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Is this heaven? No, it’s the “Dream to Farm” class, offered in SW Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who’ve always wanted to become farmers but weren’t sure how to make the leap can now take a course. “Dream to Farm” is a 14-week class being offered for the first time this summer at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. Matt Mancuso, the college’s sustainability coordinator, says it’ll appeal to entrepreneurs who are interested in food security, healthy eating and local food. Mancuso says six of the sessions will focus on developing a comprehensive business plan. “A lot of people are going to be coming in with ideas of what they want to do and they are going to be totally changed by the funding and how much you’re going to be making,” Mancuso says. “It’s going to be a learning experience for them and people will be coming in with ideas that will be totally transferred to something else by the end of the class.” The course will cover the basics of farming techniques, soils, animal husbandry, irrigation, and pest and disease management. Mancuso says the course is not designed for someone who wants to start farming 150 acres of corn or soybeans, but rather someone who wants to take their passion for gardening to the next level.

Mancuso says, “This is going to be someone who’s a local farmer who’s going to be providing for the local farmers markets, the local restaurants, the local food outlets, grocery stores and so forth in their local areas.” It will target the small-scale niche farmer who can devote a half-acre, or perhaps two or three acres, to something like raising carrots, cabbage or chickens. In addition to classroom work, there will be hands-on labs, field trips and relationship-building with mentors. Mancuso says they may be small-scale farmers, but the eventual fruits of the labor will be much larger.

“This provides a huge local economic impact, both in urban areas and in rural areas by developing these farmers,” Mancuso says. “A lot of times these farmers use local products. The money gets transferred through the local economy over and over with these local farmers.” Thanks to a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, the course will only cost 39-dollars. It begins May 30th and runs through August 29th. A second class will be offered in the fall. Mancuso hopes to perfect the curriculum and will offer it to other community colleges across Iowa. 

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Thu., May 10th 2012


May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has adjourned a session in which lawmakers took on some big issues but emerged with little legislation. It took an additional three weeks past the scheduled adjournment before lawmakers adjourned yesterday.

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Lin Television Corp. is buying 17 television stations in eight markets from New Vision Television. The companies say the sales price is $330.4 million, with Lin Television assuming $12 million in New Vision debt as well. The deal was announced Monday. It is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close before the end of the year. The deal includes Mason City television station KIMT.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An attorney for a suspended Iowa prosecutor says his client will contest allegations that his failure to do his job posed a threat to public safety. Attorney David Brown said yesterday that Richard Scott wants to return to his job as Appanoose County attorney. Brown says Scott plans to appear at a May 29th hearing and seek to have the suspension lifted.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman accused of faking a brain tumor to get prescription drugs has been arrested on six counts of identity theft. Iowa City policy arrested Amanda Malek of Perry, on Tuesday. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports a criminal complaint filed in Johnson County District Court says Malek tried to convince health care providers that she had a brain tumor six times in 2010. Healthcare workers couldn’t substantiate her condition, and doctors who allegedly signed the letters say they’re forgeries.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Drake has signed a pair of frontcourt players to round out its latest recruiting class. Bulldogs coach Mark Phelps says Daddy Ugbede and Robert Puleikis have signed letters of intent and will join the team next season. The pair round out a list of eight newcomers for the Bulldogs, who lost star Rayvonte Rice to transfer.

Iowa Legislature adjourns 3 weeks into overtime


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has adjourned a session in which lawmakers took on some big issues but emerged with little legislation. It took an additional three weeks past the scheduled adjournment before lawmakers agreed on the state’s $6.2 billion budget and adjourned Wednesday. The state will end the year with a large ending balance. That reflects an improving economy, which has boosted tax revenue, and a Republican desire to spend less than the state receives in tax revenue. The state also will have hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve. Gov. Terry Branstad called for bold education reform but got an unfunded policy bill. Lawmakers failed once again to find compromise on his property tax reform proposal despite trying up to the final hour.

New plan: rural Iowa post offices to remain open, but with reduced hours


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Nearly 180 post offices in Iowa that were on a list for possible closure will now remain open, but with limited hours. The decision announced today (Wednesday) by the U.S. Postal Service follows months of backlash from rural residents at public meetings. USPS spokesman Rich Watkins says Iowa’s smallest post offices, if they’re still open, will remain open under the revised plan. “We’ll keep the post office there, the zip code and the community identity,” Watkins said. “There will still be a postal service employee there, but due to the declining workload, it would be open two, four or perhaps six hours a day.” The revised plan is expected to save the USPS $500 million a year. Watkins said the “multi-phased” strategy would be implemented over a two-year period, through September 2014. Around 13-thousand (13,000) post offices around the country are included under the new plan – including 178 of the more than 900 post offices in Iowa. Watkins said the reduced hours are needed to address an ever decreasing mail volume. “We have to better match our workforce in the facilities that we maintain with a declining work load,” Watkins said. “Going forward, we think this strikes a healthy balance for both our customers and the postal service.”

