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7AM Newscast 10-17-2013

News, Podcasts

October 17th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

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Record enrollment seen at Iowa public universities

News

October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Due to a surge in enrollment at Iowa State University, a record number of students are attending Iowa’s public universities this fall. An Iowa Board of Regents report released this week shows that 76,465 students are enrolled at ISU, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. The number is the seventh straight annual increase at the three schools and amounts to 9,000 more than were enrolled just 15 years ago.

This year’s increase was driven by an enrollment count of 33,241 at ISU, more than 2,000 additional students and a 7 percent increase compared to last year. The University of Iowa’s enrollment of 31,065 was a decline of 433 students, while UNI’s 12,159 enrollment was a decrease of 114.

Atlantic City Council approves truck parking rules & DOT request

News

October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The City Council in Atlantic Wednesday unanimously approved the establishment of rules and regulations for the use of the City’s Truck Parking lot off of Commerce Street. The motion to approve was made by Councilman Steve Livengood, who had earlier met with the Public Safety Committee, which recommended the City establish rules and a fee structures that would help the City address the various needs and problems associated with the site.

Under the rules, only tractors, trailers or similar combinations with a GCWR of more than 26,000 pounds when the towed vehicle’s GVWR is more than 10,000 pounds, will be allowed on the lot. The resolution also allows for no more than three parking stalls to be rented by an individual truck driver, same company or entity. Individuals or companies that legally reside in Atlantic can lease stalls for $1,200 per year minimum. Rental fees are due prior to January 1st of each year, with the lease period for one-year at a time. The City may set aside up to three stalls for short term leases at $40/week, for up to three weeks.

Livengood said the lot needs to be graded at very little cost to the city, a gravel surface added, and some way to designate stalls for the trucks and trailers, such as the addition of posts/signs with a numbering system. There are already concrete “dolly pads” in-place for truckers to drop their trailers and lower the supporting gear. The Council agreed, that the first thing the must be accomplished, is for the lot to be cleaned up.

The Council, on a four-to two vote, approved a request by the Iowa Department of Transportation, to pay for the Design Engineering costs associated with the Highway 6/7th Street Reconstruction Project. Councilpersons Shouse, Halder, Hayes and Hartkopf voting in favor, Livengood and Jimerson voting against. Livengood and Jimerson were opposed to the request because the ultimate responsibility for the road and its condition, falls on the State.

The split vote resulted from the fact there is no guarantee that if the City agreed to pay for some of the engineering costs, the DOT will, as they’ve hinted, bump the project up on their list for 2014 and doesn’t get dropped if funding isn’t available or the schedule gets pushed back. City Administrator Doug Harris said the DOT has agreed to limit Atlantic’s costs to $68,000, and funding approval from the Regional Planning Affiliate 13 for an advance draw down of future federal State Transportation Program (STP) funds, to pay the $68,000 for the design engineering phase. The total cost of the project is estimated at nearly $1.2-million.

Harris said he has received permission from the Regional Transit Authority to borrow ahead four-years and use the STP grant funds, which would mean those funds would not be available for City projects, which will also impact the taxpayers. In other business, the Atlantic City Council tabled until their next meeting on Nov. 6th, action on a resolution accepting and approving the acquisition of properties at 611 Linn and 1200 Birch Street, because the court has not yet released the abandoned properties. And, Mayor Dave Jones issued a proclamation recognizing Phillip Chinitz for his dedication and “tireless efforts to preserve Atlantic’s rich history.”

Chinitz is a lifelong resident of Atlantic, graduated from AHS and served in the military before coming back to town and becoming a sports writer for the local paper. Because of the efforts of Phil and his wife Trena to preserve the knowledge of Atlantic’s rich history, and is recognized as an authority on the City’s past, the Mayor appointed Chinitz as the “Official Historian for the City of Atlantic.”

