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Iowa communities get cash in herbicide settlement

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A law firm says more than 70 Iowa communities are getting a total of more than $3.5 million from the settlement of a lawsuit filed against a Swiss manufacturer of the herbicide atrazine.  The Iowa City Press-Citizen says Iowa City’s share is nearly $141,000. Spokesman Jerry Brown for Korein Tillery, the law firm that handled the lawsuit, says a dozen Iowa communities will receive between $100,000 and $350,000 each from the $105 million settlement.  The lawsuit against Syngenta was settled in October.

City officials say Iowa City water customers are no longer being exposed to the weed killer, which can run off farm fields. The city began operating a new water treatment facility in 2003, and the water no longer comes straight from the Iowa River.

7AM Newscast 01-24-2013

News, Podcasts

January 24th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

(Updated: 10:15-a.m. Thursday) Creston attempted murder suspect is in custody


January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Union County say a man wanted for the attempted murder of a Creston woman Wednesday morning was arrested and is being held in the Union County Jail in Creston.

Officials report 20-year-old William Michael Bird turned himself in to the Union County Law Enforcement Center today (Thursday), at around 2:20-a.m. He was subsequently arrested on three Union County Warrants charging him with Attempted Murder, Domestic Abuse, and Burglary in the 1st Degree. His combined bond for the charges was set at $52,000.

Authorities said Wednesday, Bird’s female victim was able to get away from the Creston residence where an incident of assault allegedly took place. She ran to a neighbor’s home, but Bird allegedly chased her down and stabbed the unidentified victim her in the upper chest before fleeing the scene. The woman was taken to the Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston for treatment. Her name, and a report on her condition, is not available.

Emerson man arrested Wed. night


January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery report the arrest Wednesday night of an Emerson man. Sheriff’s officials say 43-year old Troy Daniel Smith was arrested in Mills County at around 7:30-p.m., on a valid Montgomery County warrant for Theft in the 5th degree. Smith was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and held on $1,000 cash bond pending a court appearance.

“Hydrology Working Group” drafting drought preparation plans for Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s governor has assembled a task force that’s planning for possible drought this summer. Rather than hiring one state official to focus on water usage issues, Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Chuck Gipp says it makes more sense to have people from a variety of state agencies involved. “We’re not here to scare anybody about what the water usage available is, but we want to caution people that we are still in the middle of a drought and we have stream segments that are way below normal flow,” Gipp says. “In fact, if you look up at Ames to see the Skunk River, you won’t see a Skunk River.”

The state climatologist, the state geologist and a handful of other state officials are part of the “Hydrology Work Group.”  “They issue a report about every other week about water flows and streams that are in drought condition here and severe drought condition,” Gipp says. Current state law already lays out the protocol for which water users should be cut off first if the water supply dips. “It says that out-of-state water users get it cut off first. Then it’s lesser priority things like crops and then organic crops and then it’s livestock,” Gipp says. “And, obviously, the last entity that gets cut off of the use of water is people.” Gipp’s agency — the Department of Natural Resources — has the authority to order “lower echelon users” to give up their water supply if it’s coming from a river with a water level that’s dangerously low.

“We are required to allow enough water to go past that particular user to make sure there’s sufficient for the downstream user, so minimum flows we have to maintain, if we can,” Gipp says. “If there’s enough water coming from the top side, we have to maintain that for users all the way down the river system.” According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of the northwest third of Iowa is suffering through “extreme” drought. “Severe”drought conditions are reported in 58 percent of the state. A federal report issued last week concluded 60 percent of the entire country is in a drought, including the entire state of Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

GOP will renew effort to ban Iowa abortion funding


January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican lawmakers say they’re going to try again to ban the rare use of public money to finance abortions for low-income women. Missouri Valley Representative Matt Windschitl says he and other House Republicans are holding preliminary talks on a proposal to prevent Medicaid reimbursement for any abortions. Last fiscal year, the state reimbursed 22 abortions at a cost of $19,402.

State and federal laws now limit abortion funding to low-income women who are rape or incest victims, whose lives will be in danger if they don’t get an abortion, or whose fetuses face severe deformities. A similar effort delayed Iowa lawmakers during the end of last legislative session, as Republicans tried to push a rule banning government-funded abortions. Republicans finally gave up the effort under pressure to end the session.

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., Jan. 24th 2013


January 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican lawmakers say they’re going to try again to ban the rare use of public money to finance abortions for low-income women. Missouri Valley Representative Matt Windschitl says he and other House Republicans are holding preliminary talks on a proposal to prevent Medicaid reimbursement for any abortions.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state teachers’ union wants lawmakers to approve legislation that would increase state aid to school districts for the coming school year. A staffer for the Iowa State Education Association told senators at a subcommittee meeting yesterday that one rural district would likely have to layoff teachers if lawmakers don’t increase aid to schools.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ordered an Iowa company to pay a $100,000 fine for discharging contaminated water into a creek that flows into the Des Moines River. U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross Walters also ordered Chamness Technology yesterday to perform community service and develop a compliance and ethic program.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Richard Carter scored 20 points and Drake stunned Number 17 Creighton 74-69 last night in Des Moines, handing the Bluejays their first consecutive losses of the season. Ben Simons added 13 for the Bulldogs, who blew a 16-point lead before rallying for their first win over a ranked opponent in five years.

