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Reminder from City officials in Atlantic, re: Yard Waste Site hours


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic City Administrator John Lund, says faced with numerous calls and questions about the current Yard Waste site hours, the City wants to remind citizens about the hours and rules for the site:

Lund says “We request that the public be reminded Not to leave bags at the site.  Separate the piles of yard waste, grass and green stuff in one, twigs and branches in the other.” Lund says also, that “People are on camera. The City will be particularly aggressive this summer about monitoring footage to set an example for those that want to ignore a few simple rules. The camera software will pay for itself within a year, so we are trying to save taxpayers money that could be put to better use, if everyone works together, it won’t be a problem.”

The Yard Waste site hours are as follows:

Tuesday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Thursday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Sunday: 1:00 pm. to 5:00 pm.

The City of Atlantic reminds the citizens to bring only trees, branches, grass, garden waste, and/or leaves.

Iowa high school graduation rate climbs again in 2014


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New figures released by the Iowa Department of Education show that the state’s high school graduation rate rose for the class of 2014, making it the fourth straight year the rate has edged up. The data released Wednesday show Iowa’s four-year graduation rate increased to 90.5 percent, up from 89.7 percent in 2013. The overall dropout rate in 2014 was 2.7 percent, slightly down from 2.8 the previous year.

Nine of Iowa’s 10 largest school districts saw their four-year graduation rates climb, with Cedar Rapids Community School District reporting the largest gain of 4.1 percent. Only Sioux City Community School District saw its graduation rate drop.

Statewide graduation rates increased for all but two subgroups of students, with English-language learners seeing the most significant change, a 7.4 percent increase.

Iowa nonprofit reveals next adventure for cancer survivors


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa-based organization that leads adventure trips for cancer survivors has revealed its next excursion — a journey to Tibet to hike around Mount Kailash, which many religions have deemed a sacred site.

Dr. Richard Deming, a Des Moines oncologist who founded Above and Beyond Cancer in 2011, announced Wednesday that a group of roughly 24 people will travel to the remote western Tibet in September. Most are cancer survivors and caregivers.

The upcoming trip will allow participants to trek the region where Mount Kailash’s peak soars more than 22,000 feet within the Transhimalaya mountain range. Deming says trips and events sponsored by the organization are representative of cancer patients’ journey toward recovery. Past destinations include Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and, most recently, Machu Picchu in Peru.

House panel OKs bill to keep mental health facilities open


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An effort to keep two state mental health facilities open longer remains alive in the Iowa Legislature, though lawmakers acknowledge it may not prevent some employees from losing their jobs. A House Appropriations subcommittee approved a bill Wednesday that would require facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant to remain open until a commission approves a transition plan for the closings.

The closings are set to happen by this summer, though layoffs in at least one facility are scheduled by April 6. Lawmakers acknowledge the bill may not get to Gov. Terry Branstad in time, and they weren’t sure what would happen. The Senate passed the bill following criticism that the closings would be too sudden. Branstad has said the facilities are outdated and there are other treatment options for patients.

Annual Fireside Lounge MS Auction nets $225k in fundraising milestone


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Upper Midwest Chapter, say the annual MS Auction at Atlantic’s Fireside Lounge, held Friday, March 6th, raised nearly $15,000 to support the organization, bringing the event’s 19-year fundraising total to more than $225,000. Over the last two decades, the funds have helped provide life-changing programs and services for people living with MS in Iowa and across the Upper Midwest, as well as fund cutting-edge research for the disease.

National MS Society, Upper Midwest Chapter President Holly Anderson says “We’re immensely grateful to Mark Foegen for his passion and leadership these past 19 years, not to mention the outstanding generosity of the Atlantic community. Events like these are truly helping to change the world for people with MS and end the disease forever.”

Event organizer Mark Foegen has expressed his appreciation to the Atlantic community for supporting the event, of which 100 percent of the proceeds are directed to the National MS Society, Upper Midwest Chapter. In addition to all those who attend and donate each year, many local businesses and individuals have played a critical role in the auction’s continued success — from donating advertising and auction items to helping with event planning and execution.

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Learn more at nationalMSsociety.org.

