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Atlantic Council sends vacating matter to committee

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones announced during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, that action on a request to vacate a Lot in the Southern Heights Subdivision Second Addition would not be taken during the meeting. Instead, he said the matter being sent to the Community Development Committee for further discussion, because the “Language was not quite right.”

Southern Heights II Subdivision. (Courtesy Don Sonntag)

Southern Heights II Subdivision. (Courtesy Don Sonntag)

Local developer Don Sonntag asked if there would be a timeline for the transferring of the street vacation. Jones said there would need to be a date set for a public hearing after the matter comes back from the Community Development Committee, and the hearing held before any further action could be taken. Sonntag said he has two units “spoken for,” but he can’t get started until the vacating of the street is approved.

In a letter to the Council, Sonntag said the City of Atlantic’s Planning and Zoning Commission “Has thoroughly discussed, reviewed and unanimously voted twice that [the] street easement is not needed, and the layout [he] presented to them was discussed for approval.” Sonntag Development, LLC is considering building a total of more than 30 condominium units over a period of time, which he says would bring in a minimum of $215,00 in tax revenue annually for the City. He said “…if [the] land is not vacated, [the] project will not proceed.”

In other business, the Council set October 1st as the date for a public hearing on the disposal of City properties located at 1200 Birch and 1106 Poplar Streets. The lot on Birch Street is vacant, while the other property has a house on it. After the public hearing, the person who buys the property on Poplar Street would be responsible for tearing the house down. Mayor Dave Jones also set October 31st as the date for Halloween trick-or-treating. The hours are from 5-to 7-pm.

And, the Mayor made mention of efforts to bring an electronics recycling service to Atlantic. The company would bring a tractor trailer to the community that would allow old TV’s, microwaves, computers and other small electronics for free drop-off and recycling. It would cost about $5,000 to bring the service to town for a limited time. The Public Safety Committee would be responsible for coordinating the date and times. Donations to help pay for the service will be solicited from public sponsors, and maybe the Community Protection Committee. More details on the program will be released later.

Menlo woman arrested on drug charges

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Guthrie County said Wednesday, that a woman from Menlo was arrested on drug and other charges following a traffic stop last Friday. A deputy stopped a vehicle driven by 33-year old Heather Marie Luckinbill, of Menlo, at around 1-a.m. Friday for being driven with the headlights off.  During the course of the traffic stop, the deputy became suspicious that the occupants were under the influence of methamphetamine. A search was conducted of the stopped vehicle and approximately one gram of methamphetamine was located. Luckinbill was arrested for possession of methamphetamine first offense and possession of drug paraphernalia.
She was transported to the Guthrie County Jail where she underwent testing for suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Additional charges are pending at this time.

Disaster proclamation issued for 4 Iowa counties

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday issued a disaster emergency proclamation for four Iowa counties in response to recent severe weather. The proclamation covers Adair, Guthrie, Ringgold, and Warren counties following severe weather and heavy rains on Sept. 9. State resources can now be used to help affected communities in those counties.

The proclamation also activates an individual assistance program that grants up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The money can be used for temporary housing, home and car repairs and other items.

It’s personality versus policy in Iowa Senate race

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The race for Iowa’s open Senate seat could be dubbed the Resume vs. the Personality. Democrat Bruce Braley is focusing on policy in his bid to win the contest and his recent television ads have featured others talking about the four-term congressman’s record. He doesn’t appear in the ads himself. His Republican opponent Joni Ernst has built her campaign around telling voters her story as a down-home farm girl and military veteran.

A poll of likely Iowa voters released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University showed Ernst leading Braley 50 percent to 44 percent. The poll — which had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points — was the first recent survey to show Ernst with such a lead. Other recent polling has shown the two closely locked.

Iowa chiropractor in groping case gets reinstated

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa chiropractor accused in the past of inappropriately touching female patients can resume practicing, a state board announced Wednesday. The Iowa Board of Chiropractic’s decision to reinstate Stuart Hoven‘s license is contingent on several conditions. He is on permanent probation and will need a female chaperone present when treating patients who are women. He must also submit to polygraph testing every six months.