In the KJAN listening area, these are just some of the post offices that would be affected: (City, current & proposed hours of operation)

Adair 8/6; Bridgewater 8/4; Brayton 8/2; Carson 8/6; Casey 8/4; Cumberland 8/4; Defiance 8/4; Earling 8/4; Elk Horn 8/6; Elliott 8/4; Exira 8/6; Grant 4/2; Irwin 8/4; Kimballton 8/4; Lewis & Macedonia 8/4; Macksburg 4/2; Marne 6/4; Menlo 8/4; Manilla 8/6; Massena 8/4; Neola 8/6; Orient 8/4; Panama 8/4; Persia 8/4; Portsmouth 8/4; Prescott 8/4; Redfield 8/4; Shelby 8/4; Stanton 8/6; Underwood 8/6; Walnut 8/6; Wiota 4/2.

The complete list can be found at: http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/postplan-affected-post-offices-120509.pdf

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Striking painters delays rebuilding of tornado damaged hospital in Creston


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The rebuilding of a hospital damaged by a tornado was delayed a bit this month by striking painters. Around 200 members with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 246 went on strike at midnight on April 30. Union business manager Bob Gilmore says one of the facilities impacted by the strike is the Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston.”Unfortunately, one of the contractors that had the work is one of our employers,” Gilmore said. “When we’re withholding service from our employers, that means they don’t have people to paint and the project can get delayed.” 

Gilmore noted that union members who’d been working on the Creston hospital prior to the strike offered to volunteer their time and finish the job. The contractor and the union, however, agreed to pay a handful of painters while the others remain on strike. The union and its employers are scheduled to meet today (Wednesday) to negotiate new contract terms. “In our industry, this is one of the ways, unfortunately, that disagreements are resolved between the employers and the (union) members,” Gilmore said. 

The tornado that damaged the hospital in Creston on April 14 was categorized as an EF2 with wind speeds of 130 miles per hour. Six people were injured in the storm in Creston, one critically.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man arrested on drug charge


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports the arrest Tuesday, of 18-year old Michael W. Armstrong. Armstrong, of Atlantic, was taken into custody on a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge. He was being held in the Cass County Jail pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Cass Supervisors authorize purchase of new motor grader


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

After a lengthy period of discussion about weight, steering options and trade-in value (among other issues), the Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday) voted 3-to 2, in favor of purchasing a new Motor Grader for the Secondary Roads Department. The John Deere model 770-G grader will be purchased from Murphy Tractor out of Omaha, for $216,756.

John Deere Model 770-G (image from deere.com)

An older model grader currently in the County’s fleet, will be sold to Iron Planet for $86,500. 

A bid of $247,541 was received for a Caterpiller Model 12-M2 from Ziegler, and $229,950 for Scott Van Keppel, who offered a Volvo G-930-B. The difference in price ($30,785), wasn’t enough to sway Supervisors Waters and Rieken. Rieken said the Cat’s have served the County well, and seem to offer a better trade-in value. He was also in favor of buying that brand because the service would be local. 

Engineer Charles Marker said the County currently has one John Deere Motor Grader in the County’s fleet, and several Caterpiller models. He said they have eight motor graders which covers eight full-time districts, and one spare. There are two motor graders per shop.

8AM Newscast 05-09-2012

News, Podcasts

May 9th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Pilot who saved 184 in Sioux City crash dies at 69


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (AP) – The pilot who helped save 184 people during a plane crash in Sioux City, Iowa, has died at the age of 69. Dennis Fitch of St. Charles, IL, died Monday after suffering from brain cancer.  In July 1989, Fitch was a United pilot and flight instructor who happened to be a passenger on United Flight 232 when it lost all hydraulic power while flying from Denver to Chicago.  

 The DC-10 crash-landed, killing 111 people. Fitch and 184 others survived, due largely to his troubleshooting from the cockpit floor where he and the crew struggled to control the plunging jet.  United pilot Mike Hamilton says what happened that day has become “a case study in how a crew could work together in an emergency.”

Two Atlantic Seniors awarded Frederickson Scholarships


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic High School Class Night was held last week for graduating Seniors. Following recognition ceremonies, two of the 2012 graduating Seniors were asked to stay on the stage a little longer.

Barry and McNees receive their scholarship awards May 2nd

Taylor Barry and Ian McNees learned they were both being rewarded with this year’s Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund Scholarships worth $750 each, and, they were notified $250 will be gifted in their names to each of their charities of choice.
A question on the scholarship application asked graduating Seniors, “If you could financially support any charity which would it be and why?” While Barry specifically noted Toys for Tots, Playground Builders was selected by the Fund on behalf of McNees’ wish to see playgrounds built in Iraq. Fund representative Melanie Petty said “The donations are something we added to our scholarship last year,” and “We’re hoping this encourages our recipients to continue to support the things that are meaningful to them.”
The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund has given back over $35,000 to the community using proceeds from the annual T-Fred Memorial Golf Tournament. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 11, at Nishna Hills Golf Club in Atlantic.