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Gas tank stolen from pontoon boat in Creston

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston say a resident in the 500 block of S. Cherry Street reported Thursday, that sometime over the past week, someone stole a gas tank from the residents’ pontoon boat. The loss was estimated at $75.

Bankers say farm income declining in region

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Federal Reserve says farmers are borrowing more to cover their operating expenses because farm income continued to decline in during the second quarter in Midwestern and Western states. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Missouri, said Thursday that 75 percent of the bankers surveyed reported shrinking farm income.

The value of irrigated farmland in the region fell 5 percent while non-irrigated land and pastures both declined 3 percent.

Roughly half of the bankers said loan repayment rates were lower in the second quarter. And the number of loans with severe repayment problems grew to 7 percent. That’s up from roughly 3 percent in 2011 to 2013.

The 10th Federal Reserve District covers Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico and western Missouri.

Community Kickstarter grants available for up to $10,000

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with The Wellmark Foundation say they are currently accepting Community Kickstarter grant applications for up to $10,000 for projects in Iowa and South Dakota focused on making community members more active or improving access to healthy foods. Stephanie Perry, The Wellmark Foundation manager, says “The Community Kickstarter grant is designed to provide funding to communities that may not have the resources to complete a project on their own. Examples of projects include community and school gardens, bike-sharing programs, community walk and bike audits, just to name a few.”

image001The application process is easy. A few of the questions include:

· What is the problem or issue that affects active living or access to consumption or healthy foods?

· How is this a priority in your community?

· Who will be affected and how will they benefit?

· How will the project have a sustainable impact on the community?

In order to be eligible to apply for the grants, applicants must be classified as a 501(c)(3) organization or governmental entity in Iowa or South Dakota. Qualified organizations can submit applications at Wellmark.com/Foundation through Sept.18th. Perry said “We want the public to be part of the process as well. All eligible submissions will be uploaded to Facebook, allowing the public to show their support by telling us which one is their favorite.”

From Sept. 26 through Oct. 7, the public can show their support for their favorite projects by visiting Facebook.com/WellmarkBCBS. Grant recipients will be announced in November.

To apply and view past Community Kickstarter grants visit Wellmark.com/Foundation.

Storms bring flooding to Omaha, power outages to Iowa (updated 8:20-a.m. 8/12)

News, Weather

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Severe storms that raced through eastern Nebraska into western Iowa Thursday evening, brought flooding to parts of Omaha, nickel-size hail in Crawford County, and damaging winds to parts of western and central Iowa. The National Weather Service says cars were stuck in water in Omaha late Thursday evening, due to flooding. Nickel size hail was reported near Arion, in Crawford County, at around 6:50-p.m.

Just before 8-p.m., a 69-mile per hour wind gust was recorded in Audubon. In Shelby County, winds gusted to over 65 mph, knocking out power to over 50 customers in Kirkman. MidAmerican Energy restored power within a couple of hours, but worked most of the night in Kirkman repairing small outages.

Damage in Shelby County (photo from KNOD, our sister station)

Damage in Shelby County (photo from KNOD, our sister station)

  Harlan received 1.25 inches of rain with many tree limbs down. Kirkman received 2 inches of rain with a number of 4 to 8 inch branches down and a power outage for about 2 hours, southeast of Irwin received 1.62 inches of rain with minor tree damage

Winds gusting to near 60-mph blew through Atlantic, knocking down numerous trees and power lines, resulting in a loss of power to some 400 customers of Atlantic Municipal Utilities. The power was restored late Thursday night. Other outages were reported elsewhere in Cass County. Along Interstate 80, an electronic DOT message sign was blown over, onto a portion of the traveled portion of I-80 westbound, near mile marker 62, in Cass County. The sign was pushed-off to the shoulder of the road by around 9-p.m. Rainfall in Atlantic, at KJAN, was 1.45 inches. One-mile southeast of Corning, 5.3-inches of rain fell Thursday night.

In Stuart and Menlo, Emergency Management officials report multiple trees and tree limbs fell during Thursday night’s storm. The largest tree was 12-inches in diameter. And, in Guthrie County, Emergency Management reports a flag pole was blown over in Yale at around 8:20-p.m., Thursday.

