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Key Iowa regents want 3rd straight tuition freeze


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Key members of the governing board of Iowa’s three public universities say they want to table a proposed 1.75 percent tuition increase and freeze rates for the third year. In a surprise, three members of the Iowa Board of Regents said they supported the freeze for in-state students Thursday. The nine-member board will vote on the plan in December.

Their statements came as the regents considered a plan to raise the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The board froze tuition rates for the previous two school years, for the first time since the 1970s.

The proposed increase would have covered the expected cost of inflation and generated $14.5 million in new revenue.

Amazon to refund Iowa customers over subscription


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Online retailor Amazon has agreed to refund more than 1,000 Iowa customers over issues regarding a subscription service. The state Attorney General’s Office says the agreement means Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon Services LLC will give $122,000 in refunds and credits to Iowa customers.  State officials say a free shipping promotion enrolled Iowa customers in a free trial of the Amazon Prime subscription service. Its annual $99 membership fee offers shipping discounts, streaming video and other features.

Customers who didn’t cancel during the free-trial period were shifted to regular Prime memberships. The agreement requires that Amazon comply with state law aimed at making the enrollment process for club memberships clear. As part of the deal, Amazon denies any wrongdoing or liability. The company will contact qualifying customers for refunds and credits.

Wellmark Foundation Awards Grant Funds to the City of Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Wellmark Foundation recently awarded the City of Atlantic a $25,000 grant to help fund the Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project. The project will focus on the reconstruction of a trail that runs through Bull Creek, completing the intra-city trail system that runs through Atlantic, Iowa. The project will also measure residents’ use of trails before and after the reconstruction to gauge overall usage of the trail.untitled

The Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project will complete the last section of the Atlantic intra-city trail that runs beside Bull Creek in the heart of Atlantic. The multi-use trail will begin at 14th Street, connect with the Atlantic Bike Route and the Atlantic Walking Path, and continue north through Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area. The trail will connect several areas of Atlantic directly to Schuler Elementary School, the Atlantic Middle School, and the Nishna Valley Family YMCA, giving children a safer place to ride their bikes to school and after-school activities. This project will also complement the continued development of the Schildberg Recreation Area and the future development of the trail connecting Schildberg to the T-Bone Trail.

The grant award to the City of Atlantic represents one of 19 competitively awarded grants across Iowa and South Dakota to establish pilot efforts or expand upon current community health initiatives.

CCHS to discontinue participation in Humana Medicare Advantage


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Health System report, effective January 1, 2015, the Atlantic Medical Center, Cass County Memorial Hospital and Southwest Iowa Surgery will no longer participate in the Humana Medicare Advantage health insurance plan. According to Susan Daniels, Chief Financial Officer, they are announcing the change to assist area residents in selecting their Medicare Advantage plans for 2015.

Daniels said “We want people to be informed as they make their 2015 Medicare Advantage plan selections for the coming year. While we don’t have a lot of patients who use this plan, we certainly didn’t want anyone to be surprised by the change in 2015.”

She noted the change is being made due to ongoing problems with claims being delayed and paid inaccurately. “We want to work with insurers who support us in providing outstanding care and service to our patients.”  Daniels explained the health system participates in several other Medicare Advantage plans. “We are confident our patients will be able to select a plan that meets their personal needs and still allows us to be their healthcare provider.”

She also noted that because participation will continue through the end of 2014, the Medicare Advantage website will not reflect the change, so it is important for consumers to understand this change that will go into effect January 1, 2015.

For questions or more information, please call either Nancy Templeman, Medicare Billing Coordinator, or Susan Daniels at Cass County Memorial Hospital, 712-243-3250.

Area Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show Winners

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Jim Field

Some area contestants have picked up awards at the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show in Omaha.  Among the winners:

  • Annie Herr of Fontanelle won champion Mainetainer Breeding Heifer
  • Heath Downing of Creston won champion Feeder Calf Heifer-Overall and champion Feeder Calf Steer-Overall
  • Cody Birt of Prescott won 3rd place Market Swine Showman
  • Dustin Lund of Croning won reserve champion Continental Breed Market Steer
  • Violet Lapke of Logan won champion Composite Charolais Breeding Heifer
  • Reagan Gibson of Panora won reserve champion Team Purebred Market Barrow
  • Sydney Sherer of Pisgah won 5th place Market Broilers
  • Erin Sorenson of Villisca won champion AOB Breeding Heifer
  • Lane Miller of Creston won champion Horse-Senior Western
Annie Herr (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Annie Herr
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Ernst touts GOP enthusiasm edge


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Iowa’s U.S. Senate race could be headed for a “photo finish” with Republican Joni Ernst at 48 percent and Democrat Bruce Braley at 46. The survey shows Braley with a wide lead among early voters, as 58 percent of those who’ve already voted told the pollsters they voted for Braley, while 37 said they had voted for Ernst. Ernst says that’s not worrisome to her. “We have got some great grassroots out there and so many supporters,” Ernst said. “A lot of Republican voters will typically go out to the polls on Election Day.” Iowa Republicans announced Wednesday that for the first time, more Republicans than Democrats have voted early. Democrats argue they’re getting independents to cast a vote for the Democratic ticket. Ernst says Republicans have the enthusiasm edge.