Atlantic City Council passes resolutions pertaining to tennis court, sewer & street signal projects


January 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, approved the final plans and specifications for reconstruction and renovation of the Sunnyside Tennis Courts. Mike Jorgenson with Snyder and Associates Engineers in Atlantic, told the Council only one bid had been received for the project last July, which was considerably more than the engineer’s cost estimate. Jorgenson attributed the lack of bids to the timing of the project. Changes have since been made to the plan, with cost savings realized through work done by crews with the City’s Park and Recreation and Street Department. The work involved removal of the fence, light poles and the old asphalt surface, which was huge part of the process. The project was then sent out to be re-bid. The bid date was tentatively set for Feb. 19th, with the results be known the following day.

The Council passed a motion setting the date for a public hearing and bid letting for February 20th, and a resolution authorizing the receiving of bids. They also approved an agreement with Snyder and Associates for engineering services for the 2013 Sanitary Sewer Improvements. City Administrator Doug Harris said sewer lines that will be worked on include those under Cedar Street, from 2nd to 10th…Locust Street, from 2nd to 7th…Linn Street, from 2nd to 8th, and Locust Street, from 7th to 14th Street. The lines are being infiltrated with tree roots. The service includes cleaning the affected lines, conducting point repairs and doing a televised inspection. The total estimated cost for which (including 12% for engineering fees), amounts to an estimated $238,000. Bids will be requested later this Winter.

And the Council passed a resolution setting February 20th as the date for a public hearing and bid letting for the 7th Street Traffic Signal Improvement Project, which is expected to cost around $179,000. The project will be funded out of bond proceeds and some operating funds.

Todd Knox, with Snyder and Associates, said the project includes needed modifications and improvements to stop lights along 7th Street, at the intersections of Plum, Olive, Walnut, Chestnut and Poplar. By far, the most frustrating intersection for motorists, is 7th and Olive Streets. Knox said the current 3 light, 4-way configuration will be replaced with a 4-light, 4-way system. He said the 3 section heads over the left turn lanes will be replaced with a section using 4 arrows, all pointing left: 1 Red, 2 yellow arrows – the lowest of which will flash when you are able to turn left while opposing traffic is coming toward you – and one green. The current configuration is protected only by solid red and yellow signals, plus 1 green turn signal.

The timing of the signals will be adjustable locally and in-sync with each other along the affected stretch of 7th Street.

Atlantic City Council moves to support Dog Park at Schildberg Rec Area

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening passed a motion in support of efforts by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, to begin the process of securing a dog park for the Schildberg Recreation Area. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring explained the Board thinks a nearly 2.4-acre off-leash dog park is necessary and beneficial in the grand scheme of recreational development in the area. He said it would be a great amenity to the campground (the pads and roads for which are under construction), and will draw more people to the area, much like the walking trails have done.

Herring says a fenced-in dog park will also offer safety and security for dog owners and their dogs, in a controlled environment. He says large and small dogs will have their own compounds. Dogs will be able to exercise and socialize in their respective areas, and the park will promote responsible pet ownership. He said Trees Forever will work to provide over a dozen shade trees for the area, and, a dog park would make Atlantic the first city of its size in southwest Iowa, other than Council Bluffs, to have a dog park.

Herring said the 14-to 15,000-dollar project would be paid for through fundraising efforts, and not through local tax dollars.
Fencing accounts for the bulk of the costs. Fundraising would be accomplished by applying for corporate grants, local sponsorships, and through donations from the community. Herring said the Parks and Rec Department would be responsible for maintaining the facility.

He said also, the Parks and Rec Board will work to put together a proposal for a Master Plan for the Schildberg Rec Area as an official Municipal Park, and present it before the council during a public hearing at a later date. A formal Master Plan for the area has never been adopted by the Council since discussions began in 2003. Only a general concept for how it would be developed has been followed by the City.

Year-long investigation into drugs for minors in Stuart leads to 3 arrests


January 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Stuart Police Department said Wednesday three people were arrested Tuesday, during the culmination of a year-long investigation to the supply of drugs to persons under age in the Stuart area. Search warrants served at two locations in Stuart resulted in the recovery of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Taken into custody at one residence was Nina Wagner and David Sherwood, of Stuart. The pair both face charges which include: possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of marijuana; possession of prescription drugs without a prescription; child endangerment; possession of methamphetamine; and, distribution of a schedule One controlled substance to a person under age18. Also taken into custody, at a separate residence, was Gerald Waltz.

Waltz faces charges that include: possession of drug paraphernalia; distribution of a prescription drug; possession of marijuana; possession of methamphetamine; and, distribution of a schedule One controlled substance to a person under age 18.

Officials say the investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are possible. Anyone with information regarding the sale or use of illegal drugs in the Stuart area, especially information pertaining to the sale of drugs to minors, are encouraged to contact the Stuart Police Department at (515)-523-1896.