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New online tool touts Missouri River’s natural beauty & lets you explore it

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Missouri River Recovery Program is launching a new interactive online tool designed to provide insight to the river’s natural environment and efforts being made to preserve it. Steve Fischer, the program’s senior manager, says the tool is called the Missouri River Basin Explorer. It lets computer users explore the waterway’s different regions, from the Rocky Mountain foothills, along Iowa’s western border to the lowlands of Missouri. “You can take a look at each one of those different regions on the river,” Fischer says. “You can click on different tabs on the website and it’ll show links based on whatever topic you might have selected. It’s helping to show folks how things are interacting together.”

He says the tool was developed with plenty of input from stakeholders all along the Missouri River Basin. Fischer says the tool can help the public to better understand what takes place on the river. “As we engage with the stakeholders in a variety of different venues up and down the river, for example our Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, our 70-member stakeholder group that we work with,” he says. “It’s a tool for them to go back and share with their constituents as well as for us to share with other basin stakeholders.”

The river serves many interests, including: agriculture, commerce, energy, natural resources, navigation, recreation and water supply. Overuse of the river, the group claims, has led to problems with the ecosystem — 51 of 67 native fish species now rare, uncommon or decreasing; reproduction has largely ceased for cottonwoods, historically the dominant floodplain tree; and aquatic insects, a key link in the food chain, have been reduced by 70-percent. The group says three-million acres of natural river habitat have been altered. Learn more at the website: www.MoRiverRecovery.org

(Radio Iowa)

(Podcast) 7:05-a.m. Local News w/Ric Hanson

News, Podcasts

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Enjoy the warm weather for now, as snow’s coming…eventually

News, Weather

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

While the weather outside isn’t exactly frightful yet, some Iowans may need a reminder that wind chills will plummet and snow will fly one day very soon. Today (Thursday) is Winter Weather Awareness Day, according to Jeff Johnson, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Johnson says, “Winter Weather Day is a day to think about the hazards we face here in the state from winter weather, particularly, we’ll look at the winter storms, blizzards, extreme cold episodes and ice storms and for each of those, how to deal with each threat.”

The National Weather Service is offering that information on its website, weather-dot-gov. “We want people to know how to get a watch, warning or advisory,” Johnson says. “Safety things everyone should do, like making sure your winter weather emergency kit is ready in your car. Exactly what to put in that is on our website.” Some items should include: blankets, a flashlight, extra batteries, a radio, a shovel and non-perishable food. After this year’s prolonged drought, everyone’s wondering about the winter ahead. Johnson says predictions are still inconclusive.

“Last year, we had a fairly tranquil winter that was punctuated by an extremely warm March, holy cow, with temperatures in the 80s, it was a record month,” Johnson says. “Prior to that, we had a few snow episodes and some ice but nothing significant.” As for naming this season’s winter storms like what’s done with hurricanes, Johnson says that’s a gimmick being offered by the Weather Channel, not the National Weather Service.

(Radio Iowa)

Moped vs. car accident in Atlantic

News

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The driver of a moped suffered minor injuries during a collision with a car Tuesday afternoon, in Atlantic. According to the Police Department, a vehicle driven by Brenda Roenfeld, of Atlantic, was traveling east on 14th Street and had stopped at the intersection with Plum, before proceeding to turn right. As she did so, her vehicle was struck in the rear by a moped being driven by Maximilian Elwood, of Atlantic. The accident happened at around 3:30-p.m.

Elwood refused medical treatment at the scene. Police cited him for Failure to Maintain Control and Reduce Speed.

Another copper wire theft reported in Montgomery County

News

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County are investigating at least two separate incidents where copper wire was stolen from properties in Red Oak. The Sheriff’s Office reported that sometime between October 25th and November 7th, someone cut and stole four strands of copper wiring from the base of a radio station’s tower at 1924 Ironwood Avenue, in Red Oak. During the same time frame, someone cut and stole 160-feet of copper wiring from the Chat Mobility tower at 1926 Ironwood Avenue, in Red Oak.