Hoven, of Winterset, had been accused multiple times of inappropriately touching his patients’ breasts. Two women reported incidents in 2012. Other patients reported incidents in 2004 that included alleged inappropriate comments of a sexual nature. His license was suspended indefinitely in January 2013. Hoven later expressed interest in returning to work, but the board ruled in September 2013 that he wasn’t ready.

A document filed by the board this month said Hoven has fully complied with requirements for seeking reinstatement. That includes completing individual and group therapy, as well as finishing a coaching program on professional sexual misconduct.

Hoven previously had clinics in Winterset and Osceola.

YPA Annual Scavenger Hunt

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Young Professionals of Atlantic recently held their annual scavenger sponsored by Dolly Bergmann, Longaberger Consultant, S. F. Martin House and Subway. The hunt included 15 Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Businesses: After 5 Somewhere, Atlantic Health Center, Atlantic Collison Center, Anytime Fitness, Boulders Inn and Suites, Fireside Lounge, Olsen’s Outdoor Power, Plastic Professionals, Renew Ag Supply, Rick’s Auto Clinic, Subway, The Alley Bar and Grill, The Tinderbox, Vagabound Travel and Weitzel’s Restaurant and Bar.2014 Collage

“The annual scavenger hunt is something all the YPAs look forward to each fall. The YPAs have received great support from all the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce members,” Executive Director, Ouida Wymer mentioned.

Teams of four received thumbnail photos associated with each Chamber businesses and received point for successfully identifying and taking a picture of each one. Bonus points were awarded for creativity. The winners were announced at S.F. Martin house and awarded Atlanticash and other prizes.

First place was awarded to the team, We thought this was BINGO, with 75 total points. The second place prize was given to H.I.C.K.S. (Highly Intelligent Country Kids). Mental Minions also took home prizes for the most creative team.

The Annual Scavenger Hunt is coordinated by the social committee of the Young Professionals of Atlantic. This committee is also responsible to organize monthly social events. The YPA’s mission is to connect, engage and attract young leaders into the community while promoting the greater Atlantic area. Any young professionals between the ages of 21-40 that are interested in joining the Social Committee or any YPA Committee contact chamber@atlanticiowa.com or 712-243-3017 for information.

Late season diseases are hitting some Iowa corn fields

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension says some late-season diseases are cropping up in northwest Iowa fields. Joel DeJong says some hybrids aren’t tolerating “Northern Corn Leaf Blight” very well. “We’ve kind of seen an explosion of that disease in some fields,” DeJong says. “And all of a sudden we’ve got a lot of brown leaves and we’re starting to see some, maybe, premature death in some of those fields which is going to hurt yields somewhat.” Some corn stalks are rotting in the field, too, because of soggy conditions.

“I think our environment for this whole season leads us to have more stalk rot,” DeJong says, “so we’re going to be a little concerned about standability at harvest time.” Combines only harvest corn from upright stalks, so if the corn stalk falls over, farmers lose those ears of corn. This year’s Iowa corn crop hasn’t reached maturity yet and the harvest in northern Iowa won’t begin until the end of this month.

“We’re hoping for more sunshine now and also some more sunshine and maybe warmer than normal days as we get into October so we can dry that crop and don’t have to spend so much money,” DeJong says. Propane prices have been steady for several weeks, but farmers have been urged to buy propane in advance to run the dryers on their corn bins. DeJong has inspected soybean fields, too, and his analysis indicates there are enough pods on the plants, but the question is how big the beans are inside those pods.

(Radio Iowa)

Attempt at world’s record pasta meal coincides with feeding the hungry

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A chef in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area has set a big goal to break a world’s record while trying to feed thousands of hungry people — in one day. Lynn Leahy is president of the non-profit organization, The Power of One, and has organized a huge spaghetti feed that will take place at 12 metro area high schools on Sunday. Leahy says all proceeds will go directly to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

“We are just a bunch of regular Joes that want to make a difference,” Leahy says. “There is so much overwhelming bad sometimes, so much in the news, how we look at politics, how divided it is, how divided everything seems to be. I wanted to pull us together just a little bit.” A recent U-S-D-A study found about 12-percent of Iowa’s population is food insecure, meaning, they don’t always know where their next meal will come from. The Omaha-based Food Bank for the Heartland helps stock the shelves at 285 food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens in Nebraska and western Iowa. Leahy says the Food Bank is the sole beneficiary of this weekend’s event.

