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Walnut City Council discusses the future of Streetscape Project


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Walnut City Council spent a good deal of time Thursday evening discussing ways to keep the community a viable tourist attraction, by means of the Streetscape Program. City Clerk Terry Abell, says the goal is to have an attractive downtown for visitors and residents alike. She says they’re talking about having the merchants get together with the City to determine what is best for the future of the downtown area, which she says “Is a positive thing.”

Terry says there a “Lots of ideas,” and that’s it will be something that’s “A work in progress for a while.” She says “Everybody wants to maintain the antique ambiance of the community, and not jeopardize the integrity of what they’ve worked so hard to accomplish. The goal of course, is to have “A nice looking downtown.” Walnut bills itself as “Iowa’s Antique City.”

In other business, the Walnut City Council approved the Fire Department’s recommendation to reappoint Justen Tooley as Fire Chief, for a third, consecutive two-year term. Following a public hearing, the Council also adopted a resolution approving a loan agreement and bond purchase for $1.06-million in General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2013, and authorized early redemption of outstanding bonds. Along with that, Terry Abell says they approved a motion to amend the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget by $217,000.

She says most of that had to do with the refunding of the State Revolving Fund – SRF – loan, that has to be paid-off, but was not in the original budget. She says they weren’t extending the budget in any specific area to compensate for the refunding of the loan.

8AM Sportscast 04-05-2013

News, Podcasts

April 5th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks

Ombudsman releases annual report


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The annual report from the state Ombudsman shows the office received almost 45-hundred complaints in 2012, around the same amount as 2011. Ombudsman, Ruth Cooperider, found that just over three-thousand of the complaints fell under the jurisdiction of her office.
She says “Probably about a third of those would dealing with matters concerning the correctional system, whether it’s prisons or jails or community-based facilities. Because we do have jurisdiction to investigate complaints regarding those facilities, so we do get contacts from offenders or inmates.”

Second on the list for common complaints are human services concerns. “The wide range of issues dealing with child support, public assistance programs, Medicaid, just anything dealing with human services programs,” Cooperider says. Cooperider says complaints about local and county governments rounds out the top three when it comes to the type of complaints they receive. About half of the complaints don’t move ahead to be investigated. “It’s not necessarily that we don’t think they have merit, but under our statute we do have the ability to refer people maybe to an existing process,” Cooperider says. “For instance, if an inmate has a grieveable issue and they have not filed a grievance on that issue, we typically will refer them to that grievance process to try and seek a remedy there first. And if they are still not satisfied, they can come back to us.”

Cooperider says her annual report includes eight steps for people to resolve their own complaints before calling her office. She says that’s sometimes called “coaching” in the ombudsman community, where they give tips and information on where to go and how to present the issue. “And I think in some ways we are doing a services to them in how to negotiate government, not only on that issue, but in the future,” according to Cooperider.

You can see the Ombudsman’s 2012 Annual Report online at: www.legis.iowa.gov/Ombudsman. You can call the Ombudsman’s office with a compliant at:1-888-426-6283.

(Radio Iowa)

Temporary Closure of CCMH West Entrance


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic says the facility’s west entrance and parking lot (along 10th Street) will be closing Monday, April 8th, as demolition begins on the old patient wings.  Patients and visitors are asked to use the north atrium or east parking lots and entrances. CCMH CEO Pat Markham says “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is important we take every precaution to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe during the demolition.” The area is expected to be closed for about four to six weeks.

(8-a.m. News)

Red Oak student to be recognized as one of Iowa’s top youth volunteers


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Prudential Financial report a Red Oak eighth-grader will be recognized this (Friday) afternoon, as one of Iowa’s top two youth volunteers for 2013. Samantha Dilocker of Red Oak, Iowa, a student at the Red Oak Middle School, will be presented with an engraved silver medallion, as part of the “Prudential Spirit of Community Awards” program.

Samantha is being honored for initiating an annual auction of baked goods and crafts at her local Elks Lodge that has raised more than $14,000 over the past six years for a local food pantry, a scholarship fund, a community toy drive and a child with cancer.

As a State Honoree, Samantha also will receive $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join other State Honorees from across the country for several days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 of the 102 State Honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2013.

She will receive her silver medallion during an awards presentation in the Red Oak Middle School’s 3rd floor auditorium, beginning at around 2:55-p.m. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

Two State Honorees-one middle and one high school student-plus a select number of Distinguished Finalists from each state and the District of Columbia were selected based on criteria such as personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. For more information on Samantha and her volunteering, click here: http://bit.ly/Xf5sRp

Car vs. motorcycle accident in Atlantic, Thursday


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

One person was injured when a motorcycle and car collided on Atlantic’s west side, Thursday afternoon. According to dispatch reports, the accident at 2nd Street and Sunnyside lane (near the Wastewater Treatment Plant), happened at around 1:45-p.m.  The driver of the motorcycle was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. He was said to be conscious and talking when authorities arrived on the scene.