Power outages were reported throughout Dallas County, and a tree limb fell on a house in Adel. Winds gusted up to 61-mph in Creston at around 9:15-p.m. Heavy rain was reported in the Pocahontas County community of Rolfe Thursday evening, where as much as 2.6″ of rain fell.

Elsewhere, reports from across the state indicated winds averaged 60-mph, with thunderstorm damage being reported in Cumming, West Des Moines, Grimes and Urbandale.

VA inspector general investigating death of veteran in Iowa

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General is reviewing the death of an Iowa veteran who was reportedly denied care at the Iowa City V-A Medical Center. Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley say they received confirmation of the investigation of the death of Brandon Ketchum. Senators Ernst, Grassley and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson sought the review following reports of Ketchum’s death.

Ketchum was a Wisconsin native living in Davenport who was a veteran of the Marines and Iowa National Guard. The senators say Ketchum struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and asked to be admitted to the psychiatric ward at the Iowa City V-A on July 7th due to what he termed ‘serious mental issues,’ but was reportedly denied. Ketchum took his own life just over 24 hours later.

The Senators say a representative of the medical center said the standing policy is never to turn away a patient who requires admittance as long as beds are open and that even if beds at the Iowa City facility are unavailable, the V-A would find the patient a bed at another facility. The Inspector General said in a letter to the Senators he will make every effort to share information in the review that is allowed by law.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa business owners encouraged to check out Google program

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The State of Iowa is partnering with Google on an effort to help small businesses in the state grow their online presence and reach more consumers. Secretary of State Paul Pate talked about the initiative Thursday, during a news conference at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. “What we’re doing through our office is we’re making this information available by linking up with the Google folks on our website, as well as encouraging businesses to look at becoming a part of this as a way to get their word out,” Pate said.

Whitney Cox, with Small Business Outreach at Google, says the program is called Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map. “We know that four out of five consumers use search engines to find location information, yet only 37 percent of businesses have claimed a listing on a search engine,” Cox said. “Through Google’s Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program, we are working to change that by getting businesses the information and resources they need to verify their information on Google Search and Maps…and make sure that online information is accurate.”

Lisa Shimkat, with Iowa’s Small Business Development Center, is encouraging all Iowa business owners to take advantage of the online resource. “We don’t want a business to get left behind,” Shimkat said. “If you don’t have the right information out there, you will be left behind and it could impact your cash flow.” Pate noted that new business filings in Iowa are at an all-time high.

“We have over 200,000 businesses in Iowa and we’re really excited because this year we’ve seen a record number of new business filings which, to me, says we’ve got a growing economy,” Pate said.

Business owners can visit the Secretary of State’s booth in the Varied Industries Building throughout the Iowa State Fair to get signed up for the program — or they can do so online at sos.iowa.gov.

(Radio Iowa)

Federal candidates in Iowa raise concerns about Farm Credit system loans

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Federal office holders from Iowa and their General Election challengers are raising questions about the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks established by the federal government in 1916 to help farmers. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he supports the system, but it has operated outside its charter. “They came to my office to talk to me and I brought up some of the loans that were very questionable loans,” Grassley says. “I got the feeling that they were very embarassed by the issues that I brought up with them.”

Former Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge is the Democrat who’s challenging Grassley this year.”There are probably reforms that need to be made and I would suggest to you that we are going to have a real opportunity to do that next year as we write the new Farm Bill,” Judge said. Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron says the Farm Credit System needs to refocus on helping farmers and agribusinesses “stay afloat.”  “They write their own mission statement,” King says. “I asked the chair of the board that before an Ag Committee hearing some time back and, you know, my message to that was: ‘We may have to help you write that mission statement.'”

Kim Weaver, a social worker from Sheldon, is the Democrat who’s challenging King. Weaver says she’s troubled by the Farm Credit System’s loan to Cracker Barrel.
“Even though it has a rather rustic appeal, it isn’t exactly a farm-related business,” Weaver says. “I would look at actually having a little bit more monitoring of that because I really don’t think it’s fair.”