The combined replacement cost of the wire is around $3,000. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Montgomery County Crimestoppers at 1-800-432-1001.

Stanton man arrested on probation & theft charges

News

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Stanton man was arrested Wednesday evening in Montgomery County, on a warrant for violation of his probation. 19-year old Drew Dale Goodrich was also taken into custody at around 5-p.m., on a charge of Theft in the 5th degree. He was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $5,300 cash bond.

Iowa early News Headlines – Thu., Nov. 8th 2012

News

November 8th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — Mitchell County voters have rejected a bond sale to build a new courthouse in Osage. Voters on Tuesday turned down a proposal to allow the sale of $6.5 million in bonds to demolish the courthouse and build a new one. The courthouse was built in 1858.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A Black Hawk County jury has convicted a Waterloo man of first-degree murder in the shooting death of another man whose body was found slumped over the steering wheel of a parked car on a street in Waterloo. The jury found 22-year-old Montez Caples guilty yesterday. His trial started last week, and the jury got the case on Tuesday. Caples was charged with killing 34-year-old Robert Shannon on December 14th.

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sac City police say human remains discovered in the basement of a recently purchased house could be those of the previous homeowner who disappeared in 2009. Police Chief John Thomsen says “all signs point” to Mark Koster. He was last seen with a friend on July 4th, 2009. He was 58. The remains were found Monday by the new homeowner while remodeling the basement.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bonobo considered one of the best at communicating with humans has died at an ape sanctuary in Des Moines. Ken Schweller, the chairman of the Great Ape Trust Bonobo Hope, says Panbanisha died Tuesday night, likely from complications from a cold. The 26-year-old female bonobo lived at the trust since 2005.

Atlantic City Council passes Tax Increment Financing Policy

News

November 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

After nearly 30-minutes of discussion and a tweaking of the wording, the Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, passed a resolution establishing a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Policy, which has been in the works for months. Councilman Shaun Shouse, said the process involved input from a Citizen Task Force, the Community Development Committee, suggestions from the City Attorney and Bonding Attorney, along with local developer Don Sonntag. Shouse said Bond Counsel Bob Josten suggested the City specifically state in the policy that preference be given to the use of property tax rebates when considering TIF projects, since that results in lower costs to the City by eliminating the bonding process. He said it doesn’t prohibit the City from doing “up-front” grants bonded, or otherwise.

Another suggestion puts the burden on the developer to demonstrate financial assistance is necessary in the amount as warranted, based on “public benefit.” He says that refers to a “Cost-benefit analysis” type of reasoning being used for the TIF. It means people need to be aware that not everyone who requests TIF will receive the maximum amount, and that the City will consider whether the project warrants public input, and that the amount requested is reasonable, considering the benefits back to the City and its residents.

Josten also suggested the City be very clear in how it words “Incremental Taxable Value,” so that any future rollbacks would not result in modifications to the wording to account for that. Instead, the City would consider increased taxable value. There was also a section on what is classified as “Qualified Expenses.”

After the Council unanimously approved the resolution, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Livengood said the fact they were able to come up with a final policy was “amazing,” considering how long the process took, and the amount of paperwork it involved that was reduced to just a few pages at the end of that process. Developer Don Sonntag commended the Council for establishing the policy, which he said might be used in the near future to develop a property subdivision for rental and for-sale homes that would come in two phases, and result in the construction of some 40 homes. The homes that would be offered for rent, would be priced at about $750 per month.

The project, if it comes to fruition,  would cost anywhere from $1.4-to $2-million, and would be built in the vicitinity of East 22nd Street, near the Sundance Apartments. In order for the project to be viable, Sonntag said he would likely need a TIF of up to $250,000. He said there are a lot of hoops to go through before he approaches the City with a TIF request, however.

