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Guthrie Center to be slammed by 40-to 50,000 visitors in July

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The community of Guthrie Center, with a population of just over 1,560 people (according to the latest numbers), will swell by about 32-percent at the end of July, when two events converge upon the city. According to the Guthrie Center Times, officials learned late last month, that RAGBRAI, with its estimated 10-thousand riders, will be rolling through the town situated half-way between Harlan and Perry, on July 22nd. Less than 4 days later, Guthrie Center will host the annual two-day River Ruckus country music festival, which will bring more than 30,000 people to the community.Last year’s Ruckus brought more than 20,000 people to town.

The paper reports Ruckus promoter Grant Sheeder had originally scheduled to have his 60-foot concert stage trucked into town to begin construction on Monday of the concert week. However, learning RAGBRAI would clog all roads through town, he recently rescheduled the trucks’ arrival time for Sunday, July 21st, instead.

The acts for the River Ruckus, which features some of the biggest names in country music include:
Friday, July 26: Casey Donahew Band, Chris Cagle, and Big and Rich.
Saturday, July 27: Granger Smith, Josh Thompson, Gretchen Wilson, and Hank Williams, Jr.

King says he won’t be bullied out of running for US Senate

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A threat from G-O-P strategist Karl Rove makes it more likely rather than less likely that Republican Congressman Steve King will run for the U.S. Senate. Rove has vowed to spend millions in primaries to defeat ultra-conservative candidates, as Rove contends candidates like King cannot win a General Election. King says no one is going to bully him out of running for the U.S. Senate. “This is a decision for Iowans, not someone who happens to have a checkbook,” King told Radio Iowa. King sent an email to supporters on Thursday, saying he was “under attack” from a “crusade” led by “Karl Rove and his army.”

King asked his own supporters to make a campaign donation, to “show Rove he cannot decide (King’s) political future.”  “We’re going to have to have a battle in the court of public opinion until it’s clear that Iowans will make the decision on their nominee for the United States Senate and that will set a precedent for the rest of the country,” King said. “It’s that important.” King isn’t yet ready to officially declare himself a candidate for the Senate, however.

“It’s gotten closer each day, but I wouldn’t want to imply that the decision is made. It’s not,” King said. “It will be made by a thorough analysis of county-by-county, and all of the resources necessary to run a race of this magnitude.” King spoke with Radio Iowa by phone late Thursday afternoon. He was at Camden Yard in Baltimore, attending a Heritage Foundation retreat. Steve Forbes, the two-time presidential candidate, was the keynote speaker.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Friday, Feb. 8th 2013

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Friends of a young Iowa woman killed in a mo-ped accident are urging lawmakers to approve a law requiring helmets for underage mo-ped drivers. College students Leah Murray and Olivia Lofgren testified before a state Senate subcommittee yesterday on behalf of legislation to require helmets for mo-ped drivers under 18. Both say they want to prevent an accident like the one that killed their friend Caroline Found in 2011.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to uphold the firing of a University of Iowa radiology professor who engaged in harassing behavior toward colleagues. A spokeswoman said yesterday the board voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon for the termination of Malik Juweid (joo-WAYD’) after considering his appeal in closed session.

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) — Jim Warkentin says personal reasons led him to resign as chief of the North Liberty police force. The Gazette reports that Warkentin didn’t elaborate on those reasons in a press release issued through the city on Wednesday. His resignation was effective today. Lieutenant Diane Venenga has been named acting police chief.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University’s athletic director is apologizing for his comment at a high school basketball game that led to his removal. The Des Moines Register reports Jamie Pollard says he’s sorry he said anything that he shouldn’t have said at the Tuesday night game between Colfax-Mingo High School and Gilbert High School. Pollard’s son plays for Gilbert.

Iowa voter registration form legality questioned

News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Voter fraud cases against several Iowans could be in trouble if a district court judge rules Iowa’s voter registration form is illegal. The attorney for a Council Bluffs man charged with election misconduct says the voter registration form has smaller type at the bottom where the person signing certifies citizenship. State law requires the print on the form to be uniform throughout.

Attorney David Richter says Pottawattamie County prosecutors stipulated at a hearing Monday that the type differs. He expects a judge to find the form illegal. If the judge believes that justifies dismissal of charges against Richter’s client, Albert Harte-Maxwell, prosecution in similar cases could be in trouble. Five other people are charged with election misconduct for registering to vote without U.S. citizenship, a felony in Iowa.

U. of Iowa apologizes for release of GPA data

News

February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa is apologizing after a temporary employee mistakenly sent an email to 2,000 students that included a document showing all of their grade point averages. The school said Thursday that students served by the Center for Diversity and Enrichment received the e-mail Wednesday that included a data attachment with their names, number of credit hours and grade point averages.

University officials apologized to students, saying they understand the breach “may have caused undue stress.” The university said counseling resources were available and that steps were “being taken to remedy the situation and to ensure that such mistakes do not occur again.” Students have been instructed to delete the attachment, and shred any copies they printed out because personal grade information is protected under federal student privacy law.