Republican Congressman David Young of Van Meter says the Farm Credit System must be held to its original mission. “Choice is good out there, but one of the choices out there is backed by the taxpayer, in a sense,” Young says. “…Have they been operating outside of their purview?” Jim Mowrer, a former National Guard soldier and Pentagon administrator, is Young’s Democratic challenger. “When you look at some of the recent activities, like the Verizon loan that they made, this is way outside of its intended scope of purpose,” Mowrer says.

Republican Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque, says there’s probably still a role for the Farm Credit system. “We need to make sure that they’re not competing in the areas that they’re not supposed to be in,” Blum says. “…They’ve made some very big loans to some very large and profitable customers that whether they’re ag related is very, very questionable.” Christopher Peters, an Iowa City doctor, is the Republican who’s challenging Democratic Congressman David Loebsack of Iowa City. Peters says he has just started doing research on the Farm Credit System. “I will say just blanket, though, I’m suspicious of all government sponsored enterprises. I’m not sure why we need those at all,” Peters says. “If things can be delivered in a marketplace, they should be. If they are not able to be delivered in a marketplace, then government I think should provide those services if they can’t or won’t be provided otherwise.”

The candidates made their comments Thursday afternoon during a meeting of the Community Bankers of Iowa. Congressman Loebsack and Monica Vernon, the Democratic candidate in the first congressional district who’s running against Blum, did not attend. The 80 Farm Credit banks do not have to pay taxes on mortgage loan interest and other banks are lobbying congress to end that tax break. Supporters of the system say it’s a crucial source of financing for all of rural America, not just farmers.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, 8/12/16

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. CDT

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The city with Iowa’s highest black population has settled lawsuits against white police officers who roughed up three African-American residents, including a 13-year-old girl who was handcuffed after yelling at a passing officer to “slow down.” The cases reveal how Waterloo’s overwhelmingly white police force has an often-rocky relationship with black residents. The city’s insurer is expected to pay $170,000 to settle three lawsuits, and an unspecified additional amount to the girl’s family.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A National Park Service report says the agency is “astonished” that superintendents at a Native American burial site in Iowa were able to break the law and damage its resources over two decades. The agency released a 50-page review Thursday examining what went wrong in two high-profile debacles at Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa.

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines County jury has found a former Burlington city councilman guilty of four felony counts of sexual abuse involving teenage girls. The Hawk Eye reports that after two days of deliberations, the jury found Chris King guilty on Thursday. King had maintained that sex with the girls was consensual, but prosecutors said the girls were incapacitated by alcohol King provided and unable to consent to sex.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Authorities in North Dakota have arrested a dozen people protesting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said the 12 arrests as of Thursday evening were for disorderly conduct or criminal trespass. The pipeline would start in North Dakota and pass through South Dakota and Iowa before ending in Illinois.

Drug and alcohol arrests overnight in Fremont County

News

August 12th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope reports two men were arrested late Thursday night on drug and alcohol-related charges. At around 11:45-p.m., Police in Tabor conducted a traffic stop and with the assistance of Fremont County deputies, subsequently arrested 53-year old Donald Wayne Younts, of Tabor, for Possession of a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and for OWI. Younts was being held at the Fremont County Law Enforcement Center on $2,300 bond.

Donald Younts

Donald Younts

And, at around 10-p.m. Thursday, Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the Farragut Tavern for a disturbance. After they arrived, deputies met with 27-year old Cody Gould, of Farragut, and as a result took him into custody for Public Intoxication. Gould was being held in the Fremont County Jail on $300 bond.

Cody Gould

Cody Gould

Atlantic Power Outage update 10:27-p.m.

News

August 11th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Communications Center said power has been restored to at least a section of the downtown area, and the street light signals are functioning. Still, you are advised to drive with caution, as there is tree limb and other debris on the roads that may be difficult to see at night.

Atlantic Municipal Utilities had reported earlier, power was out to an estimated 300-400 households and/or businesses in town, and for a time, the Cass County Communications Center and courthouse radio building were running on an emergency generator.

AMU crews are still working to restore power to those areas affected by an outage due to the storm that struck at around 8-p.m. Winds gusted up to 60-miles per hour in Atlantic as the front pushed through, taking down large tree limbs and power lines, including two AMU feeder lines.