Atlantic still being considered for high speed passenger rail route

News

November 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic is still under consideration as a possible stop for a high-speed, Chicago-to-Omaha passenger rail route. City Administrator Doug Harris told the City Council during their meeting Wednesday evening he spoke recently with Amanda Martin, IA DOT freight and policy coordinator and Liaison to the Iowa Passenger Rail Advisory Committee. He says Atlantic is still in the running as one of the communities the train might pass through, but Martin wanted to know if the City was given further consideration, would the Rock Island Depot, which currently serves as the Chamber of Commerce’ Headquarters, be available as a possible stop?

Harris said there would have to be further discussion among the various entities, such as the group responsible for restoring the depot, the Chamber, and others, before a firm answer could be given. He said it was “exciting that they’re not only looking at this as a rail line, but also as a possible stop.”

A two-million dollar study is underway, to evaluate potential route alternatives, evaluate levels of service and ridership, analyze environmental impacts, and determine a preferred Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha passenger rail route alternative for intercity regional passenger rail service.  The study includes a Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Half of the funds used to pay for the study is coming from the State of Iowa, with another million matched by the federal government. Open house public hearings on the Draft Tier 1 EIS are anticipated to be held in December. Online meetings are available from now through January 2013.The next steps would include submitting the final Tier 1 EIS to the the Feds, in order to be considered for approval.

Among the routes that were initially being considered, were those that ran from Chicago through: Dubuque, Waterloo and Ft. Dodge; Clinton, Cedar Rapids, and Ames; Cedar Rapids and Huxley; Moline, Iowa City, Des Moines, and possibly Atlantic; or, through Burlington, Osceola and Council Bluffs, which is essentially the existing AMTRAK route.

$22.5-million Iowa Western Bond Election set for Dec. 4th

News

November 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Voters in western Iowa will head to polls again in December. Polling sites will be open on December 4th for a special Iowa Western Community College Bond Election. The Public Measure asks:  “Shall the Iowa Western Community College (Merged Area XIII) in the Counties of Adair, Adams, Audubon, Cass, Crawford, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby, be authorized to remodel, erect and equip buildings at the main campus and other enrollment locations, contract indebtedness therefor, and issue its school bonds in an amount not exceeding $22,500,000 for that purpose?”

In order to keep the costs of conducting the election down, the minimum number of voting places will be opened for this election. Any voter who will not be going to the designated voting place on election day may request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots should be requested as soon as a person decides to vote using this process.

IN CASS COUNTY, ONLY FIVE VOTING CENTERS WILL BE USED FOR THIS ELECTION:

1. The two VOTING CENTERS for the ATLANTIC COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT are: No. 1: Voters living in Wards 1, 4 and 5 of the City of Atlantic will vote at Heritage House, 1200 Brook Ridge Circle in Atlantic. No. 2: Voters residing in the remainder of the Atlantic Community School District, being those voters residing in Audubon and Pottawattamie counties; Bear Grove, Benton, Brighton, Cass, Franklin, Grove, Pymosa and Washington townships of Cass County; the City of Marne; the City of Wiota; and Wards 2 and 3 of the City of Atlantic will vote at the Atlantic Public Library (507 Poplar), Atlantic, Iowa.

2. The two VOTING CENTERS for the CAM COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT are: No. 1- in ANITA: Voters residing in that portion of the CAM Community School District lying in Adair and Audubon counties; Benton, Franklin, Grant and Lincoln townships of Cass County; the City of Anita; and the City of Wiota will vote at the ANITA COMMUNITY CENTER (805 Main St). No. 2- in MASSENA: Voters residing in that portion of the CAM Community School District lying in Adams County; Bear Grove, Edna, Massena, Noble, Union and Victoria townships of Cass County; the City of Cumberland; and the City of Massena will vote at the MASSENA PUBLIC LIBRARY in Massena (122 Main St).

3. The VOTING CENTER for the GRISWOLD COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT is: In GRISWOLD- Griswold Community Building, 601 2nd St, Griswold and all voters of the School District will vote there.