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Cedar County child diagnosed with swine flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar County health officials are stepping up flu surveillance since a child there was diagnosed with a flu virus normally found in pigs. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports that the H3N2v influenza A strain was verified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says the child, who has since recovered, had not been in contact with swine, one of the modes of transmission.

Quinlisk says health professionals in the Cedar County area are being asked to take more specimens for testing from people who might have the flu. Quinlisk says three Iowa children had the same strain in November 2011. All recovered.

(Podcast) 8-a.m. Local/State News 12/1/12

News, Podcasts

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

Dense Fog Advisories are in effect for western/SW IA & eastern NE

News, Weather

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY COUNTIES IN IOWA..
913 AM CST SAT DEC 1 2012

…DENSE FOG ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY…

* VISIBILITY…EXPECT VISIBILITIES OF A QUARTER MILE OR LESS
THROUGH NOON.

* IMPACTS…HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS CAN BE EXPECTED DUE TO
THE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A DENSE FOG ADVISORY MEANS VISIBILITIES WILL FREQUENTLY BE
REDUCED TO LESS THAN ONE QUARTER MILE. IF DRIVING…SLOW DOWN…
USE YOUR HEADLIGHTS…AND LEAVE PLENTY OF DISTANCE AHEAD OF YOU.

FREMONT AND PAGE COUNTIES…

…DENSE FOG ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CST THIS
MORNING…

CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-CASS-ADAIR-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-
AND RINGGOLD COUNTIES….

…AREAS OF DENSE FOG WILL PERSIST UNTIL LATE MORNING…

AREAS OF DENSE FOG WILL CONTINUE TO BLANKET PORTIONS OF SOUTHWEST
IOWA THROUGH THE LATE MORNING HOURS. GENERALLY AREAS ALONG THE
INTERSTATE 80 CORRIDOR WEST OF STUART…ALONG HIGHWAY 34 WEST OF
CRESTON…AND ALONG HIGHWAY 71 WILL ENCOUNTER AREAS OF DENSE FOG
REDUCING VISIBILITY TO LESS THAN ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES THROUGH
10 AM CST…WITH SLOW IMPROVEMENT THEREAFTER. LOW LYING AREAS AND RIVER
BOTTOMS ARE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THE DENSEST FOG. TRAVELERS ARE
ADVISED TO USE LOW BEAM HEADLIGHTS AND SLOW DOWN DURING FOGGY
CONDITIONS.

Local News (Podcast) 7:06-a.m. Sat., Dec. 1st 2012

News, Podcasts

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

Cass County Supervisors hold public hearing on development agreement

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Friday, held a public hearing on a Contract for Private Development in support of the Fagen Farms acquisition of property in the former Amaizing Energy Ethanol Plant area. The contract, when approved, will be for the purpose of securing a developer to construct a Second Generation Bio-Fuels/Renewable Energy facility, or Ag-related facility on the site.

After much discussion, it was determined that before an agreement is reached, a site survey needs to be conducted to determine exactly which portion of area needs to be reclassified from Light Industrial to Agricultural. The change in classification would serve to reduce the tax bill for Fagen, in fact, nearly cutting them in-half. A reduction in property taxes is one of the conditions Fagen requires to be met before they commit to building a next-gen plant in the area. As it stands now, the 63.7-acres is valued at $1.87-million dollars.

The Cass County Zoning Commission will meet at 7-p.m. December 13th, to conduct a public hearing on the change in zoning to allow Second Gen Renewable Energy facilities to be included in an Agricultural Zone. It’s also possible the Commission may simply elect to change the terms and definition of “Light Industrial,” to include similar facilities, for future development in the County.

In other business, the Board of Supervisors, Friday, approved the closing of the Courthouse on Monday, December 24th, and paid as a holiday, in advance of Christmas. The Courthouse offices will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 24th and 25th. They will reopen for business on Dec. 26th. The Board also opted out of being included in a Regional funding “Pool” for Mental Health Regionalization.

Cass Co. Conservation announced Swan Contest winner!

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation service say the sponsors of Trumpeter Swan Arrival contest have determined a winner in the contest. The official arrival of the swans, as determined by the Conservation Board, was November 24th  On that day there were 12 Trumpeter Swans at the Schildberg Quarry Recreational Area. The large-winged birds stayed there for more than twenty-four hours. The winner this year’s contest is Alice Brown of Atlantic.

Alice will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board.  The school contest was won by Mrs. Christensen’s third grade at Washington Elementary The students will receive a trumpeter swan poster and Mrs. Christensen will receive a trumpeter swan 8×10 print! Cass County Conservation would like to thank to all who participated in the annual event.

Emotions run high over Cass County courthouse space and reorganization

News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The possible relocation of the Cass County 9-1-1/Communications Center from the basement of the courthouse in Atlantic to the third floor does not sit well with some elected officials whose offices would be affected by the change. Constantly changing technology in methods of communicating with 9-1-1 is the main reason for the County Public Safety Commission (PSC) is  exploring the option. Supervisors Mark Wedemeyer and Gaylord Schelling serve on the County PSC. Schelling said during the Supervisor’s meeting Friday afternoon, that they want to explore the feasibility of moving the Comm Center to the Third-Floor, which would have involved a cost-study.