Iowa News Headlines: Thu., Oct. 17th 2013

News

October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley was among 18 senators who voted against a measure that reopened the federal government and avoided a financial default. Grassley, a Republican, says he voted against the measure worked out by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because it did nothing to address the nation’s debt. The GOP-led House joined the Senate in approving the package.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The winners of this year’s World Food Prize continue to press their case that biotechnology research and innovation is necessary to keep food production in step with a growing world population. Biotechnology researchers Robert Fraley, Marc Van Montagu, and Mary-Dell Chilton, share the $250,000 prize award which they’ll receive in a ceremony at the Iowa Capitol later today.

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Three cows had a chance to take a look around Muscatine after falling out of an open trailer door. The Journal reports three cows tumbled onto a downtown street yesterday afternoon. Their owner, Jack Whan of Sherrard, Illinois says a door came open on his trailer and the cattle fell out. The cows weren’t hurt.

WILTON, Iowa (AP) — Some people in the eastern Iowa city of Wilton are complaining about smells emanating from a new plant that produces animal food. The Muscatine Journal reports the issue came up at a Monday night City Council meeting when resident William Locey told members the air was so bad at times that, “you can’t breathe it.”

IA congressional delegation vote: Harkin, Latham, Braley & Loebsack all vote yes; Grassley & King vote no

News

October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Republicans Chuck Grassley and Steve King were the only two members of Iowa’s congressional delegation to vote against the deal that has ended the federal government shutdown and extended the government’s borrowing authority. King says once spending issues and the debt limit were joined in one bill, the momentum toward passage was inevitable. “The American people have fatigue and I understand that, but it’s worth the fatigue if we can accomplish the goal in the end,” King says. “We didn’t get that done in this battle. This battle is not indicative of the entire war and I intend to continue my efforts to repeal ObamaCare.”

Tom Latham, the other Republican in Iowa’s congressional delegation, voted for the deal to end the D.C. stalemate, but called it “the lesser of two evils.” Latham also said he “could not support an irresponsible path that risks defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States.” Latham’s colleague Steve King downplays the idea there’s a rift now among Republicans in the House. “I think we’re actually more together than it might appear from that vote…There’s more support here for our leadership than one wouuld thing. There’s less division. There’s very little acriomony of people pointing their fingers at each other and saying: ‘It’s your fault. It’s your fault,'” King says. “Instead they understand that everybody went through their own crucible.”

According to King, Republicans in the House are “tighter” because of the past 16 days. “I think that we’ve identified 25 or 30 emerging conservatives who are going to be a voice for a long time to come,” King says. “So we laid a foundation in order to do good things in future.” King, though, says he shared his doubts about the strategy of shutting down the government with his fellow Tea Party conservatives in congress weeks ago. “But I also said that this will be tried in the court of public opinion and if the American people step behind this thing strongly enough…then I can expect that we’ll see the House Republicans hold strong enough to get this done, at least in a significant way,” King says. “And, you know, instead, too many of them saw that the polls, they believe, were going against them and they decided it wasn’t worth holding the ground and holding the stand that we had taken.”

King also says he’s “troubled by a culture” that cannot live within its means. “I wanted to move a balanced budget amendment…We didn’t get that done. I wanted to address the entitlement spending. We didn’t get that done,” King says. “Those things must be approached at some point and sooner is easier than later because every quarter that goes by this gets harder and harder and more and more painful.” Both of Iowa’s Democratic congressmen voted for the deal, although Congressman Dave Loebsack, of Iowa City, suggested congress merely “kicked the can down the road” and there’ll be another crisis when the stop-gap spending measure runs out January 15th and the new debt limit expires February 7th. Congressman Bruce Braley says he hopes yesterday’s bipartisan deal allows congress to “find the space” to reach long-term solutions.

Iowa’s U.S. Senators split in yesterday’s vote, with Democrat Tom Harkin voting for the deal and Republican Chuck Grassley among the 18 senators who voted against it. Grassley called the measure a “missed opportunity” to reduce the country’s long-term debt. Harkin says the deal will give congress some “breathing room” to make long-term decisions, but Harkin admits the country may be subjected to another cliff hanger in early 2014.

