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Supreme court hears arguments in IWD closing case

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday evening in Governor Terry Branstad’s appeal of a district court ruling that overturned his item veto of part of a bill that appropriated over eight million dollars to keep 36 Iowa Workforce Development offices open. Richard Sapp presented the governor’s case and told the justices that the veto was legal because the governor created an alternative to the “brick and mortar” field offices. He says the definition of what constituted a field office was not clearly laid out by the legislature, and that has been the test since the first challenge of the item veto. “Since 1971 the legislature has been on notice of what it must write if it intends to make something a condition,” Sapp said. “There are numerous examples in this court’s jurisprudence since that first case that do the same thing, and the question is: Why didn’t they do that here? Why is there no conditioning language as to the field office section since they were clearly on notice? Could they not get enough votes in the legislature to make it an explicit condition? We don’t know.” Mark Hedberg represented the group that challenged the governor’s veto. He said the issue was clearly defined.

“If we look at the definition section it says ‘for purposes of this section field offices and satellite offices it shall’…it’s not aspirational, it’s not may or whatever,” Hedberg said. “It says we have a product, this is what it shall consist of, this is how many we are going to make and here’s the money for it. When you take that out, and you’ve got virtual offices, you’ve distorted the whole section and what it was all about to begin with. Justice Thomas Waterman asked Hedberg about the purpose of the item veto. “The intent of the framers of the item veto amendment was to give the governor more control over the budget than he’d have without it?,” Waterman asked Hedberg, who replied yes. “And wouldn’t you undermined that if you construed the item veto power so narrowly that he couldn’t strike out a policy provision that would tie his hands on ways to save money, ” Waterman asked. Hedberg replied.

He said, “The item veto as I understand it was to prevent pork barrel politics is that fair enough? But I think in this case the governor vetoed the barrel and kept the pork for himself, that’s the problem. And I think that’s why you have got to veto the money. Because now you can take that eight-point-six-million dollars and use it, distort it.” Hedberg said in his summary that they are not trying to handcuff the governor’s use of the line item veto. “We’re not asking the governor to go through every line of a budget, we’re only asking to take a look at the ones you’re going to veto and when you veto it, you’d better make sure that it’s not a condition on an appropriation, which we believe this was, either a condition or restriction on that appropriation…and I think that’s all that’s required by our court system, not magic words not red lights, Hedberg said. Sapp concluded his arguments by asking the justices to think about what their ruling would do to the item veto cases.

“I keep thinking, haven’t we decided all the issues of the item veto amendment by now. Apparently not, and what the plaintiff’s proposing are going to take us backwards years and years because they have no good alternative test to give to a governor or to give to a court as to how you determine whether something is or is not a condition,” Sapp said. The arguments were streamed lived on the court system website and there will be an archive of the arguments posted there too at: www.iowacourts.gov.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Cass County Board of Supervisors & Atlantic City Council to meet today

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning in Atlantic. During their 9-a.m. session at the courthouse, the Board will hold a public hearing on a request for a zoning change with regard to a 4.59-acre parcel of land in the southwest 1 southwest 1/4 of section 33 of Pymosa Township, from General Ag to Light Industrial. Following the hearing, the Board will act on approving the zoning change. John Dvorak requested the Zoning Commission rezone a part of his property on the outskirts of Atlantic, located off Olive Street, across from the Little League Diamonds. Dvorak wants to rezone the area so he can have a tire repair and car service business.

In other business, the Cass County Supervisors will act on extending a Homeland Security Grant Program application and a related SWIPCO administrative contract. The Board will also hear from a representative with Wellmark, with regard to a Group Medical Insurance review and renewal, and, act on approving the appointment of a full-time jailer.

The Atlantic City Council will hold a Special meeting this evening at City Hall. During the 5:30-p.m. session, the Council will act on approving the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013 Municipal Budget. A Public hearing on the Municipal Budget is scheduled for March 7th. After the Council adopts the proposed budget, with or without modifications, it can be lowered, but not increased.

