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Cass County man wins horseshoe pitching event at IA State Fair


August 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A retired Anita area farmer has won the horseshoe pitching competition at the Iowa State Fair. Ray Pottebaum, of Anita, won the competition for the 4th year in a row Thursday, according to his son.

Red Oak man arrested for assault


August 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A rural Red Oak man was arrested Thursday night on a Simple Assault charge. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports James L. Bourn was taken into custody at around 9:20-p.m. as the result of an investigation into a report of a family disturbance at the Bourn residence. The investigation determined there had been a physical altercation between Bourn and a minor living in the home. Bourn was booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he was being held on $300 bond.

Producer says drought will cause popcorn shortage

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

This year’s historic Midwest drought is having an impact on all crops — including popcorn. Gary Smith is President of the American Popcorn Company, the parent company of Jolly Time Popcorn. The company is based in Sioux City and has contracts with farmers in northwest Iowa and northeast Nebraska to grow the company’s popcorn. Smith describes this year’s crop as “okay,” especially when compared with conditions in other parts of the country.

“There is going to be a popcorn shortage because Indiana burnt up in June even, I mean, they didn’t even get started. And we’ve got a lot of competitors in the eastern cornbelt,” Smith says. Smith says about 90-percent of the company’s popcorn is grown under irrigation in northeast Nebraska. He says the dryland popcorn grown in the Sac City, Iowa area is in decent shape having received some rain in July that didn’t fall elsewhere. Still, he says there may be some quality issues in this year’s popcorn.

“I think the test weights will be down. When the test weights are down, then maybe your pops aren’t quite as good, we might struggle with quality issues, but that’s the way Mother Nature treats the product. And I’m just grateful we’re going to have a crop,” Smith says. With field corn prices at, or near, all-time record highs,- popcorn companies have to pay more to prevent farmers from switching away from popcorn production. Smith says the company is already paying record-high contracts to farmers, and he expects the contracts to be higher again next year. He worries, though, about an eventual consumer backlash.

“We’re at the highest point we’ve ever been because of the price of corn. Now with the drought, corn prices have rallied more, and so we’re looking at another increase, which is a big worry,” according to Smith. “Because at some point, America’s consumer is gonna say ‘your products too expensive, I don’t want you any more,’ and I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet. But where is that threshold? I’m not absolutely sure.” The American Popcorn Company has been in business for 98 years. Smith is a fourth-generation family member involved with the company.

(Radio Iowa)

IA DNR: Recent rain helped to lower water demand, but groundwater levels are unchanged

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released its latest Water Summary Update. Officials say prior to the rains of August 8th, precipitation averaged 50 percent less than normal for the last two weeks. Shallow groundwater levels in parts of Iowa are at or near historic lows. Recent rainfall has helped to lower water demand, but has not impacted shallow groundwater levels. There have been reports in eastern Iowa, of private wells being drilled deeper or having pumps lowered to meet water demand.

The number of streams with “protected flow” (cannot be used for irrigation) have been reduced from 22 to 19. Streams in most of southwest Iowa are below normal flow, and the report shows shallow groundwater in all of southwest Iowa is not enough to meet the demand for irrigation. More than two-thirds of the State are now under Extreme Drought conditions, including every county stretching from northern Boone County southwest, through northwestern Fremont County. Cass County and the northwestern tip of Adair County are included in the Extreme Drought conditions, while the remaining southwest and south central counties are under Severe Drought conditions.

The past two weeks continued to be mostly hotter and drier than normal weather across Iowa. Temperatures averaged 4 degrees above normal while precipitation averaged 0.60 inches less than normal for the period. Rain totals varied from no rain at Underwood in western Iowa to nearly four inches at Nevada through August 6th. Storms on August 8th (after the cut-off time for the drought
monitor and for the precipitation map) resulted in a statewide average of 0.34  inches of rain, with almost everyone in the state seeing some rain. Among the areas with the most rain, was Audubon, Harrison, Page, and Shelby counties.

For a more thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends July 23 through August 8, go to http://www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate. The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the USGS, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division.

Iowa Bar: 90% of all judges/justice recommended for retention; Richardson receives 77.8%


August 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A majority of Iowa lawyers who participated in an Iowa State Bar Association survey favor a “yes” vote for all 75 judges and justices on November’s ballot. The evaluation is based on the 12 performance characteristics (10 for members of the supreme court and court of appeals) specified in the survey. Sioux City attorney Cynthia Moser is president of the Iowa State Bar Association. “In the aggregate, the judges and justices received a 90 percent confidence rating on the question of whether they should be retained in office,” Moser says. In the KJAN listening area, only District Four Judge James Richardson, of Audubon, received the lowest rating for recommended retention out the four judges who serve the counties of Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Pottawattamie, Cass, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont and Page. Richardson garnered a 77.8% recommendation from lawyers who participated in the Bar’s survey. He was appointed to the bench in 1986. Justices Greg Steensland and Mark Eveloff, from Council Bluffs, received votes of confidence ranging from 95.5- to 98.5%, while District Associate Judge Craig Dreismeier was given 100% confidence. Dresmeier was appointed to the bench in 2010. Steensland was appointed in 2005, and Eveloff was appointed in 1996.

Only one Iowa Supreme Court justice targeted by a campaign to vote him off the bench because he signed onto the court’s 2009 same-sex marriage ruling, got a much lower score than most in the survey. About 63 percent of the lawyers surveyed favored retention of Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins. The Bar Association’s president says that same-sex marriage case was probably a factor in the score Wiggins got from Iowa lawyers who’ve taken cases before the Supreme Court. “We certainly acknowledge that the controversy over the Varnum decision may have played a role in the responses,” Moser says. “I think what the important take-away is that the majority of lawyers who did evaluate his performance voted or indicated that they believe he should be retained on the bench and that’s really the take-away that we think the public should have from this.”

