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AMU says the water in Atlantic is just fine


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Atlantic Municipal Utilities say they have received several calls regarding the boil water order that has been issued for parts of Southeast Cass and Northeast Adams counties. AMU wants its customers to know the boil order does NOT affect AMU customers. It is for customers of the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA), only.

AMU says its water supply remains safe and unaffected by the boil order. The Atlantic water supply is pumped from underground aquifers north of town. That raw water is then treated locally and regularly tested to ensure it is of the safest and best quality possible.

Ag Dept offers a chance to picture yourself in agriculture

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Agriculture Department is offering those who’ve never set foot on a farm a chance to do so at the Iowa State Fair. Ag Secretary Bill Northey says all you have to do is visit the Ag Building at the fair. “We’ll have an exhibit that allows folks to stand in front of a screen, and get their picture taken, and choose a scene of agriculture to be behind them. We are calling it ‘Picture themselves in Agriculture’,” Northey explains.

Northey says those in agriculture are right at home at the fair, but he says it’s also provides a lot of insight for others.  “It is really a great place for non-farm families to come and see animals and agriculture and learn more about agriculture,” Northey says. “We’d like to have them come to the Agriculture Building to see that. We have animals giving birth on the grounds, we have the buildings, we have the show arenas.”

Northey says non-farm families can visit and go home understanding a little bit more about agriculture. Northey says most Iowans are impacted by agriculture in some way and probably don’t know it. “We have a lot folks that have jobs that sell things to those farmers, that work for companies that buy things from those farmers and process it. And frankly , we have a lot of folks who wouldn’t even necessarily think they are in an agricultural job. They are at a bank, and insurance company and an awful lot of the business they do in those businesses are related to the farm or folks that are working with farmers.” The Iowa State Fair opened today (Thursday) and runs through August 17th.

(Radio Iowa)

Company says money saved in keeping Iowans healthy


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s leading health insurer says it has saved about $12 million in keeping patients well instead of being treated when they’re sick. The Des Moines Register reports  the savings are less than 2 percent of the overall care provided to about 358,000 patients over the past two years.

But Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield says the savings from its Accountable Care Organizations are a start. It’s an arrangement that rewards hospital and clinics for preventing expensive health care.  Wellmark official Mike Fay says the savings come from clinics encouraging patients to come in for checkups before medical issues become severe.

Fay says some clinic staff members are also using medical records to identify patients who often go to the emergency room for minor problems.

$2.5-million in Fed. grants awarded to IA Homelessness Prevention & Assistance Initiatives


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently approved more than $2.5 million in homeless assistance grants to assist 28 agencies with homelessness prevention and assistance initiatives during the 2015 calendar year. The funding is made available through the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and by the Iowa Finance Authority in Iowa.

Among the recipients of grant funds was: The Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center, which serves all counties in southwest, parts of central and southern Iowa. $59, 292 was awarded for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing; Heartland Family Service in Pottawattamie County received a $41,175 grant for similar purposes, and, MICAH House, which serves counties in western & southwest Iowa, received $41, 175 for a shelter.

The purpose of the Emergency Solutions Grant program is to help Iowans and their families quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. Types of assistance can include emergency shelter, street outreach and homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing. Examples of eligible initiatives include funds for shelter operations and essential services, short-term rental or utility assistance, case management and housing relocation and stabilization services.

The Iowa Finance Authority received 37 applications which were scored in several categories, including project design and competition priorities, experience and capacity, community partnerships and need, performance, and budget and grants management. Emergency Solutions Grants were awarded to 28 agencies. These agencies serve a total of all 99 Iowa counties.

Cass Supervisors approve Violence Prevention Proclamation 4-1


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Thursday) approved by a vote of 4-to-1, a request from the Cass County Child Abuse Prevention Council, to Proclaim the 2014-2015 School Year as “Violence Prevention in Cass County Schools Year.” The lone nay vote came from Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer, who didn’t feel he should lend his support until allegations about a key element of the “Scary Guy” program could be reviewed.

The Cass Co. Board of Supervisors (except Mark Wedemeyer), gather for a picture after proclaiming 2014-2015 as "Violence Prevention in Cass Co. Schools Year."

The Cass Co. Board of Supervisors (except Mark Wedemeyer), gather for a picture after proclaiming 2014-2015 as “Violence Prevention in Cass Co. Schools Year.”

Kristen Templeton, with Unity Point at Home and Cass County Public Health spoke about efforts pertaining to violence prevention in the schools, which begins later this month with presentations by “The Scary Guy,” in each of the Cass County Schools.  The CCCAP has received funding from communities and individuals in the County to bring “The Scary Guy” to the County for his 10-day stay.

