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Iowa part of Google program to help businesses with websites

News

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is participating in a nationwide program started by Google which partners with several business groups to offer free web development along with related tools and training to small businesses. The director of the small business development center at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Sue Pitts, says many small companies need some help setting up effective websites. Pitts says when they do have websites, they may not be using them.
You can have your brother’s sister’s brother put up a page that you never ever look at,” Pitts says,”so I think some people think they have a website but they might not. Or if a business is in existence, they may have had a website six years ago that they haven’t really looked at.”

Pitts says more people are using the web to search for what they need, and then doing business on-line. Pitt says “if you’re not found online you might not be found at all, you might be just passed over.” She says she walks down the street in her neighborhood after the Yellow Pages are delivered they are in the recycle bins at almost every house.

Pitts says many customers make up their minds about what to buy before ever stepping into a storefront. She says the good news for businesses is that it’s getting easier and less expensive to build an effective web presence. The governor’s office says six out of 10 Iowa small businesses are without a website. Business owners can learn more about the Google program during workshops planned at several locations around the state next month.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa’s new dove hunting season opens this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s newest hunting season opens later this week following months of heated debate about the use of lead shot and the killing of mourning doves. Iowa’s new dove hunting season will run from September 1 through November 9. Experienced dove hunters, like Scott Gritters of Guttenberg, are excited they won’t have to travel out of state to test their skills. Gritters, a DNR fisheries biologist, says dove hunting is a relaxing, yet challenging sport.

“They’re very sporty and acrobatic. It takes a good shot to get ‘em,” Gritters said. The dove season is expected to attract around 20,000 resident hunters, including many who have never before hunted doves. Gritters says it can be frustrating for beginners. He suggests practicing with clay targets. “I think those people who are really good at shooting teal, which is a very fast duck…I think those people will have a better chance at (shooting doves),” Gritters said. “But hunting is like anything, you’ll be better if you practice.” Doves are most active in the morning and evening and tend to flock near water and low-standing or harvested crops. Hunters can wear camouflage, but are not allowed to use live decoys or bird calls. Gritters says doves are not only a challenge to shoot, but good to eat.

“I’m really looking forward to cooking the first batch up. They are an awesome eating bird,” Gritters said. “We usually just wrap ‘em in bacon on the grill.” Iowa is now one of 41 states to allow dove hunting. Hunters are being allowed to use lead shot this season, despite protests from some individuals who’ve raised environmental concerns. The Iowa Legislature is expected to debate a ban on lead shot before the 2012 dove hunting season.
For more information, surf to:  www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/MigratoryGameBirds/MourningDoves.aspx

(Radio Iowa)

Storms, dry weather affecting Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – While destructive storms have battered crops in some parts of Iowa, crops in other parts of the state are beginning to show stress from a lack of rainfall. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released the weekly Iowa crop report Monday, saying some areas in southeast Iowa have received less than an inch of rain since June 30.

Topsoil moisture is rated 52 percent short or very short and subsoil moisture is rated 48 percent short or very short. Corn is rated at 15 percent poor or very poor, 26 percent fair and 59 percent good or excellent. Soybeans are reported at 12 percent poor or very poor, 24 percent fair and 64 percent good or excellent. Northey says the condition of crops is concerning as the fall harvest approaches.

Nuclear plant not in flood emergency

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant that was entirely surrounded by Missouri River floodwaters earlier this summer officially ended its flood emergency Monday afternoon, utility officials said. But the power plant about 20 miles north of Omaha will remain shut down until repairs are made and regulators approve restarting the facility, Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson said. The river near the plant fell to 1003.5 feet above sea level Monday. The main power plant buildings are at 1,004 feet above sea level.

At the height of the flooding, the Missouri River rose up to 1,006 feet above sea level. That forced OPPD to erect a network of barriers and set up an assortment of pumps to help protect its buildings. But the plant remained dry inside, and officials said Fort Calhoun could withstand flooding up to 1,014 feet above sea level. Workers have already begun removing some flood barriers and disassembling the elevated catwalks workers used to cross the flooded parking lot. Fort Calhoun has been shut down since April because it was being refueled before the flooding began. It’s not clear when it will restart because officials haven’t been able to determine what repairs are needed. The plant may reopen sometime this fall, but it could even be delayed until next spring depending upon repairs, inspections and the weather.

The utility has submitted a recovery plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and regulators must approve the plan for inspections and repairs at Fort Calhoun. NRC officials have promised to closely monitor the efforts to ensure the plant is safe and doesn’t represent a threat to the public. For Calhoun entered the low-level emergency status called a “notification of unusual event” because of the flooding on June 6. The status was officially lifted Monday at 1:42 p.m.