The Council will also act on approving change orders related to improvements at the Atlantic wastewater treatment plant. The change orders pertain to the installation of a water-tight access manway, along with the replacement of equipment designed to protect against corrosion of tank walls, and, modifications to a damaged, existing sludge loadout station. The changes amount to slightly more than $13,000 in an additional costs.

IA News Headlines: Wed., Feb. 22nd 2012

News

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Iowa is one of eight states that will receive federal loans under the Obama administration’s health insurance law. The money will go toward new nonprofit cooperative health insurers that will be run by their customers and designed to offer coverage to individuals and small businesses. Starting in 2014, millions of uninsured Americans will buy private coverage in new state markets.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman who got E. coli after eating tainted sprouts is suing sandwich chain Jimmy John’s. Heather Tuttle is the first from the most recent outbreak to accuse the chain of serving unsafe food. She is seeking damages for pain and suffering. Tuttle is one of 12 people whose recent illnesses have been linked to raw sprouts from Jimmy John’s.

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — The Archer Daniels Midland Co. is cutting more jobs at the idled Clinton polymer plant as part of a company-wide restructuring. The Illinois-based company says 15 employees accepted ADM’s voluntary early retirement and 15 other positions were eliminated.

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The small Iowa city of Coralville is an example of how neighboring cities are competing for jobs and development as the economy strengthens. Coralville lured department store Von Maur from Iowa City with incentives including a larger building and property tax discounts. The store is scheduled to move just five miles away from its current location sometime in 2013.

New option open for flood victims in western Iowa

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Western Iowa residents forced out of their homes by Missouri River flooding may have another option for temporary housing. Iowa Finance Authority spokeswoman, Ashley Jared, says flood victims can apply for a waiver to live in housing usually restricted by the federal government to low-income families.  “They don’t have to worry about their income to seek some housing assistance in those properties. We just ask that they go to our website and fill out a form and kind of search to see if there’s a vacancy at an affordable housing property. We have all of the contact information at Iowa Finance Authority dot-gov (www.iowafinanceauthority.gov) for them,” Jared says. The waiver applies to flood victims in Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills, and Fremont counties.

“They just have to verify that they did indeed live in one of those five counties in Iowa during the period of May 25th to August first 2011, and that their property was indeed damaged or destroyed by the flooding. And we will go ahead and see what we can do to get them in to an affordable rental project,” Jared says. The Finance Authority says over 12-hundred Iowans have filed for assistance from FEMA following last year’s flooding.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Harlan woman injured in Audubon County crash

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Harlan woman was injured this (Tuesday) morning during a rollover accident in Audubon County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 46-year old Patty Hildreth, of Harlan, was traveling east on Highway 44, about five-miles east of Kimballton, when the 2007 Chevy Impala she was driving went out of control on the 100% ice-covered roadway. The car slid off the road and into the south ditch before rolling over and coming to rest on its top. The accident occurred just before 8-a.m.

Hildreth, who was wearing her seat belt when the accident took place, was transported by Elk Horn Rescue to the Audubon County Memorial Hospital for treatment. A report on her condition is not available.

CAM School Board accepts bid for football/track bleachers

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The CAM School District’s Board of Education, Monday, approved a bid of $171,326 for the replacement of bleachers at the football and track fields. The single bid was received from Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, out of Ellendale, MN.   The contractor will begin work on installing the bleachers in early June, with completion expected sometime in July. The CAM School Board also set the date of March 19th to hold a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget, and on the early start calendar. And, they received an update from Snyder and Associates on the multi-purpose building to be located north of the Elementary building, which included specifications and pre-drawings, but no cost estimates have been received.

Atlantic man arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports 18-year old Christopher Joe McVey, of Atlantic, was arrested Sunday, for Possession of a Controlled Substance. McVey was booked into the Cass County Jail and released Monday, on his own recognizance. 