No other details are immediately available. The Iowa State Patrol assisted at the scene with the accident investigation.

Nearly 7 pct of Iowa not in drought, officials say

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say nearly 7 percent of Iowa is no longer in drought.    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says in a report issued Thursday that conditions have returned to normal in a swath of southeast Iowa. The U.S. Drought Monitor map from the National Drought Mitigation Center shows the drought conditions are worse to the northwest, culminating in extreme drought in portions of northwest Iowa.

The drought center says that a year ago nearly 61 percent of Iowa had no drought.  March rain in Iowa was a drop or two higher than the historical normal of 2.15 inches. It was the fourth consecutive month for higher-than-normal rainfall in the state.

Thefts reported in Red Oak, Thursday


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak are investigating three incidents of theft which were reported to authorities Thursday afternoon. At around 2:15-p.m., officers were notified of a burglary which occurred at a residence in the 700 block of East Reed Street. On the scene, the found pry marks and about $150 damage to the back door of the residence. Several items were missing from inside the home, and while the list was still being compiled late Thursday evening, the loss was estimated to be around $2,300.

At around 4:50-p.m. Thursday, Red Oak Police received a report from a woman who lives on East Nuckols Street, that someone had entered her vehicle and stolen a set of keys, along with a picture book. The items were valued at $15.

About 20-minutes later, police officers in Red Oak received a report about prescription narcotics having been stolen from another vehicle on East Nuckols Street. No damage was done to the vehicle in the process. All three incidents remain under investigation, and anyone with information about the crimes is asked to contact the Red Oak Police Department, or Crimestoppers, at 1-800-432-1001.

Details of “Healthy Iowa Plan” now available


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The full details are out about the governor’s “Healthy Iowa Plan” to cover nearly 90-thousand low-income Iowans who have a job, but still live just below the poverty line. Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, says the bill that’s been drafted calls for giving those Iowans access to a “medical home” that’s nearby.  “There may be some rural areas that we run into some issues,” Rogers says. “But our goal is to go within 30 minutes/30 miles of everybody.” The current state program that provides health care coverage to nearly 70-thousand low-income Iowans forces them to go to hospitals in Des Moines or Iowa City for treatment. The governor’s new plan would require participants to make a 10-dollar a month co-payment.

“There’s an element in there — it’s called ‘My Reward Plan,’ so every person has kind of their own plan that they take charge of,” Rogers says, “and they can do things to reduce their own premiums, to reduce their own co-pays, like smoking cessation things.” A combination of property taxes collected at the county level and 23 million dollars in state tax dollars would be used to finance the new “Healthy Iowa Plan.” Rogers has been designated as the lead Republican to deal with this issue.

This is not necessarily the plan that’s going to pass out of the House,” Rogers says. “What we want to do is look at it. We want to look at any ideas that Democrats have.” This “Healthy Iowa Plan” is Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s alternative to what Democrats have proposed — to expand Medicaid to cover as many as 150-thousand more Iowans. The top Democrat in the Senate accuses the governor of “dereliction of duty” for just now getting details of his plan released at the end of week 12 of the 2013 legislative session.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, April 5th 2013


April 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More details are available on Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s health proposal for low-income residents. Legislation for Branstad’s Healthy Iowa proposal came out yesterday. The plan would cover an estimated 89,000 residents with incomes below the poverty line. According to the bill, participants would have access to a primary care doctor within 30 minutes or 30 miles of their home. Branstad’s proposal will now be debated in the House.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate Democrats say they will reject Governor Terry Branstad’s nominee for the Iowa Utilities Board. Senator Matt McCoy of Des Moines said yesterday the nominee, former Republican Representative Nick Wagner, doesn’t have enough Democratic votes for the two-thirds majority needed for confirmation. Wagner says he’ll continue to fight for his nomination.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say property damage to a Cedar Rapids harbor from a recent ice jam will be between $20,000 and $25,000. The Cedar Rapids River Recreation Commission said yesterday the ice broke electrical poles at the Ellis Boat Harbor on the Cedar River and forced crews to make service repairs to connect boat houses.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — An 18-pound African leopard tortoise who went missing from an Iowa museum has been found alive in an elevator in the building. Officials at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque believe the tortoise named Cashew was stolen, but that the thief quietly returned the animal. She appears to be in good health.