Sweeping gun bill to be revived this afternoon


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Gun advocates in the Iowa House plan to resurrect their bill that addressed a wide range of gun-related issues. Representative Matt Windschitl says they’ll do it in a House Committee this afternoon (Wednesday) by taking up the bill passed by the Senate last (Tuesday) night that legalizes possession of gun silencers. Windschil then plans to ask the committee to vote to substitute the broad House-passed bill for the single-issue bill that cleared the senate.

“The ultimate goal will be to get it signed into law and do right by three million Iowans,” Windschitl says. Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, is among a group of legislators, law enforcement officials and gun rights advocates who’ve been working for the past several months to come up with a comprehensive bill to address a number of issues. Seventy-five of the 100 members of the Iowa House in early March voted for the bill Windschitl helped craft and the action Windschitl plans this afternoon (Wednesday) in a House Committee will keep that proposal alive.

“The House is very serious about this proposal. Iowans are very serious about this proposal. Law enforcement is very serious about this proposal and this is something that is a demonstration of multiple different groups coming together that can advance the rights of three million Iowans,” Windschitl says. Windschitl says the scaled-down package of gun-related proposals that Senate Democrats tried to offer as an alternative yesterday (Tuesday) “had not been previously discussed” with Windschitl and the rest of the group that had been working together on the issues.

“I think it offended a great many Iowans, including Iowans who are involved in law enforcement as well as those that are involved in the Second Amendment community,” Windschitl says. From the other side of the debate, Iowans for Gun Safety issued a written statement late Tuesday night praising what the group called “brave lawmakers in the Senate” for rejecting passage of the catch-all bill that Iowans for Gun Safety is lobbying against. Iowans for Gun Safety executive director Cheryl Thomas calls the House bill “truly dangerous” because it would get rid of Iowa’s three-day waiting period for buying a handgun.

(Radio Iowa)

Southern IA man arrested in Union County


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A man from southern Iowa was arrested Tuesday night on a Union County warrant. 27-year old Devin Douglas Logue, of Chariton, was arrested on a warrant for Theft in the 2nd Degree. Logue was picked up in Wayne County and is being held in the Union County Jail without bond until making an appearance before the Magistrate.

3 arrests reported in Atlantic


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department today (Wednesday) reports three recent arrests. Officials say 36-year old Kimberly Ruiz, of Atlantic, was arrested this morning on a 5th Degree Theft (Shoplifting) charge.

On Tuesday, 35-year old Joshua Lillard, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault, and, 23-year old Alex Garside, of Atlantic, was arrested for Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree.

All three suspects were booked into the Cass County Jail.

Report: Iowa farmland values fell 11 percent over past year

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new report says Iowa’s average farmland values fell 11 percent over the past year after a drop of 4.6 percent a year earlier. The Des Moines Register reports  that the Realtors Land Institute says the new average per-acre figure is $7,372, compared with $8,286 a year earlier.

Kyle Hansen with the Realtors Land Institute says farmland values could drop up to 20 percent more over the next three years, depending on the direction of commodity prices. Corn and soybean prices have declined 40 to 50 percent since their high in 2012.

Nationally, farm income is projected to drop 32 percent this year on top of a 16 percent decline in 2014.

Iowa Takes Steps Toward Better Health: National Walking Day


April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

All across Iowa today, residents young and old are being urged to grab their sneakers, lace them up and get moving toward a healthier and longer life. This is National Walking Day, and Kassi Wessing, communications director for the American Heart Association in Iowa, said making a habit of walking on a regular basis can help relieve depression, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent stroke and heart disease.

“The weather is turning nicer,” she said. “Spring is coming, and it’s kind of time for everybody to come out of hibernation and get those walks in, get those steps in.” While many people will be stepping out on their own or with family members or community groups, Wessing said a growing number of Iowa employers are realizing the importance of healthy workers.

“A healthy employee is a happy and more productive employee,” she said. “They have more motivation, more energy. So we work with a lot of our local companies to host events at their sites to get their employees out walking and moving and do companywide initiatives.”

Wessing said the American Heart Association recommends walking for a half hour a day, five days a week to get in the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. More information is online at heart.org.