The Sheriff’s Office reports also, 37-year old Gregory James Storjohann, of Walnut, was arrested Friday on a charge of Driving While Barred. Storjohann was taken to the Cass County Jail where he posted $2000 bond and was released. He was arrested the next day by Atlantic Police on the same charge.

Injury accident north of Atlantic

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

One person was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic this (Tuesday) morning, following a single-vehicle rollover accident, north of Atlantic. According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, a 2005 Jeep Wrangler driven by 58-year old Debra Sue Seitz, of Atlantic, was traveling north on Olive Street at around 8:55-a.m. When Seitz applied the brakes near Echo Road, the SUV slid on the icy roadway, crossed into the west ditch and rolled onto its top. Seitz was transported to CCMH by Atlantic Medivac for treatment of minor injuries. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $3000.

Griswold School Board approves new softball & football field lights

News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The future’s looking bright for athletes who will be taking to the softball and football fields in Griswold.  Griswold Community School District Superintendent Dana Kunze told KJAN News the School Board Monday evening agreed to purchase new lighting for both fields. Kunze said it’s hoped both projects can be completed this summer. 

The Board approved a bid from Ardent Lighting out of Knoxville, for approximately $128,000 altogether. He says there’s no guarantee the lights will be up by the start of the softball season, but the football field lights should definitely be up before that season begins. Lights are currently in-place at both fields, but Kunze says they’re well over 40-years old. He says replacement bulbs are hard to find, the new bulbs are more efficient, and much brighter. He says safety issues with the current lights not being bright enough, also contributed to the board’s decision to replace those fixtures.

Kunze says also, bonding for the district roofing project is going smoothly, and progress is being made in realigning the Director Districts. The realignment means there will be four geographic districts and three At-Large. There will be a Resolution in front of the school board next month to accomplish the realignment.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves increases in Summer Rec Program fees

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The price you pay for your kids to participate in some of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Summer Recreation Programs will be going up, and be prepared for some changes in how some of the programs operate. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said at Monday night’s Board meeting, one of the changes affects the Playground Program. He says instead of two sites, there will be just one site: Washington Elementary School. The hours will be from 9:30-until 11:30-a.m., instead of from 1-3pm. Herring says the idea is to incorporate the YMCA lunch program into the Playground Program.

Herring says each day’s activities will be published as the time frame grows closer, but they will involve crafts and exercise. Each session would conclude with lunch at the YMCA. The students will be escorted from the Washington School to the YMCA, where their parents can pick them up after lunch. Herring recommended, and the Park and Rec Board Monday approved, charging parents a fee to enroll their kids in the Playground Program. He says the fee would amount to $1 per day of the 20-session program, which runs from May 29th to June 29th, or $20 altogether. The Board and Herring agreed that no student will be turned down for the program because of an inability to pay. Service clubs may be asked to help defray the costs.

Roger Herring says also, the swimming program would be held once a week, on Tuesday’s, at the Sunnyside swimming pool. No lunch will be served.    The Swim Team, which is held May 29th through July 15th, will practice daily at noon at the Sunnyside Pool, with practice during inclement weather, inside, at the Nishna Valley YMCA. Participants purchase their own team swimsuits, t-shirts and goggles. The price for the t-shirts, according to Herring, will be going up just a bit. He recommended, and the board approved, an increase of $5 in the fee to participate on the swim team, which will now cost $25.

Board Chair Stuart Dusenberry pointed out that’s still much lower than it was years ago, when the Parks Department was still paying to bus students to the various swim meets. Since the policy was changed, parents have been handling that responsibility. The increase in fee also helps to cover the cost of paying a Swim Team Coach, Assistant Coach and Manager, which had previously been a volunteer position. Herring said there were 60 participants in the program last year. He says if there are a similar number this year, it will be a “break even” proposition for the Parks and Rec Department cost-wise.

The adult softball fee is also expected to be “restructured,” but the details have not yet been worked out.