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Spring chill damages Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) – A surprisingly chilly April has had an adverse effect on crops in Iowa.     Officials say freezing temperatures last month has damaged crops throughout the state. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that horticulture and agronomy experts say up to 80 percent of the apple crop in eastern Iowa has been ruined.  Apple trees blossomed about a month early because of unseasonably warm temperatures in March. But temperatures dipped to the low 20s for several nights in early to mid-April, killing those blossoms. Thousands of acres of corn may need to be replanted in the northern part of the state and Gail Nonnecke, a horticulture professor at Iowa State University, estimates Iowa strawberry production will be reduced by 20 percent.

Alliant Energy warns about phone scams

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Another major utility company is warning its customers about a potential phone scam. Officials with Alliant Energy said today (Thursday) a small number of their customers have reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be Alliant Energy representatives. The callers claim a customer’s account is delinquent and demand immediate, full payment to avoid immediate disconnection. The utility company says they do work with customers over the phone to set payment arrangements for delinquent accounts, but an Alliant Energy representative will already have customer account information and will work with the customer to arrange payment through one of the company’s regular payment channels.  A list of these options is available at alliantenergy.com/paymybill. Alliant Energy does not collect payments in person at a customer’s home or place of business. 

Tim Heinrich, Director of Customer Support Services at Alliant, says they already know account details about their customers, and those customers fall behind, they will work collaboratively with them, “To establish mutually acceptable payment arrangements.”  Henirch says if a customer has any concerns about calls claiming to come from Alliant Energy, they should simply hang up and call 1-800-ALLIANT. 

Alliant Energy has received word that similar calls and in-person scams have been occurring with customers at a number of utilities across the country. On Tuesday, KJAN reported officials with MidAmerican Energy was warning its customers about “Past Due” account, phone scams. The company said persons posing as MidAmerican Energy customer service associates or attorneys are calling, claiming the customer’s account is past due, and payment is needed immediately to avoid disconnection. The caller follows-up by asking for your credit card number.

Both utilities are working with local law enforcement to investigate suspicious calls or other activity.

128-lbs of Pot seized after traffic stop in Pott. County Wednesday

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department reports a Colorado man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on drug charges, following a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Council Bluffs. According to Pott. County Chief Deputy John Reynolds, at around 3:30-p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Brian Miller conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle traveling at excessive speed, at the seven mile marker of eastbound I-80. While conducting an interview with the driver, 63-year old Mark E. Domreis, of Aurora, CO., Miller became suspicious Domreis was involved in criminal activity.

After Miller completed the traffic stop, Domreis told him that there was a large amount of marijuana underneath the bed cover of the truck. The deputy deployed his K-9 partner Francisco, to conduct a free air sniff of the vehicle. The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, and a subsequent search of the vehicle revealed that there were several duffle bags and coolers containing vacuum sealed bags of marijuana.

Approximately 128 pounds of marijuana and one half  pound of amphetamines were ultimately seized. Domreis was arrested on one-count each of Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana, Possession with the Intent to Deliver Amphetamines, A tax stamp violation, and, Prohibited Acts. 

Domreis was booked into the Pottawattamie County Jail, where he was being held on $100,000 bond.

Report: Hunger, poverty worse in rural areas of Midwest

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Despite being the breadbasket of the world, a new report shows poverty and food insecurity are rising faster in rural areas of the Midwest than in urban areas. The report from the Center for Rural Affairs covers Iowa and nine other states. Report author Jon Bailey, the center’s research director, says the poverty comes from scarce jobs and paltry salaries. “The jobs in those communities tend to be low-paying jobs,” Bailey says. “So when you add together low pay for the opportunities that are there and then a lack of opportunities, that’s going to lead to economic challenges like poverty and food insecurity.” Bailey’s report finds rural people who were food insecure accounted for nearly 13-percent of the region’s population in 2010. Rural children who were food insecure accounted for almost 24-percent. He says that issue needs to be addressed.

Bailey says “Rural communities are going to have to work on the access to food in their community and then create an economic climate that allows people to live there and afford what they need to live on in those communities.” Bailey says one of the best ways to help rural areas is through the federal Farm Bill, but he says prospects don’t look good right now. “Unfortunately, in some of the early versions of the Farm Bill, there is literally no funding for initiatives that would help that through the rural development section of the Farm Bill,” Bailey says. “We need to change that. We need to have rural communities help put an emphasis on the need for investment in their futures and in their economies to help create those better and well-paying jobs.” The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska. The full report can be found at “cfra.org“.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

8AM Newscast 05-17-2012

News, Podcasts

May 17th, 2012 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson

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Harlan man plays the role of General Grenville Dodge

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Shelby County resident is being showcased in a new exhibit at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Dan Bieker of Harlan was selected to be General Grenville Dodge in a new exhibit inside the museum. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum was constructing the exhibit to educate visitors on how the railroad was built west of Iowa. Bieker says the museum struggled to find an actor to play General Dodge so his family reached out to him. He says his sister-in-law and his photographer brother asked him to play the role after they were unsuccessful in finding an actor. They said Bieker had the right stature, facial features and age to try the role. He says it was fun, and an experience he never thought he would have. 

Theatrical makeup was applied to him and the camera crew added more silver to his hair to make him look like General Dodge. Once Bieker was ready to go, he was placed in front of the camera. He says after his audition, officials decided to make his character a part of the museum. Bieker is featured several times throughout the museum on a video screen. He introduces himself as “General Grenville Dodge, Union Pacific’s Chief Engineer,” at the start of construction of the U-P Railroad. He’s on three different screens throughout the museum. The other screens talk about how Dodge met President Abraham Lincoln, and how the railroad was built west of Omaha without any locally available materials – they had to be shipped-in, by steamboat. 

The museum officials told Bieker the display will be around for the next 20 to 30 years. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is located at 200 Pearl Street in Council Bluffs and is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesdays through Saturday. Admission is free. Bieker says it was an honor and a privilege to be chosen to play the role of General Dodge.

Public comment period on Chicago to Omaha passenger rail study to end May 21

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation, is about to wrap up the second public input portion of the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study. Log on at www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha/ to find out more from the online, self-directed open house meeting, which is active through Monday, May 21st, 2012. 

The open house is intended to illustrate various route alternatives, explain the process used to evaluate the route alternatives, discuss results of the alternatives analysis, and gain public input. One of the possible routes in the study would utilize the Iowa Interstate Railroad which passes through Iowa City, Des Moines and Atlantic.

All comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and considered during development of the draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. which will be compiled and released to the public for additional input later this fall.

7AM Newscast 05-17-2012

News, Podcasts

May 17th, 2012 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Montgomery Co. man arrested for child endangerment

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County say one-person was arrested late Wednesday on a couple of charges, following an incident in Grant. 34-year old Jeremiah John Wieseler, of Grant, was taken into custody at around just before midnight, on charges of Child Endangerment and Serious Assault, following the incident in the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue. Wieseler was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $2,000 bond. Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Montgomery County K-9 Unit, deputies with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Red Oak Police, in handling the incident.

Hospital in Jefferson gets $20M federal loan

News

May 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

JEFFERSON, Iowa (AP) — The Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson is getting $20 million in federal government loans to help expand and renovate the 75-year-old hospital. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s community facilities program is offering an $18 million direct loan and a $2 million guaranteed loan for the project. The hospital is the area’s largest employer with over 250 workers on staff. It has a payroll of more than $9 million. Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced the grant on Monday during a visit to the area. He says it’s part of the Obama administration’s effort to advance technology in rural health care. The USDA administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local rural development offices.