Two Arrested in Domestic Assault

News

February 7th, 2013 by admin

Authorities in Adams County responding to a dispute call in Corning Thursday, arrested two people on assault charges. Taken into custody at the residence in the 1000 block of 6th Street, was  53-year old Denny Moore and 56-year old Luann Stevenson, both of Corning. Moore and Stevenson were charged with Domestic Assault, a Simple Misdemeanor. The pair were transported to the Adams County Jail, where they were being held pending appearance before the magistrate. Their bonds were set at $300 each.

Atlantic man arrested on drug charges

News

February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Wednesday, of 38-year old Roger James Wilson. Wilson, who is from Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Cass County Sheriff’s Office warrant for Possession with Intent to Deliver and an additional charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance. The man was being held in the Cass County Jail on $5000 bond.

Cass County Sheriff warns of robo call scam on prescription drugs

News

February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is making the public aware of a new twist on an old scam that’s going around. Sheriff Darby McLaren says his office has received a report of an automated call telling about the negative effects of a prescription drug. The voice gives you the option to press “1” to be taken off the call list, and when you do, the automated operator requests your social security number, date of birth, and name. The Sheriff says if you receive such a call, simply hang up. Do not give your information to the caller, regardless of whether is is a human or computer.

AMU defends proposed billing fee increase to the City of Atlantic

News

February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The General Manager of the Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU) and Mayor of Atlantic sat down during a press conference Thursday afternoon, to clarify statements made by City Administrator Doug Harris during Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, with regard to an increase in the fees charged to the City for the sewer billing rate.

AMU Gen. Mgr. Steve Tjepkes (left) and Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones (right) discuss the fee AMU charges the City for sewer billing. (Ric Hanson photo)

Steve Tjepkes refuted the claim by Harris that the 90-cent rate adjustment is attributable to AMU’s new billing system, which was unveiled in December. He said their old billing system had been in-place for over 30-years, and the cost of implementing the new billing system was made by offsetting cost savings. The maintenance, or ongoing cost of the new system he says, costs the same as the old. He said neither the rate increase or the charges they have proposed to the City, was a result of the new billing system. Tjepkes said over the last several years, AMU has charged the City 10-cents per bill, per month, to maintain more than 3,100 sewer accounts and billing processes. He said that rate doesn’t even cover a third of today’s postage rates.

The proposed increase from 10-cents to $1.00, he says is based on the actual cost to AMU to service those accounts. If the fee increase is approved, the annual cost to the City would jump from $3,730 per year to $37,300 per year. Ultimately, the increase will be passed along to AMU’s electric and water customers. Tjepkes said the fee increase he discussed with Harris was a proposal, and not an ultimatum.

Mayor Dave Jones said his reaction, that AMU had “Gone overboard” on the rate increase and should re-calculate their costs, was based on the information presented by Harris, and the shock of going from 10-cents, to a dollar per billing.  He said after discussions were held this (Thursday) morning, he feels the dollar amount is “reasonable,” that the City couldn’t do it any cheaper, and it is “just the cost of doing business.”

Jones said the matter will be placed before the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee for discussion, before anything is agreed to as far as billing costs. If the increase is approved, it would be billed in July, retro-active to January 1st. Jones said it’s likely the proposed increase would be passed along, and on top of a sewer rate increase already planned for later this year.

***********

The text of the Press Release from AMU is as follows…

“In the last several years, AMU has charged the city $.10 a bill per month to maintain their sewer accounts and billing processes. As most people can understand, $.10 doesn’t even cover a third of today’s postage. The services provided by AMU to the City of Atlantic include the labor costs of setting up and maintaining over 3,100 sewer accounts, processing new and final billing account adjustments each monthly, billing the monthly service, the collection of the accounts and the accounting for the funds billed and collected. In addition to the labor costs, there is the cost of the physical bills, envelopes, postage and printing costs.

The increase in the sewer billing rate from $.10 to $1.00 is based on the actual cost to AMU to service these accounts. AMU isn’t asking the city to cover the full third of the cost of billing the sewer services. However, in fairness to AMU’s customer, the Utility Board doesn’t feel that AMU should continue to build the full cost of the sewer billing into their electric and water rates.

There was a statement made that the rate adjustment is a result of AMU’s new billing system. AMU’s billing system had been in place for over 30 years and the cost of implementing the new billing system was made by offsetting cost savings. The maintenance of the new system is the same as it has been in the past. So, neither the recent AMU rate increase nor the increase in what AMU charges the city for processing their sewer billing is related to the new billing system.

Prior to suggesting the change, AMU checked with other municipal utilities of similar size to research how they are handling billing. Though no utility is the same, their proposed rate is more in line with how other utilities handle billing for their cities.

AMU would be happy to continue to process the sewer billing for the city, but if the city chooses to do it themselves that would be their choice.”

Corps says Missouri River remains at low levels

News

February 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Dry weather continues throughout the area that feeds into the Missouri River, so water levels will remain low. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts that runoff into the river above Sioux City, Iowa, will be 80 percent of normal this year. So the Corps is expected to keep the amount of water it’s releasing out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border at 14,000 cubic feet per second throughout February. Around mid-March, the amount of water will be increased to about 25,000 cubic feet per second to help support barge traffic on the river.

But that will provide only enough water for a minimal channel 8-feet-deep and 200-feet-wide. A normal navigation channel is 9-feet-deep and 300-feet-wide. So barges may not be able to carry full loads.