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Iowa News Headlines: Wed. Jan. 8th 2014

News

January 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City students are set to return to school after 18 days off. The students were last in class December 20th before leaving for Christmas break. They were to return to school Monday, but then classes were canceled because of subzero temperatures. They were called off yesterday, too. School will now end June 3rd instead of May 30th.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A water pipe burst at a downtown library in Dubuque due to frigid temperatures, and officials shut the building down for much of yesterday. The damage at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library was confined to a staff lounge area and maintenance space. A city spokesman says officials received at least 30 reports of frozen water meters or pipes.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal prosecutors have dropped a lawsuit against Des Moines and MidAmerican Energy after the city changed an ordinance so a fee was charged to the utility and not the government. The federal government sued last year, arguing a franchise fee levied against the Department of Veterans Affairs violated a constitutional provision against cities taxing federal agencies.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Fair will shift to a new ticket system for buying food and drinks this summer instead of cash. A fair spokeswoman says it will be a more secure system that will make it quicker to buy food because vendors won’t have to make change. The fair begins August 7th.

Atlantic City Counil to act on administrative matters Wednesday

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council will hold its first meeting of the new year Wednesday evening, at City Hall. The Council will take care of numerous administrative matters during their session, which begins at 5:30. Among them, is: a Proclamation recognizing Diane McFadden for 25-years of service with the Atlantic Public Library; Approval of – the City’s bank for checking accounts in 2014, and the local paper as the City’s official newspaper for legal publications.

The Council will also act on re-appointing Deb Field as City Clerk (2-year term) and David Wiederstein as City Attorney (2-year term). In other business, the Atlantic City Council will act on approving an engineering agreement with Snyder and Associates, for mapping of the Atlantic Municipal Airport, for a lump sum fee of $2,300, and, act on authorizing Mayor Dave Jones to execute a Warrant Agreement by and between the City, and Hawkins Construction, Inc., with regard to warranty work that Hawkins will perform to correct the settling of the blower building foundation at the wastewater treatment plant.

Fourteen Communities Selected for Project Awards

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Tuesday announced that $951,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants will be awarded to 14 Iowa communities to complete projects estimated to have a total project cost of more than $3.6 million. The funding will be distributed in the form of grants to the selected Main Street programs including those in Dunlap, Manning and Woodbine.

In Dunlap, the Dunlap Legion Hall Building project received a $75,000 grant toward the $389,700 cost of the project. In Manning, the Cliff’s Place Interior Renovation project received a $75,000 grant award toward the total project cost of $91,242.  In Woodbine the 413 and 415 Walker Street projects received a $75,000 grant toward the $425,250 total project cost. MainStreet Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler  said “Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash match. Overall, these projects will leverage almost three times that amount of private investment.”

Representatives from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Main Street Iowa program made the announcement during a special check presentation ceremony held at the Des Moines Botanical Center. The grants will benefit local improvement projects such as façade improvement and restoration, stabilizing buildings devastated by fire, upper floor rehabilitation and stabilizing and rehabilitating severely deteriorated buildings.

This year, the Challenge Grant program will be funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Previous Challenge Grants were funded through a federal appropriation. Since the first federal appropriation in 2002, approximately $4.9 million in grants leveraged over $36 million in private reinvestment in 83 projects throughout 41 Main Street Iowa districts.

(update) Electrical short sparks fire in Atlantic, Tuesday

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An electrical short appears to have been the cause of a fire late this (Tuesday) morning, in Atlantic. Firefighters were called to 803 Mulberry Street at around 11:19-a.m., after the home owner reported coming from the walls. Atlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees said when he arrived, heavy smoke was coming out of the west end of the residence along the roof line, and Carl Knutsen and his wife were on their way out of the home. Knutsen told officials he had been working on an electrical outlet in the bathroom when they heard a “pop,” and noticed smoke in the upstairs area of the two-story home.

803 Mulberry St. (Ric Hanson/photo)

803 Mulberry St. (Ric Hanson/photo)

McNees said they made their initial attack on the fire and got it contained to an area in the back of the home. He says they’re not quite sure where the electrical short occurred, but it was definitely in some of the wiring. McNees said there was a lot of structural damage to several rooms in the home and smoke damage to the upstairs area. Knutsen and his wife escaped the home without injury and were being sheltered in a neighbor’s home. The Red Cross was also helping the couple with temporary living arrangements and other needs.

The fire was declared under control just before Noon. McNees said the conditions for fighting the fire were much different than the blaze they fought Monday, that destroyed a home northeast of Atlantic. Firefighters braved sub-zero temperatures and a minus 30 below wind chill during that event. He said the weather today was “Balmy compared to yesterday,” but they still had to be concerned about hoses freezing and  icy conditions, especially for firefighters who were on the roof.

The temperature during today’s (Tuesday’s) fire was about 12-degrees above zero, with much lower wind speeds.

Lewis & Clark State park tops the list for most campers

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa tops the list of Iowa’s most popular State Parks for camping. The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources released a list of the top 12 State Parks for overnight camping, on Tuesday.

Viking Lake State Park near Stanton placed second in the survey. Lake Anita State Park came in 7th and Lake Manawa was 10th. The number of guests camping in Iowa’s State Parks went from 718,539 in 2013. The figures show 709,595 camped out in 2012.