“I guess last night over at the ‘Victory Office’ there were more volunteers than phones,” Ernst says. “People are so energized right now.”Ernst spoke early this morning (Thursday) to the Greater Des Moines Parternship, a group representing 21 central Iowa chambers of commerce, and she repeatedly referred to her “opponent.” “I don’t want to get his name wrong,” Ernst said. “Unfortunately, you know, it’s become a big joke and I’m afraid I’m actually going to call him the wrong name.”

Earlier this month First Lady Michelle Obama called Braley “Bailey” seven times before the crowd at Drake University corrected her. Obama was in Iowa City Tuesday and she joked that she often calls her daughters and the family dog by the wrong name, too. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is campaigning with Ernst today (Thursday) and he told the crowd it was out of “self-interest” because he’ll become a committee chairman if Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate.

“The best thing I can do for South Carolina, I think, is get the Senate under new management. It’s broken, fundamentally broken. I think she is the solution, not the problem” Graham told reporters. “…Her voice, the voice of a military commander — would be a welcome addition.” Ernst is a batallion commander in the Iowa National Guard.

Eighteen senators are military veterans, according to a Roll Call analysis, and Ernst would become a veteran if she’s elected. Ernst has said she’ have to resign her post in the Iowa National Guard if she wins this Senate race.

(Radio Iowa)

Secretary of State candidates both favor a Safe at Home program


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The two candidates for Iowa Secretary of State say they agree on a program that would help victims of some crimes vote without the fear of putting themselves at risk. Democrat Brad Anderson released his “Safe at Home” plan Wednesday. “These polices help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault stay safe by providing them a designated address to use for official documents like voter registration,” Anderson explains. “And these services keep survivor’s physical address out of the hands of their assailment.”

Anderson says he heard about the program at a conference where the Secretary of State from Missouri and his counterpart in Minnesota spoke about their programs. He says 35 states have such a program, but Iowa does not. “Currently in Iowa, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who want to both remain anonymous and also vote are in a very difficult position,” Anderson says. “They are advised by the state to register and vote on election day, but then immediately cancel their voter registration. But, even given this cumbersome process, it still does not guarantee their anonymity.”

Anderson says it would take a change in state legislation to implement the program here. “We estimate about a thousand Iowans would participate in this program and the program would grow annually,” Anderson says. He says if he is elected, he would push to get the program passed in the next session of the legislature.

Republican Paul Pate is running against Anderson, and says he favors such a program. “It think the program is very important to protecting Iowans, it’s a top priority. As a former state senator I led legislation to toughen penalties for stalking victims in Iowa. I have first-hand experience as a state senator and mayor working with the state legislature and governor. And if I was the next Secretary of State I would make it a priority to join the other 35 states,” Pate says. Pate says he has already started the groundwork to get such legislation passed.

“I’ve had conversations with the speaker of the House and with the governor’s office and started the dialogue. They were very receptive to it. I think we could get something worked out and I think we would see something passed in the upcoming the legislative session,” according to Pate. Pate says he’d also like to see another voting issue passed in the next session.

“Just as Safe at the Home offers participants an additional safeguard for their protection, I think we also have to protect the integrity of all Iowa voters with a voter I-D safeguard,” Pate says. “I think both priorities are important, they need to be approached in a bipartisan manner, and I think I have the experience to get that done. Current Secretary of State, Republican Matt Schultz, is not seeking re-election.

(Radio Iowa)

Southern IA women cited after weird Union County injury accident


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

One person suffered unknown, possible injuries during a collision Tuesday evening in Union County. Sheriff’s officials say 23-year old Ashley Elizabeth Walker, of Leon, was not transported to the hospital following the accident that happened at around  6:20-p.m., Tuesday on the Thayer Lake Road.

Authorities say 41-year old Jennifer Jean Hartley, of Greenfield, had stopped to ask Walker if she needed help. Earlier in the day, a property exchange had taken place between Walker and a friend of Hartley’s. According to Hartley, Walker’s 1992 Chevy S-10 pickup accelerated rapidly in reverse and hit Hartley’s 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup, as Hartley was leaving and headed west.

Walker was cited for Operating a vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless or negligent manner. Damage from the collision amounted to at least $3,000.

Car-vs-deer accident in Cass County


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A vehicle driven by a woman from eastern Iowa sustained $12,000 damage Wednesday, after it collided with a deer on Interstate 80, in Cass County. The Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened near the 50 mile marker, as a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by 45-year old Andrea Nancy Trimble, of Davenport, was westbound on I-80. The SUV hit a deer that had entered the roadway from the north ditch. Trimble wasn’t hurt during the collision.

Atlantic men arrested Wednesday on alcohol and other charges


October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Two Atlantic men were arrested Wednesday. According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 26-year old Tony Ray Cue, of Atlantic, was arrested for OWI 1st Offense, Public Intoxication, and Interference with Official Acts. Cue was also cited with Failure to Maintain Control and Failure to Have a Valid License. 34-year old Dennis Dean Riggle, Jr., of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication and Interference with Official Acts. Both men were cited for Leaving the Scene of an Accident. They were taken to the Cass County Jail. Cue was released on his own recognizance the following day, while Riggle was released the following day after pleading not guilty.

This past Tuesday, deputies in Cass County arrested 31-year old Trent Matthew Suhr, of Walnut, on a District Court warrant for Probation Violation. Suhr was taken to the Cass County Jail where he remains held on $20,000 bond.

And on Monday, 31-year old Matthew James Wiechman,  of Lewis, was arrested on a charge of Domestic Abuse Assault Simple. Wiechman was taken to the Cass County Jail where he pled not guilty and was released the following day.