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Dallas County voters reject jail bond issue; Greene Co. voters approve gambling


August 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ADEL, Iowa (AP) – Dallas County voters have said no to a Board of Supervisors’ plan for a new county administration building and jail. A $16.9 million bond referendum was rejected by about 68 percent of voters on Tuesday.  The money would have helped the county pay the $22 million total price for the proposed 91,000-square-foot building on county-owned land in east Adel.

In other special elections Tuesday, more than 73 percent of Indianola voters rejected a proposal to move from a mayor-council form to a manager-council-at-large form of government. And in Greene County, more than 75 percent of voters approved a proposal to allow gambling. Developers want to build a $35 million casino and entertainment complex near Jefferson.

Floppy will be governor’s guest at state fair


August 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Floppy is going to be Gov. Terry Branstad’s companion at the Iowa State Fair. The governor’s office announced Tuesday the beagle puppet made famous by his 30-year-run on Des Moines TV station WHO will go on display in Branstad’s state fair booth in the Varied Industries Building. The fair begins Thursday. The puppet starred on “The Floppy Show” and came to life through the ventriloquism of Duane Ellett.

After Ellett died in 1987, his family donated Floppy and other puppets to the State Historical Society. Floppy was displayed from 1994 until earlier this year, when the puppet was removed to the outrage of his fans. After the fair, Floppy will be sent to Omaha, Neb., for repairs at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, then returned the State Historical Museum.

Panel lets proposed “telemedicine” abortion ban proceed


August 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A legislative committee’s tie vote on Tuesday means rules that would ban so-called “tele-med” abortions in Iowa can move forward. The Board of Medicine has proposed rules that would no longer allow doctors in Iowa to dispense abortion-inducing pills via a video-conferencing system. Dr. Robert Shaw is chairman of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s board of directors. Shaw says the Board of Medicine reviewed the practice in 2010 and decided it could continue, but since then Republican Governor Terry Branstad has replaced all 10 members of the board. “This is a terrifying example of politics dictating health care,” Shaw says. Kelly Larsen, a nurse who works at a clinic that encourages women with unplanned pregnancies to consider options other than abortion, is among those who signed a petition asking the Board of Medicine to take the action.

“I believe that this proposed rule is a necessity due to the risks that are imposed to the women if any side-effects were to happen,” Larsen says. Larsen says she’s fielded “multiple calls from multiple women” suffering side-effects after having a medication abortion. Shaw — the leader of the Planned Parenthood of the Heartland board of directors — counters that none of the more than three-thousand women who’ve had medication abortions prescribed via video-link have filed complaints about the procedure.

“I cannot remain quiet about the medical inaccuracies being presented,” Shaw says. Sue Thayer was the manager of a Planned Parenthood center in Storm Lake when what she calls “web-cam” abortions were first introduced. “I had very serious concerns about that, the procedure,” Thayer says. “…I still have those same concerns today.” Erin Davison-Rippey, a policy analyst for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, suggests the Board of Medicine is going beyond its authority since bills that would have banned the practice were proposed in the legislature in 2011 and again in 2013, but never became law.

“The legislature has had some opportunities to weigh in on this and has not,” she says. Mary Purtle, an opponent of abortion, says she is “upset” by the concept of tele-med abortions. “It’s more of tele-death,” Purtle said. “…It’s taking the life of a healthy baby in a presumably healthy mother.” The legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee has the authority to delay the rule banning tele-med abortions, but a bid to do that failed on a tie vote Tuesday afternoon. The same arguments for and against the tele-med abortion ban will be made August 28th at a public hearing in Des Moines about the rule. After that, the Board of Medicine will again review the matter at one of its meetings and the rule could go into effect sometime around October 23rd, although legal action would likely follow to delay implementation.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., Aug. 7th 2013


August 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lucky ticketholders who win jackpots such as the current $425 million Powerball pot aren’t the only ones who score big. The retailers who sell the tickets that win big money share in the customer’s good fortune. Casey’s General Store in Bondurant, Iowa, is known as the place that sold a $202.1 million Powerball jackpot ticket in September. Assistant Manager Debra Fetters says she’s asked, “Does lightning strike twice here?”