“We’re doing the World’s Largest Spaghetti Feed Ever,” Leahy says. “We thought in order to get everybody involved in this and to really create that atmosphere, we needed to make it a contest.” To break the record, 17-thousand plates of food will need to be served on Sunday at midday. She says everyone is welcome to have a meal and if they can make a contribution, great.

“It’s a free will donation,” Leahy says. “If you don’t have any money, come eat. We really want to feed you. Our goal was for one day, in this town, no one goes hungry. No one. How realistic is that, I don’t know, but man, can I make an effort? Yeah.” Food will be served from 11 A-M until 3 P-M on Sunday at high schools in Omaha, Ralston, Plattsmouth, Westside, and at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs. The U-S-D-A report found 11-point-nine percent of Iowans are “food insecure,” missing meals or eating food that’s cheaper but with low nutritional value, just to have something to eat. Iowa is doing better than the national average of 14-point-six percent.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Supervisors approve two items on their agenda

News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors had a light agenda for their meeting Wednesday morning. The Board approved the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Urban Renewal Report. Auditor Dale Sunderman said local governments are required to complete and submit an annual report showing all TIF activity within each of their urban renewal areas during the preceding fiscal year.

Cass County had one active area: the Amaizing Energy Urban Renewal Area. $303,000 of the original $520,000 bond was outstanding 07/01/2013; $26,000 of bond was paid by TIF funds in FY14 to leave bond balance of $277,000. In addition, interest expense of $9,473.80 was paid.
TIF revenues for FY14 were $29,359.65. Ending TIF fund balance was $12,038. The Board approved the Urban Renewal Report as presented.

They also set the number of deputies in the Recorder’s Office at one. In the June 2014 Primary, Mary Ward won the Republican nomination for Cass County Recorder. Joyce Jensen had earlier announced she would not be running for re-election. No one is running against Ward in the November General election, therefore it’s assumed that she will officially take over the office on November 14th.

Former Deputy Recorder Linn Headlee retired from office last Friday. Recorder Joyce Jensen reported that Mary Ward is now the chief deputy and certified a base salary of 80% of recorder’s salary. The motion was made by Wedemeyer and seconded by Schelling, to set the number of deputies in the recorder’s office at one and to certify an annual base salary of $42,604.80/year for chief deputy county recorder Mary Ward.

Jensen said Ward has a stack of more than 100 applications to weed through in selecting the person who will become her deputy. The interviewing process is expected to begin next week.

Iowa board OKs hog facilities despite opposition

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials cleared the way for two hog facilities in Adair County to expand their operations even though local leaders twice rejected the projects. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission on Tuesday backed a state Department of Natural Resources ruling on the facilities, The Des Moines Register reported.

That means Circle G and Geidel Pork, operated by the same family, can double the number of pigs to nearly 5,000 at each site even though Adair County supervisors twice voted no. Local leaders asked the commission to deny the expansions because of concerns about air and water pollution, farming practices, and the impact of the operations on nearby properties.

State leaders said they can’t require more distance between hog facilities and neighbors than the one mile currently required by law.

Sisters Ann Hatfield Merritt and Jane Anchustegui, who operate a 1,500-acre outdoor retreat called Hatfield Lakes near Creston, said they would consider shutting down their resort. Merritt said the family has invested at least $2.5 million, provided jobs for about a dozen people and is considering an expansion.

“We’re done. We will not invest another dime,” Merritt said. “Why would anyone want to visit a recreational lakefront when they’re forced to smell hog odors?”

Dean Anderson, who has chronic pulmonary disease and uses oxygen full-time, sent the commission a video saying the expansions would make him “a prisoner in his own home.” He said the hog facilities deny him and his neighbors their “God-given right to fresh, clean air.”