The Iowa State Bar Association plans to be more active in this year’s retention election. “I anticipate that we will be running ads. I think they will be positive and pro-active. They may also be responding to lies and inaccuracies,” Moser says. “…We are prepared and positioned to do that if circumstances arise.” However, Moser says the ad campaign will not advocate for any one particular judge or justice, but for retention of all. On August 1st the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party called upon Iowans to “send a message to unelected bureaucrats” and vote no on Justice Wiggins because Wiggins and other members of the court had “redefined” marriage in Iowa. It’s likely the same coalition of groups that successfully campaigned to unseat three other members of the court in 2010 will wage a similar campaign against Wiggins.

Moser calls Wiggins and the other 74 judges who’re on the November ballot “well-qualified” for that role. “We don’t think that judges should be subject to those kinds of political pressures,” Moser says.The Iowa State Bar Association chose an earlier release date for its survey charting the opinions Iowa lawyers have of judges and justices who’re up for retention. The group also has a booth at the Iowa State Fair to tout the state’s judicial system.

Moser said “We understand that the constitution gives Iowa voters the ability to vote for retention…Our hope is that by providing information to the public, people will be better-equipped to make an informed and intelligent decision about whether a specific judge or justice should be retained.” Three Iowa Supreme Court justices were voted off the bench in the 2010 election. In 2011 Governor Branstad appointed three men to the court to replace those justices and all three new justices must face a retention vote this fall.

View the full report for yourself at www.iowabar.org. A complete biography of each of the judges and their individual recommendations for retention, can also be found by clicking on a link within the report itself.

(by O. Kay Henderson – Radio Iowa & Ric Hanson-KJAN)

PA truck driver injured in Pottawattamie County rollover accident


August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The driver of semi was transported by helicopter to an Omaha hospital following a rollover accident Thursday afternoon, about two-miles east of the Shelby exit, in Pottawattamie County. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 35-year old Terrell Scott, of Williamsport, PA, was injured when the 2012 International tractor-trailer he was driving left eastbound Interstate 80, and came to rest on its right side in the south ditch. Scott was trapped in the cab of the semi while crews worked to extricate him.

The accident happened at around 1:55-p.m. Scott was transported by LifeNet to Creighton University Medical Center. The accident remains under investigation. The trailer was loaded with cereal. No hazardous materials were involved. The semi is registered to Crete Carrier Corporation, out of Lincoln, NE.

“Breakfast with the Birds” program cancelled

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation Service said Thursday, due to unforeseen circumstances the “Breakfast with the Birds” Program scheduled to be held Saturday morning at Sunnyside Park in Atlantic, has been cancelled. The program was to have begun at 9-a.m.

Hot Air Balloon Rides to be Offered During AtlanticFest, Saturday


August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce have announced a new attraction will take to the sky at AtlanticFest during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 11th.  Weather permitting, the gas torch will fire and a colorful hot air balloon will anchor down to four full sized trucks and offer tethered rides to AtlanticFest attendees in promotion of Atlantic Fly Iowa scheduled for mid September.  The balloon will be prepped for take-off at 8 a.m. and rides will begin at 9 a.m. lasting until the winds and weather conditions become unfavorable. Rides are $10 each and minors will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Tethered balloon rides will also be available at the September 15th Air Show, as well as helicopter rides, many displays of rare and unique aircraft, and a large bomber.  For more information about AtlanticFest or Fly Iowa visit AtlanticIowa.com or call the Chamber at 712.243.3017

Additional info. released on Obama visit to Council Bluffs


August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A campaign official has released additional information about President Barack Obama’s visit to Council Bluffs on Monday, August 13th. The campaign reports  the president will be in Bayliss Park in downtown Council Bluffs, with entry to the park allowed beginning at 9:15 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance.

One ticket per person will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the event will be available beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Organizing for America Council Bluffs office at 1851 Madison Ave., Suite 200, or the Organizing for America Omaha office at 347 N. 76th St. in Omaha.

Obama’s stop in Council Bluffs is part of a three-day campaign trip in Iowa, making his longest visit to a single state yet as he works to reach deeper into battleground states. It will be Obama’s fifth trip to Iowa this year and is similar to that of his 2008 Iowa caucus campaign. His Republican challenger in the November election, Mitt Romney was in Iowa this week.  Romney held a private fundraiser Tuesday night and a public event Wednesday morning at a Des Moines high school. It was Romney’s fourth visit to Iowa since clinching the GOP nomination.

Obama’s visit will begin Monday, and he’ll wend his way across the state with stops in smaller cities less often visited by presidents seeking re-election, campaign aides said. After Council Bluffs, he’ll go to Boone, then stop Tuesday in Marshalltown, Oskaloosa and Waterloo before closing the trip with events in Dubuque and Davenport on Wednesday. First lady Michelle Obama is expected to join the president for the Wednesday events.

Although a stop at the iconic Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is not on Obama’s preliminary schedule, the president often makes unannounced stops – and the fair will be entering its fifth day as Obama arrives.

Reward offered for arrest in stolen skid steer loader thefts


August 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A company clearing dead trees from a roadside ditch in Pottawattamie County is offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person of persons responsible for the theft of two Caterpillar Skid Steer loaders, and the recovery of the machines.

A similar model Caterpillar Skid Steer machine to those stolen from Pottawattamie County.

Next Phase Environmental had been contracted by the State of Iowa to clear the dead trees from the roadside ditch along Interstate 29, north of Council Bluffs.

The Pott. County Sheriff’s Department says during the last week, two Caterpillar Skid Steers belonging to the company were stolen. They’re valued at about $150,000. Anyone with information is asked to call the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office at (712) 890-2200 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-7867.