed; In District 23, Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene is also unopposed. (For the complete list of current candidates, go to: http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/2014/primary/candlist.pdf)

Republican Governor Terry Branstad submitted his petition signatures on February 25th. Jack Hatch, the Democrat from Des Moines who’s been running for governor, plans to deliver his petitions sometime today (Friday). In the closely watched U.S. Senate race, five Republicans have submitted their paperwork to have their names on the June Primary ballot. They are Sam Clovis of Hinton, Joni Ernst of Red Oak, Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines, Scott Schaben of Ames and Matt Whitaker of Clive. The only Democrat running for the U.S. Senate is Bruce Braley of Waterloo.

There are crowded primaries in the first congressional district, the seat Braley currently holds, and in the third district as Republican Tom Latham of Clive announced in December he would not seek re-election to congress.

(Radio Iowa & Ric Hanson/KJAN)