Cass County 9-1-1 Director Rob Koppert said the 9-1-1 Board has about $12,000 set aside in its budget to conduct any necessary study. He said also two architectural firms who have provided a tentative inspection of the 3rd floor facilites seem to think it would be more than capable of handling the infrastructure changes needed to facilitate the necessary an expansion of the Comm Center, which has been the topic of discussion for more than a year.

Koppert said during the PSC’s last meeting, the commission agreed to request the Supervisors formally approve moving the Comm Center upstairs, with the idea a study on the costs would be conducted AFTER the Supervisors approve. At that point in the conversation, Auditor Dale Sunderman, whose voting machines are stored in climate controlled conditions on the 3rd floor, told Board Chair Duane McFadden, approval could not be given until the courthouse department heads had a chance to discuss the matter. He said there are issues with the voting machines, as well as with other offices on the 3rd floor to contend with.

Sunderman said that a long-range plan should be made and approved by all elected officers in the courthouse, before any thought is given to conducting a feasibility study. Koppert then stressed the importance of not waiting too long to get the ball rolling on any possible move. He said they are coming up against some serious timelines for the installation of “Next Generation” 9-1-1 equipment. He said they can’t keep pushing-off decision on what to do with the Comm Center, because the new technology they’ll have to deal with requires more equipment and space to operate it, along with additional personnel.

The FCC, he says, has issued a recommendation that the County be “Next-Gen capable,” by no later than 2015. Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner, whose offices are on the 3rd floor, was upset he was never consulted about the possible move, and because he needs space for office expansion and renovations, as well. Feistner says the County Treasurer’s and Auditor’s Offices already have storage issues, in addition to his own office, and those spaces are continuously being “encroached upon.” Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer seemed surprised Feistner and others were angry over the concept of moving the Comm Center, since the issue has been in the news,  and discussed during various board and committee meetings,  for more than a year. Feistner and Cass County Recorder Joyce Jensen begged to differ.

Feistner said it was “unfair” to blame elected officials such as himself, Sunderman and Jensen for seemingly complaining “all of the sudden,” when they weren’t prithee to information from those meetings and discussions that had taken place. Jensen said it is “unfortunate” the County is being “re-active” to concerns, because that she says “Is the worst kind of government.” Wedemeyer said both he and Schelling had spoken with Jensen, but admitted neither had spoken with Feistner about the matter, because “It didn’t occur to us.”

In the end, the Supervisors said a meeting of all elected officials in the courthouse and department head will take place 3-p.m. December 5th, to “diplomatically” hash out the issues and solutions to the problem.

Governor seeks two-year pay freeze for state workers

News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad is asking state workers to accept a pay freeze for the next two years — and to cover more of their own health insurance costs. Governor Branstad’s lead negotiator in contract talks presented the pay and benefit proposal Friday. In mid-November AFSCME — the union that represents the largest share of state workers — launched the latest round of contract talks by asking for wage increases of one percent next year and two percent the following year. Not only is the Republican governor asking for a two-year pay freeze, he wants employees to give up four holidays and pay 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. The governor’s lead labor negotiator says union leaders have done “an outstanding job” in the past decade in bargaining, but he suggests state worker pay is too high and state workers have too much power when it comes to workplace grievances and “bumping rights” during layoffs. Long-time employees who’re laid off can take jobs still held by workers with less seniority. The governor is seeking changes in those areas, too. AFSCME’s leader calls the governor’s proposal “appalling” and an attack on “basic union rights.”

(Radio Iowa)

Three illegal immigrants get prison time

News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An illegal immigrant from Mexico who was caught in Iowa has been sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison. On November 30th of 2009 Juan Cardona-Tinajero was convicted of a drug crime in Iowa District Court in Woodbury County and deported. This past May Cardona-Tinajero was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped in western Iowa by a state trooper and he’s been in federal custody ever since. He’s now 23 years old. This summer he admitted to reentering the country illegally. In late November he was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison.

Forty-seven-year-old Javier Garnica-Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen, was sentenced to six months in federal prison. Garnica-Rodriguez was being held in the Webster County Jail for driving without a license when federal authorities picked him up. Another man, 38-year-old Jose Bautista-Perez of Mexico, has also been sentenced to six months in federal prison. He was caught by Homeland Security agents doing a records check to see if deported immigrants had returned to the U.S. Both Bautista-Perez and Garnica-Rodriguez had been deported once before.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Sat., Dec. 1st 2012

News

December 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Jurors have convicted a former Iowa public official of second-degree murder for shooting his girlfriend while she was riding a lawn mower behind their home. The jury returned its verdict yesterday in the case of Thomas Lee Hansen after a weeklong trial. Hansen acknowledged that he shot and killed 54-year-old Sharon Gerot on May 1, 2011, outside their home in Riverside, but says he didn’t aim at Gerot.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office says an anonymous donor is offering to add up to $100,000 to a reward for information leading to the return of two missing cousins and the arrest and conviction of those responsible for their disappearance. In a statement released last night, Captain Rick Abben expressed hope the donation would aid in the return of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. The girls disappeared on July 13th.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A shaggy brown sheep successfully dodged police, his handlers and a few cars while trotting through downtown Des Moines after escaping from his trailer. But the ram’s freedom only lasted about an hour yesterday before he was cornered and tackled by about a half dozen of his pursuers not far from the state capitol.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Richard Carter scored 16 points, leading five Drake players in double-figures, as the Bulldogs beat Nevada 76-66 last night in Reno. Carter, who was 6 of 12 from the field, also led the team in rebounds with seven.