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines police officer who was pinned by a truck last month has left a Minnesota hospital. Lt. Joe Gonzalez has left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is resting with family at an undisclosed location.

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — The second trial for a southeast Iowa man charged with killing his pregnant wife has been postponed. The re-trial for Seth Techel was to begin Monday but has been delayed indefinitely due to a medical problem. Techel is charged with murder and nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy in connection with the death of his wife, Lisa Techel, and their unborn child. She was shot in May 2012 at their home near Agency. The first jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A man captured by police after a dangerous pursuit has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 30-year-old northern Iowa woman. Thirty-nine-year-old Tyrone Washington Jr. has been charged in Monday’s death of Justina Marie Smith of Northwood.

Atlantic City Council to hear abatement request from Cass County Fair Board


August 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council is expected to hear a request during its meeting Wednesday evening, for the abatement of the fee for a building permit pertaining to the Cass County Fairgrounds. The Cass County Ag and Ed. Association, commonly referred to as the “Fair Board,” is asking the City of waive the building permit fee of just under $3,100, for the construction of a Cattle Barn on the Fairgrounds.

Cass Co. Fair Cattle Barn schematic

Cass Co. Fair Cattle Barn schematic

Zoning Administrator John Lund, will not be present to explain why he feels the fee was exorbitant for what he calls a “Glorified carport,” but City Administrator Doug Harris will speak on his behalf. City Attorney Dave Weiderstein has also indicated he has similar thoughts on the matter. Doug Harris says while Lund has reservations on a complete abatement of the fee due to precedent and fairness (as no entity is exempt from building permit fees outside of the City itself and AMU/Utility companies for basic infrastructure), he has sympathy for an entity that exists purely on donations, and provides an educational and enjoyable experience for all Cass County residents and visitors while remaining free to the public.

The Cattle Barn building is funded through donations from both individuals and businesses around Cass County. Construction on the 86-foot wide, 120-fott long all steel, clear-span structure is expected to begin within about  30-days. It will have open sides, with steel sliding doors on the ends and a dirt floor. The building is expected to cost nearly $84,300.

Regardless of the Council’s decision on approving abatement of the fee request, Lund has indicated he will likely present the matter before the Finance and Personnel Committee, so they can determine if the ordinance Lund must follow is flawed, and ways in which they can be improved to reflect a fair and logical pricing system for everyone.

Ft. Calhoun nuke station exercise & public meetings postponed TFN


August 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII office announced today (Tuesday) that the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station public meeting and emergency response exercise, scheduled to take place this week near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska has been postponed until further notice. High wind speeds reaching approximately 90 mph were reported during a severe thunderstorm this morning, and power was lost. The power has since been restored and there are no safety concerns.REPP Logo

The states of Nebraska and Iowa along with Washington County in Nebraska and Pottawattamie and Harrison Counties in Iowa will work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), FEMA and the Omaha Public Power District to reschedule the exercise for a future date to be determined. The exercise is a biennial requirement to determine the adequacy of the state and local radiological emergency preparedness and response plans. It tests the abilities of the state, the utility company, and participating counties to protect the health and safety of the public living and working in the vicinity of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.

The exercise requires the activation of emergency facilities operated by state, county and local units of government, all of which generating response activities that are evaluated by the FEMA Region VII Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program. Concurrently, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station on-site performance is evaluated by officials from the NRC.

Members of the public will be informed when the exercise and the public meeting outlining the full-scale response exercise process, has been rescheduled.

Harlan Arrest Report


August 6th, 2013 by admin

The Harlan Police Department reports the arrest of 32-year old Ian Leib of Harlan on July 30th. Officers were called to the 300 block of Market Street for an intoxicated person that would not leave an open garage. Leib was transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with Trespassing and Intoxication in public, which were enhanced due to four prior convictions.