A Cumberland resident, Emily Rouse, who has four children who will be entering elementary school this year, said she was opposed to “The Scary Guy’s” presentation, based on a conversation she had and videos she’s seen. She says she received a flier at the end of the year and the name “Scary Guy” piqued her interest. After conducting some research she spoke a school principal in Hermantown, MN, who alleges some less than appropriate behavior took place during a presentation two-years ago.

The principal, according to Rouse, said The Scary Guy is rude, and bit the bald head of the principal. He also allegedly made fun of a kid in a wheelchair and made sexually inappropriate comments a middle school student. She said there is also a You Tube video purporting to show The Scary Guy in other gross or disgusting acts. She urged the Board not to support the efforts of the character in Cass County schools. Rouse said she intends to pull her students out of class the day of his presentation. Kristin Templeton said she spoke with The Scary Guy, who has refuted the allegations against him.

She said she also spoke with a different school administrator in Hermantown, who said a CNN story on the presentation was slanted to provide a negative view of The Scary Guy program. Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer and the rest of the Board, was encouraged by Rouse to research The Scary Guy and decide for themselves if his presentation is appropriate.  Supervisor Chuck Rieken said the request was to ask the Board to support Violence Prevention, not to pass judgment on “The Scary Guy” program, which was not a part of the Proclamation

Rieken said if something inappropriate happens during “The Scary Guy” program, he has “full faith” that school administrators and others responsible, will intervene and stop it.

8AM Newscast 08-07-2014

News, Podcasts

August 7th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson


Creston Police report Alliant Energy scam


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Police in Creston are warning business owners in the community about scam phone calls pertaining to utility bills. Authorities say they received two calls from local businesses Wednesday, indicating that an “Alliant Energy” employee had called and claimed the business was behind on payments and they were going to shut the power off.

Officials say such calls are an attempt to scam businesses out of money. They advised business owners if they receive such as call, to contact the Iowa Attorney general at 515-281-5926.

(Podcast) 7:07-a.m. Area News & funeral report, 8/7/2014

News, Podcasts

August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson.


Atlantic City Council passes 1st reading of Urban Revitalization Plan


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, approved a $400,000 guaranteed loan to local developer Pat McCurdy, for a 24-unit apartment building near the existing Walnut Hills apartment complex on east 10th Street. The funds, at 4-percent interest, would not be paid to McCurdy unless he receives the go-ahead for the $2.1-million dollar project from the State, as part of an application he has submitted for additional, grant or loan opportunities. The loan guarantee also serves to add points to McCurdy’s application, when it comes time to approve the larger grant or loan. It should be known by January 2015 whether or not the process can move forward.

In other business, the Council held a public hearing on a revised Urban Revitalization Plan (URP), during which there were no comments submitted, either written or spoken. The Council then moved forward with approving a Resolution establishing a URP for the City, with the proposed modifications, as explained by Mayor Dave Jones and SWIPCO Community Development Specialist Barb Barrick.

The modifications include removing the area south of 14th Street from the “blighted” definition. Anyone making improvements on the homes south of 14th Street would be eligible for a tax abatement of up to $75,000 of the actual assessed value of the improvements. Anyone living north of there is eligible for a full abatement, up to $250,000.

Duplexes constructed after January 1st, 2014 are being classified as single-family residences instead of commercial, and would be eligible for tax abatement, if they previously were qualified as “Commercial.”

Following the Public Hearing, the Council approved a Resolution establishing the Urban Revitalization Area, and after some discussion, the first reading of an ordinance designating the 2014 City of Atlantic URP. There was considerable confusion over what time frame the abatements would cover, as far as improvements to structures were concerned. John Lund, Assistant to City Administrator Doug Harris, tried to clarify the matter, citing his conversations with Cass County Assessor Brenda Nelson.

Lund said according to Nelson, it depends on completion of a project. For instance, anyone who applies for a home improvement tax abatement now, must have those projects completed by Jan. 1st 2015, in order to be on the tax roles and receive an abatement next year.

If the project was not complete by Jan. 1, 2015, there won’t be any partial abatements. Instead, the full abatement would come during the following calendar year, if it amounts to a 10-percent increase in valuation of the property.

Regents want receipts from cost-cutting consultant


August 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents has a suggestion for its own cost-cutting consultant: start providing receipts to justify employee expenses. Regents said Wednesday they would start requiring Deloitte Consulting to submit receipts, like university employees do, to document claims for travel, lodging and food. The move came after The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reported that Deloitte submitted $220,000 in expense reimbursements without documentation, under its $3.3 million contract to find savings.

Board President Bruce Rastetter says Deloitte’s contract did not require its employees to submit receipts. But he says the regents didn’t want the “relatively small expenses” being questioned to reflect poorly on the larger initiative, which could save millions. He says Deloitte has been receptive to providing receipts going forward, and the contract may be amended to require them.