Top 12 State Parks for Camping Nights in 2013

1.      Lewis and Clark State Park

2.      Viking Lake State Park

3.      Rock Creek State Park

4.      Lake Ahquabi State Park

5.      Clear Lake State Park

6.      Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

7.      Lake Anita State Park

8.      Ledges State Park

9.      Backbone State Park

10.  Lake Manawa

11.  Marble Beach State Recreation Area

12.  Lake Macbride

2 arrests in Cass County

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest this (Tuesday) morning of a Council Bluffs woman. 29-year old Tyanna Karee Lungren was taken into custody on a District Court warrant for Probation Violation. Lungren was taken to the Cass County Jail where she is being held on $5,000 bond.

And, on January 3rd, deputies in Cass County arrested 19-year old Kyler Jay O’Brien, of Dubuque, on charges of Theft 1st Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. O’Brien was taken to the Cass County Jail where he is being held on $11,000 bond.

 

Atlantic Fire dispatched to residential fire

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters in Atlantic were called to the scene of a residence where smoke was reported coming from the walls late this morning. The call from 803 Mulberry came in at around 11:19-a.m.

803 Mulberry St. (Ric Hanson/photo)

803 Mulberry St. (Ric Hanson/photo)

Atlantic Police Lt. Dave Erickson was the first to arrive on scene. He told KJAN News he saw intermittent puffs of light to heavy smoke coming from the roof of the one and a-half story home.

All the residents escaped the home without injury and were being sheltered in a neighbor’s home.

The fire was declared under control just before Noon. Additional details are currently not available.

Pew Charitable Trusts report lists Iowa 35th for job creation in 2014

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A public policy research group has ranked Iowa 35th in the nation for job creation in 2014. The analysis, released by Pew Charitable Trusts, estimates Iowa will add just over 21,000 jobs this year. That places Iowa 35th among the 50 states with a job growth rate of 1.4 percent.

North Dakota, with an estimated 3.57 percent growth rate, took the top spot on the list. Arizona (3.08% growth) and Texas (2.75%) are ranked second and third. Washington, D.C. is ranked last with an estimated job growth rate of just .75 percent.

The analysis shows job prospects are best for states in the West as Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and Utah are five of the 10 states with the highest growth rates.

(Radio Iowa)

Adair County Supervisors to hear additional budget requests

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Board of Supervisors in Adair County will hear additional budget requests during their meeting Wednesday morning, in Greenfield. During their meeting on Monday, the Board received funding/budget requests from the Southern IA Trolley, County Veteran’s Affairs Director, the Building and Grounds Foreman, Midwest Partnership,  R-C & D, and County Auditor Mindy Schaefer.

Wednesday morning, they will hear Fiscal Year 2015 budget requests from the County Clerk of Court, Sanitarian and Medical Examiner, along with the County Treasurer and Ag Extension. A budget work session will follow the conclusion of regular business.

Prior to that, the Adair County Supervisors will act on a Resolution to revise the 2014 5-year Road Program, and hear budget requests from the Secondary Roads Department and Weed Commissioner. The meeting begins at 9-a.m.

Public hearing held Monday on Merrill Field project

News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Community School District’s board of education held a public hearing regarding the Merrill Field Project, Monday. During their regular meeting, no comments were heard from the public on the project. Superintendent Justin Wagner told the board about some changes that have been made on the Merrill Field design. The plan going forward is to remove the bleachers in front of the concession stand on the west side and to use boards from those bleachers to fix the elementary bleachers on the northwest side.

The track, which will be completely redone, will feature a safety lane from end-zone to end-zone on each side of the football field and the cyclone logo will be in the middle of the field. Originally, the plan was to have the word cyclones written out on the field but those have been removed to save money. In all, Merrill Field will lose about 300 seats. The final plans and design will be made at the next Harlan Community School board meeting Monday, January 20th.

In other business, the board approved the audit report. Superintendent Wagner says there are a few things Board members should be aware of as a result of the audit. The first is the district’s levy is very low ,at  $11.74 per thousand dollars valuation. He said the average for the state is right around $14.50.  The financial solvency ratio for the district which measures the financial health of the District, is 29.1-percent. Experts recommend an average of 8-to 12- percent. Wagner said also, the district’s unspent authority again is $8.1 million, which he says is “Very good.”. Last year’s AEA average was $1.9 million. The District’s expenditures are higher than revenues. Wagner says that’s because they have to spend down their cash reserve levy. Wagner said “Some people will look at it and say we are spending more than we are taking it in, that’s because we have to spend that cash reserve levy down to get underneath that 20 percent.” Wagner said also, the district operated within its certified budget.

The Harlan Community School board approved the audit. Superintendent Wagner then showed the board results of a recent survey handed out to students, parents and the community. The first question on the survey dealt with when the district should start school. The survey showed 64 percent of students want the same schedule currently as well as 26 percent of the teachers and 34 percent of the community. Wagner said there is a push from the state to take the start date of school districts out of local control but the survey shows the majority in the Harlan Community district would like to keep it the same. One other topic from the survey was drinking and drugs.

Wagner said the vast majority of respondents thought the District could do more to combat underage drinking and drug use. The survey showed over 50 percent of the staff and students while 43 percent of the community believes the school district can do more. The same question was asked for drug use and the results were similar. Wagner said the administration is already discussing the issue and more information will come at a later school board meeting.

(Joe McCall/KNOD)