Also on July 30th, the Harlan P-D took a report of a Troy Built weed eater that had been stolen from Renee Parrot of Harlan in the 1800 block of 7th Street. Police are following leads and the case remains under investigation.

On August 4th, Dillon Wells of Harlan reported that his 16 GB iPod had been stolen from Burger King, his place of employment. This case remains under investigation.

Atlantic man arrested on drug warrant


August 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Atlantic report the arrest on Monday of 42-year old Scott Haupert. The Atlantic man was taken into custody on a Cass County warrant for a Controlled Substance Violation. Haupert was booked into the Cass County Jail.

Harlan is ready to become “Christmas City” again


August 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

It’s still summer, but the Shelby County Board of Supervisors took action this (Tuesday) morning, to ensure the City of Harlan is bright and festive this winter. The Supervisors approved a $5,000 contribution from the building and grants fund, to go towards the Christmas Light Project. Officials with Shelby County, City of Harlan and Harlan Municipal Utilities are working together on the new project. The Hotel/Motel Tax Committee is also contributing as they approved a grant of $10,000 to the project.

Shelby County Auditor Marsha Carter told the board the plan is for the lights to be in tune with music. She said “There is a company out of Kansas City called Animated Lighting and actually does Christmas Lights for Disney. They go all over the nation and is working with a Council Bluffs Casino for one of their signs. They will do the Christmas lights with music. I think we have all seen that where the lights go with Christmas carols.”

The main lighting will go on the courtyard lawn on the east side of the square but Carter said lights will be over all over the square. The reason for the project is because Harlan was once known as Christmas city. Carter said “Everyone is working hard to get that name back. I remember as a kid Channel 7 would come up and film the downtown square.” The Christmas Light Project isn’t over with the one motion from the Supervisors. Carter said it will be an ongoing project with the plan to purchase an electronic tree down the road. This year and next year, the Harlan square will feature a real tree.

In other business, the Shelby County Engineer Dan Ahart discussed the recent closure of the bridge located on 1800th Street and Highway 191. The bridge has been closed because of damage and will not be repaired. Ahart said he is working with residence in the area to figure out a new entrance for all parties involved.  According to Ahart, “Typically what we like to do is make sure the landowners and people affected are in harmony. Worst thing to do is have a public hearing where you have two separate groups, one for and another against. So what we try to do is get the harmony before the paper work. Then go through the Iowa Code to hold the meeting to hear the comments and then actions taken by the Supervisors to do that.”

So far the engineer said he hasn’t had any problems with the residents. The county will come in and obliterate the road and use the good materials from the bridge in other projects. Ahart said the project will start later this year and hopes to have the entrance created for the landowners along with the land that was county land, to be used for farm ground next year. No action was taken by the Shelby County Supervisors.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Cass Supervisors to act on abatement in Anita & Massena Urban Renewal request


August 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, are expected to act on a couple of matters pertaining to the Cities of Anita and Massena. During the 9-a.m. meeting at the courthouse in Atlantic, the Board will act on approving an abatement of taxes on property belonging to the City of Anita, at 501 Maple Street, and Iowa Dept. of Transportation, for three parcels in the Right of Way.

The Supervisors will also act on approving a Resolution allowing the City of Massena to exercise Urban Renewal powers, pursuant to the Code of Iowa. During the past two Board of Supervisors’ meetings, Massena Mayor Linda Reineke presented information about the City’s Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), which illustrates that it is only the approximate $3.83-million for a Sanitary Sewer Collection System Relining Project that Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) could potentially finance in six-years. The other, approximately $8.17-million worth of projects are not included.

During last week’s meeting, Auditor Dale Sunderman recommended the Board consult legal counsel before proceeding, and that a public hearing be conducted before taking action. The Board took the recommendation under advisement.

At 11-a.m., the Board will receive an Iowa Counties Information Technologies’ evaluation of the Cass County Information Technology System.