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Iowa regents to discuss tuition hike, naming rule

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents will consider giving final approval to a 3.75 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students.The regents will meet by telephone Thursday to consider the proposal, which would raise tuition at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa by $240. Mandatory fees would go up an additional $50 at Iowa and $45 at UNI.University officials caution the increase could be adjusted upward later depending on how much money lawmakers approve for the universities during budget talks next year.Also Thursday, the board is expected to discuss a plan that would bar state universities from naming academic institutes for current elected officials. The rule comes after criticism of the new center honoring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin at ISU.

Atlantic City Council approves AMU budget

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, approved a resolution accepting the 2012 Budget for the Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU), which the Utilities’ Board had adopted earlier this week, following a public hearing. Steve Tjepkes, with AMU, said the proposed budget for the Electric and Water Departments for Calendar Year 2012 totals nearly $10.8-million, which is an increase of almost $665,000, or 6.6%, over the current year re-estimate. The increased cost is being offset with increases in AMU’s retail electric rates.

Tjepkes says the increase, which went into effect in November, varies from 10- to 14-percent, due to the season and cost of energy prices. He says as far as the water distribution system is concerned, this was the first out of nine years AMU actually sold more gallons of water, as compared to previous years. Plans next year call for work on two water towers, which will cost about $175,000.  Tjepkes says there will be NO rate increases for AMU’s water customers in 2012.

The budget he says, includes $1.2-million for other system improvements, as well. That includes the completion of mapping their water distribution facilities via GPS, an energy efficiency program which uses programmable theromstats as a way to control peak usagae of electricty during the Summer months, and, automated meter reading systems, to better help the utlility detect and find outages more quickly.

Tjepkes says AMU’s revenues were down for the third year in a row, due to a decrease in excess energy sales, which he attributed in-part, to the economy. The utility will transfer $360,000 to the City of Atlantic in lieu of paying property taxes, which is a common practice. Their contribution equals about 3.3% of AMU’s annual revenues, and is designed to offset AMU’s utility charges to the City.

8AM Newscast 12-08-2011

News, Podcasts

December 8th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

7AM Newscast 12-08-2011

News, Podcasts

December 8th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Bedford truck driver escapes injury in Wed. night accident

News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A truck driver from New Mexico was injured during a crash between two semis and a car early late last night (Wednesday), in Polk County. The Iowa State Patrol says a 1995 Toyota Avalon driven by 26-year old Kevin Harris, of Nevada, IA, was traveling north on Interstate 35 at around 11:50-p.m., about seven-miles north of Ankeny, when for reasons unknown, he lost control of the vehicle.

The car went onto the shoulder and hit a cable guardrail and posts. The impact sent the posts into the traveled portion of the interstate. A 2012 Freightliner semi, driven by 48-year old Chris Scholl, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, hit the metal poles, causing his front tires to blow out.  The semi ended up in a ditch. Scholl was transported by Cambridge Rescue to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, for treatment of his injuries.

A second semi, driven by 44-year old James Steele, of Bedford, also hit the debris. Some tires on the 2007 Peterbilt semi blew out, and air lines were damaged, but Steele was able to maintain control.

Iowa sets farmland price record at $20K an acre

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has a new farmland price record. The Des Moines Register says it happened on Wednesday when a 74-acre tract near Hull in Sioux County in northwest Iowa sold for $20,000 an acre. The previous record was in October when a 120-acre parcel went for $16,750 per acre near Sioux Center, also in Sioux County. Auctioneer Pete Polleman, of Hull, who called Wednesday’s sale, says farmland in northwest Iowa is very valuable, with good commodity prices and a strong livestock industry. Economist emeritus Neil Harl of Iowa State University calls the prices “amazing.”

A survey or real estate agents in September put the state average at $6,477 an acre, an increase of over 30 percent in the last year. ISU will release its annual farmland survey Dec. 14th.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th

News

December 7th, 2011 by Stacie Linfor

FOR SALE: Beagle puppy, 5 months old, shots & wormed, papered. $50. 249-9838.

Pottawattamie Co. Sheriff warns of Medicare scam calls

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Pottawattamie County are warning area residents not to give out their personal information to someone who claims to be a representative of Medicare. Sgt. Dwayne Riche, with the Criminal Investigations Division at the Sheriff’s Office, says a resident call this (Wednesday) morning to report a phone solicitor posing as a representative for Medicare called and requested the individual confirm personal information.

The solicitor asked for a confirmation of the persons address, bank account numbers, and specifically, the routing numbers on the bottom of that persons checks. The caller claimed they needed that information so a new Medicare Card could be issued.

Sgt. Riche said the sheriff’s office contacted Medicare, and confirmed they would not make the type of request the solicitor had made, and furthermore, that the suspect caller was NOT a representative of Medicare.  Riche advises residents in the area, that if you receive that type of solicitation, you should NOT release or give personal information over the phone to the caller.

Shots fired at a residence in Cass County, Tuesday

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a reported shooting incident which occurred Tuesday evening, in rural Griswold. According to officials,  at around 7:15 p.m., deputies responded to a woman’s report of a weapon fired in her direction at her farm in rural Griswold. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Atlantic Police Department in searching the area, but was unable to locate a suspect. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the incident should contact the sheriff’s department at 712-243-2206.

(UPDATE 10:45-a.m.) Nishna Valley YMCA loses nearly $50,000 in cyber attack

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic has lost nearly $50,000 in a cyber attack. Dan Haynes, Executive Director at the YMCA, told reporters this (Wednesday) morning during a Press Conference, that their computer systems were recently infected by a virus that targeted their ACH financial transactions. He said the YMCA sustained loses under $50,000, and due to banking regulation, some of those funds may be frozen and may eventually be recovered. He says there are two separate batches of accounts, one for $9,000 and one for $4,000 that have been frozen.

He said they found out about the questionable transactions after they were notified by their financial institution on November 23rd. Haynes went on to say that it does not appear the virus went after their members’ personal financial information, but it’s possible some of that information, such as checking or bank account routing numbers, may have been compromised. He said those members who make one annual payment or those who do payroll deductions have not been affected.

Haynes said according to the authorities who are investigating the crime, anyone who has been a member of the YMCA for longer than 6 months, that their information is ok, but there’s no guarantee that is the case, because the incident is still under investigation.

He said because their computers are still being examined by the FBI, and they won’t know the full extent of the damage for at least another two- to three-months. Haynes said the cyber-thieves are primarily targeting businesses that handle large ACH transfers, those over $100,000, for example. But anyone with concerns about their ACH transactions should take some precautions to make sure their money is safe.

He says that would include closely monitoring your bank account and notifying your financial institution, local law enforcement and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, if you see any unauthorized activity.  Experts also recommend you contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or Trans Union), to find out if there have been changes to your credit report.

Haynes says the YMCA does have high quality computer security systems, but the virus is virtually undetectable by antivirus software and current firewall technology, because it morphs or changes so frequently, those systems cannot keep up. He added that this is the first time they have experienced this type of security breach, and they’re working with the authorities to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The theft means the YMCA has had to dip into its reserve funds to pay the bills for the month of December. He says if those funds are not recovered, it may mean putting off the purchasing of new equipment or making some repairs next Summer, but it will not affect their financial assistance programs. If you have any questions about the ACH cyber attack on the YMCA’s computers, call Dan Haynes at 712-243-3934.