(Radio Iowa)

Utilities create special Crimestoppers program to stop copper thieves

News

October 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Copper is used for wiring because of its ability to conduct electricity, but in recent months the value of the metal has created a magnetic appeal to thieves. The electric companies and co-ops across the state have combined for a special Crime Stoppers Program aimed at the copper thieves. Bob Dickelman is a spokesman for the effort. “We’ve had some significant thefts, we’ve some smalle thefts, but they all add up to big problems for the utilities because the usually leave behind a problem that’s fairly expensive to repair,” Dickelman says. He cites the example of thieves who cut a 15 to 20 foot piece of copper wire from a regulator southeast Iowa substation.

“Which caused it to fail, caused other damage to the substation and an outage to 900 customers,” Dickelman explains. Copper sells for around three-dollars-a-pound on the scrap market and the piece of wire was worth about 50-dollars, but the failures at the substation cost 42-thousand dollars to repair, and kept customers without electricity for several hours. They are asking the public to help combat the copper thefts by calling when they sees something that doesn’t look right.

“If someone sees something suspicious going on at an electric utility substation, or around any of their other equipment, or even a power pole or a meter at a residence or a business or a farm — we would ask them to call Crimestoppers at 800- four-five-two-one-one-one-one,” Dickelman says. For those thieves who are stealing copper wire, Dickelman says you could be risking your life for a small amount of money as cut ground wire can unleash an explosive 69-thousand volts of static electricity.

“We’ve had several cases where somebody cuts a wire and it causing a giant arc — even and explosion,” according to Dickelman. “We’ve had cases where concrete has been burned away eight inches deep.”
Dickelman says after you call in your tip and the information leads to an arrest, you can be rewarded. He says you can call Crimestoppers back to get instructions for receiving and award of up to one-thousand dollars.

The state’s largest utility companies, MidAmerican Energy Company, and Alliant Energy are part of the effort as are the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities.
Dickelman says they are hoping more attention to the issue will lead to the capture of thieves and help stop the damage being done to electrical systems.

(Radio Iowa)

Missing Massena teen injured, found in a ditch

News

October 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies investigating the disappearance of a 16-year old female from Massena located the injured teen in a ditch Wednesday morning. Authorities say they received a call at around 9:50-a.m. about the missing teen. At around 12:40 p.m., Cass County K9 team Deputy Corey Larsen and his K9 partner Mufasa located the girl in a road ditch on 3rd Street in Massena. She has suffered minor head injuries from falling and hitting her face. The girl was transported to CCMH by Massena Rescue. Officials say her injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.

Avoca woman arrested on alcohol & drug charges in Cass County

News

October 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports a Pottawattamie County woman was arrested Tuesday on numerous drug charges. 22-year old Alicia Arlene Dellaca, of Avoca, was taken into custody on charges of OWI 3rd Offense (D Felony); Possession of Controlled Substance – Marijuana (Serious); Possession of a Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine (Serious); Interference with Official Acts (Simple); and Driving Under Suspension (Simple). Dellaca was taken to the Cass County Jail where she is being held on $5000 bond.

Numerous vehicle burglaries reported in Red Oak

News

October 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak report they received several reports of vehicle burglaries having occurred overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Several items were taken from each vehicle. Officers with the Red Oak P-D strongly encourage residents to secure their vehicles when not in use. The incidents remain under investigation.

Alcohol intoxication leads to fight and arrests

News

October 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Two Red Oak men were arrested this (Wednesday) afternoon following an alcohol-related fight. According to Red Oak Police, 54-year old Robert Anthony Marron, Jr. and 49-year old Kevin Leon Simmons, both of Red Oak, were charged with Public Intoxication.

Authorities say officers and Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a reported fight between the men in the 100 block of west Grimes Street, at around 1:40-p.m. Upon arrival, they determined Marron and Simmons were highly intoxicated in public. The men were brought to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 cash bond, each.