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Atlantic City Council approves former truck parking site as concrete recycling business

News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Despite questions over federal regulations on establishing a permanent structure on the site, the Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening approved a contract with Murphy Contracting for lease of a former tractor-trailer parking lot owned by the City, for the purpose of establishing a concrete recycling operation, as well as future, landscape stone product sales.

Duane Murphy, President of Murphy Contracting had proposed leasing the site, which is expected to produce $7,200 (paid in two installments of $3,600 per year) in annual revenue for the City on land that is currently unprofitable. David Wright, owner of Recycling Services, LLC., (101 State St.) asked at Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting, why he wasn’t given the chance to lease the land for his business, which is adjacent to the vacant lot.

Wright said his company, which has been in business since 2004, does roughly 4 million dollars in business each year, with many of those receiving payments for their scrap metal, spending the money they receive, here in town. The company he says began inquiring about leasing the lot in 2012, and proposed leasing the lot for a 20-year term paid yearly, in advance, in the amount of $8,000. At that time, he says he was told by former City Councilman Steve Livengood, the lot could only be used for truck parking, which is what Wright wanted to space used for.

He said it was his understanding that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) rules prohibit the erection of a permanent building on the site, which apparently is in a flood plain or flood way. He asked “If FEMA was such a big issue when we wanted to do it, is that all straightened out?”  Mayor Dave Jones said it was his understanding a permanent structure such as house, could not be placed on the lot.

Jones said the lease agreement with Murphy would benefit the City in that it’s rock piles from road and sidewalk removal projects, would be recycled and not continue to pile up. There would also be a fence on the north side of the lot to make the operation less visible from the Schildberg Recreation Area campground sites.Wright said they had done a lot of maintenance to the lot over the years, including plowing and applying gravel. He acknowledged at one time truck parking was a problem, but that’s because some truckers were “unreasonable” in their use of the property.

Despite concerns from Councilpersons Bob Cord, Chris Jimerson and Kathy Somers about FEMA regulations, how the City got to the point of leasing the land, along with their desire to investigate further, Mayor Jones called for a vote on the contract, with the matter being approved 4-3. Cord, Jimerson and Somers were the “Nay” votes.

Iowa House committee brings back sweeping gun legislation

News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislation that would make sweeping changes to Iowa’s gun laws has been resurrected in the House, with lawmakers using a separate bill to revive several key provisions. The House Judiciary Committee voted 19-2 Wednesday for the bill, which would allow suppressors to silence weapons. An amendment added changes that mirrored a comprehensive gun bill that appeared dead in the Senate, though a provision to remove a de factor three-day waiting period on a permit to acquire a handgun was removed.

The proposed changes would still include a provision that would allow children under age 14 to use a handgun with a parent’s supervision. Senate leadership had indicated it would not support legislation similar to the comprehensive bill, and it’s unclear if the compromise Wednesday is different enough.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued until 1-a.m. Thursday

News, Weather

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Issued 6-p.m. NWS/Des Moines: SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 15 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 100 AM CDT Thursday, April 2nd FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS…

Counties in mauve are included in the Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 1-am Thu.

Counties in mauve are included in the Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 1-am Thu.

IOWA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE AUDUBON BUENA VISTA CALHOUN CARROLL CHEROKEE CLAY CRAWFORD HARRISON IDA MONONA O`BRIEN PALO ALTO PLYMOUTH POCAHONTAS POTTAWATTAMIE SAC SHELBY SIOUX WOODBURY.

* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE…

ISOLATED DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

ISOLATED LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 65 STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 40 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF HILL CITY KANSAS TO 10 MILES NORTHEAST OF SPENCER IOWA.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

REMEMBER…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

 

Democrats offer education funding deal; GOP rejects offer

News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are seeking a compromise deal on education funding, but Republicans say their proposal is still too expensive. Democrats on Wednesday proposed that schools get about $150 million in new funding for the upcoming school year. That number — which includes dollars dedicated to teacher leadership training — is a middle point between the original proposals from House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, called the offer an effort to split the difference. But House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, said he was not interested in going beyond the original House plan, saying the state could not afford to spend more.

Natural Resource Commission to meet April 9th in Harlan

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Natural Resource Commission (NRC) of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will meet at 8:30 a.m., April 9th, at the Nishna Bend Rec Area, 516 Maple Road, Harlan. On April 8th, local DNR fisheries and state parks staff will give commissioners a presentation at the Nishna Bend Rec Area before departing for a field tour of Prairie Rose State Park and the lake restoration project. The field tour and presentation will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The meeting, presentation and tour is open to the public.

For a copy of the meeting agenda, click here: http://www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/BoardsCommissions/NaturalResourceCommission.aspx

Burn Ban implemented in Audubon County effective 4/2/15

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Effective at noon on Thursday, April 2nd, Audubon County will be placed under a “Burn Ban,” which prohibits the use of open burning. The ban is being put in-place when it is determined open burning constitutes a danger to life or property.

According to Iowa Code, a proclamation issued by the state fire marshal does not
prohibit a supervised, controlled burn for which a permit has been issued by the fire chief of the fire district where the burn will take place, the use of outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grills, properly supervised landfills, or the burning of trash in incinerators or trash burners made of metal, concrete, masonry, or heavy one-inch wire mesh, with no openings greater than one square inch.

A violation of the burn ban constitutes a Simple Misdemeanor, under Iowa Law.

 

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

News

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

News

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

News

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

News

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.