The Missouri River’s floodwaters have begun to recede but the river may not return to within its banks until sometime in September or October. There has been flooding along the river since June because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing massive amounts of water into the river to deal with unexpectedly heavy spring rains and mountain snowpack.

 

Upcoming Road Work Projects in W/SW IA

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

** Road construction work will cause single line traffic in alternating directions on Iowa 92 between Pottawattamie County Road L-55, east of Treynor, and Pottawattamie County Road M-16, west of Carson beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, weather permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Council Bluffs construction office. A pilot car will be used to control traffic during the closure. The roadway will return to normal traffic patterns when workers are not present. Short delays are possible. This project is expected to be completed by Oct. 6.
** Road construction work will cause single line traffic in alternating directions on Iowa 2 between U.S. 59 and Page County Road M-32 near Shenandoah beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, weather  permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Council Bluffs construction office. A pilot car will be used to control traffic during the closure. The roadway will return to normal traffic patterns when workers are not present. Short delays are possible. This project is expected to be completed by Oct. 6.
** Road construction work will cause traffic on Iowa 44 to be restricted to one lane between Guthrie County Road N-70, west of Guthrie Center, and Iowa 4 in Panora beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, weather permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Creston construction office. A 16-foot width lane restriction will be in place in the open lane. Flaggers and a pilot car will be used to control traffic during the closure. The roadway will return to normal traffic patterns when workers are not present.The expected completion date for this project is Sept. 8.

East 22nd Street in Atlantic becomes 1-way until further notice

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green has announced, that because of several near-miss accidents, and in the interest of public safety, East 22nd Street is being changed to one-way only traffic between Highway 71, and Olive Street, effective immediately, and until further notice. Green says the authorized direction of travel will be WESTBOUND only. In addition, the temporary speed limit on that section of 22nd Street, will be 15-miles per hour.

Green says there have been several near accident situations arising from construction taking place in the affected area. All residents living along East 22nd Street, between Highway 71 and Olive Street, should be aware that the section of road has been, and remains closed to ALL through traffic.

Officers will be stopping motorists and issuing citations to anyone caught using the road as a throughway, as well as enforcing the speed limits.

Arrests reported in Atlantic

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports four people were arrested over the past few days. On Sunday, 25-year old Derek McDermott, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Pottawattamie County warrant for Driving While Barred, and 47-year old Ross Havens, of Wiota, was arrested on a charge of OWI, 2nd offense.

On Saturday, 28-year old Mike Henson, of Atlantic, was arrested for OWI/2nd offense, and on Friday, Atlantic Police arrested 30-year old Jason Trotter, of Atlantic, on a warrant for 3rd Degree Harassment.

All four men were brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

Arrests reported in Cass County, IA

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports four people were arrested recently, on unrelated charges. On Saturday, 36-year old Jason Michael Karstens, of Massena, was taken into custody on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Karstens was brought to the Cass County Jail and released Sunday, on $1000 bond.

Last Wednesday (August 24th), Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 45-year old Angela Renee Johnson, of Cumberland, on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Johnson was taken to the Cass County Jail where she was released later that day on her own recognizance. On August 20th, 53-year old Randy Scott Krisinger, of Griswold, was arrested on a charge of OWI 1st Offense. Krisinger was taken to the Cass County Jail where he was also released later that same, day on his own recognizance.

And, on August 19th, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 23-year old Lucas James Bogart, of Stanton, on a charge of Failure to Appear. Bogart was taken to the Cass County Jail where he is being held on $2000 bond.

One injured in Friday accident near Atlantic

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s office reports on person was injured during a crash Friday, northwest of Atlantic. The accident happened on Marne Road, when a 2002 GMC Sierra driven by 24-year old Michael C. Bodrug, of Angel Fire, New Mexico, went out of control, as the pickup was traveling southbound on the wet road surface.

Bodrug’s pickup entered the west ditch and came to rest against a utility pole. He was transported by Medivac Ambulance to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, for treatment of minor injuries. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $4,500.

Transportation woes continue from river flooding

News

August 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

TARKIO, Mo. (AP) – Lingering flood waters from the Missouri River have caused travel headaches in northwest Missouri for nearly three months and state officials say it’s too early to know when repairs might start. Missouri Transportation Department officials say the current flooding, in both duration and amount of water, is worse than the 1993 flood.

The Kansas City Star reports that in northwest Missouri, 65 miles of road remain submerged, including some of the few routes with bridges across the Missouri. And six miles of Interstate 29 just across the Missouri-Iowa border is still soaking under water, with another 14 miles submerged just north of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Beth Wright, of the transportation department, says the department is hoping to start addressing damaged roads between the middle to end of September to mid-October.